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The Communist government refused permission for Bishop Duan and Bishop Joseph Xu Zhixuan to attend the synod after Pope John Paul II invited them. The bishops are officially part of the state-sanctioned Patriotic Catholic Association which denies any connection to the Catholic Church outside China, and especially the authority of the pope.
"It pains me not to be able to take part, for political reasons, in the Bishops' Synod," Bishop Duan said in a message read by Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte. "My heart is so gravely saddened that for two nights I was unable to sleep," the 90-year-old bishop said. But he added that he had now begun "to see things with a calmer heart." He added, "The body is absent but the heart is always present at the Bishops' Synod. Is it so necessary to go to Rome?"
China said the bishops could not attend because the Vatican maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China views as a renegade province, and because the Holy Father invited the bishops without consulting the Communist government first.
While the article ignores the indissolubility of doctrine when discussing women's ordination, contraception, abortion, and other issues, the magazine showed how the Holy Father's long reign as pope has given him the opportunity to name all but 16 of the cardinals eligible to vote in the next conclave. And rather than examining potential contenders for the papal throne which Vatican watchers say is a useless enterprise, US News instead examines the probable profile of the next pope: multilingual, non-European, in his mid-60s, and with curial experience.
The article also delves into the rumors surrounding the Holy Father's health including hints of Parkinson's disease, while acknowledging official statements of curial officials and bishops outside Rome who say the Holy Father is in good health and fine humor for a 77-year-old man. US News quotes Msgr. Timothy Dolan, rector of the North American College in Rome, on the Pope's desire to lead the Church into the Third Millennium: "If the Lord were to call him home now, I think he'd have one upset man on his doorstep."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had traveled to London at the invitation of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, for separate negotiating sessions with the US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. Early reports from those sessions indicated that neither side saw any likelihood of a breakthrough that would revive their stalled negotiations.
After the Regina Coeli prayer on Sunday, May 3, Pope John Paul said that the only possible solution would be one of "peace, respect, justice, and cooperation." He asked the pilgrims assembled in St. Peter's Square to join him in praying for that intention.
Earlier he had ordained 30 new priests for service in the Rome diocese. Pope John Paul II called upon the newly ordained to be mindful that they had been called to participate in "the mission of Christ himself."
"You are priests forever!" the Holy Father proclaimed, as he ordained the 30 men in St. Peter's Basilica. Alluding to the day's Gospel reading, which told the story of the Good Shepherd, he asked the new priests to recall, as they approach the altar every day, that "the good shepherd is entirely devoted to his sheep." Each day, he added, Christ calls upon his faithful to hear "my voice," and priests must follow where the master calls.
The youngest of the new priests is 25; the eldest is 57. After the ordination rite, they joined the Holy Father around the altar of St. Peter's as he presided at a concelebrated Mass alongside Cardinal Camillo Ruini, his vicar for Rome.
"It is one thing to poke gentle fun at a priest, quite another to set him up as a depraved cleric," Catholic League president William Donohue said. "The language used was deplorable and it makes absolutely no difference ... that it was a late evening show. There is no legitimate time slot for Catholic bashing." Fox said the skit, which aired on April 25, was part of an ongoing joke about a character who makes "politically incorrect" statements. Fox issued this statement it attributed to the show's producers: "We respect the Catholic League's work to combat religious bias. Comedies like 'Mad TV' use social satire to expose cultural stereotypes rather than to perpetuate them."
The skit portrayed guest star Lou Diamond Phillips as the priest who visits actress Nicole Sullivan, portraying the Vancome Lady, in the hospital. The Vancome Lady hurls insults at the "priest" while making references to child molestation and drinking.
The Persians seize Jerusalem and capture the True Holy Cross that Saint Helena had placed there after finding it. It would be years before the Christians would recapture it.
Pope Gregory VI is elected the 148th successor of Peter. He is credited with forming the first pontifical army.
The cornerstone is laid in Oxford, England for Magdalen College, named after Mary Magdalene.
Two years after discovering America, Christopher Columbus returns and arrives on the shores of Jamaica.
Death of Pope Saint Pius V, 225th successor to Peter and the Pope who decreed the Roman missal as well as the one who inspired the Christian victory over the Saracens at Lepanto to which Pius gave credit to praying the Rosary.