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April 29, 1998
SECTION TWO   vol 9, no. 83
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
Pope and Guatamalans mourn murder of Bishop Conedra
If Guatamalan military leaders had hoped to silence the human rights voice of Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedra by murdering the prelate they are sadly mistaken for it will come back to haunt them as the citizens will force the human rights issue as a tribute to the fallen prince of the Church. The Holy Father mourned his loss yesterday expressing "my strongest revulsion for this act of violence which is an attack on peaceful co-existence." For more, click on Bishop is mourned
POPE SPEAKS OUT ON MURDER OF GUATEMALAN BISHOP AS MILLIONS MOURN
VATICAN CITY (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II expressed his
revulsion on Tuesday at the murder of a Guatemalan bishop on
Sunday, calling it "an abominable crime."
Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedra of Guatemala City,
who headed the archdiocesan human rights office, was killed
in apparent retaliation for the release of a report critical
of the army for human rights abuses during the country's
36-year civil war. The Holy Father said the murder is an
example of the futility of violence in the central American
"I express my strongest revulsion for this act of violence
which is an attack on peaceful co-existence," said the Holy
Father who lasted visited Guatemala in 1996. "I deeply hope
that this abominable crime, which has taken the life of a
true servant of peace and untiring worker for harmony among
all sectors of the population, clearly shows the futility of
Meanwhile in Guatamala City and all through the country, Guatemalans on Monday mourned
the murder of a human-rights crusading bishop who was killed
on Sunday, just two days after releasing a report critical
of the army for human rights abuses during the country's
36-year civil war.
Flags hung at half-mast, black bows adorned doors, and
people pinned black ribbons on their clothes as newspaper
ran full-page advertisements from business and civil groups
demanding justice for Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedra.
"For the first time in our history, a bishop is
assassinated, a deed that pains us and fills all
Guatemalans with shame," President Alvaro Arzu said in a
televised address on Monday evening.
Although many observers quickly linked the murder to the
bishop's report on human rights abuses during the civil
war, prepared in his position as head of the archdiocesan
human rights office, government officials and prosecutors
pointed out that no conclusions had been drawn. "We do not
want to enter into speculation," said president spokesman
Ricardo De la Torre.
When Bishop Gerardi was head of the Diocese of Quiche in
the late 1970s and early 1980s, he saw several priests in
his care killed by government-backed paramilitary groups.
He also survived an assassination attempt in 1980, and was
forced into exile in 1982 and 1984. A silent march and
vigil for Bishop Gerardi was planned for Tuesday afternoon
and a funeral Mass for Wednesday morning.
Statistics prove pilgrims flocking to shrines around the world
The numbers are proof of the hunger the faithful have for God and the signs He is sending us as evidenced from the figures released by the Vatican in a new document on Jubilee 2000 in which they estimate expectations for the year 2000 and the expected overflow of pilgrims to Rome and the Holy Land. Besides these areas, they have cited 1996 figures which show an increase in the millions at sites in Europe and Argentina. For more, click on Pilgrim progress.
NEW DOCUMENT ON JUBILEE PILGRIMAGES RELEASED
VATICAN CITY (CWNews.com) - "We expect 500 million pilgrims
throughout the world for the celebration of the Great
Jubilee Year 2000," said Cardinal Giovanni Cheli as he
released a new Vatican pastoral letter entitled:
"Pilgrimages in the Great Jubilee Year 2000."
The document was prepared by the Pontifical Council for
Migrants and Itinerants, which also oversees the world of
tourism. It is signed by Cardinal Cheli, president of the
council, and Bishop Francesco Gioia, the secretary. It was
presented on Tuesday at the Vatican during a press
conference. The letter contains in six chapters: The
pilgrimage of Israel; The pilgrimage of Christ; The
pilgrimage of the Church; The pilgrimage for the Third
Millennium; The pilgrimage of humanity; The Christian
Pope John Paul II has in the past said he desired that this
Great Jubilee can be celebrated in all the local Churches
throughout the world and not only in Rome. The unique
character of the Year 2000 Jubilee of the Birth of Christ
will give a "new impetus" to the pilgrimages in the five
continents: the documents estimates that 500 million
Catholics throughout the world will travel to a pilgrimage
shrine for the occasion.
The document recalls that the Christian pilgrimage, the
pilgrimage of the Church, itself falls under the biblical
tradition of pilgrimage in the Old Testament, from the
migration of Abraham to the pilgrimage which Jesus of
Nazareth took part in during his childhood, according to
the Gospel of Luke. The bishop emphasized the importance of
always putting the pilgrimage in relation to these spiritual
origins, and said that the pilgrimage is thus conceived to
be full of "richness of prayer, of conversion." This
foundation in the Bible and in Christ marks the character
of the Christian pilgrimage compared to the other religious
pilgrimages, the document's authors said.
