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MONDAY      June 21, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 119

To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE

Completing our coverage of the Pope's visit home


Twenty Cities in Thirteen Days

God is Love


The Sacred Heart

The Poles and the Pope


John Paul II Continues to Surprise Everyone, Including Poles

with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



Pope lauds Archbishop of Westminster as a shepherd of great spiritual and moral character

      LONDON, JUN 18 (ZENIT).- The Primate of England, George Basil Cardinal Hume, Archbishop of Westminster, died yesterday of cancer at the age of 76. He was former Benedictine Abbot, chosen by Pope Paul VI on February 5, 1976 as Archbishop, and named Cardinal two months later to lead a minority Church of 4.5 million Catholics. Cardinal Hume succeeded in what appeared unthinkable at the time of his appointment: -- to take the Catholic faith, regarded in these Isles with suspicion over the last 400 years, to the very heart of the English nation.

      As proof of his extraordinary ecumenical capacity, today English and foreign newspapers refer to three key events in his time as Archbishop. The Pope's visit in May, 1982, a first in history since the Reformation. A decade later, there was the entry of some 200 married Anglican pastors opposed to the Anglican ordination of women into the Catholic Church. This "drain" could have become a new and irreparable break but, instead, thanks to the Cardinal, it became an occasion of communion between the two denominations. Along with the Anglican pastors, there were some prominent conversions. Two Conservative ministers, Ann Widdecombe and John Gummer, and the Duchess of Kent, a cousin of the Queen, entered the Church at Westminster Cathedral. Finally, in 1995 the Queen herself attended an ecumenical service in the Catholic Cathedral. At the time, there was talk of a Catholic conspiracy in the press, as many believed the country's spiritual leadership had passed from Canterbury to Rome.

      Cardinal Hume was born on March 2, 1923 to a family of mixed religions. His father, a Scot, was Protestant, while his mother was a French Catholic, both belonging to the nobility. The future Cardinal learned about the dialogue between confessions at the same time he learned the languages, refining his French with studies at the Swiss University of Freibourg. He was Abbot of Ampleforth Abbey in York for a long period.

      Cardinal Hume was tall, with a good face, called by the English "a Plantagenet." He governed with intelligence and modesty, the style of the great, calling himself "a benevolent dictator." He was determined in his condemnation of the sins of the times -- egotism in sensuality, eugenic aberrations -- but he was also able to express his doubts.

      He spoke about the loneliness of celibacy and how his faith developed in time. This attitude was confirmed as he faced death. "I am dying of cancer," he told his priests in April, "and, surprisingly, I am serene and at peace with myself."

      The Queen conferred the Order of Merit on him in May, given to persons who have shown exceptional service to the country. The Cardinal said it was in recognition of the work done by all Catholics. Today, one of the first to mourn his loss was Dr. George Carey, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury.

      Following the news of Cardinal George Basil Hume's death yesterday afternoon, the Holy Father sent the following telegram to Westminster Cathedral's Administrator.

      "With great sadness I have received the news of the death of Cardinal George Basil Hume. I offer prayerful condolences to the Auxiliary Bishops, priests, religious and laity of the Archdiocese of Westminster and to the entire Church in England and Wales. Commending the Cardinal's noble soul to our Heavenly Father's eternal love, I thank the Lord for having given the Church a shepherd of great spiritual and moral character, of sensitive and unflinching ecumenical commitment and firm leadership in helping people of all beliefs to face the challenges of the last part of this difficult century. I am confident that the example of the Cardinal's devoted service as Benedictine monk and Abbot at Ampleforth and as Archbishop of Westminster, his untiring work as president of the Bishops' Conference, as well as his witness of dignity and hope in the face of the mystery of suffering and death will inspire all who knew him to ever greater fidelity to the Gospel of salvation. Invoking the comforting gifts of the Holy Spirit upon the Cardinal's family and upon all who mourn him in the hope of resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of peace in Our Lord Jesus Christ." ZE99061803 and ZE99061810


Vatican Spokesman States It Will Be Made Public Soon

      VATICAN CITY, JUN 18 (ZENIT).- The German newspaper "Frankfurter Allgemeine" and public radio station "WDR" have published extracts of a stern letter in which the Pope orders the German bishops to decree an end to the service of public advisers who help women who want an abortion. "It is right to put an end to complicity in the granting of licenses to kill," Archbishop Johannes Dyba of Fulda said.

