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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.
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.
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.
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."
The Normans capture Bari on the Adriatic coast of Italy. Rome can do nothing, embattled between Pope Alexander II and the antipope Honorius. Though the original intent was to rid Italy of the infidels invading Italian soil, the Norman victory firmly entrenched them in Italy where they would take hold for centuries to come.
Death of Saint Drogo, also known as Druon, a Flemish saint who became a hermit in Sebourg, France and is today the Patron Saint of Shepherds.
Pope Innocent IV, a pope of questionable character, sends John of Plan de Carpine as papal envoy to the Mongols.
Birth of John II "the Good", who would go on to be monarch of France.
For the seventh day of the Novena and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, click onDIVINE MERCY NOVENA
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.
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).
On each decade of the small beads, pray the following:
For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
At the end of the Chaplet recite three times the following prayer:
Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Then conclude with the following prayer said three times also:
O Blood and Water which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as Font of Mercy for us, I trust in You!
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).