The estimated number of pilgrims noted by the Council ("We
cannot guarantee exactitude," said Bishop Gioia), for the
largest shrines in 1996 in Italy are:
- Rome: 7 million
- Assisi, Loretto, San Giovanni Rotondo (Padre Pio): 5
- Padua (the tomb of St. Anthony): 4.5 million
- Pompeii (Our Lady of the Rosary): 2 million
Italy has another 30,000 churches with historic value,
1,500 shrines, 4,000 monasteries, and 700 diocesan museums.
The number of pilgrims for the shrines on different
continents for 1996 were:
- Our Lady of Aparecida (Brazil): 5.8 million
- Lourdes: 5.5 million
- Our Lady of Czestochowa (Poland): 4 million, 80% of them
young people, 200,000 of them traveling by foot over 600 km.
- Our Lady of Lujan (Argentina): 1 million, the majority of
Cardinal Cheli, questioned by a journalist, acknowledged
that Medjugorje in Bosnia is currently a significant place
of pilgrimage, as mentioned in an interview granted to
Are European Catholic countries caving in to the "Culture of Death?"
That is the scary question many are asking at the news that France is being obstinate in implementing benefits for homosexuals, thus accepting the gay lifestyle as legitimate, something foreign to the Will of God and His Holy Church. Meanwhile in Lisbon the Portuguese president has vowed to allow a vote so the citizens of Portugal can decide whether to legalize abortion. It is a sad day in these two European Catholic strongholds where Our Lady has made some of her most famous appearances such as Lourdes and Fatima. For more, click on caving in to read more.
FRANCE VOWS TO IMPLEMENT LEGAL BENEFITS FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES
WHILE PORTUGAL PRESIDENT SCHEDULES ABORTION VOTE
PARIS (CWNews.com) - France's Socialist-led government said
on Monday that it will move ahead with plans to give the
same legal benefits to same-sex couples as it does to
heterosexual marriages, but said it will not legalize
same-sex marriage or adoptions by such couples.
Justice Minister Elisabeth Guigou said, "The government has
committed itself to the possibility of resolving tax,
inheritance, and social problems and that will be done."
She added, "There should be no ambiguity about the
possibility of homosexuals marrying or adopting children.
That must be very clear in the text. It's not possible."
Although France has seen the decline in adherence to
tradition Catholic morality, including legalization of
abortion and an increase in extramarital relations, the
country's strong Catholic identity in rural areas has
galvanized opposition to the idea of legalizing same-sex
marriages. Homosexual groups that backed the Socialist
Party in last year's elections have complained that the
government has not been vigorous in pushing forward
legislation in parliament that is favorable to parliament.
To the south in Lisbon, Portugal, President Jorge Sampaio of Portugal
said on Tuesday that a nationwide referendum on plans to
allow abortion on demand would be held on June 28.
The vote would be the first use of a referendum since a
change to the country's constitution allowed the practice
last year. Parliament has already approved a law allowing
abortions up to the 10th week of pregnancy, but the ruling
Socialist Party agreed to a vote after a national outcry.
Further controversy arose over previous comments by Prime
Minister Antonio Guterres who had said that, as a
practising Catholic, he opposed any allowance for abortion.
Portuguese voters will be asked whether they "agree with
the de-criminalization of the voluntary interruption of
pregnancy, if carried out at the decision of the woman and
in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy in a legally authorized
clinic." Although abortion was technically legalized in
Portugal 14 years ago, the law restricts the procedure to
very specific circumstances. In 1997, there were 280 legal
Clinton trying to coerce US Religious Leaders into compromising on Religious Persecutions
Despite the sensitivities and atrocities of religious persecutions worldwide, President Bill Clinton could care less in his ambitious crusade to placate countries who continue to neglect the pleas of religious leaders, including the Pope, to allow people to practice their faith in their countries. Clinton has made it clear he puts more stock in trading and monetary goals than on souls and the welfare of people but a House Bill would thwart the chief executive's agenda. For more, click on Clinton tactics to read more.
CLINTON ASKS RELIGIOUS LEADERS TO PULL SUPPORT FOR SANCTIONS
WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - President Bill Clinton urged
US religious leaders on Monday to pull their support for a
proposed law that would impose economic sanctions on
countries that persecute minority religious groups.
Clinton met with members of the National Association of
Evangelicals at the White House and told them that he
believed the legislation would harm efforts to promote
religious freedom throughout the world rather than help
them. Clinton said the threat of mandatory sanctions would
put pressure on him and the rest of the government to
ignore religious persecution to avoid putting penalties on
important trading partners.
