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MONDAY      November 16, 1998      SECTION TWO       vol 9, no. 224

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     Today is the Thirty-third Monday in Ordinary Time as well as the feasts of two women saints - Saint Gertrude the Great, virgin, religious and mystic, and Saint Margaret of Scotland, wife, mother and ruler. Tomorrow we celebrate the feast of another wife and mother who also became a religious - Saint Elizabeth of Hungary For the readings, liturgy, meditations and vignettes on these feasts, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.

Monday, November 16, 1998

Feast of Saint Gertrude the Great, Virgin, Religious and Mystic

Feast of Saint Margaret of Scotland, Wife, Mother and Queen

Tuesday, November 17, 1998

Feast of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, Wife, Mother and Religious


      Today's Prayer is taken from the Opening Prayer for the Masses honoring Saint Gertrude and then Saint Margaret of Scotland:

Father, You filled the heart of St. Gertrude with the presence of Your love. Bring light into our darkness and let us experience the joy of Your presence and the power of Your grace.

Lord, You gave St. Margaret of Scotland a special love for the poor. Let her example and prayers help us to become a living sign of Your goodness.

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      BAGHDAD ( - "How can you agree to this genocide, have you no conscience? No reason can warrant a similar attack on the life of whole nation." That appeal cry, addressed to US President Bill Clinton, was the dramatic highlight of an interview granted to the Roman news agency Fides by the Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid, the Chaldean Catholic leader of Baghdad. The Patriarch's emotional appeal was in response to new threats of an American military strike against Iraq.

      Most of Iraq's 20 million people are Muslims, but there are also about 1 million Christians living in the country. Of these, 80 percent are Catholics. The majority of Iraq's Catholics are members of the Chaldean Church, which uses Aramaic-- the language of Jesus-- in the liturgy. A smaller number of Iraqi Catholics follow the Latin Rite.

      "We were horrified to hear there will be another war, another bombing," the Patriarch told Fides. He told the Roman agency, which is affiliated with the Vatican Congregation for Evangelization, that the people of Iraq have been suffering under and international embargo, and hoping that it would soon be lifted. "The embargo has crippled the population," he said; "most people live in miserable, unhealthy conditions from which there is no escape."

      The Patriarch also reminded Fides of Pope John Paul II's desire to visit Iraq. Sources at the Vatican have indicated that a papal trip to the land of Abraham's birthplace is being considered for November 1999.

      Patriarch Raphael II Bidawid is the spiritual leader of the Chaldean Catholic Church, an Eastern-rite Catholic community of some 600,000 believers-- most of them living in Iraq and Iran. From his residence in Baghdad, the Patriarch issued the emotional plea for peace, in response to American threats of a military strike against Iraq.

      The following is a direct translation of an interview offered by the Patriarch to the Vatican news agency Fides. It is reproduced here with permission.

Fides: Your Beatitude, what has been your reaction to this new threat of war?

Patriarch: We were horrified to hear there will be another war, another bombing attack, although limited to striking certain "strategic points" in Iraq. These points could turn out to be in fact some of the country's essential infrastructures, as it happened in 1990. We firmly protest with all our strength against this threat.

      Among the people there is great fear and disappointment: we were expecting a lifting, even partial, of the embargo which has punished the nation for eight long years.

Fides: What would you say to President Clinton?

Patriarch: I would ask him how he can do this. How can you agree to this genocide? Have you no conscience? No reason can warrant a similar attack on the life of whole nation."

Fides: What have been the consequences of the embargo?

Patriarch: The embargo has crippled the population; most people live in miserable, unhealthy conditions from which there is no escape. It is estimated that the lack of basic food and essential medicines has caused the death of over 1 million Iraqi children. Because of the embargo some 20,000 children continue to die every month, either at home or in the hospitals. This is a tragedy, if not a genocide, inadmissible in these "civilized" times of ours. If this is the New World Order of which so much is said, then we reject it.

Fides: The Holy Father would like to visit Iraq. Is this possible?

Patriarch: When I visited Rome last October, the Pope re-confirmed to me his desire-- not to say his determination-- to undertake a pilgrimage following the steps of Father Abraham, beginning at Ur of the Chaldeans. The Holy See's Secretariat of State is examining the possibility of a visit in November 1999. For our part, we are working to convince the government to extend an official invitation to the Pope to visit Iraq.


      WASHINGTON, DC ( - A philanthropy watchdog group reported that a national Catholic charity continues to support pro-abortion and other groups opposed to Catholic teaching despite recent changes in policy.

      The Capital Research Center said in an October report that the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which is designed to reduce to poverty in the US, provided grants in 1997 to organizations aligned with such pro-abortion groups as the National Organization for Women and advocacy groups that sponsored the 1996 "Fight for the Right March" in San Francisco, whose stated goal was to support "abortion rights and reproductive freedom ... [and] lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights."

      The campaign's annual fundraising drive in Catholic parishes through the country is scheduled for November 21-22. Although the group's guidelines forbid direct funding of projects or organizations contrary to Catholic teaching, the grants often allow the shifting of funds toward that purpose, the Center reported.

      The report also accused the campaign, founded in 1972 and under the oversight of the committee of the US bishops' conference, of supporting policies and groups that advance the principles of liberation theology, which states that political empowerment is necessary for salvation and has been condemned by the Magisterium.

      The campaign has proposed new guidelines, to be approved by the bishops' oversight committee, that forbid funding of organizations that violate the Church's teachings on human life and dignity, and not just projects that directly violate that teaching. But the Capital Research Center, in its report, asked: "... If it is now inappropriate for CCHD to fund groups engaged in abortion advocacy, why weren’t such grants forbidden in the past?"


      DALLAS ( - The Diocese of Dallas has initiated proceedings to remove the preaching faculties from a priest accused of sexually abusing children, The Dallas Morning News newspaper reported on Friday and confirmed on Saturday that Bishop Charles V. Grahmann suspended Father Kenneth Roberts, who had been ordered in 1995 to end all public ministry, including the public celebration of Mass, after a settlement was made in a similar case in St. Louis. But the priest is now suspected of using the Internet, radio, and television to practice ministry, and was ordered by Bishop Grahmann to cease immediately.

      Father Roberts said through a spokesman that he denies the accusations made against him in St. Louis and, before that, in Peoria, Illinois. He added that he could not comment on the Dallas allegations because he said he suffered from blackouts and amnesia related to illness during that time. He has not been charged in criminal or civil courts.


      VATICAN ( -- Cardinal Jozef Tomko, the prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Evangelization, today lamented that the growth in the number of Catholics is not keeping pace with the overall growth of the world's population. In recent years, he said, the Catholic proportion of the world's population has dropped from 18 to 17 percent.

      The figures submitted by the Congregation for Evangelization indicate that there are 2 billion Christians among the world's 5.8 billion people. Of these, roughly 1 billion are Catholics.

      "The missionary field is immense," said Cardinal Tomko. "One could say that two-thirds of humanity does not know Jesus Christ, in terms of faith." Citing the encyclical Redemptoris Missio, he added: "The mission of Christ the Redeemer, confided to the Church, is far from being accomplished. At the end of the second millennium since his coming, that mission is still at its beginnings stages"

      Nevertheless, the cardinal continued, the Church's missionary work shows many "tangible signs of belief." He pointed to Africa, in particular, as a rich field for missionary work, despite the "interior and exterior" challenges. He cited Asia as the continent where the missionary challenge is greatest, since Catholics comprise only a tiny faction of the population.

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.

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November 16, 1998 volume 9, no. 224   DAILY CATHOLIC