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February 13-15, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 32



WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

HEADLINES:

VATICAN PLEASED WITH CUBAN PRISONER RELEASE AT SAME TIME POPE NOMINATED FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

     VATICAN (CWN) -- The Vatican today expressed warm approval of the news that Cuba had released some political prisoners, saying that the move offered "concrete hope for the future of that noble country."

      The Vatican confirmed that some Cuban prisoners had been released in "an act of clemency and good will," in accordance with a request made by Pope John Paul during his January visit to the island nation. The names of those who have been released have been conveyed to the Holy See by international organizations, human-rights groups, and the families of the released prisoners.

      Apparently the releases to date have involved "dozens" of prisoners, from a list of 300 names given to Cuban authorities by the Holy Father. The Vatican noted that the Cuban government has said it is still studying other cases.

      Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State, told the daily Avvenire, "This is a sign that the words of the Pope were not in vain." During his trip to Cuba the Holy Father had denounced the suffering of people who are imprisoned "for reasons of conscience."

      The fruits of this and other endeavors is being rewarded by the fact Pope John Paul II is among the nominees for this year's Nobel Peace Prize, according to a report from the Nobel committee in Oslo. The Holy Father has been nominated as a "universal symbol of peace," because of his many interventions in search of a peaceful way to resolve conflicts-- such as those in Bosnia and in the Middle East.

      The recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize is named in mid-October. The prize is formally awarded in December.


US DELEGATION TOLD VATICAN SHOULD OPEN TIES WITH CHINA

     BEIJING (CWN) - An official of the Communist Chinese-controlled Catholic association told a delegation of US religious leaders on Wednesday said the Vatican should open diplomatic ties with China and that the absence of such relations hurts Catholicism in the country.

      Liu Bonian, vice president of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, met the US delegation, including Catholic Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Newark, as part of their ongoing discussion on religious freedom and persecution in China. The Communist government has mandated that Catholics must belong to the state-controlled association which eschews the authority of the Pope and much Catholic doctrine. The strained relations with the Vatican stem from the 1950s when the Communist government evicted foreign missionaries and persecuted most Christians, forcing them underground.

      The Vatican maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan which mainland China regards as a renegade province and not a sovereign nation. The Communist government wants the Vatican to cut ties with the island-nation and cede authority over the selection of bishops to the government.


DIOCESE SETTLES ONE LAWSUIT, TALKS CONTINUE ON OTHER

     DALLAS (CWN) - The Diocese of Dallas on Wednesday ended a lawsuit with five men who said they had been sexually abused by two priests by agreeing to a $5 million settlement.

      "I ask all members of the diocese to join me in keeping these victims in our prayers," Bishop Charles Grahmann said. "This has been a difficult time for everyone involved and an important step has been made today in resolving apainful chapter in the history of our diocese."

      The settlement was not related to previous litigation involving former priest Rudolph Kos in which a jury charged the diocese had been negligent and awarded the plaintiffs $154 million last year. Payment of the amount is still under court-ordered mediation.

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PROVERB OF THE DAY

"He who rejects admonition despises his own soul, but he who heeds reproof gains understanding."

Proverbs 15: 32

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February 13-15, 1998 volume 9, no. 32          DAILY CATHOLIC


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