The measure, sponsored in the House by Rep. Frank Wolf,
R-Virginia, and in the Senate by Sen. Arlen Specter,
R-Pennsylvania, would ban exports of goods to foreign
governments engaging in abuses. It would shut off US aid to
such nations and require the administration to block loans
by international financial organizations, such as the World
Bank and International Monetary Fund. It also would
establish a special White House office to monitor religious
Among countries cited by the bill's supporters as being
consistent violators of religious freedom are China, Iran,
Pakistan, Vietnam, Algeria, Sudan, Vietnam, and Saudi
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LITURGY FOR THE DAY
Today, as mentioned above, is the Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena For the liturgy, readings, meditations and vignettes on this stellar saint as well as preparation for tomorrow's feast of Pope Saint Pius V, click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY.
Wednesday, April 29, 1998
First Reading: Acts 7: 51-60; 8: 1
Psalms: Psalm 31: 3-4, 6-8, 17, 21
Gospel Reading: John 6: 30-35
SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENA, VIRGIN AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
One of the great Doctors of the Church, Saint Catherine, born in 1347 in Sienna, was blessed with
apparitions of Our Lord when she was only seven years old. Jesus requested of Catherine, "Please give
Me your heart." Catherine willingly did so and in return, He gave her His Most Sacred Heart for God had a
special mission for this special saint He raised up for the Church. At 15 she entered the Third Order of St.
Dominic. Though courted by many young and noble bachelors, Catherine remembered what Christ had
asked her and turned down numerous offers of marriage to become a bride of Christ with the
Dominicans. Catherine did not know what exactly her mission was, but prepared for it through penance
and prayer, devoting herself to the poor. She knew in her heart the Pope belonged in Rome, the seat of
Christianity. Therefore, she made a pilgrimage to Avignon in Southern France to persuade the Pontiff
Pope Gregory XI to return from exile to Rome where he belonged. Heeding the advice of this simple nun,
he did as she requested for he knew intuitively that it was God's Will for God had sent Catherine as a light
in the darkness during this dark time in Church history. Dissension followed Gregory's decision to return
and those who followed their own will tried to elect a false pope and keep him in Avignon, but again
Catherine intervened and lovingly, wisely counseled those in power to accept Gregory as the true pope
and desist from promoting anyone else. They, too, understood this was God's Will and they obeyed, lifting
all barriers and allowing Gregory to return the papacy to Rome. Both Gregory and his successor Pope
Urban VI asked her counsel often, knowing it was of the Holy Spirit. Catherine died at the same age as Christ, 33 years old, receiving not only Jesus' Heart but His wounds as well as she was bestowed with
the stigmata. The world mourned this great saint in 1380 for she had touched and brought many nations
and princes back to the true faith through her simple, but firm faith. She also prophecied the schisms that
would come in the following centuries. In 1970, Pope Paul VI officially proclaimed her a Doctor of the Church.
Thursday, April 30, 1998
Thursday, April 30:
Thursday in the Third Week of Easter and
Feast of Saint Pius V, Pope and Religious
First Reading: Acts 8: 26-40
Psalms: Psalm 66: 1, 8-9, 16-17, 20
Gospel Reading: John 6: 44-51
SAINT PIUS V, POPE AND RELIGIOUS
A Dominican who followed in the tradition of St. Catherine of Siena nearly two centuries later was
Cardinal Michael Ghislieri who went on to become the great Pope Saint Pius V. Another of the great saints who God rose up in the "Century of Saints," Pius V was one of the most influential in Church history as he brought about renewal in the Church, carrying out many of the reforms that would reinstate the holiness
and status of Holy Mother Church. Amidst the ruin of the Protestant Reformation, the corruption within the
Church, and the threat of Turkish invasion, Pius carried out the teachings of the Council of Trent which
had begun in 1545. The fruits of Trent are still evident today for Pius ordered the founding of seminaries
for the training of priests, published a new Missal, Breviary, Catechism and initiated the Confraternity of
Christian Doctrine (CCD) for the youth to learn the faith. In addition, he established the Tridentine Mass
which he proclaimed would be said "in perpetuity." His devotion to the Rosary and spreading the power of
Our Lady's special weapon, proved victorious when he summoned all Catholics to throw themselves
upon the Mercy of God and pray the Holy Rosary in begging God to save the Church from the Turks. On
October 7, 1571 against unsurmountable odds, the Christian forces were miraculously victorious over the
Turks in the Gulf of Lepanto off of Greece. The tremendous power of the Rosary was made manifest and
that date became the official feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. Pius died in 1572.
PRAYERS & DEVOTION
Today's Prayer is taken from the Preface of the Dominican Missal of which St. Catherine of Siena was a Third Order member.
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give You thanks. We praise You today because You revealed to St. Catherine the unsearchable mysteries of Your Own life and gave her a special love for Your Church. She contemplated You in constant prayer and pleaded that discord might give way to unity. Obedient and humble, she challenged the Church of Christ to be mindful of its mission and be a faithful spouse of Christ, holy and spotless until the end of time.
For all other standard
features, articles and
columns, click on Archives
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Apri1 29, 1998 volume 9, no. 83 DAILY CATHOLIC