Because of insurrection against the Church, Spain orders all Jews and Sicilian Zionists to leave the country or comply with the Christian Church.
Pope Alexander VI aligns with the "Holy League" to counter the military advances of King Charles VIII of France.
Death of King Francis I, Catholic monarch of France
Death of King Philip III, Catholic ruler of Spain
O! There can be no words to describe what His Sacred Body endured for us. Deathís grip squeezes life from Him. His Body contorts in awful spasms leaving each muscle and nerve lifeless. His feet convulse, and the convulsions spread up His limbs, pass to His abdomen and distort His chest as every bone is made visible. The arms, too, tremble and convulse, and His head is thrown back against the cross, driving the thorns even deeper.
The wave of convulsions leaves Him hanging lifeless upon the cross and I hear the Blessed Mother sob, "O! Son!"
Jesusí head lifts. His eyes now covered by deathís veil look upward toward Heaven. And now there is one breath left, one ounce of will which collects and is released in one awesome cry of power, love, obedience, and victory. Into the darkness Jesus Christ cries out, "It is consummated!
Immediately His head bends forward, leaning slightly upon the right shoulder, and upon the chest which no longer struggles to breathe. And Mary, with John, moves even closer, embracing now the feet of Jesus, and the other Marys now come and begin the anointing of His Sacred Body with their holy tears.
This all occurs in a few seconds, before any Roman soldiers can protest. And even then, seeing the women and John gathered around Jesus, they cannot intervene for Godís Awesome Power strikes at that moment. I see the soul of Jesus leave His Body. It appears to me as a light more dazzling than the sun, and its movement is so swift that words cannot describe it.
All the Heavens are opened. The earth and all nature revolt at the deicide. There is a sound of awesome power and the very mount is shaken as a terrible earthquake strikes. Large fissures split the hard ground, and bolt down the side of the mount into Jerusalem itself. Wind whips at the people who scream and throw themselves upon the ground in hysterical fear. Rain and hail strike everywhere, while great peels of thunder and awesome streaks of lightning completely rent the sky and reveal in a luminous moment of stasis, the Crucifix, the Mother, the Disciple, and the Holy Women in vigil at the feet of the Master.
All else is chaos. Screams of terror, even cries of pain can be heard in the far distance. I do not leave Calvary. Rather, our Heavenly Mother says to me: "Scripture is fulfilled, that the sign be given to testify to His Kingship. Come, watch and pray, for the Font of Mercy is now opened."
And as I look again upon Jesus I am able to see Him more clearly for the thick blackness has dissipated somewhat, although the sky still thunders, and lightning flashes are intense, sending torrents of rain upon the ground now awash in blood.
One Roman soldier, truly at witís end because of the awesome display of power from Heaven and Earth, motions to the captain. "This one (meaning Jesus) is dead. Let us dispatch the others quickly and be quit of this place, for by gods of Olympus, it is a bad omen."
The mounted officer considers. He summons a fellow officer on horseback. "Report at once to Pilate. Inform him of the situation, and return with written approval to be done with the remaining criminals. Be quick!"
As one soldier rides off the other now rides closer to the cross. He surveys the Corpse of Jesus. Nothing stirs except His hair blown by gusts of wind, yet the officer must be certain. This Man - criminal or not - was no ordinary human. This officer is in charge and so he must discharge his duty with care and certainty, lest he himself face Romeís justice.
He draws his lance and aims it expertly, taking the perfect angle to strike from horseback. And with power and deftness he drives the weapon deep into Jesusí right side. The spearís point emerges from between the ribs on the left side having made its way through the Sacred Heart.
The soldier is satisfied. There is no gush of fresh blood, but a stream of blood and water which the heart had not passed through before its last beat. This, then, is true mortal death. No trickery here. This "King of the Jews" has expired, and the Roman is grateful because he, too, has grown uneasy because of the earthquake, storm, wind, rain and hail at the moment when the Man expired. He wants to understand, but does not know where to begin.
It is as he is turning away that our Heavenly Mother, who has caressed her Sonís feet, sees the lance being pulled from her Sonís side, leaving a gaping wound on the right and a smaller hole where the lance point exited.
I am given to see that from this gaping wound into which I could place my hand, rays of light - golden and intense - flood forth and spill upon the Holy Women and John, who look upon Jesus through their tears and seek to comfort themselves by comforting His Mother.
This, then, is the font of Divine Mercy. Opened for all whose own hearts are opened to receive it.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano has also met with the Yugoslavian ambassador, Dojcilo Maslovaric. The prospects for that conversation were clouded by the appearance of an interview with Maslovaric, appearing in the Italian daily Il Messaggero. In that interview, the Serbian envoy was quoted as saying, "We will resist to the finish." Maslovaric also said that Serbian forces were "protecting Europe from some NATO directors," and charged that NATO's offensive against the Yugoslav republic is a violation of international law. "It is right that we should defend ourselves," he concluded.
