Because of mild sexual innuendo and references, as well as occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. "Bicentennial Man" is a futuristic fantasy in which a family robot (played by Robin Williams) actively seeks to become fully human over two centuries and eventually to marry the family's great-granddaughter. The bland tale examines what it is to be human in terms of free will, love and mortality, but its poky pace blunts interest in the robot's earnest quest.
Because of sexual situations, comically intended violence, brief rear nudity and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In "Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo" a klutzy loser (played by Rob Schneider) tries and fails at temporary male prostitution in order to pay for accidentally wrecking his bossís condo. The pathetically unfunny comedy dredges up lame double entendres and toilet humor when not mocking characters with assorted physical diseases and disabilities who resort to paying for male companionship.
Because of discreet sexual encounters, wartime violence and an instance of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 - parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. "Snow Falling on Cedars" is a ponderous drama in which the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II has resonance when one of them is put on trial for murder in 1950 and a reporter (played by Ethan Hawke) hesitates to reveal evidence helpful to the accused because he is still obsessed with memories of a love affair with the man's wife (played by Youki Kudoh) when they were both teen-agers. The visually evocative film exploring racial prejudice is flawed by an excess of flashbacks to the affair which stagnate the courtroom drama.
Following Wednesday's official announcement of the Pope's plans to travel to the Holy Land and visit historic sites in Israel, Jordan and Palestine, word has surfaced that the Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Athens has joined the Greek government in being favorable to extending an invitation to the Pope to be allowed to visit Greece and retrace the footsteps of the Apostle Saint Paul. continued inside
The letter provides for very important stages. The one most closely followed by the press over the last few months has been the visit to Ur of the Chaldeans, birthplace of Abraham, considered Father of the faith by the three great monotheistic religions. However, the Pope's trip to Iraq to fulfill this leg of the journey is on indefinite hold, after a press statement last December, in which Baghdad authorities stated that they cannot guarantee the necessary security because of the U.N. prohibition on flights.
Another place the Pope hopes to visit is Sinai, the area identified by the Bible where Moses received the Ten Commandments during the exodus from Egypt to Canaan, which today is known as Jebel Musa. On January 12 the Turin newspaper "La Stampa," revealed that at present dates are being considered for this trip, which could take place at the end of February. In undertaking this pilgrimage, John Paul II would make a stop in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, but, for the time being, the Vatican has not confirmed this stage of the pilgrimage.
Vatican diplomats are also doing everything possible to enable the Holy Father to visit Damascus and Athens -- the two places that in a sense sum up the life of the Apostle to the Gentiles.
The Pontiff's visit to the Syrian capital was facilitated by an official invitation from Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius IV Hazim. The dialogue currently taking place between Syria and Israel could smooth the obstacles that have prevailed in among Syrian politicians.
Finally, the Greek situation is even more complicated. The Orthodox Church in that country has been hostile to the Pope's plan to visit Athens, though political authorities are open to the visit. Nonetheless Athens' Archbishop Christodoulos Paraskevaidis recently asked in a press statement why the Pope's desire could not be fulfilled. The Archbishop said: "His pilgrimage to the Areopagus of Pynka does not depend on us, but on his will. No one can close the borders and much less our Church to him." ZE00011308
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Barak expressed great delight in the fact the Holy Father will be coming to Jerusalem in March. He cited the visit as a vital link in bringing the Jews and Christians closer, but expressed regret the Pope couldn't spend more time there. The Pope will give a talk at the Mount of Beatitudes. continued inside.
JERUSALEM, JAN 13 (ZENIT).- John Paul II's visit to the Middle East will give decisive impetus to the peace negotiations. This opinion was expressed today both by the Israeli government as well as influential sectors of the Jewish religious community.
After congratulating all those who contributed to make this papal dream a reality, the Israeli Prime Minister said that he attributes "great importance to this visit both because it will forge closer relations between the Jewish people and the world's Christian population as well as have positive repercussions on the peace process."
