WEDNESDAY     March 15, 2000    vol. 11, no. 53    SECTION THREE

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SECTION THREE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:
  • Holy Father to give equal time to both sides of River Jordan
  • O Little Town of Bethlehem, where is John Paul II Avenue?
  • Jubilee for Iraq, mideast and Indian Oriental Churches in union with Rome this coming weekend
  • Holy See gaining widespread support in bid to thwart catholics for a free choice insidious action
  • Latest ShipLogs of visitors sailing on the DailyCATHOLIC

  • WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant continued:


        VATICAN CITY, MAR 14 ( The careful political arrangements surrounding the papal visit to the Holy Land have brought about another small change to the itinerary. The Holy Father was already scheduled to visit the site at Wadi Kharrar, in Jordan, where it appears the Baptism of Jesus took place. However, yesterday Israeli officials announced that he would also visit the traditional site, which is in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

        This second commemoration of Christ's Baptism has been termed a private visit -- there will be no television cameras, and the Pope will only spend about 15 minutes at the site on March 22, before being flown to Bethlehem.

        At the Vatican last month, Palestinian President Yasser Arafat urged the Pope extend his visit in Palestinian-ruled areas to include Jericho and its adjacent baptismal site. However, the baptismal site remains under Israeli control, and it is unclear whether there will be any official Palestinian presence there. There is no plan for the pope to go to Jericho itself. ZE00031420

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        BETHLEHEM, MAR 14 ( A street in Bethlehem will be named after John Paul II, in honor of his forthcoming visit to the Palestinian city of Jesus' birth.

        "We are ready for the great day of the Pope's arrival. The City Council decided that an important street of our city will be named after John Paul II, who within a few days will honor us with his visit," Hana Nasser, mayor of Bethlehem, said to "Al-Quds" newspaper of East Jerusalem.

        Bethlehem already has a street named after Paul VI, who visited this city and the Holy Land 36 years ago. ZE00031410

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      Holy Father will welcome the Chaldean and Syro-Malabar Churches this weekend for their special Jubilee celebration

         When the Holy Father emerges from his week-long retreat this Saturday he will welcome leaders and members of the Syro-Malabar Church and the Chaldean Catholic Church, largely from Iraq. No doubt the latter will celebrate with the Pope his spiritual journey to Ur that took place two weeks ago in Paul VI Hall because of political complications that prevented His Holiness from fulfilling his desire to actually walk in Abraham's footsteps. Both Churches have their roots in the Assyrian Church with Syro-Malabar's largest population located in India and the mid-east. continued inside.


        VATICAN ( -- The Chaldean and Syro-Malabar Catholic churches will celebrate their Jubilee in Rome on March 18 and 19, the Vatican has announced.

        The Chaldean and Syro-Malabar churches both trace their origins to the Assyrian Church. But while the Assyrian Church as a whole broke with Rome in the 5th century-- in the first major split within Christianity-- these particular churches have remained in communion with the Holy See. About 3 million Catholics in India follow the Syro-Malabar rite, while the Chaldean Catholic Church centered in Iraq has 500,000 faithful.

        On March 14, the Vatican published the program for the Jubilee of these Eastern Catholics. Pilgrims from the two churches will meet with Pope John Paul II in an audience on March 18. Then on that same Saturday afternoon, the Chaldean Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid will preside at the Divine Liturgy in the Roman basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, with Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, the prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, concelebrating the Chaldean-rite ceremony.

        On the following Sunday, Archbishop Varkey Vithayathil of Ernakulam- Angamaly, India, will preside at a celebration of the Mass in the Syro- Malabar rite in the same basilica, again with Cardinal Silvestrini attending. Cardinal Simon Lourdusamy, the former prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, is also expected.

        There have been occasional tensions between the Syro-Malabar Church and the Latin Church in India during recent years. In 1992, in an effort to ease those tensions, Pope John Paul II created the new rank of "major archbishop" of Ernakulam-Angamaly to lead the Syro-Malabar Church, and installed Cardinal Antony Padiyara in that post. Cardinal Padiyara retired in 1996, and-- in an other illustration of the lingering difficulties within Indian Catholicism-- his successor has not yet been named. Archbishop Vithayathil is actually functioning as apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, and thus the ranking leader of the Syro-Malabar Church.

