Death of Blessed Diana d'Andolo, virgin and religious. Her family tried to force her into marriage twice, even removing her from a convent by force, but when she refused and stole back to the convent, they realized they could not interfere with the Will of God.
Saint Joan of Arc enters Orleans where she would engage the Earl of Suffolk in battle and a week later become victorious over the British leader. This victory would forever endear her to the French as the "Maid of Orleans."
The place he chose is Wigry, a small village of 200 people located in the northeast of the country, near the Lithuanian border. It is a land of dense forests and limpid lakes. The village is named after the lake and the monastery built in the 17th century by the Camaldolese who, for centuries, were the guiding light of popular Marian devotion in this whole region.
The monastery, which was damaged during the First World War and destroyed during the Second, has been patiently rebuilt thanks to the combined efforts of the Church and the government.
"Forty-one years ago when he was visiting here, the future Pontiff received an urgent message from Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski to return to Warsaw, as a letter had arrived from Rome from Pius XII appointing him Auxiliary Bishop of Krakow," the same villager said.
During the day, John Paul II made a boat excursion through the canals and forests of the region. He left Wigry by car this morning, and arrived at the most important tourist center of the area. But, during his tour, he stopped to talk to a family of farmers, a couple with five children, with whom he spoke for some fifteen minutes on the problems of agricultural work.
The sky was cloudy and there was some rain, but this Northern zone was not robbed of its beauty. Nor did yesterday's afternoon rains impede the Pope's serene contemplation of lake Wigry and the swans that glided away at the papal boat's approach.
In fact, John Paul II is not making a pause in his apostolic trip. He is simply continuing in another dimension: that of spiritual communion with his native land, which he has loved from his youth, in the beauty of its natural surroundings. ZE99060902
"Blessed are those persecuted in the cause of justice," was the headline on the front page of "Zycie Varsawy" [Warsaw Life]; "Time of New Martyrs," was writ large in "Rzeczpospolita" [Republic]; "The Grace of Martyrdom," headed "Zycie" [Life], in reference to Father Popielusko, killed by the communist police; and "Gazeta Wyborcza" [Electoral Journal], which came into existence exactly ten years ago during semi-free elections in communist Poland and today is the paper with the largest circulation, focused on the topic "Faith and Reason."
Adam Michnik, director of the "Gazeta" and former dissident, asked Bishop Tadeusz Pieronek to write a column on the Pontiff's visit, where he wrote, "The Pope's message to Poland is couched in terms of the transcendent, and he shows this by his intense appeal to the duty of Christian witness."
According to Senator Krzysztof Piesiewicz, former collaborator of deceased film director Kieslowski, John Paul II has touched upon the fundamental values which affect the roots of the Polish people. "The past, the present, and the future of our history find a profound unity in the pontifical message," Piesiewicz wrote in "Zycie."
The same paper published an interview with Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus, who came to Elk with thousands of compatriots to attend the papal Mass. "John Paul II has a special place in the heart of Lithuanians, because we are very aware of the important role he played in promoting democracy in our region," he confided.
On the eve of the papal visit, all the newspapers published inserts and special sections on different aspects of this pontificate. Among other things, they published a large calendar of events, similar to what is printed for the Soccer World Cup or the Olympic Games.
A survey published a few days ago revealed that the great majority of Poles, about 81%, feel great affection for the Pope and consider his work decisive for the good of the nation. The rest are more or less indifferent, and only 7% are negative. Among the latter, of course, is the satirical weekly "Nie" [No], directed by Jerzy Urban, Jaruzelski's former spokesman. In his latest edition, he launched a crusade against the government's decision to prohibit advertisements of women's underwear and bikinis on the Pope's routes. ZE99060901
But the Holy See newspaper is cautious. "Prudence prevents the announcement of peace, but the diplomatic work seems to be coming to an end with a peaceful solution to the grave crisis in Kosovo."
From the very beginning, the Holy See maintained this was the only solution; that is, that negotiations return to the heart of the United Nations, respecting the norms of international law.
