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WEDNESDAY      March 24, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 58

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

You must want forgiveness in order to receive it

      That was a lesson that went above the head of Judas Iscariot as we see a vivid description of the betrayer in the depths of inner turmoil and despair. All the while, Jesus and His Blessed Mother continue to pray incessantly that this lost apostle will return to his Master asking forgiveness which would come forth in torrents of love if only Judas realized it. But he is too far gone, too stubborn, too controlled by the evil one to understand the scope of God's love and forgiveness. It brings home an important point that wanting to be forgiven is the first step toward reconciliation. Without that, man will fall into the depths of despair just as Judas found himself in as we see in part two of Lesson 9 THE ISCARIOT IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE BETRAYAL . These meditative lessons, imparted by Our Lady to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart during Lent of 1993, are meant to inspire and prompt a greater understanding of the season of Lent in helping us all prepare for His Passion and Death, and ultimately the glorious Resurrection. For part two of Lesson 9, click on "IT IS CONSUMMATED!"

Meditative Lesson 9:


part two


with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service
and Noticias Eclesiales Church News



      ROME ( - Italian officials meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin this week urged him to open talks with the Vatican to bring about diplomatic relations that could result in greater freedom for Chinese Catholics.

      Communist China restricts the free practice of religion, requiring all Catholics to belong to a state-sanctioned group that denies any fealty to Rome. The two primary obstacles for full relations are the Vatican's current diplomatic recognition of Taiwan, which China views as a renegade province, and accusations by China that the Vatican is interfering in its internal politics by seeking religious control of the Church in China.

      Mayor Francesco Rutelli of Rome said he has raised the matter of Vatican-China relations directly and publicly with Jiang. "For us, it would be wonderful news to receive a simple signal of willingness to dialogue in this area," he said. Premier Massimo D'Alema made the same appeal Monday in an interview in an Italian newspaper.

      The Holy See has signaled that it is ready to talk with China, offering the possibility of "modified" relations with Taiwan. But Foreign Affairs Minister Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran added, "Our interest in a religious rapport with Chinese Catholics cannot be seen as political interference."

      Meanwhile, Taiwan warned the Vatican not to be fooled by the Communists into helping isolate Taiwan diplomatically. "The Chinese Communist regime has always been hostile to religions," a foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday. "The Vatican must not be fooled by their pretense to be good."

      In a related story, the Vatican news agency FIDES has called upon the Chinese government to release two imprisoned Catholic bishops. But the Holy See, in an official statement released March 22, has cautioned that the FIDES appeal was not officially approved by the Vatican's Secretariat of State.

      In an editorial which the Vatican statement described as a "personal initiative," the director of FIDES, Father Bernardo Cervellera, had downplayed the possibility of improved diplomatic relations between the Holy See and China. Father Cervellera quoted leading Chinese government officials as saying that improved diplomatic relations would be "difficult if not impossible" as long as the Vatican maintained relations with Taiwan. The officials also complained that the Vatican seeks to "meddle" in China's domestic affairs.

      The FIDES director noted that the Chinese government has never wavered from these two demands. In fact, he wrote, "the Chinese government has said the same thing for at least 15 years." The Beijing demands, Father Cervellera continued, "overlook the actual reality" in China.

      Chinese Catholics have been subject to a "very harsh campaign" of government repression in recent years, the FIDES editorial reported. Although the Beijing government claims to respect religious freedom, Catholics who remain loyal to Rome-- and worship in the "underground Church" rather than the government-approved "Patriotic Catholic Association"-- have been political, economic, and psychological pressure, as well as occasional arrests.

      Father Cervellera called special attention to the cases of Bishop Su Zhimin of Baoding and his auxiliary Bishop An Shuxin, who were arrested three years ago, and-- in a clear breach of China's own law-- have not yet been either tried or released. The main "offense" committed by Bishop Su Zhimin, FIDES said, was a 1996 public letter to the National Assembly, pleading for real religious freedom. The FIDES director concluded his editorial by suggesting that if Chinese President Jiang Zemin could prove the sincerity of his desire for friendlier relations by releasing the two imprisoned bishops.

      However, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said that the FIDES editorial expressed only "the personal opinions of Father Cervellera, for which he only is responsible." And the Vatican's Secretariat of State indicated a willingness to proceed with efforts to improve relations with Beijng, apart from any discussion of the bishops' status.

