THURSDAY     March 2, 2000    vol. 11, no. 44    SECTION TWO

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SECTION TWO Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • "Memory and Reconciliation" document released
  • Pius XII exonerated with shocking revelation by Israelis
  • Bush gaining with New York Catholics after McCain slur backfires
  • Dems try to win Catholic votes by condemning Bob Jones University
  • End of Islamic Sharia law gives hope for Nigerian Christians
  • President of Indonesia publicly apologizes to East Timor
  • Holy See mum on some details of Pope's pilgrimage to Holy Land
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  • WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:

      Document on past faults released by the Holy See in this Jubilee Year of Reconciliation

        At the Holy Father's request, an International Theological Commission has been studying and preparing the document "Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and Errors of the Past." This long-awaited document released yesterday in Paris, states clearly that the inherent faith and morals of the Catholic faith as given by Christ and sustained through the power of the Holy Spiritand the Apostolic line remains pure. It further states that the Church on earth is composed of fallible beings, each one quite capable of personal sin. Yet the sins of individuals do not impact the perfection of the heart of the Church - the Incarnate Word of God - nor does the modern Church today need to be held responsible for the sins of the past. Yet the document reaches across all boundaries and all times in seeking reconciliation with all peoples for the sake of the Gospel Message.continued inside

    Text of International Theological Commission Presented in Paris

        PARIS, MAR 1 (ZENIT).- The long anticipated document of the International Theological Commission, entitled "Memory and Reconciliation: The Church and Errors of the Past," was published in Paris today. The document gives guidelines of a theological and pastoral nature to discern those cases in which the Church asks for forgiveness for errors committed in the past by her children.

        The text will be presented in the Vatican on March 7 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the eve of the "Day of Forgiveness," which will be held on March 12. Translations into other languages will be published on the same day the Vatican presents the document officially.

        During the presentation, Dominican Fr. Jean-Louis Brugues, who is a member of the International Theological Commission, explained that there are three types of petition for forgiveness: for responsibility (the traditional one), for solidarity, and for exemplarity. Brugues distinguished between the forgiveness asked of God and the person offended by the one committing an error, and the forgiveness requested from descendents of the offended persons. It is important to make it very clear that the one asking for forgiveness in solidarity cannot be burdened with the responsibilities of the past that belong to others. What it seeks is to demonstrate clearly the person's feeling of solidarity. Moreover, by vocation the Church is called to be an example. This is what the third dimension is about, exemplarity.

        The document, which was prepared by a team of the International Theological Commission and approved later by the members of the Commission, has some 90 pages, divided into 6 chapters.

        The document refers to some cases, such as the division of Christians, where the request for forgiveness has been reciprocal; the recourse to violence in service of truth; the treatment suffered by Jews; the Church's responsibilities for the evils in contemporary society.

        Following the introduction, the first chapter of the document refers to the difficulty of the objective. Fr. Jean-Louis Burgues illustrated this with pressing questions: "Can today's conscience bear the weight of a fault linked to unique historical phenomena like the Crusades or the Inquisition? Is it not too easy to judge the protagonists of the past with today's conscience, as if moral conscience is not integrated over time? And, moreover, can we deny that we are exercising ethical judgment by the simple fact that the truth of God and its moral exigencies continue to be valid forever?"

        Because of this, he answered, "the priority problem consists in clarifying to what degree the petitions for forgiveness for past faults, especially when they are directed to present human groups, form part of the biblical and theological horizon of reconciliation with God and with one's neighbor."

        The second chapter evokes passages from the Bible in order to discover the foundations of forgiveness. In the third, of a theological character, there is a distinction between the holiness of the Church and the weakness of its leaders, and he adds: "To the holiness of the Church there must correspond the holiness in the Church." From here stems the necessity for purification.

        According to Fr. Brugues, the key chapter is the fourth: it addresses historical and theological responsibility.

        The fifth chapter refers to those cases in which the Church has already asked for forgiveness in the past, and the sixth offers a pastoral and missionary perspective to the "purification of the memory."