On June 3, John Paul II met with U.N. secretary general, Kofi Annan, at the Pope's request, to encourage the U.N. to take its place as protagonist in the pacification of Kosovo. That same day, Holy See spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said the Holy Father stressed "the importance that the end of hostilities be accomplished under the aegis of the United Nations, that there be a simultaneous return of the refugees to the region of Kosovo, and that the help of an international peace force be accepted by all parts."
Following the U.N. resolution, Kosovo will have a multinational force to protect it. The fundamental question continues to be dates. According to L'Osservatore Romano, both Russia and China, which have the veto power in the U.N., want NATO's bombing to stop before the adoption of the resolution. "There are important details that remain to be resolved, but the latest diplomatic statements are characterized by optimism," states the newspaper.
The resolution will be adopted by the Security Council in virtue of article VII of the U.N. Charter, which authorizes the use of force in certain circumstances. The situation in Kosovo is defined as a threat to peace and stability in the world. This allows the international community to intervene in a conflict that Belgrade had described up to now as an internal question. Kosovo will be controlled by a temporary administration, under the authority of a representative of the U.N. secretary general.
In the preamble, the draft of the resolution confirms the commitment to safeguard the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, of which Kosovo forms a part. But, according to the United States, the door to independence is not being closed. In any event, the resolution only refers to restoration of the autonomy removed from Kosovo ten years ago by the then president of Serbia and current president of the Yugoslavian Federation -- Slobodan Milosevic.
In spite of Russia's objections, the resolution requests that the multinational force give full cooperation to the International Criminal Court of The Hague in investigating war crimes of war and crimes against humanity in former Yugoslavia. As is well known, some days ago the Court accused Milosevic and four other influential Belgrade politicians and military men of such crimes.
Meanwhile, from the Vatican in a related story by CWN, in an interview published by the Italian weekly Famiglia Cristiana, Archbishop Franc Perko of Belgrade argues that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is "not solely responsible" for the warfare in the Balkans. The archbishop also says that the deployment of an international peacekeeping force in Kosovo would be "a benefit for Serbia."
In the Famiglia Cristiana interview, which appeared on the newsstands on June 9, Archbishop Perko says that he has high hopes for a compromise agreement that could end the fighting. Such a compromise, he continued, would be possible only if "all the parties involved-- the Serbs, the Albanians, and NATO-- are ready to make some sacrifices."
The archbishop charged that "there are two sides responsible for the tragedy in the Balkans. The Serbian leadership, he said, has taken advantage of the "historical and spiritual ties" which Serbs feel toward Kosovo, in order to mount their offensive, since an independent Kosovo "is inconceivable to the Serbian citizen." On the other hand, he said, the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo had "exaggerated" the wrongs they have suffered under Serbian government, and because they began their own armed struggle for autonomy they should bear "part of the responsibility for the explosion of violence in the region." These facts have been submerged by the inflamed rhetoric surrounding the conflict, the archbishop noted. He cited the words of Pope John Paul II: "Truth is always the first casualty of war."
Archbishop Perko has consistently argued in favor of an international peacekeeping presence in Kosovo; in fact he was once detained and questioned by Serbian authorities because of his strong public stand on that issue. "Only that sort of contingent could give the refugees the necessary confidence, and guarantee their security so that they can return to Kosovo." He added that only an international force would be able to disarm the Kosovo liberation fighters. In the absence of such intervention, he reasoned, Serbian troops in Kosovo would face the prospect of a long, costly conflict with Kosovar guerillas.
A group of National Liberation Army rebels in motorboats waylaid a sportfishing expedition on the Magdalena River near Barranquilla on Sunday and took between eight and 11 of the 30 people hostage. Last Sunday, ELN rebels took 140 people from a Catholic church in Cali and continue to hold about 55 people from that raid, and in April kidnapped 41 people from an Avianca Airlines flight and still hold 25 of those people.
