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ZENIT, July 19, 1998
THE WORLD SEEN FROM ROME
DEVELOPMENT DEMANDS SOLIDARITY AND RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS . Holy See's Intervention at U.N. Economic and Social Council
NEW BISHOP FOR THE MARTYR CHURCH OF ALGERIA. Bishop Alphonse Georger Will Replace Assassinated Bishop Pierre Claverie,
CHURCH STILL SEEKS TO OVERCOME COMMUNIST HERITAGE . Several Problems Are Still Causing Internal And External Strife
IMMIGRANTS ALSO HAVE HUMAN AND SPIRITUAL NEEDS "It's Not Just a Matter of Giving Them Food and Shelter"
FATHER BENZI, MISSIONARY TO MODERN SLAVES Italian Priest Rescues Women From Prostitution
GREGORIAN UNIVERSITY RECTOR NAMED TO HIGH VATICAN OFFICE Giuseppe Pittau Appointed Secretary of Congregation for Education
SPECIAL REPORT: THE CHURCH AND HUMAN RIGHTS "THE CHURCH WILL NOT REMAIN INDIFFERENT IN THE FACE OF INJUSTICE". Archbishop Van Thuan, imprisoned 13 years for his faith, speaks out
DEBATE: THE MORALITY OF GAMBLING GAMBLING, JUST ANOTHER FORM OF TAXATION? Enormous Increase Brings Into Question Governments' Role
THE WEEK IN REVIEW People, Events, and Comments: Mexican Government Seeks to Resolve Cardinal's Assassination, New Movies on Life of Jesus Planned for Jubilee, Believing Is Good For Your Health, Korean Priests Exceed 3,000, International Conference on Human Rights and Values.
DEVELOPMENT DEMANDS SOLIDARITY AND RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
DEVELOPMENT DEMANDS SOLIDARITY AND RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTSTOP
Holy See's Intervention at U.N. Economic and Social Council
NEW YORK, JUL 14, 1998 (ZENIT) - In a recent meeting of the U.N. Economic
and Social Council (ECOSOC), on the topic of "Solidarity Among Peoples: A
Sure Path to Economic Development and Integration," a delegation of the
Holy See, headed by Bishop Diarmuid Martin, Secretary of the Pontifical
Council Justice and Peace, took active part in the discussions.
During his intervention, Bishop Martin explained that "there is growing
acceptance of the fact that promoting investment, both domestically and
from foreign sources, and facilitating the widest participation in the
world market are essential elements for achieving sustainable development
Those Left Out of Globalization
"While noting and fully recognizing the benefits... from economic
globalization and from the liberalization of access to markets," he added,
it is also necessary "to focus especially on the situation of those --both
nations and individuals-- who still remain on the margins of these
In fact, "many developing economies," he continued, "despite the intense
efforts of their governments to implement appropriate reforms, still remain
in a position of great vulnerability. Precisely because of the
precariousness of their situation, they are often those most exposed to the
negative effects of economic crises or changes in investment patterns."
In the face of such difficulties and in order to promote an authentic
development, the Holy See demanded that "the poorest countries need forms
of market access and participation in the global economy which are
Bishop Martin, with the moral authority of the Vatican behind him, pointed
out that "Trade barriers still remain and these tend all too often to
affect the products of particular interest to the poorest nations and the
poorest sectors of these nations, especially in the agricultural sector.
The least developed countries, themselves, lack technical ability and their
limited technical resources are pushed beyond capacity, having to face the
new challenges of adjustment while continuing to address long standing
problems such as the resolution of chronic debt burdens."
Globalization of Solidarity
The answer of the Holy See to this dilemma is the same as John Paul II has
proposed on several occasions: injustices of any form that arise from
globalization must be countered by a "globalization" of solidarity. Bishop
Martin deliberated on this idea when he said: "To be sustainable, the
integration of the least developed countries into the world economy will
thus require the creation of a more strongly-felt sense of solidarity and a
clearer focus on the centrality to the process of the people most involved.
The driving force of any economy is its people. Through their work and
creativity it is the people themselves who have produced economic miracles."
According to the Vatican delegation, "In the new architecture of the world
economy, the private sector must... identify and assume certain appropriate
social responsibilities. My Delegation sees that these responsibilities
must include a commitment to sustainable investment and respect for
fundamental human rights, rather than the simple search for short-term
comparative advantage or quick economic gain."
