TUESDAY     March 14, 2000    vol. 11, no. 52    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Events that occurred this day in Church History
  • Monthly Medjugorje Message for February 25th
  • Be an angel! Any donation you can send will greatly help the ministry of the DailyCATHOLIC
    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:
  • Holy Father and Papal Staff in week-long Lenten Retreat
  • Vietnamese Retreat Master has had his share of travails, but trusts in Jesus
  • Egypt's Catholics on fire for the Faith after Pope's visit
  • Pope's log of his 1997 pilgrimage to Holy Land as archbishop to be made available


  • Events that happened today in Church History

       On this day last year, His Holiness John Paul II made yet another plea to stop the terrible clashes in Indonesia where many homes and churches had been burned. Despite his cry for peace, the violence continued both in East Timor and in Maluku. Since that time the new president of Indonesia has apologized for the violence in East Timor and other regions of Indonesia brought on by radical militias and the Indonesia military under a general who thought he was immune from any sanctions. For other time capsule events that happened in Church history on this date, see MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

    Historical Events in Church Annals for March 14:

    • 968 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Matilda, Queen of Germany and mother of Otto the Great, the first Holy Roman Emperor.

    • 1009 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Boniface, Second Apostle of the Prussians. He is not to be confused with the original Saint Boniface, Apostle of Germany who died on June 5, 754.

    • 1558 A.D.
    • King Ferdinand of Spain assumes the title of Emperor without being crowned by Pope Paul IV because of the pontiff's alignment with Spain's bitter enemy France.

    • 1937 A.D.
    • Pope Pius XI publishes his encyclical Mit brennender Sorge to the German bishops on the Third Reich in which he condemned the Nazi philosophy.

    • 1999 A.D.
    • With the violence mounting in Indonesia, Pope John Paul II makes an impassioned plea to end the "cruel clashes" in Maluku where prior to this there had been interreligious harmony. As we know his cries would fall on deaf Muslim ears as violence broke out there and in East Timor.

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    February 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

    NOTE: We respectfully recognize and accept the final authority regarding apparitions, locutions and prophecies presently being reported around the world rests with the Holy See of Rome and the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church to whose judjment we humbly and obediently submit.

      "Dear children! Wake up from the sleep of unbelief and sin, because this is a time of grace which God gives you. Use this time and seek the grace of healing of your heart from God, so that you may see God and man with the heart. Pray in a special way for those who have not come to know God's love, and witness with your life so that they also can come to know God and His immeasurable love. Thank you for having responded to my call."

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    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

      Holy Father and staff in Papal Lenten Retreat this week. All will be quiet on the Vatican front

        This week promises to be a slow news week since the Pope and most of the curia are undertaking their annual Lenten Retreat. Before entering this time of silent prayer and contemplation His Holiness John Paul II followed his unprecedented, historic universal apology with a moving Sunday Angelus that we will bring you in its entirety in Thursday's issue in THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS. Before thousands gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father prayed again for forgiveness and reconciliation with God on behalf of the finite members of the Roman Catholic Church. continued inside

    POPE CALLS TO FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION FOR NEW MILLENNIUM

        VATICAN CITY, 13 (NE) "From pardon will flourish reconciliation", said Pope John Paul II yesterday, as he explained before the Sunday Angelus prayer the act of pardon that took place during the first Sunday of Lent in several places in the world. The Holy Father recalled during his brief addresses to pilgrims the ceremony held in St. Peter's Basilica, affirming that the Holy Year is a "time of purification." The Pope stressed as well that the Church's request for pardon "is not a judging over the subjective responsibility of those brothers that have preceded us", but aims to encourage Catholics to "enter the third millennium more open to God and his Plan of Love."

        "From pardon flourishes reconciliation. This is what we wish for all every ecclesial community, for every believer in Christ, and for all the world," the Pope further said, stating that "pardoned and ready to pardon, Christians will enter the third millennium as more credible witnesses of hope." "The Church presents to humanity as it crossed the threshold of the third millennium the Gospel of pardon and reconciliation, as foundations to build and authentic peace."

