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THURSDAY      September 16, 1999      SECTION THREE       vol 10, no. 176

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

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



    PARIS ( - Vatican foreign minister Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran said he regretted that no Muslim leaders had spoken out against the slaughter of Catholics in East Timor by mainly Muslim militias, according to an interview on Wednesday in the French Catholic newspaper La Croix.

    Archbishop Tauran also said he was disappointed at how slowly the United Nations reacted to the massive slaughter in the mainly Catholic territory which voted earlier this month to seek independence from Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country. Pro-Indonesia militias, armed and trained by the country's military, have killed thousands and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and the country.

    On this subject, allow me to tell you how disappointed I am to see that no Muslim religious personality has raised his voice to condemn the massacre of Christians and the systematic destruction of the Church's works in Timor," the archbishop said. "Pope John Paul II was a daring defender of human rights when the Muslims of Bosnia-Herzegovina faced the same fate," he added. "That gives you something to think about."

    On Wednesday, the UN Security Council authorized a multinational peacekeeping force led by Australia to restore peace in the territory after international criticism that Indonesian soldiers were abetting the massacres. The force was expected to start arriving by Monday. The UN World Food Program also said it will implement a plan to air drop 70 tons of high-energy biscuits to hundreds of thousands of people hiding in Timor's wilderness and said to be suffering from a lack of food, drinking water, and medical care.

    The Vatican Fides news agency quoted Carmelite nuns in East Timor on Wednesday who said the Indonesian military planned to bomb refugees as soon they come out of hiding to search for the UN food parcels. "The Indonesian army is planning to bomb refugees in the mountains to the south of Dili," said Sister Maria del Carmen Aparicio. "They are waiting for humanitarian air drops to coax out the refugees and show them which areas to hit."


Court Could Sentence Him to Death

    KIGALI, SEP 14 (ZENIT).- Rwandan Bishop Augustine Misago, accused of involvement in the spring 1994 genocide in his country, in which over half a million people died, rejected charges made at the opening of his trial in a Kigali court on Tuesday.

    "I reject all accusations made against me and accept none," 56-year old Bishop Misago said, who appeared this morning in court in the pink uniform worn by those accused of genocide; he had a crucifix hanging from his neck.

    Bishop Misago was arrested on April 14, after Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu publicly accused him of genocide. If the court declares him guilty, he could be condemned to death. During the preliminary hearing on August 23, the Bishop's lawyers appealed for conditional liberty, but it was denied by the court.

    Alfred Pognon, Bishop Misago's main lawyer, described the accusations made today in court as a politicized farce. He also said that the greater part of statements made by witnesses were false. ZE99091408


    BEIJING, SEP 14 (ZENIT).- In central-eastern China, the police arrested four representatives of the "clandestine" Catholic Church, which is faithful to the Pope but not officially recognized by the Chinese government. The information was given by the Cardinal Kung Foundation, from its headquarters in the United States.

    Bishop Lin Xili, who is 81 years-old and had spent 20 years in jail for his fidelity to Rome; and Fathers Wang Chenzhi and Shao Zhumin, were arrested in early September in Wenzhou, in the Zhejiang region. Fr. Chu Guangyao, of the Shanghai diocese, was arrested on August 16, the Kung Foundation stated.

    There are over 10 million Catholics in China, divided between the Patriotic Catholic Church, controlled by the government; and the clandestine Church, persecuted for its ties with the Holy See. ZE99091410


    VATICAN ( -- The Holy See has released a new calendar of the major papal events scheduled for the remainder of this calendar year.

    On September 19, the Holy Father will visit Slovenia, and on September 30 he will preside at the formal unveiling and blessing of the renovated fašade of St. Peter's Basilica.

    On October 1, the Pope will officiate at the opening of the European Synod, and on October 23 he will preside at the closing ceremonies. On October 28 he will lead a special inter-religious encounter in St. Peter's Square which has been organized for the Jubilee.

    On November 1, the Pope will visit the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica, to pray for his deceased predecessors on Peter's throne. His trip to India will begin on November 5, and he will return-- stopping for one day in the former Soviet republic of Georgia-- on November 9. On November 13 his schedule calls for an ecumenical Vespers service at the Vatican, and on November 21 he will celebrate the canonization of two newly proclaimed saints.

    On Christmas Eve, the Holy Father will solemnly open the "Holy Door" of the Vatican basilica, prior to the celebration of the midnight Mass of Christmas, thus formally opening the Jubilee Year. On Christmas Day he will bestow his traditional "Urbi et Orbi" blessing from the balcony of St. Peter's, and that afternoon he will visit the Basilica of St. John Lateran to open the holy door there as well.

    On December 31, the Pope will close out the year at St. Peter's Basilica with solemn Vespers and a Te Deum, giving thanks for the blessings of the year, the decade, and the century. And at midnight he will pronounce a new "Urbi et Orbi" blessing, this time from the window of the Apostolic Palace. On January 1, he will open a third holy door at the Vatican: at the basilica of St. Mary Major.


Prayer Meeting at Opening of 54th General Assembly

    NEW YORK, SEP 15 (ZENIT).- The 54th U.N. General Assembly opened yesterday, while the Security Council discussed the resolution to authorize the sending of a peace mission to East Timor, confirming the fact that the search for world stability continues to be the organization's primary objective. However, this year the delegates must address other urgent problems, including the struggle against poverty and the debate on the organization's reformation, to make it more efficient in the modern world.

    Yesterday's session was primarily of ceremonial significance: the new president of the Assembly, Namibia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, took up his post and new members of the south Pacific were admitted -- including Kiribati, Nauro and Tonga.

International Year of Culture of Peace

    The debates will begin next week. Secretary General Kofi Annan and leaders of U.N. member nations will be among the participants. But yesterday, Annan tried to set the pace at the Assembly by proclaiming the opening of the International Year of the Culture of Peace. In his recent report on the organization's work, the Secretary General emphasized the increase in conflicts over the last few years and of victims, as well as damages caused by natural disasters. In order to respond to these emergencies, Annan invited the countries represented at the U.N. to develop a culture of prevention, instead of delayed reaction to wars and natural catastrophes.

Pontifical Message

    The Secretary General referred to these ideas during the prayer meeting organized by the Holy See's Permanent Observer at the U.N., Archbishop Renato Martino, at the Assembly's opening. John Paul II sent a message through Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, in which he requested the United Nations to become an ever more effective instrument of dialogue. And Cardinal John O'Connor, Archbishop of New York, emphasized the need to defend human dignity, inviting delegates to place themselves at the service of people.

    The topic of internal U.N. reform remains an open question, which became critical first in Kosovo and currently in East Timor. Richard Holbrooke, the new U.S. ambassador, repeated yesterday that his country favors the enlargement of the Security Council, with a view to admitting Japan and Germany. However, some countries, like Italy, have been opposed to this idea for many years. No doubt the issue will continue to be hotly debated during the current Assembly. ZE99091508

For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site at the CWN home page and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and the features, dossiers and Daily Dispatches at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

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September 16, 1999 volume 10, no. 176   DAILY CATHOLIC