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853Volume 4, Issue 203

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  • John N. Lupia
    Oct 29, 2004

      Volume 4, Issue 203

      MONDAY 1 November 2004

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      * * *

      . Pope Prays That Faithful Will Respond to Call to Holiness
      . World Pressure Seen Lacking in "Road Map" for Mideast Peace
      . Property Tax Question Still Unresolved in Israel
      . Why Pilgrims Are Crucial for Christians in Holy Land
      . Catholic Medical Group Assails "Complicity" in Illegal Abortions
      . Project Aims to Give Political Formation to Young People
      . Church in India Upbeat Despite Attacks by Fundamentalists
      . Holy See on the New Europe

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      Pope Prays That Faithful Will Respond to Call to Holiness
      Intentions for Month of November

      VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II's prayer intentions for November are that the faithful will respond to the call to holiness.

      This is the general and missionary intention published by the Apostleship of Prayer, which the Pope makes his own every month, offering his sacrifices and prayers together with thousands of faithful worldwide.

      The general intention for which the Holy Father is praying this month is that Christians will respond with generosity to the divine call and progress in holiness in their environment.

      In addition, the Pope is praying "that all those who work in the missions will never forget that personal holiness and intimate union with Christ are the source of the efficacy of evangelization," the missionary intention states.

      Cardinal Bernardin Gantin commented to the Fides agency about on the Pope's missionary intention.

      The "Christian, 'charged with the mission,' … who has received the command to proclaim the Gospel, cannot forget that life bears fruit only if it is attached to Christ, like a branch to the vine," the cardinal explained.

      "Personal holiness is an inward effort renewed day after day by God's grace to keep always intimately bound to Christ," he said.

      And the "spirit of Christ is a spirit of fidelity, love in perfect obedience to the Father and, therefore, to duties as a baptized Christian, a consecrated person, a missionary at the service of the Gospel," the cardinal added.

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      World Pressure Seen Lacking in "Road Map" for Mideast Peace
      Holy See Official Addresses a Committee of the U.N. General Assembly

      NEW YORK, NOV. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See says that the lack of international pressure has led to the failure to date of the "road map" for peace in the Holy Land.

      Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the Holy See's permanent observer to the United Nations, addressed the 4th Commission of the U.N. General Assembly on Monday on "U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East."

      The Holy See's observer said that only these negotiations will lead to reconciliation.

      "A realistic analysis of the situation finds that there is a lot of peacemaking rhetoric but very little political will shown in the resolution of differences," he said.

      "The reluctance of the international community to challenge the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships to negotiate in good faith has contributed to the fact that the road map has not taken off," the papal representative added.

      "Without these much needed negotiations, there are no opportunities for reconciliation, forgiveness, compromise or collaboration, all prerequisites for a lasting peace in the region. Communication is essential for bringing together the parties at difference. There is no way in which a policy of continued separation will bring about peace," the archbishop said.

      The "road map" is an agreement under the aegis of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.

      The agreement tries to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict at the political, economic, humanitarian and security level, including the establishment of an independent and democratic Palestinian state. It does not foresee the return of Palestinian refugees.

      Archbishop Migliore took advantage of the occasion to remind his audience that the solution to the conflict in the Holy Land includes "the question of the holy city of Jerusalem."

      "In light of the numerous incidents of violence and the challenge to free movement posed by the Wall, with checkpoints and curfews, the Holy See renews its call for internationally guaranteed provisions to ensure the freedom of religion and of conscience of its inhabitants, as well as permanent, free and unhindered access to the Holy Places by the faithful of all religions and nationalities," he said.

      "Jerusalem, the holy city, is the common patrimony of the believing world and whoever has custody of the holy city is accountable for it to the international community. Its governance should not be considered solely a matter for one or other authority," the Holy See official continued.

      "Current levels of violence have caused pilgrims to stay away from the Holy Land, imposing ever more severe economic penalties on all the people of the region, besides hindering the right of people from all over the world to visit and pray at the religious sites," the archbishop observed.

      Moreover, he lamented "that the local population does not always have free access to the shrines and holy places."

