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THURSDAY      October 8, 1998      SECTION TWO       vol 9, no. 197

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Events Today in Church History

      Today is the 904th anniversary of the transfer of the relics of Saint Mark from Alexandria to its permanent resting place in St. Mark's Ministery in Venice on St. Mark's Square. For other events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today, click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

Historical Events in Church Annals for October 8:

NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN ( -- At his weekly public audience today, Pope John Paul II continued his pattern of discussing his most recent foreign journey. He said that the beatification of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, the highlight of his visit to Croatia, exemplified "the victory of the Church of Christ over totalitarian ideologies."

      That victory, the Holy Father told his regular Wednesday audience, also proclaims the primacy of the fundamental human rights ordained by God, and a victory for "conscience over violence and abuse of power." Finally, he said, the example of the beatified cardinal manifests the power of "pardon and reconciliation over hatred and vengeance."

      Cardinal Stepinac, the former Archbishop of Zagreb, is thus a symbol of the destiny of the Croatian Church and her mission to promote reconciliation, the Pope continued. Croatian Catholics now face the duty to pardon and to rebuild, "purifying their memory of rancor and conquering evil by good."

      The tradition of martyrdom, embodied in the Croatian prelate, is a constant factor in Church history, the Pope said. He pointed out that the persecution of prelates could be traced to the days of the Emperor Diocletian. In a historical irony, the Catholic cathedral in Split, Croatia, is now built on the foundation of what was once Diocletian's palace in the region.

      Cardinal Stepinac, he said, represents "the entire tragedy which has struck Europe in the course of this century, marked by the grave evils of fascism, Nazism, and Communism." The Croatian hero gave "the Catholic response" to all these ideologies: "faith in God, respect for men, love confirmed by pardon, and unity with the Church guided by Peter's successor." Cardinal Stepinac was prosecuted by the Communist regime because he refused to lead the Croatian Catholic Church in a break from Rome.

      The Pope expressed his hope that the Catholic faithful of Croatia would devote themselves to the defense of human life, the promotion of close family ties, and the spiritual formation of young people. He underlined the need to recognize the nation's spiritual heritage, and to heal the wounds caused by a succession of oppressive regimes.


      VATICAN ( -- The Vatican press office today issued an official announcement of the canonization of Blessed Edith Stein, which will take place in St. Peter's Square on October 11.

      Born in 1891 to a Jewish family, Edith Stein converted to Catholicism after emerging as a leading young philosopher. She eventually became a Carmelite nun-- Sister Theresa Benedicta. She was taken prisoner by the Nazi government in a crackdown on Catholics of Jewish extraction-- after the Dutch bishops protested against Nazi race policies-- and died at Auschwitz in 1942.

      The Vatican announcement recognized the new saint as a daughter of Israel as well as a daughter of Carmel, and points to her as a model for the Church. Her witness, the statement proclaimed, proved that "in spite of the memory of destructive and morbid horrors which have struck so many innocent men and women, life is stronger than death."

      Edith Stein was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987. The Pope has always shown a keen appreciation for her philosophical work, which explored the relationship between faith and reason.


      VATICAN ( -- Vatican Radio today charged that five military officers were responsible for the April 26 murder of Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera at his home in Guatemala City.

      Citing evidence uncovered by human-rights groups in Guatemala, the Vatican Radio report said that the assassination was triggered by the publication of a report by Bishop Gerardi, detailing human-rights abuses by the military.

      The government of Guatemala has made several arrests in connection with the killing, but produced no compelling evidence to explain the crime. The most recent arrest was that of a priest who lived in the rectory with Bishop Gerardi; prosecutors claimed that the priest had ordered his dog to attack the aged bishop. But the bishop's body showed no signs of dog bites, and in fact the dog in question was itself old and feeble. Human-rights groups have complained that the government is dragging its feet in the investigation, in order to avoid confronting the military leaders who may be responsible.


      VATICAN ( -- 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.

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.


"The fool takes no delight in understanding, but rather in displaying what he thinks."

Proverbs 18: 2

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October 8, 1998 volume 9, no. 197   DAILY CATHOLIC