Development: Realization of God-given potential
At the same time, Bishop Martin made it clear that, because of the huge
resources required, development cannot be left merely to the private
sector. "To make trade liberalization work," he said, "the least developed
countries will continue to require concerted efforts by the international
community." But he also added that "international governmental cooperation
will be needed to ensure that, both in law and in fact, access to world
market is truly equitable."
Finally, to put his exposition of the Holy See's contribution to the
Economic and Social Council meeting in a much more meaningful context and
to clarify the foundations of all human development, Bishop Martin
concluded: "Building a truly "global economy", Mr. President, cannot be
simply a question of the transnational expansion of personal or corporate
interest. It means, above all, building a system which permits the active
participation of all persons and nations in realizing the God-given
potential with which they have been endowed, an economy which is truly at
the service of the entire human family."
NEW BISHOP FOR THE MARTYR CHURCH OF ALGERIA
NEW BISHOP FOR THE MARTYR CHURCH OF ALGERIATOP
Bishop Alphonse Georger Will Replace Assassinated Bishop Pierre Claverie,
VATICAN CITY, JUL 13 (ZENIT)- After two years of vacancy, the Pope has
found a successor for Bishop Pierre Claverie, assassinated by the Armed
Islamic Group (AIG). On July 10, the Holy Father named Fr. Alphonse
Georger, a priest of the Archdiocese of Algiers and director of the
diocesan Center of Studies, the new Bishop of Oran (Algeria).
An intellectual committed to a martyred people
The recently named bishop was born on May 25, 1936, in Sarreguemines,
Diocese of Metz (France). In 1962, he was sent to the African Archdiocese
of Algiers to complete his ecclesiastical studies. He was ordained a priest
on June 26, 1965 and, after two years of studying Arab literature and
Islamology, he was named parochial vicar of Bab El Oued, and member of the
Committee for Sacred Art. Since 1995 he has been the director of the
Algiers diocesan Center of Studies.
To succeed a victim of fundamentalism
On the night of August 1, 1996, Bishop Pierre Claverie of Oran entered his
residence accompanied by his chauffeur to rest after a long day's work.
Little did he know that terrorists from the AIG (Armed Islamic Group) were
impatiently waiting for him to end his life with a bomb. Before him, 18
French and Spanish religious had lost their lives there. At the time, ZENIT
interviewed Justo Lacunza, a friend of Bishop Claverie and professor of
Arab studies in Rome. "Pierre Claverie was a 'pied noir', that is, he was
of French origin, but he had been born and raised in Algeria. When he was
ordained a priest, he realized that his mission was to be a bridge between
the Christian and the Muslim world. Since then, he decided to stay forever
in Algeria to be a witness of love on the frontier. He knew perfectly well
that it would make him a target for integralism.
Why would terrorists choose someone who loved Algeria and had decided to
remain? Justo Lacunza thinks that his position as a Catholic Bishop and his
determined negotiations for peace made him a target for fundamentalist
intolerance. "One day before he died, he went with some other religious to
meet with the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, De Charette, who was
visiting Algeria. His presence meant to be a sign of his endorsement of
President Zeroual's government. He had gone to Tibhirine to visit the tombs
of the seven trappists assassinated the previous May 21. The easiest way to
weaken the government was to hit one of the Church's representatives,
considered by the fundamentalists as an intruder. They chose him because he
was the firmest bishop in expressing his own ideas."
When later, accomplices in the murder of Bishop Claverie were condemned to
death by the court of Oran --the three who were directly responsible died
in a shoot-out with the police--, the Church asked that the seven who were
sentenced be pardoned. "The Church does not want these seven men condemned
to death to be executed," said Archbishop Teissier of Algiers. The convicts
were inhabitants of a poor neighborhood of Oran called Petit Lac. In
declarations to the Vatican press agency FIDES, Archbishop Tessier implored
clemency for the those sentenced to death and added that Claverie, "his
family and friends have offered pardon."