      "When we consider the ongoing violence, the economic depression, restrictions on movement and lack of access to religious sites, it is hardly surprising that many feel obliged to leave the region definitively," he said. "It is painful to see that a land once entrusted with a message of love, life, brotherhood and peace, called by many a Holy Land, in these times sends a very different message to the world, one of division, destruction and death."

      "The family of nations must challenge all the actors concerned to renew their efforts to bring peace to the region," he added.

      "Only with a just and lasting peace -- not imposed but secured through negotiation -- will the legitimate aspirations of all the peoples of that land be fulfilled," Archbishop Migliore said. "Such an outcome depends greatly on the courageous readiness of those responsible to move to new attitudes of compromise which comply with the demands of justice."

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      Property Tax Question Still Unresolved in Israel
      Holy See Joins 2 Days of Talks in Jerusalem

      JERUSALEM, NOV. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The question of the Church's access to civil courts and its payment of municipal property taxes in Israel remains unresolved, following recent talks with Israel.

      Though no official statement was released, nor any mention made in the local media, delegations of the Holy See and Israel held two days of negotiations in Jerusalem, Oct. 27-28.

      AsiaNews sources said the talks took place "in a very cordial atmosphere and there has been some progress on questions of a technical-juridical nature."

      Unresolved, however, is Israel's refusal to guarantee the Church access to the courts to protect religious properties and the issue of municipal property taxes, of which the Church is exempt -- a fact that Israel does not recognize -- as established by the United Nations.

      "The guarantee to access to judicial power for the resolution of all disputes and controversies involving ecclesiastical property is an essential requirement of principle because it entails one of the foundations of the rule of law," explained Father David Jaeger, an expert in juridical issues of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.

      Controversies involving property law "must be decided by an independent judicial power and not by politicians," the Franciscan said told AsiaNews, an agency of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions.

      "I hope as a jurist but also as an Israeli, that on this point Israel will be faithful to the idea that it holds of itself: that of a lawful state," he said.

      Regarding the municipal property tax, Father Jaeger said that it is legally impossible for Israel to contravene U.N. declarations, mentioned in Israel's own Declaration of Independence.

      Moreover, the "Church does not have and will not have the money to pay for taxes because it gets by mainly on charity from Catholics around the world," added the Franciscan spokesman.

      The state's expectation that the Church pay municipal property taxes "could entail a reduction of the Church's presence in the area," Father Jaeger warned. "I hope this is not anyone's aim."

      The juridical expert of the Custody of the Holy Land said, however, that past experience gives reason for optimism. "By the good will of both parties, these negotiations will give a positive outcome, with due respect for the rights of both parties," he said.

      "The fact remains that recognition of the validity of the Fundamental Agreement, signed by both parties in 1993, depends on the conclusion of the current negotiations," he noted.

      Under the 1993 agreement, the Holy See accepted Israel's request to establish diplomatic relations.

      The document articulates the regulatory principles of relations between the Church and the state, while its implementation was postponed until a series of complementary agreements -- negotiated successively -- ensures the freedom and rights of the Church in Israeli territory.

      * * *

      Why Pilgrims Are Crucial for Christians in Holy Land
      According to Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem

      JERUSALEM, NOV. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The apostolic delegate in Jerusalem says that the resumption of pilgrimages to the Holy Land is crucial to ending the exodus of Christians.

      Archbishop Pietro Sambi explained the situation in the Holy Land to a group of Spanish journalists who were in Jerusalem on an institutional pilgrimage.

      "Christians in the Holy Land are a small minority, only 2% of the population," he said. "They feel themselves a minority in the face of the great Jewish majority, and the great Muslim majority."

      "At the start of the second intifada, Jews worldwide organized themselves to help the Jews who are here," the archbishop said. "The Muslims of the Gulf and other parts of the world organized themselves to help the Muslims who are here. The Christians disappeared, and the few Christians who remained had the impression of being abandoned by the rest of their brothers."

