TUESDAY     February 1, 2000    vol. 11, no. 22    SECTION THREE

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SECTION THREE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
WORLD NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:
  • Pope officiates at opening of new garage on Janiculum Hill
  • Pope John XXIII's limo taken out of mothballs, to be at disposal of handicapped pilgrim children
  • Persecutions of Catholics increasing in China
  • Cardinal calls for Catholic Journalists to portray the truth
  • Cardinal Winning's campaign gains steam with expose of children's teaching video on promoting gay lifestyle
  • Latest ShipLogs of visitors to the Daily CATHOLIC

  • WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant


        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- A new six-story parking lot, built under the Janiculum hill within walking distance of St. Peter's Basilica, was formally opened on January 31, in a ceremony attended by Pope John Paul II and a number of Italian political leaders.

        The construction of the parking facility, which has room for over 700 cars and nearly 100 buses, began in February 1998, as part of the preparation for the Jubilee Year. The construction process was marked by controversy, as conservationists questioned whether the project would cause harm to some of Rome's archeological treasures.

        In August 1999, during the excavation of an access ramp leading into the garage, workers uncovered what appeared to be the ruins of a home dating from the 2nd century, decorated with frescoes from that era. That discovery led to a series of debates as to whether the construction should continue-- and a few accusations that the builders were stealthily removing artifacts from the site in order to avoid further debates. Finally, in December 1999, Italian authorities cleared the way for the completion of the construction project.

        Along with the parking lot, the building also houses other facilities for tourists, including an information center, cafeteria, souvenir stand, and news kiosk. The construction of this facility-- which is similar to the concourse of an airport-- was funded by a private Italian agency. The costs of building the parking lot itself were split equally by the Vatican and the Italian government.

        In his remarks at the opening ceremony, Pope John Paul pointed out that the complex was artfully designed so that it preserved the view from the Janiculum, and facilitated the free flow of traffic around the city, while allowing easy access to the Vatican.

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    Will Tour Rome Driven by Sports and Entertainment Personalities

        VATICAN CITY, JAN 30 (ZENIT).- Handicapped children coming to Rome as pilgrims for the Jubilee will be able to visit major places in the Eternal City in Pope John XXIII's car.

        The dark navy blue Fiat 2100 with the papal insignias is a very special car. It was a gift made by the Italian car firm in 1959. Now, after "hibernating" for many years in the Vatican garage and being affectionately looked after by pontifical firemen, Pope John's prestigious car is going out into the streets again, from the Vatican to Roman Basilicas, transporting children with physical handicaps.

        The initiative was organized by the Italian publisher, Count Arnaldo Blancardi di Sospello, in collaboration with Livia Turco, Minister for Social Affairs, and Vatican authorities.

        The name of the project is very moving in itself: "Pope John XXIII's Caress to Children." It is explicitly inspired in one of the best known and loved phrases of the "Good Pope," who on October 11, 1962 -- the afternoon of the opening of Vatican Council II -- invited pilgrims whom he met to return home and express spontaneous affection to their children by saying: "this is the Pope's caress."

        Inside the car, the children will find a surprise. Depending on the day, the driver might be a personality from the world of sport or entertainment, although there will also be politicians, businessmen, and public figures. These famous persons are being asked to offer enthusiastically "a tangible message of real Christian charity."

        Any handicapped child who wishes to ride in the car should contact the Italian Ministry of Social Affairs, or local organizers of the initiative in their parish.

        The initiative is being funded by sponsors. Any funds left over after expenses will be given exclusively to scientific research against muscular dystrophy. ZE00013009

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    Bishops and Priests "Abducted," Children Banned from School, Churches Burned

        HONG KONG, JAN 31 (ZENIT-FIDES).- Over the last few months, dozens of priests belonging to the underground Catholic Church have been arrested by police in mainland China. At least 6 bishops from the underground Church have "disappeared" -- some for more than 3 years, others for several months -- all because they refused to accept the control of the "official" Catholic Church -- the Patriotic Association.

        Similar pressure is being exerted on underground Catholic families: their children are banned from schools and their churches are being destroyed. According to officials of the Catholic Church in Hong Kong, the Chinese government is implementing orders from a secret document issued last August. The government's objective is either to absorb the underground Church into the Patriotic Association, or to suppress it altogether.


