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THURSDAY      September 24, 1998      SECTION TWO       vol 9, no. 187

To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE

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 24:

NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      WASHINGTON, DC ( - The US Senate, for the second time in two weeks, failed to pass a law protecting the right-to-life by letting a bill protecting pregnant teens from being exploited for abortions be stalled for the year.

      The bill would have made it illegal to avoid state parental notification or consent laws by taking a pregnant girl to another state for an abortion. Supporters of the bill said it would was need to protect parents' rights and protect girls from being exploited by older men who get them pregnant. The Senate voted 54-45 to end debate and proceed to consider the bill, but 60 votes were required. Three Republicans joined 42 Democrats in voting to block further consideration of the bill. Two Democrats and 52 Republicans voted to proceed. One senator was absent.

      The sponsor, Sen. Spencer Abraham, R-Michigan, said the bill was dead for the year. "The likelihood that we will be able to continue with respect to this legislation during this Senate session seems very unlikely," he said. The House voted 276-150 in July for a similar bill.


      MADRID ( - The Spanish parliament, by a narrow margin, defeated a proposed law to legalize abortion on demand for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy on Tuesday.

      The law, defeated 173-172, would have allowed an abortion if it created a personal, social, or family conflict for the mother. Current law only allows abortion if the unborn child is deformed, the pregnancy is the result of rape, or the mother's psychological or physical health is threatened.

      The bill, proposed by the main opposition Socialist Party, has already been blocked twice by conservative Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party since it took office in 1996. Socialist presidential candidate Jose Borrell said his party would not present it again before the next general elections, the national news agency EFE reported. Two other proposals, with even more liberal allowances for abortion, were also defeated on Tuesday.


      VATICAN ( -- In his weekly catechetical audience today, Pope John Paul II explained that the Holy Spirit helps believers to understand human events, showing the "signs of the times" that aid discernment.

      "The Spirit allows us to understand the plan of salvation established by God the Father, and to perceive the progress of the kingdom of God in the world," the Pope said. "He helps us to recognize that Jesus Christ, according to the words of the Second Vatican Council, is 'the key, the center, and the end of all human history,' the 'joy of every day and the answer to all our desires.'"

      The Holy Father reflected that while we do not know the time when Christ will come again to bring an end to human history, the Holy Spirit "strengthens us to bear witness to the kingdom of God, even to the ends of the earth."


      SPRINGFIELD, Virginia ( - Bishop Thomas Kelly of Louisville, Kentucky has backed a Virginia woman's fight to have the feeding tubes removed from her comatose husband to cause his death.

      Michele Finn was granted permission by a court order on Monday to have the tubes keeping her husband, Hugh, 44, alive removed because doctors have said he is in a "persistent vegetative state." Hugh Finn entered a coma 3 1/2 years ago after a car accident ruptured his aorta and deprived his brain of oxygen. His parents and other relatives oppose letting him die, and the judge set September 30 as a deadline for them to challenge his ruling.

      Bishop Kelly said on Tuesday that removing food and water from someone diagnosed in a persistent vegetative state is still a gray area in Catholic teaching. "The spiritual side of this is that everything inside of Hugh Finn calls for him to be reunited with God. While he remains in this state, it's like suspending that union. If Hugh goes to the Lord, then that's a gift to everyone," he said.

      Meanwhile, All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas is financially supporting the lawsuit filed by Finn's family to prevent the removal of the feeding tubes. Father Daniel Gee, associate pastor of the parish, said Finn's right to live must be respected. "Until he's declared dead, he still has brain activity. His soul still does reside in his body," Father Gee 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.


"Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the open squares raising a voice; down the crowded ways calling out, at the city gates uttering the words: 'How long, you simple ones, will you love inanity, how long will you turn away at My reproof? Lo! I will pour out to you My Spirit, I will acquaint you with My words."

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September 24, 1998 volume 9, no. 187   DAILY CATHOLIC