DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     June 9, 1999     vol. 10, no. 111


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

63.   Cardinal Jan Chryzostom Korec, S.J.

          On the day of the one-year anniversary of the death of Cardinal Agostino Casaroli who worked feverishly toward the release of various Catholic clergy from Eastern communism prisons, we feature one of the men he managed to free - Cardinal Jan Chryzostom Korec, S.J. who was incarcerated for twelve years simply for the crime of helping seminarians with their studies and ordaining priests. He was arrested in 1960 for eight years and released after eight years because of severe health problems, but once he was recovered the Communists arrested him again in 1974 but, thanks to Cardinal Casaroli's intervention he was released permanently in 1981.

          Cardinal Korec was born in Bosany, Czechoslovakia on January 22, 1924. At the age of 15, at the outbreak of World War II, he entered the Jesuit minor seminary and then after the war the major seminary until he was forced underground because of Communist suppression in Slovakia. On October 1, 1950 and in 1951 Pope Pius XII named him a bishop in pectore, which means secretly so as not to bring any further persecution on him. Even though he was a religious, he was forced to work for nine years in a factory ministering to people as a priest clandestinely. When he was discovered in 1960 he was arrested. When he was dismissed from the hospital in 1968 he was again forced into hardlabor, collecting garbage before being returned to the same factory. However in 1974, when the government discovered he was still ministering to the faithful, he was once again arrested. But he was finally released after meticulous talks between the Holy See and the Communists of Slovakia which helped bring about his freedom.

          When the communistic regime fell in Slovakia and multiparty elections held, the Pope appointed him Bishop of Nitra on February 6, 1990, making his appointment as a bishop official even though secretly he had been one for nearly forty years. Rome also reestablished diplomatic relations with Czechoslovakia, paving the way for the Holy Father to travel there for a papal visit that summer. A year later, after all the years of persecution and hard labor, Cardinal Korec was honored in the Holy Father's Consistory of June 28, 1991 when he received his red hat and the titular church of Sts. Fabian and Venantius at Villa Forelli and assigned various curial memberships in the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and the Pontifical Council for Culture. At 75, he is still eligible for the Conclave and continues to serve as Bishop for the Diocese of Nitra, residing at Biskupsky urad, post. schranka 46A, 950 50 Nitra-Hrad, Slovakia.

June 9, 1999       volume 10, no. 111


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