MONDAY     March 20, 2000    vol. 11, no. 56    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Events that occurred today in Church History
    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:
  • Jerusalem awaits with Hosannahs for Pope tomorrow
  • Journey Christ traveled to Calvary restored for Papal Visit
  • Will Israel come clean with their own people on Christian concerns?

  • Why St. Joseph was such a great man of humility

       They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but the words of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen have been known to launch a thousand images in one's mind, one of the ways this late luminary did so much to evangelize the faith. Because of the urgency of the times and because few there are today who possess the wisdom, simplicity and insight than the late Archbishop who touched millions, we are bringing you daily gems from his writings. The good bishop makes it so simple that we have dubbed this daily series: "SIMPLY SHEEN".

    "Humility is truth about ourselves; it is a virtue by which one does not esteem himself to be more than he really is. It therefore avoids an inordinate love of one's own excellence, and an inordinate pleasure in seeing others inferior to self. To see oneself as one really is, means that we must never mistake the imaginary self for the real self. The real self is what we are before God and before ourselves in an examination of conscience."

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    Events that happened today in Church History

       On this day 809 years ago in 1191, Pope Clement III, the 174th successor of Peter, died after serving as Sovereign Pontiff for three and a half years. He succeeded in establishing peace in Rome after sixty volatile years in the eternal city which forced his predecessors to stay away from Rome - seat of the Roman Catholic Church. Clement was largely responsible for encouraging the Third Crusade in 1189, taking up the cause first offered by his predecessor Pope Gregory VIII, and introduced the world to the noble crusader King Richard the Lion-hearted by recruiting this good man to lead the troops. 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 20:

    • 687 A.D.
    • Death of Saint Cuthbert, bishop and abbot in Ireland, and Saint Herbert

    • 1191 A.D.
    • Death of Pope Clement III, 174th successor of Peter. This Roman-born Supreme Pontiff brought peace to Rome after sixty years of exile by previous Popes. He also encouraged Richard the Lion-hearted, the monarch of England, to lead the Third Crusade.

    • 1239 A.D.
    • Pope Gregory IX re-excommunicates Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II Hohenhauffen for disobedience and interference in ecclesial affairs

    • 1312 A.D.
    • The King of France, Philip IV, with his army at the ready, persuades Pope Clement V in Vienne to condemn the Knights Templars

    • 1345 A.D.
    • Superstition spreads through Europe that the alignment of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars in the 40th degree of Aquarius is an omen of the Black Death. Though this plague scourged Europe and weakened Holy Mother Church's prestige, it opened doors for missionaries and religious to play a merciful role in aiding the sick and the dying.

    • 1393 A.D.
    • Death of Saint John Nepocene, Polish martyr and Patron of confessors.

    • 1413 A.D.
    • Death of the Catholic King of England Henry IV

    • 1565 A.D.
    • King Philip of Spain signs the deed for the settlement of Florida, dispatching more missionaries to the new world.

    • 1993 A.D.
    • Pope John Paul II beatifies Blessed John Duns Scotus.

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    WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

      A Palm Sunday atmosphere awaits the Holy Father when he arrives in Jerusalem tomorrow

        His Holiness John Paul II begins his historic "Jubilee Journey" in the Holy Land today in Jordan and tomorrow Jerusalem where the festive air in Jerusalem and elsewhere throughout the Holy Land remind one of the welcome Our Lord had upon his entry into the Holy City. He arrived on a donkey; the Holy Father will land in a helicopter and be ferried about in his popemobile and armored cars. But the steps will be the same, for the Vicar of Christ, in retracing the roots of the Church, brings clearly to the forefront the connection between the Old and the New Covenant with the hope for peace and understanding between all peoples. continued inside

    Number of Reporters Breaks Record in Country's History

        JERUSALEM, MAR 17 ( All Jerusalem is abuzz with the last minute preparations for the Pope's arrival. Many streets of the capital are decorated with Israeli and Papal flags, creating a festive atmosphere.

        John Paul II will arrive on March 21. Virtually all preparations are completed. Heliports have emerged from nowhere for the Holy Father's convenience. Streets have been re-paved. In Jerusalem, improvements are especially evident in the bypasses and ring roads flanking the walls, from Gethsemani to the Jaffa door.

        Special rooms have been prepared in the Press Office in the Palace of Congresses to accommodate the record number of reporters who will cover the event. Moshe Foguel, the director, has stated that more than 1,500 special reporters will follow the Pontiff during his pastoral visit. To these should be added the number of local reporters. The last time there was such a notable influx of correspondents was in 1995, when Yitzak Rabin was assassinated. On that occasion, between 1,000-1,200 foreign journalists traveled to Israel.

