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MONDAY     November 22, 1999     SECTION THREE      vol 10, no. 221

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

Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis has been the Archbishop of Utrecht in the Netherlands for the past sixteen years

   We continue with this special series introducing you to the Princes of the Church. Our one-hundred-twenty-sixth red-hat we feature, in alphabetical order is 68 year-old Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis, who was appointed the Archbishop of Utrecht the same year Cardinal John J. O'Connor was elevated to the See of New York. Both were elevated to the cardinalate the same time: during the Consistory of May 25, 1985. For more on Cardinal Adriannus Johannes Simonis, click on COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION

126.   Cardinal Adrianus Johannes Simonis

with a Catholic slant



    WASHINGTON, DC ( - The National Conference of Catholic Bishops continued their biennial meeting on Thursday, addressing the role of government in social welfare, church architecture, and the election of new officers.

    The day after overwhelmingly approving guidelines for US Catholic colleges and universities, the bishops unanimously approved a pastoral letter on charity which included a statement on the government's responsibility in welfare. The document said a lesson of the Great Depression was that only government can "ensure regular income support for aged, disabled or otherwise needy families."

    The bishops also noted that "those principles have come under attack during the latter part of the 20th century as a negative attitude developed with regard to the responsibility of government."

    The bishops also debated an upcoming document on church architecture, noting in particular the effect of the design and decoration of church buildings on the beliefs of individual Catholics. Bishop Sean O'Malley of Fall River, Massachusetts, commented: "You hear comments: This place does not look like a church," referring to the trend as the "suburbanization of the heavenly Jerusalem." Among the recommendations of many bishops was that the tabernacle must be central and visible to all and that images of the Virgin Mary and saints should be brought into the main body of the church again.

    The bishops also streamlined their episcopal conference, dissolving the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, which deals with church matters, and the separate US Catholic Conference, which deals with civil matters, and forming one body to be called the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston was elected chairman of the committee on foreign policy issues and Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, was elected chairman of the doctrine committee.


Health Cannot Be Privilege

    VATICAN CITY, (ZENIT).- The international congress, which was held in the Auditorium of the Synod from November 18-20, at the initiative of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, addressed the question of the relation between economics and health, a question which has already elicited a response from John Paul II, during his welcome to the 500 persons who participated in the congress.

    "It is intolerable that the limitation of economic resources, which is experienced in many places today, especially affects the weak fringes of the population and the less well off areas of the world, depriving them of the necessary health care," the Holy Father said.

    The Pontiff's words were particularly explicit: "At the same time, it is not admissible that this limitation leads to the exclusion of health care at certain stages of life or situations of special fragility and weakness as, for example, newborn life, old age, severe handicap, terminal illnesses." In virtue of his dignity, every person has the right to "enjoy the benefits offered by progress, science, technology and medicine." the Pope stated.

Health and Globalization

    The Pope acknowledged that it is not the Church's role to define the economic models and health systems that are the most appropriate to resolve the difficult relation between economics and health. But, "in the context of globalization, her mission consists in doing everything possible so that the question will be addressed and resolved in light of those ethical values that foster respect and safeguard the dignity of every human being, beginning with the weakest and poorest."

    John Paul II expressed with "heartfelt sorrow" that the "breach between situations of wealth -- even blatant wealth, and poverty, which at times is reduced to indigence, instead of decreasing becomes ever greater." An issue which in the specific case of health reaches dramatic repercussions.

    According to the Pope, the solution necessarily spells an awareness of the dignity of the person and of the totality of human interdependence, which should lead to an increase in the sense of duty in solidarity.

    "Only from this horizon can an economic vision, which is reductive of health, be overcome." Moreover, for Christians, solidarity reaches new horizons thanks to the virtue of charity, which -- both aspiring and being inspired in the love of God -- establishes a relation of love with men, "especially with the weakest brothers, among whom are the sick."

Appeal to Governments and Pharmaceutical Industries

    After expressing his closeness to the sick, and launching an appeal "to governments and international agencies so that at the moment of addressing the relation between economics and health they will be guided only by the common good," he asked the pharmaceutical industries "not to make profit prevail over human values, but to show their sensitivity to the needs of those who do not enjoy social security, by undertaking initiatives in favor of the poorest and marginalized."