The love that remains: the Christian response
Love as life's response to murder and violence. This was also the maxim of
the seven trappists at the monastery of Atlas (Algeria), murdered by a band
of fundamentalists from the AIG a few months earlier. Fr. Jean-Pierre
Schumacher, one of the religious who miraculously escaped the massacre,
explained the reason -- not always well understood in the Catholic world--
for staying on Algerian soil despite the danger: "The reason for our
presence is to try to carry out a Christian witness in the midst of the
Muslims, listening above all to what the Holy Spirit is working in the
hearts of our neighbors, embracing them and trying to live an experience
with them, without proselytism. Although our faith is clearly in Jesus
Christ, we know that there is only one God, the Living God. And together we
can turn towards Him."
CHURCH STILL SEEKS TO OVERCOME COMMUNIST HERITAGE
CHURCH STILL SEEKS TO OVERCOME COMMUNIST HERITAGETOP
Several Problems Are Still Causing Internal And External Strife
PRAGUE, JUL 15 (ZENIT).- Still nine years since the fall of communism in
ex-Checoslovaquia --today the Czech Republic and Slovakia-- some touchy
matters remain unresolved in these two countries of Eastern Europe,
martyred at the hands of religious persecution.
One of these is that of those bishops and priests who were ordained in
hiding, and must now obtain the "official confirmation" of their ministry
from the Church.
According to a 1993 Vatican norm, all ordinations carried out in hiding
during periods of persecution or other calamities are considered to have
been carried out "sub conditione," because it is not possible to guarantee
that all the proper requisites were fulfilled. Since, according to the
norm, these ordinations are valid only as long as the special situation
exists, once the context in which they were administered alters, they must
be "confirmed" in public.
Now, some of these ministers, ordained secretly, do not want to accept
this public act or "second ordination," as they sometimes refer to it. They
consider it a lack of confidence towards them and they insist in bringing
to their defense the difficult conditions under which they had to carry out
their ministry. They emphasize the fact that they have suffered much more
than those who, although watched by the political police, worked in the open.
This problem has made its way again into public opinion after an interview
with Fridolin Zahradnik, president of the "House of Emmaus," was published
in the Prague newspaper 'Lidové Noviny.' Zahradnik was consecrated an
underground bishop in 1970 and he asserts that he has spoken with the
Archbishop of Prague, Cardinal Vlk, who insisted on having his ordination
publicly confirmed. According to Zahradnik, the cardinal has no right to
doubt his ordination (something he has never really done) because, he says,
"I have been a bishop for 28 years."
Last year the Czech Bishops' Conference, headed by Cardinal Vlk, confirmed
the consecration of 18 priests who had been ordained in the underground
Church. Many of them, in fact, were elected from among the faithful and
they were married so as not to provoke suspicion from the government
authorities. Since then, they have been incardinated into the
Greek-Catholic Church, in the diocese of Prjasev. It is an oriental rite
Church, shared even by orthodox churches, that allows priestly ordination
to married men.
In defense of Cardinal Vlk, the nuncio, Archbishop Coppa stated: "As
representative of the Holy Father in this country, I must highlight the
fact that the Bishops' Conference has only applied the instructions given
to the Nunciature by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with
the Pope's approval." The Nuncio has even written to the persons involved
assuring them that the plea to confirm their own underground ordinations
"does not denote any lack of confidence, but rather, exactly the opposite."
The sacrament is valid "only inasmuch as all the required conditions are
observed, so that this act can be truly considered Christ's."
Church goods, unreturned "booty"
The restoration of goods confiscated in the totalitarian communist period,
and now in possession of the actual government, is another unsolved
problem. The civil authorities have denied all requests and question what
the Church wants these goods for. They have never addressed the question of
whether or not the Church has the right to possess them, but only about
what they are useful for. The Cardinal responds: "In all truth, if the
State decided to return all of our patrimony, they really wouldn't be doing
us a great favor, since it mainly consists of buildings in ruins, which
need a great amount of income which we do not have. We only asked for part
of it, but the State doesn't agree. For example, in 1990-91 various
convents were returned to religious orders, but not the adjacent plots of
land. Without this source of income, it is very difficult for them to
The Cathedral of Prague is a different matter, says the Cardinal: "It was
nationalized in 1954, when the so-called 'Castle area' was created. All the
buildings within this area have been declared State property. Historically,
the Cathedral has always been considered a meeting point between civil
society and the Church. Charles IV built it as a crowning place: the tombs
of kings and saints are there, the crown jewels. It has always had this
double purpose. I am the first to acknowledge it, but nevertheless the
problem has to be solved. I am willing to hand over the Cathedral to the
State, as long as the Church can use it freely. We need to find an adequate
IMMIGRANTS ALSO HAVE HUMAN AND SPIRITUAL NEEDS
IMMIGRANTS ALSO HAVE HUMAN AND SPIRITUAL NEEDSTOP
"It's Not Just a Matter of Giving Them Food and Shelter"
ROME, JUL 15, (ZENIT).- The demographic decline in wealthy countries and
the underdevelopment of third world countries are sparking more frequent
migrations. This fact has caused controversial reactions among governments
and political forces of neighboring countries. Unfortunately, racist
movements asking for a radical limiting of immigration are on the rise.
