FRI-SAT-SUN     March 31 - April 2, 2000    vol. 11, no. 65    SECTION THREE

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SECTION THREE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:
  • Pope releases Annual Letter for Priests - theme revolves around Last Supper
  • Cardinal of Clergy claims world vocation crisis conquered
  • Priest who was bishop's friend still being falsely accused for murder by corrupt regime in Guatemala
  • Satanic cult killings have Argentinians on edge
  • Nigeria violence erupts anew over construction of a church
  • Pres of Philippines snubs Pope with rude "stay out of our business" remark
  • US Rabbis cave to gay agenda in compromising their beliefs
  • Britain's Tony Blair alienating many Catholics with accusations of homophobia for anyone who isn't pro-gay
  • Latest ShipLogs of visitors sailing on the DailyCATHOLIC

  • WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant:


        VATICAN ( -- In his annual letter to all of the world's Catholic priests, issued on Holy Thursday, Pope John Paul II will focus on his visit to the Cenacle in Jerusalem: the site of the Last Supper.

        The Pope's letter, made public on March 30, was actually signed on March 23, in Jerusalem, when John Paul celebrated Mass in the Cenacle chapel.

        In his letter, the Holy Father relates how as he prays in the chapel, "Jesus is present in my spirit, just as he was present to the apostles who were seated at the table with him." The Pope concentrates especially on the figure of St. Peter, his predecessor, and writes about the awe that St. Peter must have felt as Jesus instituted the Eucharist.

        "Nearly two thousands years have passed since that moment," the Pope observes. "How many priests have repeated the gesture!" He writes of the "exemplary disciples: saints, martyrs" among those priests, and emphasizes that there are many such saints and martyrs within the Church today. "At the Cenacle, I thank the Lord for their courage," he says.

        The Pope acknowledges that the history of the priesthood has been stained by the sins of the frail men who minister to the Church. And he adds that even at the Last Supper, while it was Judas who betrayed Jesus, Peter too would deny the Lord, and thus give the world an indication of human weakness. "Surely, as he chose men like the Twelve, Christ had no illusions," the Pope writes. Rather, he chose to make himself present through frail human instruments.

        "Let us always celebrate the Holy Eucharist with fervor," the Pope urges his fellow priests. "Let us stay, often and at length, in adoration before the Eucharistic Christ?" He observes that the priest's witness, and in particular his reverence for the Eucharist, will inspire the people.

        The Pope's letter to priests also emphasizes the importance of the International Eucharistic Congress, scheduled to take place in Rome on June 18-25, as "a central event of the great Jubilee."

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      Vocation Crisis Over according to VaticanPrefect for Clergy

         Colombia's Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, Prefect for the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy has conveyed to reporters that vocations to the priesthood are up and the crisis over vocations has ended. He cited statistics gathered from around the world which verifies his findings. While on the increase, the numbers are still not as large as one would hope since an overabundance in Africa and Bangledesh balances the shortage in the United States where some parishes don't have the full sacramental package because of a lack of priests. continued inside.


        VATICAN ( -- The worldwide crisis of clerical vocations has ended, according to the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy.

        Speaking to journalists on March 30, as he briefed the press on the Pope's annual Holy Thursday letter to priests, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos also reported that there are now 109,828 seminarians preparing for the priesthood around the world-- a slight increase over the 108,517 in 1997, and an enormous increase from the 60,142 in 1975.

        The cardinal also observed that today's seminarians are somewhat older than their counterparts of a generation ago. Many have completed undergraduate education, and quite a few have gained some experience in professional life, before entering the seminary.

        There were 404,626 priests serving the Catholic Church in 1999. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos noted that some priests have returned to their ministry after having abandoned the priesthood. And the number of defections from priestly life is falling; the cardinal pointed out that in 1975 there were 3,314 men who left the priesthood; in 997 there were 1,006.

        The cardinal also mentioned that on May 18-- the Pope's 80th birthday-- the Vatican will observe the Jubilee for Priests. That celebration will be preceded by a three-day period of preparation, during which visiting priests are encouraged to visit the four major basilicas of Rome, and follow the Way of the Cross on May 16 in the Circus Maximus.

