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April 16, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 74

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant
provided by Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Patriarch Alexei II, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, has indicated that he sees no realistic prospects for an early meeting with Pope John Paul II.

      In his Easter message, the leader of the world's largest Eastern communion said that the tensions between the Holy See and the Moscow Patriarchate are caused by clashes between Catholic and Orthodox believers in Ukraine, the continuing "proselytism" by Catholics in Russia, and the absence of a clear understanding between the two faiths which would resolve these difficulties.

      This year the Eastern churches celebrate Easter Sunday on April 19. The Patriarch traditionally writes an Easter message to his people, reporting on a number of topics including ecumenical relations. When the Reuters news agency questioned the Patriarch on the prospects for a meeting with the Pope, he answered that "the prevailing position in the Orthodox Church is that the ground for such a meeting has not yet been sufficiently prepared."

      In his Easter message Alexei sounded the same theme, saying, "Unless serious and clear progress to resolve these problems is under way, the majority of Orthodox cannot accept a meeting with the Pope." A premature meeting, he added, might tempt Catholics to maintain an approach which he called "aggressive triumphalism," and at the same time mislead Orthodox believers by suggesting-- inaccurately-- that tensions between the two churches had been resolved.


      VIENNA (CWNews.com) - The Austrian cardinal who resigned as archbishop of Vienna over allegations of sexual abuse 20 years ago announced on Tuesday that he is relinquishing all ecclesiastical duties and will leave Austria at the request of Pope John Paul II.

      Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, 78, said in a statement issued by the Vatican's apostolic nuncio in Austria said, "In the past three years, there have been several, often inaccurate assertions about my person. I beg God and people for forgiveness, if I have burdened myself with guilt." A spokesman for the nuncio said the statement was written by the cardinal himself.

      The cardinal has never denied or confirmed the allegations made in 1995 by former students and monks that he molested or propositioned them. He is expected to leave Austria -- where the scandal has caused controversy over the Church's handling of the complaints -- before the Holy Father arrives in June for a visit. The spokesman said Cardinal Groer would leave for an as-yet undisclosed location abroad "very soon," most likely a Benedictine monastery.

      The cardinal will have to forfeit all activities associated with his position as bishop and cardinal for life, including the right to attend the conclave electing a new pope when that occurs. Cardinal Groer stepped down as archbishop of Vienna and primate of the Church in Austria when the allegations were made public in 1995. In February of this year, his replacement, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, and three other bishops announced they had come to "the moral certainty" that the allegations were true and asked the Vatican to investigate and take action. No civil or legal proceedings have ever been filed in the case.


      BELFAST (CWNews.com) - One of the most vocal pro-British unionist groups in Northern Ireland began a campaign on Wednesday urging voters in the violence-plagued province to vote against a proposed peace plan in a referendum planned for May.

      The Rev. Ian Paisley and his Democratic Unionist Party placed advertisements in newspapers urging people to "Vote No to Dublin Rule" on May 22. The peace agreement reached in multi-party talks on Good Friday would maintain links with Britain, but would also set up cross-border governing bodies with the Irish Republic. The Democratic Unionists rejected participation in the talks and have consistently railed against "the spread of papism" in Northern Ireland. Political analysts said the party is becoming marginalized among working-class Protestants, and would likely have little influence.

      Ironically, the pro-British group is being joined by fringe pro-Irish groups in opposing the plan, including the Continuity IRA and the Irish National Liberation Army who want nothing less than the complete end of British influence in the region and a union with the Irish Republic.


      LOS ANGELES (CWNews.com) - Enrollment in Catholic schools increased for the sixth consecutive time during the 1997-98 school year and 155 news schools have opened in the past 12 years, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) announced on Tuesday.

      The group representing 200,000 Catholic teachers throughout the US said 3,400 new students enrolled in Catholic schools this year, bringing the total number to 2,648,859, and increase of about 81,000 since 1992. "What is compelling about these numbers is that no matter what popular polls may seem to say, people are concerned about character. Parents want their children to grow into adults with strong moral values. That's what Catholic schools deliver and that's why more families are enrolling," said Dr. Leonard DeFiore, president of the NCEA. The group is holding its annual convention in Los Angeles this week.

