FRI-SAT-SUN     March 10-12, 2000    vol. 11, no. 50    SECTION THREE

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SECTION THREE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Pope calls for priests to be purified of heart before preaching forgiveness
  • Spanish Protestants get in spirit of reconciliation
  • Catholic solidarity can make the next president
  • Fetal tissues for sale under fire in Senate
  • Preserving Shroud top priority
  • Vietnam archbishop to preach Lenten Retreat for Papal Staff
  • Mozambique horror stories related by missionary priest
  • Desecration of Montreal Cathedral cries out for justice
  • Latest ShipLogs of visitors sailing on the DailyCATHOLIC

  • WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

      Pope calls on priests to set the example by seeking forgiveness first before counseling on reconciliation

         Speaking to the priests of Rome Thursday in a special ceremony at the Vatican, the Holy Father called upon all priests to seek forgiveness themselves through the Sacrament of Penance, so that they may more effectively minister to "families in difficulty" as well as youth who have left the Church, and the neediest in the various dioceses throughout the universal Church. The theme of Reconciliation is in agreement with the forcoming reconciliation ceremony the Holy Father will conduct this Sunday on behalf of the entire Church. continued inside

    Pope Receives Roman Priests on Day of Their Jubilee

        VATICAN CITY, MAR 9 ( John Paul II asked for a special commitment to "families in difficulties," as well as youth who have left the Christian community, and to the neediest of the diocese, when he received the priests of Rome this morning in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican.

        Today this annual meeting became the Jubilee of the priests of the Eternal City this Holy Year, as they solemnly crossed the threshold of the Holy Door, made their profession of faith, and celebrated a penitential liturgy.

        John Paul II reminded them that the priest, "minister of the forgiveness of God, must himself be forgiven" in the sacrament of Penance.


        In face of the difficulties challenging a priest today in a secularized society, in which at times his service is not appreciated, the Pontiff recommended to the Roman presbyters that they not allow their pastoral activity to impede the cultivation of a profound unity with their Bishop (i.e., the Pope) and with their brother priests, "nourished in common prayer, in meeting, in dialogue, and in the search for a sincere friendship." The Holy Father added that "the priests' help to the sick and the elderly is fundamental, along with their availability for dialogue and meeting with those who have left the priesthood."

        The Pope noted that "a united and harmonious priesthood, capable of working together, is a great testimony for the faithful and multiplies the efficacy of the ministry."

    Families in Difficulty

        In referring to the challenges the priests of the Eternal City must face, the Holy Father requested that they give themselves "with special pastoral charity to families in difficulty" or "distanced from the Church," with "grave problems of faith or morality," whose members are "sick, elderly, or suffering," or those who endure "particularly painful dramas because of situations of separation between spouses and children."

        "May the Holy Year, a year of great pardon and of the mercy of God, offer to all the possibility to feel heard, welcomed and encouraged to find paths of reconciliation with the Lord and with their brothers and sisters, including situations where everything seems lost or irreversible."

    Youth and Needy

        The other pastoral priority the Pope pointed out to the priests of his diocese was that of youth, even "when they have distanced themselves from the Christian community," trying to meet them "with sincere friendship and fraternity wherever they are: in the realms of study, work, sports or free time, in the streets of the neighborhood!"

        Finally, the Pope said that "the attention of all the diocesan community for the numerous poor who live in our city," must not be lacking. He encouraged invitations to house needy Jubilee pilgrims. "Celebrating the Jubilee means opening our hearts to our poorest brothers and sisters, seeing in them the presence of the suffering Christ, who asks to be received with an active love." ZE00030905

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      Spanish Protestants catching the reconciliation spirit

         The Protestant community in Spain, led by spokesman Pedro Tarquis, have reacted positively to the upcoming "Memory and Reconciliation" ceremony at the Vatican this Sunday. According to Tarquis, the document does contain specific references to particular historic events and he has gone so far as to ask the German Evangelical Church, as well as some North American Evangelical churches to also seek pardon of their fellow brothers and sisters, including Catholics, for no one is without fault. continued inside.