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        GUATEMALA CITY ( - A Guatemalan priest charged with the murder of a bishop in 1998 denied that he had anything to do with it on Wednesday.

        Father Mario Orantes spoke to reporters from his hospital bed for the first time since returning from the US to face charges on February 9. He had been in the US seeking treatment for chronic medical problems brought on by his first incarceration on the charges of murdering Auxiliary Bishop Juan Jose Conedera Gerardi in April, 1998.

        Bishop Gerardi was bludgeoned to death in his garage two days after releasing a report that blamed the majority of death's in the country's 36-year civil war on the military and its supporters. Human rights groups and Catholics blamed the murder on the military, and faulted investigators for focusing immediately on Father Orantes and the housekeeper.

        "I didn't see anything, I didn't hear anything, I didn't do anything," Father Orantes said. "All I did was find my brother, Bishop Gerardi, murdered." He spent seven months in jail after being arrested after the murder, but was released and allowed to travel to seek treatment for a nervous system problem. He was ordered to return after the current judge in the case re-examined the evidence in the case.

        Father Orantes was charged with murder again on March 10 along with his former housekeeper and members of an elite military unit. "After all this time here I still do not know the reasons I have again been charged. If the evidence was so important you would think I would have heard about it by now," he said.

        Two previous prosecutors and two judges in the case have stepped down during the investigation, some of them citing threats against them and their families by unidentified parties.

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      Details of satanic killings rock peace of Catholics in Argentina

         In a scenario right out of the worst Hollywood horror story, a satanic cult in Argentina is making headlines as police investigate the brutal death of a 50-year old father slashed by his two daughters. The details of the deed leave no doubt as to its satanic nature and have awakened the minds and hearts of many Argentinians to the great danger the devil poses. continued inside.


        BUENOS AIRES ( - The brutal murder of a 50-year-old father at the hand of his two young daughters as part of a satanic rite has shocked Argentine society and raised concern about the proliferation of satanic and other cults in Buenos Aires.

        The mutilated body of Juan Carlos Vazquez was found on Monday surrounded by his two daughters, Silvina, 21 and Gabriela 29, who stabbed their father 100 times and ate part of his face.

        Yesterday, the police revealed the first details of the strange crime, announcing that the three of them belonged to a cult known as the "Alchemy Center for Transmutation." According to the police, apparently the father and daughters engaged in a ritual that ended with the murder of Juan Carlos Vazquez.

        Juan Carlos' body was found not only with 100 knife wounds, but also marked with cuts forming a strange figure.

        The killing took place in the living room, after the furniture was moved to one side. In the place were found cups with strange liquids and a book of "alchemy rites." When the police entered the home, the two daughters were screaming in a state of shock, one invoking Satan, the other one saying that Satan had finally left her father's body.

        "We can't know yet what happened exactly, because both women are temporarily under tranquilizers at a psychiatric institution," a police source revealed to the Clarin newspaper.

        According to Jose Maria Baamonde, a psychologist from Fundacion Spes, a Catholic institution dedicated to studying the growing number of sects and cults, the cult to which the Vazquez' belonged "is the type of organization that is becoming tremendously popular by combining some elements of Gnosticism and strange formulas and rites which they claim have been inherited from the ancient Alchemists."

        Baamonde explained that, despite the sect's self-portrayal as an institution devoted to self-knowledge and self-discipline, "some of their rites explicitly invoke the presence and power of the Devil."

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      Violence between Muslims and Christians continues over construction of a church in Nigeria

         In Damboa, Nigeria violence erupted between Christian and Muslims over the construction of a church. This violence is a continuation of earlier episodes when the Islamic law of "Sharira," which imposes the Islam religion on all, was passed some weeks ago. To escape this many citizens have fleed to the southern capital city. From the recent violence it would appear the worship of God is a matter for "destruction" rather than "construction" and causes many to harken back to the futility of the Crusades. continued inside.


        ABUJA, Nigeria ( - Thousands of people fled their homes in northern Nigeria this week after fighting broke out between Christians and Muslims enraged at the construction of a church. About 20 people were killed.

        Groups of Muslim youths in the primarily Muslim town of Damboa attacked the church on Monday with Christian youths fighting back to defend the building. By Tuesday, the fighting had spread throughout the town leaving 20 dead.

