TUESDAY     March 28, 2000    vol. 11, no. 62    SECTION THREE

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SECTION THREE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:
  • Holy Father fulfills wish to climb Calvary
  • Fruits of "Jubilee Journey" will be plenty
  • Israeli Press warms to Holy Father's sincerity
  • Reputable Israeli editor lauds Pope's progress
  • British cartoonists brush Pope the wrong way
  • Gays lambasting Cardinal Winning again
  • Elian Gonzalez tug-of-war dipping into religious matters
  • Latest ShipLogs of visitors sailing on the DailyCATHOLIC

  • WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

    Climbed 16-foot Stairway Privately

        JERUSALEM, MAR 27 (ZENIT.org).- John Paul II's visit to the Holy Land ended with a surprise that upset all the organizers' plans. The result was a most moving picture at the end of this most unforgettable week. Far from the image of a charismatic leader surrounded by crowds, the portrait that emerges is that of an old man of profound faith, rapt in prayer before the mystery of God made Man suffering on Calvary, where he gave his life for all humanity.

        When visiting the Holy Sepulcher yesterday morning, the Pope did not have time to pray in the chapel that commemorates the place of Jesus' death. In the afternoon, putting the official program aside, John Paul II insisted on being able to pray in this place, which is difficult to reach, as it is separated from the Basilica by a narrow 16-foot stairway. But there was no dissuading him. The Holy Father was determined to visit Calvary and, in the end, the organizers gave in. Slowly, leaning on the balustrade, he climbed up to the place that safeguards the mystery of the cross. He stayed there for 20 minutes, in profound recollection.

        One of the witnesses of this episode was Fr. Luis Terrato, Superior of the Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher. He had this to say: "When the Holy Father left the Basilica after Mass to go to dinner, he expressed the wish to go up to the Chapel of Calvary, but the organizers of the trip said it was not possible because of lack of time. The Holy Father left the Holy Sepulcher with a thorn in his heart over not being able to pray on Calvary."

        Because of this, at the end of the dinner, he insisted with the organizers to return to the sacred place. The Pope "went up the steep little stairway leading to the chapel, with effort but with great energy," Fr. Tarrato said. "It was like an ascent to Calvary and he suffered doing it, but he did it: he went to the place of the 'Pieta' of Calvary and he prayed there a good while. We left him alone because he had come there to pray. We stayed behind him."

        The visit to Calvary had a very special meaning for the Pope, at the end of such an important pilgrimage. "During the homily, he spoke about the Resurrection and Calvary: given that there is a profound unity between the death and resurrection of Christ, it seemed that without an ascent to Calvary there was something lacking from his trip. This is why, I think, he wanted to complete his pilgrimage this way."

        The friar said that at that moment, the Pope was not especially tired. "I was surprised by the fact that he would return and have the strength to go up: it seemed as though he received new strength."

        Thanks to the last minute change in the program, John Paul II was able to leave Israel knowing that he had fulfilled his spiritual pilgrimage between the Old and New Testaments, following in Christ's footsteps to the very end. ZE00032704

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      Fruits of Holy Father's "Jubilee Journey" are evident in the seeds the Pope planted throughout the Holy Land last week

         In an interview with the official spokesman for the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, Fides News service seeks to understand the fullness of the fruits of the Pope's pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Like wheat that covers the earth, wherever the Bishop of Rome set foot, in Christ's name he planted a seed...and those seeds will grow and bear good fruit in God's time, not man's. Though already the buzz around Israel is of love and respect towards this man of meekness and love, whose New Testament message contrasts greatly with the harshness of the Old. continued inside.


        JERUSALEM (FIDES/CWNews.com) -- What are the fruits of John Paul II's journey to the Holy Land? The FIDES news service asked Father Frederic Manns, an official spokesman for the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land and the director of the Franciscan Biblical Study Center in Jerusalem.

    FIDES: What is the result of this journey regarding the Jewish world?

