THURSDAY    January 6, 2000   vol. 11, no. 4   SECTION THREE

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WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS

with a Catholic slant

BEATIFICATION APRIL 30 FOR BLESSED FAUSTINA?

    VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The canonization of Blessed Faustina Kowalska will take place on April 30, according to a report in an Italian newspaper. The Vatican has not officially confirmed that date.

    The Italian daily Il Messaggero reported on January 5 that the Polish nun, who died of tuberculosis in 1938 at the age of 33, would be canonized on the first Sunday after Easter. That date would coincide with the feast of Divine Mercy-- a devotion which Blessed Faustina inspired.

    On December 20, 1999, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints read a decree recognizing the authenticity of a miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Faustina, thus clearing the way for her canonization. Archbishop Jose Saraiva Martins, the prefect of the Congregation, told the Roman news agency I Media that the April 30 date is "not impossible." But he quickly added that "nothing is official yet."

    The actual date of the canonization is subject to the decision of the Vatican Secretariat of State, which must consider other items on the calendar for the Holy See. The official calendar for the Jubilee Year shows one event already set for April 30: a ceremony in St. Pancras Basilica for newly baptized adults. However, there is no indication that Pope John Paul II will take part in that ceremony; so he could be free for a canonization ceremony on the same day.

    The Il Messaggero story predicted with confidence that the Pope would preside at the beatification of Blessed Faustina, presumably in St. Peter's Square. The newspaper pointed out that the Pontiff has a strong interest in the Divine Mercy devotion, and indeed consecrated his second encyclical, Dives in Misercordia, to that spiritual topic.

    Il Messaggero also predicted that the flood of pilgrims coming to Rome for the beatification of Blessed Faustina would surpass the previous record crowds at the Vatican: the 300,000 who came to the beatification of Msgr. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, in May 1992, and the 500,000 who attended the beatification of Padre Pio, the Capuchin stigmatist, in May 1999. The Divine Mercy spirituality has inspired groups all around the world, fostering unusually intense interest in Blessed Faustina's cause. In the town of Lagiewniki, outside Krakow, where Sister Faustina died, construction is underway for a huge sanctuary dedicated to Divine Mercy; the church will hold 7,000 people when it is opened-- according to current plans, in 20002.


THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE ACT OF 2000

White ribbon campaign to show your support for pro-life

    The EagleCross Alliance is preparing to send the below legislative proposal to every pro-life member of the House and Senate. A list of other individuals, churches and organizations that support this proposal will be included. Those who would like to add their name to the list are invited and encouraged. They are also asking everyone to email friends, associates, and email lists, and encourage pastors and fellow parishioners to add their names.

    To add your name to the list as a committed, dedicated pro-lifer, you can visit their Constitutional Right To Life page at www.eaglecross.net and complete the form on that page. The whole intent of the bill is to protect the right to life of each born and preborn human person in existence at fertilization.

    The EagleCross Alliance and other individuals, churches and organizations are proposing the following bill to be introduced in the Congress which would be a a bill to protect the right to life of each born and preborn human person in existence at fertilization. The bill reads as follows:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `The Constitutional Right to Life Act of 2000'.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
The Congress finds that-

(1) we, as a Nation, have declared that the unalienable right to life endowed by Our Creator is guaranteed by our Constitution for each human person;

(2) the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution states that no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws;

(3) the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;

(4) a human father and mother beget a human offspring when the father's sperm fertilizes the mother's ovum, and the life of each preborn human person begins at fertilization;

(5) there is no justification for any Federal, State, or private action intentionally to kill an innocent born or preborn human person, and that Federal, State, and private action must assure equal care and protection for the right to life of both a pregnant mother and her preborn child in existence at fertilization;

(6) Americans and our society suffer from the evils of killing even one innocent born or preborn human person, and each year suffer the torture and slaughter of an estimated 1,500,000 preborn persons;

(7) the violence of intentionally killing a preborn human person has provoked more violence, carnage, and conflict reaching into homes, schools, churches, workplaces and lives of Americans;

(8) the sanctioning of abortion in America sends a message to our nation 's youth that human life is not sacred, and this message is largely to blame for the recent outbreaks of casual violence and killings committed by children;

(9) the Supreme Court has no legislative authority, but can only render an opinion, and that opinion does not undermine the laws of God or even the Constitution of the United States;