      "Material aid came from many other parts of the world, with which it was possible to help the schools to survive, and medical centers to continue to provide their services, but something was lacking: the presence of Christians," he added.

      "Look, I am not afraid for the holy places," the apostolic delegate continued. "To say it in a rather brutal way, they bring too much money to the country and they will be respected. But these holy places will be living places, which help one to live, while there is a community around them that believes, loves and hopes. Without that community, the holy places would be cold museums, and no longer places of life."

      "Pilgrimages are the most complete way to help the local Christians, the Mother Church of Jerusalem and of the Holy Land," he said.

      "In the first place, it is a spiritual, psychological and human help," the prelate said. "Christians here look at pilgrims much more than the latter look at them, and this presence of pilgrims makes them say: Here we are few, but look how many brothers and sisters from many parts of the world come here. We are all part of a great family, the family of the disciples of Christ. It is a moral, human help of the first order."

      "In addition to this," he added, "there is also the material help, because the majority of Christians of the Holy Land have specialized in the service of pilgrims: transport, guides, hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, etc. And when there are pilgrims, there is also help for local Christian families."

      * * *

      Catholic Medical Group Assails "Complicity" in Illegal Abortions
      Asks British and Spanish Parliaments to Intervene

      UDINE, Italy, NOV. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- A Catholic medical group has appealed to the British and Spanish parliaments to stop illegal abortions that have been taking place in Barcelona with the "complicity" of both countries.

      "Illegal late abortions in Catalonia, with the complicity of British agencies and tolerated by the local government -- where is Europe?" asked Dr. Gian Luigi Gigli, president of the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, in a recent note.

      The federation, widely known by its French acronym FIAMC, represents 30,000 doctors in more than 50 countries.

      The Catholic Medical Association of Catalonia, a member of FIAMC, suspected for many years "that some clinics in Barcelona were performing late and very late abortions, outside of any control by public authorities," the doctor explained.

      With the collaboration of two undercover reporters of the Sunday Telegraph newspaper in Britain, the Catholic doctors of Catalonia "have been able to prove with a video recording an international criminal network for late abortions, to which British women were referred by government agencies," he said.

      Daniel Foggo and Charlotte Edwardes are the two reporters who obtained from the Ginemedex clinic of Barcelona "the issuing of false documents which attested a gynecologic emergency, in order to bypass the legal terms and perform the abortion of a 26-week-old healthy baby," FIAMC said in a note.

      Gigli said: "The extension of the criminal network for illegal abortions appears clearly from the recorded conversations, with many women in advanced pregnancy filmed while waiting for their turn. The complicity of British governmental agencies in referring women patients to Barcelona for illegal abortions is also uncovered."

      The Sunday Telegraph report "clearly documents the growing business of late abortions and the inertia of Spanish authorities in controlling illegal abortions and 'abortion tourism,'" he added. "It also documents the abortion oriented mentality of official British agencies, such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service."

      "Appalled" by the viewing of the video, FIAMC said it "urgently asks the British and Spanish parliaments to intervene and pressure their respective governments in order to stop these kinds of crimes."

      FIAMC also called "on the European Union to take a strong stand against the misconducts" documented in Spain and the United Kingdom.

      Dr. Gigli stressed that FIAMC "denounces the crimes against innocent lives caused by the business of abortion tourism and the dangers posed by late abortions to the health of mothers, ignored by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service."

      * * *

      Project Aims to Give Political Formation to Young People
      Frassati Project Under Way in Turin

      TURIN, Italy, NOV. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Turin Archdiocese has resumed a series of meetings to help young people understand politics through discussion and leadership, following the example of Blessed Piergiorgio Frassati.

      The project, aimed at establishing a school of politics "tailored to young people," is an initiative of the Office of Social and Labor Pastoral Care, in collaboration with the diocesan Caritas and the Youth Office.

      The Frassati Project is named after a young man who was able to wed his Christian values with his social and political commitment.

      In the light of the activities of the School of Formation for Social and Political Commitment, set up in 1988, director Father Gianni Fornero emphasized the need to offer young people time for reflection, analysis, and dialogue on politics and active citizenship. Last November he began to school young people in this area. Father Fornero died last June.

