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ZENIT, August 2, 1998




JUSTICE FOR PAUL VI "Humanae Vitae," Banner of Freedom for Women Subjugated by Machismo

HUMAN RIGHTS ARE NOT A MEANS OF EXCHANGE Cardinal Etchegaray to the Pastoral Congress on Human Rights

SUCCESSES AND FAILURES OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT Revelations of Permanent Vatican Observer to the U.N., Renato Martino

VATICAN WORKS TOWARD REBIRTH OF CATHOLICISM IN RUMANIA Courses for Priests Forming to Help Reestablish Essential Structures


ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE IS IRREVERSIBLE Cardinal Christoph Schönborn Speaks on Dialogue Inside and Outside the Church

THREE MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY MURDERED The Spiritual Daughters of Mother Theresa were Victims of Uncontrolled Violence

HUNGER IN KOSOVO Bishop Denounces the "Catholic Exodus"

U.S. CONGRESS BLOCKS LAW AGAINST RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION Bill would have Affected Allies such as China and Saudi Arabia

WORLD ROSARY DAY TO BE CELEBRATED AROUND THE GLOBE Eighty Countries will Participate in the Simultaneous Prayer of the Rosary on Oct. 31

EUROPE FACES A DEMOGRAPHIC INVERSION Liberals Recognize Church's Service to Life

PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT FINDS NEW SUPPORT IN U.S. Only 22% of Americans Support Unlimited Access to Abortion






People, Events, and Comments

Gospel Has Cure for Consumer Society,

Dominican General Chapter Urges Internet Presence,

Jubilee to be New Stage in Catholic-Orthodox Relations,

Mountain Tribute to Twenty-year Pontificate of John Paul II.o




"Humanae Vitae," Banner of Freedom for Women Subjugated by Machismo

VATICAN CITY, JUL 29 (ZENIT) - When Pope Paul VI published "Humanae Vitae"

on July 25, 1968, he received a great deal of criticism. Today, however,

thirty years later, the world is recognizing more and more the prophetic

value of that encyclical.

The Commission that Pope John XXIII had formed during the Second Vatican

Council to study the problems of population, the family, and birth, which

gave its final report to Paul VI, had voted in favor of permitting the use

of artificial birth control medicines. Paul VI, however, valiantly chose to

support the minority opinion of that Commission, upholding the traditional

teaching of the Church. This set off a wave of attacks from critics and

secularists, even from some ecclesiastical circles.

In large part, the world was deaf to the message of "Humanae Vitae" when

it was published. However, according to "L'Osservatore Romano," the

semi-official Vatican newspaper, "The prophetic value of that encyclical,

which has formed a true and authentic turning point in the history of the

Church, appears more and more evident." The article continues by noting

that "the reactions of secularist groups, and to a certain extent, some

ecclesiastical circles, to 'Humanae Vitae' stemmed from a superficial and

forcedly hostile reading of the document."

To better understand the importance of this encyclical, ZENIT has

collected recent commentaries from various authorities on the subject,

published this past week in commemoration of the encyclical's 30th


Truth is not Decided by Majority Vote

In the introduction to his book "A Creed for Living," dedicated to

"Humanae Vitae," Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger writes: "Rarely has a text from

the recent history of the Magisterium become so much a sign of

contradiction as has 'Humanae Vitae,' which Paul VI wrote after a

profoundly difficult decision of conscience."

"Two fundamental objections are lodged against the text, one

methodological and the other attacking the content," explains the Prefect

of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "From the point of view

of procedure, critics stress that the Pope had decided against the majority

of the 'ad hoc' study commission, and thus claim that it rests on rather

unstable ground. From the point of view of content, they accuse the

encyclical of mixing biology and ethics."

"The problem of the relation between the majority of the commission and

the definitive decision of the Pope touches on fundamental questions. Here

we must consider questions such as: When is a majority truly

representative? Who should be the representatives? How should their

representation be carried out? We can say the following in this respect: a

commission that gives an opinion about the doctrine of the Church should

never represent the majority of dominant opinions, but rather the interior

existence of the faith. The truth is not decided by majority; faced with a

question of truth, democratic principles end. In the Church, on the other

hand, present society never stands alone. In her, the dead are not dead,

because the Church goes beyond the confines of the present time as the

Communion of Saints. The past is not past, and the future is already

present for precisely this reason. In other words, in the Church, you can

never have the majority against the Saints, against the great witnesses of

the faith that characterize all of history. They always belong to the

present, and their voice cannot be put in the minority. For Paul VI,

therefore, this responsibility toward the doctrinal continuity of the

Church was justly more important than the 70-member commission, whose vote

he had to consider, but which could not have the last word before the

weight of tradition."

"Those who read the encyclical serenely," notes Cardinal Ratzinger, "will

find that it is not impregnated by naturalism or biologism, but rather is

concerned with authentic human love, with a love that is spiritual and

physical in that inseparability of spirit and body that characterizes the

human being (especially paragraph 9). Since love is human, for this reason

it has to do with human liberty, and thus must be love that loves the other

not for my sake, but for the other's sake. Thus, fidelity, unity, and

fertility are anchored in the interior essence of this love. For Paul VI,

it was very important to defend the human dignity of human and conjugal love."