    Finally, the Pope referred to the necessity to overcome the differences existing among countries and continents exhorting "the more advanced countries to make available to the less developed [countries] their experience, technology, and part of their economic wealth." ZE99111903


Pope Canonizes First Martyrs of Spanish 1930s Persecution

    VATICAN CITY, NOV 21 (ZENIT).- As of today, the Church has 12 new saints -- 10 of whom are martyrs. John Paul II proclaimed them this morning in a moving ceremony that was held inside the Vatican Basilica, since St. Peter's Square was very windy and rainy.

    Cirilo Bertran was canonized today, along with 7 companions of the Christian Brothers Schools, one of whom was born in Argentina, becoming the first saint of this country. The martyrs died together with Passionist priest Fr. Inocencio de la Inmaculada, during the 1934 revolution in Asturias, Spain. The other new saint, of this first group, is Jaume Hilari, who was killed in Tarragona three years later, in mid Civil War. Together with the 10 martyrs, the Pope also proclaimed the sanctity of two Italian religious: Brother Benito Menni (1841-1914), a Hospitaler of St. John of God; and Franciscan Tommaso da Cori (1655-1729), an exceptional preacher and confessor.

To Die for Christ

    John Paul II summarized the testimony of the martyrs of the Spanish persecution, by quoting Jaume Hilari's words just before dying: "Friends: to die for Christ is to reign." The Holy Father spoke these words in Catalan, the new saint's native language.

    "Not being afraid of spilling their blood for Christ, they conquered death and now participate in the glory of the Kingdom of God. That is why today I have the joy of inscribing them in the catalogue of saints, proposing them to the universal Church as models of Christian life and our intercessors before God," the Holy Father said.

Martyrs -- Not War Heroes

    The Pope was very clear that the canonizations had no political undertones whatsoever. "They are not heroes of a human war in which they did not participate, but were educators of youth. In their capacity as consecrated men and teachers, they faced their tragic end as a real testimony of faith, giving the last lesson of their life with their martyrdom."

    The Pope evoked the memory of Benito Menni, founder of the Congregation of Hospitaler Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in addition to being the restorer of the Order of St. John of God in Spain and Portugal in the mid 19th century. St. Benito was a real Samaritan, who made the care of the elderly, abandoned children, polio victims and the mentally ill -- according to the Hospitaler charism of the Order of St. John of God -- the guide of his life.

    "On this day of Christ the King, St. Benito Menni illuminates, with the example of his life, those who wish to follow the Master's footsteps on the roads of welcome and hospitality," the Pope said.

    Finally, the Holy Father remembered Tommaso da Cori, a Franciscan who, thanks to his preaching, confessions and spiritual retreats, at the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 18th, incarnated the evangelical counsel of the total gift of self to God and his fellow men.

    "The 12 new saints, that today I have the glory of proposing for veneration to the people of God, point out the way that must be followed to be prepared for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000," the Pope said, in explaining the reasons for the proclamation of these saints at this particular time. "The saints show us the road to the Kingdom of Heaven, the Gospel road lived radically. At the same time, they support us in our serene certainty that all created reality finds its fulfillment in Christ."

    There were some 3,700 Spanish pilgrims in St. Peter's Basilica for the occasion. The Basilica was beautifully decorated with yellow flowers that came to life under the bright lighting. There were also Italian, Mexican and Argentinean pilgrims present, including outgoing President Carlos Menem, who wished to honor the memory of the first saint born in his country.

    The Pope concelebrated Mass with Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco, Archbishop of Madrid, and the Pope's Vicar for the diocese of Rome, Cardinal Camillo Ruini, as well as bishops from the new saints' dioceses, the Superior Generals of the Passionists and Hospitalers of St. John of God, and several Franciscan Superiors. ZE99112104


    ROME ( - The restoration of St. Francis Basilica in Assisi following a 1997 earthquake is nearly complete and reopening ceremonies will take place as scheduled on November 28, said Italy's cultural minister on Thursday.

    Giovanna Melandri said restorers had nearly finished putting back 300,000 pieces of frescoes that collapsed to the ground during the September 26, 1997 earthquake that killed four people in the church. Work on the ceiling frescoes by the school of Giotto and Cimabue will continue after the ceremonies. Only the lower level of the famed basilica remained open as a $40 million restoration raced the calendar to reopen in time for the Jubilee Year.

    Italy's president will attend the rededication Mass while Pope John Paul II will address the congregation during a live satellite hookup from Rome.

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November 22, 1999 volume 10, no. 221  DAILY CATHOLIC