      In an interview published by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran said that the Vatican is prepared to respond to Beijing's insistence on a break in relations with Taiwan. The Vatican's top foreign-policy official indicated that the Holy See recognized the Beijing regime as the real government of China, and would prefer to have the papal nuncio located in Beijing rather than (as at present) in Taipei. Archbishop Tauran also said that the Vatican was prepared for "a dialogue leading to a normalization of relations" with the Communist government.

      As for Beijing's second condition-- the ban on Vatican "meddling" in domestic political affairs, Archbishop Tauran said the recent Chinese statements surprised him. "I do not see how a relationship which is religious in nature, such as that which exists among Catholics and the Pope, could constitute interference in the internal affairs of a country, or bring into question the sovereignty and independence of the state," he said. He added that Chinese Catholics would not create any political difficulties for the government, since they could remain loyal to the Beijing regime at the same time that they maintained allegiance to the Holy See.

      "A normalization of relations would be beneficial not only to the Chinese Catholic community…, but also to the country, which could count on still more active and generous collaboration on the part of Chinese Catholics," Archbishop Tauran concluded.


      VATICAN ( -- Reacting to reports from Jerusalem that Pope John Paul II would visit the Holy Land in March 2000, the Vatican has cautioned that no final plans for such a trip have been made.

      On Monday, March 22, Israeli tourism minister Moshe Katsav told reporters that the Pope would visit Jerusalem in March of next year. The Vatican did not deny that report, but pointedly remarked that no dates had been set.

      After meetings with the Israeli government leadership, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray-- who heads the Vatican committee preparing for the Jubilee-- said that it is "very probable" that the Holy Father will visit the Holy Land during the Jubilee year. Cardinal Etchegaray had traveled to Israel to study some of the difficulties that may be associated with such a visit. During his stay, he will meet with Latin Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbah to discuss preparations for the holy year in Jerusalem-- a city that the Pope has described as "one of the two poles of the Jubilee."

      The political problems frequently cited as obstacles to a papal visit are the absence of a final peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, the unresolved question of the status of Jerusalem, and the restraints on the freedom of Palestinian people.


      LISBON, 23 (NE) As part of celebrations for the 500 anniversary of the beginning of the evangelization of Brazilian lands, the Portuguese Bishops' Conference will offer to the Church in Brazil 16 images of the Cross present in the first Mass celebrated in Brazilian territory. The historic Mass was celebrated on the 26th of April of 1500.

      On March 25, Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, the President and Secretary of the Brazilian Bishops' Conference will meet in Braga, Portugal, with the President of the Portuguese Bishops' Conference in order to carry out the ceremony of the delivery of the crosses. Before sending each cross to the corresponding 16 Episcopal regions of Brazil, they will be taken to the Vatican where they will be blessed by the Pope John Paul II.


      VATICAN ( -- The Armenian ambassador to the Holy See has announced that his country hopes for a visit by Pope John Paul II sometime this year.

      Armen Sarkissian, the Armenian ambassador, told reporters in Rome, "We are now working on technical aspects" of a proposed papal trip. He disclosed that the Pope has received two formal invitations for such a visit: one from the country's President Robert Kocharian; the other from the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Karekin I. Both men are in Rome this week for the opening of a special exposition at the Vatican Library tracing the history of relations between Rome and Armenia. Pope John Paul II himself reportedly plans to attend the exposition.

      Diplomatic relations between the Armenian government and the Holy See were established in May 1992, just eight months after the former Soviet republic gained independence. Ties between the Vatican and the Armenian Church have also seen marked improvements in recent years, particularly since Karekin I visited the Vatican in December 1996 to meet with Pope John Paul and sign a joint declaration ending a theological dispute which had divided the Armenian Church from Rome since the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

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.


Daily Dose of curious contents of the Church

The Armenian Rite


     Continuing with the theme of traditional and orthodox that we introduced last week, we bring you today a site called THE OLD CATHOLIC CHURCH which is an orthodox site providing oodles of information on doctrine, history and links maintained by a dedicated soul from Phoenix, Arizona.

Click here to return to SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.

March 24, 1999 volume 10, no. 58   DAILY CATHOLIC