Like a Ray of Light

"Like a ray of light." This is the metaphor chosen by Cardinal Paul

Pouppard, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture in an interview

with "Vatican Radio" on the anniversary of "Humanae Vitae." "That ray,"

recalls Cardinal Pouppard, who worked in the Vatican Secretariat of State

under Paul VI, "at a distance of thirty years appears as a catalyst, a

revealer above all of the separation between the dominant and Catholic


The reaction to the proposal of Christian love contained in that

encyclical, a reaction sustained "by the primarily mediatic culture, as a

rejection in the name of the independence and freedom of man," concludes

the Cardinal, "thirty years later has been shown more and more to be


He Defended the Truth without Counting the Cost

"An effort for the defense of truth that has its final foundation in God";

the proclamation of "a truth that is not political, that is exposed to

calculations and transactions," nor a species of "successive truth," linked

to changeable circumstances, but rather a reality and a permanent

requirement." This description of "Humanae Vitae" as a search for truth

comes from the reflections of Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, President of

the Pontifical Council for the Family, writing in "L'Osservatore Romano."

The Cardinal stresses that this cost Paul VI "many sufferings and

misunderstandings as a painful 'suffered' service, which he did not hide."

The Encyclical as Flag of Freedom

" 'Humanae Vitae' by Paul VI is an encyclical with prophetic value,"

states Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Genoa. The Vice-President of the

Italian Episcopal Conference says, "At a distance of thirty years, the

encyclical appears prophetic in many ways, especially in its clear and

strong affirmation of woman. I think that especially the people of the

Third World received the encyclical with great joy at that moment because

it represented a flag of true freedom for women from the various forms of

slavery to which a certain machismo was leading them." According to the

Cardinal, "this flag of freedom is being flown today not only by the

peoples of the Third World, but also in the nations of the European


The Encyclical was not Understood

The encyclical was not understood, and those theologians who criticized

Paul VI's position somehow legitimated the misunderstanding. These

theologians committed "a grave act of irresponsibility and a theological

error for which we are still paying the consequences," points out Msgr.

Elio Sgreccia, director of the Institute for Bioethics of the Catholic

University of Rome. Bishop Sgreccia, who also serves as Vice-President of

the Pontifical Academy for Life, assures that thirty years after its

publication, "Humanae Vitae" is "far from being completely understood

beyond its reduction to the prohibition of the use of the pill." "The

immediate understanding of the encyclical," Sgreccia told the Italian News

Agency ANSA, "was incomplete and partial, closed to a global study of an

anthropological nature. Its message has not been fully received, especially

the more 'constructive' parts, in which it presents an ample vision of

responsible procreation, legitimating the recourse to natural methods."

An Act of Great Courage

Bishop Pasquale Macchi, Pope Paul VI's personal secretary for 25 years,

says, "'Humanae Vitae' is a text that presents conjugal morality in a

positive way, ordered toward its mission of love and fertility, in a vision

which is integral and earthly, but also supernatural and eternal. Those who

would define Paul VI's Pontificate as contradictory and vacillating

obviously haven't read a single line of his discourses." Paul VI himself

said the same thing on the eve of his death in a speech in St. Peter's for

the 15th anniversary of his coronation, June 29, 1978. He recalled "the

commitment I have suffered and offered in service and defense of truth and

human life."

In the encyclical it is clear that Paul VI was truly concerned about human

dignity and conjugal love, and that he considered the human person to be

capable of two things: fidelity and self-denial.




Cardinal Etchegaray to the Pastoral Congress on Human Rights

VATICAN CITY, JUL 26 (ZENIT) - In his speech to the World Pastoral Congress

on Human Rights, organized at the request of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal

Roger Etchegaray stated, "As regards human rights and their universal

character, we must reestablish the fundamental and regulating ethical

instance of a world order founded on these rights."

"To speak, as is done today, of crimes against humanity," added the

Cardinal, who is head of the Preparation Committee for the Great Jubilee,

"means that man in our times feels himself part of a humanity that is not

just an abstraction, but rather an integral part of a community set to

write a common history."

"Although the U.N. Letter has contributed greatly toward raising a certain

consciousness of humanity about human rights," stressed the former head of

the Council "Justice and Peace;" "in some countries we are seeing a market

in these rights. There are countries and potent economic 'lobbies' that use

human rights as a means of exchange."

The Church and Human Rights

Where is the Church in this field of light and shadows? Cardinal

Etchegaray responded to this question by affirming, "The Church goes beyond

the person whose dignity has been offended. In the Gospel pastoral plan,

the Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan are the same thing."

"If the Church looked upon human rights with suspicion in the last

century," explained Etchegaray, "this was due to the fact that on occasion,

these rights were declared with a libertarian and anti-religious accent.

Rather than speaking of replanting the Church with respect to human rights,

it would be more correct to speak of the Gospel as the original matrix of

human rights. Writing a letter doesn't automatically create access to

rights. It is the job of the international community to seek common values

that can unite men."