        The event that will draw the greatest number of people will the Mass the Pope will celebrate in the Mount of the Beatitudes. It is estimated that some 100,000 people will attend, the majority youths. The parking lot for buses have been completed, and the papal balcony has been restored, as it was destroyed by the wind last Saturday.

        A 14-day strike in Nazareth has also ended. It was called by the 700 city employees, due to a delay in salary payments for January and February caused by a financial crisis. The problem was resolved at the last minute, as the Israeli government dipped into funds of the Ministries of the Interior and Economy.

        Despite continued tension over the mosque to be built next to the Basilica of the Annunciation, in in Nazareth, a week ago, the leader of the fundamentalists requested a warm welcome for the Pope.

        Rabbi Abraham Ravitz, a parliamentary deputy and religious leader, made an appeal for a "worthy" welcome for the Holy Father. He said any protest behavior would be a grave error for three reasons: first, Jews must behave responsibly to reflect this to Jews living abroad among Christians; second, Israel is a democratic country that gives everyone freedom of worship; and, finally, the Jewish people have always been tolerant of other religions.

        Ravitz is worried about the statements of some Jewish extremists who are opposed to the Holy Father's visit and have expressed this at the Rabbinical headquarters. In fact, the leader of the racist movement has threatened to "do everything possible to sabotage the Pope's visit." ZE00031707

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      Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem restored in time for Papal visit

         With the Holy Father's pilgrimage underway, the "Way of the Cross" - the Via Dolorosa in the Holy City has been restored through a grant made by the Jerusalem Foundation. The chief architect was careful to preserve it as "a road you have to make an effort to walk on" in order to remind all of the rugged path Our Lord traveled on His way to Calvary. It is fitting that we follow the Vicar of Christ's footsteps during this spiritual time of Lent in making our own spiritual journey toward Calvary. continued inside.


        JERUSALEM ( - Restorers on Wednesday revealed a renovated Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem just in time for Pope John Paul II's visit to the city next week.

        The Way of the Cross was restored over nine months using $1 million grant from the private Jerusalem Foundation that cleaned up and smoothed over the road through Jerusalem to the site of the Crucifixion. Although the project was not initiated for the papal trip, organizers were pleased to have it done just in time.

        Chief architect Peter Bugod said the project was careful to preserve it as "a road you have to make an effort to walk on." Workers also installed lighted numbers pointing out nine of the 14 stations marking the spots along the Way of the Cross where Jesus was condemned, stumbled several times, and was crucified. The last five stations are inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

        The Holy Father will ride along the way in a special vehicle that will carry him to the church on the site of the Crucifixion and burial of Christ.

        Meanwhile, Palestinian officials complained on Wednesday that excessive Israeli security measures would prevent many Palestinians from attending papal events and Masses. Faisal Husseini, the top PLO official in Jerusalem, said Israel was closing schools and stores and restricting who could enter a hospital near the home where the Pope will stay overnight in Arab East Jerusalem.

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    Is Jerusalem a landmine for Papal Visit?

        JERUSALEM, MAR 17 ( Only 63% of Israeli citizens know that in 1994 the Vatican officially recognized the State of Israel and that they currently maintain diplomatic relations, while only 44% of Israelis know the Church's official position on anti-Semitism. These are just two facts revealed in a recent Gallup poll, which explains statements made to the international agency "Fides," by Fr. David Jaeger, a Jew born in Israel in 1955 who, after converting to Catholicism, joined the Franciscan Order in 1981. Fr. Jaeger is also a jurist and, as such, participated in the Vatican-Israeli Bilateral Commission that elaborated the mutual agreements.

        "It must be said that in Israel all the progress made since Vatican II in relations between Catholics and Jews is virtually unknown. In future negotiations between Israel and the Vatican, we want to address this: what must be done so that these successes will be made known to the Jewish people. We need a project to educate the Jewish population." Even professors at the University of Tel Aviv are positively surprised to learn about documents that were published 30 years ago and are still unknown in Israel.


        Fr. Jaeger believes that "the government has a certain responsibility for this slowness in education and knowledge: the agreement between the Vatican and Israel signed in 1993 was made known in 1999; the second agreement, on the Church as a legal entity, ratified in February of 1999, has not yet been published in the Official Gazette... We want to request a review of the way in which Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church are presented in the school curriculum and official speeches, so that the Jewish population is informed and up-to-date on progress in our relations. Since Vatican II, the Church has revised the way in which it speaks about the Jews in the liturgy, catechesis and theology. On Israel's side, we need reciprocity in this."

