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WEDNESDAY      October 20, 1999      SECTION TWO       vol 10, no. 200

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

Appreciating the Authority of the Church

    We continue our new daily series in uncovering the great treasuries of the Church contained in her Deposit of Faith. Today, we feature, in the Foundation and Mission of the Church, the Authority of the Church For the thirty-sixth installment, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH


The 100th Metropolitan of Turin Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini is one of the most respected scripture scholars in Italy

    Our one-hundred-thirteenth red-hat we feature, in alphabetical order is the nearly 75 year-old prelate Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, Archbishop of Turin and custodian of the famed Shroud of Turin. This Scripture scholar has been shepherd of this See since 1989. He received his red-hat and elevation to the cardinalate from Pope John Paul II in the Consistory of June 28, 1991. For more on Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, click on COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION

113.   Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini

Events Today in Church History

   On this date in 1939 Pope Pius XII, under tremendous scrutiny by the media today for the false accusations against him in regard to being a Nazi sympathizer and not helping the Jews, proved them wrong then as well with his encyclical on the need for a new humanity united in all societies Summi Pontificatus. Four years later, from the experiences and ruin of the devastating Second World War, Chiara Lubich would put the principles of Pius' words into action with the founding of the Focalare movement. For other pertinent events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

Historical Events in Church Annals for October 20:


    Today we commemorate the Twenty-ninth Wednesday in Ordinary Time plus the Feast of Saint Paul of the Cross with tomorrow being the Twenty-ninth Thursday in Ordinary Time. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and vignettes on this feast, click on DAILY LITURGY.

Wednesday, October 20, 1999

Feast of Saint Paul of the Cross, Priest and Religious Founder

Thursday, October 21, 1999

with a Catholic slant



    VATICAN ( - A committee of three Jewish and three Catholic scholars has been formed to review the "Acts and related documents of the Holy See in the Second World War," a set of documents released between 1965 and 1981 at the request of Pope Paul VI, and representing the whole of the files in the Vatican on the subject.

    Announced on Tuesday by Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, president of the Pontifical Commission on Religious Relations with the Jews, the agreement related to the formation of the panel was reached on Monday between the commission and Seymour D. Reich, president of the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations and an attorney from New York.

    The committee of Jewish and Catholic researchers -- whose names will be published soon -- will review the 11-volume English edition of the wartime documents, and will be able to raise questions which, in its opinion, merit further clarification by the Holy See, an apparent reference to the possibility that the panel would be granted partial or indirect access to the closed archives of the period.

    The hope is that the panel will clarify the role of Pope Pius XII in saving Jews from the Holocaust, a role which has been cast into doubt in recent years by some authors who have claimed that the Pope was sympathetic to anti-Semitism and the Nazis. The question was further complicated by Vatican refusals to allow access to its archives because they contain sensitive information related to personal, sacramental matters. The Vatican has held that all relevant information related to Pope Pius XII and World War II had been released in the documents compiled between 1965 and 1981.

    The formation of the new investigative panel was a response to a Jewish request to have further access to the Vatican files of the Second World War period, particularly a request made during March 23-26, 1998, when an international conference on relations between Jews and Catholics was assembled in the Vatican, a few days after the publication by the Holy See of a document on the Shoah, or Holocaust, called "We Remember." On March 26 of last year, Cardinal Cassidy said that a combined panel of Catholic and Jewish historians would be formed to examine the published volumes compiled by Catholic historians -- four Jesuits, whose only survivor today is the Frenchman Father Pierre Blet who recently released his own book on the subject, debunking the anti-Semitic claims against Pope Pius XII -- in order to raise the points which would require additional research.

    The statement released on Tuesday said that Cardinal Cassidy and Reich hoped that "all the questions and the disputes which currently exist, or which arise from the new investigation, will be resolved through this common examination." Cardinal Cassidy expressed his "satisfaction" at the formation of this panel, adding that he was "convinced" of its necessity. Reich added that this agreement was an "unusual arrangement" which can be, however, "a useful first step" for resolving the question of the role of the Vatican during the Second World War and for improving relations between Jews and Catholics.


    GUATEMALA CITY ( - While the Guatemalan government appointed a new prosecutor for the investigation of the murder of Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi Conedera, sources in the judiciary revealed on Tuesday that there is a new witness who may provide key information that could put the case back on course.

