January 20, 2000
volume 11, no. 14
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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.

1,000 to Participate in First Jubilee of Governors and Parliamentarians

    ROME, JAN 19 (ZENIT).- Politicians have not been forgotten in the plans for the Jubilee. The Vatican understands that the men and women who decide policy have a unique opportunity to improve life for all citizens. To celebrate the first Jubilee of Governors and Parliamentarians, to be held November 5, the Jubilee Committee has planned a special pilgrimage of preparation.

    The pilgrimage will begin on October 26 in Bethlehem. 1,000 politicians from all over the world will travel the length of the Mediterranean, in St. Paul's footsteps, until they arrive in Rome on November 5 for the Jubilee proper, which will be held in the Vatican.

    The program for this pilgrimage of men and women politicians was presented yesterday afternoon to the Diplomatic Corps accredited in the Vatican and the Italian State.

    Each stage of the journey will be linked to a burning issue of our day. In Bethlehem, the topic will be the family; in Jerusalem, justice, peace and disarmament; in Cyprus, cancellation of the foreign debt of the poorest countries; in Ephesus, the dignity of woman; in Athens, Malta, Syracuse, and Messina the debate will center on religious liberty, youth, and the role of communication.

    At least on this occasion, the politicians will not be the speakers. Instead, they will hear experts from the 3 great monotheist religions.

    In order to attend to the technical aspects of this pilgrimage, a mixed commission was created directed by Hassan Kouach, president of the Human Rights Commission of the Palestinian Parliament, and by Salah Tamir, vice-president of the Israeli Knesset.

    When addressing the meeting, Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini emphasized the pivotal character of questions linked to human rights, rejecting frequently heard accusations that in this area a Western view is likely to be imposed. "In principle, no one can deny that every man and woman has the right to life and physical, moral and cultural integrity, and has a right to his or her own dignity and self-expression, independently of religion, race, or country..."

    Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, expressed the hope that the pilgrimage's program would not be turned into an intellectual debate, but would leave adequate time for prayer and the spiritual dimension.

    Bishop Crescenzio Sepe secretary general of the Vatican Jubilee Committee, recalled that the Holy Year must be an opportunity to reflect on the direction of historical and social evolution and the way these can be improved and corrected. The Bishop also mentioned the surprising interest that the world of politics has shown in the Jubilee of Governors and Parliamentarians and hoped that this initiative would become a traditional event in future Holy Years. ZE00011905


January 20, 2000
volume 11, no. 14

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