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FRI-SAT-SUN      September 24-26, 1999      SECTION THREE       vol 10, no. 182

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

August 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

   Dear children! Also today I call you to give glory to God the Creator in the colors of nature. He speaks to you also through the smallest flower about His beauty and the depth of love with which He has created you. Little children, may prayer flow from your hearts like fresh water from a spring. May the wheat fields speak to you about the mercy of God towards every creature. That is why, renew prayer of thanksgiving for everything He gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call.

For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE AND MORE

Appreciation of the Pontifical Councils   part two

    This weekend 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 and today deal with the second three Pontifical Councils in a four-part series on these dicasteries. For the eighteenth installment, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH


The Pontifical Councils
part two


   Taken from the Gospel for the Mass on the Twenty-fifth Saturday in Ordinary Time:
"But while all marveled at all the things that He was doing, He said to His disciples, 'Store up these words in your minds: the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of men.'"
Luke 9: 44

The President for the Pontifical Council for Culture Cardinal Paul Poupard has his pulse on the world

   We continue with this special series introducing you to the Princes of the Church. Our ninety-ninth red-hat we feature, in alphabetical order is 69 year-old Cardinal Paul Poupard of France, the President of the Pontifical Council for Culture for the past fourteen years. There is an accompaning news story on him in NEWS & VIEWS today as well. He was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II during the Consistory of May 25, 1985. For more on Cardinal Paul Poupard, click on COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION

102.   Cardinal Paul Poupard

Events this weekend in Church History

    On Sunday we remember the 102nd anniversary of the birth of Giovanni Montini in Breschia, Italy on September 24, 1897. He would go on to become cardinal and Archbishop of Milan before being elected the 263rd successor of Peter on June 21, 1963 as Pope Paul VI and bring Vatican II to its conclusion in 1965. He died on August 6, 1978 after a fifteen-year papacy that saw, in his own words, "satan enter the sanctuary." For other events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history this weekend, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

Historical Events in Church Annals for September 24:

Historical Events in Church Annals for September 25:

Historical Events in Church Annals for September 26:


with a Catholic slant



Bishops To Decide Tomorrow by Unanimity

    FULDA, SEP 22 (ZENIT).- The Vatican's response to the German Bishops, on the much debated question of participation of Catholic family consultation centers in the German system that plans to decriminalize abortion, was made public this morning.

    As stated in the letter, it is a reply to the Bishops' request to overcome the tensions and uncertainties that the Church has experienced in connection with this thorny problem. German law considers abortion an illegal practice but, in certain circumstances and by complying with prescribed conditions, it could be decriminalized. One of these conditions is that the pregnant woman attend an interview in one of the public consultation centers directed by voluntary associations, whose concern is to save the life of the unborn.

    The Catholic and Lutheran Churches -- both the two largest denominations and also the largest employers in the country -- decided to participate in this system in order to save as many lives as possible. But the way the system works allows that the certificate (confirming that the consultation has taken place) becomes the instrument of abortion. It is a very complex moral situation. For a long time, the Catholic Church in Germany debated between the desire to help as many women as possible and the consequences implied in granting the certificate.

    Those in favor of participating in the government program fear that many Catholic consultation centers would be forced to close because of lack of federal funding if they do not comply with the national norm of awarding a document that certifies the actual consultation. Others in favor contend that women will not come to centers that do not issue a certificate and, as a result, lives that could have been saved through counseling would be lost.

    On the other hand, those against participating in the program ask: "Can the Catholic Church allow that a document prepared by its institutions be used to carry out abortions, even though the document itself states explicitly that this it not the intention?" They assert that the whole issue of a coherent church witness in defense of life from the moment of conception is at stake.

    The Bishops have asked the Pope for advice on several occasions; the Holy Father consistently stressed the need to offer transparent and totally coherent testimony in defense of life. In June, at John Paul II's explicit request, the German Bishops added the phrase "cannot be used for carrying out an abortion," to the certificate's text.

    But the Bishops' measure has been distorted by the system. In fact, the newly published Vatican letter states, the government has ignored this note and continues to use the Catholic certificates for the authorization of abortions.