        During his address to pilgrims gathered at St. Peter's Square, the Pope also recalled that the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia were beginning that same day. The Holy Father invited faithful to pray during those days, asking as well the Blessed Virgin's intercession, "Mother of Divine Mercy", so that she may help faithful to live the spirit of Lent.

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    ARCHBISHOP NGUYÊN VAN THUÂN ON FAITH, HOPE AND CHRISTIAN FORGIVENESS
    Preacher of Papal Spiritual Exercises

        VATICAN CITY, MAR 13 (ZENIT.org).- His family's persecution began in 1698, when, after being baptized, an ancestor, who was the King's ambassador in China, was expelled from the realm and his property confiscated. This is the family history of Archbishop François Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

        In 1975, Pope Paul VI named him Archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, but the communist government labeled his appointment a conspiracy and three months later imprisoned him. He was in Vietnamese jails for 13 years, 9 of which were spent in solitary confinement. When he was released, he was forced to leave Vietnam, where he has not been allowed to return, not even to visit his elderly mother. In spite of so many sufferings, or perhaps because of them, Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân is an incomparable witness of faith, hope and Christian forgiveness.

    Witness of Hope

        Beginning Sunday, and until next Saturday, Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân is preaching Spiritual Exercises to John Paul II and his collaborators in the Roman Curia. The topic of the meditations is Hope: "Hope in God," "Hope against Hope," "Adventure and Joy of Hope," "Renewal and the People of Hope," are some of the meditation titles he has prepared for the Holy Father. It is no coincidence that the Archbishop's book, which has been translated into 11 languages and distributed worldwide, is entitled "The Way of Hope."

        Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân never lost hope, not even on August 16, 1975, when he was arrested and transported by night 280 miles from Ho Chih Minh City, in the most absolute isolation. His only companion was the Rosary. At that time, when everything seemed lost, he abandoned himself into the hands of Providence. To his non-Catholic fellow-prisoners, who were curious to know how he could maintain his hope, he answered: "I have left everything to follow Jesus, because I love Jesus' defects."

        Jesus' "defects," indeed, will be one of the issues that the Pope's preacher will address during the Spiritual Exercises.

    Jesus Has no Memory

        "During His agony on the cross, when the thief asked Him to remember him when he arrived in His Kingdom, had it been me I would have replied: 'I will not forget you, but you must expiate your crimes in Purgatory.' However, Jesus replied: 'Today you shall be with Me in Paradise.' He had forgotten that man's sins. The same happened with Mary Magdalene, and with the Prodigal Son. Jesus does not have a memory, He forgives the whole world," the Archbishop said.

    Jesus Is Ignorant of Mathematics and Philosophy

        "Jesus does not know mathematics. This is demonstrated in the parable of the Good Shepherd. He had 100 sheep, one is lost and without hesitating He went to look for it, leaving the other 99 in the sheepfold. For Jesus, one is as valuable as 99, or even more so," commented the Archbishop.

        "Moreover, Jesus is not a good philosopher. A woman with 10 drachmas, lost one and lit a candle to find it. When she finds it she calls her neighbors and says: 'Rejoice with me, because I found the drachma I had lost.' Is it logical to bother one's friends over just one drachma and then organize a party for having found it?" he mused. "Moreover, when inviting her friends to the feast, she spent more money than the value of the drachma. So it is that Jesus explains the rejoicing of God over the conversion of just one sinner."

    Jesus Is a Risk-taker with no Idea of Economics

        "Jesus is risk-taker. Those who want to win people's approval do so with many promises, while Jesus promises His followers prosecutions and persecutions and yet, for 2000 years we see that there are risk-takers who continue to follow Jesus," explained Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân.

        "Jesus has no idea of finance or economics," he continued. "In the parable of the vineyard laborers, the master pays the same salary to the one who works from the early hours of the morning, and to the one who begins work late. Did He make a mistake in rendering these accounts? Did He commit an error? No, He does it on purpose, because Jesus does not love us for our merits, His love is free and surpasses us infinitely. Jesus has 'defects' because He loves. Real love does not reason, or calculate; it places no barriers or conditions, it does not build frontiers, and does not remember offenses."