      The revelations have elicited an immediate reaction from political quarters. Social Democrat Wolfgang Thierse, president of the Bundestag, criticized the Pope's decision and expressed the implicit hope that the bishops will have the courage to disobey.

      This is not the first time John Paul II has expressed strong criticism of German legislation on abortion. The interruption of pregnancy is free and unrestricted in Germany during the first three months, but the woman who wants to abort must consult a visit a pregnancy consultation center, that is, a place with social workers, psychologists, doctors and religious experts, where the woman is offered material and social aid to raise and educate the child, should she decide to carry the pregnancy to term.

      After the woman has received advice from this center, she receives a certificate, which she must present to the doctor should she decide to abort her child. Some Catholics have argued that if the Church does not provide these certificates, the women will not come to the Church for counseling. The Pope, however, pointed out last year that the certificate had become a virtual ticket to an abortion, and so it is not morally acceptable to give this certification.

      Of the 1,700 such consultation centers in Germany, 270 are organized by the Catholic Church and 126 by the social service for Catholic women. On Monday and Tuesday the German Episcopal Conference will be faced with a difficult choice: if it decides to follow the papal directive and abandon collaboration with the authorities in the consultation centers, almost a quarter of the centers nationwide will close and the implementation of the federal law will be problematic if not impossible in part of the national territory. The decision weighs on the shoulders of Bishop Karl Lehmann, president of the Episcopal Conference, who to date has tried to defend the law.

      Joaquin Navarro-Valls, director of the Holy See's Press Hall, stated: "In regard to press releases on a letter from the Holy Father to the German bishops, regarding the existence of Catholic family consultation centers in the state system, I confirm that John Paul II has written the German Episcopate a letter on this matter. The content will be made public in the near future by the bishops of Germany." ZE99061809


      WASHINGTON, DC ( - The US House of Representatives passed an amendment on Thursday allowing the posting of the Ten Commandments in public buildings, including schools.

      The House voted 248-180 to allow states to decide whether the Ten Commandments could be posted on state property. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama, said: "Simply posting the Ten Commandments will not change the moral character of our nation overnight. However, it is one step that states can take to promote morality and work toward an end of children killing children."

      The proposal is an amendment to a youth crime bill, raised after the school shootings in Littleton, Colorado several months ago. Democrats said the measure is unconstitutional because it would impose one religion over others.

      Another religious-freedom proposal was defeated. Rep. Mark Souder, R-Indiana, had proposed banning the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention from producing any materials that "undermine" or "denigrate" the religious beliefs of anyone in programs authorized in the juvenile justice legislation. Democrats said the measure could damage hate crime prevention programs, saying hate crimes sometimes have their sources in religious beliefs.

      A third proposal that allows faith-based organizations access to grants from the legislation passed 346-83.


      CALI, Colombia ( - Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cansino of Cali said on Thursday that this week's release of some hostages kidnapped on May 30 during a Mass at the La Maria Catholic Church is only "a first positive sign from the rebels," but "there is still far to go" before the excommunication of the kidnappers can be lifted.

      "I share the joy of the former hostages and their relatives," said Archbishop Duarte after receiving the released hostages and bringing them to the local hospital. The National Liberation Army (ELN) on Tuesday released only 33 hostages, keeping some 40 still captive. The Colombian government said the rebels has kept the wealthiest in order to exchange them for money, even though the ELN has insisted the kidnapping was a political action.

      "It is sad to see that the National Liberation Army is still committing the perversion of keeping other hostages," the archbishop added. He energetically attacked the ELN for continuing to hold the wealthiest hostages. "We demand, before Colombia and the world, the release of all the kidnapped, and to release them now, without shows and exhibitions," Archbishop Duarte said.

      The archbishop strongly criticized the rebels for calling a press conference and setting a stage with ELN banners for the release of the kidnapped. Although he was invited to the "ceremony," the archbishop decided to wait for the released hostages in a nearby town and then go back with them to Cali.

      "After these brutal acts, the ELN has turned into a terrorist group and they will have to show a concrete, dramatic change in their attitude and strategy," said Archbishop Duarte when asked by the press if he would suspend the excommunication after the ELN released all hostages. He excommunicated all ELN members two days after the kidnapping at La Maria Church. His decision was backed by the Colombian Bishops' Conference.

For more headlines and articles, we suggest Catholic World News site at the CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT 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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June 21, 1999 volume 10, no. 119   DAILY CATHOLIC