    FATHER MANNS: We must make a distinction: among the people of Israel. There are Orthodox Jews who refused to have anything to do with the Pope, whereas the intellectuals and political leaders, mostly secular, are very happy with the visit. The happiest of all would appear to be (Israeli Prime Minister Ehud) Barak. For him it was a triumph and it re-launched relations between the Vatican and Israel. In a way he inherited this from (former Prime Minister) Rabin. Yitzhak Rabin was the first to open to the Vatican. Behind the success of Barak lies the sacrifice of Rabin. This is also the beginning of a new era in relations between Judaism and Christianity in general.

        Then there are the masses. Up to now, not much was known about Christianity. We must hope that there will be a new era for them, too. Now even Israel is saying that history books must be revised.

        Hitherto the facts of the Church or connected with Christianity were misinterpreted or eliminated. For example: regarding the discovery of America by Colombus, in school books no mention is made of the cross planted by the navigator from Genoa; it has been purposely left out in all text books. Now a more objective presentation of Christianity must be given to Jews.

        The press and television gave unprecedented coverage to the visit itself, with programs on the Catholic Church and the Vatican, sparking interest even among the wider public.

    FIDES: And the fruits for the Muslims and Palestinians?

    MANNS: It was a triumph for (Palestinian President Yasser) Arafat. He was able to be near the Holy Father for a whole day. He reinforced his position as a national authority. The emphasis given to homeland is important because it indicates that the Palestinians have a right to travel the same path as Israel. Of course for the Palestinians there remains the problem of poverty and the economy.

        Among the Muslims there was also an attempt at political manipulation. Muslims fear the drawing near of Jews and Christians. I am afraid that, after the Pope's departure, this will create tensions. Some extremist Muslims in Nazareth said that after the papal visit-- and not in 2001, as they had agreed with the government-- they will start building the mosque under the pretext that the Christians have betrayed the Palestinians. [The reference is to plans by a group of Muslim activists to build a mosque in Nazareth, immediately adjacent to the Basilica of the Annunciation.]

    FIDES: And for the Christians?

    MANNS: Christians here, thanks to the visit and also to the local synod which just ended, are beginning to have a clearer picture of their identity,w hich distinguishes them from Jews and Muslims. The Palestinian Church finds it difficult here to accept Judaism. Rejection of the state of Israel for decades led also to a side-stepping of the Christian faith's Jewish roots.

        There is also an economic factor. There are many rich Christians in the Palestinian zones, but they prefer to emigrate, to take another citizenship, rather then to invest creatively in this area. The Pope, calling for a rediscovery of our being children of God, also asked for commitment to affirm human dignity. Christians must work to improve their conditions and also to recognize this dignity to Jews and Muslims. They can truly be bridges of reconciliation. For example: Christians here reject the Bible, or better the Old Testament, because they say it is "Israel's Book." In this way they interpret the Bible in a political manner and so doing, justify Israel's political way of reading it. The Pope, with this pilgrimage, called for a new discovery of the spiritual message of the Bible, the promises to Abraham and the fulfillment of these promises in Jesus Christ. I hope that the Church in Jerusalem in the future will produce great Biblical experts. It is much easier for them to learn Hebrew and to penetrate the Jewish mentality than for any Western scholar.

    FIDES: The Pope came as a pilgrim to the Holy Land_

    MANNS: The Pope, in the context of the Jubilee, called everyone to make a pilgrimage, first of all spiritual. Jews make a pilgrimage three times a year: at Easter (Passover), at Pentecost (Shabuoth) and at Succot. Three times a year Jewish males must stand before God. We Christians must also rediscover Christianity as a pilgrimage. Faith is a daily drama not the acquisition of a set of rules once and for all. The Pope wants all of us to make this journey and rediscover the roots of the Bible, not from a point of view of study or exegesis, but from a spiritual point of view as he did in these six days.

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      Israeli Press won over by Pope as they warmed to his approach and sincerity

         Differing from the worldwide Scribes and Pharisees who sought to put a different spin on the political ramifications of the Holy Father's pilgrimage, the Israel press by and large has taken a different approach as confirmed by Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls who has relayed that at the beginning of the week the Israeli press expressed some distrust, but after the memorial service at Yad Veshem and the Pope's actions at the "Wailing Wall," the Fifth Estate of Israel has changed to a more positive tone, beaming enthusiastically over the Roman Pontiff's visit. continued inside.

