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MONDAY      October 18, 1999      SECTION THREE       vol 10, no. 198

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


WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

HEADLINES:

RELICS OF ST. LUKE EVANGELIST FOUND IN PADUA, ITALY

Statements in Jesuit Magazine "Civilta Cattolica"

    ROME, OCT 15 (ZENIT).- Scientific research carried out in a sarcophagus in the Basilica of St. Justina in Padua, Italy, appear to confirm the traditionally held belief that the relics kept in this Church are those of St. Luke the Evangelist. The data of confirmation has been published by the prestigious Jesuit magazine, "Civilta Cattolica," in anticipation of the results that will be officially communicated during the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000.

    The acknowledgement of St. Luke's alleged relics was made in September, 1998 -- 436 years after they were placed in St. Justina's Basilica. The research was carried out by a commission headed by the anatomy pathologist Vito Terribile Wiel Marin, professor of Anatomy and Histology at the University of Padua. Having removed the 1400-kilo marble slab that covered the sarcophagus, a lead box weighing 600-800 kilos was found. This box, which measures 190 centimeters in length, by 40 cm in width and 50 cm in depth, was resting on a wooden board and had two red wax seals.

    Fr. Daniele Libanori wrote that inside the box, a skeleton was found that was missing the cranium, the right ulna (elbow) and the right astragalus (ankle bone). According to the study, the bones are those of a man who died in old age, presumably between 70 and 85 years old, and measuring 1.63 meters in stature.

    This data alone already confirms what is known about the evangelist in Christian tradition. His advanced aged is confirmed by the study that revealed he was suffering from acute, diffused osteoporosis, grave arthrosis of the spinal cord, especially in the lumbar region, and pulmonary emphysema, evidenced in the curvature of the ribs. The bones were arranged with great care, reflecting the esteem in which the person was held and the cult's antiquity. Vessels were also found in the sarcophagus containing coins, four parchments and lead weights that give evidence of the authenticity of the relic. ZE99101506


ORTHODOX OPPOSITION STYMIES PAPAL VISIT TO GREECE

    VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The ambition of Pope John Paul II to visit Athens, following in the footsteps of St. Paul, is only "a dream," according to the city's archbishop.

    Archbishop Nikolaos Foscolos, who is in Rome for the European Synod, said in an interview with the news agency I Media that the idea of a papal trip is "for the moment, at least, impossible" because of the adamant opposition of the Greek Orthodox Church.

    The Greek Orthodox synod has announced publicly that the Pontiff is unwelcome, charging that he represents the "imperial tendencies" of the Holy See, and complaining that the Vatican has a policy of "infiltrating" other Christian churches in order to set up Eastern-rite Catholic congregations.

    Archbishop Foscolos said, with regret, that the Pope could not overcome the Orthodox hostility unless he "renounced his primacy and his infallibility, did penance, and asked pardon for the Fourth Crusade."

    "We really do not have relations with the Greek Orthodox Church," the archbishop confessed. He explained that Orthodox leaders choose not to recognize the existence of the Roman Church because, "according to their current thinking, a Greek person cannot be anything but Orthodox."


PEACEKEEPERS BEGIN INVESTIGATION OF MASSACRE AT EAST TIMOR CHURCHES

    SUAI, East Timor (CWNews.com) - Australian peacekeepers began gathering evidence of massacres at two Catholic churches in East Timor on Thursday, where eyewitnesses said more than 100 people were killed by anti-independence militias.

    The investigators said their initial conclusions were that some of the victims were clearly trying to flee as they were shot. "This was clearly a massacre," said Lt. Damian Hill, who interviewed dozens of residents who have returned to Suai from nearby mountains where they fled during the violence. Although the evidence includes bloodstains, bullet holes, two sets of human bones found at the Ave Maria and Nossa Senhora de Fatima churches, no other corpses or new graves were found.

    Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, invaded mainly Catholic East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. In August, the region held a Jakarta-proposed referendum to allow Timorese to choose either autonomy within Indonesia or full independence. After the pro-independence results were revealed, pro-Indonesia militias, armed and backed by Indonesia's military, went on a rampage, killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee the former Portugese colony.

    Currently, about 8,000 peacekeepers from different countries have regained control of Dili and several other major cities, but not East Timor's remote villages.


ISRAELI GOVERNMENT ASSURES VATICAN OF NAZARETH'S SAFETY

Response to Holy See's Unease over Construction of Mosque

    VATICAN CITY, OCT 15 (ZENIT).- The Israeli government will do "anything necessary to guarantee the liberty" and total security of the Christian faithful in Nazareth, Shlom Ben-Ami, Israel's Minister of Interior Security, said in a press statement, in response to a note of concern published yesterday by Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

    According to Minister Ben-Ami, the proposal for a compromise solution regarding the construction of a mosque of limited size "in no way will damage the vital natural space of the Basilica of the Annunciation." Ben-Ami stated that the large tent the Muslims have erected near the Basilica of the Annunciation, where they intend to build the mosque, "is illegal and must be dismantled"

    The Minister's statement continues: "The obviously illegal situation created in 1997 will come to an end. We can no longer tolerate it." According to the Israeli proposal, the Muslims must remove the tent before November 8, when the first stone of the mosque will be laid. "We are determined to maintain law and order, without making concessions to anyone, without making distinctions among the city's communities," the Minister insisted. Today the Minister requested the help of leaders of Israel's Arab municipal councils.

    According to Ben-Ami, "an agreement that is oriented toward inter-religious reconciliation in a mixed city like Nazareth is a proper message for all confessions." The Minister ended his statement by saying that he "hoped that every religious leader in Israel and the world will see in this decision a message in accord with the meaning of the Millennium."

    However, the government's decision was taken without considering the previous municipal administration's exclusive allocation of the municipal plot of land for a Square, to facilitate the reception of Jubilee pilgrims. Neither does it take Christians' opinion into consideration, which is shared by many local Muslims who are not fundamentalists, on the inopportune construction of a mosque next door to the famous Nazareth shrine, the objective of millions of Christian pilgrims. In addition, the Israeli government has ignored the Nazareth district court, which classified the fundamentalists' designs on the plot of land owned by the municipality as unfounded.

    Christians in Nazareth do not feel protected, nor do they feel like fully qualified citizens of the state of Israel. Embittered, they say they have lost their dignity -- sacrificed to political opportunism. For the last three years they have been targets of violence by a group if Islamic fundamentalists, who now regard themselves as rewarded, in their recourse to forceful and anti-democratic methods to achieve their objectives. ZE99101505



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October 18, 1999 volume 10, no. 198  DAILY CATHOLIC