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December 23-27, 1998
SECTION FOUR vol 9, no. 248
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
Holy Father prepares for Christmas by looking back on the fruits of the year
Just a few days removed from his sick-bed after a short bout with the flu, Pope John Paul II took time for his annual Christmas get-together with members of the Curia, showing an amazing resiliency to all in attendance. He reminisced about the past year, citing the accomplishments and listing those things that still need to be done including planned papal trips in 1999 as the Holy Father prepares the world for Jubilee 2000. At the same time the Vatican released figures showing an increase in pilgrims attending his weekly papal audiences, evidence that he remains one of the most popular leaders of the 20th century. For more, click on Pope remembers.
POPE GREETS CURIA, SUMMARIZES THE YEAR THAT
SHOWS MORE PILGRIMS AT PAPAL AUDIENCES IN 1998
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In the traditional exchange of Christmas
greetings between the Pontiff and the Roman Curia, Pope John Paul
II reviewed the events of 1998 and indicated his desire to serve the
Church through 1999, and "if it is God's will" to make several more
apostolic voyages, beginning with his January trip to Mexico and the
"I ask all of you to continue your prayers that I will be able to serve
the Lord, and the brothers he has confided to my care, with greater
love each day," the Holy Father said as he met the leaders of the
Curia in the Apostolic Palace on Tuesday.
On behalf of the Curial officials, Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, the dean
of the College of Cardinals, responded with the traditional prayer:
"Dominus te conservet et vivificet te." He observed that the power of
the Holy Spirit sustains the hearts of the faithful, and gives them
perpetual youth-- an apparent allusion to the continued health of the
In his account of the year that is drawing to a close, the Pope
emphasized the preparations for the Jubilee Year 2000. He spoke of
the "moments of reflection, such as the symposium on the Shoah,"
which have encouraged recognition for past offenses, and a renewed
sense of humble commitment to God's will. He also underlined the
importance of the City of Rome itself in the celebration of the Jubilee,
insisting that the city has a key responsibility for greeting pilgrims
and beginning a new evangelization of the entire world.
Among the "moments of great emotion and spiritual joy" during the
year, the Holy Father mentioned first his visit to Cuba, then his trips
to Nigeria, Austria, and Croatia. And among the major projects of the
year he recalled the issuance of his latest encyclical, Fides et Ratio, in
which "I wanted to express my confidence in the efforts of human
though, inviting my contemporaries to rediscover the role of reason
and to recognize that faith is a precious ally in the search for truth."
The number of pilgrims attending papal
audiences and public events in 1998 was up by 61 percent in 1998,
according to figures released on Tuesday by the Pontifical Household.
Nearly 2 million people saw the Pope during audiences and special
ceremonies, the report indicated. The official attendance figures
showed 1,946,050 people participating at papal ceremonies this year,
as against 1,192,580 in 1997.
Through December 22, 656,200 people had attended the weekly
papal audiences on Wednesdays, 518,000 had attended other special
audiences, and religious ceremonies had brought 771,850 faithful to
Chaldean Catholics give thanks for possible peace at Christmas
Just a week ago the outlook for a peaceful Christmas for Iraqi Catholics seemed pretty remote, but through the constant, fervent prayers of the people the politically correct mentality of the Clinton administration stopped the senseless bombings after four days of idiotic strikes that ended as it started - suddenly and with no rhyme nor reason for why it was launched in the first place. It seemed pretty ridiculous that they would honor Ramadan but pay little heed to Christmas for the majority of U.S. troops as well as the Chaldean Catholics who now can concentrate on the star of Bethlehem instead of missiles and anti-aircraft artillery. For more, click on Chaldean Catholics
CHURCH IN IRAQ THANKS GOD AFTER AIR BOMBING ENDS
ROME, 22 (NE) After the ceasing of the recent Anglo-American
air bombing over Iraq, the Catholic community in the Mid East
country thanked God for listening to their insistent prayers.
"We have prayed everyday so that the attacks end. Now we pray to
God and we thank Him for the end of the air bombings… Now we can
celebrate Christmas," said Father Bassel Marrougi, from the
parish Sacred Heart, in Al Wadha, a neighborhood in Northwest
Baghdad. Ceasing the attacks five days before the celebration of
Christmas has filled with joy the hearts of the catholic Iraqis.
The possibility of a new attack and the difficult economic
situation that Iraq is going though due to the blockade and the
sanctions that the UN has imposed for more than 8 years generate
an atmosphere of great suffering and tension in the Iraqi
The Catholic community in Iraq is trying to confront this fact
with hope in the Lord and with fervent prayers. The Catholic
Church in Iraq, say official sources, has 621,000 members, which
represents 3.04% of its population. The bordering countries to
Iraq have considerably less: Syria has 295,000 Catholics
(2.08%), Kuwait has 152,00 (9.14%), Jordan has 66,000 (1,21%),
Turkey has 30,000 (0.05%) and Iran has 13,000 (0,02%).
Therefore, within the countries of the region, Iraq is the one
that has, by far, the greatest number of Catholics and is the
second in percentage compared to its total population.
