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FRI-SAT-SUN-MON      July 2-5, 1999      SECTION THREE       vol 10, no. 128

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Events this weekend in Church History

     One thousand, six hundred and eighty-eight years ago Friday is the anniversary of the election of Pope Saint Militiades who became both the 32nd successor of Peter and first African Pontiff. His three year pontificate is significant not just because he built the St. John Lateran Basilica but because it was during his reign that the Roman Emperor Constantine saw the sign in the sky "In hoc signo vinces" and issued his decree of tolerance for the Christian faith, setting in motion a tremendous growth and the end of the Roman persecutions. For other events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history this weekend, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

Historical Events in Church Annals for July 2:

Historical Events in Church Annals for July 3:

Historical Events in Church Annals for July 4:

Historical Events in Church Annals for July 5:

Historical Events in Church Annals for July 6:

with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service and Noticias Eclesiales Church News and ZENIT International News Agency


Latin Patriarch and Apostolic Nuncio Comment on Papal Letter

      JERUSALEM, JUL 1 (ZENIT).- John Paul II's letter, in which he expresses his desire to undertake a great pilgrimage to the places of Revelation, has sparked much interest in the Palestinian and Israeli press.

      Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem, who just returned from Amman, the capital of Jordan, where he was elected president of the Pax Christi International Movement, told Vatican Radio that "we Catholics, but really all Christians, await this pilgrimage of the Holy Father, and we say to him now with all our heart: 'Welcome! This land is your land, as Peter's successor. This is Peter's land, Jesus' and the Holy Father's.' He himself admits he must return every now and then, because it is the land of the roots."

      The Patriarch disclosed that the Christians wait with anticipation for the publication of the dates of the papal trip. The Israeli Minister of Tourism mentioned the month of March, but this has not been confirmed by the Holy See.

      Sabbah insists that, as the papal letter states, John Paul II "is coming only to pray." He added: "We will pray for him and for the whole Church."

      The Patriarch's great wish us that "it will be a pilgrimage of hope, prayer and peace, as well as reconciliation among all the peoples of the region."

      Archbishop Pietro Sambi, apostolic delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine and apostolic nuncio in Israel, described the letter as "a profound meditation, both emotional and personal, on the places linked to our redemption. I was impressed by the passage in which he quotes phrases from his diary written in 1965, when he visited the Holy Land. The Pope clearly expresses what these places evoke and mean to him. But he also points out to the faithful the spirit of faith with which they also must visit the holy places."

      Archbishop Sambi emphasized the ecumenical dimension of the letter. "The Pope has a profound desire for the unity of the Christian Churches; he expresses it in few but very intense words. He is also interested in the dialogue among the three monotheist religions."

      John Paul II's representative in Israel disclosed that those in charge of the sacred places have started to work on a plan to welcome and give spiritual encouragement to the pilgrims who will come to the Holy Land, on the occasion of the year 2000. Last week, the experiment made with participants in the 4th World Meeting of Priests was very successful. They were in direct contact with the parishes and communities of these places.

      Archbishop Sambi commented, "This is a contact that must be fostered. But it is important to keep in mind that it must be planned before the pilgrim group leaves its own country. The exchange between the priests of communities of the Holy Land and pilgrim groups must be especially encouraged." ZE99070106


Archbishop Santos Abril Expresses Closeness to Orthodox and Moslems

      PEC, KOSOVO, JUL 1 (ZENIT).- Archbishop Santos Abril, the Holy See's apostolic nuncio in Belgrade, was among the first Westerners to enter Kosovo, along with the international troops responsible for ensuring the safe return of the Kosovo Albanian refugees.

      "I arrived in Pec to meet the Catholic community. During my trip, I was able to embrace the new Bishop of Montenegro and Bishop Marko Sopi of Kosovo, director of Caritas-Yugoslavia. I was also able to greet the leaders of the Orthodox Church in Pec," the papal representative in Yugoslavia said.

      Archbishop Santos Abril expressed his special closeness and concern for the Orthodox religious authorities and asked them for news on the situation of the Kosovo Serbs, who are now, themselves, victims of ethnic cleansing.

      Because of this, the papal representative contacted leaders of KFOR to request "that NATO's presence be a source of security for these people who are now in difficulty. I also asked them to protect the sacred places of worship."

      In statements to the Italian newspaper "Avvenire," Archbishop Santos Abril disclosed that he had very useful meetings with the priests of the Orthodox Church, geared toward improving relations with that Church, as well as providing it aid. "We told them that we are here to help. I did the same when I met the Moslem leaders. We, the Catholic Church, want to be a link, a point of meeting, a bridge of brotherhood for all, in order to really help these people. We want to tell them that reciprocal collaboration will guarantee security for all."

      The Catholic Church is able to have this role in Yugoslavia, and in post-war Kosovo, because during the most difficult moments the Church maintained a position of respect and solidarity with all: Orthodox, and Moslems, with no ethnic or religious distinctions.

      After being on the streets of Kosovo over the last few days, the nuncio concluded that the most important element for the reconstruction of the country is to "demolish the wall of hatred and resentment." ZE99070102


      NEW YORK ( - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Wednesday that the nations of the world must address the issue of increasing population, but critics say the UN's answer is increased abortion, contraception, and teen sex education.

      "To no small extent, your efforts will help determine the way future generations live on this Earth: their health, the range of their choices, the stability of their societies," said Annan at a luncheon for participants in a three-day conference on population issues. The meeting follows on the UN population conference in Cairo five years ago, deciding on news ways to implement its conclusions.

      "Since Cairo, the world does understand ... that we have to stabilize the population of this planet," Annan said in his opening speech to the General Assembly. But increasing numbers of developing countries, mainly Catholic and Muslim nations and the Vatican, see the UN focus on population control as an attempt by the Western industrialized nations to remake the developing world in their image.

      US Assistant Secretary of State Julia Taft said the controversial preparatory meetings -- which saw the harassment of several pro-life, Catholic, and Muslim non-governmental organizations by pro-abortion officials -- had shown that population issues, especially women's reproductive issues, and development are linked. But several delegates said the key to development is not decreasing the number of people to accommodate the limited wealth, but to increase the opportunities for wealth and progress.


      CALI, Colombia ( - Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cansino of Cali, Colombia, personally presented a formal accusation against the rebels of the National Liberation Army (ELN) before the Inter-American Court on Tuesday, a month after the ELN kidnapped more than 160 churchgoers from La Maria Catholic Church in Cali.

      Archbishop Duarte said that he has accused the ELN before the court located in San Jose, Costa Rica, "for the systematic violation of international human rights." He said that he has also addressed a letter to the embassies of "some European countries" demanding the international isolation of the rebels, who still hold 45 hostages, allegedly demanding ransom for their release. "Only the international isolation of the ELN will force them to comply with human rights and to engage in concrete peace talks," the archbishop said.

      Meanwhile, the relatives of the 45 hostages still held by the ELN issued a public statement supporting the charges of Archbishop Duarte and announcing that no family will pay ransom for the release of their relatives held hostage by the ELN.

      "All of us, including the relatives of the three foreigners, a North American, a Frenchman, and a Spaniard, have agreed to force the ELN to release our loved ones without any ransom," said Felipe Iragorri, spokesman for the relatives.

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 and ZENIT International News Agency. These news services are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

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July 2-5, 1999 volume 10, no. 128   DAILY CATHOLIC