DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     December 2, 1998     vol. 9, no. 234

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Responding to new reports in the Italian media, the official Vatican newspaper has scoffed at rumors that Pope John Paul II is in failing health.

          It is highly unusual for L'Osservatore Romano to respond to any report by Italian journalists. But the Vatican sharply criticized out at a story by veteran reporter Marco Politi, saying it was "ridiculous" to continue raising questions about the Pope's health. Politi, writing for La Repubblica, had emphasized that John Paul II appeared tired and halting during Sunday's Mass inaugurating the last year of preparation for the Jubilee.

          "It should be enough to note everything that the Holy Father did after his entrance" into St. Peter's Basilica for the Sunday celebration, L'Osservatore Romano remarked. The story went on to note that the Pope celebrated the Eucharistic liturgy, delivered a lively homily, and went on to make his usual public audience, leading the faithful in the Angelus prayer and then delivering another public address. The Pope has also been attending all of the sessions of the Synod for Oceania, receiving the usual number of bishops and public officials in private audiences, continuing his weekly public audiences on Wednesdays, and in general keeping up his regular busy schedule.

          While these rumors were swirling, Pope John Paul II received the bishops of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, who were making their ad limina visits. He insisted that the violence in Papua New Guinea must end, and political leaders must serve the common good by working to heal the scars of historic divisions.

          For the Catholic Church, the Pope continued, pastoral work with young people should emphasize the need to build up society and to respect the dignity of others-- indeed of all human life.

          In a reference to the tidal wave that struck the Pacific islands several months ago, the Pope lamented "the tidal wave of violence and division" afflicting the region today. "We cannot do anything to prevent natural disasters," the Holy Father said, "but there are other causes of human suffering which are under our control." He specified that tribal animosities and religious conflicts should be contained.

          While ancient tribal rivalries may seem difficult to overcome, the Pope continued, the Gospel message contains a promise of final success. "It is in Christ that the people of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands will find the real power, the real victory-- the victory of grace over sin, of love over all that separates men," he said.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

December 2, 1998       volume 9, no. 234


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