        Finally, the conclusions quote John Paul II, and state that the Church "cannot cross the threshold of the new millennium without encouraging her children to purify themselves in repentance of errors, infidelities, incoherence and slowness."

        The organizers of the press conference explained that the first presentation in Paris rather than in Rome is totally accidental. At one time it was thought the document would be presented in the Vatican Press Office at the end of January. ZE00030110

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      Shocking diary of Nazi Minister of Death released by Israeli government verifies Vatican's defense of Pope Pius XII

         In a surprising move that bodes well for Judeo-Christian relations, the Holy Father's visit to the Holy Land later this month and exonerates the cause for beatification of Pope Pius XII, the Israeli government released yesterday the diary of Adolph Echmann which has guarded for almost 40 years. While graphic in content regarding Hitler's elimination of the Jews, the diary also speaks of the help the Jews received from the Vatican and Pius XII. It sheds much validity on the stance the Holy See has taken in defense of the beleaguered Pontiff and shows how the government of Mussolini forced the Germans to take Italian Jews living in Rome to their death, despite resistance by Pius XII.continued inside.

    Pius XII Opposed Deportations Imposed in Occupied Rome

        JERUSALEM, MAR 1 (ZENIT).- After guarding Adolf Eichmann's diaries for almost 40 years, yesterday the Israeli government made them public. Eichmann, a Nazi SS lieutenant colonel, was executed in 1962 in Israel for "crimes against the Jewish people and against humanity."

        Eichmann wrote these diaries during the months following his death sentence. They are especially chilling in their description of the way the Nazi regime came to the "Final Solution" against the Jews, and the way the extermination was implemented.

        The pages are also very interesting in studying the Vatican's position on the persecution of Jews. Some people accuse the Church of having done nothing in October, 1943, when the Nazis began to deport Jews from their "ghetto" in Rome. However, Eichmann wrote that the Vatican "vigorously protested the arrest of Jews, requesting the interruption of such action; to the contrary, the Pope would denounce it publicly."

        This is a confirmation of the thesis of those historians who have collected documents on the action undertaking by the Vatican to defend Jews during those dark years. It must be kept in mind that Rome was occupied, and that the Church was the only institution that had the courage to denounce the Nazi action.

        In a chapter dedicated to Italy, Eichmann explains that "on October 6, 1943, ambassador Moelhausen sent a telegraphic message to Foreign Minister Ribbentrop in which he said that general Keppler, SS commander in Rome, had received a special order from Berlin: he had to arrest 8,000 Jews who were living in Rome to deport them to northern Italy, where they would be exterminated. General Stahel, commander of the German forces in Rome, explained to ambassador Moelhausen that, from his point of view, it would be better to use the Jews for fortification works. On October 9, however, Ribbentrop answered that the 8,000 Jews of Rome had to be deported to the Mathausen concentration camp. He emphasized that, in giving evidence under oath in the military prison of Gaeta on June 27, 1961, Kappler said that it was with that order that for the first time he heard the term 'Final Solution.' "

        "At that time, my office received the copy of a letter, that I immediately gave to my direct superiors, sent by the Catholic Church in Rome, in the person of Bishop Hudal, to the commander of the German forces in Rome, general Stahel. The Church was vigorously protesting the arrest of Jews of Italian citizenship, requesting that such actions be interrupted immediately throughout Rome and its surroundings. To the contrary, the Pope would denounce it publicly. The Curia was especially angry because these incidents were taking place practically under Vatican windows. But, precisely at that time, without paying any attention to the Church's position, the Italian fascist government passed a law ordering the deportation of all Italian Jews to concentration camps," Eichamnn wrote in his diary.

        "The objections given and the excessive delay in the steps necessary to complete the implementation of the operation, resulted in a great part of Italian Jews being able to hide and escape capture," Eichmann wrote. A good number of them hid in convents or were helped by men and women of the Church. ZE00030107

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        NEW YORK ( - Republican presidential candidate John McCain is losing support among New York Catholics despite attempts to link his opponent, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, with anti-Catholic bias.

