February 4, 1998   vol 9, no. 25    


Inquistive Queries that may or may not provide the Quotient

      For our midweek humor today we bring you twenty-five questions that will test the mind as well as the imagination in the first of two parts that will conclude on these same pages next Wednesday. Click on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven!
     So many times people, when congregating together will ask, "Didja ever wonder why...?" It conjures up guffaws as well as blank looks, but it does get you thinking. Therefore, we've got a slew of them and we bring you some of the puzzlers week with the rest next week. We begin with the story of a man, who was curious about religious orders. He approached a Dominican friar: "What can you tell me about the Dominicans?" "Well, in short, we were founded by St. Dominic as an answer to the Albigensians," replied the friar. "What about the Jesuits?" "They were founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola as a response to the Protestant Reformation." "So which is the greater order?" asked the questioner. The Dominican pondered for a second, then replied, "Well, when was the last time you met an Albigensian?"

Questions to ponder by pandering with punders...or: Didja ever just wonder why...


"The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that a man may avoid the snares of death."

Proverbs 13: 14

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

695 and counting...

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



     VATICAN (CWN) -- Iran's minister of foreign affairs, Kamal Kharrazi, has called for "deeper collaboration among the different monotheistic religions." The Iranian leader offered his comments after meetings at the Vatican yesterday with Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Holy See's top foreign-policy official. Kamal Kharrazi delivered a personal letter to Pope John Paul from the new Iranian president, Mohammed Khatami.

      In an interview published today by the Italian daily Avvenire, Kharrazi offered his observations on the relations between Iran and the Holy See. Noting that the Iranian president is a leader of the Islamic Conference, and in that position sought greater cooperation with Christians.

      "A new space has been created in Iran, since the last presidential elections, and the world is taking notice of a new Iranian reality," the foreign minister said. "We now think that there are some very good occasions for developing relations with other countries."

      Kharrazi said that he also spoke with the Pope about religious freedom, and particularly about the rights of Christians living in Iran. He said, "I explained to him that we have Jewish, Christian, and Zoroastrian minorities. There are 80 churches in Iran-- more than the number of mosques in all of Europe. Religious minorities have freedom of worship as guaranteed by our constitution, and they are represented in our parliament, where there are three Christian deputies, one Jew, and one Zoroastrian."

      Questioned about Iran's links with terrorist groups, Kharrazi said that his government condemned all terrorist acts. But he suggested that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organization, but an army fighting to liberate the portions of Lebanon now occupied by Israel.


     HONG KONG (CWN) - A US businessman working in China said on Tuesday that scores of Catholic priests and bishops have been detained by the Communist Chinese government in the last four years because of their continuing allegiance to the universal Catholic Church.

      China recognizes only the state-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association which eschews any connections to Catholics outside the country and does not object to morally corrupt government practices such as abortion. John Kamm said on Hong Kong radio that he has established a dialogue with the Chinese government regarding prisoners of conscience and added that officials told him that they are receiving increasing pressure to crack down on unauthorized religious groups. "At the end of 1993, there were no priests or bishops in prison in China to the best of our knowledge," he said. "That is manifestly not the case now. There are at least several dozen priests and bishops under some form of detention."

      Three American religious leaders appointed by President Clinton will travel to China later this week to talk with Chinese officials about religious freedom. Rabbi Arthur Schneier, president of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation; Archbishop Theodore McCarrick of the Roman Catholic diocese of Newark, New Jersey; and Dr. Don Argue, president of the National Association of Evangelicals will head a delegation leaving for China on February 8 for a three-week visit to Beijing and other Chinese cities as well as Lhasa, Tibet.


     HAVANA (CWN) - Cuban dictator Fidel Castro has gone before a national television audience to thank the people of Cuba for their comportment during the "historic" visit of Pope John Paul II. Castro spoke of "my profound admiration, my recognition, and my gratitude" to the people who participated in the papal events.

      Castro claimed that many people had sought to politicize the Pope's trip, to "strike a blow against the revolution. But, he said, "the Cuban people found a better response." Castro did not mention the political questions raised by the Pope himself, such as the call for release of political prisoners.

      In a related event, the official Vatican newspaper today issued a new statement of opposition to the US-led embargo on trade with Cuba. L'Osservatore Romano said that the embargo was an "archaic" policy based on "fear and exclusion," which hurt the people rather than the regime. Castro strongly rejected a proposal by Cuban exile groups in the United States to provide food and medical aid to needy Cubans while continuing the 36-year-old embargo against the Communist country.

      "The Cuban government, with all the dignity in the world and in the name of the Cuban people who are a symbol of the greatest dignity in the world, says 'no'," Castro said with strong emotion. "The idea consists in offering humanitarian aid with humiliating conditions and maintaining a rigorous blockade." Castro refused the aid in a four-hour television appearance that continued into the early hours of Tuesday morning which focused on Pope John Paul's visit to the country last month.

      The proposal voiced by the Cuban American National Federation and supported by Sen. Jesse Helms, R-North Carolina, would earmark food and medicine for Cuba through the Food for Poor program, but the exile group has said the point of the program is to humiliate Castro as being unable to provide for his people. "It (the plan) is a repugnant and immoral maneuver, a rude reply to the Pope's proposals .. an insult to the Cuban religious institutions and a challenge to the (Cuban) people who resist and will resist with honor," Castro said. "Cuba is not begging, Cuba is not asking for humanitarian aid, Cuba is asking for the end of the blockade." Castro said he did support a proposal in the US Congress that would modify the proposal to allow food and medicine sales to Cuba.

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February 4, 1998 volume 9, no. 25          DAILY CATHOLIC

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