MONDAY     March 27, 2000    vol. 11, no. 61    SECTION THREE

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WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:
  • Fatima statue to be centerpiece of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart in October
  • House finally wises up, chooses worthy Catholic chaplain from Chicago
  • Despite turmoil with Islam terrorists, Philippines calls moratorium on the Death Penalty
  • Proof without shadow of a doubt as to Pius XII's innocence provided by Jewish historians
  • Biblical scholar claims discovery of the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah at bottom of Dead Sea. Our advice: leave it there!
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  • WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

    Confirmation of Trip to Portugal to Beatify Two Fatima Children

        VATICAN CITY ( On October 8 John Paul II will entrust the Third Millennium to Our Lady of Fatima. The news was announced by Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe, secretary general of the Vatican Jubilee Committee. The statue of the Blessed Virgin will be brought from Portugal to Rome for the occasion.

        The consecration will take place at the very moment the Bishops from around the world are meeting in Rome to celebrate their special Jubilee.

        The idea of bringing the Fatima statue to Rome originated with the Pope himself. The Bishop of the shrine was very pleased. Archbishop Sepe said on Vatican Radio: "We are organizing the transport, but especially the days during which the Virgin will be venerated in St. Peter's in the Vatican. I think it will be one of the most moving Marian events of the whole Jubilee."

        The consecration will take place at the end of the Mass, which the Pope will concelebrate with all the Bishops from around the world, who will be celebrating their Jubilee in the Eternal City. "The statue of the Virgin will arrive in Rome a few days before; therefore, we are organizing it so that all the faithful who wish to venerate her may be able to do so," Archbishop Sepe said.

        For the time being, no plans have been made for the Fatima statute to leave the Vatican. The Holy Father would have to approve such plans, which will be published in the near future.

        Archbishop Sepe also confirmed that John Paul II accepted the Bishop of Fatima's invitation to beatify Francisco and Jacinta, the two visionary children, in the Portuguese shrine itself on May 13. The Holy Father will arrive in Portugal on Friday, May 12, and on the 13th he will preside at the Beatification Mass which will be held in the fields near the Fatima shrine. ZE00032202

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      Chicago priest officially becomes first Catholic chaplain ever in the House

        As announced a few days ago, the House of Representatives swore in the first Catholic priest in the history of congress and the choice, approved by Cardinal Francis E. George, OMI, is an excellent one which avoids the controversy and ill-feelings fostered by Archbishop Rembert Weakland, OSB over his promotion of his favorite liberal priest to get the nod. The archbishop can't say a thing now for a priest has been selected, but it's not his man. But he was Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert R-Il's choice and he won out. continued inside.


        WASHINGTON ,DC ( - A Chicago priest was sworn in as chaplain of the US House of Representatives on Thursday, ending a four-month controversy over allegations of anti-Catholic bias in the selection process.

        Republican leaders had broken with precedent and asked a bipartisan panel to select candidates from which House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, would choose a nominee for the whole House to vote on. After, one of the three nominees, a politically-active priest from Milwaukee, was overlooked and claimed bias, four months of allegations that the GOP leadership is anti-Catholic followed.

        In a speech on Thursday castigating critics for politicizing the selection of a pastoral minister for congressmen, Hastert announced that his previous nominee, the Rev. Charles Wright, a Presbyterian, had withdrawn his name from consideration. Instead, Hastert asserted his privilege and unilaterally named Father Daniel Coughlin, 65, as chaplain.

        Father Coughlin, vicar for priests for the archdiocese of Chicago, called the appointment "terribly unexpected." Cardinal Francis George called him one of the archdiocese's "most deeply respected priests." He added, "I pray that Father Coughlin -- and the pastoral gifts he brings -- will be well received by those who serve our nation in the House of Representatives."

        Fr. Coughlin, 65, who was ordained a priest on May 3, 1960, has been serving as the vicar for priests for the Archdiocese of Chicago since 1995. The vicar for priests assists active priests of the Archdiocese with their spiritual, professional and personal needs.

        Prior to that position, Fr. Coughlin served as director of the Cardinal Stritch Retreat House in Mundelein, IL, from 1990 to 1995. He also has been pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish, LaGrange, IL (1985-1990), director of the archdiocesan Office for Divine Worship (1969-1984), associate pastor of Holy Name Cathedral (1965-1969) and associate pastor of St. Raymond Parish (1960-1965).

