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THURSDAY      September 17, 1998      SECTION TWO       vol 9, no. 182

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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: MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

Historical Events in Church Annals for September 17:

NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN ( -- At his weekly catechetical audience today, Pope John Paul II continued his reflections on the work of the Holy Spirit-- who, he said, plants the "seeds of truth" in human thought.

      In an apparent reference to his forthcoming encyclical on faith and reason, the Holy Father said: "The Church is always ready for a meeting between human thought and the truth of Jesus Christ."

      The Holy Spirit works in the minds of men who search for truth, the Pope taught. "The Spirit of truth guides men and women to the fullness of truth and love which God the Father has revealed in Jesus Christ-- even if, through no fault of their own, they do not know the Gospel." For that reason, the Church always cherishes the authentic search for truth, wherever it is found in different cultures.

      The cultural heritage of that philosophical search, however, reaches its culmination in the Revelation, the Pope continued. He urged believers to continue their efforts at "patient dialogue" with those still searching for the truth. He said that the gulf between faith and cultural mores is "the tragedy of our time."

      Vatican observers are now speculating about the date of release for the Pope's encyclical on faith and reason, which is already finished and now being printed. It may be issued in time to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his pontificate, or for the canonization of Blessed Edith Stein, whose philosophical work centered on that question.


      VATICAN ( -- The Vatican and the Italian government have assembled a mixed commission to discuss the interpretation of the concordat that governs their formal relations. The move-- announced by the Vatican press office today-- comes in response to tensions which arose after police officials searched the offices of Cardinal Michele Giordano of Naples.

      Yesterday the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, met with Italian President Romano Prodi. Their discussion, described by both parties as "cordial," centered on the concordat and on the role of Catholic schools.

      The Italian government has contested that the search of archdiocesan offices in Naples was not a violation of the concordat, although the search was made without warning to the Church, and the cardinal's phone had been tapped, in an investigation into organized crime in the region. The Vatican, without making any public response to the government's explanation, has made clear its concern over the situation.

      In making its formal response to an official complaint from the Holy See, the Italian government agreed that it might be desirable to have further discussions on the meaning of the concordat.


      VATICAN ( -- A year after the earthquakes which shook the Umbrian region, the facade of the famous Franciscan Basilica at Assisi has been fully restored.

      L'Osservatore Romano today mentioned that the scaffolding which has surrounded the basilica for months has been removed. The restoration was completed in time for the celebration of the feast of St. Francis on October 4.

      Restoration work is still continuing inside the basilica, however. The vault of the building collapsed in a second tremor, killing two technicians and two Franciscan monks. The reconstruction of that area will take several more months. And an even more painstaking process in underway: the effort to reassemble the pieces of frescoes by Giotto which were shattered by the earthquakes.

      Scaffolds still remain at the rear of the building, and in the crypt where the tomb of St. Francis is found. Tourists and visitors are not yet allowed in the basilica.

      The neighboring basilica dedicated to St. Clare is also surrounded by scaffolding, as restoration work continues there. But that building was less severely damaged, and tourists are allowed to visit.


      VATICAN ( -- Pope John Paul II has expressed his profound sorrow" over the killing of a Colombian priest last week.

      Father Alcides Jimenez Chicangana was gunned down on September 11 as he said Mass at his parish in Puerto Caicedo, near Patumayo, Colombia. In a telegram to Cardinal Ivan Marin Loppez, Cardinal Angelo Sodano conveyed the Pope's sorrow and his "firm repugnance" at the "unjustifiable violence" which continues to plague the South American nation.

      Father Chicangana, the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano revealed, had participated in a peace demonstration, calling for an end to the country's civil war, just hours before his death. He was beginning an evening Mass when two gunmen burst in, chased him from the sanctuary, and killed him as he fled toward the parish rectory.

      Government authorities say that the assassination was the work of the rebel group FARC. But L'Osservatore Romano cited anonymous witnesses in reporting that the killers appeared to be members of an right-wing paramilitary group. Right-wing forces in Colombia have charged some priests with helping the guerrillas. These two contrasting charges, the Vatican newspaper observed, "show that the single religious role is to work for peace and national reconciliation."

      The Pope also has sent a telegram of condolences to Bishop Ambrogio Ravasi of Marsabit, Kenya, in response to the killing of an Italian missionary, Father Luigi Andeni.

      In response to the murder in Kenya, along with the story of another priest killed in Colombia, L'Osservatore Romano today carried the headline: "In Africa and Latin America, a new page in the contemporary martyrology."

      Father Andeni was shot when he confronted a group of armed bandits at his parish in Archer's Post. Severely wounded, he was rushed to a hospital in nearby Wamba, but was pronounced dead on his arrival there.

      His family in Italy issued a statement, saying of Father Andeni, "He was not afraid of anything. For him, Africa was everything."

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.


"From the fruit of his words a man eats good things, but the treacherous one craves violence."

Proverbs 13: 2

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September 17, 1998 volume 9, no. 182   DAILY CATHOLIC