MONDAY
February 7, 2000
volume 11, no. 26
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

CATHOLIC DIOCESE LEADS PROTESTS AGAINST US NAVY IN PUERTO RICO

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CWNews.com) - The Apostolic Administrator of Caguas, Bishop Alvaro Corrada del Rio, has announced that the Diocese will establish a tent on the island of Vieques, as a way to protest peacefully against its use as a firing range by the US Navy.

    Vieques island has been at the center of a tense debate between Puerto Rico and Washington. Located in the past in an unpopulated area of Puerto Rico, the island was used for naval weapons training with live ammunition. Since the population has grown in the region of Caguas, moving closer to the island, Puerto Ricans have been asking the Navy to stop using the island for the risk it represents to the population and the environment. In a recent agreement, President Bill Clinton has announced that maneuvers will stop in the year 2003, but many in Caguas think the offer is not satisfactory.

    Bishop Corrada del Rio, a former Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, DC, arrived on February 2 with a delegation of Catholics, including Vieques' pastor, Father Nelson Lopez, to establish the protest tent where a group of lay people will remain for "several days."

    "The tent, placed in the forbidden area under control of the Navy, is a way to express peacefully our protest and frustration at the way the Puerto Rican governor and the President have decided the future of the area without even taking into account the urgent needs of the people," said Bishop Corrada. "Once again, only the Church seems to be standing for them."

    Bishop Corrada, a Spanish-born Jesuit, said that a priest each day will join the group of protesters, and that he has "strongly emphasized that this must be a peaceful protest, and that no force must be used against" the eventual enforcers.

    Before departing for the protest area, Bishop Corrada celebrated a Mass in honor of Our Lady of Candelaria and exhorted all Catholics to pray for a solution to the conflict.

          

February 7, 2000
volume 11, no. 26
NEWS & VIEWS

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