    Appeal to Americans To Examine Attitude Toward African Americans

        MADRID, MAR 9 ( The Protestant community in Spain welcomed the document of the International Theological Commission, inviting Catholic pastors and faithful to ask for forgiveness for past faults committed by the Catholic Church. Pedro Tarquis, spokesman for the Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities in Spain, told the agency "Servimedia" that the "mea culpa" the Pope will pronounce next Sunday is a positive step.

        Tarquis pointed out that in the petition for pardon there are few allusions to Protestantism, although he asserts that "during the Inquisition thousands of Protestants died, condemned by the Catholic Church." Nonetheless, the document of the Theological Commission, is candid in addressing the nature of this historical period, and the Pope is expected to address this issue in his homily on Sunday.

        Moreover, Tarquis asserted that the German Evangelical Church should ask pardon for some of its behavior during the Nazi period. Also, some North American Evangelical Churches should finally acknowledge the fundamental rights of the black population. The Catholic Church's examination of conscience at the end of this millennium has not been widely taken up by other churches, with the exception of some isolated cases, like Swiss Protestants.

        Alberto Benasly, president of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League and member of the General Secretariat of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain, said that the document of the International Theological Commission "is positive." ZE00030902

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      If Catholics are in solidarity, they can name the next president!

         In an interesting outcome of the Super Tuesday elections and more super states up next with Texas and Florida on the slate, the Wall Street Journal has run a story in which a recent poll shows that the Catholic vote in November could be a "swing block vote." As we have said often in our editorials, Catholics can be the deciding factor in electing the next president of the United States. While Democrat pro-abort Al Gore holds a 10% lead, if Catholics vote according to the beliefs of their faith they can indeed elect a pro-life president and begin the process of overturning Roe vs. Wade and do away with abortion forever! continued inside.


        NEW YORK ( - A new survey released today found Catholic voters a key swing voting bloc in national election this fall, reversing a trend of 40 years ago when they were perceived to be a threat.

        When Catholic John F. Kennedy ran for president in 1962, some critics warned of "popery" and the influence of the Catholic Church in the highest executive office in the country. Now, in a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, Catholics have become a key demographic, constituting an expected 29 percent of the November vote.

        "On both issues and political preferences, the poll suggests that Catholics, especially white Catholics, are up for grabs in the general election," said the Wall Street Journal." It may not be an exaggeration to say that whichever presidential candidate captures the Catholic vote in the fall will win the election."

        The survey found that the presumptive candidates, Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Al Gore, are in a virtual dead heat among all voters, but Gore holds 10 point lead among Catholics. The newspaper surmised the lead is the result Bush's visit to Bob Jones University, which has espoused anti-Catholic policies, and his rival Arizona Sen. John McCain's attempts to tar him as a tool of fundamentalist Christians.

        "In December, before these controversies arose, Mr. Bush had a 10-point advantage over the vice president among all Catholics," the newspaper said. "This seems to reflect the Republican front runner's problems rather than gains by Mr. Gore." It added that Catholics in the poll said Bush should have spoken out against the anti-Catholic bias of Bob Jones when he spoke there.

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      The dark side of abortuaries coming to light in the Senate

         Infanticide was an infamous word in the 70's; now the word is murder under the guise of abortion and a Senate Committee is hearing testimony regarding the "sale of baby parts" to researchers who rent space in abortion clinics. Democrats and pro-abort Republicans have tried in vain to keep the press out, but the truth is seeping out regardless. Too bad the truth is once again written in the blood of the innocent martyrs. continued inside.


        WASHINGTON, DC ( - A US House Committee this week is holding hearings on the illegal sale of baby parts for research harvested from abortion clinics after Democrats on the panel unsuccessfully attempted to exclude the press and public from the meetings.

        "Democrats are trying to throw a cloak over these proceedings," Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee said Wednesday. The Democrats on the Commerce Committee were joined by some pro-abortion Republicans in asking for the closed-door hearings, claiming fear of violence against those who participate.

        At issue is the reported sale of body parts from aborted babies to scientists researching illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease, AIDS, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease. According to federal law, tissue used in research must be donated, not sold, but the Texas-based pro-life group Life Dynamics, Inc. revealed last year that harvesting organizations were renting space in abortion clinics in exchange for access to the aborted babies. They also alleged that some abortionists perform unsafe procedures on mothers if it means a better chance of salvaging the baby parts.

