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MONDAY      October 4, 1999      SECTION THREE       vol 10, no. 188

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

Appreciation of the Commissions and Committees

    Today we continue with our new series in the search to uncover the great treasuries of the Church contained in the great Deposit of Faith. We continue with the Roman Curia, treating today the non-curial offices of the commissions and committees assigned to the Curia in Rome. For the twenty-fourth installment, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH


Commissions and Committees

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



Celebration as in Bernini's Time Marks End of Restoration

    VATICAN CITY, OCT 1 (ZENIT).- John Paul II, foreign pilgrims, and thousands of Romans took part in a magnificent celebration yesterday, to mark the end of the restoration work on St. Peter's façade. Close to 70,000 persons acclaimed the Pope's arrival, as he drove through the crowd to the strains of Handel's Hallelujah.

    The people were enthusiastic and happy with what they saw: they broke into long applause at the official moment when the works were handed to the Pope and the Basilica was totally illuminated, its resplendent façade bathed in candescent light.

    Among the numerous personalities attending the celebration was Italy's President, Carlo Ciampi; and prime minister Massimo D'Alema, with their wives. The Pontiff spoke with them briefly, before watching the final display of fireworks.

    It was a Baroque spectacle, much like what Bernini organized in his time: gold, silver, and every imaginable color streamed from the sky, drawing beautiful shapes in the cobalt blue skies, to the accompaniment of Charpentier's "Te Deum."

    The Pope expressed his admiration and wonder "for the greatest stone restoration this century," as the press described it. "In experiencing admiration for the prodigious result of these works, the desire rises spontaneously from the heart to bless the Lord, who has given man the capacity to work the material and ennoble it, imprinting on it the seal of the spirit," the Holy Father said.

    "The restoration works remind us that each one of us is called to constant conversion and a courageous revision of life, to be able to meet Christ in a profound way, and to benefit totally from the fruits of the Holy Year," the Holy Father concluded. ZE99100106


Harm To Unborn Could Be Punished

    WASHINGTON, OCT 1 (ZENIT).- The fetus "is an entity separate from the mother." This is the essence of a bill approved by the House of Representatives, which could impose penalties for aggression on a pregnant woman resulting in damage to the unborn child.

    The law, which must now be approved by the Senate, has brought to the fore once again, the numerous juridical contradictions in the United States in the recognition of the rights of persons from the moment of conception.

    The Clinton administration has threatened to veto the decision, but the majority of congressmen in favor of the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act" has been overwhelming: 254 votes against 172.

    "Whoever harms or kills a fetus must pay his debt to society," Lindsey Graham said. Graham, a South Carolina Republican, presented the proposal in the House.

    Movements committed to life applauded the initiative. "In recognizing that the unborn child is a person, this law marks an important moment in the battle for life," a spokesman for the Family Research Council said.

    Abortion groups are opposed to the law, in spite of the fact that those who suffer most from this kind of aggression are not only the unborn but also their mothers. ZE99100112


Church in Indonesia Shelters Refugees from East Timor; Bishop Belo will not run for office in new government but remain with his flock

    SURABAYA, OCT 1 (ZENIT).- The Catholic Church in Indonesia is preparing to assist and protect refugees from East Timor dispersed all over the archipelago. The Don Bosco Orphanage in Surabaya -- the main city in East Java, run by the Sisters of Charity, has been caring for a group of 50 refugees from East Timor since September 9. Nationalist fever is growing among some sectors of Indonesia's population. Theo Sumardjo, a volunteer who works at the Don Bosco Orphanage, told the international agency "Fides" that, although most of the displaced persons are not directly involved in Timor's political unrest, as refugees they are in danger.

    The Sisters are afraid that the people they have sheltered might be targeted by Indonesian nationalists who are opposed to the "invasion" of foreign forces, led by Australia. The refugees knocked on the door of the Don Bosco residence because it is well-known in East Timor, as is the work of many Salesian priests and Sisters. One mother arrived with only three of her six children; the others were lost -- and feared dead -- in the turbulent post-referendum uprisings.