        Sources of the international agency "Fides" confirm that Fr. John Gao Kexian, 72, of the diocese of Yantai, was taken by police last October. Prior to 1949, this diocese was entrusted to Franciscans and numbered some 12,000 faithful. Today there are over 30,000 Catholics in Yantai diocese.


        At present, the diocese of Wenzhou is enduring pressure and violence. On November 23, Fr. Jiang Sunian was arrested; since December 23 his whereabouts are unknown. According to UCA News, Fr. Jiang's arrest brings to 6 the number of priests arrested in Wenzhou. The diocese's clandestine Bishop James David Lin Xili, 80, was arrested in Shanghai on September 8. Catholics of his diocese say the arrests are part of a campaign of threats, violence and blackmail launched by the local Patriotic Association to force membership in the Association.

        At the beginning of January, 2000, a number of Catholics were forced to sign and/or fingerprint membership forms after a few days of detention. Some managed to escape, but police state that if they do not return and join the Patriotic Association, their children will be banned from school. Underground Church property, built without government permission, has been burnt or destroyed. In mid-December, two churches were blown up in Wenzhou, after three others were demolished in April.


        In 1999, in the Fuzhou diocese alone, where there is a strong underground community, 13 churches were destroyed. Last October Bishop Xie Shiguang, 85, of Mindong, was "called in for a chat" with government officials and then disappeared. Bishop Xie had consistently refused the government's demand that he register the underground Church of Mindong. Eventually the Bishop returned home "free, but under control."


        Bishop John Han Dingxiang, 63, was arrested at the end of November in Shijiazhuang, while giving a retreat. Since then, his whereabouts are unknown. Han is the underground Bishop of Yongnian. He has been arrested and released several times in the past and, all together, has spent about 20 years in prison.

        Just before Christmas, the Cardinal Kung Foundation broke the news of the arrest of Wang Chengqun, a layman. At present, he is in Hebei's Gaoyanxian labor camp for "re-education." This is the seventh time in 20 years that Chengqun has been arrested; at least 10 years of his life have been spent in jail. When he was arrested in 1997, he suffered an attack of paralysis that went unattended.

        Fathers Guo Yibao, Wang Zhenghe and Xie Guolin were all arrested in Hebei in 1999. There are 3 Bishops from this area who are missing: Bishop James Su Zhimin, 68, of Baoding; his Auxiliary Bishop Francis An Shuxin, 51, and Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo, 66, of Zhengding. The first two disappeared in 1996; the third was taken away on August 15, 1999.

        From March 20 to April 28, 2000, the U.N. Human Rights Commission will hold a meeting in Geneva. The United States is preparing a resolution to condemn China; the European Union is expected to second the motion. ZE00013120

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        ROME, 31 (NE) Adhesion to Christ as well as informing with truthfulness was the invitation recently made by Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, Archbishop of Genoa, to Catholics involved in the world of journalism. As the Italian Cardinal pointed out, recognizing the problem, denouncing it, and always living in adhesion to the Lord are the three stages through which Catholic journalists should act.

        "The great news," he affirmed, "is the Lord that responds to all questions." In the same way, the Archbishop of Genoa invited the Catholic journalists to a scrupulous verification of the information that they offer to the people.

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        LONDON (CWNews.com) - A teaching packet which encourages students as young as 14 to try homosexual sex has outraged MPs and family campaigners in Britain and the government is being urged to step in and block it.

        "Beyond a Phase" -- produced by the Avon health authority using taxpayers money -- includes a video which asks schoolchildren to discuss if the hypothetical "15-year-old-boy Michael" should have unprotected sex with his boyfriend. "Michael knows he should use a condom," says the commentary, "but doesn't know where to go for help. What should he do?"

        In another scene, "college student Karl" tells the audience they should "try experimenting with both boys and girls to see who you feel most comfortable with."

        The film, already available in 180 schools, is being cited by campaigners as a prime example of why Section 28 -- the law which forbids the promotion of homosexuality -- should be retained.

        Valerie Riches, of the Family and Youth Campaign group, told The Sunday Times: "This puts concepts and activities into the minds of youngsters they would not normally think about."

        A spokesman for Avon health authority said: "We have reviewed Beyond a Phase and in our view it treats a difficult subject with great sensitivity. Local teachers consider it a valuable resource and we fully support its use in schools."

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    February 1, 2000     volume 11, no. 22
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