Foreseeing possible objections concerning excessive concern for the human

person to the detriment of the Creator, Cardinal Etchegaray stated, "The

Church simply wants to manifest how the dynamism of faith can transfigure

and reinforce the rational requirement in favor of human rights. The idea

of both John XXIII and John Paul II to make all people understand this

reality, must still be deepened and explored. We're not talking about a

double language, but rather of giving the Church's words the double meaning

of both God and man."

How can the Church contribute to respect for human rights? "It is the

Church's task to employ all the resources of her educative experience for

the daily application of human rights. To educate in human rights means to

confirm the very manner of living the Gospel. We cannot win the battle if

we don't fight together. Our task is to sustain the defenders of human

rights who expose themselves to prison, torture, and death in all its most

tragic forms, as happened with Bishop Juan Gerardi of Guatemala. But it is

never enough just to denounce. All denunciations must be accompanied by a

message. You cannot denounce evil without indicating the road to goodness.

The role of the Church is to be prophet and sentry, a Church that preaches

the living God, the God who does not cease to live for people and for the





Revelations of Permanent Vatican Observer to the U.N., Renato Martino

ROME, JUL 28 (ZENIT) - A few days after the U.N. closed its Conference in

Rome on the creation of an International Criminal Court, U.N. Secretary

General Kofi Annan published an article in the "International Herald

Tribune" assuring that the day of the vote was a historic day. "We at the

U.N.," stated Mr. Annan, "never forget that our organization was founded as

part of a global struggle against regimes responsible for horrible

wide-scale massacres."

The head of the United Nations said that he was convinced that "in time,

the States that nourish fear will come to appreciate the value of this

great new instrument of international justice." Certainly the failure of

nations such as the United States, China, and the Russian Federation to

vote for the measure plants serious questions about the possible efficacy

of the judicial body.

Archbishop Renato Martino, Vatican Permanent Observer to the U.N., spoke

to Vatican Radio about exactly this problem. "We hope that the Tribunal

will be able to function, and that even those States that did not vote for

it will collaborate with it, since in the statutes there is a provision

that non-signing States can collaborate with the Court. We know that the

U.S. has still not signed the Convention on the rights of children, and

nonetheless, 191 other countries have ratified it. Something similar

occurred with antipersonnel mines. The U.S. has still not ratified this

treaty, unlike a large number of States. There is time, since the rules for

the next step have still not been edited, and will have to be completed by

June 30, 2000. The Tribunal will need about a year before it comes into


Attributions of the Court

As far as the real power of the Court, Archbishop Martino indicated, "We

hope that the great power that has been given to the prosecutor, who can

act on his own initiative, and the power given to the Security Council,

which can temporarily block an investigation, will be exercised with

moderation, since one or the other could cause the Tribunal to dedicate

itself to everything or could paralyze the action of the Tribunal


Forced Pregnancy

Archbishop Martino also provided details about the debate over the term

"forced pregnancy." "Someone tried to introduce this term without defining

it, so that a husband who tried to convince his wife not to abort could be

accused of 'forced pregnancy.' The same could be applied to States that

have laws restricting abortion. In the Conference, the term was used to

refer to the horrors that women have suffered in Bosnia and other war

situations. Thus, as the delegation of the Holy See, we tried to define

these circumstances. 'Forced pregnancy' for the tribunal means the illegal

detention of a woman who has been made pregnant by force with the objective

of changing the ethnic composition of a population. The delegation of the

Holy See was intensely committed not only to obtain a definition of this

crime of 'forced pregnancy,' but also to fight against the death penalty

and to guarantee the rights of the accused."

Defense of the Secret of the Confessional

The Pope's "ambassador" went on to clarify, "Although in certain

circumstances it will be easy for the prosecutor to obtain proof, in many

cases it could occur that the accused does not have the means to obtain

proof for his defense. At a certain moment, we had to guarantee the right

to confidentiality between a doctor and his patient, a lawyer and his

client, a priest and a penitent."

The Vatican representative also revealed that his delegation tried to

introduce international drugs and arms trafficking as crimes to be handled

by the new Court. Although they were unsuccessful in this bid, Archbishop

Martino stated that the Conference had decided to study this problem again

in the future.




Courses for Priests Forming to Help Reestablish Essential Structures

VATICAN CITY, JUL 27 (ZENIT) - The problems facing Catholics in

ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe are grave and difficult. For this

reason, the Vatican Congregation for Oriental Churches is organizing days

of study and formation to understand and help the priests of these


In concrete, Bishop Claudio Gugerotti, Undersecretary of the Congregation,

just visited Rumania. The trip was organized to offer formation encounters

in order to answer the questions of the leaders of these Churches provoked

by the particular situations in which the priests and religious had to

prepare for their consecration. "The idea of the trip to Rumania came from

the local Bishops with the objective of gathering young priests from all

the dioceses of Rumania into a brush-up course to complete their

catechetical formation," explained Bishop Gugerotti. "Given the conditions

in which the Church has lived, their formation had to be very condensed.

This year, we have chosen the theme of the Sacraments, and it has been very

interesting to note that along with the Western scholars that were invited,

we also saw the first scholars of the Rumanian Church. These young priests

have attained the necessary academic degrees and can now teach. There was a

group of about eighty priests."