    Since August 30, 18 seminarians are missing in Malang, another town in East Java. A group of 23 seminarians went to Timor to vote in the referendum, but only five returned, bringing with them horrifying stories of massacres and all kinds of violence perpetrated by the militias.

    The five seminarians who returned are in a state of shock, having seen relatives and companions tortured and killed. One saw his sister being raped; another saw his parents being killed, the Seminary chaplain told "Fides." ZE99100131

    Meanwhile in Rome, the Salesian General Direction confirmed that Bishop Carlos Belo, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, said in Germany that he will not hold public office in his country, which is now recognized as independent.

    Bishop Belo, who requested a special "Marshall Plan" of aid for Timor, is traveling to Darwin, Australia, and will return to Dili as soon as possible.

    According to the Indonesian news agency ANTARA, the European Union proposed the Vatican as mediator between the conflicting parties in East Timor, in order to accelerate the peace process on the Island.

    ANTARA reported that Lars Backstrom, director of humanitarian aid for refugees, believes the Vatican would be an "excellent" mediator to begin the process of reconciliation, since a neutral institution is necessary to reconcile the pro-Indonesia militias with the pro-independence groups. ZE99100102

    The Salesians in Timor are all well, and are able to return to their houses. It would seem that only "Los Palos" orphanage has been destroyed. Some buildings in the center of Dili, are nothing but heaps of rubble.

    This is the first direct information that the General Direction has received from Fr. Wong, superior of the Jakarta province, who has just returned from Timor. The buildings of the Dili house are currently occupied by French military of the Peace Force, who use them as a hospital and for the distribution of urgently needed goods.

    "The latest tragic events that happened last Saturday and Sunday, have confirmed the ferocity and cruelty against religious and the Catholic Church, VID explained -- the Information Service of Religious Communities. We hope that the sacrifice of the two Canossian Sisters, the two deacons, the seminarians, the reporter and other lay volunteers will truly be the tail end of an insanity now under control, and of a tragedy that has gone beyond all measure of atrocity and suffering." ZE99100115


    VATICAN CITY, 2 (NE) The Second Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops began Friday in the Vatican, gathering bishops from all over the continent to reflect on Evangelization in the "old continent". On Thursday, Cardinal Jan Schotte, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, held a briefing to present the event that will take place with the theme "Christ alive in his Church, source of hope for Europe."

    Cardinal Schotte began with an overview of a history of synods, which began under Pope Paul VI, and then proceeded to give background on the European synod, which will conclude October 23. Among other themes, the Cardinal emphasized that the present Synod for Europe "will be more dedicated to the ecclesiastic than the historic situation in the different European countries," discussing "how the Church has put into practice the teachings and main guidelines of the Vatican II Council in these countries."

    He also stated that "the main challenge we must face is not a political nor a social problem, but the weakening of faith." "Europe," he explained, "suffers a problem of knowledge and transmission of faith."

    He also recalled that the five continental synods preparing the Third Millennium have been oriented to the New Evangelization. "The New Evangelization will be at the heart of the debate in this Second Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops," stated Cardinal Schotte.

Finally the long-awaited books "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." and THE HIDDEN WAY are NOW available!

     With the messages completed, you can now order the book that contains ALL the messages. This much-anticipated 224-page book of ALL the messages to the world imparted to the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart from the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary is a lasting gift that will inspire you in your faith, and all God asks of us. You can acquire your own handsome, coffee-table top copy of "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." containing all 632 messages or the THE HIDDEN WAY containing 100 inspirational Meditative Lessons from Our Lord and Our Lady on Church Doctrine by clicking on "I SOLEMNLY TELL YOU..." or THE HIDDEN WAY or both books at BOOKS

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October 4, 1999 volume 10, no. 188   DAILY CATHOLIC