    The new prosecutor, Leopoldo Zeissig Ramirez, will replace Celvin Galindo, who fled the country and requested asylum in the United States following death threats as his investigation progressed. The attorney general's office also appointed two new assistants, Mario Leal and Joel Garcia, to help the recently appointed prosecutor.

    Bishop Gerardi was murdered in April 1998, two days after releasing a human rights report that blamed most of the deaths in the country's 36-year civil war on the military. While initial investigations focused on Father Mario Orantes Najera, who lived with the bishop and has also fled the country after being cleared of charges, human rights groups and Church leaders called for an investigation into military connections to the murder. As Galindo began to pursue DNA evidence that could connect soldiers who were near the scene of the crime to the murder, death threats against his family escalated, forcing him to flee.

    "This is certainly a great challenge, because the Gerardi case is probably the most complicated, but we will put all our efforts to deliver accordingly," Zeissig Ramirez said.

    Meanwhile, according to reports in the local media, a woman who was a key witness to the murder of Bishop Gerardi has agreed to step forward after receiving protection from the United Nations Mission of Verification for Guatemala (MINUGUA). Although her name has not been released for security reasons, the woman would allegedly be well-known in the political and social circles of Guatemala.


Bishop Charles Graham Says Human Rights Are Violated

    MEXICO CITY, OCT 18 (ZENIT).- The Bishop of Dallas, Texas, denounced the United States for its "intense campaign of arrests and massive deportations" of Mexicans who arrive in the country seeking a better life.

    Because of this "very grave" situation, Bishop Charles Graham said that for several years the Curia he heads has exerted pressure on the Clinton Administration and supported the immigrants in obtaining their "green card" so that they can live and work there legally.

    Interviewed during the 2nd Congress for New Evangelization 2000, which is taking place in Cuautitlan, Mexico, Bishop Graham said that virtually all U.S. dioceses have an office that offers immigrants legal assistance to get their documentation in order to work in the country.

    "In Dallas we have an enormous office because we are trying to help without having to pay, or paying a minimum, to put all the papers in order so that the immigrant can get his green card or official residence in this country," Bishop Graham said. The U.S. Church is lobbying so that such large quantities of people will not be deported, obtain better paid jobs and improve their standard of life.

    "We are trying to pressure the U.S. government to allow more people to reside, and not to throw them out when they have family [in the U.S.]. The U.S. Episcopal Conference has its Immigration Commission to help the government implement laws that will benefit immigrants," the Bishop said.

    "We are trying to do something more for the immigrants who are crossing over," Bishop Graham affirmed. He also said that those immigrants who approach the Dallas diocese are given legal assistance to protect their human rights, but the Bishop gave no additional information.

    Immigrants have the opportunity to talk to a lawyer in the U.S. At present, many people are being arrested and sent back to Mexico, but the Dallas diocese is trying to encourage people to take the opportunity to defend themselves with the help of an American lawyer, the Bishop explained. He also said that in 1987, the year of amnesty, the Dallas diocese helped 120,000 persons who arrived in his offices to obtain a "green card" to reside and work in the U.S. legally. ZE99101801


    FREETOWN ( - An Italian-born bishop serving a diocese in Sierra Leone was released on Tuesday, along with 15 aid workers, all of whom were kidnapped last Friday by rebels, according to Church officials in Freetown.

    Bishop Giorgio Biguzzi of Makeni was part of a group including an Italian priest, a Sierra Leonean priest, and local and international aid workers from the Caritas Catholic aid group. "The bishop and the 15 others were kidnapped at Makeni during an exchange of fire between the AFRC (renegade soldiers) and RUF (Revolutionary United Front rebels)," said Father Antonio Guiotto, of the local Xaverian Brothers mission. "All of them, including the bishop, are well and fine and will be airlifted to Freetown today."

    Both RUF leader Foday Sankoh and former AFRC junta ruler Johnny Paul Koroma denied that their men carried out the kidnapping. The Vatican-based MISNA missionary news service said on Monday that Bishop Biguzzi, 63, was believed to have been kidnapped by AFRC fighters.

    Koroma later contacted the agency to deny responsibility for the abduction, saying his men had, on the contrary, rescued the bishop. An aide to Koroma repeated on Tuesday that the group "were protected (by the AFRC) during the crossfire between us and the RUF before we allowed them to go to Bumbuna town."

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October 20, 1999 volume 10, no. 200  DAILY CATHOLIC