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April 24-26, 1998             SECTION TWO for FRI-SAT-SUN              vol 9, no. 80

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

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



     VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Violence against Catholic missionaries is on the rise worldwide, according to the Vatican Congregation for Evangelization. Fides, a news service sponsored by that Congregation, today reported that 68 missionaries were killed in 1997. That marked a substantial increase over 1996, when 48 missionaries were slain. Already this year there have been 10 missionaries killed

      After consulting with missionary congregations and dioceses, Fides published a full account of last year's victims: 1 bishop, 19 priests (15 diocesan priests and 4 members of religious orders), 1 monk, 7 nuns, and 40 seminarians. The seminarians were slaughtered on April 30, 1997, at the minor seminary in Buta, Burundi.

      Most of the victims of this violence were Catholics of African origin: 8 from Rwanda, 6 from Congo, and 1 from Nigeria as well as the 40 seminarians from Burundi. There were 3 missionaries from India who gave their lives in 1997, and 2 from Brazil. Other victims were from Canada, Colombia, the Philippines, Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, and the United States.

      Africa was also the continent where most of the missionaries died: 12 in Congo, 4 in Rwanda, 41 in Burundi, and 1 each in Chad, Kenya, and Nigeria. There were 2 killings apiece in India and Brazil, and 1 each in Colombia, Peru, the Philippines, and Nepal.

      Thus far in 1998, there have been 7 missionaries killed in Rwanda, and one each in Congo, India, and Paraguay.


     VATICAN (CWNews.com) Archbishop Gabriel Zubeir Wako has been sentenced to prison by a court in Sudan, and the government has confiscated several vehicles used by the Catholic Church for humanitarian work.

      The Comboni Press news agency-- an organization supported by the missionary congregation of the same name-- could not report the length of the archbishop's prison sentence. The press report indicated that Archbishop Zubeir Wako is currently free pending an appeal.

      The case against the archbishop was brought by a Sudanese merchant, who claimed that the Catholic Church had never paid him for aid he distributed to refugees. Church sources insisted that the aid had in fact never been delivered, and Archbishop Zubeir Wako indicated that he would prefer to serve a prison term rather than pay the debt with money which could be used to serve the starving people of Sudan.

      According to Comboni Press-- whose release was distributed through the Vatican press office today, in an unusual move-- the archbishop was arrested on Easter Sunday by a police officer, the brother of the merchant who brought the original charges. Sources in Khartoum suggested that the Sudan government has welcomed the opportunity for a confrontation with the Catholic Church.


     NEW YORK (CWNews.com) - The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) announced on Wednesday that Microsoft Co. chairman Bill Gates, the wealthiest man in the United States, donated $1.7 million to the fund which seeks to limit population growth in poor nations through abortion and birth control.

      The William H. Gates Foundation, founded by the technology tycoon and his wife, gave the money to cover a three-year grant for population programs, including a nation-to-nation technology exchange, and for a five-year review of the 1994 Cairo population conference. The Gates foundation has been active in the population and reproductive science fields, awarding previous grants for research on contraceptives and last year giving Johns Hopkins University money to use technology to address the so-called over-population problem.

      Gates, who has a reported net worth of $40 billion, joins the list of big-name donors to the UN which includes media tycoon Ted Turner who gave the organization a $1 billion, five-year grant last October for use in several projects.


     VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- The special Synod of Bishops for Asia today heard pleas for reconciliation between Israel and the Palestinians, and among the Catholics of China. The range of topics covered by bishops' presentations at the synod included inter- religious dialogue, the liturgy, the role of women, and the care of people living in poverty.

      Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros, the Melkite Catholic leader of Baalbek, Lebanon, asked the synod fathers to use their influence in support of a breakthrough in the stalled Middle East peace process. He said world leaders should push for "a solution to the Israeli- Palestinian problem, and put pressure on Israel to pull out of the occupied territories in Syria and Lebanon."

      Bishop John Tong Hon, an auxiliary of Hong Kong, emphasized the need for peace among the Catholics of mainland China, where the government's efforts to promote a "patriotic" church and to discourage loyalty to Rome have resulted in serious division. Despite those divisions, and despite intense persecution at times during the past 40 years, the Church in China has grown from 3 million to over 10 million faithful.

      Bishops from the Middle East played an important role on this fifth day of discussions, as bishops delivered their individual presentations on the topics they considered most urgent. The synod heard from Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir and the apostolic vicar of Kuwait as well as Archbishop Bustros and brother bishops from Teheran, Antelias, and Damascus.

      Patriarch Sfeir said that Lebanese society had been a model of inter- religious harmony, with Christians and Muslims living together peacefully, until outside forces (he did not name Israel, although she seemed clearly to be referring to the Israeli invasion of 1982) caused a political crisis. Since that time, he said, the imposition of a new Islamic regime has made cooperate more difficult.

      The theme of inter-religious dialogue was picked up by Bishop Valerian D'Souza of Poola, India, who asked the synod to reflect on the plight of Hindus and Muslims who discover the truth of Christianity. Since Baptism can lead to disinheritance and even violent reprisals, he pointed out, many Hindus and Muslims require special protection if they are to convert to Catholicism.

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Medjugorje Monthly Message for April 25th

    Dear children! Today I call you, through prayer, to open yourselves to God as a flower opens itself to the rays of the morning sun. Little children, do not be afraid. I am with you and I intercede before God for each of you so that your heart receives the gift of conversion. Only in this way, little children, will you comprehend the importance of grace in these times and God will become nearer to you. Thank you for having responded to my call. For more on Medjugorje, click on MEDJUGORJE

The Essence of the Medjugorje Message

A Call To Peace from the Queen of Peace

According to the testimony of the visionaries in Medjugorje, Our Lady introduced herself: "I am the Queen of Peace" Mary is calling all of humanity to PEACE, PEACE, PEACE - for it is necessary to save all humanity. We have to begin by first creating peace within our hearts, then in our families and then in this war-threatened world. This can be done in the following manner:







This weekend's Prayer is taken from the Preface for the Mass of Saint Mark.

     Father, You have willed that the holy mysteries of Christ Your Son, the Source of redemption and life, should be made known through the Sacred Scriptures, the work of men illumined by the Holy Spirit. In this way the words and deeds of the Savior, contained in the immortal pages of the Gospels, are entrusted to the Church and become a fecund seed that brings forth fruits of grace and glory throughout the centuries.


"The hope of the just brings them joy, but the expectation of the wicked comes to nought."

Proverbs 10: 28

For all other standard features, articles and columns, click on Archives

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Apri1 24-26, 1998 volume 9, no. 80   DAILY CATHOLIC