DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     April 23-25, 1999     vol. 10, no. 80

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

CWN VATICAN UPDATE HEADLINES:

  • POPE MEETS GUATEMALAN PRESIDENT
  • NOBELISTS HEAR POPE'S PLEA FOR PEACE
  • NEW REPORTS OF MIRACLE THROUGH PADRE PIO
  • SERVE YOUTH, POPE ASKS QUEBEC BISHOPS
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NEW REPORTS OF MIRACLE THROUGH PADRE PIO

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Just days prior to the beatification of Padre Pio-- which will take place on May 2-- an Italian newspaper has reported another apparent miracle attributed to the intercession of the Capuchin monk.

          A story in the April 22 edition of Il Messaggero tells of a young man who was badly injured in a traffic accident, and lapsed into a deep coma. Although he was not yet clinically dead, his condition was deteriorating. At that point a Capuchin priest, known for his devotion to Padre Pio, visited the young man and touched him with a relic of the renowned stigmatist. He responded immediately, Il Messaggero reported, and from that point the patient's condition rapidly improved.

          If the cure proves both complete and lasting, and doctors affirm that there is no scientific explanation, such an incident could qualify as a miracle. However, it is not at all clear that such a miracle would hasten the process of canonization for Padre Pio. The procedure for the canonization of saints requires the approval of one miracle, but ordinarily that miracle must take place after the candidate's beatification.

POPE MEETS GUATEMALAN PRESIDENT

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II met with Guatemala's President Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen at the Vatican on Thursday, April 22.

          One main topic for discussion during the meeting was the effort to solve the mystery surrounding the death of Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera, who was murdered in April 1998, shortly after he released a report showing that the Guatemalan army had been responsible for multiple human-rights abuses. Government investigators have not yet identified the bishop's assassins, while Catholic Church spokesmen complain that the investigation has deliberately avoided raising new questions about the role of the military.

          The conversation between President Arzu and the Holy Father also touched on the more general process of reconciliation in Guatemala after years of bloody civil warfare.

          President Arzu, who was accompanied by his government's foreign minister, Eduardo Stein, met with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, after his audience with the Pontiff.

NOBELISTS HEAR POPE'S PLEA FOR PEACE

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Speaking on April 22 to an audience that included 7 former recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize, Pope John Paul II again pleaded for an end to the fighting in the Balkans, and for "a return to dialogue and respect for the dignity of all people and communities."

          The Pope was speaking to a meeting in Rome organized by the Gorbachev Foundation, established by the former Russian leader to further research into political, economic, and social questions. The Holy Father reminded his audience that the "human tragedies" of today's world were not confined to the Balkans, but also included conflicts elsewhere around the world, "especially in Africa and Asia."

          "Peace cannot arrive as long as there are visions of man and society founded on race, religion, nationality, or-- more generally-- on exclusion," the Pope said. He added that any lasting peace must be based on "coexistence which respects the diversity among peoples, their histories, their cultures, and their spiritual traditions."

          The Nobel Peace Prize laureates in the audience were Betty Williams (who won the award in 1976), Frederik De Klerk (1983), Rigoberta Menchu (1992), Shimon Peres (1994), Joseph Rotblat (1995), David Trimble (1998), and Gorbachev himself (1990). That distinguished group had already issued its own statement calling for new negotiations to end the Kosovo fighting.

NEW REPORTS OF MIRACLE THROUGH PADRE PIO

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Just days prior to the beatification of Padre Pio-- which will take place on May 2-- an Italian newspaper has reported another apparent miracle attributed to the intercession of the Capuchin monk.

          A story in the April 22 edition of Il Messaggero tells of a young man who was badly injured in a traffic accident, and lapsed into a deep coma. Although he was not yet clinically dead, his condition was deteriorating. At that point a Capuchin priest, known for his devotion to Padre Pio, visited the young man and touched him with a relic of the renowned stigmatist. He responded immediately, Il Messaggero reported, and from that point the patient's condition rapidly improved.

          If the cure proves both complete and lasting, and doctors affirm that there is no scientific explanation, such an incident could qualify as a miracle. However, it is not at all clear that such a miracle would hasten the process of canonization for Padre Pio. The procedure for the canonization of saints requires the approval of one miracle, but ordinarily that miracle must take place after the candidate's beatification.

SERVE YOUTH, POPE ASKS QUEBEC BISHOPS

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Pope John Paul II met on April 22 with the bishops of Quebec, who were making their ad limina visit to Rome.

          In his remarks to the Canadian bishops, the Pope focused on the need to fill the pastoral needs of young people, saying that it is important to approach this work with an overall approach that recognizes the "spiritual, but also human and psychological" needs of young people. He particularly stressed that young people should be encouraged to live "a solid sacramental life," and to seek spiritual direction from faithful priests.

          Also addressing the question of priestly vocations, the Pope said that such vocations must spring from "radical engagement, which involves the gift of one's self to Christ, in the celibate life, in service to one's brothers." He urged the bishops not to let current controversies over celibacy and other issues obscure this central reality: that the priestly minister involves above all a commitment to service.

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April 23-25, 1999       volume 10, no. 80
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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