    If the certificate continues to serve for access to abortion, the reproach leveled by many over the past few weeks would be substantiated; that is, the Church would be making a merely theoretical affirmation with no real effects, the letter states, which the Bishops received confidentially last Monday.

    The consequence is logical: "If, in fact, government authority ignores the above-mentioned note, it is not possible to understand how the Church can remain in the consultation required by the law." Because of this, "the eventual certificate will serve only and exclusively to document the direction in the service of life of the ecclesial consultation center, and to guarantee the attribution of the promised aid."

    The letter states that the Bishops themselves will decide the "specific solution." At present, the German Bishops are meeting in General Assembly to make the decision. The Pope has asked them "repeatedly" to decide "by unanimity according to these indications." The final answer should be known by this Friday. ZE99092203


    KIGALI, Rwanda ( - Bishop Augustin Misago of Gikongoro on Thursday during his trial on genocide charges denied attending any meetings with government officials where the 1994 Rwandan genocide was planned.

    Bishop Misago was accused of actively collaborating with the government at the time to kill the ethnic Tutsi minorities. About 800,000 people were killed in the 100-day genocide. The bishop's trial began on September 14 and resumed on Thursday following a weeklong recess.

    Prosecutors alleged that Bishop Misago conspired with former Prime Minister Jean Kambanda and others to begin the assault. Kambanda has been sentenced by a UN court to life imprisonment after he confessed to genocide.

    Bishop Misago acknowledged he had met government officials but said he was searching for ways of assisting the many displaced people who had sought shelter in the parishes of his diocese. "I did not attend any meetings in which genocide plans were discussed," he said. "I was aware that there were killers in those meetings, but I continued to attend them because I judged them salutary for the people."

    The bishop added that his diocese distributed aid to about 50,000 people in a temporary camp who were later massacred by Hutu militias.


    WASHINGTON, DC ( - Pro-life House and Senate Republicans on Wednesday stalled negotiations over a foreign aid bill as they sought to extend restrictions on funding of international pro-abortion population control groups.

    Negotiators in a congressional conference committee were unable to reach agreement on a $12.6 billion foreign aid bill and a separate bill that would fund the US' $1 billion back dues to the United Nations. President Bill Clinton has threatened to veto the bills if they include any restrictions on abortion funding overseas.

    House negotiators said they were willing to drop language that would deny US funds to support organizations that lobby foreign governments to repeal abortion bans. But in return, they wanted to eliminate $25 million previously approved by both House and Senate for the United Nations' Population Fund. Senate negotiators refused the compromise and further discussions were postponed.


Iran Applauded Cardinal Poupard's Presence at Venice Film Festival

    VATICAN CITY, SEP 21 (ZENIT).- The Holy See received a torrent of praise, following Cardinal Paul Poupard's request to film producers "rediscover those avenues that led to the production of memorable films." Cardinal Poupard, who is president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, attended the Venice Film Festival.

    In his address, the Cardinal requested that "cinema stop being the prisoner of sex and violence, topics that seem to be obsessive today, and leave them behind in the twilight of the end of the century and go (forward) toward the dawn of the new millennium."

    Representatives of the cultural world in general, and the film industry in particular, sent letters of gratitude to the Vatican for the impulse given by the French Cardinal to the Venice Festival. There were also letters of a political nature. Undoubtedly, one of the most unexpected was the official letter sent by the Iranian Embassy at the Vatican, thanking the Catholic Church for its work in defense of the dignity of all human persons in face of the complex world of cinema. The long letter acknowledged the contribution made by Cardinal Poupard to the dignity of women, which some contemporary film studios seem to regard simply as an object of merchandising. ZE99092103


   Taken from the Gospel for the Mass on the Twenty-fifth Saturday in Ordinary Time:
"But while all marveled at all the things that He was doing, He said to His disciples, 'Store up these words in your minds: the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of men.'"
Luke 9: 44

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September 24, 1999 volume 10, no. 182   DAILY CATHOLIC