The Vatican representative indicated that the experience was also "very

meaningful," because "it was a time of sharing, of fraternal encounter, of

support in the effort that they are making to begin again. You have to

understand that in large part, we are talking about priests who do not have

a Church or building, because the buildings are in the hands of the

Orthodox Church, even though the Greek Catholics originally constructed

them. Thus, they celebrate wherever they can, outdoors, in camps, in

schools, or in people's homes. These are particularly difficult pastoral

situations. It was a source of consolation for them to have a place to

study, to meet with persons from abroad and with representatives of the

Congregation for the Oriental Churches, which they see, in a certain sense,

as the right hand of the Holy Father in the rebuilding of their structures.

We had very interesting question and answer sessions. They wanted to know

what the Holy See thinks; how to regain their rights that were violated in

the past (and in a certain sense also in the present); what the Vatican

wants from their Church; how the Apostolic See sees the special mission of

the Greek Catholic Church in the local context."

The meeting also put an emphasis on the necessity that priests not close

themselves into their own world. Thus, the participants confronted concrete

problems, such as poverty or how to resist problems created by the

aggressive consumer mentality that is relentlessly invading from the West.





Cardinal Christoph Schönborn Speaks on Dialogue Inside and Outside the Church

LOURDES, JUL 27 (ZENIT) - Accompanying a local pilgrimage group to Lourdes,

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna presented his evaluation of the

Pope's recent visit to Austria and his perspectives on the dialogue between

Catholics and Orthodox.

According to Cardinal Schönborn, who was just elected President of the

Austrian Episcopal Conference, "the visit of the Pope has been above all

'the grace of Peter,' a grace of confirmation and reinforcement in the

faith. I don't think you can analyze John Paul II's trips only with

statistics. During the three days of the Pontifical visit to Austria, I

thought of the text in the Acts of the Apostles in which 'Peter's shadow'

cured the ill by his passing. Our country is living a very profound grace

of healing of hearts after the visit of the Holy Father, and this cannot be

measured. In fact, the Pope came to alert Austrians against a certain

meanness of spirit, a self-centeredness, which affects both society and the

Church. He opened the horizons for us and reminded us about our vocation to


Curiously, the Austrian Cardinal revealed that, parallel to the crisis

Catholicism has suffered in his country, in recent years, there has been an

authentic "movement of conversions." "I note that many adults are asking

for Baptism," explained the Cardinal to the Parisian newspaper "La Croix."

"The wave of defections and indifference that affects our communities is

also paradoxically accompanied by a 'return' to the Church, linked to a

general cultural and social context. For many, modern society has not given

a satisfactory response to the great questions of life. This movement is

also explained by the sadness brought about by 'pure capitalism.' The faith

lived by the Church is presented to these converts as a true path of

development of happiness."

Dialogue in the Church

The Archbishop of Vienna has convoked a dialogue with all sectors of the

Church in Austria, including the most confrontational. The Pope himself

suggested this move in his visit. This includes movements like "We Are

Church," which promoted a petition drive to force the Church to change its

teaching in certain doctrinal and moral matters. Cardinal Schönborn

explains the initiative in this way: "I am basing myself in a positive

prejudice, that is, the hypothesis that they love the Church. At the same

time, I see that some of their affirmations are in conflict with the

Church's teaching. Thus, we have to help them enter into dialogue with

others who are also Church. The media has to understand that it's not the

hierarchy on one side and the people on the other. The Church is plural,

multiform, and no longer has the monolithic character that we could detect

in the 50s. The Church has often been such a fraternal space of great

diversity of spiritual expression, as in the fourth and thirteenth centuries.

A meeting between John Paul II and Alexei II, Patriarch of Moscow, was

cancelled at the last minute this past spring. This is the second time in

two years that the two religious leaders have been unable to meet. The

Archbishop of Vienna, whose diocese has always maintained good relations

with the Patriarch of Moscow, explained what happened. "The meeting was

cancelled because of internal tensions in the Russian Orthodox Church," he

explained. "This 'failure' is not the last word. On the contrary, the

process of dialogue is moving forward, I think irreversibly. For my part,

although ecumenical relations may be difficult, I feel close to the

Orthodox Church, and I think that I can bring to this dialogue a very great

love for that Church."




The Spiritual Daughters of Mother Theresa were Victims of Uncontrolled


HODEIDAH, YEMEN, JUL 27 (ZENIT) - Three Missionaries of Charity, members of

the religious congregation founded by the late Mother Theresa of Calcutta,

were assassinated today upon leaving a clinic in the city of Hodeidah in

the Republic of Yemen. Hodeidah is on the Red Sea, about 140 miles west of

the capital, Sana'a.

According to local authorities, the three nuns (one Filipino and two

Indians) were killed by men armed with automatic weapons. It appears that

one of the presumed assassins is already in custody. No paramilitary group

has yet claimed responsibility for the crime.

The Missionaries of Charity have been active in Yemen since 1970, and this

is the first instance of violence against them. When Mother Theresa died

last September, the Congregation had 3,604 members with vows, along with

411 novices and 260 aspirants. The congregation operates in 119 countries

(both developed and developing) and has 560 "tabernacles," as they call

their houses.

