DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     September 21, 1999     vol. 10, no. 179

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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        NEW YORK (CWNews.com) - Pro-life, pro-family youth groups from around the world formed a new coalition, the World Youth Alliance, last week to gain a greater voice at United Nations conferences that purport to be "listening to young people," according to a report by the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute.

        The alliance said that their goal is to counter the disproportionate influence of pro-abortion youth groups at the UN. "It is our intention to show UN delegates that radicals do not speak for very many young people at all," said co-founder Diana Kilarjian. "We realized after Cairo+5 that it was necessary to organize pro-life, pro-family youth more formally."

        At the preparatory meetings for the conference marking the fifth anniversary of the Cairo population conference, Kilarjian noted that youth participation focused almost exclusively on sex and reproductive rights. While pro-abortion youth -- hand-picked, funded, and trained by UN agencies and non-governmental agencies -- receive wide-ranging access and latitude at UN conferences, pro-life youth said they are systematically excluded from the same meetings.

        In the Cairo+5 meetings since August 1998, the radical "Youth Coalition reduced us to our sexual faculties, said alliance co-founder Anna Halpine. "Almost every mention of youth was connected to reproductive and sexual health and rights. Most youth of the world have much different and more important concerns," such as "the development of the whole person (including) the moral, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual as well as the physical dimensions."

        Meanwhile in the same city, Jewish leaders on Sunday made public a letter from Cardinal John O'Connor of New York expressing sorrow for historic injustices by some Catholics against Jews.

        Elie Wiesel, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, had the letter published in the Sunday New York Times at a cost of $99,000 after receiving permission from the cardinal. "He went very far and it's a great gesture of understanding and the quest for understanding," said Wiesel "For the prince of the Church to say the things he does, it's very strong."

        "I ask this Yom Kippur that you understand my own abject sorrow for any member of the Catholic Church, high or low, who may have harmed you or your forebears in any way," the cardinal said in the letter dated September 8, just after undergoing surgery for a brain tumor.

        Wiesel said the letter goes beyond past official statements of the Catholic Church and last year's statement from Pope John Paul II, who apologized for the errors and failures of some Catholics during the Holocaust. Archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling said the cardinal, in his letter, was referring to both Nazi atrocities and other anti-Semitic acts of the last 2,000 years.

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features 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.

September 21, 1999       volume 10, no. 179


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