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MONDAY             July 27, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 145

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 July 27:


WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service

HEADLINES:

US SENATE SHELVES RELIGIOUS-PERSECUTION BILL

      WASHINGTON (CWNews.com) -- A new legislative measure designed to combat religious persecution was shelved by a US Senate committee yesterday, after Republican members found themselves unable to agree on a compromise bill.

      The Freedom from Religious Persecution Bill, which would curb US subsidies to governments that engage in religious persecution, was pulled off the agenda of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when sponsors realized that they could not gain majority approval. The bill is not likely to be considered again this year.

      Although the bill had been passed by an overwhelming majority (375-41) on the floor of the House of Representatives, opponents argued that it might interfere with foreign commerce, and alienate some of America's strategic allies. Those arguments were enough to cause a split in the Republican ranks, eroding support for the bill.


CATHOLIC GROUP SCORES ABC PROGRAM ON HEALTH CARE

      ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CWNews.com) -- The Catholic Health Association of the United States has sharply criticized an American television network for a program on Catholic hospitals.

      An ABC News feature which aired on Tuesday, July 21, was "biased and distorted" in its treatment of Catholic health-care providers, charged Father Michael Place, the president of the Catholic Health Association in a letter of protest to ABC. "It appears that there was a predetermined story line predicated on the biased premise that communities in this country are ill served because Catholic hospitals remain faithful to the ethical and religious directives of the Catholic Church."

      The ABC program had emphasized that at a time when many hospitals are merging in order to operate more efficiently, the restrictions which Catholic institutions impose on abortion and sterilization are having a wider effect on the American health-care industry. Father Place said in taking this approach, and treating religious institutions as a danger to the health-care industry, ABC "totally ignored the fact that Catholic hospitals are considered valued civic partners, employers, and providers of high-quality, compassionate care in communities across this country."


CATHOLICS, MUSLIMS AGREE TO DEFEND FAMILY

      VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- A working group of Catholic and Islamic leaders, meeting in Cairo last week, concentrated their discussions on the prospects for cooperation in defense of the family.

      The interfaith group met to discuss human-rights issues, and in particular those which affect family life. Msgr. Michael Fitzgerald, the secretary of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, told Vatican Radio that there was a broad agreement on the need for new initiatives to protect families. He added that Catholics and Muslims share a common conception of marriage, rejecting new definitions of the family which could include same-sex couples.

      The working group also agreed that its efforts should be concentrated on the mass media, Msgr. Fitzgerald reported. He said the discussions ended with a common determination to work with media and political leaders to strengthen the understanding of, and concern for, family life.


PALESTINIANS INSIST ON ISRAELI PULLBACK