The daughters of Mother Theresa are "contemplative" missionaries, who

spend four hours a day in prayer. The rest of their time is dedicated to

loving service to the poorest of the poor.

The Holy Father's Sorrow

The Holy Father sent telegrams of condolence to Sr. Nirmala, Superior

General of the Missionaries of Charity and to the Apostolic Delegate in

Arabia, Giovanni Bernardo Gremoli, who had informed the Pope of the event.

"May this sacrifice help the cause of interreligious dialogue," stated John

Paul II, when he learned about the shooting.

Srs. Tilia, Anetta, and Michael worked at a hospital for elderly,

handicapped, and marginalized in the Red Sea region. In his messages, John

Paul II wrote, "I received the news with great sorrow and invoke the

eternal rest in the peace of Christ for the victims." At the same time, he

expressed his hope that the sad episode would serve to help in the mutual

understanding between faiths.

Total Insecurity

In some parts of Yemen, the government has lost control of the situation,

with tribes taking hostages for economic concessions. There are also

reports of legal disputes being settled by resort to firearms and duels.

Due to a government program of saving funds, which will bring an increase

to the prices of many basic products, some tribes have launched attacks

against the oil pipelines, and have even organized ambushes of caravans of

ministers or shootings against government buildings.




Bishop Denounces the "Catholic Exodus"

PRISTINA, YUGOSLAVIA, JUL 28 (ZENIT) - "Malishevo is starving, Djakovo is

starving, and many other villages are starving," asserted Bishop Marc Sobi

of Prizren, Kosovo. "They do not permit aid to reach the villages that are

along the Albanian border. Our humanitarian organization, 'Mother Theresa'

(named in honor of the Albanian-born Nobel-Prize winner, a native of these

lands), has tried to bring grain to those villages; it was confiscated,

with the excuse that it would help the rebels of the Liberation Army. They

have even prevented Caritas from entering those zones."

The Bishop is worried because the Serbs are forcing zones controlled by

the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) into starvation. "We can do little,

because our Church is a poor one, living on external aid," asserted Bishop

Sobi. "Even our faithful know this and don't ask for anything. But they

leave. They are all leaving." There were once 65,000 Catholics in this

area, "but now less than half remain." With anguished words, he explained,

"They started to emigrate in the 70s to find work in Switzerland and

Germany, but at least they left their families here. Now, however, they are

taking their wives and children abroad."

The Catholic community in Kosovo may be small, but is made up of natives

to the region. "Albanian lands were Christian before they were Muslim,"

explained Bishop Sobi. "Saints Paul and Timothy converted the Illyrians,

our ancestors, travelling down Via Egantia [a Roman road], which passes by

here. The Emperor Constantine was Albanian, an Illyrian from Nish, while

St. Niceto, author of the 'Te Deum' was from Kosovo. We have always been of

the Latin Rite. Even the Muslims recognize our patriotic Albanian roots to

a certain extent. Fortunately, this is not a religious conflict, even with

the Serbs."

The Bishop does not condemn those Kosovans who have decided to take up

arms. "If they are defending their homes with dignity, even the Church

would permit that." Despite the difficulties brought by the war, the

Catholic community in Kosovo remains active. "We have eighteen

seminarians," recounted the Bishop with pride, "but we don't have a

seminary. We will be sending eight of them who have completed theology to


Italy's Caritas is sending aid, but the situation is confused, and the

danger of a widening of the font is becoming greater. The defense

organization of the European Union has stated that the situation in Kosovo

is deteriorating so fast that the possibility of a peace agreement are

practically null in the Serb province.




Bill would have Affected Allies such as China and Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON, JUL 26 (ZENIT) - The supporters of a bill introduced in the

Senate to punish countries that apply religious persecution has been

blocked by the very Congressmen who proposed it.

The measure would have required the United States to apply commercial

sanctions, cutting off any subsidies, to countries that clearly violate

religious liberty. Among countries that would be affected by the measure

are several major political and commercial allies of the U.S., notably

China and Saudi Arabia. In China, all Catholics are forced to belong to the

government-run Chinese Catholics' Patriotic Association, which denied the

authority of the Pope. Those who do not join risk imprisonment or even

torture. Saudi Arabia bans all form of worship except the Islamic, even

within foreign embassies. Christians caught with Bibles or other religious

materials may suffer imprisonment, torture, or even death by beheading.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee killed the bill after its

supporters realized that it would not achieve the necessary majority on the

floor of the Senate. The measure will not be considered again in this

legislative session.

The bill had achieved an impressive majority (375-41) in the House of

Representatives. The majority of Senators, however, feels that the

sanctions against these countries would harm the foreign trade of the U.S.,

creating serious problems in diplomatic relations with strategic allies.

These arguments have profoundly divided the Republican Party, who

introduced and formed the bulk of the support for the bill.




Eighty Countries will Participate in the Simultaneous Prayer of the Rosary

on Oct. 31

MEXICO CITY, JUL 29 (ZENIT) - The Third Annual World Rosary Day will be

celebrated on October 31 this year. The plans call for the simultaneous

prayer of many rosaries throughout the seven continents.

