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MONDAY             July 6, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 130

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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 6:

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN ( -- In a new apostolic letter, to be released July 7, Pope John Paul II calls upon the faithful to preserve the Sunday Sabbath.

      The new papal letter, entitled Dies Domini, will be introduced at a press conference on that date, chaired by Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

      During his recent trip to Austria, the Holy Father offered a preview of his thoughts on the topic, when he urged the Catholics of Vienna to "do everything possible to protect the Sabbath! Show that that day cannot be a day of work, because it is celebrated as the Lord's Day."

      On several other occasions the Pope has made the same point, insisting that Sunday should be a day not only for worship, but also for "physical and mental rest" and "the building of family ties."

      The episcopal conferences of all the world's nations were consulted in the process of drafting the new apostolic letter. The text will be available in Italian, French, English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Polish.


      BELFAST ( - Two Protestant churches and a Catholic school were firebombed in Northern Ireland Thursday night in an apparent escalation of violence preceding a controversial parade by Pro-British Protestant loyalists.

      The Orange Order's annual parade was banned from marching along its traditional route through a Catholic neighborhood in Portadown Sunday by the government Parades Commission last week. Similar bans in 1997 and 1996 resulted in numerous riots and acts of violence. Arsonists attacked 10 Catholic churches on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning in apparent protest of the ban, and the latest arsons were more of the tit-for-tat gestures.

      Police made no arrests in the Catholic church bombings but blamed a Portadown-based paramilitary group, the outlawed Loyalist Volunteer Force. In retaliation, arsonists attacked Altnaveigh Orange Hall late Thursday outside the predominantly Catholic town of Newry, then bombed two Protestant church buildings in Londonderry: St. Peter's Anglican Church and a children's playground beside the Ballyarnet Presbyterian Church. Police arrested one Catholic youth. Damage was reported as light.


      VATICAN ( -- Pope John Paul II has signed decrees promoting the causes of 13 candidates for canonization, including the Croatian national hero, Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac.

      Cardinal Stepinac (1898-1960), who died at the hands of the Communist regime, is officially recognized as a martyr. The Holy Father will preside at the cardinal's beatification during his October trip to Croatia.

      The papal decrees also recognized miracles performed through the intercession of five "Servants of God," for whom beatification will soon follow. They are:

      The seven other papal decrees recognized that "heroic virtue" shown in the lives of:


      WASHINGTON, DC ( - All but 12 US states reported a decline in the number of abortions per 1,000 women in 1995, according a federal report released on Thursday.

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that California still has the highest abortion rate, 40 abortions for every 1,000 women, and the highest total number of abortions, 289,987, but those figures are a decrease from 1994 when it reported 43 per 1,000 and 308,564, respectively. Wyoming reported the lowest rate of 2 per 1,000 women, which was a slight increase from the year before, and the lowest total number of abortions.

      The CDC previously reported that the nationwide abortion rate was 20 per 1,000 women in 1995, the latest year that figures are available. New York had the second-highest rate of abortion, 34 per 1,000 women, followed by Delaware, Florida and Rhode Island, where the rate was 26 per 1,000. After Wyoming, the lowest rate was recorded in Idaho, with 4 per 1,000, followed by Mississippi, where it was 6 per 1,000.

      The states where the total number of abortions increased were Alaska, Florida, Kansas, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

      Meanwhile in Lincoln, Nebraska, a state law passed last year to ban partial-birth abortions was struck down on Thursday by a federal judge who said the measure was to broad and represented an unconstitutional burden on a woman's right to abortion under US Supreme Court decisions.

      US District Court Judge Richard Kopf ruled that the ban's languages was too vague and broadly worded. "I'm not surprised at the ruling, but it's really fortunate that courts continue to protect citizens from politicians and their agendas," said Susan Hale, a spokesman for Planned Parenthood in Nebraska.

      A similar law was upheld by a federal judge in Virginia this week, while another one was struck down by a state judge in Florida. In all, 28 states have passed bans on the late-term procedure, and are still in effect in 16 of those states.

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July 6, 1998 volume 9, no. 130   DAILY CATHOLIC