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TUESDAY      December 1, 1998      SECTION TWO       vol 9, no. 233

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Events Today in Church History

      Today is the date 831 years ago that Pope Alexander III, 170th successor of Peter, in order to protect the Northern Italian towns from the ravages of the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa formed the Lombard League. For other pertinent events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

Historical Events in Church Annals for December 1:

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN ( -- A Vatican delegation represented Pope John Paul II today at ceremonies in Istanbul, Turkey, as the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I-- the acknowledged leader of the Orthodox world-- celebrated the feast of St. Andrew, the patron of the Eastern churches.

      The Vatican delegation was led by Msgr. Pierre Duprey, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. The president of that Council, Cardinal Edward Cassidy, could not make the trip to Turkey because of his participation in the special Synod for Oceania.

      The Vatican envoys delivered a message to Patriarch Bartholomew from the Holy Father, who spoke of "the pressing urgency of overcoming the differences and difficulties which prevent us from achieving full communion."

      For several years, the Vatican and the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople have exchanged delegates, with representatives from the Holy See participating in the ceremonies for the feast of St. Andrew, while Orthodox representatives travel to Rome for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.


      DUBLIN ( - A new Protestant extremist group set up in Northern Ireland has threatened to wage war on "the enemies of Ulster," according to media reports last week.

      Eight masked members of the so-called Orange Volunteers took a hooded journalist to a secret location where -- following a Bible reading -- they showed off guns and grenades. They threatened to target members of the Irish Republican Army who had been freed early from prison as part of the Good Friday peace agreement of April 10. The demonstration ended with prayers.

      The Volunteers also claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on Catholic bars and businesses last month, though police said they only investigated one such incident.


      VATICAN ( -- Reacting to news of a shipwreck in the Adriatic Sea, Pope John Paul II used his Sunday Angelus audience to issue a strong statement condemning the exploitation of immigrants and illegal aliens.

      A steady stream of refugees from Albania, Kosovo, Turkey, and other countries is arriving on the eastern coast of Italy, often having crossed the Adriatic in crowded, unseaworthy vessels. Experts estimate that 17,000 people have arrived illegally in Italy by this route during the past six months.

      Last Friday, the collision of two such ships off the coast of Brindisi left at least one person-- a year-old baby-- dead, and four others missing and lost at sea.

      "Even as we pray for the victims of the shipwreck, I cannot but deplore, in the strongest possible terms, the manner in which some people exploit the misery of so many poor people, for their own personal gain," said the Pope. "These deaths should weigh heavily on their consciences."

      The latest accident, the Holy Father continued, "dramatically illustrates the problems of clandestine transportation" of illegal immigrants. He noted that the desperate families often entrust their safety to "unscrupulous" smugglers. He called upon governments to find ways to stop the "dishonest traffic" and create conditions in which refugees could live with dignity and find ways to make a better life.

      In a similar pronouncement, Pope John Paul II has issued another appeal for steps to ease the debt burden of impoverished countries.

      Addressing the participants in an international conference of parliamentarians, meeting in Rome to discuss the problems of world hunger and the environment, the Holy Father urged wealthy countries to "find the means to be generous in underwriting programs that would ease or simply annul the heavy burdens of debt which are crushing the least favored countries."

      The Pope praised the many statements of concern which have been issued by international bodies, calling for concrete action to address the problem of hunger. But such statements have no effect, he said, "because they are not supported by effective national legislation and by the political will to put appropriate programs into place."


      VATICAN ( -- Pope John Paul II today met with Bishop Jean-Claude Perisset, the newly appointed papal nuncio to Romania. Reporters speculated that the subject for the meeting might have a proposed papal visit to Romania, but the Vatican made no announcement about the discussion.

      The Swiss-born bishop, a veteran Vatican official who has served in previous diplomatic postings to Peru, France, Pakistan, and Japan, was assigned to Romania on November 12. In recent months there has been widespread discussion of a papal trip to Romania, which would be the Pope's first official visit to a predominantly Orthodox country in Eastern Europe.

      Speaking to a reporter from the Roman news agency I Media after his audience, Bishop Perisset confirmed that one of the key points he would address as nuncio would be the status of church properties which were confiscated from the Catholic Church by the former Communist government, and handed over to Orthodox parishes. A joint commission including both Catholic and Orthodox representatives has recently made substantial progress toward a satisfactory resolution of those cases, he reported.

      As for a papal visit, the bishops said: "If things continue to progress, that visit might be arranged. But for the moment, nothing has been settled on that subject."

For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site. CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.


"The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the expectation of the wicked comes to nought."

Proverbs 10: 27

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December 1, 1998 volume 9, no. 233   DAILY CATHOLIC