        He took a one-year sabbatical in 1984-1985 to study east-west religions, serve with missionaries in India and teach at the North American College in Vatican City.

        A native of Chicago's northwest side, Fr. Coughlin attended St. Mary of the Lake University, Mundelein, IL, where he received a degree in Sacred Theology. He also holds a degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University, Chicago. In the 1970s he served as chairperson of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commission, and was a member of the national and international committees regarding prayer, spirituality and liturgical renewal.

        (A portion of this article was taken from the press release for the Archdiocese of Chicago).

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    Islamic rebels holding children; want Catholics out

        MANILA ( - Philippines' President Joseph Estrada said today his government will hold a moratorium on all executions this year as part of an agreement with the country's Catholic bishops as part of Jubilee Year observances.

        Estrada said the ban will end next January and will effectively commute the sentences of at least 18 death-row inmates to life in prison. Filipino law requires an execution to be carried out between one year and 18 months after a death sentence has been declared final by the Supreme Court. The 18 prisoners would be able to be executed within the six-month period.

        The death penalty was re-established in 1994 after it was abolished in 1986 following the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. More than 1,000 people have received death penalties since 1994 and at least 80 have been upheld by the Supreme Court.

        Meanwhile tensions mount in Sumisip in the southern part of the Philippines for an Islamic rebel group holding 50 Catholic schoolchildren hostage said on Thursday that they demand all Catholics leave the southern island so they can set up an Islamic state.

        Reporters who went to the remote island and slipped past military patrols to the camp of the Abu Sayyaf rebels said they saw the hostages, including a priest, who were taken from a Catholic high school earlier this week. Tensions rose on Thursday after armed men retaliated with the kidnapping of the wife and children of Abu Sayyaf's leader, Khadaffi Janjalani.

        "We will be forced to kill some of the hostages if the relatives of Janjalani are not released," one of the rebels said by telephone from the Abu Sayyaf camp on Friday. They have demanded negotiations with a representative from the Vatican, saying negotiations with the Filipino government was useless, and said their aim was to ensure all Catholics leave Basilan.

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      Jewish historians show proof why Church and Pope should never have to apologize for Pius XII's actions

        In the aftermath of the Holy Father's successful Papal Pilgrimage to the Holy Land and facing head on the Jewish controversy, several respected Jewish historians have declared that Pope Pius XII received more praise and expressions of gratitude from the Jewish people than any other Bishop of Rome in history. These historians have documented proof that Pius saved between 740,000 to 860,000 Jews, and that during Nazi occupation of Rome, more than 4,447 Jews were hidden in over 155 Catholic institutions. More proof that Pius was definitely not "Hitler's Pope" as he has been so badly maligned. continued inside.

    Pacelli Is Pope Who Received Greatest Recognition from Jewish People

        JERUSALEM, MAR 24 ( No Pope ever used such strong words to condemn anti-Semitism as John Paul II did yesterday at the Memorial to the Holocaust in Jerusalem. "As Bishop of Rome and Successor of the Apostle Peter, I assure the Jewish people that, motivated by the evangelical law of truth and love and not by political considerations, the Catholic Church is profoundly saddened by the hatred, acts of persecution and displays of anti-Semitism directed against the Jews by Christians at any time and in any place."

        And yet, leaders of the Jewish world have criticized the Pope for not asking forgiveness for Pius XII's "silence" in face of the Holocaust. The solemn petition for forgiveness that Pope Wojtyla pronounced on March 12 is not enough for Grand Rabbi Meir Israel Lau, who spoke yesterday on Italian television; the Pope must go a step further, he asserted.

        When John Paul II was asked by reporters on the airplane headed for Nigeria a couple years ago what he thought of Pius XII, without hesitation the Holy Father replied: "He was a great Pope." In spite of their enormous difference in temperaments, Pacelli and Wojtyla have many things in common, especially in regard to their teachings on moral issues, their love for the Virgin Mary, their opening to the Church's universality, and the latter's of government. Similarities that have been acknowledged by John Cornwell himself, author of "Hitler's Pope," an attack on Pius XII.

