The contemporary era has known "particularly harmful forms of "theoretical" and "practical" atheism. Secularism manifests itself as particularly harmful because of its indifference toward the last things and faith," he said.
Pointing out that although in Holy Scripture there is no mention to theoretical atheism, there is a rejection of practical atheism. "More than an atheism," he added, "the Bible talks about impiety and idolatry. The impious and idolaters are those who, instead of God, prefer things of this world, which are falsely claimed to be divine."
"Atheism," he continued, "could become a form of an intolerant ideology, as history demonstrates it." The Pope reminded that the last two centuries have known currents of theoretical atheism that have rejected God on the basis of the search of an absolute autonomy of man, nature or science. "This systematic atheism has been imposed during decades offering the illusion that, by eliminating God, the person would be both psychologically and socially freer," he pointed out.
Msgr. Eleuterio Fortino, the under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, said: "The role of the churches at the end of conflicts is to heal wounds, to salve hearts, to purify memories, and to engage in the process of reconstruction." Msgr. Fortino, who himself is an Albanian priest of the Byzantine rite, added that the main task of the Church in every situation is always "the proclamation of the Gospel, which is never captured by an ethnic group or a culture."
In the Balkans, Msgr. Fortino said, Christians have a special duty to respect "the command which Christ gave his disciples, that they love one another." He observed that collaboration among Christians of different denominations and different ethnic groups could help to bridge the cultural divides of the region. The Vatican official added that Muslims, too, could help in the task of reconciliation, insofar as they share with Christians "a common reference to the transcendent."
Msgr. Fortino, who is a personal acquaintance of the Kosovo Albanian leader Ibraham Rugova, saluted his friend's choice of non-violent resistance to Serbian domination. He said that Rugova understands Christian culture, and could be a valuable mediator between the Orthodox and Muslim communities.
Meanwhile in Brussels, NATO officials have conceded that a civilian vehicle was destroyed during an air strike on a convoy in Kosovo.
Serbian authorities had charged that the NATO strike killed at least 60 civilians along the road between Pristina and Djakovica in Kosovo on Wednesday. After originally suggesting that the deaths may actually have been caused by Serbian forces, NATO today admitted responsibility for the civilian casualties.
"Serb police or military vehicles may have been in or around the convoy," the NATO statement added. NATO has charged that Serbian troops are deliberately surrounding themselves with civilians, thus using the people of Kosovo as human shields.
Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro was taken by the government of President Pasteur Bizimungu, who charged that the cleric was involved in the massacres that took place in Rwanda in 1994.
"The arrest of a bishop is an act of extreme gravity, which affects not only the Church in Rwanda but the entire Catholic Church," the Vatican said in an April 15 statement. The statement went on to say that diplomatic relations between the Rwanda and the Holy See would be "profoundly" affected by the move.
The Vatican expressed the hope that "all legal guarantees" would be in force in the trial of Bishop Misago, and confidence that "his innocence will soon be proven."
Other sources have informed that the Holy Father's visit would be in the year 2000, in order to attend the inaugural activities, during which a solemn Eucharistic celebration will be carried out in the state of Bahia. This date however seems to be difficult, because of the Pontiff's tight calendar due to celebrations and activities on occasion of the Great Jubilee of the year 2000.
If it were to be finally carried out, it would be the Pope's fourth visit to this country. The last was in 1997, on occasion of the II World Encounter of the Pope with the Families, which took place in Rio do Janeiro. The previous visits were in 1980 and 1991.
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.
We now have another great opportunity on May 1st to pray the Rosary publicly for a like cause.
We all know how sinful the world has become, and how sorely the Church today needs prayers. The "errors" from Russia that Our Lady of the Rosary at Fatima mentioned in 1917 were not limited merely to "communism". The godless errors of materialism, liberalism and humanism have continued throughout this century to infect the world to such an extent that the chastisement of God has now been placed upon us in a more subtle and serious manner: Whereas the usual wars are a grace of physical punishment and correction that work to convert men through a tangible suffering and fear, the more serious chastisements God gives take the form of spiritual catastrophes that infect the clergy and faithful with heresies -killing souls eternally- in such an intangible way that the very organ of man that should be able to recognize and reject them -the mind- is debilitated by the heresy such that it cannot often see clearly the poison that is harming them.
The Church has always taught that heresy is worse than physical murder because it kills souls eternally in hell rather than only temporally. The world is calling down the vengeance of God by its sins, not only because of abortion and sodomy, but even more so because of the heresies, sacrileges and blasphemies that are being today promoted within the Church.
It is the health of the Church that ultimately determines the health of the world.
We must strengthen the Mystical Body of Christ. Our Lady gave us the remedy in 1917 by emphasizing devotion and reparation to Her Immaculate Heart, primarily through the daily recitation of the Rosary to obtain grace for the individual, Church, and the world.
Why gather together in a group to say the Rosary when you can say it at home? God loves public prayer also, that is one reason He ordained that we give public worship every Sunday and Holy Day. We can see the special graces that have been given when we recall the victories of Our Lady that had been wrought by the Rosary at Lepanto, Brazil, Austria and other places. In Austria, for example, in 1955 where only 10% of the population in that country pledged to say the Rosary, the Communists of Russia all of a sudden agreed to its Independence. Historians are still wondering how or why such an unprecedented thing happened!
Therese Neumann, the Bavarian mystic who, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, "survived 35 years on the 'bread' of the Holy Eucharist at mass each morning at Konnersreuth, Germany", was asked three months before her death in 1962 if it was the prayers of the Austrians that had purchased their freedom seven years before. Her answer? "Definitely, definitely, it was the prayers and many Rosaries of the Austrian people which purchased them the freedom from Russian domination."
Ultimately we must be satisfied with the promise of God's Mother Herself who promised that,
Let us not be tempted to take this promise as an excuse not to fulfill
our obligations to help bring this about as soon as possible. Yes, the war
is promised to be won in the end but...
.....will you and your loved ones be casualties in this war before then?
We must work to see to it that we have the least amount of casualties, and that the victories come as soon as possible. It is a matter of saving your soul, and that of others, before the war is won. Let us help diminish the amount of time in which Our Lord and Our Lady are greatly offended.
Can you make the sacrifice to attend on May 1st? The sacrifice itself will do much for the cause. If not, can you resolve on that day and hour at least to say your rosary and unite you intentions with those who will be in front of the U.S. Capitol? If you can make that pledge, it would help strengthen the faith of those actually attending if you could give word of your pledge to the contact below.
For more information contact:
Block Rosary P.O. Box 13242 Charlotte, NC 28270-0079
Phone: 704-843-0648 Fax: 704-843-0974 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org