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THURSDAY      November 12, 1998      SECTION TWO       vol 9, no. 222

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NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN ( -- A storm interrupted Pope John Paul II today during his regular weekly public audience. Before wind-swept rain cleared St. Peter's Square, the Pope has been speaking on the theological virtue of hope.

      In the 24th talk of his series on the Holy Spirit, the Pope said that hope is an antidote to pessimism. He told the crowd of pilgrims that the Holy Spirit gives believers access to "perfect hope." And that virtue is particularly valuable today, in a world where "so many dangers menace the future of humanity, and so many uncertainties cloud our personal futures"--where "the crisis of a sense of existence and the enigma of death and suffering keep knocking on the port of the contemporary heart." Through the work of the Spirit, he continued, the "message of hope which comes through Jesus Christ brightens the dark horizon of uncertainty and pessimism."

      As the Pope spoke, rains began to sweep through the Square, and tourists began seeking shelter under the colonnades. Although the platform from which the Pope speaks is protected from sun and rain by a canopy, the wind drove the rain at an angle under that canopy, and the Pope was forced to cut his appearance short.


      VATICAN ( -- In an address to the General Assembly of the United Nations, Archbishop Renato Martino, the Vatican's permanent representative to the international body, has said that the security of Israel depends in large part on recognition of the rights of Palestinians.

      Speaking during a discussion of aid shipments for Palestinian refugees, Archbishop Martino emphasized the need to secure "the rights of Palestinians to freedom of religion, and their access to education, medical care, and employment."

      While expressing some concerns about the Wye Plantation accord between Israel and Palestine, and noticing the threats to that accord from terrorist acts, Archbishop Martino nevertheless called for rapid implementation of the peace terms. "At the same time," he continued, "my delegation is convinced that the security of the Israeli people will only be guaranteed when the rights of Palestinians are assured."

      The archbishop also reiterated Vatican concerns regarding the status of Jerusalem, and insisted that the Holy City should be under international guarantees, protecting its special character. He refused to distinguish between the specific holy sites in the city-- the shrines of the great monotheistic religions-- and the city as a whole, saying that Jerusalem itself has a special role in the world's cultural heritage.


      VATICAN ( -- Vatican Radio has praised the government of France for writing off debts owed by Nicaragua and Honduras in the wake of the devastating hurricane that swept through both Central American nations. The radio broadcast also acknowledged the gesture of Cuba, which has forgiven debts owed by Nicaragua.

      The Vatican Radio broadcast recalled that Pope John Paul II has called frequently for efforts to relieve the debts owed by impoverished nations, suggesting in particular that a moratorium on debt payment would be an appropriate way to observe the Jubilee Year.


      CHICAGO ( - The National Council of Churches will make a strong case against school voucher programs at its annual general assembly on Wednesday, according to the Chicago Tribune newspaper.

      The council will propose a new policy that opposes vouchers for private schools in favor of public schools, the newspaper reported on Wednesday. The group will also argue that conservative Christians have created the impression that most religious groups want school vouchers. The statement comes two days after the US Supreme Court rejected a challenge to a Wisconsin law that provide vouchers for poor families to send their children to private schools, including religious ones.

      The newspaper also reported that Cardinal Francis George on Tuesday announced the Catholic Conference of Illinois will renew their efforts to have the state government approve a system of school vouchers or tax credits for families.

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.


"To eat too much honey is not good; nor to seek honor after honor."

Proverbs 25: 27

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November 12, 1998 volume 9, no. 222   DAILY CATHOLIC