    Papal Pilgrimage Front Page News in Press Worldwide

        VATICAN CITY, MAR 27 (ZENIT.org).- John Paul II's visit to Israel has been the country's biggest media event. Over 3,000 reporters were accredited in the Jerusalem Press Office to follow the visit. At the end of the journey, during an interview on Vatican Radio, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Vatican Press Office, analyzed the impact of the papal pilgrimage to the Holy Land on the media throughout the world.

        The Vatican spokesman said it is important to distinguish between the media in general and the media in Israel. As regards the first, the pilgrimage "became front page news in the newspapers around the world. This means that they understood the importance of the trip, with the aspects the Pope was emphasizing, in other words, that it was a personal pilgrimage, in which the entire Catholic Church was represented in the person of the Pope. In addition, they stressed the improvement of relations and better understanding it promoted in the Jewish world."

        What surprised Navarro-Valls most was the echo the trip had in the Israeli press. "The first few days it revealed a slight mistrust and expressed some doubts. However, when the Pope visited the Memorial to the Holocaust in Yad Vashem, the Israeli press changed and grew enthusiastic with this Pope whom they were seeing firsthand in their land."

        The spokesman is now planning an analysis of all the information that has been published in newspapers. However, he already has a first conclusion: "It could not have turned out better, because opinions of individuals have not betrayed the meaning of the trip. They understood and appreciated it." ZE00032705

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    Visit Has Knocked Down Barriers Between Jews and Christians

        TEL AVIV, MAR 27 (ZENIT.org).- "Mercy has come to the State of Israel this week and has left banal politics to one side," the editor of Jewish newspaper "Haaretz" said today, commenting on John Paul II's pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

        Knesset President Abraham Burg's impression is similar. "Modern Christianity has changed," he said in an article in the "Maariv" newspaper. Based on what is taught in Israeli history books, he continued, what had been a "religion that spilt blood with the Crusades and the Inquisition, has become a religion in which its priests are raised to the level of Just among the Nations. It is not possible to understand the fall of totalitarian regimes in Latin America, in South Africa and in Poland without thinking, in recognition, of the man who yesterday kissed the Wailing Wall." However, from his point of view, currents are emerging in Judaism that are turning back to take refuge in the past.

        "Yediot Ahronot," the daily newspaper with the widest circulation in Israel, significantly dedicated two pages to the picture of the Pontiff in deep prayerful recollection at the Wailing Wall. "This historic visit has brought respect for Israel and contributed to pacification between Judaism and Christianity," Prime Minister Ehud Barak said to the newspaper.

        For Rabbi Michael Melchior, Minister for Diaspora Affairs, in just a few days "the Pope knocked down the psychological barriers that still existed between Jews and Christians." ZE00032706

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      To Catholics in England there's nothing humorous about Brits' mockery and caricaturing of the Pope

         With worldwide opinion of Christ's Vicar soaring high after the week-long pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Britain has reached a new low with a cartoon called, of all tactless things "popeman." In this cartoon the "pope" is seen as one who is mentally backward, playing practical jokes and terrorizing the Swiss Guard. One wonders just what would have the editorial cartoons been like about Christ Himself. Surely the Holy Father has shown he embraces the fullness of the term "long-suffering" and may God forgive these blatantly irreverent cartoonists who "know not what they do." Then again, if they do know, then may God have mercy on their souls! continued inside.


        LONDON (CWNews.com) - A British cartoon depicting the Pope as an immature prankster has caused outrage among Catholics in the country, according to The Times newspaper on Monday.

        The series, Popeman, depicts a Pope -- producers say it is not based on a real person -- who is mentally backward, plays practical jokes, and terrorizes the Swiss Guard. Father Kit Cunningham described the project as "horrendous" and the creation of a "pathetic" mind. He said: "I believe this show will disgust most people, even those who are not Catholics. I will pray for the poor morons who produced it."