        On Monday, the Arizona senator attacked Christian conservatives Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as "agents of intolerance," and in recent weeks slammed Bush for speaking at Bob Jones University in South Carolina, whose founders espoused anti-Catholic views. But a new poll by independent, national pollster John Zogby showed McCain losing support among Catholics in New York, who make up about 45 percent of voters in the state's Republican primary.

        The poll said Bush had closed a 16-point gap with McCain among Catholic voters in recent days. On Tuesday, Bush handily defeated McCain in primaries in Virginia, Washington state, and North Dakota. "We actually have Bush pulling ahead among Catholics by a few points -- enough to make it a trend -- still a statistical dead heat, but a tremendous turnaround among Catholics," Zogby said.

        Zogby said his findings suggest Catholic voters disapprove of McCain's efforts to portray Bush as anti-Catholic.

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      Some Congressional Democrats seek to condemn university that condemns Catholicism as political ploy to woo Catholics

        As the presidential campaign heats up on both sides of the political spectrum, Congressional Democrats are seeking for Congress to officially condemn Bob Jones University, whose own founder has called the Roman Catholic Church a satanic cult and the Holy Father the antichrist. However, regardless of this bitter bigotry, wiser heads in both parties recognize this as a political ploy to win over confused Catholics to Al Gore and it is expected the measure will fass on deaf ears as Congress strives to distance itself from the presidential campaign in name, if not in words. continued inside.


        WASHINGTON, DC ( - Congressional Democrats took advantage of Republican squabbling over a presidential candidates appearance at a South Carolina university last month, calling on Tuesday for official condemnation of the Christian school's views.

        Republican congressional leaders said the proposal was an attempt to further embarrass Texas Gov. George W. Bush who has been criticized by opponent Arizona Sen. John McCain for speaking on February 2 at Bob Jones University, whose founders called the Catholic Church a satanic cult. "We're not going to vote on that. We're not going to get into this process of playing games with each other in what's going on in the (presidential) primaries," Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, told reporters.

        Bush apologized to Catholics this week in a letter to New York's Cardinal John O'Connor for failing to more clearly speak out against anti-Catholic bias, but said he refused any attempt at "guilt by association."

        House Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, called the resolution "sheer partisan demagoguery, and I don't entertain myself with that."

        Some Christian leaders claim the attacks on BJU are motivated by animosity toward traditional Christian teachings and threaten First Amendment rights to freedom of religion. Two decades ago, the US government revoked the university's tax-exempt status in an attempt to force the school to change its policies, but the school instead decided to go without the exemption.

        "One need not agree with BJU on its view of Roman Catholicism and interracial dating to agree that the feds are tyrants, and BJU is the object of discrimination by a politically correct regime," said P. Andrew Sandlin of the Chalcedon Foundation, in a commentary for

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      Nigerian Archbishop rejoices at withdrawal of Islamic Sharia

         In troubled Nigeria, as we have been reporting over the last several days, Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja expressed both gratitude and outrage. Grief and anger over the massacre in the Nigerian City of Aba, where mostly Christian Ibo tribesman killed hundreds of mostly Muslim Hausas. But in the same report by the prelate, he praised Nigeria's President Obasanjo's for his successful attempt to broker a deal by which the Sharia Islamic law will not be implemented as planned and hopes rise that calmer heads will prevail and the Spirit of God will guide all lives and laws.continued inside.


        ABUJA, Nigeria ( - Archbishop John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan of Abuja on Tuesday decried a massacre in the Nigerian city of Aba, where mostly Christian Ibo tribesmen killed hundreds of mostly Muslim Hausas in revenge for attacks on Christians in northern Kaduna state last week.

        The archbishop also praised President Olusegun Obasanjo's brokering of a deal to revoke the enforcement of Islamic sharia law in the states of Zamfara, Niger and Sokoto. "This is a victory is not only for Christians, but for all Nigerians," he said. Moreover, the governors of Kano, Yobe, and Kaduna, where sharia was about to be introduced, have repealed the measure.

        The decision was reached on Tuesday during an emergency meeting to which Obasanjo called all 36 of Nigeria's state governors. On Monday, the president visited Kaduna where clashes between Christians and Muslims last week left at least 300 people dead. The fighting then spread to other regions of the country and hundreds more were killed.