        However, in his lifetime, Pius XII received more praise and expressions of gratitude from the Jewish people than any other Bishop of Rome in history. According to several Jewish historians living in Italy, Pius XII and the Church saved between 740,000 and 860,000 Jews from extermination. In Rome alone, during the Nazi occupation 4,447 Jews were hidden in over 155 Catholic houses, ecclesiastical institutions, parishes and schools. In several churches in Rome there are Jewish plaques thanking the Church for saving Jewish lives. This rescue work was done at the express wish of the Pope.

        In December of 1940, Albert Einstein wrote a letter to "Time" magazine stating, "Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the case of truth; but no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom. But they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess, that what I once despised, I now praise unreservedly."

        After the War, Moshe Sharrett, former Foreign Affairs Minister and Prime Minister of Israel, went to see Pius XII "to thank the Catholic Church for what it did to save the Jews in all parts of the world." Like Sharrett, Rabbi Herzog of Jerusalem, as well as the Rabbis of the Italian, U.S., Rumanian, and Hungarian Jewish communities came to Rome or sent messages thanking Pope Pacelli for the way in which he mobilized the Church in their behalf.

        At least three of the volumes of the "Acts and Documents of the Holy See Relating to the Second World War, are full of documents written by the Jewish communities worldwide thanking Pius XII and the Catholic Church for the assistance offered to persecuted Jews.

        When Pius XII died, Golda Meir wrote: "During the Nazi terror, when our people were subjected to a terrible martyrdom, the Pope's voice was raised to condemn the persecutors and to offer mercy to their victims. We mourn over the death of a great server of peace."

        Jacob Philip Rudin, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, said: "His sympathy for all, his wise social vision and his extreme understanding made him a prophetic voice in the service of justice everywhere. May his memory be a blessing for the life of the Roman Catholic Church and the world."

        On that same occasion, London's "Jewish Chronicle" recalled that "before, during and after the Second World War, he tried to carry a message of peace. Confronting the monstrous cruelties of Nazism, fascism and communism, he continually proclaimed the virtues of humanity and compassion."

        The idea that Pacelli was a philo-Nazi from his time as nuncio in Germany, one of Cornwell's theses in his book, doesn't match up with the facts. When Pacelli was elected Pope, the "Berliner Morgenpost," a pro-Nazi newspaper, stated that "the election of Cardinal Pacelli is not of Germany's liking, as he has always been opposed to Nazism."

        The international communist newspaper, "La Correspondance Internationale," dedicated an article to Pope Pacelli's election, saying it was a good election, because he was a man cleared opposed to Nazism.

        Following Pius XII's 1942 Christmas radio message, the Gestapo wrote the following in a report: "the Pope has rejected the new National Socialist European Order. He has not attacked National Socialism directly, but he has severely criticized everything we believe... He has spoken clearly in favor of the Jews."

        These documents explain the reasons why John Paul II has not asked for pardon for Pius XII's conduct during the Second World War, as forgiveness cannot be asked for faults that have not been committed. These testimonies have also advanced Pope Pacelli's cause for beatification. ZE00032406

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        LONDON, MAR 26 (ZENIT).- After leading the first expedition to explore the bottom of the Dead Sea, Michael Sanders is convinced that he has discovered the lost cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed by God for their wickendess according to the Bible. The Biblical scholar led an international team of researchers; they discovered what appear to be the salt-encrusted remains of ancient settlements while studying the seabed from a mini-submarine, according to the "Daily Telegraph."

        Sanders, a Briton living in the United States, is planning a follow-up expedition to cut through the salt to be able to study the ruins. He says that he is "immensely excited." "The evidence cannot be ignored. I predicted there must be something extraordinary there and, lo and behold, there was. What we found matches exactly what the remains of an ancient city might look like."

        While some archeologists dismiss the Biblical story as a metaphor, many others have theorized that the cities actually existed in the Dead Sea region. Sanders, along with other experts, is convinced that the cities were destroyed by an earthquake that threw up flaming pitch, about 5,000 years ago. Adding to the evidence are the mass graves discovered on a peninsula in the Dead Sea in the 1960s, and the sulphur (brimstone) deposits in the nearby mountains. ZE00032620

         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 27, 2000     volume 11, no. 61
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