TUESDAY    January 25, 2000   vol. 11, no. 17   SECTION THREE

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SECTION THREE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:
  • Massive pro-life turns out in D.C. for march
  • Pope tweaks media's collective conscience
  • Archbishop Foley calls for cooperation and accuracy by media
  • Special Symposium for world media at Vatican in June
  • Four arrested in murder of Guatamala Bishop two years ago
  • More Bishops and Priests arrested in China
  • Bush decries Roe vs. Wade decision
  • Foundress of Focalare movement honored on 80th birthday
  • Up-to-date Shiplogs of visitors to sail on the DailyCATHOLIC

  • WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

    March for Life in Washington on 27th Anniversary of Legalization of Abortion

        WASHINGTON, JAN 24 (ZENIT).- President Bill Clinton came out to hear the demonstrators at this year's March for Life in Washington, D.C. this year. The march recalls the 27th anniversary of the "Roe v. Wade" decision of the Supreme Court, which made abortion a "Constitutional right" for Americans.

        President Clinton heard speeches expressing the claims of those defending the life of the unborn. Yesterday, protestors carrying posters stood outside the Methodist Church where the President worships on Sundays, and called for an end to the killing of the innocent.

        Since the president appoints Supreme Court Justices, and the appointments are for life or until retirement, this year's March for Life has a special importance. Several members of the Court are getting old, and it is suspected that the next president will appoint at least three justices. This could easily change the balance of the court in either direction.

        All the Republican candidates have stated their opposition to abortion. Their victory would help legal initiatives to limit or abolish this practice. The Democrats, however, support abortion or at least the "personal choice" of women to abort; their victory would consolidate the existing situation. ZE00012413

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        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II has called for "an examination of conscience" on the part of the world's media leaders.

        In his message for the 34th annual world day for social communications, the Holy Father notes "a lack of respect for religious convictions and moral principles" in media coverage of world affairs. He argues that the mass media often promote "indifference and even hostility toward Christ and his message."

        Noting that much of the regular modern experience of human life is filtered through the mass media, the Pontiff insisted that religious principles should not be excluded from the media's coverage. He also called upon Christians who are active in the media to "find ways to speak explicitly about Jesus, who was crucified and resurrected, about his triumph over sin and death, in a manner that is appropriate to the media that is being used the audiences that are being addressed." That challenge, he said, would require a strong professional background in the media, as well as an equally strong interior life.

        The world day for social communications will be observed on June 4, but the Vatican released the Pope's message on January 24. The June 4 observance, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, will include a Jubilee day in Rome for journalists, and an ecumenical ceremony at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

        The annual observance is a response to the Vatican II decree Inter Mirifica, promulgated in December 1963, which called for the establishment of by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Since 1967, the observance has taken place each year on the Sunday before Pentecost.

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    Archbishop Foley Presents Papal Message for World Media Day

        VATICAN CITY, JAN 24 (ZENIT).- Archbishop John Foley called on the Church to develop its own media, but also to take advantage of opportunities to use the secular media, in today's presentation of the Pope's Message for World Media Day 2000.

        "The history of communication is like a journey that goes from the proud project of the Tower of Babel, with its burden of confusion and mutual misunderstanding, to Pentecost, with the gift of tongues," stated the U.S.-born president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

        These two poles of the history of communication can only be understood when realizing that "the restoration of communication has its center in Jesus through the action of the Holy Spirit. To proclaim Jesus leads, therefore, to a meeting among persons in faith and charity," Archbishop Foley said. This is precisely the work that must be carried out by Christians in the world of communications.

        In addition, the Archbishop clarified that "at the moment of proclaiming Christ, the Church must vigorously and effectively use its own media, and Catholic communicators must be bold and creative in finding new ways to proclaim" the Gospel. This last reference can be perfectly applied to the new possibilities offered by computer technology and the Internet.

        Resolving a debate which has lasted for decades in some countries, the U.S. Archbishop stressed the fact that the Church must also "take maximum advantage of the opportunities offered to be present as well in the secular media."

        This service of the Church to the mass media is something it cannot renounce, because in this way it gives them a dimension that is often absent from the world of mass media. Archbishop Foley gave as an example the ceremony of the opening of the Holy Door and the Mass on Christmas Eve, which was transmitted to 60 countries by at least 77 national and international television networks with an estimated audience of 2 billion people. "Without a doubt, it was the largest audience that followed a religious event in the history of the world."

        The message for the World Media Day this year, as the Archbishop emphasized, appeals to professionals in this field to make "an examination of conscience" in order to analyze the phenomenon that leads to a "tendency and a lack of respect for the religiosity and moral convictions of people."

        It is important to do away with unfounded prejudices because, "to proclaim Christ in the media at the dawn of the third millennium is not only a substantial part of the evangelizing mission of the Church, but also constitutes a vital enrichment, inspired and full of hope for the very message transmitted by the media." ZE00012406

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    Papal Meetings with Media Personalities

        VATICAN CITY, JAN 24 (ZENIT).- The publication of John Paul II's Message for the World Media Day provided the opportunity Monday morning to present two significant events planned for this Holy Year to the press: the Journalists' Jubilee and the Jubilee of the World of Entertainment.