        On Monday, Archbishop Onaiyekan sent a letter to Obasanjo asking him to take decisive action -- a request made several times already by the Catholic hierarchy -- against the unconstitutional introduction of the sharia, seen to be the cause of the clashes.

        The archbishop said he believed the agreement will end the fighting. "Now the cause of disorder, the enforcement of Muslim law, has been removed, we must work for reconciliation," he said. "This is a victory, not only for Christians but for all Nigerians. Christians should not be happier at the decision than the rest of the people. They rejoice like all the rest, including the millions of moderate Muslims who do not want the sharia to be law."

        Archbishop Onaiyekan added that Christians in Aba had committed "a very serious sin" by attacking Muslims in their city. "That many Ibo Christians took up arms to fight Muslim Hausas in revenge does not belong to Christianity," he said. "Those who attacked and killed innocent Hausa Muslims out of revenge for the death of innocent Christians in Kaduna, committed a serious sin, blinded by rage."

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      President of Indonesia to East Timor: "I'm terribly sorry!"

         In keeping with the Pope's call for reconciliation, Indonesia's President Abdurraham laid a wreath at the cemetery in the town of Santa Cruz in East Timor during a special visit to this ravaged area and publicly apologized to the people of this area, particularly Catholics who comprise the majority of East Timor, for the abuses they suffered for over two decades. This includes the mass murders of hundreds of thousands by the Indonesian army and Muslim militia factions. The apologies come at a time when the world is watching and waiting for the Indonesian government to bring to trial the guilty parties responsible for this systematic slaughter. continued inside.


        DILI, East Timor ( - The president of Indonesia on Tuesday apologized for more than two decades of human rights abuses during his country's occupation of East Timor.

        President Abdurraham Wahid was in East Timor to promote reconciliation now that the former Portuguese colony has broken from Indonesia. Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, invaded mainly Catholic East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. Last August, the region held a Jakarta-proposed referendum to allow Timorese to choose either autonomy within Indonesia or full independence. After the pro-independence results were revealed, pro-Indonesia militias, armed and backed by Indonesia's military, went on a rampage, killing hundreds and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee.

        Wahid laid a wreath at cemetery in the town of Santa Cruz during his visit to recognize about 200 people killed by Indonesian soldiers in 1991. He then visited a burial plot for Indonesian soldiers nearby.

        "I would like to apologize for the sins that have happened in the past, to the victims or the families of Santa Cruz and those friends who are buried in the military cemetery," he said. "These are the victims of circumstances that we didn't want."

        The visit came as prosecutors prepared to indict soldiers and militias members blamed for the massacres. Wahid, who became president in October after a UN-sanctioned multinational force replaced Indonesian soldiers and restored order in East Timor, has maintained close ties with East Timorese leaders over the years.

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      Guarded itinerary of Pope's "Jubilee Journey" to Holy Land released by Vatican

         Although the Vatican has released the John Paul II's schedule for the third leg of his "Jubilee Journey" that will take him to Jordan, Israel and Palestine. Because of the political unrest in the mideast, the Holy See has wisely disclosed few details for they are greatly concerned with security and the Pope's welfare while in the Holy Land. The itinerary shows the Holy Father will say Mass as hoped in Nazareth at the Basilica of the Annunciation of the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25th before returning to Jerusalem and then Tel Aviv and back to Rome on the 26th. continued inside.


        VATICAN ( -- The Vatican has released the schedule for Pope John Paul's trip to the Holy Land later in March. However, because of the complexity of the plans for the trip (and perhaps because of security concerns as well), the public schedule provides few details.

        The Holy Father will travel first to Jordan, arriving in Amman on March 20. On the following day he will move on to Tel Aviv, the Israeli capital, and from there take a helicopter to Jerusalem. On March 22 he will make the short trip to Bethlehem; during the following day he will remain in Jerusalem. On March 24 he will travel-- again by helicopter-- to Capernaum, and on March 25 he will celebrate the feast of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

        On March 26, the Pope will retrace his steps from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, where he will board his return flight to Rome.

         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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