MONDAY
January 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 11
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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.

EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES PAPAL VISIT TO SINAI IN FEBRUARY
Holy Father Will Visit Mount of Ten Commandments
    CAIRO, JAN 16 (ZENIT).- Nabil Osman, chief of Egypt's State Information Service, announced yesterday that John Paul II will visit the country February 25-26. Detailed plans for the visit are still in preparation. The news has yet to be confirmed by the Vatican Press Office, whose Vice-Director, Fr. Ciro Benedettini, limited himself to the statement, "The trip is being planned."

    This will be the first visit of a Pope to Egypt, a country which is 82.5% Muslim, 11% underground Christian, 4.8% Orthodox and 1.7% "non-religious."

    The purpose of the papal trip to Egypt is to visit Mount Sinai, where the Bible locates the episode of Moses' reception of the Ten Commandments from God, during the journey of the Chosen People from Egypt to Canaan. Today, the location is called Jebel Musa.

    "Along the length of the road in the desert, Mount Sinai was also a place were Yahweh made a Covenant with his people. The Mount remained identified with the handing of the Decalogue, the 'ten words' that committed Israel to a life of full adherence to God's will. In fact, these 'words' express the basic content of the moral law of universal character imprinted on the heart of every man," the Pontiff said in his letter, written last June, expressing his desire to undertake this Jubilee pilgrimage.

    According to Nabil Osman, the Pope's stay in Egypt includes a visit to the Church of St. Catherine, a historic Orthodox monastery. In addition, as is customary in all his international trips, the Holy Father will meet President Hosni Mubarak and political and religious personalities.

    Originally, the Pope's trip to Egypt was planned in conjunction with his visit to Ur of the Chaldeans in Iraq, where he wished to see Abraham's birthplace. This trip was planned for last December, but the Iraqi stage of the trip has been temporarily cancelled by the Baghdad regime. Because of U.N. bombings in the no-fly zone, Saddam Hussein feels he does not have the means to guarantee the Pope's safety.

    The trip to Egypt will take place one month before the historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which Peter's successor will undertake from March 20-26. ZE00011603

          

January 17, 2000
volume 11, no. 11
NEWS & VIEWS

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