January 9-11, 1998   vol 9, no. 7    


WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



      FRONT ROYAL, Virginia (CWN) - Human Life International announced on Thursday that Father Richard Welch, C.Ss.R., had been elected as president of the pro-life organization by its board of directors.

      The announcement was made by founder Father Paul Marx, O.S.B. Father Welch, 44, is a Redemptorist priest who was ordained in 1980. Soon after his ordination, Father Welch was assigned to Puerto Rico where he served as a missionary parish priest for 12 years. In 1987 he was named rector of the cathedral parish, where he helped defeat a euthanasia bill in the Puerto Rican Legislature and worked with the poor and building country chapels in the tropical mountains. Father Welch also organized a now famous teen pro-life group, whose members have given hundreds of talks throughout the island and distributed thousands of copies of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae at both public and Catholic universities.

      Father Welch holds the distinction of being the first priest arrested for protesting abortion in the United States, chronicling the events of his activism in the book, "Blood of the Martyrs," published in 1994.


      WARSAW (CWN) - Poland's Parliament approved a long-delayed concordat with the Vatican on Wednesday, following years of delays imposed by the previous ruling party, the ex-Communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD).

      The treaty, first proposed in 1994 and passed by a vote of 274-160, governs the rights and obligations of the Catholic Church in Poland and defines her relationship with the government. The SLD had argued that the concordat gave to much influence to the Church to which about 90 percent of Poles belong. "The concordat does not infringe on the sovereignty of the Polish law in any way. It is unfortunate that it was blocked for the last four years for political reasons," government spokesman Tomasz Tywonek said.

      The treaty states, among other provisions, that sacramental marriages are legally binding and sets up religious education in public schools. The treaty was signed by the former pro-Catholic center-right government just before it lost 1993 elections to the (SLD). Catholic groups saw the opposition as an insult to Polish-born Pope John Paul.


      VATICAN (CWN) -- In an annual Vatican message to the Islamic world, at the start of the month-long Muslim observance of Ramadan, Cardinal Francis Arinze has called for a "peace pact" in which Christians and Muslims alike would reject violence as a method of resolving their conflicts.

      Cardinal Arinze, the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, conveyed "the greetings of Catholics from all over the world" in his message, which was entitled: "Christians and Muslims: Under the Sign of Hope."

      The cardinal explained that the first "sign of hope" in these relations is the common "search for God" that motivates believers in both faiths. He said that another sign of hope is the common perception of "all the good in the world," which is "the fruit and the mark of God's action in the hearts of men." He also mentioned the common desire for peace, justice, religious freedom, and a recognition of human dignity.

      While admitting the need for a "realistic" recognition of all the conflicts taking place around the world, Cardinal Arinze urged: "However, the little lamp of hope must always remain lit, illuminating the path of humanity toward a better future."

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Opening Prayer for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

      Father, Your only Son revealed Himself to us by becoming man. May we who share His humanity come to share His divinity, for He lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


"The intention in the human heart is like water far below the surface, but the man of intelligence draws it forth."

Proverbs 20: 5

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January 9-11, 1998 volume 9, no. 7          DAILY CATHOLIC

January 1998