DAILY CATHOLIC     THURSDAY     October 8, 1998     vol. 9, no. 197

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Father Luciano Benedetti, the Italian missionary who was kidnapped by guerrillas in the Philippines early in September, will soon be released, according to sources in that country.

          Father Benedetti was abducted on September 9 from his home in Dipolog, on the island of Mindanao, by a group of armed men affiliated with a Muslim rebel group. There were eleven other hostages taken at the time; all but Father Benedetti were soon released.

          Church officials denied reports that they had paid a ransom for the release of Father Benedetti. Rather, they said, the rebels holding the missionary priest were probably persuaded to release him by other Muslim leaders, who agreed that the taking of hostages was unjustifiable.

          Meanwhile in Manila on the main island of the Philippines Cardinal Jaime Sin was hospitalized in good condition on Wednesday, hospital officials said.

          "We do admit the cardinal is here. He has to have complete rest. He is well and good. We assure you the cardinal is fine," said an official at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Center. Media reports quoted sources saying the cardinal had kidney failure, and an official spokesman was not immediately available for comment. "He is already walking. We have instructions that there will be no visitors, no calls and that is without exception," said one nurse stationed near the room of the cardinal. Cardinal Sin was expected to issue a statement himself later in the day.

          The 70-year-old cardinal was a key figure in the 1986 ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos during the peaceful People's Revolution. At the time, the cardinal called a million Filipinos to join rebelling army troops even as soldiers loyal to Marcos advanced on them. The soldiers refused to fire on the civilians and Marcos eventually escaped into exile where he died.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

October 8, 1998       volume 9, no. 197


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