Furthermore, it is one of the Muslim countries where Catholics
are best treated.
Cardinal O'Connor urges reflection on reconciliation to stop the culture of death
Following in the same vein as fellow Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap., the Archbishop of New York City Cardinal John O'Connor has issued a Pastoral Letter calling for a greater attention to reconciliation in preparation for Jubilee 2000. He calls for a concerted effort to diminish the culture of death by emphasizing the sanctity of life which begins with the birth of the Savior on Christmas morn. He links reconciliation of mankind with the birth of Christ, His life, passion and death; then His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven. Victory, the Cardinal points out, can be had by following God's Will and heeding His laws. For more, click on Cardinal O'Connor.
ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK HIGHLIGHTS CENTRALITY OF RECONCILIATION
FOR CELEBRATION OF GREAT JUBILEE
NEW YORK, 22 (NE) Cardinal John O´Connor, Archbishop of New
York, recently highlighted in his Christmas Pastoral Letter the
centrality of reconciliation in the celebrations of the Great
Jubilee. "Why do we rejoice in celebrating Christ's coming as a
man? We rejoice, we are jubilant because of his reason for
coming: to reconcile us. He reconciled us by becoming not simply
one of us. He made us one with himself," said the Cardinal. The
Lord Jesus "made possible our purification, our renewal, our
reconciliation with his Father. He began that process by being
conceived in the womb of a woman, by being born into the world
on the first Christmas Day, by being crucified unto death, by
rising to restore us to life… That's what the great jubilee will
commemorate. That's why we will be jubilant."
Expressing his hope "that a year, a millennium, of
reconciliation will see an end to the culture of death," the
Archbishop of New York invited Catholics of his archdiocese to
actively work for the reconciliation of mankind, so that we
could see "an end to killing; to the destruction of infants in
or leaving their mothers' wombs; the killing of men and women on
endless battlefields; the destruction of the poor by oppression
and greed and indifference; the killing of minds by the poisons
of pornography; the self-destruction of human lives by suicide."
"We prepare for a year -for a thousand years- of great
reconciliation: reconciliation of the whole world with itself,
with God," said Cardinal O´Connor.
"Be at peace and learn to live together and love one another" Jerusalem Patriarch urges in striving for reconciliation among Palestinian Christians and Muslims
Using the occasion of the Christmas message to convey his point, Patriarch Michel Sabbah warned Palestinians that they are mere puppets being pulled by foreign powers who do not have the welfare of Palestine and its people at the top of their list. He included Israel in this accusation because of the Jews' failure to act on the peace accords. Representing the towns of Our Lord - Bethlehem and Nazareth, he urged all Palestinians to unite and put aside their differences in creed to stand as one against influences from outside sources who seek to stir up animosity between Christianity and Islamism. For more, click on Holy Land Patriarch
JERUSALEM PATRIARCH URGES PALESTINIAN CHRISTIAN, MUSLIM UNITY
JERUSALEM (CWNews.com) - The Latin-rite Patriarch of
Jerusalem and the Holy Land on Tuesday called for
Palestinian Christians and Muslims to put aside their
differences for the common good.
Patriarch Michel Sabbah warned that "a foreign hand" is the
source of discord in disputes between Christian and Muslims
in Israel and Palestinian areas, especially the town of
Nazareth. He did not elaborate on who or what the "foreign
hand" was. In his annual Christmas message, the Patriarch
also warned Israel that any delay in the implementation of
the peace accords would cause a growth of fear and
Patriarch Sabbah also condemned the recent US and British
air strikes on Iraq last week. "In Iraq, a whole people
remains hostage to political world conflicts ... We affirm
that no reason whatsoever can justify and tranquilize the
conscience of those who impose death upon a whole people,"
In Nazareth, city elections this year brought several
Islamist candidates into power in the city's council. The
town already has a Christian mayor. The election tensions
erupted into street battles between Christians and Muslims
earlier this month.
Fatima to be bigger and better in the new millennium!
In 1917 Our Lady asked the visionaries that a chapel be built on the site where she had appeared. Today there are plans underway to build one of the largest churches in the world at that famous site outside Lisbon, Portugal. Architects and planners are mulling over three different plans, hoping to settle on one edifice that could be built by 2005 and seat more than 10,000 pilgrims. That is massive and who knows, with the imminent Triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart which she promised at Fatima that one of the visionaries Lucia would witness, it should be full constantly with faithful who have come back to the one, true Church. For more, click on New Fatima Basilica
NEW BASILICA FOR THE VIRGIN OF FATIMA
LISBON, 21 (NE) The devotion to the Virgin of Fatima in
Portugal has lead to plans for a new Basilica for the Mother of
God. Before this year ends, 14 experts in different fields will
gather together in Fatima to analyze three projects that have
been chosen in order to build the new Basilica, which will
welcome the thousands of pilgrims that each year visit this
sanctuary in Portugal. It is expected that the Basilica will
finally be ready in the year 2005. As it has been informed, the
new temple will be able to receive 10.000 persons seated.
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. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.
December 23-27, 1998 volume 9, no. 248 DAILY CATHOLIC