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March 16, 1998             SECTION THREE              vol 9, no. 53

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant


Three more closer to Sainthood with Beatification ceremonies Sunday in Rome!

      The Holy Father beatified three more candidates Sunday at the Vatican, elevating Spanish religious Carmen Salles y Barangueras, founder of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception; Passionist Bishop Eugen Bossilkov, a martyred victim of the Stalinist death camps who, like Saint Maximilian Kolbe, saved Jews from the Holocaust; and seventeenth century Italian Brigitte Morello, wife and founder of the house of St. Ursula in Piacaenza, dedicated to the poor and youth of Italy. For more, click on Beatifications to read more.


     VATICAN (CWN) --- On Sunday, March 15, Pope John Paul II presided at beatification ceremonies for three Servants of God: - Brigitte Morello (1610-1679) was born into a large Italian family, and her desire to enter religious life was frustrated by her mother's illness. Charged with the responsibility of helping to care for her nine brothers and sisters, she prayed instead for a happy marriage, and in 1633 she did marry Matthew Zancari. But their happy marriage ended with his death four years later; the union did not produce children. She herself fell gravely ill, and vowed that if she recovered she would devote her life to God. She founded the house of St. Ursula in Piacenza in 1649, and served the remaining years of her life-- through persistent problems with ill health-- to educate youngsters and care for the poor.

      - Carmen Salles y Barangueras (1848-1911) was born outside Barcelona, Spain, and from her youth nurtured a special devotion to the Virgin Mary. Despite her parents' desire that she should marry, she entered the entered religious life and in 1892 founded the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, seeking to fulfill her plan for "the formation of young people, using the heart to reach the intellect as well." The order she founded now boasts 60 communities in 11 countries, stretching across all of the world's continents.

      - Eugen Bossilkov (1900-1952) is the first victim of Stalinism to be beatified, as well as the first Catholic from Bulgaria-- a predominantly Orthodox population-- to claim that honor. Having been invited to visit Bulgaria, Pope John Paul II had hoped to conduct the beatification ceremony in that country, but divisions within the Orthodox Church there led to a postponement of the papal visit, and thus led to the beatification in Rome.

      Born in Belene, on the Danube, Vincent Bossilkov took the name "Eugen" when he entered the Passionist community. A promising student, he was assigned to study in Rome, where he wrote a thesis on the union between the Church in Bulgaria and the Holy See. That intellectual proposition was tested when, having become bishop of Nicopoli, he was asked by the Communist government to renounce his attachment to Rome. When he refused, he was arrested and tortured.

      Bishop Bossilkov was apparently killed by a firing squad in 1952. His surviving niece reports that at their last meeting he said, "I have the sense that the Lord has given me the grace to accept death." Because of the intense secrecy that enshrouded the Soviet death camps, his death was never officially accepted by the Holy See until 1975, when the new Bulgarian head of state, Todor Zikov, an anti-Stalinist, confirmed that he had been killed.


     LANSING (CWN) - The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday banning assisted suicide, but failed by just a few votes to muster a two-thirds majority that would have made the ban effective immediately.

      The House voted 66 to 40 to explicitly ban the practice which retired pathologist Jack Kevorkian has admitted committing 99 times since 1990. He has been acquitted in three trials on assisted suicide charges as defined by the courts in unwritten common law. A previous, temporary ban that expired in 1994 allowed a loophole for doctors who dispense pain-killing drugs with the intent to relieve suffering, a loophole that has been removed from the new measure.

      Because the bill did not receive a two-thirds majority vote, the ban must wait until it clears the Senate, which already approved a similar version in December, and is then signed by Republican Gov. John Engler who has promised to do so. The expected effective date is April 1, 1999. The bill makes intentionally assisting in a suicide a felony punishable by five years in prison or a $10,000 fine.

      Meanwhile, in Tallahassee, Florida the Florida Legislature on Wednesday approved a ban on partial-birth abortions, overriding Democratic Gov. Lawton Chile's veto of the bill which was originally approved last year.

      The law is expected to take effect in July, after enduring a least one court challenge. Chiles said after the vote that the Legislature acted too late on the veto override, and should have voted on it during a special session last fall. The Florida Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on the dispute in May.

