January 16, 1998   vol 9, no. 12    


WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



     WASHINGTON, DC (CWN) - The woman known only as Jane Roe during the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that established a constitutional right to abortion will testify against abortion at Senate hearings next week, Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Missouri, said on Wednesday.

      Norma McCorvey, whose decision to seek an abortion more than 25 years ago led to the Supreme Court ruling, announced in 1995 that she now opposes abortion and went to work in Texas for the pro-life group Operation Rescue. She will testify as the keynote speaker on January 21 before Ashcroft's Senate Constitution Subcommittee.

      "As one who is strongly committed to the pro-life position, I admire her courage in standing with those who believe that Roe v. Wade was a tragic error by the court, with profound and ongoing consequences for the nation," he said. Other witnesses at the hearings will include legal experts and doctors on both sides of the issue.


     VATICAN (CWN) -- Pope John Paul II today visited the Roman Capitol, in a move which he saw as symbolic of the collaboration between "civil Rome" and "Christian Rome" in the preparation for the Grand Jubilee.

      Roughly 600 new public-works projects have been undertaken as part of the city's preparation for the Jubilee celebration. In 1996 the Italian parliament appropriate the funds necessary for the construction projects, and since July 1997 those funds have been available. However, many of the projects have already fallen behind schedule.

      However, the Holy Father did not mention the controversies surrounding the construction projects when he spoke of the civil administration and the Holy See as partners in the task of building up the city.

      Pope John Paul spoke to the political leaders of Rome from the ancient loggia of the Senate palace in what was once the administrative center of the Roman empire. He appeared to be in good health-- a fact remarked by journalists who still recall his temporary faintness during a Sunday ceremony at the Vatican.

      Rome's Mayor Francesco Rutelli, who is a practicing Catholic, greeted the Pontiff on behalf of the city, and presented him with a stone from the Coliseum, as well as a gold medallion inscribed with a testimonial to his role in "transforming world history during the final and crucial years of the 20th century."

      The Holy Father recalled that in 1870, his predecessor Pius IX had come to the Capitol, when a final assault by Piedmontese troops put an end to the Papal States, and the pontiffs finally abandoned their palace as well as their political role in that defunct geographical entity. The most recent visit by a reigning pope came in 1966, when Pope Paul VI visited to thank the city's administrators for their cooperation in the work of the Second Vatican Council.

      The Holy Father said that the civil and religious leaders of Rome were "not opposed, nor alternatives, but united together, in respect for their different competencies, by a passion for this city and a desire to give that city and exemplary image in the eyes of the whole world."

      The papal visit provoked two protests: one by a homosexual group and another by secular groups opposing official public recognition for the Holy See. The protesters laid flowers at the foot of a statue of Giordano Bruno, the Dominican theologian who was burned at the stake in 1600 because of heresy charges.


     VATICAN (CWN) -- The Holy See and the Palestinian Authority are negotiating a pact which would offer definitive juridical protection for Catholic entities in the territories now under Palestinian control.

      The Vatican today announced that the negotiations toward that end are being conducted by a "joint commission." The Vatican press office provided no details about the composition of that body.

      The Palestinian Authority maintains a "Bureau of Representation" in Rome, directed by Affix. This bureau-- which functions as the equivalent of an embassy, without holding that title-- was set up in 1994, after the Holy See established formal diplomatic relations with the government of Israel.

      In a similar process, the search for a formal juridical recognition of the Catholic Church in the Palestinian lands follows the establishment of a formal pact with Israel, announced in November 1997, to guarantee the status of Catholic entities in that country.

      In both cases-- in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority as well as with Israel-- the Holy See has found a point of contention regarding the status of the city of Jerusalem. Both governments view the holy city as their capital; the Vatican has pressed consistently for the establishment of an international administration to guarantee free access to Jerusalem for all parties.

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The Father of Monks

      While we celebrate Ordinary Time through most of the weekend, Saturday we commemorate the saint considered the father of monks - Saint Antony of Egypt. Click on LITURGY FOR THE DAY

FRIDAY, January 16, 1998

SATURDAY, January 17, 1998

      Born in the middle of the 3rd Century, Saint Anthony of Egypt decided to become a mendicant hermit after hearing the Gospel reading at Mass: "If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast and give to the poor" (Matthew 19: 21). After searching for the perfect way to do this, he opted to serve God in the desert as a hermit. It was here that he was attacked by a legion of from hell as the devils physically wounded him. This happened so often that at one time even the devils thought they had beaten him to death. But his faith and perseverance won out and he grew to fear no one as he said to the avenging devils: "I fear you not; you cannot separate me from the love of Christ." Finally giving up, the legion of demons fled and Jesus Himself appeared to Antony. He was the epitome of what a poor monk should be, wearing sackcloth and sheepskin, eating only bread and water and kneeling in prayer throughout the night. It's interesting here to note how we sometimes complain about kneeling for one hour in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, or that we can't fast on bread and water on Wednesdays and Fridays as our Blessed Mother requests. St. Antony attracted countless souls who flocked to him for spiritual direction and finally, after 20 years of seclusion, he knew Our Lord was calling him to teach these eager souls so the Church would flourish in the future. Like St. Hilary last week, St. Anthony's feast has continued on the same date in the Church Calendar for many, many years.

SUNDAY, January 18, 1998

MONDAY, January 19, 1998


"Envy not the lawless man and choose none of his ways: to the Lord the perverse man is an abomination, but with the upright is His friendship."

Proverbs 3: 31-32

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January 16, 1998 volume 9, no. 12          DAILY CATHOLIC

January 1998