Immigrants' weak status is being exploited even by organized crimes that
thrive on people in dire need.
The Church has often spoken out on these abuses and offered numerous
concrete projects for reception and integration of immigrants, that
maintain the proper respect towards each individual and their respective
culture. In recent years, Italy has been the destination, or stopping-over
point, for millions of immigrants fleeing from the ex-communist countries
of Eastern Europe or those coming from northern African countries in search
of work and better living conditions.
Fr. Elvio Damoli, Director of the Italian Caritas, who has worked with
immigrants for years, has declared to the Catholic newspaper, Avvenire,
that "welcoming immigrants cannot be reduced to giving them food and
shelter. It has to be deeper by responding to the immigrants' human and
spiritual needs. Above all with temporary immigrants who are constantly on
the move and are the most defenseless."
"As interest in the relationship between culture and religious dialogue
grows," affirms Fr. Damoli, "you realize that there cannot be a true
welcoming without the adequate answers from a human and spiritual point of
view. It is of great importance to understand the values immigrants bring
with them, if not, there cannot be true integration. A religious welcoming
is not exclusively reserved for Catholics, rather it has a strong
diversity. Lately there has been a greater spreading of sects among
immigrants, considered as perfect targets. Therefore there is a growing
need for local churches to become committed."
As regards meeting the spiritual needs of immigrants, Fr. Damoli explained
that "there is an ever greater possibility of accomplishing this form of
welcome thanks to people who are offering places where immigrants can come
together and pray. There are many examples of this. The Pontifical Council
for Immigrants is even working to aid immigrants spiritually through the
help of priests who are from the same countries the immigrants come from.
In this way it is easier to overcome language and cultural barriers. A
further possibility, above all in cases in which there is a massive or
long-term presence, would be to organize encounters or get-togethers in
order to allow them to intermingle and give them the opportunity to
exchange their respective experiences. If the barriers fall, values remain."
FATHER BENZI, MISSIONARY TO MODERN SLAVES
FATHER BENZI, MISSIONARY TO MODERN SLAVESTOP
Italian Priest Rescues Women From Prostitution
ROME, JUL 13 (ZENIT)- There wouldn't be prostitutes if there weren't
clients. This is the position of the Italian priest, Fr. Oreste Benzi of
Rimini, who has decided to dedicate his pastoral action to these women,
often enslaved against their will in such a degrading activity.
In Italy there are 9 million persons, mostly men, who have recourse to
prostitution. The women are often foreigners, or poor people in need of
helping their family, and they are controlled and manipulated by the mafia,
in many cases kidnapped. Most of them are anxious to escape the infernal
circle into which they have fallen.
Fr. Benzi offers them a home or a community where they can live with
dignity once they have decided to flee from prostitution, sometimes risking
their lives. And he offers them the possibility of an alternative activity
to earn a living, in a way befitting to their human dignity.
The story of Anna, an Albanian woman kidnapped by a criminal gang at age
14, who has suffered a living Calvary for four years, corresponds to the
profile of many women who have been drawn into prostitution in Italy. Anna
arrived at Fr. Benzi's parish shouting as she embraced him: "Behold the day
of my resurrection. Finally, I'm free!"
She is one of the hundreds of women taken in thanks to Fr. Benzi's work.
"Many of these freed sisters have found work," the priest explained. "They
have rebuilt a family or have returned home." Presently, more than 100 are
blazing "a trail of hope and rehabilitation" in the 240 family homes or
communities of Fr. Benzi.