Not only will the participants pray the same prayer in many languages, but

they will also be praying for the same intentions. This year, the prayer

intentions are for a blossoming of charity among the people of the world,

for peace in the world, for life and the family, for the Pope, and for

priests and vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

The idea for the initiative came up three years ago in the Archdiocese of

Mexico City. Its promoters ask that as many rosary groups as possible be

set up around the world. If possible, a priest or bishop should be present,

so that the prayer may be done before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. It is

also hoped the priests will hear confessions during the event.

The first World Rosary Day in 1996 involved 20 countries, with 2,600 groups

being formed in Mexico alone. Several of these groups were very large,

gathering in stadiums, auditoriums, schools, parks, etc. Last year, there

were participants in 40 countries, with 4,000 groups reported in Mexico

alone. As will occur again this year, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of

Mexico City presided over the group in the Mexican capital. Last year's

celebration in Mexico City attracted 43,000 faithful and was broadcast live

by television around the globe.

The promoters hope for participation in 80 countries this year, with the

goal of expanding again each year to reach all the countries by the 5th

Annual World Rosary Day during the Great Jubilee. It is hoped that John

Paul II will be able to preside in Rome in 2000, with individual mysteries

being transmitted by television from major Marian shrines, such as Fatima,

Lourdes, Czestochowa, the Vatican, and the Basilica of Our Lady of

Guadalupe in Mexico City.

Groups who would like to participate in the World Rosary Day by organizing

an event in their city can contact or visit

their Home Page at .




Liberals Recognize Church's Service to Life

ROME, JUL 27 (ZENIT) - "When laicists and liberals hear about defense of

the family, they immediately pull a gun (metaphorically speaking, of

course)," reads an editorial on the front page of the Italian liberal

newspaper "La Repubblica." In the text, the author makes a historic "

repentance," and an interesting recognition of the service the Church has

made in defense of the family.

The opinion piece, signed by Antoni Polito, admits, "They [liberals] did

the same a few years ago in defense of universal contraception. For years,

they have voiced chilling statistics to show the danger that the world was

about to end due to overpopulation, dead of hunger, suffocated by billions

of mouths asking for food. More than once, the terrifying images of African

famines were used to push this subliminal message, rather than considering

the guilt and egotism of the prosperous West."

On the other hand, says "La Repubblica," "the Church, perhaps trusting in

Providence or its age-old prudence, never wanted to create this scene."

The journalist asks secularists and liberals to make a self-examination.

"Perhaps the Church was right. While our common sense is still working with

the fantasy of overpopulation, something totally and surprisingly different

is taking place. The most recent studies indicate that the world population

will reach the level of 7.7 billion inhabitants within forty years, and

then will begin to decline. In underdeveloped countries the average number

of births per woman, which was once about six, has descended to three. In

the industrialized West, we have a real population implosion before our

eyes, a lack of children, which could change the future of our societies

and involve even Europe with its unified currency. It is the first time

that this has happened without an external agent: an epidemic of

pestilence, a potato famine, the Thirty Years' War. It is the first time

that this has happened by the will of the human race."

The journalist goes on to point out that "Italy has become the first

country in the world, in the history of mankind, in which the number of

persons older than 60 years old is greater than that of those younger than

twenty. Bologna is about to set the sad record of 25 'grandparents'

(citizens over age 50) for every child (under age 5)."

Not by chance, the liberal newspaper published this editorial on the front

page on the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of "Humanae Vitae,"

Pope Paul VI's controversial encyclical on birth control.




Only 22% of Americans Support Unlimited Access to Abortion

ORLANDO, JUL 30 (ZENIT) - The National Right to Life Committee has just

ended its convention in Orlando, Florida. This meeting was intended

primarily to evaluate the activities already carried out and to encourage

participants to concentrate their forces in the defense of life in the next

year, both in the personal dimension as well as the family and social


Executive Director David N. O'Stein stated that the dramatic character

entailed by the option to abort is becoming better known. This statement is

confirmed by the most recent statistics, which indicate that only 22% of

Americans support unlimited access to abortion. In an interview in "Florida

Catholic," Mr. O'Stein provided further details. "Judging from the

statistics and their tendency toward life, the number of abortions is

decreasing, while the pro-life movement is growing despite obstacles from

the courts and the media."

The President of the National Right to Life Committee, Wanda Franz,

speaking before Congress, indicated that the legalization of abortion,

according to those who defended it, should have solved all of the great

problems of the country: child abuse, unwed mothers, and teen pregnancies.

However, despite the legalization of abortion, these problems have not

diminished, but have grown. "Thus, we are seeing a weakening of the

positions that proposed the call for the right to abortion," she affirmed.

"We told the truth," she added, "while the promoters of abortion produced


Another positive element in the fight against abortion is that despite the

Presidential veto on the national level of partial-birth abortion

legislation, twenty-five states have introduced legislation banning the

procedure. Many Americans consider this procedure to be equivalent to






Interview with Archbishop Jin-suk of Seoul [TOP]

SEOUL, JUL 30 (ZENIT) - The Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, aged 67, was

installed as the 13th Archbishop of Seoul on June 29th, 1998 the solemnity

of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, succeeding His Eminence Stephen

Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan who at 76 has reached retirement age. He gave the

following interview to the Vatican News Agency FIDES.

