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THURSDAY             August 27, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 168

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

Events Today in Church History

     For events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on TIME CAPSULES: ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Historical Events in Church Annals for August 27:

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN CITY ( - Pope John Paul II mourned the death of his personal surgeon on Wednesday, who he credited with saving his life.

      Professor Francesco Crucitti, 67, died from advanced prostate cancer and was considered a leading expert in oncological and digestive surgery. He performed three major surgical operations on the Holy Father, including an operation after he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1981.

      Following his weekly audience at the Vatican, the Holy Father traveled to Crucitti's home in Rome to personally deliver his condolences to his family. "I came here expressly to show you in some way my appreciation of this man who saved my life," he told the widow. He also prayed before Crucitti's coffin. The Holy Father, who later returned to his summer residence outside Rome, asked Secretary of state Cardinal Angelo Sodano to celebrate the funeral Mass at the Catholic University of Rome on Thursday.


      CZESTOCHOWA, Poland ( - Poland's bishops, meeting in Czestochowa on Tuesday, formally asked grassroots Catholics groups to stop planting crosses in a field near the former Auschwitz Nazi death camp, although they did say they support keeping the papal cross planted at the spot where Pope John Paul II prayed in 1979.

      "The bishops's stance is that the Pope's cross must remain while other crosses will be moved to another location," Bishop Tadeusz Rakoczy, in whose diocese includes Auschwitz, told reporters. Catholic worker groups have placed dozens of crosses in the field in memory of Poles killed by the Nazis, but Jewish groups have complained that the religious symbols are an affront to the memory of the more than 1 million Jews killed at the site.

      Bishop Rakoczy said the diocese would arrange for the removal of the sea of crosses. "When the situation becomes clear, we will take actions so as not to hurt feelings of the faithful," he said. Although the Polish government supported the removal of the crosses, they were hesitant to provoke the ire of the country's Catholic majority, leaving the issue up to the bishops.

      The groups planting the crosses said they will resist any attempt to remove them. "I will set myself ablaze if they try to remove the crosses by force," Kazimierz Switon, the leader of the cross-planters, said recently.


      ROME ( - Italian newspapers reported on Wednesday that the Vatican has protested to Italian police for failing to inform them of a criminal probe into the cardinal of Naples.

      Police and magistrates raided the offices of Cardinal Michele Giordano last Saturday, seeking evidence of a link with the cardinal's brother, Mario, who allegedly is involved in organized crime in the city. At the crux of the Vatican protest is whether the probe violates a 1984 concordat defining the relationship between Italy and the Catholic Church. "The way in which a well-deserving bishop and cardinal has been treated points up the problems between the church and state," said Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

      Cardinal Giordano opened the question of the treaty violation on Sunday when he said the police had tapped his phone lines. "What if I were speaking with the Pope?" he said. The concordat specifically states that the Vatican or Italian bishops' conference should be notified before searches are carried out on church property except in urgent cases. Although phone tapping is not mentioned, Italy's own laws state that it can only be done when there is a serious suspicion of criminal activity.


      WASHINGTON, DC ( - A new poll of Americans released on Tuesday found that a majority support use of some level of tax payments for private school tuition for the first time, continuing a five year trend in that direction.

      The Gallup poll found that 86 percent of adults support President Bill Clinton's plan to use federal funds to build schools, 80 percent support his plan to hire more teachers, and 71 percent approve of his plan for voluntary national testing of reading and math competency in fourth and eighth grades. But 73 percent also favor Republican plans for tax-free education savings accounts for use at private schools and 68 percent support direct grant of federal funds to states for education purposes.

      In addition, 67 percent of those polled also support a constitutional amendment to allow prayer in public schools.

For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site. CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.


"When one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination."

Proverbs 28: 9

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August 27, 1998 volume 9, no. 168   DAILY CATHOLIC