In a recent congress in Rome concerning "enslaved prostitution," organized
by the John XXIII Association, Archbishop Alfredo Battisti of Udine, member
of the Italian Bishops' Conference for charitable services, defined this
offensive activity as "the greatest crime of the millennium against
humanity." The bishop has petitioned the United Nations that forced
prostitution, "a phenomenon that is a fearful and dark setback for
civilization, filled with horrendous stories of suffering" be declared "a
crime against the fundamental rights of the human person" and that their
protectors and members of the mafia be declared criminals. "The whole
Church should commit itself to freeing the slaves of the year 2000: Jesus
imposes it in the Gospel, the Holy Father asks for it in preparation for
the World Day of Peace 1999 ("if you want peace, respect human rights"),
the Jubilee we are preparing demands it," Archbishop Battisti declared.
GREGORIAN UNIVERSITY RECTOR NAMED TO HIGH VATICAN OFFICE
GREGORIAN UNIVERSITY RECTOR NAMED TO HIGH VATICAN OFFICETOP
Giuseppe Pittau Appointed Secretary of Congregation for Education
ROME, JUL 12 (ZENIT) - John Paul II has appointed Fr. Giuseppe Pittau,
former rector of the Gregorian University, to the post of Secretary of the
Congregation for Catholic Education and has raised the Jesuit priest to the
dignity of Archbishop. This is the Vatican office that oversees the
operation and offers guidelines to all Catholic schools, including
universities and seminaries, throughout the world.
Fr. Pittau is originally from Cagliari, Italy, and holds a doctorate of
Political Science from Harvard University. He is a renown expert on
oriental culture and has served as both Provincial of the Jesuits in Japan
as well as President of "Sophia University" in Tokyo.
In 1981 he was appointed assistant of the Pontifical Delegate to the
Company of Jesus by the Holy Father and has since occupied the positions of
General Council, and Regional Assistant for Italy and East Asia.
As rector of the Gregorian University, from 1982 to the present, Fr. Pittau
has made use of his vast experience in Asia by actively promoting the study
of oriental cultures and religions and creating numerous contacts with
educational institutions in those countries.
In 1997, John Paul II named 70 year old Fr. Pittau Chancellor of the
Pontifical Institute of Science. He will replace Portuguese Archbishop José Saraiva Martins who has just
been named Prefect of the Congregation for the Cause of the Saints. As
Secretary, he will work alongside Cardinal Pio Laghi, Prefect of the
Congregation for Catholic Education since 1991, and who turned 75 last
year, the obligatory age limit for key Vatican posts, although the Holy
Father has yet to accept his resignation.
SPECIAL REPORT: THE CHURCH AND HUMAN RIGHTS
SPECIAL REPORT: THE CHURCH AND HUMAN RIGHTSTOP
"THE CHURCH WILL NOT REMAIN INDIFFERENT IN THE FACE OF INJUSTICE"
"THE CHURCH WILL NOT REMAIN INDIFFERENT IN THE FACE OF INJUSTICE"
Archbishop Van Thuan, imprisoned 13 years for his faith, speaks out
VATICAN CITY, July 15 (ZENIT).- As we already reported , the World Congress
on Pastoral work for promoting human rights was celebrated in Rome from
July 1 to 4. In this encounter the participants sought to define the role
of the Church regarding the education and promoting of human rights. In the
next few weeks, ZENIT will present to its readers the more significant
aspects of this Congress' interventions.
Archbishop François-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, newly appointed President of
the Pontifical Council Justice and Peace, is a personal witness of the
violation of human rights, due to the fact that he was imprisoned in
Vietnam for 13 years, accused only of having professed his faith.
In the opening address, Bishop Van Thuan explained that the Congress was
proposed by the Holy Father in the context of the 50th anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of the upcoming Great Jubilee of
the year 2000.
"During this year, throughout the world the theme of human rights is being
analyzed in its multiple aspects. We have chosen to center the encounter on
pastoral care" because "on the threshold of the Third Millennium, we want
to face --as a loving Church-- those problems which besiege the world. We
want to serve, find, and live out the option for the poor; we want to
inculturate the Gospel in the different cultures of our world; dialogue
with all in a spirit of humility and hope..."