(10) the Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113 at 159), stated: `We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins . . . the judiciary at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer. . .';

(11) the Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113 at 156-157), stated: `If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life is then guaranteed specifically by the [Fourteenth] Amendment. . .';

(12) the Supreme Court, in Roe v. Wade stated that the privacy right is not absolute, and stated (410 U.S. 113, at 159) that: `The pregnant woman cannot be isolated in her privacy. She carries an embryo and, later, a fetus. . . . The woman's privacy is no longer sole and any right of privacy she possesses must be measured accordingly.';

(13) Roe v. Wade is not a law, it is a court decision. Since it was rendered by a court (in this case the Supreme Court) and not the Congress, it can not be a law at all, even less the "law of the land." It is a court decision that, at most, is only binding on the parties of that single court case. SEC. 3. CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO LIFE.
Upon the basis of these findings and in the exercise of duty, authority, and powers of the Congress, including its power under Article I, Section 8, to make necessary and proper laws, and including its power under section 5 of the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Congress hereby declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being at fertilization.

SEC. 4. DEFINITION OF STATE.
For the purposes of this Act, the term `State' used in the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States and other applicable provisions of the Constitution includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each other territory or possession of the United States.


BEIJING STEPS UP PRESSURE ON CATHOLIC CHURCH

China tightens security for ordinations

    BEIJING (FIDES/CWNews.com) -- The government-approved Patriotic Catholic Association in China will ordain 5 new bishops-- rather than 3, as originally announced-- on January 6, according to information received by the FIDES news agency. The ordinations have not been authorized by the Vatican.

    On January 4, Anthony Liu Bainian, the secretary general of the Catholic Patriotic Association, had announced that 3 priests would be ordained as bishops in Nantang, the Church of the South, in Beijing. But just one day later, the Patriotic Church indicated that 5 episcopal ordinations would take place.

    The sudden shift in plans was seen by FIDES sources as evidence that the Beijing government is putting pressure on the Patriotic Church.

    The Chinese government had originally planned a "mass ordination" of 12 new bishops for the Patriotic Church, to take place on January 6. That plan was a direct slap at Pope John Paul II, who will ordain 12 new bishops himself on the same day in St. Peter's Basilica.

    However, because the ordination was clearly seen as an affront to Rome, 9 of the government's original candidates for episcopal office refused to be ordained. One said he "had problems;" another entered a plea of illness. It is not clear whether the government subsequently convinced 2 of those men to accept episcopal ordination, or whether 2 new nominees were added to the list.

    After the original announcement that 5 bishops would be ordained, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls sharply criticized Beijing, saying that the decision to proceed with the unauthorized ordinations would increase the distance between the Chinese political leadership and the authentic Catholic Church. He mentioned that the move was particularly unfortunate because it came at a time when various reports have raised the prospect of new moves toward the normalization of relations between Beijing and the Holy See.

    In recent months, Chinese Catholics have struggled to rebuild their relationship with Rome and the universal Church. A letter addressed to the Chinese faithful by Pope John Paul II, in preparation for the Holy Year, was very well received in China; Fides sources said that Catholics were "moved by the affection of the Pope." Several bishops of the Patriotic Church had even set forth plans for the celebration of the Jubilee-- in a clear response to the Pope's requests, and in apparent defiance of the government's demand that Chinese Catholics should not recognize papal authority.

    One group of priests of the Patriotic Church criticized the announcement of new episcopal ordinations, saying that the move would "put the Chinese Church in a dangerous position of schism." A priest in Beijing added that the government's decision to go ahead with the ordinations, despite the popular protest, provides clear evidence that "the official Church is not free." He told FIDES: "Anyway, we remain with the Pope, and disapprove of this gesture."

    Another Chinese priest added: "These ordinations are only a political move-- simply political. The government only wants to reaffirm its position, according to which the Vatican should not interfere in China's internal affairs, including even religious affairs."

    The new bishops of the Patriotic Church will be assigned to the Shansi, Mingdong (in the Fujian province), Baoding (in Hebei), and Nanjing dioceses, with 2 new bishops going to Nanjing. The original announcement from the Patriotic Church had only mentioned one bishop apiece for Nanjing, Baoding, and Mingdong.

    The Nantang church, where the ordinations will take place, is tightly controlled by the Patriotic Association, and closely watched by Beijing government officials.