    Love Enemies

    ZENIT: To love your enemies is another topic you have chosen for the Papal Spiritual Exercises?

    Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân: A particular characteristic of Christian love is love for our enemies, often incomprehensible for the non-believer. One day, one of the prison guards asked me: "Do you love us?"

        I answered: "Yes, I love you."

        "We have kept you shut in for so many years and you love us? I don't believe it..."

        I then reminded him: "I have spent many years with you. You have seen it and know it is true..."

        The guard asked me: "When you are freed, will you send your faithful to burn our homes and kill our relatives?"

        "No, although you might want to kill me, I love you."

        "Why?" he insisted.

        "Because Jesus has taught me to love everyone, even my enemies. If I don't do this, I am not worthy to bear the name Christian. Jesus said: 'love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.' "

        "This is very beautiful, but hard to understand," the guard replied.

    ZENIT: The same thing happens with forgiveness: many invoke it but few practice it...

    Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân: The Scribes and Pharisees were scandalized because Jesus forgave sins. Only God can forgive sins. Merciful love resurrects the dead, physically and spiritually. Jesus always forgave everyone. He forgave every sin, no matter how serious it was. With His forgiveness He gave new life to many persons to the point that they became instruments of His merciful love. He made Peter, who denied Him three times, His first Vicar on earth; and Paul, persecutor of Christians, He made Apostle to the Gentiles, messenger of His mercy, for, as he said, "where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more."

    ZENIT: Paraphrasing Martin Luther King Jr., what are the "dreams" of a man as full of hope as Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân?

    Archbishop Nguyên Van Thuân: I have a dream of a Church that is a Holy Door, which embraces everyone, which is full of compassion and understanding for all the sufferings of humanity. I have a dream of a Church that is bread, Eucharist, that wishes to be a gift and allows itself to be consumed by all, so that the world will have life in abundance. I have a dream of a Church that carries in its heart the fire of the Holy Spirit, and where the Spirit is, there is liberty, sincere dialogue with the world, discernment of the signs of our times. The social doctrine of the Church, instrument of evangelization, helps us to make this discernment in today's social changes. ZE00031205

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    CATHOLICS IN EGYPT RENEWED AFTER POPE JOHN PAUL II' PILGRIMAGE

        ROME (NE) Two weeks after Pope John Paul II's visit to their country, Egyptians of all walks of life draw positive conclusions. Observers, political leaders, the Catholic community, local press and the man and woman in the street all agree that the Papal visit was a success. With these words, Fides Vatican agency stressed the importance of the Holy Father's last pilgrimage, highlighting the great impact that the Pope's trip has had for the Catholic community in Egypt.

        As Fides reported, local press gave space to every event and speech, highlighting the marked spiritual impact of this first-ever visit of a Bishop of Rome to Egypt. Local authorities made every effort to give the best possible image of relations between the state, essentially Muslim, and the Catholic Church. Egyptian political leaders were enthusiastic with the outcome of encounters between political leaders and Pope John Paul II and his delegation.

        "For the local Catholic Church, the Pope's visit made it better known in Egypt and in the world, local religious and lay Catholics say. It filled with pride this double minority Church, because it allowed the largest public gathering for prayer in the country's history, with almost 25,000 people in Cairo stadium, where even a great crucifix had been erected," Fides last weekly bulleting highlighted. "All the ceremonies were broadcast and followed by hundreds of thousands of spectators."

        The Holy Father's pilgrimage has left for Catholics in Egypt many moments of intense and particular spirituality which "will give new impulse to everyone both at the level of faith and of commitment at the service of the Church and the nation", a leader of a youth movement said. The visit has also evidenced -a Catholic Bishop pointed out- "the diversity and multiplicity of the Catholic Church in Egypt, a micro-cosmos of the world and a proof that this is a richness…an event like this confirms the authentic Egyptian identity of Catholics, as well as their attachment to the Universal Church."