"The world we live in has become a village: 'the joy and hope, the sadness
and anguish of the men of our time, are the same as that of the disciples
of Christ.' The Church has never and will never be indifferent to war, to
concentration camps, to massacres, to racism, to injustice, to
discrimination against ethnic minorities. The Church has fought against,
and continues battling, discrimination of women, those who seek to exploit
children, restrictions of religious freedom. The Church works with all her
strength to promote a civilization of love. Our goal is to create an
atmosphere of charity. Saint Paul once said, 'charity is a country;' we can
add that it is 'a country without boundaries.' "
After four days of discussion, Van Thuan stated: "an oriental proverb
says: 'Who can count all the leaves of the forest? Who can spread his arms
and block the wind that blows through the trees?' We feel weak amidst the
great problems of the end of this century, such as the fast-pace economic
globalization, the danger of a war without boundaries, the threat of a
technology that manipulates humans. But we should be conscious of the fact
that we count on the support of the Spirit of Pentecost and, therefore, we
must not be afraid!"
Then, addressing the Holy Father, he added: "After 40 years as bishop, and
20 years as Pope, you have acquired the experience of a Shepherd who has
faced all possible problems. You are the Pope of human rights: before
International Institutions, through your Easter and Christmas messages,
during the World Peace Day, and during your apostolic visits, you have been
the voice of the 'voiceless:' the poor, the natives, farmers, aborigines,
refugees, those in prison..."
Archbishop Van Thuan closed his discourse affirming that "evangelization
cannot be separated from promoting human rights. Jesus Christ himself
proved this when quoting the prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is
upon me; that is why he has anointed me and has sent me to announce to the
poor the Good News, to proclaim liberation to the imprisoned, sight to the
blind; to free the oppressed (Lk. 4, 18)."
DEBATE: THE MORALITY OF GAMBLING TOP
DEBATE: THE MORALITY OF GAMBLING TOP
GAMBLING, JUST ANOTHER FORM OF TAXATION?
Enormous Increase Brings Into Question Governments' Role
During summer vacations all of us are looking for a way to relax. One of
the more popular means these days is by gambling; whether in casinos or
through lotteries. In many European countries, and also in the United
States, the last few years have witnessed an enormous increase in the types
of games available for betters and gamblers. Up until recently, most forms
of betting and casino-type operations were prohibited by law, but now
governments are actively promoting these activities. One of the main
reasons for the change is that the lotteries and casinos are a very
lucrative source of revenue for the State.
In these days of budget restrictions and pressures to reduce taxes, the
revenue from lotteries and casinos means many millions of extra dollars for
the government's pocket. Just in Europe, in 1996 the lotteries gained $57
billion in sales, of which the government took about a third. In America,
from 1894 until 1964, lotteries were illegal in the entire country and
casinos were allowed in only two states. However, this began to change in
the seventies and, by now, casinos are operating in some 27 states. The
reaction of people to this change has been enthusiastic. In 1995 Americans
spent some $550 billion on gambling, of which about 40% was spent within
Where Does the Money Go?
In spite of the apparent economic boom that these new forms of gambling
have provoked, not everyone is pleased with the final destination of the
"winnings". In England, for example, although the British National Lottery
has awarded billions of dollars of grants to charitable organizations since
its institution in 1994, some have called into question the fact that large
sums of money have been destined to groups that openly promote abortion and
worldwide population control. Such is the case of a recent contested
allocation of almost 2 million dollars worth of grants to three
organizations. Nearly one million dollars was given to "Population Concern"
for a project in Pakistan, "Mary Stopes International" received 700,000
dollars for their work in Vietnam, and "International Planned Parenthood
Federation" was awarded some 400,000 dollars for different activities in
Russia, Albania, Poland and other countries. Similar grants by
government-operated lotteries in other countries have brought many to
reconsider the convenience of promoting these kind of profit generating
activities, since the final appropriation of the proceeds are beyond public
Some advantages and disadvantages
This explosion in games of chance has had some undeniable benefits. In
many cases the revenues have enabled spending on needy social projects and
also many additional jobs have been created. But not everyone is in
agreement with the promotion of casinos and lotteries. Although some jobs
are created, people only have so much money to spend. If they spend it in
casinos, then they do not buy so many clothes and other goods. So in the
end, who knows if many more jobs are created.