    The Communist government of China tightened security in and around the country's oldest Catholic church on Wednesday, as it prepares to ordain three new bishops for the Patriotic Catholic Association in defiance of Pope John Paul II.

    Beijing announced earlier this week that on Thursday it would ordain five new bishops for the separated Catholic association, down from 12 after a number of the priests picked for the ceremony refused the ordination. The ceremony is an apparent slap at the Pope who will ordain 12 bishops in Rome on Thursday for dioceses around the world.

    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.

    The ceremony will take place in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, built in 1655, burned down in 1900, and rebuilt in 1904. On Wednesday, workers armed with brooms and shovels cleared snow off the walkway leading to the cathedral, while others prepared the interior.

    Police ordered foreign journalists not to take photographs and expelled them from the cathedral.


CARDINAL O'CONNOR RETURNS TO WORK

    NEW YORK, 5 (NE) Cardinal John O'Connor, Archbishop of New York, returned Monday to his office, for his first regular workday there after suffering brain surgery in August last year, informed Catholic News Service this week.

    Several reporters, still photographers and television crews gathered on the sidewalk outside the archdiocesan Catholic Center, to record the Cardinal's return. Cardinal O'Connor told them he was feeling "much stronger" and was eager to get behind his desk again.

    CNS informed that according to the Cardinal's spokesman, Joseph Zwilling, the Archbishop will celebrate Sunday Mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral on January 9. He also said that Cardinal O'Connor was scheduled to speak at fund-raising dinner at The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel marking his 80th birthday, although program details had not been announced.


NUMBER OF PILGRIMS VISITING ROME EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS AS VATICAN ORGANIZES FIRST-AID ASSISTANCE TO PILGRIMS

    ROME, 5 (NE) After more than ten days since the beginning of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, thousands of pilgrims continue crossing the Holy Door of St. Peter's Basilica and also the Holy Doors of the St. John Lateran and Saint Mary Maggiore Basilicas. Long cues can be seen before St. Peter, with families, groups of persons and pilgrims from different countries waiting to cross the threshold of the Holy Door in order to gain plenary indulgence, in the spirit of what Pope John Paul II has asked for this Jubilee year.

    According to numbers given by the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, a million four hundred thousand people have already visited the city of Rome for religious motives, since Christmas vigil up to last Monday. This confirms that the average number of pilgrims estimated some months ago -ninety thousand per day during the Holy Year visiting Rome-, has been greatly exceeded.

    The Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State released this week a press release detailing a massive operative to offer first-aid assistance to pilgrims during the Jubilee year. Due to the great number of pilgrims that will be received in the Vatican and the Roman basilicas during this time, the Vatican commission is coordinating several first-aid posts modernly equipped, assisted by 240 doctors of various specialties and 840 nurses.

    On regular days, assistance will be focused on the four Roman patriarchal basilicas and the Vatican Museums. During large Jubilee events, first-aid posts will be located in strategically designate places. As it was informed, more than the 70% of the personnel will be serving voluntarily.


THOUSANDS FLEE VIOLENCE IN INDONESIA

    AMBON, Indonesia (CWNews.com) - Thousands of people fled spreading violence in Indonesia's Maluku province, also known as the Spice Islands, where over 500 people have been killed in the fighting between Christian and Muslim gangs.

    Traveling by private boat or being ferried by the Indonesian navy or air force, more than 10,000 people have left their homes and taken shelter in mosques, churches, schools, and military barracks, officials said. They added that 1,300 people have been killed in fighting in the province in the past year.

    Indonesia is the most populous majority Muslim country in the world, although the Spice Islands maintain a sizeable Christian population. Fighting between the religions began last year as the country struggled with the worst economic crisis in decades and political turmoil.

    Brigadier General Max Tamaela, the military chief in Maluku province, said fighting continued through Tuesday night on Halmahera Island, but it was not yet clear how many people had died from the latest round of fighting.


Correction:
    In yesterday's news article we indicated England's Prime Minister Tony Blair was Roman Catholic. Our faus paix. In actuality his wife Cherie is a devout Catholic and his children attend Catholic schools. But Blair himself is an Anglican, although there has been some discussion about his impending conversion. But many feel that would be ill-timed and have a negative impact on the Northern Ireland peace process for it would upset the Unionists not to mention presenting more complications on more general constitutional issues in the United Kingdom. Again we apologize and regret the error.



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January 6, 2000     volume 11, no. 4
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