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FRI-SAT-SUN             July 3-5, 1998             SECTION THREE              vol 9, no. 129

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


WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS

with a Catholic slant

provided by
Catholic World News Service

HEADLINES:

NEWSPAPER: DALLAS DIOCESE SETTLES LAWSUIT JUDGMENT

      DALLAS (CWNews.com) - A tentative settlement has been reached between the Diocese of Dallas and eight plaintiffs who wan a portion of a record $119.6 million judgment against the diocese for sexual abuse by a priest, The Dallas Morning News newspaper reported on Thursday.

      The newspaper said the eight remaining plaintiffs have agreed to settle the claims for $22.5 million. The three other plaintiffs agreed in March to a $7.5 million settlement, allowing the diocese to settle the whole case for $30 million instead of the nearly $120 million which could have bankrupted the diocese.

      The diocese had been found liable in a jury trial last year of knowing that former priest Rudolph Kos abused children over a period of ten years and did not take steps to prevent it. Kos is now serving a lengthy prison term.


VATICAN STATISTICS SHOW GROWTH IN THIRD WORLD

      VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The Vatican publishing house, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, today announced the publication of an annual statistical survey, covering the year 1996.

      Looking at a trend which began in 1978, the survey finds an increase in the number of priestly ordinations and religious vocations in Africa, Latin America, eastern Europe, and Southeast Asia, but a decrease in North American and in Western Europe.

      The geographical distribution of the world's Catholic population has also shifted. In 1978, 35.5 percent of the world's Catholics lived in Europe, and 7.8 percent in North America; today those figures have dropped to 28.5 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively. But Africa, which had 7.3 percent of the world's Catholics in 1978, now boasts 11. 0 percent. Similarly, Latin America has boosted its share of the Catholic population from 10.8 to 12.0 percent, and Southeast Asia from 7.5 to 10.1 percent.

      In Europe, the decline in priestly and religious vocations has been most pronounced in France and Belgium, followed by Italy, Spain, Germany, and Ireland - while Poland, Ukraine, and Romania have seen increases.

      The same general trends are visible in the distribution of seminarians. The African countries-- especially Nigeria, Tanzania, and Congo-- are seeing a rise in seminary attendance. Latin America now accounts for 17 percent of the world's seminarians. But seminary figures are declining in North America (again, particularly in the United States and Europe.

      A minor surprise comes with the statistics involving permanent deacons. North America-- and more particularly the United States-- once dominated the ranks of the permanent deaconate. Now their proportion is declining, as Europe and Central America gain a larger share.

      The Vatican survey does not include figures for lay movements.


SPANISH CATHOLICS SLAM SAME-SEX COUPLE RIGHTS

      MADRID (CWNews.com) - Catholics in the Spanish region of Catalonia protested on Wednesday against new regulations giving homosexual and lesbian couples some of the rights traditionally given to married couples.

      The new law gives same-sex couples the same inheritance and alimony rights as married couples, but does not allow adoption. "This law is institutionalizing the immoral behaviour of homosexuality," the Spanish bishops' conference said in a statement. "The Church cannot condone homosexuality." Homosexual groups applauded the measure as opening the door to same-sex marriage. "The law is a positive step because for the first time the homosexual couple is being recognized as a form of marriage, and is being given rights accordingly," said Jordi Petit, secretary general of the Barcelona-based International Gay and Lesbian Association.

      Petit dismissed the bishops' conference's remarks as unacceptable and meddling. "This is the first time that this kind of law has been passed in a Catholic country, and serves as an important reference for Latin American nations," Petit said.


10 CATHOLIC CHURCHES FIREBOMBED IN NORTHERN IRELAND

      BELFAST (CWNews.com) - Ten Catholic churches in Northern Ireland were damaged by arsonists Wednesday night, and two of them were destroyed in action police say is linked to a loyalist march planned for Sunday.

      The Orange Order, Northern Ireland's major pro-British Protestant fraternal order, was ordered by the government Parades Commission on Monday that they could not bring their annual parade on Sunday through a Catholic neighborhood this weekend. Similar bans in 1997 and 1996 sparked rioting and violence throughout the province. Fearful that rising tensions could undermine April's peace agreement, British Prime Minister Tony Blair flew into Belfast today to meet top political and religious leaders and to inspect at least one of the damaged churches.

      Nine of the churches were in predominantly Protestant rural areas between Belfast and Portadown, 30 miles away and the location of the banned parade. The tenth church in Protestant east Belfast suffered minor damage. Gasoline bombs were also thrown at two Catholic homes in Protestant east Londonderry. No group claimed responsibility for any of the attacks, but police linked them to members of an outlawed pro-British gang, the Loyalist Volunteer Force.


CASTRO MEETS WITH APOSTOLIC NUNCIO

      HAVANA (CWNews.com) - A Catholic Church source in Havana confirmed on Wednesday that President Fidel Castro held an "informal conversation" at the residence of the apostolic nuncio to Cuba, Archbishop Beniamino Stella, after the celebration of the Saints Peter and Paul feast on Monday.

      The theme of the conversation was not made public, but the sources said that the two-hour long conversation referred to the visit of Cardinal Pio Laghi, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education. During his five-day long visit, which ended on Tuesday, Cardinal Laghi insisted on the right of the Catholic Church to run Catholic schools. "A secular state means precisely that is not involved in religious issues, and therefore does not favor or oppose religious education," Cardinal Laghi said during his visit.

      The source said "there is a mild hope" that some new leeway could be granted by the government to the Catholic Church. But, he also made clear that "the Catholic Church is hoping, but not yet counting, on such new leeway."


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.

Friday, July 3, 1998

FEAST OF SAINT THOMAS THE APOSTLE

Saturday, July 4, 1998

FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL

OBSERVANCE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY ON SATURDAY

SUNDAY, July 5, 1998

Monday, July 6, 1998

FEAST OF SAINT MARIA GORETTI, VIRGIN AND MARTYR


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July 3, 1998 volume 9, no. 129   DAILY CATHOLIC