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      Catholic pro-lifers dig in to thwart un-Catholic group's effort to oust Vatican from UN

        While the un-Catholic faction Catholics for a free choice continue their insidious campaign to oust the Vatican from its role as UN Permanent Observer, more than 800 pro-life groups, spearheaded by the Catholic Family & Human Rights, along with other faiths including the Muslims, are launching a counter attack, flooding the House and Senate with requests and many congressmen are warning that any downgrading of the Holy See's status would greatly damage relations between the UN and the United States. continued inside.

    Mainline Evangelical Protestants Announce Solidarity

        NEW YORK, MAR 14 ( The attempt by pro-abortion groups to downgrade the Holy See from U.N. Permanent Observer to non-governmental organization (NGO) is meeting with hefty opposition. A coalition of some 800 groups, spearheaded by the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), have joined together to defeat the campaign.

        The "See Change" campaign, promoted by "Catholics for a Free Choice," calls for U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to review the status of the Holy See. According to the See Change web site, the Catholic Church enjoys priveleges that other religions do not, and hence should be downgraded, out of justice to the others. The group has gathered together some 350 NGOs in support of its project, which also includes a postcard campaign from the general public.

        Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the opposition to this campaign is its universality. Tomorrow, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, and Concerned Women for America will announce their involvement in the campaign. "This campaign is a world historical moment precisely because it brings together so many groups from so many faiths in defense of the Catholic Church," said Austin Ruse, president of C-FAM.

        Tom Minnery, vice-president of Focus on the Family, a mainline Christian organization founded by Dr. James Dobson, stated, "We at Focus on the Family know what a valuable ally the Catholic CHurch has been in defending life and the family around the world. We worked with Catholics, Protestantsí evangelicals, and Muslims at the U.N. World Conference on Women at Beijing back in 1995."

        The U.S. House and Senate have also passed resolutions in favor of the Holy See. The resolution warns that a Vatican Ouster from the U.N. would "further damage relations between the United States and the United Nations."

        The Holy See's status in the U.N. and other international forums stems from a long tradition of diplomatic activity beginning even before the advent of modern European diplomacy. As early as the fourth century the Holy See sent and received envoys, enjoying the same diplomatic rights and privileges as envoys of kings and queens.

        In 1870, the Kingdom of Italy annexed all that remained of the Papal States, or almost all -- Vatican City and a few extra-territorial sites remain sovereign. This enabled the Church to focus more exclusively on its spiritual mission in the world.

        This change, however, did not eradicate its legal and juridical standing in the international forum. The Holy See maintained, and continues to maintain its diplomatic stature as a sovereign, autonomous, enduring institution with a place in the international community. Currently, the Holy See maintains full diplomatic relations with 168 countries of various creeds and cultures.

        The Holy See is a Permanent Observer in the U.N. rather than a full member for two principal reasons. First, the Holy See does not provide military forces for U.N. peacekeeping actions, and second, the Church has no desire to wield temporal power by having a vote in such forums.

        Archbishop Renato Martino, Vatican Permanent Observer to the U.N. explains that "The desire of the Holy See maintain absolute neutrality in specific political problems." Since the Holy See is the representative of the Roman Catholic Church, its interests are not the economic and political interests of other states. Its mission focuses on the human person, and "In keeping with this principle, the Holy See is mainly concerned with all the issues of human rights, of justice, of religious freedom, of development, peace, etc., and attempts to present, always respectfully but without fear, the principles of the Gospel."

        The Holy See's presense serves to bolster efforts to peace and justice, and to promote the true good of the human person. In 1995, the Holy Father spoke to the U.N. He came not as a religious leader seeking to endanger religious freedom, but as a "witness of hope." He came to testify to the possibility of doing good in the world, and achieving the high aspirations of the U.N. Charter.

        In the words of the U.N. Newsletter published after the visit of the Pope, he "gave us the best anniversary gift of all, his spirit... for a moment, we had a strong sense of possibility, of what we can be... as an organization, as we chart the course for the next 50 years." ZE00031421

         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 15, 2000     volume 11, no. 53
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