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THURSDAY             July 30, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 148

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 30:

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN ( -- At his weekly public audience today, Pope John Paul II spoke of the "victims of violence" around the world, and especially the five missionaries who have been killed in recent days, whose lives he characterized as "generous witness to the Gospel."

      During the remainder of the summer, the Pope will commute by helicopter from his summer residence at Castel Gandalfo to the Vatican-- a distance of roughly 18 miles-- for his regular Wednesday audience. He followed that route today, addressing the audience in the Paul VI Hall.

      The Holy Father mentioned the three Missionaries of Charity who were killed in Yemen on Monday, the Franciscan nun who was found dead in South Africa, and the Jesuit priest assassinated in the Congo. Then, enlarging his scope, the Pope offered a prayer for all victims of violence.

      The Vatican news agency Fides reported that the Yemeni health minister had reacted immediately to the killing of three nuns by expressing the government's condolences, and ordering a full investigation. But the government provided no details about the circumstances of the shootings.

      In South Africa, Sister Theodelinde Scherck, a German missionary, was found dead today in woods near Durban, several hours after her car had been found abandoned nearby. She had apparently been the victim of a carjacking incident; that crime has become more common in South Africa recently.

      Father Michel Albecq, SJ, was killed on Tuesday evening at his mission in Brazzaville, Congo. He had only recently returned to the mission after a vacation in his native France.

      The theme of his weekly catechetical audience, was that the Holy Spirit inspires Christians to work for full unity within the Church.

      There can be no conflict between the "charismatic" and "institutional" aspects of the Church, properly understood, the Pope said. Both aspects of ecclesial life involve the workings of the Holy Spirit-- sometimes direct, and sometimes mediated through the institution. But under both aspects, the Church is always "striving to build ever stronger lines of communion, recognizing that we need one another, and that we can enrich each other by the gifts which the Holy Spirit gives us for the good of all."


      LAUSANNE, Switzerland ( - The interim commander of the Pope's Swiss Guard said in an interview published on Tuesday that the elite force's morale has nearly recovered since the former commander and his wife were slain by a junior guard three months ago.

      Col. Roland Buchs told Le Matin newspaper said the tragedy has led to increased communication between the younger guardsmen and their leaders. In May, Cpl. Cedric Tornay shot and killed Col. Alois Estermann, and the commander's wife, Gladys Meza Romero, and then killed himself. Investigators said Tornay was bitter because Estermann reprimanded him and did not award him a medal.

      Buchs steps down from his post on Saturday and to turn over command to the new, permanent Swiss Guard commander, Col. Pius Segmueller.


      GUATEMALA CITY ( - The Guatemalan Justice Ministry announced on Monday that it has opened legal proceedings against Father Mario Orantes Najera as the main suspect in the murder against Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera.

      The priest, together with the bishop's cook, Margarita Lopez, were taken into custody on July 22 upon the request of the Attorney General. The courts accepted the case prepared by the Attorney General's office, which accuses Father Orantes of murdering Bishop Gerardi and Lopez of covering it up.

      Ronalth Ochaeta, head of the Archdiocese's Office for Human Rights (ODHA), admitted the facts are consistent with the government's case against Father Orantes. Previously Ochaeta had advanced the theory that Bishop Gerardi was murdered by death squad in retaliation for a report critical of the army for human rights abuses during the country's 36-year-long civil war. In an interview with the Prensa Libre newspaper, Ochaeta said: "The evidence presented ... is consistent .... I do not pretend to judge [Father Orantes] in advance, but the evidence is decisive and there was no way to avoid opening the case against him."

      Ochaeta admitted that several elements pointed to Father Orantes from the beginning, "but since the murder occurred only 54 hours after Bishop Gerardi presented the report on human rights violations in the country, we made the presupposition of a political murder and therefore launched the investigation in that direction."

      Meanwhile, Archbishop Prospero Penados del Barrio of Guatemala City has requested ODHA to remain silent on the case as requested by the Attorney General for the next 10 days in order to avoid speculations that may distort the case. "We are interested in finding the truth about the murder of Bishop Gerardi, no matter what the price or the consequences," the archbishop said.


      LANSING, Michigan ( - Michigan Gov. John Engler signed a new ban on assisted suicides into law on Tuesday, but the law could be short-lived if voters approve a referendum in November legalizing the practice.

      The ban, which goes into effect on September 1, was prompted by the state's continuing legal battles with assisted suicide activist Jack Kevorkian. The retired pathologist has been acquitted in three trials for five deaths, trumping an expired temporary ban as well as a state Supreme Court definition of assisted suicide as a criminal offense in common law. Under the new law, assisted suicide will be punishable by up to five years in prison.

      Michigan's Catholic Conference of bishops welcomed the new law, and warned against watering it down, a reference to the November ballot. "Any efforts to change this law will result in nothing short of the direct killing of vulnerable patients and must be vigorously opposed," said spokesman Paul Long.

      The ballot question will ask voters to allow assisted suicide in some cases, including terminally-ill adults who have been told they have less than six months to live.

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.


      Today's prayer is taken from the Opening Prayer of the Mass honoring Saint Peter Chrysologus:

     Father, You made Peter Chrysologus an outstanding preacher of Your Incarnate Word. May the prayers of St. Peter help us to cherish the mystery of our salvation and make its meaning clear in our love for others.

July 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

   Dear children! Today, little children, I invite you, through prayer, to be with Jesus, so that through a personal experience of prayer you may be able to discover the beauty of God's creatures. You cannot speak or witness about prayer, if you do not pray. That is why, little children, in the silence of the heart, remain with Jesus, so that He may change and transform you with His love. This, little children, is a time of grace for you. Make good use of it for your personal conversion, because when you have God, you have everything. Thank you for having responded to my call.

For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE


"Lo! I will pour out to you My Spirit, I will acquaint you with My words."

Proverbs 1: 23

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July 30, 1998 volume 9, no. 148   DAILY CATHOLIC