Jose Alfredo Escobar, the government anti-kidnapping czar, insisted that ELN was behind the kidnappings although no one has yet claimed responsibility. He added that he expected ELN to release about half of the remaining Cali hostages within the next few days.
Meanwhile, sources with the Cuban-backed National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels quoted by the Colombian newspaper El Expectador have said that a leader of the group met a "top Vatican authority" in Rome and apologized for kidnapping churchgoers last week.
The ELN sources told El Expectador that leader Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista -- known as "Gabino" -- traveled to Germany and the Vatican to announce the ELN's decision to release 25 hostages from a commercial airplane kidnapped in April, as well as the "50 or 52" hostages remaining in hands of the ELN after the kidnapping of churchgoers at a Catholic church in the city of Cali.
"As a response, the ELN expects the government to agree to create a demilitarized area to allow the ELN hold its national convention," the source said. According to the report, "Gabino" met last week with a "Vatican authority close to Pope John Paul II" and apologized for kidnapping churchgoers. "This was a wrong decision, a mistake that will be corrected," Gabino allegedly told the Vatican authority.
The source also said that the meeting of "Gabino" at the Vatican was mediated by Bernd Schmidbauer, former German Minister of the Interior and at present a Social Christian congressman at the German Parliament. The Archbishop of Cali, Isaias Duarte Cansino, reacted to the ELN's statement by recalling that the Holy Father "has energetically condemned the kidnapping of churchgoers." He added, "If the rebels want to express any regret for their savage action, the only credible way to do it is by releasing all hostages without any precondition."
The House passed the bill 217-214, but the Senate is not expected to approve it. Last year, the Senate failed to approve the measure after it was passed by the House then. "There is something terribly wrong" when the Food and Drug Administration uses taxpayers' dollars for "drugs that are designed to kill unborn children," said sponsor Rep. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma. "Another baby pesticide that kills babies," said Rep. Christopher Smith, R-New Jersey. "Come up with drugs that heal."
The ban was part of the $61 billion agriculture, food, and drug funding bill approved by the House by 246-183.
In Dallas, Monday Texas Gov. George W. Bush, a leading candidate for the Republican nomination for US president next year, signed into law a bill requiring that parents be notified when their underage daughters seek abortions.
Under the law, effective Sept. 1, an unmarried girl under age 18 cannot get an abortion until one of her parents is notified or she gets a judge's permission. The law does not require the parent's consent. Bush said the new law respects the sanctity of the family and protects life.
Bush has said the law will reduce the number of abortions in the state and "involve parents in this major decision of their minor daughters." Of the 84,870 abortions reported in 1997 to the Texas Department of Health, about 5,500 were performed on minors. Bush had come under fire from some pro-life conservatives for not being strong enough on the pro-life issue as he begins his national campaign for president.
While in Florida's state capitol of Tallahassee, George's brother Florida Governor Jeb Bush on Wednesday signed into a law authorizing the creation of a new "Choose Life" vanity license plate, upholding a campaign pledge to sign the bill.
The new plate, which will be available later this year, will feature crayon-like drawings of a boy and a girl holding hands under the "Choose Life" slogan. The plate was approved after the group Choose Life, Inc. collected 10,000 signatures and $30,000 for the mandatory fee before the Legislature will consider it.
Critics of the plate say "Choose Life" is a political message making it inappropriate for a license plate. The Choose Life plate was one of a half-dozen new specialty plates that won approval this year, bringing the total available in Florida to 51.
The New York Post said the store will bed linens, china, gift boxes, stationery, floor tiles, and other items. No site has been picked, but an architect has been hired and says the stores will have a Vatican theme, complete with ceiling frescoes.
The Post reports the New York City store will be the first of over 400 around the world. The mass marketing effort follows in the steps of the Vatican Library Line of merchandise, which includes rosary boxes, pens, key chains, and rings with prayers inscribed inside. All earnings from the stores go toward renovations of the library and museum.