        In referring to the Pope's visit, Fr. Jaeger believes that one of the most "significant" moments for the relations with Jews will be the visit to Yad Vashem, the Museum of the Holocaust.

    Papal Visit, National Priority

        In regard to preparations for the Pope's visit to Israel, Fr. Jaeger confirmed the great efforts carried out by the government, which has turned it into a national priority. "Prime Minister Ehud Barak has made himself responsible for the preparations and entrusted Haim Ramon, his closest Minister, to dedicate himself completely to carrying out this project. And, although it is not a State visit in the strict sense, Israel has not spared any efforts."

        However, Fr. Jaeger acknowledged that "on the fringes of social life, there are groups with different views. The orthodox religious leaders are mistrustful of opening towards other religions, especially, towards Catholics."

    Danger of Mixing Religion and Politics

        Fr. Jaeger said that "in recent years a theocratic minority has asserted itself and is combating the secular authorities. One could say there is a 'Kulturkampf' [cultural struggle] between the secular and the religious, in an attempt to broaden their spheres of influence. Christians hope the seculars will win."

        "The agreement signed by the Vatican and Israel has as its first article the guarantee of religious liberty, in keeping with the U.N. Declaration and the State of Israel's Declaration of Independence. In practice we have betted on the secularization of the State of Israel," added the priest.

        "When religion and politics mix, it is terrible for this land," asserted Fr. Jaeger. "All enlightened forces must struggle for the secularization of the Hebrew and Palestinian State. This is the necessary condition to guarantee peace, the rights of all citizens, respect for minorities, and women's rights. This is also the condition for the freedom of the Church in the Middle East."

        "In the Middle East, there is perhaps too much talk of God, too little of man, and much less of woman," Fr. Jaeger concluded.

        Ehud Olmert, the mayor of Jerusalem, has warned the Pope that it would be better if during his visit he does not touch upon the question of the Holy City's status, the "eternal capital" of the State of Israel.

        This is a particularly thorny problem, which over the last few years has become one of the biggest reasons for differences between the Vatican and Israel. It is a question that, as the international agency "Fides" reports, appears theoretically in the "agenda" of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians on the final status of the city, but which political and religious leaders of Israel constantly avoid, insisting that Jerusalem is indivisible and will be the "eternal capital of Israel."

        Fr. Jaeger, a member of the Vatican-Israeli Bilateral Commission that made possible official relations between the two States, told "Fides" that he believes there are no "eternal capitals." Capitals "are always historical and political, not eternal. Only God is eternal, and the State of Israel has committed itself to find a just and negotiated solution to the problem. This is also the Holy See's position. The problem of Jerusalem must be solved at the international level and not unilaterally. The territorial future of Jerusalem and the city's political fortune must be sought jointly by Israel and the Palestinians. Moreover, Israel committed itself in Oslo to find a negotiated solution to the question of Jerusalem"

        In the plan of Palestine's division, which was approved in 1947 by U.N. Resolution 181, provision was made for the constitution of a "corpus separatum" that embraced Jerusalem and some neighboring cities under the aegis of the Security Council. This resolution was never implemented, and the Holy City remained divided in two sectors: Israeli to the West and Jordanian to the East, until the 1967 War, when Israel conquered the eastern sector, where the Holy Places are located, by force. Without entering into territorial disputes, the Vatican condemned all unilateral or violently imposed measures to effect geographic or demographic changes.

        "On behalf of the Church we say that, no matter what the political future of Jerusalem is, it must be shared," stated Fr. Jaeger. "Moreover, we Catholics ask that certain aspects be guaranteed at the international level, according to U.N. principles. I am speaking of the safeguarding of the cultural and religious patrimony of the city; of the 'status quo' in the shrines; liberty of religion and conscience; the juridical equality of the institutions of the three religions; access to the shrines by all. U.N. Resolution 181 (of 1947) set the same objectives, but thinking of the internationalization of the territory. This internationalization does not seem realistic. Therefore, this same objective can find another type of solution that is not of a territorial character, but of common agreement between Israelis and Palestinians on one hand, and the international community on the other."

        "A sign of hope is that the Palestinians have already made this view their own. Nothing stops us from thinking that our Israeli friends will do the same. Jews and Palestinians of good will are already thinking of a shared city, in which West Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish State and East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine. As regards the rest, although Israel has made Jerusalem its capital, it has also committed itself to find a negotiated solution for Jerusalem: the only way out is to share the capital," Fr. Jaeger concluded. ZE00031702 and ZE00031703

    For more NEWS & VIEWS, see SECTION THREE

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    March 20, 2000     volume 11, no. 56
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