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MONDAY      September 27, 1999      SECTION THREE       vol 10, no. 183

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with a Catholic slant



    VATICAN ( -- The Holy See has called upon the UN's Human Rights Commission to recognize the fact that, in East Timor, violence has been used as a means of annulling the results of a popular referendum.

    Speaking on behalf of the Vatican at Geneva meeting on September 23, Msgr. Giuseppe Bertello observed that the recent massacres in East Timor were not an ordinary civil conflict, but an attempt "to wash out, in blood, the will of the overwhelming majority of the people" there. Along with UN peacekeepers and humanitarian aid, the international community should launch an inquiry into the massacres, he said.

    The spasm of violence that swept over East Timor came in the wake of a referendum in which 80 percent of the voters chose independence from Indonesia. The militia groups which were responsible for the bloodshed favored continuing ties with Indonesia, and had sought to prevent the election from taking place. Catholic Church leaders have argued that the wave of killings was a concerted attempt to force the imposition of martial law, and thus abort the drive toward independence.

    Speaking of the "heavy price" paid by the Catholic Church because of her advocacy for human rights in East Timor, Msgr. Bertello expressed the dismay of the Holy See that "after the tragedies in Rwanda and Kosovo, mankind is still not capable of learning the lessons of history." He cited the words of Pope John Paul II-- that the recent massacres have shown "a new defeat for the cause of humanity."


Decide to Continue With Consultation Centers for Pregnant Women

    FULDA, SEP 24 (ZENIT).- The Catholic Church in Germany stated that for the time being, it wishes to continue with its own consultation centers in the public system on decriminalized abortion in the country. This statement was published today by the Episcopal Conference at the conclusion of its meeting in Fulda.

    "The German Bishops will try to do everything possible so that in the future there will be the guarantee of support and help for pregnant women, especially for those experiencing special needs and difficulties." "For this reason, the Catholic consultation (centers) will continue in everything ... with their activity," the statement reads.

    The document explains, however, that "a certain number of Bishops have expressed they are in favor of the introduction of a new system that will not include the granting of certificates of consultation that allow for the implementation of abortions."

    In a letter sent to the German Bishops at the beginning of this week, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, said that "the certificate will have to serve strictly and exclusively to document the line of the ecclesial consultation centers at the service of life, and to guarantee the attribution of promised aid." In no case, can it serve as an instrument to access abortion. ZE99092409


    WASHINGTON, DC ( - A committee of US bishops has prepared a document calling for a renewal of America's Catholic colleges and universities ahead of the US bishops' semi-annual meeting in November, according to the Cardinal Newman Society on Thursday.

    The society reported that the document takes steps to move closer to the spirit of Pope John Paul II's 1990 document on higher education Ex Corde Ecclesiae. In that document the Pope called on each country's bishops to develop norms specific to Catholic colleges and universities. Patrick Reilly, Executive Director of the Cardinal Newman Society, praised the revisions as "prudent and masterful."

    "The bishops have not backed off one inch from their commitment to the renewal of Catholic higher education," Reilly said. He added that the document, revised from an earlier draft, would ensure that colleges would be able to maintain their Catholic identity in the face of any threats to their independence or academic excellence.

    "These revisions to the bishops' earlier draft should ensure that this document will be approved in November, and we can finally move forward," said Manuel Miranda, president of the society. "All the valid reasons for criticism have been wiped away. The debate about control and authority is ended. Let's move forward with the important tasks before us."

    Some groups have criticized the bishops and the Ex Corde Ecclesia document for seeking to undermine Catholic schools by tampering with their academic freedom and ability to attract students in a pluralistic society. Many college presidents and faculties also worried that the bishops' document would increase the risk of faculty lawsuits, loss of accreditation, and denial of public funds.

    Among the most controversial provisions were a Vatican requirement that Catholic theologians must receive a "mandate" from their local bishop, and provisions stating presidents and a majority of faculty and trustees should be "faithful" Catholics.


    ROME, 24 (NE) A new temple dedicated to the first successor of the Apostle Peter, St. Linus, was dedicated yesterday in the city of Rome. The dedication ritual of the new parochial church was presided by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Pope's Vicar for the diocese of Rome.

    After forty years, the more than ten thousand Roman faithful belonging to this parish will now have a parochial temple where to carry out their diverse celebrations. When the parish was built in 1959, the church could not be built, so parishioners had to use one of the rooms in the parish to hold celebrations.

    The Mass and dedication rite presided by Cardinal Ruini were carried out yesterday afternoon. The Italian Cardinal thanked God, together with the faithful, for the blessing that the new temple means for the community.

    The church, that is capable of gathering approximately 500 people seated, was designed by the same architect that projected the parochial complex. It counts with a square from which one can sight the impressive dome of St. Peter's Basilica.

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September 27, 1999 volume 10, no. 183   DAILY CATHOLIC