        Anti-riot police restored order on Wednesday, but residents continued to flee to the state capital to the south. Christian-Muslim tensions have been at a boiling point in Nigeria after rioting broke out earlier this month over the imposition of Muslim sharia law in the country's northern states.

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        MANILA ( - Philippines President Joseph Estrada told Pope John Paul II on Thursday that the Holy Father should concentrate his prayers on other parts of the world that need them more, in reaction to the Pope's prayers for a strife-torn southern region of the country.

        During his Wednesday general audience, the Holy Father prayed for the Mindanao region where 50 Catholic students, teachers, and a priest are being held hostage by Muslim separatist rebels who have demanded Vatican mediation in the conflict. "I pray for all the residents of that region and, in particular, for politicians and the military. I pray that God may enlighten them and move them to do everything possible to end the violence by seeking peaceful solutions to existing problems," he said.

        Asked for his reaction to the prayer, Estrada said: "He should not be praying for peace in Mindanao but he should be praying for peace in the world. It is not only in Mindanao where there is trouble. There is also trouble in Kosovo and Pakistan." He added: "Hopefully, if he would concentrate, maybe our problem with the (rebels) will be over."

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      Sad day for Judaism in America as US Rabbis cave to gay agenda

         Despite the progress the Pope made with Jewish leaders in Israel last week, their counterparts in America have regressed with the news that after thousands of years of upholding the Law of the Ten Commandments, they have caved and the Jewish Liberal Reform Movement, represented by a major group of rabbis, have sanctioned same-sex unions. The wording of the resolution was so muddied as to leave everyone in the muck...which is exactly where same-sex unions belong! continued inside.


        WASHINGTON, DC ( - A major rabbi group representing the liberal Reform movement of Judaism officially sanctioned clergy to perform same-sex unions on Wednesday.

        The 500 members of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) voted in a voice vote to back a resolution that would allow any rabbi to preside at a same-sex union ceremony through "appropriate Jewish ritual," but would also support any rabbi that refused to participate. "These are people who are subjected to signals, subtle and not so subtle, that they are abnormal, sinful, less than whole," Rabbi Paul Menitoff, executive vice president of the CCAR, told the Washington Post newspaper. "Can you imagine the impact on them to finally hear a confirming message after so many negative messages from all those religious groups?"

        Many Reform rabbis in the US already perform same-sex unions at their synagogues, and the decision is not expected to have force wide-ranging changes. The CCAR had already approved the ordination of openly homosexual rabbis in 1990.

        The resolution approved on Wednesday stressed that the unions are not marriages and that it does not explicitly encourage rabbis to perform them.

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      Blair accuses British lawmakers of homophobia, the same attacks levied on Cardinal Winning of Scotland

         Meanwhile in Britain the world moves closer to a "one world order" and plummets in morals yet Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair is calling members of the House of Commons homophobes because they refuse to approve the gay agenda and keep Section 28 in place for the sake of protecting children in the schools. Blair wants to remove the protective measure by repealing the initiative and plunging the entire British Isles into the cesspool of immorality. And to think Blair's wife is Catholic...or at least in name she is! continued inside.


        LONDON ( - Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday claimed that attempts to stop him from repealing Section 28 -- the law which forbids the promotion of homosexuality in schools -- was dominated by a "mischievous propaganda campaign" motivated by anti-gay prejudice.

        Speaking in the House of Commons, Blair said, "This campaign is based on people who don't want to come out and say they are prejudiced against gay people, so they hide behind the issue of child protection."

        "No child is going to be forced to take part in gay sex lessons in school," he continued. "These lessons would continue to be the prerogative of teachers, parents, and (school officials)," the prime minister said.

        Britain's private schools -- which are not bound under Section 28 -- were also warned yesterday that they could be sued under new human rights legislation, which comes into force in October, if they banned homosexual relationships between pupils over 16 or forced pupils to attend church.

        In a speech to the Institute for Public Policy Research, Home Secretary Jack Straw said that private schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and charities could all be taken to court if they do not do more to prepare for the upcoming Act, which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into British law.

        Straw said, "The Act will not only affect individuals, it will affect any organization dealing with the public."

        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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