      The NCEA added that increased enrollment means many families are making big sacrifices to provide Catholic education for their children. "Our enrollment growth carries with it a compelling case for supporting educational choice in this country," said Michael Guerra, head of the NCEA Secondary Schools Department. "With tuition increasing in some areas, families with modest incomes are making tremendous sacrifices to choose Catholic schools for their children." He added that the NCEA is concerned that many families cannot exercise their right to choose religious schools because of financial pressures.

      DeFiore added that 155 new Catholic schools during the past 12 years, bringing the total to 8,223 nationwide, is encouraging, but said more are needed. "The bottom line is: we need more Catholic schools. Parents are choosing them and bishops are committed to providing a Catholic education for every Catholic family who wants one," said DeFiore. "The end result should be a building boom for Catholic schools."

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:To subscribe to Catholic World News Service, available daily by e-mail, click here .

Events this day in Church History

     For events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history, click on ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME

Historical Events in Church Annals for April 16:

624 and counting, hoping and praying...



     We continue with the Seventh Day of the Novena of Divine Mercy which will conclude with DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY next Sunday. This Novena was imparted to Blessed Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun of the 1930's who is known as the "Apostle of Mercy."

For the seventh day of the Novena and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, click onDIVINE MERCY NOVENA

SEVENTH DAY OF THE NOVENA OF DIVINE MERCY: Easter Thursday, April 16, 1998

      Most Merciful Jesus, Whose Heart is Love Itself, receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who particularly extol and venerate the greatness of Your Mercy. These souls are mighty with the very power of God Himself. In the midst of all afflictions and adversities they go forward, confident of Your Mercy; and united to You, O Jesus, they carry all mankind on their shoulders. These souls will not be judged severely, but Your Mercy will embrace them as they depart from this life.

      Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls who glorify and venerate Your greatest attribute, that of Your fathomless Mercy, and who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. These souls are a living Gospel; their hands are full of deeds of mercy, and their hearts, overflowing with joy, sing a canticle of mercy to You, O Most High! I beg You, O God; Show them Your Mercy according to the hope and trust they have placed in You. Let there be accomplished in them the promise of Jesus, Who said to them during their life, but especially at the hour of death, the souls who will venerate this fathomless Mercy of His, He, Himself, will defend as His glory. Amen.

It is greatly recommended the above novena intentions and prayers be said together with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
(All material taken from Divine Mercy Devotions, copyright Marians of the Immaculate Conception)


      Devotion to Divine Mercy is conveyed through the Chaplet of Divine Mercy as Jesus imparted to Blessed Sister Faustina Kowalska when He relayed, as recorded in her diary "Divine Mercy in my soul", "Encourage souls to say the Chaplet which I have given you (1541)...Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death (687)...When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior (1541)...Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this Chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My Infinite Mercy (687)...Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will. (1731).

      Following is the formula for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, prayed on the regular beads of the Rosary. It is most appropriate to pray it at 3 o'clock in the afternoon which is the "Hour of Great Mercy" as Jesus said to Blessed Faustina: At three o'clock, implore My Mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the Hour of Great Mercy...In this hour I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion. (1320).

      It is recommended to offer each decade to the wounds of Christ, such as the first decade in reparation for the wound in HIs Right Hand; the second decade in reparation for the wound in His Left Hand, the third decade in reparation for the wounds in His Sacred Feet; the fourth decade in reparation for the wounds in His Head in which the Crown of Thorns crushed His Sacred Skull; and the fifth decade in reparation for the wound in His side in which Blood and Water gushed forth as a Font of Mercy for all generations.

      The Novena to Divine Mercy, which Jesus asked Blessed Faustina to begin on Good Friday, 1937 is for nine days from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter) which is the Feast of Divine Mercy. Jesus told her, By this Novena [of Chaplets and particular intention each day] I will grant every possible grace to souls. (796).

Medjugorje Monthly Message for March 25th

   Dear children! Also today I call you to fasting and renunciation. Little children, renounce that which hinders you from being closer to Jesus. In a special way I call you: Pray, because only through prayer will you be able to overcome your will and discover the will of God even in the smallest things. By your daily life, little children, you will become an example and witness that you live for Jesus or against Him and His will. Little children, I desire that you become apostles of love. By loving, little children, it will be recognized that you are mine. Thank you for having responded to my call. For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE


"The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but the dwelling of the just He blesses; when He is dealing with the arrogant, He is stern, but to the humble He shows kindness."

Proverbs 4: 33-34

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Apri1 16, 1998 volume 9, no. 74         DAILY CATHOLIC