DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     July 23, 1998     vol. 9, no. 143

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) --At his regular Wednesday public audience in Rome, Pope John Paul II today said that "my thoughts and my prayers this morning turn especially toward the people of Papua New Guinea who were hit by a devastating tidal wave."

          Noting that each day's new brought new reports of casualties, the Pope said that it is difficult to comprehend the scale of the tragedy, but "we need the help of God and solidarity among men. May the many who have died find peace in the resurrected Christ, and may those who remain find in God the strength and consolation they need."

          This was the Pope's third public request for prayers for the victims of the tidal wave. He had issued similar calls on Sunday, at this Angelus audience, and in a telegram addressed to Father Hans Schwemmer, the apostolic nuncio in Papua New Guinea.

          Bishop Cesare Bonivento of Vanino, speaking on the airwaves of Vatican Radio, reported that many of the victims were children-- a natural consequence of the fact that children make up half of the island's population. Father Gianni Gattei, a missionary on the scene, told Vatican Radio that the survivors now have an urgent need for food, especially to feed the thousands of refugees who are now pouring out of the jungles where they sought refuge from the devastating tsunami. Authorities say that there is also an urgent need for medicine, since they fear the outbreak of epidemics.

          The "most evident sign of the new life" given through the Holy Spirit is the power to forgive sins, Pope John Paul II said today at his Wednesday catechetical audience.

          Speaking at the Vatican's Paul VI auditorium, prior to returning to his summer home at Castel Gandalfo, the Holy Father reminded his listeners that all Christians are included in "the universal call to sanctity."

          It is through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Pontiff taught, that man can overcome the power of sin, and participate in the life of the Trinity, thus becoming "a new creation." The same power incorporates Christians into the Church, the communion of saints.

          After mentioning two particular forms of Christian life-- consecrated life and martyrdom-- the Pope quickly added that every Christian is called to sanctity. "That requires a radical obedience to the commandment of love, which is not possible except through the grace of the Holy Spirit," he said.

          The Pope, who returned this week from his vacation in the Dolomite Mountains, will now spend several weeks at Castel Gandalfo. The Vatican had not issued a precise date, but traditionally the Pope stays at his summer residence through September.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

July 23, 1998       volume 9, no. 143


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