FIDES: What is your first impression as Archbishop of Seoul?

Archbishop Jin-suk: I feel that I have been given an enormous

responsibility. I have begun to realize just how great a person Cardinal

Kim is, who carried out this important role and responsibility for 30

years. In my heart, I hold him in deep respect. I want to fulfill my duty

as Archbishop of Seoul in such a way as not to undo the good my predecessor

Cardinal Kim has achieved.

FIDES: We know that Myongdong is "home" for you. How do you feel about

coming back?

Archbishop Jin-suk: Yes, Myongdong (Immaculate Conception Cathedral of

Seoul) is my home, the place of my childhood. I was baptized here and

served as altar boy. In fact, I received five sacraments here, all except

the sacraments of matrimony and anointing of the sick! Except for the

period that I spent studying in Rome and serving as the Bishop of Chongju,

I had never left Myongdong. I come back here after 30 years of being away.

However, I feel somewhat awkward because it has changed so much. When I was

here 30 years ago, there were only about 50 parishes and 120 priests. But

the diocese has grown to 197 parishes, 805 priests, and 1,230,000

Catholics. I think there are many things that I have to learn.

FIDES: What are your pastoral orientation and plans for the Archdiocese?

What will be your pastoral focus?

Archbishop Jin-suk: The Archdiocese of Seoul is a big family in many

respects, especially for the number of priests and the faithful. Therefore,

I think what is most necessary and urgent for the Archdiocese is to foster

a family spirit within the diocese. We need to build a faith community with

one heart and one mind. In smaller dioceses, unity between priests and the

faithful is relatively easy. As far as concrete pastoral plans are

concerned, I intend to collect opinions from many clergy, religious,

faithful and various organizations and associations. It will take time, to

be sure. I may figure out my concrete pastoral orientation by the end of

this year, I guess.

FIDES: Cardinal Kim has had great influence over people in many ways. How

are you going to make yourself different from your predecessor?

Archbishop Jin-suk: After a change of civil government, people say that the

newcomer has to differentiate himself from his predecessor, but the Church

is not like that. My predecessor Cardinal Kim and myself are the servants

of God. Between servants there should not be much difference. I will follow

the same line as Cardinal Kim for a while in what he has started as a

servant of God. There will not be much difference.

FIDES: At your installation ceremony as Archbishop of Seoul you expressed

special concern and affection for the Church in North Korea as you serve as

Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang. What are your views and opinions

about the question of reunification, the reconciliation of Korean people

and the restoration of the Church in North Korea?

Archbishop Jin-suk: I think that the reunification of Korea will come when

God allows it. To bring about the reconciliation of the Korean people we

need to open our hearts to each other. Only God can help us open our

hearts. As the Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, I will pray to God to

open our hearts to each other. Both South and North Korea must see the

Korean War as a national tragedy and repent for all the suffering and

heartache it has caused. This should be a path toward the unity of the

Korean people. North Koreans should enjoy the unalienable human rights that

God has given to human beings such as freedom of conscience, religion,

expression, choosing one's job, travel, etc. The Church should contribute

towards achieving reunification based on respect for fundamental human

rights. Last year was the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the

diocese of Pyongyang, but regrettably, there was no celebration. I hope

that my successor will not be the Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang but

its diocesan Bishop. Before political unity, we need freedom of religion.

FIDES: The Korean nation is suffering from economic crisis. How does this

affect the Church and how is the Church involved in trying to solve it?

Archbishop Jin-suk: We should remember there was a time when we were happy

without much money. But now people are not happy without money. People

divorce, and families are broken because of money. It is because money has

replaced God. Early Christians were happy even though they were poor,

because they knew how to share with each other. What the Church of today

should do is promote the system of sharing throughout the country. This is

the spirit of the Gospel. The economic crisis should make us understand

that we have been made subject to money; thus, we have to make this crisis

a moment of blessings. When we become money's masters, we will overcome the

economic crisis more easily. We should know that money is not everything in

our life. In this regard, the Church should be an example to people by

living out the teaching of Jesus Christ.

FIDES: What do you think about Myongdong Cathedral being used as a place of

demonstration? What do you think about conservatives and progressives in

the Church?

Archbishop Jin-suk: In any human society, there have always been victims of

injustice because neither the law itself, nor the legal actions executed by

that law, is perfect. Therefore, when human judgement is unfair to people,

they need a special place where they can appeal to God and society. This

special place or "sanctuary" can be created by people's agreement, or the

public authority can designate it. Myongdong cathedral has been understood

and considered by people as a "sanctuary" or something like it, even though

the Church never designated it explicitly as a "sanctuary." People feel

that in Myongdong they can complain and appeal to a sense of justice. They

think that God hears their voice, pain, and cries of suffering and

maltreatment from Myongdong. And the police respect this belief.