As well, there are some substantial costs involved with gambling. The
creation of addicts, who in order to finance their habit, resort to crime
is a well-known phenomenon. In many areas the opening of casinos has
boosted levels of white-collar crimes. Also, it has always been a factor in
the multiplication of bankruptcies, divorces and suicides. Recent studies
have shown that, in many cases, those who are most attracted to casinos,
slot machines and lotteries have relatively limited incomes. In some cases,
many argue that governments are abusing their power by using these people
to augment revenues. Although no one is forced to buy a lottery ticket,
studies have also shown that those with less education spend a higher
proportion of their income on lotteries than better educated people.
Critics often claim that State promoted campaigns, which create the
illusion of easy money by winning the lottery, in some cases border on
dishonesty. In fact, they say, the odds against a major win are almost
A moral judgement
The Catechism of the Church deals with the question of gambling in number
2413. It states that while in itself these pastimes are not immoral, at the
same time some caution is needed. It would be morally wrong to dissipate
money on gambling while at the same time ignoring our own or others' needs.
Moreover, the Catechism warns us against allowing the passion for gambling
to covert itself into a type of slavery.
Therefore, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with buying a lottery
ticket or going to a casino. It can be a morally good or bad action
depending on our intentions and personal circumstances. We also need to
admit that, in moderation, it can be a legitimate source of relaxation.
This is even more the case when they are games which involve some social
interaction, and not just feeding coins into a slot machine isolated from
But, at the same time, it is not possible to be completely in favor of the
immense increase in gambling in recent years. When it are used just as a
means to increase government revenues, without any guarantee that this will
be spent on socially useful projects, it could be considered just another
form of taxation. Moreover, when we take into account the negative social
costs, we would have to doubt in many cases if the overall balance is
Faced with this situation the individual needs to keep in mind a number of
factors. Firstly, avoid playing just from emotional motives. This can
easily lead to an unhealthy addiction and to many subsequent problems.
Secondly, don't spend on lotteries and in casinos money which is needed for
other more important things: the family, education, charitable donations.
Thirdly, be alert to the multiple forms of deceit present in these games so
as not to be taken in, either by the State or by professional gamblers.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW
THE WEEK IN REVIEWTOP
People, Events, and Comments
MEXICAN GOVERNMENT SEEKS TO RESOLVE CARDINAL'S ASSASSINATION
MEXICO CITY, JUL 12, (ZENIT) Relations between Church and State in Mexico
has always been a touchy subject and, in the light of John Paul II's future
visit to that country next January, there is still a very difficult
question still left unresolved: the truth behind the assassination of
Mexican Cardinal, Juan Posadas Ocampo of Guadalajara on May 24, 1993.
After a prolonged investigation, the government "officially" declared that
the Cardinal was an accidental victim of a shoot-out between two Mexican
drug cartels in the Guadalajara airport where he had gone that day to pick
up the Vatican Nuncio, Archbishop Girolamo Prigione.
Nevertheless, Posadas' successor, Card. Juan Sandoval Iñiguez, along with
several other high ranking clergy, have never accepted this explanation,
because of the obvious contradictions between the "official" version and
the reports of forensic specialists and the autopsy. Both of these clearly
demonstrate that the Cardinal was shot repeatedly from close range by his
assassins and was not the mere victim of stray bullets as the "official"
In order to avoid any further accusations of cover-up or misinformation,
Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo has agreed to form an independent
commission to investigate the crime whose verdict will be accepted by all
parties as the "definitive" version. The commission will be made up of 3
representatives of the Catholic Church, 3 representatives of the local
Government of Jalisco (Guadalajara) and by the Minister of the Mexican
Justice Department, Jorge Madrazo Cuéllar.
NEW MOVIES ON LIFE OF JESUS PLANNED FOR JUBILEE
ROME, JUL 14, (ZENIT) - With the Jubilee year 2000 right around the corner,
several television and movie productions on the Life of Christ are in the
"Gardens of Eden" is a movie by Alessandro D'Alatri based on the hidden
years of Christ, between the ages of 12 and 30, precisely when the Gospel
narratives are silent about his life. The movie, scheduled to premier in
October, will feature Jesus played by actor Kim Rossi Stuart. Director
D'Alatri claimed that it is an effort to answer a lot of his own questions
as an "ignorant and distracted Christian." "This is the most important
movie of my career," he added.