Barak acknowledged "the Pope's role in the struggle against anti-Semitism and racism," and is "convinced that the meetings he will have with leaders of the Israeli government and Rabbis will enable them to reinforce cooperation in this struggle."
Barak did regret that the Pope would only be visiting two specifically Jewish sites, the Western Wall and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. "The government of Israel is convinced that the Pope, too, regrets that due to circumstances beyond control, he will be unable to dedicate more of his time to study in depth the resurrection and renewal of the Jewish people in the land of their forefathers," read Barak's statement.
Rabbi David Rosen, Israel's representative in the B'nai B'rith Anti-Defamation League, said the Pope's visit will mark "the climax" of reconciliation between Catholics and the Jewish people.
In statements published today by the Italian newspaper "Avvenire," Rosen expressed that the Holy Father has succeeded in this objective thanks to his work carried out "with courage that now sees his crowning." In addition to fostering dialogue between Jews and Christians, this trip constitutes "recognition of the Jewish people in their own Land," Rabbi Rosen said.
Fr. Giovanno Battistelli, Franciscan Custodian of the Holy Land, disclosed that John Paul II will hold a meeting with youth in the Mount of the Beatitudes, during which he will speak about the beatitudes of the third millennium. The Custodian's only fear is that "the local authorities' legitimately imposed restrictions for security reasons may impede a warm welcome of the Pope by the people and disappoint many people's expectations." ZE00011306
The US Conference of Bishops submitted to the Holy Father nearly 30 names of Catholic and non-Catholic martyrs as witnesses of faith including among the list - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the black Baptist minister who led the civil rights movement in the sixties. These suggestions are to honor them as "witnesses of faith" not canonization as is the case with many martyrs who died for the Faith. continued inside.
The list of martyrs is being gathered by a Vatican commission set up for a special ceremony to be led by Pope John Paul II later this year, and the Holy Father specifically recommended inclusion of non-Catholic Christian martyrs. The process is separate from the more rigorous cause for canonization.
The US bishops included King, a Baptist minister who led the civil rights movement during the 1960s and was assassinated, may be a controversial choice because he was not killed as a missionary or preacher, but as the leader of a social movement. There have also been questions regarding unethical or immoral behavior during his life.
Bishop Tod Brown of Orange, California, who led the bishops' nominating committee which forwarded 25 to 30 names to the Vatican, told the Globe that King was "a prophet in terms of civil rights. ... His whole rationale had a strong spiritual basis." Other nominees reportedly included four religious women murdered in El Salvador in 1980.
Paul Henderson of the bishops' conferences' Jubilee Year office said the names of the nominees have not been officially released because some people may be hurt or disappointed if someone was not chosen.
The many years of lies and threats are catching up with Red China and it could cost them if they don't back off. This comes from Republican U.S. Congressman Matthew Selmon from Arizona who met with China's leader Jiang Zemin yesterday and warned the President that continued abuse of human and religious rites could prohibit free trade with western nations, specifically the U.S. continued inside.
Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Arizona, said the bipartisan delegation discussed the crackdown on the Falun Gong spiritualist movement, the state-orchestrated ordination of five Catholic bishops in defiance of the Pope's authority, and the lack of movement in dialogue with the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama.
Salmon said he supports free trade with China, but said the Communist government's human rights record could affect how Congress votes on granting permanent normal trade relations (NTR) to the country, creating a barrier to China's entry into the WTO. "If members of Congress believe that the human rights situation in China is getting worse instead of better and religious freedom is less instead of more, then it could impact NTR votes," he said.
Vice President Al Gore is campaigning for more money to fight AIDS in Africa but his tactics are such that it would only fund further abortion and contraception as part of an intensified culture of death program which the Vatican agency "Fides" called a smokescreen. continued inside.
"Fides" published its rebuttal following an announcement Vice-President Al Gore that he is committed to give additional funds for the struggle against AIDS.