        Both the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Right to Life Committee issued statements Wednesday accusing abortion activists on the committee of trying to prevent the public from learning about the grisly trade.

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    Conclusions of International Scientific Meeting in Turin

        TURIN, MAR 9 ( According to experts, the enigma of the dating of the Holy Shroud is neither the most relevant nor the most urgent problem. What is important is that the scientific research be carried out in a coordinated fashion, protecting the Shroud from further damage, and involving historical researchers in the process. This was the conclusion of the first congress of scientists of a variety of disciplines and convictions, which was held in Turin from March 2-5.

        A "calm" look was taken at the scientific examination carried out 12 years ago, which dated the Shroud of Turin to the Middle Ages. The congress had no intention of "prosecuting" the previous study, but of merely being abreast of progress made in science in recent years that would affect the current examination of the Shroud. 12 years ago, the Carbon-14 method was employed, and the conclusiveness of the results is disputed. Both groups met at the Turin congress and all agreed that many questions remain unanswered.

        In particular, emphasis was placed on the need to coordinate and address the scientific research that has focused on the formation of the image on the Shroud. Contemporary technology makes possible a complete computer "map" of the Shroud. A comprehensive database of the Shroud is possible, which will be extremely useful for future studies.

        As regards studies on vestiges of blood and pollen, the congress discovered new elements, especially connected with the pollen, which some scientists consider to have originated in a non-European setting prior to the Middle Ages.

        The experts must also study other aspects, including the historical and the Gospel narrative, if they are to come closer to the truth about this mysterious relic.

    The Church's Stance

        The congress was organized by the diocesan Commission for the Exhibition of the Holy Shroud. The initiative is being undertaken now, because the spirit of the scientists carrying out the research is much more serene than it was a few years ago. Above all, the diocese wants to hear the different points of view and learn about the discoveries, in order to come to decisions, including on future studies of the Holy Shroud. However, the final decision on the relic's authenticity belongs to the Pope, as custodian of the Shroud and guarantor of the faith -- this work is only delegated to the Bishop of Turin.

        Within the next few days, shroud experts' attention will be drawn to Rome, where the Roman Center for Shroud Research of Caravita will hold 11 conferences, one each week, on the Holy Shroud, in preparation for the Exhibition of the Shroud in Turin, from August 12 to October 22. The first speaker will be Jesuit Fr. Heinrich Pfeiffer, Art History professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, who will address the topic, "Rediscovery of Veronica's Veil." ZE00030904

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      Vietnamese prelate to conduct Vatican Lenten Retreat

         A week-long Lenten retreat for the entire Vatican staff including the Pope will be preached by Archbishop Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, president of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace. The retreat begins prophetically this Sunday after the Holy Father conducts the ceremony of "Memory and Reconciliation." Handpicked by the Vicar of Christ, Archbishop Van Thuan represents all in his country who cannot travel to Rome due to politics and has first-hand experience of religious persecution, having been imprisoned by the communists in his country for thirteen years. continued inside.


        VATICAN ( -- The annual Lenten retreat for the Vatican leadership will be preached by Archbishop Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

        The retreat, a week-long series of meditations, will begin on Sunday, March 12 and run through Saturday, March 18. Because Pope John Paul II and the leaders of the Roman Curia will be attending the retreat, the working schedule for the Holy See will be severely curtailed during that week.

        Archbishop Nguyen Van Thuan, who spent 13 years in Vietnamese prisons, was chosen by Pope John Paul to preach this year's retreat for two reasons. First, as a Vietnamese native, the archbishop represents the Catholics of a land whose people are unable to come to Rome for the Jubilee because of political constraints. Second, as a former prisoner, he bears witness to the importance of religious freedom.

        Archbishop Nguyen was imprisoned from 1975 to 1998, after being named coadjutor archbishop of Saigon. To this day he wears a pectoral cross which he carved from a piece of wood while he was in prison, and hid from his jailers in a bar of soap; after his release, he covered that wooden cross with metal plating.

