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THURSDAY             September 3, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 173

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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


Historical Events in Church Annals for September 3:

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      BUCHAREST ( - In a message to an international meeting of religious leaders on Tuesday, Pope John Paul II said he welcomes an opportunity to visit Romania and called for more cooperation between Catholics and Orthodox.

      The message was addressed to the 12th International Meeting of Peoples and Religions, sponsored by the Romanian presidency, the Romanian Orthodox Church, and the lay Catholic group Sant'Egidio Community. The Holy Father described Romania as a bridge between East and West that is "an original synthesis of European cultures and traditions." He also urged Romanian Catholics to "persevere courageously in giving witness to Christ and to His Gospel." He also praised the Orthodox Church for supporting the ecumenical meeting and working to end disunity.

      Catholics and Romanian Orthodox in the former Communist country have clashed in recent years over the status of property stripped from Catholics and handed over to the Orthodox Church during Communist rule. Earlier in the day, Patriarch Teoctist abandoned the Orthodox hierarchy's recent reluctance to welcome a papal visit to strong support for the proposed journey with a caution that the visit must be "well prepared."

      As the international ecumenical gathering closed last night in Bucharest, Pope John Paul II also sent the participants a message emphasizing the threats to world peace, and saying that religion should be "a powerful store of energy" for the work of building world peace.

      In a letter to Cardinal Edward Cassidy, who chaired the interfaith gathering, the Holy Father mentioned his concern over conflicts in Africa, the Middle East, and Kosovo in particular. "Faced with the multiplication of instances of warfare," the Pope wrote, "we must develop new energy for peace." He added that religions embody "the universal aspiration for understanding which is born out of sincere love for God."

      The Bucharest conference, the 12th annual meeting of its kind, was organized by the St. Egidio community. This year marked the first time that the conference was held in a country which is predominantly Orthodox. In his message, the Pope saluted the Orthodox Patriarch Teoctist, and said that Romania has a special calling to serve as "a bridge between East and West, to offer a new synthesis of European cultures and traditions."


      VATICAN ( -- At his weekly public audience today, Pope John Paul II explained that the Holy Spirit, to whom he has consecrated this year of preparation for the Jubilee, is "the source of true freedom" for man.

      "The Holy Spirit is the light that illumines man's conscience," the Pope said. "We become truly free when-- through the power of the Holy Spirit-- we follow the law that God reveals in the intimate sanctuary of our conscience."

      At a deeper level, the Holy Father continued, the Spirit unites man with Christ, and thus makes him a partaker in the Divine life. The greatest realization of human freedom comes when, in imitation of Christ, man offers God the gift of his self. "The full significance of freedom" was realized on Calvary, the Pope continued, when "Christ gave himself to the Father to free the world from slavery to sin."

      Man's sharing in the life of Christ also requires the work of the Holy Spirit, the Pontiff continued. "The Holy Spirit makes us able to follow the supreme law of love, which is the way to our full and authentic freedom."

      To address the Wednesday audience, the Pope arrived in St. Peter's Square by helicopter from his summer residence at Castel Gandalfo. Soon after the audience he returned to Castel Gandalfo. His next appearance at the Vatican will be on September 5, for an audience with members of Italian Catholic Action groups, and for observances commemorating the death of Mother Teresa.

      The Vatican also announced that Pope John Paul II will make a pastoral visit to the north of Italy later this month. The visit will center on the city of Brescia, which will be observing the 20th anniversary of the death of Pope Paul VI, a native son.

      The Pope will leave Rome on September 18, traveling to Chiavari. The following day he will continue to Brescia, staying there until September 22, when he will return to Rome.


      VATICAN ( -- The Italian government has responded to formal Vatican complaints over the investigation of Cardinal Michele Giordano of Naples, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls revealed today.

      In the police inquiry, which remains a source of tension between the Holy See and the government, the Vatican has apparently been told that in the view of the government, the investigation did not violate the terms of a concordat regulating church-state relations.

      A police investigation into the possible criminal activities of the cardinal's brother led to a thorough search of archdiocesan offices last week. Church officials had protested that the concordat required police to notify the bishops before conducting a search of church property, except under extraordinary circumstances. But Italian magistrates had specifically authorized a search in this case.

      The search-- which resulted in confiscation of financial records from archdiocesan offices-- was aimed at uncovering any possible evidence of money-laundering and loan-sharking activities. Mario Giordano, the cardinal's brother, has been identified as a Mafia operative involved with those activities. Cardinal Giordano himself has frequently condemned the Mafia practices.

      In addition to the protest over the physical search of church property, the Vatican has been upset by the news that Italian investigators wiretapped the cardinal's telephone. Although the 1984 concordat does not address the question of such electronic searches, the Holy See and the Naples archdiocese clearly believe the wiretap violates the spirit of the accord. "What if the Pope had called me!" Cardinal Giordano asked rhetorically in a television interview.

      Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, justice minister Maria Giovanni Flick, and foreign minister Lamberto Dini were all involved in the preparation of a formal answer to the Vatican's complaints, which had been lodged with the Italian government's ambassador to the Holy See, Alberto Leoncini Bartoli.

      Bartoli today met with Msgr. Celestino Migliore at the Vatican Secretariat of State to convey the government's response. The Vatican is now studying that response, according to Navarro-Valls, to determine what new steps might be appropriate.


      WASHINGTON, DC ( - An annual survey released on Wednesday of teenagers as they head back to school said those who are active in their faith are less likely to use drugs, drink, or smoke than those that are not active.

      The report, "Back to School 1998 - The CASA National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse IV," also found that a majority of youths between 12 and 17 years old say drugs are their primary concern and most also say drugs are used, kept, and sold at their schools.

      Joseph Califano, president of the National Center on Addition and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, said this year's survey was the first to draw a distinction between religious active and non-active teens. He said the findings are an opportunity for clergy. "I hope they just grab it and run with it, because they can do a tremendous amount to free our kids and help our kids deal with this problem that they face," he added.

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.


"Boast not of tomorrow, for you know not what any day may bring forth."

Proverbs 29: 1

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September 3, 1998 volume 9, no. 173   DAILY CATHOLIC