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February 17, 1998             SECTION TWO              vol 9, no. 34

Medjugorje Monthly Message for January 25th

      Dear children! Today again I call all of you to prayer. Only with prayer, dear children, will your heart change, become better, and be more sensitive to the Word of God. Little children, do not permit satan to pull you apart and to do with you what he wants. I call you to be responsible and determined and to consecrate each day to God in prayer. May Holy Mass, little children, not be a habit for you, but life. By living Holy Mass each day, you will feel the need for holiness and you will grow in holiness. I am close to you and intercede before God for each of you, so that He may give you strength to change your heart. Thank you for having responded to my call! For more on Medjugorje, Click on MEDJUGORJE

682 and counting, hoping and praying...

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



     VATICAN (CWN) -- At his Angelus audience of Sunday, February 15, Pope John Paul II invoked the figures of Europe's three great patron saints-- Benedict, Cyril, and Methodius-- as examples for all Christians. He said that today's world needs the same evangelical spirit, to stimulate the "re-evangelization" of Europe on the eve of the third millennium.

      The Holy Father also emphasized the urgency of ecumenical dialogue as a preparation for the Jubilee. He pointed out that Sts. Cyril and Methodius, during their missionary work in the 9th century, cooperated with both the Church in Rome and the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which would later go into schism as the Orthodox Church. He urged his audience to invoke the intercession of the great saints, praying that the Church would again be restored to the unity that prevailed in their era.

      At the same time, the Vatican announced that the first Libyan ambassador to the Holy See has extended an invitation for Pope John Paul II to visit his country.

      While accepting the diplomatic credentials of Husein-Fuad Mustafa Kabazi, Pope John Paul II did not respond to the ambassador's comment that he hoped "one day Your Holiness will deign to visit" Libya. The new Libyan ambassador also said that he was engaged in "a mission of peace," and promised "the greatest international cooperation" with the Vatican.

      Instead, the Holy Father sent his greetings to Col. Muammar Q'addafi, and said that "Christians and Muslims have many things in common." He said that peaceful dialogue between the religions in Libya could help create a climate of peace throughout the Mediterranean region.

      The Holy See established formal diplomatic relations with Libya in March 1997, despite the pressures of international sanctions against that country. However, observers have noticed the unusually long delay before a Libyan ambassador actually arrived in Rome.


     BEIJING (CWN) - A delegation of US religious leaders asked the Communist Chinese government on Sunday to release about 30 Catholic, Protestant, and Buddhist inmates detained for practicing their religions.

      The group consisting of Rabbi Arthur Schneier of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, the Rev. Don Argue of the National Association of Evangelicals, and Catholic Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of Newark was invited to visit the country by President Jiang Zemin during a visit to the US last year. Schneier said the delegation gave the list of names to Ye Xiaowen, the government official in charge of religious affairs. The delegation also asked for information about why they were detained and how they are being treated, Schneier said.

      The Communist government has denied detaining anyone for religious reasons, but human rights groups and the Vatican report that many Chinese are imprisoned and persecuted for their beliefs. Schneier said the names on the list were suggested by members of the US Congress, human rights groups, and churches. The Communist government requires all believers to belong to state-run churches, such as the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, which eschews connections to the Vatican and many immutable Catholic doctrines.

      Meanwhile, the Hong Kong-based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement of China asked the US delegation to add the city of Tongxiang to their itinerary because the city is organizing a campaign to stamp out underground religious activities. Secret city government documents obtained by the group said secret Christian churches had attracted crowds of worshippers and violated China's official religious teachings.


     HAVANA (CWN) - Cuba's bishops issued a pastoral letter to the island-nation's people on Friday, thanking them for making Pope John Paul's visit to the Communist country last month successful.

      The bishops also said in the letter that they hope the visit leads to a wider role for the Catholic Church in Cuban society, a role which she has been denied since the 1959 revolution. The Cuban Bishops' Conference thanked Cubans for showing their full faith and devotion during the papal trip on January 21-25, adding their thanks to the Communist government for its efforts to make the visit a success.

      While the bishops highlighted the positives of the event, they also recalled some of the Holy Father remarks that were critical of the government. During his final Mass in Havana's Revolution Square, the Pontiff said: "Liberation cannot be reduced to its social and political aspects but rather reaches its fullness in the exercise of freedom of conscience, the basis and foundation of all other human rights." The bishops said in their letter that they hope this observation leads to a role for the Church in society, not as a ruler but as a servant.

      Positive results of the papal visit have already been seen with last week's release of Cuban prisoners as urged by the Holy Father. But, Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina warned on Sunday that the clemency shown to the 300 inmates should not be interpreted as a green light for unrestricted dissent.

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February 17, 1998 volume 9, no. 34          DAILY CATHOLIC

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