Meanwhile Pope John Paul II met with Italian President Luigi Scalfaro, in another Vatican effort to stimulate peace talks. Il Messaggero reported that the Pontiff and the Italian president agreed that the United Nations should take a central role in peace efforts, and that European nations should become active in seeking a negotiated solution. The Holy Father had emphasized the same message during an earlier meeting with Didier Opertti, the Uruguayan diplomat who now serves as president of the UN's General Assembly.
In yet another related development, the Vatican is expecting to receive a personal message to Pope John Paul from the Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Pavle. The message will be conveyed to the Vatican Secretariat of State on March 31 by a delegation of Russian envoys. While awaiting news of that message, the Italian press has noted the public statement issued by Patriarch Pavle on March 29, in which the Orthodox leader told a Yugoslavian television audience that "all the countries of the world" should unite in an effort to stop the NATO air strikes. Patriarch Pavle also called on Serbian authorities to join in the pursuit of a negotiated peace.
Finally, Belgrade's Archbishop Frank Perko professed his "great confidence" in the Vatican's diplomatic efforts, as well as in the efforts of Russian Prime Minister Primakov. The Belgrade archbishop noted that the Serbian media had shown a "lively appreciation" of the diplomatic efforts by the Holy See. "We cannot favor the war," Archbishop Perko said; "But the massacres in Kosovo must also stop."
In a related story, ethnic Albanian Catholics in Zagreb, Croatia said on Monday they had received reports of attacks on Catholics in Kosovo, including an unconfirmed assault on worshippers in a church.
Father Ndue Ballabani, head of an Albanian Catholic mission in Croatia, said he had received reports from the city of Pec where Serbs allegedly locked about 80 churchgoers in the Catholic church where they had gathered to pray and seek shelter on Sunday. The Serbs then took them to an unknown location while ordering the priest to stay behind. The majority of Serbs are Orthodox Christians and majority of the ethnic Albanian Kosovars are Muslim, although a significant minority of Albanians are Catholic.
CWNews.com and the Fides Vatican missionary news service reported on Monday that monks in the city of Djakovica were evicted from the monastery by Serb troops whose barracks had been bombed in NATO attacks on Friday. Several of the monks are still missing.
The Pope's visitors, who represented 60 different countries and at least 400 different institutions of higher education, were in Rome for an annual conference sponsored by Opus Dei on the theme: "solidarity and citizenship."
In his remarks to the group, the Holy Father observed that Christian citizens have an obligation to make known "the love and freedom of Christ" within "all aspects of modern life." In that effort, he continued, the first step involves a struggle "within the hearts of men," to eliminate "everything that separates them from God and distances them from their brothers and sisters." The Pope said that Christian solidarity is a "spiritual attitude," explaining: "Justice needs a soul, and that soul is charity."
The league took out a half-page in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper that called on Catholic organizations to not hold meetings in the city unless the group chose another day for its party. "Let's face it, we're not going to bring San Francisco to its knees," league President William Donohue said. "In the long run, we hope Catholics will awaken from their slumber and realize it's late in the day if they want to fight for their rights."
The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence is a group of mostly homosexual men who dress as nuns and mock the Catholic Church which holds that living a homosexual lifestyle is a grave sin. The group is holding a twentieth anniversary celebration on Sunday in the city's Castro district, including a "gay" Jesus contest. In the past, the group mocked Pope John Paul II's 1987 visit to the city and held a "Condom Savior Mass."
The Archdiocese of San Francisco has protested to the city government because it issued a permit for the street party to be held on Easter, one of the holiest days of the year. After Mayor Willie Brown asked the Board of Supervisors to reconsider the permit, they voted Monday night 9-2 to uphold the permit.
Cardinal Stafford pointed out the necessity of understanding one's own identity as disciple of Christ, called to participate from the mystery of his Death and Resurrection. "Dear Young people: you are baptized in the name of Jesus. You are a new creation. Your life is different to that of those that still live in the old creature", he affirmed.
The Cardinal also requested the youth to reject the countless offers that come from the culture of death, reminding them that they, through Baptism, have been called to a new life. Upon concluding his homily, Cardinal Stafford exhorted the youth to meditate "on the mysteries of their initiation in the event of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus", as a preparation for the World Youth Day of the year 2000.
Meanwhile in Nairobi, Kenya, Catholic World News reported that Catholics youths in Kenya rallied on Sunday to protest a new campaign by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to promote condom use to prevent AIDS.
Archbishop David Mucheke of Nyeri said the youths reject "the liberalization of morality as advocated by some NGOs who are pushing for the legalization of decadent sexual behavior." The youths also called for the teaching of morality and the message of abstinence to curb the spread of the killer disease.
The youth rally came during the celebration of the 14th World Youth Day on Palm Sunday.