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April 1, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 65

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



     VATICAN (CWN) -- Myriam Zolli, a psychiatrist whose father was the Rabbit Israel Zolli, the head of the Jewish community in Rome during World War II, has issued a strong defense of Pope Pius XII and his response to the Nazi Holocaust. Zolli said that Pope Pius was in steady contact with her father, and worked diligently to save Jews from persecution.

      In fact, the friendship established between the rabbi and the Pope during the wartime years led eventually to the decision by Rabbi Zolli to convert to Catholicism. When he was baptized, Zolli took the name "Eugenio," in honor of Pope Pius, who was born Eugenio Pacelli.

      In an interview published today in the Italian daily Il Giornale, Myriam Zolli recalled her father's prediction that Pope Pius XII would become a scapegoat for the West's silence in the face of the Holocaust. She said that the polemical attacks on the late pontiff were examples of "ignoble and false history," and concluded that in fact "the world's Jewish community owes him a great debt."


     VATICAN (CWN) -- The Vatican today announced that Pope John Paul II is preparing for a trip to Austria in June. That announcement came in reaction to a report, published in Vienna yesterday, that the papal visit would be postponed due to controversy over the status of the retired Cardinal Hermann Groer.

      Cardinal Groer, who has been repeatedly accused of homosexual affairs, has become the focus of a heated controversy in Vienna, his former archdiocese. The active bishops of Austria have asked Cardinal Groer either to rebut the charges or to make some public act of repentance-- neither of which he has done. His successor in Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, recently asked Groer to cease exercising his episcopal ministry.

      The Vatican recently began an investigation of Cardinal Groer's background, aimed specifically at his stint at the head of a monastery in Goettwig from 1960 to 1970-- the period during which his alleged transgressions took place. Cardinal Schoenborn has indicated that Rome must decide, on the basis of that investigation, what action is now appropriate.

      The daily Die Presse had indicated that the Pope's visit to Vienna might be postponed, for fear that demonstrators would use the occasion for ugly public protests over the Groer affair. But today's Vatican statement indicated that preparations are continuing "on the normal course."

      Last week Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna said in an interview that he had asked retired archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, to stop exercising the office of bishop.

      Cardinal Groer retired in 1995 following allegations that he had molested a boy more than 20 years ago. Although he has never admitted or denied the accusations, Cardinal Schoenborn and four other Austrian bishops issued a statement last month saying they believed the allegations were essentially true.

      Cardinal Schoenborn said in an interview the Catholic magazine Dialog that he has asked Cardinal Groer to refrain from carrying out the activities of a bishop, such as confirmations. He added that Cardinal Groer, whose alleged activities were investigated by a Vatican commission this month, also deserved thanks for the many good things he had done.


     VATICAN (CWN) -- Pope John Paul II will meet with 50,000 young people on Thursday at the basilica of St. John Lateran, in preparation for the celebration of World Youth Day on Sunday, April 5. The meeting is part of the preparation for the World Youth Day celebration in the year 2000, in Rome.

      A preparatory meeting for that 2000 encounter is taking place in Rome this week. As part of that preparation, the meeting on Thursday will feature personal testimony and artistic performances as well as the appearance by Pope John Paul. On Saturday the young participants will form a procession through Rome, from the historic Piazza del Popolo to St. Peter's Square, carrying the ceremonial Cross that has become a central symbol of World Youth Day.

      That Cross, conveyed to the young people of the world by Pope John Paul II, has been carried to each of the 6 cities that have hosted World Youth Day celebrations: Buenos Aires in 1976, St. James de Compostela in 1989, Czestochowa in 1991, Denver in 1993, Manila in 1995, and Paris in 1997. It will remain in Rome for the celebration there in the Jubilee Year 2000.

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Apri1 1, 1998 volume 9, no. 65         DAILY CATHOLIC