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WEDNESDAY             June 10, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 112

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WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      MEXICO CITY ( - Sources at the Mexican Bishops' Conference on Monday confirmed expectations that the largest papal Mass in history will be held during Pope John Paul II's visit to Mexico in 1999.

      The source said, "This is not an official projection, but it certainly is a great expectation and arrangements are being made in that sense." That expectation confirmed the statement of the new Mexican Ambassador to the Holy See, Horacio Sanchez Unzueta, who said in an interview with Mexican media: "The Holy Father will hold his largest Mass ever next time he comes to Mexico."

      "We never wanted this to become an official statement, but since this will be not only a Mexican visit but an [North and South] American one, I think is realistic to think in those terms," the source from the bishops' conference said. The Holy Father's visit to Mexico City has a continental dimension, since he will present his Post-Synodal Apostolic Letter at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

      A location for the open air Mass has not yet been confirmed, but the possibilities include the La Estrella hill, the Magdalena Mixhuca race track, or the Milpa Alta plains. All three places are capable of holding around 5 million people. The current record-holder for largest papal Mass is the Mass during World Youth Day in 1994 in the Philippines which more than 4 million people attended. It was also the largest gathering of humanity in history for any purpose.


      VATICAN ( -- Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, the longtime Vatican Secretary of State, died in Rome this morning.

      Born in Italy in 1914, Agostino Casaroli was ordained to the priesthood in 1937 and a bishop in 1967. He was raised to the College of Cardinals by Pope Paul VI in 1979.

      Pope John Paul II paid tribute to Cardinal Casaroli as "an authentic witness to the Gospel" and a "faithful servant of the Church" whose long service at the Vatican included many "courageous and significant steps with great diplomatic sensitivity, especially to improve the situation of the Church in Eastern Europe."

      Cardinal Casaroli enjoyed a remarkable tenure in the Vatican diplomatic corps, serving in the Secretariat of States from 1940 through 1990. Beginning with a modest post in the archives, he rose eventually to become the Secretary of State in 1979, and to hold that position throughout the following decade. He was considered the primary practitioner of the Vatican policy of "ostpolitik" during the years of the Cold War, and in a public address last year he described his successful efforts to persuade Pope Paul VI to seek accommodations with the Soviet empire-- abandoning the policies of Pope Pius XII, who had refused all forms of cooperation with the Communist regime.

      Often the focus of criticism-- especially from those who pointed to the Catholics still suffering under the repressive policies of the Soviet bloc-- Cardinal Casaroli was a key negotiator for the Vatican for more than two decades, and traveled constantly to participate in international conferences and to fulfill delicate diplomatic missions. Pope John Paul II-- despite his support for more active opposition to Communism-- retained Cardinal Casaroli as his Secretary of State until the cardinal finally retired at the age of 76.

      The cardinal died of an infection that set in as the result of cardiac and respiratory problems. His funeral will be celebrated at St. Peter's basilica on Friday, June 12.


      JAKARTA ( - The new president of Indonesia said on Monday that he was willing to grant an unspecified special status to East Timor, but resistance leaders in the mainly Catholic region said it may not be enough.

      President B.J. Habibie was quoted by an anonymous president aide as saying mainly Muslim Indonesia would grant some form of recognition to the region's culture and Catholic faith. Indonesia invaded the former Portugese colony in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. The capital city of Jakarta, as well as some few other regions of Indonesia, enjoy a special status that gives local governments only a few, mostly symbolic privileges.

      The British Broadcasting Corp. also reported that Habibie ordered the release of 10 Timorese resistance fighters, although it was made clear resistance leader Xanana Gusmao wouldn't be among them. Fernando Araujo, an East Timorese activist and former political prisoner who is in regular contact with Gusmao, said the withdrawal of Indonesian troops and Gusmao's release were requirements for any peaceful solution.

      Habibie replaced former President Suharto last month when the leader stepped down after 32 years in power following widespread protests over economic conditions and lack of freedoms.


      WASHINGTON, DC ( - A congressional conference committee is almost finished with legislation that would create tax-free education savings accounts giving parents the choice to send their children to private schools, sources said on Monday.

      The bill sponsored by Sen. Paul Coverdell, R-Georgia, and Sen. Robert Toricelli, D-New Jersey, would allow tax-free savings accounts to be created for children, starting at birth. Up to $2,000 a year could be contributed, with money coming from relatives, employers, foundations, or other sources. The accounts would permit tax-free withdrawals and the money could be used for a range of expenses from kindergarten through college, including tuition at private or religious schools.

      President Clinton has threatened to veto the bill, saying it would only benefit the wealthy while siphoning money away from public schools. Supporters of the bill said it is intended to give greater choice to all parents, and give them the same opportunities as more privileged people, like Clinton himself, who send their children to private schools. Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, attended the elite Sidwell Friends School after he father became president in 1992 until last year when she graduated.

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.


June is the month of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts. For the Consecration to the Two Hearts click on Consecration





Today's Prayer is the continuing Novena to the Body and Blood of Christ leading up to next Sunday's the Feast of Corpus Christi. Click on PRAYERS & DEVOTION

Novena honoring the Body and Blood of Christ

(In preparation for the Feast of Corpus Christi]

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June 10, 1998 volume 9, no. 112   DAILY CATHOLIC