"Pontius Pilate" is another movie with a budget of nearly 20 million
dollars and an international cast. It is the brainchild of Joshua Sinclair,
professor of theology but, also writer, actor and director. In this work,
he tries to portray the many facets of Pilate's life as an uncertain,
fearful, power-seeking political figure, with a beautiful and ambitious
wife. Producer Guido De Angelis has said that for the leading role they are
currently in talks with Anthony Hopkins, Robert Duvall and Joe Pesci.
Finally, a two-episode TV film made for CBS, called simply "Jesus," will
close the series of Bible narratives already aired by the network. The
final work is written by Allan Scott and begins the day after Jesus' death
when the apostles are gathered with Mary in prayer. To overcome their own
discouragement, they begin to narrate the extraordinary experience of their
past three years spent with Christ. The episodes are due to air during the
Christmas season of the end of the millennium.
BELIEVING IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH
NEW YORK, JUL 15, (ZENIT) - According to a recent study published in
"Internal Medicine News," 20 American schools of medicine offer courses on
spirituality which underline the role that religious convictions play in
the health of patients. The fact that faith is healthy is not a novelty to
many but, recently, what many believers have taken for granted has been
made the object of formal investigations with surprising conclusions.
For example a study of 5,000 Californians over 28 years, published in the
"American Journal of Public Health," has shown that those who go to church
live longer and enjoy better health than those who stay home on Sundays. Of
course, many argue that most people of religious convictions also live a
healthier lifestyle and avoid substance abuse of tobacco, alcohol and
drugs. But that can't explain, for example, why in a study of 119
transplants performed in the University of Pittsburgh, in equal social and
physical conditions, patients who professed a strong faith had much shorter
post-operatory recovery periods. Also, at Yale University Hospital, in a
study of 23 patients who underwent major surgery, the survival rate among
those with a strong faith was three times higher than those who didn't.
KOREAN PRIESTS EXCEED 3,000
SEOUL, JUL 17 (ZENIT) - The Vatican news agency FIDES published the results
of a recent Church study by Rev. Lee Ki-young. The study reveals that the
number of Korean priests exceeded 3,000 this year, which is the 153rd year
after the ordination of the first Korean priest, Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon
who was ordained a priest on August 17, 1845 in Shanghai, China. The
statistics collected by Rev Lee on the occasion of World Day of Prayer for
Vocations, May 3 this year, said that 3,034 Korean men were ordained to the
priesthood as of May 1998. Fr Kim Byong-hui from the diocese of Chonju who
was ordained last February, was honored as the 3,000th Korean to be
ordained a priest. There were 1,000 Korean priests in 1976, and 2,000 in
1992, and now 3,000 in 1998. "We hope to have 4,000 Korean priests within
the next 5 or 6 years," said Rev. Lee. According to the report, Cardinal
Kim, Archbishop of Seoul, ordained on September 15th 1951, was the 276th
Statistics published by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Korea CBCK, say
that Korean Catholics number 3,676,211 or 9.7% of the total population at
the end of 1997, showing 113,445 more Catholics or a 3.18% increase since
the previous year. The increase rate of Korean Catholics in 1991 was 6.28%.
At the end of 1997 the Catholic Church in Korea had 1 Cardinal, 22 bishops,
2,662 priests, 1,097 parishes, 1,189 mission stations, 1,072 men Religious
with 42 institutes, 7,854 women Religious with 91 institutes; 239 qualified
catechists and the average number of Catholics per parish was 3,351.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND VALUES
TAIPEI JUL 17 (ZENIT) - Human Rights and Values were the subject of an
international Conference hosted from 21-23 June, by Fujen Catholic
University in Taipei. The Conference was organized by the Fujen John Paul
II Institute for Research into Dialogue for Peace.
Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui sent a message to the Conference and there
were 14 papers and special reports from 6 working groups. The guest of
honor was Dr Khashbat of the Mongolian State University who said that
although Mongolia is moving from an authoritarian regime to democracy and
fully accepts international human rights law, the principles of human
rights have still to be rooted in popular consciousness and ordinary
practice. Archbishop Joseph Ti-Kang, Chancellor of the University was
present and also Cardinal Paul Shan S.J. of Kaohsiung who addressed the
participants. In his speech, Holy See Charge d' Affaires, Msgr Joseph
Chennoth, stressed the need for human rights to be grounded in their
The Conference, according to the Vatican news agency FIDES, the first of
its kind to be held in Taiwan, was supported by the government, but was
allowed complete freedom in the choice of speakers attending and topics
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