        These two initiatives will bring together communicators of all forms of mass media, from professionals in the circus world to Hollywood personalities to journalists.

        Bishop Pierfranco Pastore, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Communications, explained in the Vatican Press Office that the Journalists' Jubilee, scheduled for June 1-4, will begin with a welcome meeting at the Pontifical Urban University on the afternoon of June 1 and will continue later in the Sistine Chapel. The next day, June 2, there will be several conferences. On Saturday morning the participants are invited to join an ecumenical celebration and on Sunday, June 4, journalists from all over the world will participate in a Mass, which will be followed by a meeting with the Pope.

        Archbishop John Patrick Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications disclosed, at the end of the press conference, that Hollywood personalities have been invited, but he did not give any names. ZE00012409

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        GUATEMALA CITY (CWNews.com) - Four suspects were arrested over the weekend by Guatemalan police in the April 1998 murder of an auxiliary bishop of Guatemala City, following a promise earlier this month by the country's new president to push the investigation forward.

        On Friday, police arrested army officers Capt. Byron Lima Oliva, 30, and his father, retired Col. Disrael Lima Estrada, 58, and on Saturday, arrested Obdulio Villanueva, a former member of the elite presidential guard in the bludgeoning death of Bishop Juan Jose Conedera Gerardi. The bishop's cook, Margarita Lopez, was also re-arrested in the case as an accomplice.

        Bishop Gerardi was killed in the garage of his home on April 26, 1998, two days after releasing a human rights reports that blamed most of the deaths in the country's 36-year civil war on government forces. Although Catholic and human rights groups immediately called for the investigation to focus on security forces, prosecutors arrested and charged Father Mario Orantes, a priest living with the bishop, but later dropped charges. Father Orantes was also again named in the warrants

        The same groups hailed the weekend's arrests as vindication of claims that security forces were behind the murder. "We have always said this was a politically motivated crime," Nery Rodenas, co-director for the Guatemala Archdiocese's Human Rights Office.

        Prosecutors said they had also issued arrest warrants for more military and civilian suspects, including Father Orantes. The priest's mother has said her son is overseas seeking medical treatment for ailments he suffered during his previous stay in prison.

        President Alfonso Portillo, during his swearing-in ceremony on January 14, pledged to launch an investigation into the state security forces for alleged involvement in the bishop's murder. Three previous prosecutors and two judges had resigned from the case in the past two years following death threats against them and their families.

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        STAMFORD, Connecticut (CWNews.com) - A Catholic bishop serving the underground Catholic Church in Communist China, two priests, and a layman were arrested were arrested last year, according to a US-based Chinese Catholic rights organization.

        The Cardinal Kung Foundation said Bishop Han Dingxiang, 63, of Yong Nian was arrested on December 1 and has been detained for two months so far in an unknown location. The bishop had been arrested many times before according to the group. The foundation also said Wang Chenqun, a Catholic layman, was arrested in the city of Baoding just before Christmas and is being held in a labor camp. Wang has been arrested seven times in the past two decades and suffered a stroke the last time he was in a labor camp in 1997.

        The foundation also reported that Father Guo Yibao and Wang Zhenhe were arrested on Easter 1999 and being held incommunicado in a detention center, and Father Xie Guolin was arrested sometime last year, but details of the detention are unknown.

        Joseph Kung, president of the Cardinal Kung Foundation, said: "We do not know the official reasons for the arrests of these persons. However, we believe their arrests are the result of their religious activities in accordance with their conscience." The Communist Chinese government requires Christians to worship only in state-controlled associations, including the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which eschews any connections to the Vatican or the Pope. Many Catholics worship in illegal, underground churches, following only bishops appointed by the Pope.

        Kung, nephew of the exiled Cardinal Kung, added: "In negotiating with China to enter the World Trade Organization, the countries of the free world must take serious consideration of this ongoing and severe religious persecutions in China. Any invitation or encouragement to China's entry into the world trade organization amounts to condoning the five decades of religious persecutions in China," he added.

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        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In a letter made public by the Vatican on January 22, Pope John Paul II paid homage to Chiara Lubich, the founder of the Focolare movement, who was celebrating her 80th birthday.

        On the same day, Lubich was recognized as an honorary citizen of Rome. Mayor Francesco Rutelli formally conferred that title on her in a ceremony attended by Romano Prodi, the president of the European Union, and a crowd of Focolare members.

        The Holy Father described Lubich as "a message of unity and mercy among so many brothers and sisters, in all the corners of the world." He also praised Focolare, noting that the movement promotes "brotherly communion" and helps its members to become "joyful and credible witnesses to the Gospel."

        Founded in 1943 in the Italian city of Trent, the Focolare movement encourages lay people to develop an intimate relationship with Jesus through prayer and the reading of the Scriptures. The particular focus of the movement is on prayer for Christian unity and inter- religious dialogue. The Focolare movement now counts 1 million members worldwide.

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    January 25, 2000     volume 11, no. 17
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