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    Pope's account of his pilgrimage to Holy Land as Archbishop Karol Wojtyla is being provided to all for inspiration

       As the Holy Father's "Jubilee Journey" to the Holy Land draws nearer, the Franciscan Custodians of the Holy Land have released a document in which the present Pope recounts highlights and spiritual insights of his pilgrimage in 1963 to the same sacred soil when he was Archbishop of Krakow. With this diary many can better understand the profound spiritual journey of Karol Wojtyla's soul and with him the soul of the Church. continued inside.

    KAROL WOJTYLA'S DIARY OF 1963 PILGRIMAGE TO HOLY LAND PUBLISHED
    Archbishop of Krakow Recounted Moving Moments of Trip to his Priests

        VATICAN CITY, MAR (ZENIT.org).- The profound emotion experienced in the place where Christ was imprisoned and scourged, in the Cenacle, where he instituted the Eucharist, and the little streets of Capernaum, or the rough beauty of Qumran, was recorded in Archbishop Karol Wojtyla's diary of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land with other bishops in December, 1963, during a pause in Vatican Council II.

        On the eve of John Paul II's trip to Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinian Territories, after close to 47 years, the general curia of the Franciscans, who are custodians of the Holy Land, has decided to make known those pages the Polish Archbishop wrote to the priests of Krakow to share with them his exceptional experience. The text is dated January 10, 1964, although the pilgrimage took place several days before, at the end of 1963, at a very difficult time in Poland's history. Paul VI had named him Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow on December 30, 1963. He was 43. Therefore, this was one of the first messages the new Archbishop of Krakow gave his presbytery.

        "I have participated in this pilgrimage not as something personal, but as a grace given to me by Providence to transmit to others." Therefore, in order to share with others the fruits of the pilgrimage, Bishop Karol Wojtyla wrote a diary. It begins with the view from the airplane of the Egyptian desert, the shores of the Red Sea, the Sinai mountains, and landscapes he contemplated again last month during his journey in Moses' footsteps.

        When approaching Jerusalem, the plane flew over the Moab mountains and Mount Nebo, from which Moses viewed the Promised Land, knowing he would never enter it. This territory is in Jordan, which will be the first stage of the Pope's trip from March 20-26, 2000.

        The chronicle of his pilgrimage continues with stopovers on land, which Wojtyla describes in great detail, including at the logistical level, indicating the distance from Nazareth (where "a modern church is being built thanks to contributions from Catholics worldwide") to Ain Karen, where Elizabeth and Zachariah lived, and where Mary spent three months with her cousin.

        The young Archbishop also noted the divisions that existed in the management of the sacred places, which usually surprise pilgrims arriving in the Holy Land. Between December 8-9, the Archbishop of Krakow and his pilgrim companions offered Mass and held a Vigil, beginning at midnight until 5:30 a.m. of the following day, at which moment the Polish group had to move on so that Greek Orthodox priests, who are custodians of this shrine, could celebrate their morning Mass. Wojtyla wrote, "the altar that is a memorial to the place of Jesus' birth belongs to" the Orthodox, "while the altar next door, which is where the crib was, belongs to the Catholics."

        The topic of the division of the Christian confessions appears again when he visited the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. "We came out of the Basilica moved. The fact that the internal and external walls are covered with scaffolding does not rob them of force. The coexistence of confessions, the Roman Catholics, the Greek Orthodox and Armenians, who celebrate their religious functions, "is not offensive at first sight, although one knows that behind this is hidden the fact of the split of Christianity, so contrary to Jesus'' wish."

        The Pope, who in a few days will return for the second time in his life to Jerusalem and the places in which the presence of God changed the history of mankind forever, has indicated that an objective of the Church for the third millennium is the reconstruction of unity among Christians. Undoubtedly, he will recall the thoughts and emotions he experienced in the Holy Land when he was a young Archbishop at the end of 1963. ZE00031008

    For more NEWS & VIEWS, see SECTION THREE

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    March 14, 2000     volume 11, no. 52
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