      The House voted overwhelmingly to override the veto last week, and the Senate also approved the override 32-7 on Wednesday. Pro-abortion groups have also threatened to file lawsuits to overturn the law, citing court decisions in other states declaring similar laws unconstitutional.

      Overseas, a summit of doctors and medical ethicists from around the world gathered in London on Friday to issue a unified statement that euthanasia and assisted suicide is wrong and should never be legalized.

      Spokesmen for the group said public opinion is turning against the practice and said new court rulings and legislation around the world could effectively ban it. "Legalized euthanasia fundamentally rejects universal human rights obligations," Australian bioethicist Dr. John Fleming told an international meeting on compassionate care for the dying. He also praised his own country for turning the tide. "At a time when the world imagined that euthanasia would be universally accepted, following the Northern Territory of Australia's decision to legalize euthanasia, the federal government of Australia decisively turned the tide and has reaffirmed the human rights standard on this issue, not just for Australia but worldwide," he added.

      The conference was sponsored by the International Right to Life Federation and The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. Dr. John Wilkie, the American founder and president of the international federation, said the goal of the medical community should be learning how to treat the suffering endured by the terminally ill, not helping them succumb to their maladies even sooner. "Don't kill the patient, kill the pain," he told reporters. Wilkie said only five percent of people died in pain and only two or three percent of patients wanted to die because they were in pain.


     ROME (CWN) - The mayor of Rome announced on Thursday that the biennial Catholic youth gathering, World Youth Day, scheduled to be held in Rome in 2000 will take place at a religious sanctuary outside the city.

      The Italian news agency AGI quoted Mayor Francesco Rutelli as saying the event will take place at the Sanctuary of Divine Love, set aside in 1745 to enshrine a painting of the Virgin Mary which is believed to have saved the life of a pilgrim attacked by mad dogs. Up to 2 million youths are expected to gather with Pope John Paul at the sanctuary in 2000, although an exact date has not been set yet.

      Mayor Rutelli said that during the event, which is expected to be the highlight of the Jubilee Year, will begin with an 8-mile procession to the site by the gathering youth.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:To subscribe to Catholic World News Service, available daily by e-mail, click here .

Reaching the midway point of Lent

     This week leads to the middle of Lent, but we take time out this week to celebrate three saints, two being optional. One of those, of course, is Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland whose feast we celebrate tomorrow. For his story, and the rest of the readings, meditations of both today and tomorrow, click on LITURGY OF THE DAY

MONDAY, March 16, 1998

TUESDAY, March 17, 1998


     Though the Season of Lent often preempts this patron saint of Ireland, he is credited with bringing the emerald isle to Catholicism. Born of Roman and Scottish origin, Patrick was sold into bondage and brought to Ireland in the early 400's. His experiences prompted him to always turn to God for intercession and it was this faith that motivated him toward becoming an apostle for Christ in this land he grew to love. His piety and wisdom, as well as his genuine love and caring for the Celtic people, produced mass conversions throughout Irish soil. He is often depicted holding the Church in his hands as well as a shamrock which he used to explain the Blessed Trinity as having three leaves but one plant. He is also shown driving out the snakes. Though history does not record reptiles being on the island, it represents bringing the Gospel to Ireland and driving away the evil spirits of paganism. His holy work spawned generation upon generations of priests and nuns and holy, practicing Catholics up to our present century which are responsible for so many conversions the world-over, especially in America.


Today's prayer is the Act of Hope as we express hope that Mary's Immaculate Heart will Triumph sooner and that more souls return to the true fold.

      O God, I hope with complete trust that You will give me, through the merits of Jesus Christ, all the necessary grace in this world and everlasting life in the world to come, for this is what You have promised and You always keep Your promises.

For more devotions of Lent, click on WAY OF THE CROSS


"The start of strife is like the opening of a dam; therefore, check a quarrel before it begins!"

Proverbs 17: 14

For all other standard features, articles and columns, click on Archives

Click here to go to SECTION THREE or click here to return to SECTION ONE click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.

March 16, 1998 volume 9, no. 53         DAILY CATHOLIC