Gore said at the United Nations that, beyond the $225 million allocated to fight this illness that undermines the future of Africa, he will request an additional $100 million from Congress to assist those countries lacerated by this virus. During the current year 2000, the United States will invest over $800 million to combat this virus. This is a major decision, given the fact that in 1998 Washington drastically cut funds for humanitarian aid.
However, according to recent research by the organization "Demilitarization for Democracy," the Clinton Administration has allocated $21.3 billion for armaments, of which $8.3 billion have been allocated to non-democratic regimes.
"Fides" reports that last November the African Center for Strategic Studies was founded in Dakar, Senegal. This is the name of a combat school, created by the U.S. Defense Department. The center is open to high-level military officers and African civilian leaders. Courses will be taught by retired U.S. officers, who in the past participated in similar undertakings in Latin America, which gave birth to a controversial generation of military leaders.
Registration in this military institution is handled through U.S. Embassies in the African countries. The only countries excluded are those sanctioned by a U.N. embargo or those suspected of funding terrorism. These limitations do not affect leaders of regimes at war or representatives of dictatorships.
According to the organization "Demilitarization for Democracy," 43 African countries, 26 with non-democratic governments, have U.S. military advisers. In 1997, nine of the eleven countries involved in the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo received arms and instructors from the United States. ZE00011301
The thriving, dynamic Apostles of Jesus missionaries have freed 500 Sudanese children from slavery by purchasing them from scrupulous traders and establishing mission homes for them throughout Africa in extolling the Sanctity of Life in the face of the growing culture of death shadow enveloping the continent. continued inside.
"Each one of our communities participates in the people's life through prayer, work, and simplicity of living. A community cannot evangelize without regular and total contact with the people," Fr. Sylvester Rwomukubwe, the Superior General of this religious institute, said.
Sudan is governed by a military dictatorship of fundamentalist Islamic orientation. In 1982, when the Khartoum regime enforced the "sharia" or Islamic law, animists and Christians in the south rebelled. Among these southern populations there are unscrupulous traders who buy boys and girls from the military and sell them as slaves to northern families or other Islamic countries.
The Apostles of Jesus have their mother house in Nairobi, Kenya, and number 347 -- 257 priests, 2 deacons, 73 seminarians, and 5 temporary brothers. In training are 15 novices, 51 postulants, and 680 aspirants. They are organized in 81 communities: 38 in Kenya, 20 in Uganda, 10 in Tanzania, 2 in Ethiopia, and 9 in Sudan. In 1999 alone, 23 young men were ordained priests in the community of the Apostles of Jesus. Now they hope to open a community in South Africa and another in the United States. ZE00011302
During this Great Jubilee Year pilgrims pouring in and out of Rome can make their first or last visit to the Blessed Sacrament at a special chapel in Fiumicino Airport southwest of the city. In addition the Holy See has extended the Jubilee indulgence privilege to include this chapel if the person fulfills all the requirements necessary to merit the graces of the indulgence. continued inside.
On October 29, the Athlete's Jubilee, Rome's Olympic stadium will provide the Jubilee indulgence, and for World Youth Day (August 19-20), the locations of the Masses will also provide indulgences. To receive any indulgence, a Catholic must be free of all voluntary ties to sins, even venial, must complete the specified act, must receive Communion and go to Confession (these can be done within a week before or after the act), and pray for the Pope's intentions. For the visiting of a church or location to count, the pilgrim must take part in a religious ceremony there or spend a designated time in prayer. ZE00011320
A resource guide has been published which will provide information, inspiration and education for youths during this Jubilee Year, including prayers, programs and a calendar of Youth activities sponsored by the Vatican. The guide covers the entire year and is available in both English and Spanish. continued inside.
It also includes other resources that help to reflect, pray and celebrate the faith during the Church celebration of the Holy Year. This includes the Pope's prayer for the Jubilee, the Jubilee Hymn and a list of celebrations for young people in Rome during the year 2000.