FIDES: The entire Church is in full-swing preparation for the Great Jubilee

of the Year 2000. How should we understand it?

Archbishop Jin-suk: The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 celebrates the

2,000th anniversary of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This means that

2,000 years ago Jesus came to liberate us from sin and death. Therefore we

should not keep the joy of liberation just for ourselves, but rather must

share it with others who don't know it. This is a duty and responsibility

for all of us Christians. The Great Jubilee Year means both joy of being

liberated from sins and efforts for conversion.

FIDES: Your predecessor, Cardinal Kim, was very interested in

interreligious dialogue and mutual exchanges. What is your opinion?

Archbishop Jin-suk: Collaboration with other religions goes without saying.

If true happiness of human beings is the goal of religions and if all

religions have the same purpose, then interreligious collaboration is a

very natural thing. However, on the way to realizing it, we may encounter

various difficulties, and the process requires concessions, because each

religion has its own doctrine. Some religions believe in the one God, but

others do not. Because of this, dialogue is not easy. However,

interreligious dialogue and mutual collaboration are vital. Thus Cardinal

Kim's line in this regard will be kept as it is.




People, Events, and Comments


CASTELGANDOLFO, JUL 26 (ZENIT) - The Pope had a pleasant surprise when he

gave his traditional "Angelus" message at his summer residence in

Castelgandolfo. The number of pilgrims far exceeded expectations, totally

filling the interior plaza, forcing some pilgrims to listen to the Holy

Father's words from an exterior plaza. John Paul II used this opportunity

to continue his reflections on Sunday, begun in his Apostolic Letter "Dies

Domini." "Unlike in the civil calendar, the liturgy does not see Sunday as

the last day of the week, but the first," indicated the Pontiff. Sunday

should also be a day of rest and enjoying nature and social relationships.

In fact, he said, "these values unfortunately run the risk of being empty,

due to a hedonistic and frenetic conception of life. By living them in the

light of the Gospel, Christians give them their true sense."


BOLOGNA, JUL 28 (ZENIT) - The Dominican General Chapter is taking place in

Bologna, site of the death of St. Dominic, from July 12 to August 4. The

Dominicans, or "Order of Preachers," have sent delegates to make

recommendations for the next three years of apostolic work. In every third

Chapter, the Dominicans elect their Superior General. The current Superior

General, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, has asked the 60 delegates and 10 experts

to increase their idealism, generosity, formation of consciences, and use

of modern technology, such as the Internet. "We have more vocations in the

rest of the world than in the West," indicated Fr. Radcliffe in an

interview in "Avvenire." He told the interviewer, "Fr. Scott, a young U.S.

Dominican who coordinates our presence in the Internet, is participating in

this Chapter. He will help us reflect on how to preach and teach through

the Web. In France, we are developing an Internet university to teach at a

distance. We are also considering other ways of preaching, such as art,

music, and poetry. Blessed Fra Angelico preached through his frescoes in

the Renaissance. Today we have Fr. Kim En Joong, a Dominican painter in Korea.


VATICAN CITY, JUL 29 (ZENIT) - One of the most important objectives for the

Church set by John Paul II on the threshold of the third millennium is the

unity of Christians. In this week's Wednesday audience, the Holy Father

touched upon the very point of division between Catholics and Orthodox: the

"filioque." In the Council of Constantinople, the Fathers had written the

text "I believe in the Holy Spirit . . . who proceeds from the Father."

Only later did the Latin rite add "and the Son" to this formula. The

Orthodox claimed that this decision violated the authentic doctrine -- that

the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, through the Son.

In his treatment of this problem, the Holy Father clarified, "We can say

that the diversity between the Latins and the Easterns does not affect the

unity of the faith in the reality of the actual confessed mystery, but

rather its expression, the one legitimately complementing the other, which

does not compromise, but rather can enrich the communion in the one faith."

The Holy Father indicated that the Jubilee must also be an occasion for

increasing fraternal charity within the Church. He called for "every member

of the Church, every parish and diocesan community, every group,

association, and movement to make a serious examination of conscience that

would dispose their hearts to accept the unifying action of the Holy Spirit.


ROME, JUL 30 (ZENIT) - To celebrate the twentieth year of John Paul II's

Pontificate, a group of mountain climbers has raised a granite cross

dedicated to the Holy Father in the Italian Adamello mountain range.

In 1984 and 1988, John Paul II spent a few days of his summer vacation in

the splendid peaks of the Adamellos, which separate the Italian regions of

Trentino and Lombardy. These moments have remained engraved in the hearts

of the residents. Now, in commemoration of and preparation for the

Pontifical anniversary in October, local authorities decided to place a

7,700 lb. granite cross on one of the peaks, dedicating that peak to the

Pope. At the base of the cross, they will affix a bronze shield with the

papal coat of arms and an inscription commemorating the event.

The peak is one of the traditional mountain-climbing goals in the Adamello

park. Faustino Pedretti, the artist who sculpted the cross, stated, "For an

old man like me, it is a great satisfaction to see that this work is

becoming an important act to commemorate the Jubilee and the Holy Father. I

have to point out that although I proposed the initiative, I found support

from everyone."




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