        But Phil Ox, the project's French director, said that the program would not be tempered to avoid upsetting Catholics. He said: "I do not think the Church has any problem irritating me sometimes. I support gay rights and believe abortion is a solution sometimes. We do not want to question the fact that people believe in God and just want to question the establishment of the Church."

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      Cardinal of Scotland under even more vicious attacks as pro-gay agenda gets nastier

         Still in Great Britain, Cardinal Thomas Winning, Archbishop of Glasgow, has been taking more heat from the Liberal Democrat party as the latter tries to derail legislation of Section 28 which prohibits the promotion of homosexuality, something the good cardinal is striving to keep the ban on. But words are being bandied about against the Scottish prelate and his office has said that affairs have reached a new low when his attackers go after him for faithfully presenting the authentic teachings of the Church. If only more bishops would stand strong as he is doing. continued inside.


        EDINBURGH (CWNews.com) - The Scottish executives plans to repeal Section 28 has turned nasty with members of the Liberal Democrat Party making personal attacks on Cardinal Thomas Winning of Glasgow and businessman Brian Souter who is bankrolling the campaign to keep the legislation.

        The clause which prohibits the promotion of homosexuality in schools is to be abolished under Scottish Executive proposals. At the Liberal Democrats' spring conference in Dundee this weekend, delegates condemned the tactics used by Keep the Clause campaigners as importing the worst excesses of American politics.

        The highly-charged debate also heard Cardinal Winning being called a bigot.

        The party's former chief executive, Andy Myles, told the conference: I deeply regret that a leader of one of our churches has used a position of immense authority to pedal intolerance. If gay men and lesbians are going to be accused in absolute terms of being perverts the person stating that opinion is a bigot.

        A spokesman for Cardinal Winning, told today's Daily Telegraph: We have reached a new low when church leaders are attacked for accurately presenting the official teaching of their church.

        He continued: One would have thought that a party which claims to value toleration would have been a little more tolerant of the views of others. In addition, it should be remembered on the whole question of Section 28 Cardinal Winning speaks for a far larger part of the population than the Liberal Democrats.

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      Poor Cuban boy caught in a tug of war between factions who make outrageous claims to sway courts

         Young and innocent Elian Gonzalez' impending return to his father in Cuba is now being twarted by supporters who are claiming that a miraculous picture which appeared on the Totalbank in Miami of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a sign from God that six year-old Elian is to stay in the United States. While Archbishop John Favalora has not made a statement yet, caution must be advised. Yet, even though laws will pay no heed to supernatural occurrences, the message from witnesses is that Our Lady wants man to change his ways. Yet whose agenda is it really? Is it that the young boy return to live under a communist dictator where the Faith is suppressed for the most part, or live in a country where the "culture of death" is widely promoted and morals are disregarded, camouflaged by the extravagant lifestyle that the young impressionable Elian has been subjected to in the tug of war over this innocent child? continued inside.


        MIAMI (CWNews.com) - Supporters of Elian Gonzalez, the boy who has become the center of Cuban-American relations, said an image appearing on the windows of a Miami bank down the street from where Elian is staying is a miraculous apparition showing divine favor for the boy staying in the US.

        Employees of Totalbank said they first spotted the luminous reflection that some say looks like the Virgin Mary appeared on the tinted windows earlier this week. After repeated washings failed to remove it, word spread throughout the Cuban-American community and dozens of people have become to come to the site to pray.

        Many of those gathered at the window over the weekend said they believe the image is a sign of an impending miracle for Elian, a 6-year-old Cuban boy who survived a raft voyage that claimed the lives of his mother and 10 others. Cuba's Communist government and his father have demanded that he be returned to Cuba, a position supported by the Clinton administration.

        "I think that boy is blessed. Many people gave their lives for that boy, and he lives blocks from here," said Tessy Lopez, 62. "We must realize this is an important sign." Louise Molina, 47, said she found a broader meaning from the sign. "She wants us to change our ways. When people have faith they do good things," she said.

         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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