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THURSDAY             June 25, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 123

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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 June 25:

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN ( -- The itinerary for a papal trip to Croatia in October has been set, according to a preparatory commission.

      The Pope will travel to Croatia on Friday, October 2, arriving in Zagreb for a meeting with young people. On the following day he will travel to Marija Bistrica, a Marian sanctuary, to preside at ceremonies for the beatification of Cardinal Stepinac. That afternoon, he will return to Zagreb for a meeting with the country's President Franjo Tudjman.

      On Sunday, October 4, the Pope will travel to the port city of Split, on the Adriatic coast, to celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the city's foundation. He will celebrate Mass there before returning to Rome that evening.

      This will be the second papal visit to Croatia, a predominantly Catholic country of 5 million people, since it became independent of Yugoslavia. John Paul previously visited Zagreb in September 1994.


      VATICAN ( -- In his weekly public audience today, Pope John Paul II followed his usual habit, reflecting on his most recent trip abroad. In answer to those who have suggested that his visit to Austria was not well received, the Holy Father told a crowd of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square that "the young people understood the purpose of my visit."

      The trip was intended to help the Austrian Church overcome current divisions, and recapture the sense of "the joy and the truth" of the faith, the Pope said. "I went to Austria as a pilgrim of the faith, as a cooperator in that joy, a cooperator in that truth," he said.

      The Pontiff continued by saying that young people are always interested in pursuing an ideal, and that as he spoke to the people of Austria he noticed the many enthusiastic young people, "and I reminded them that the Church sees in them the rich promise of the future."

      The Pope also repeated his belief that the Catholic faith remains rich and vibrant in Austria, despite the current crisis. "I came among them to help them overcome the difficulties of today and to encourage them to respond courageously to the approach of the Grand Jubilee," he said. He thanked the people of Austria for their cordial welcome.


      VATICAN ( -- Archbishop Francois-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan has been named the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The Vietnamese prelate had been serving as vice-president of Cor Unum.

      Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who has been the head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, has passed the retirement age of 75. (He is now 76.) But finding a replacement was also a high priority because Cardinal Etchegaray heads the central committee for the Grand Jubilee-- a role which has become increasingly demanding as the year 2000 approaches.

      Archbishop Van Than was born in Hue in 1928 and ordained to the priesthood in 1953. A bishop since 1967, he had been the coadjutor archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) until 1994, when he was forced into exile by Communist authorities. Since that time he has lived and worked at the Vatican.

      Meanwhile, the head of Vietnam's Communist Party said on Tuesday that while he sees a need for restrictions on the practice of religion, there should not be any prejudice by Communists against religious believers.

      Le Kha Phieu, general secretary of the Communist Party, said the party has tried to re-educate members against intolerance, but added that it still exists to some degree. "To have either an insufficient understanding of religious followers or to use administrative measures to limit religious activities was unacceptable," Phieu said in a speech given at a party conference on national religious affairs. "Party members have to do away with the customary feeling of distance and prejudice towards those believers and religious dignitaries which limit the strength of greater national unity."

      Phieu also warned that religion must take second place to national interests. "In accordance with that ... we ask religious organizations to report and register and they should get state permission for their activities," he said. He added that believers must be educated to distinguish between genuine religious expression and the efforts of political opponents to destabilize the government. Phieu's rare officials remarks on the controversial subject were widely reported in official media.


      JAKARTA ( - Bishop Carlos Belo of Dili, East Timor met on Wednesday with Indonesian President H.J. Habibie to discuss ways to improve the daily lives of the East Timorese, the bishop said after the meeting.

      The bishop said they did not discuss the former Portugese colony's political status, including proposals of a special status for the area and demands for a referendum on its future. Mainly Muslim Indonesia invaded Catholic East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. Bishop Belo said he welcomed Habibie's openness in the discussion. "My impression is that Indonesia has an extraordinary president from the angle of humanity, kindness and sympathy. He is very open and hopefully he can last long as the leader of Indonesia," he said after the 90-minute meeting.

      "We spoke primarily about things concerning improving the situation; how we can raise the status of the East Timor community," Bishop Belo said. He added that the proposals put forward by himself and Bishop Basilio dos Nasciemento of Baucau, the only other bishop in the territory, included giving Timorese the freedom to settle where they wished as well as a reduction of troop numbers and freeing of political prisoners. "Little by little they will study, little by little (the troops) will withdraw," he said.

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.

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June 25, 1998 volume 9, no. 123   DAILY CATHOLIC