        During his years behind bars, the archbishop was occasionally able to write notes to his people, and smuggle them out of the prison. These notes were eventually collected, copied into a single notebook, and circulated first within Vietnam and later all around the world. They have been published in book form in several languages, under the title: "Along the Path of Hope." Archbishop Nguyen has chosen a similar theme from his Lenten retreat: Witness and Hope.

        In 1999, Bishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Namur, Belgium preached the Lenten retreat for the Roman Curia. In previous years the preachers had included Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini of Turin (1994), Father Thomas Spidlik of the Vatican's Oriental Institute (1995), Archbishop (now Cardinal) Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna (1996), Cardinal Roger Etchegaray of the Jubilee Committee (1997), and Cardinal Jan Chryzostom Korec of Nitra, Slovakia (1998).

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      First hand reports from priest in Mozambique paint horror story for poor people there

         A missionary in Mozambique, Father Jean Pierre Le Scour has spent weeks trying to save the ravaged people in every way. In his treacherous travels, Fr. Le Scour has seen death at every step and approaching death through diseases brought on by the terrible floods from cyclone Eline. International aid remains scarce to this point, tied up in red tape as the terrible affliction of starvation, pollution and disease continue widespread. continued inside.


        CHIBOTO, Mozambique ( - A French priest in Mozambique traveled two weeks through the flood-ravaged country, at times clinging to treetops to avoid floodwaters, to reach an aid distribution center to find food for his starving people.

        Father Jean Pierre Le Scour, 57, said he lost his passport and saved five people from drowning as he sought food to feed the 10,000 people in the town of Mabalan. "They have put their trust in me," Le Scour told Reuters news agency on Wednesday. "Some may be dead, but I will try to do my best."

        "I knew they were sick, that they had no medicine and that outbreaks of cholera had begun," he said. "And because I had a car, I was their last chance."

        The east African nation has been devastated since tremendous rains began in January, washing away crops that would have sustained the subsistence farmers in the countryside. When the waters rose again at the end of January, thousands of people fled to Mabalan and surrounding areas for safety. Meanwhile, floods destroyed Mabalan's vital rain link to Maputo, which the town depended on for food delivery.

        Very little international aid had trickled into Mozambique before early March as European and American governments began sending food shipments and aircraft to search for stranded people. Father Le Scour left for Mabalan on Wednesday in a French transport, with a promise from the World Food Program to send food on Thursday.

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      Anti-Catholism rampant in Montreal as storied Cathedral desecrated

        In a story released by the Catholic Civil Rights League late last night word comes that the League is demanding the Montreal Police file hate-crime charges against a group of seven individuals who vandalized Montreal's Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, desecrated the altar and other statues in the sanctuary while also harrassing worshippers who were at praye during the time of the desecrations. In another case of obvious Catholic-bashing, Montreal's law authorities have been slow to react in bringing charges against the accused. continued inside.

    Catholic Civil Rights League denounces Catholic Cathedral violence and vandalism and urges that stronger charges be laid by Montreal Police

        CCRL (March 10, 2000)- The National Post reports that Tuesday, a group of seven individuals vandalized, desecrated and burned crosses in front of Montreal's Mary Queen of the World Cathedral. It reports: "Father Jean-Pierre Couturier said the demonstrators had ‘profaned God’ and disturbed people who were worshipping by rushing into the cathedral on Tuesday afternoon, spray-painting slogans on an altar, turning over flowerpots, sticking sanitary napkins -- some soiled -- to pictures and walls and throwing condoms around the cathedral's sanctuary." In all it was the grossest desecration of a church in years.

        The Catholic Civil Rights League strongly denounces these acts of hateful violence.

        A police spokesman was reported to have said hate crime charges were not considered because "the elements were not there for charges of that kind." The Catholic Civil Rights League disagrees and strongly urges the Montreal police to reconsider laying hate crime charges against the responsible parties.

        These were not people "raising issues of public interest and expressing opinions in good faith". They were attempting to intimidate and harass a peaceful religious group into fearful submission. A press conference or peaceful demonstration would have been appropriate methods of expressing their bigoted opinions.

        Thomas Langan, president of the Catholic Civil Rights League called this "another in a disturbing trend of offenses to which Canadian Catholics have been exposed."

        For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site at the CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and the Dossiers, features and Daily Dispatches from 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.

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    March 10-12, 2000     volume 11, no. 50
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