      The project will be resumed this year, under the guidance of Father Daniele Bortolussi, new director of the Office of Social and Labor Pastoral Care.

      The same structure as the previous meetings is being followed. Four meetings will focus on principles of the social doctrine of the Church: the centrality of the person, the common good, solidarity and subsidiarity. The planned activities will allow the active participating of those attending.

      The "main objective of the Frassati Project is to make participants understand that to be involved in politics is a daily attitude of inquiry, formation and participation rather than a formal commitment in parties or associations," Father Bortolussi explained.

      The School of Formation for Social and Political Commitment offers more occasions for growth and preparation in the sociopolitical realm, so that, at the end of the mini course, parish youth groups will be able to continue their formation on their own.

      Piergiorgio Frassati (1901-1925), a member of Catholic Action and a native of Turin, was beatified in May 1990.

      * * *

      Church in India Upbeat Despite Attacks by Fundamentalists
      Cardinal Toppo Optimistic About Country's New Leadership

      NEW DELHI, India, NOV. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The Church in India keeps on bearing witness to Christ, even as Hindu attacks on Christians continue, says Cardinal Telesphore Toppo.

      "Hindu extremist movements will always be a problem," the archbishop of Ranchi and president of the Indian bishops' conference of India, told Fides when he visited the Vatican missionary agency recently.

      "Episodes of Hindu fundamentalist violence in unusual areas such as Kerala prove that there exist forces contrary to Christianity. But we are not afraid," Cardinal Toppo said. "These episodes make us more careful and prudent but they also strengthen our faith and our witness of life. They are a sign that the Catholic community is alive and active and that our presence and witness are visible."

      Commenting on India's social and religious situation, a few months after the installation of the new central government led by Congress Party, the cardinal added: "Governments bring change, and this is democracy. But changes do not happen overnight; they take time."

      "The Hindu nationalist party, Baratiya Janata Party, in power for six years, took control of state bureaucracy," he continued. "The heritage of the old government will linger but with the Congress Party leading the country we hope for a change in mentality. The last elections were a success for democracy and tolerance and we are sure the new government will work to eliminate the major problems afflicting India: poverty, illiteracy and a precarious health care situation.

      "However we must remember that India is a vast country and it is the largest democracy in the world. Democracy works. This is comforting and we look to the future with optimism and as Christians of India we are ready to make our contribution for the good of the country."

      The "Church in India is often regarded with prejudice, suspicion, and its social service and charity works are regarded as proselytism," the cardinal continued.

      To overcome this mistaken opinion, "the local Church must show her authentic face to the public," he said. "This is why Church commitment in the field of the media is most important. God is the first communicator. He communicated with humanity sending his Son Jesus Christ. Today the Church is called to continue the Lord's mission of communicating the Good News.

      "In this sector we must improve, we must be more present in the states of India in order to make truth prevail and to make known all that the Church does in the field of education, health care and development."

      * * *

      Holy See on the New Europe
      Interview With Vatican Secretary for Relations with States

      VATICAN CITY, NOV. 2, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of an interview that Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Vatican secretary for relations with states, granted to the Italian newspaper La Stampa last Friday.

      The occasion for the interview was the signing of the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union. Part 2 of this interview appears Wednesday.

      Q: The Vatican's request to mention the Christian roots of the continent in the preamble of the Constitution was rejected. Do you think that this decision confirms the emergence in Europe of an anti-Christian prejudice of a secular character?

      Archbishop Lajolo: Mention of the Christian roots of Europe in the preamble of the Constitutional Treaty was intensely desired by many Christians of this continent -- Catholics, Orthodox and evangelicals. It could not endanger, as some feared, secularism -- the healthy secularism! -- of the political structure.

      It was necessary, on the contrary, to keep alive the awareness of the concrete historical identity of Europe and of its values which can never be given up. If the new "old Europe" hopes to carry out in the coming years a role worthy of its past, it cannot be content with vague reminiscences, but will have to be conscious of that which has specifically traced its spiritual physiognomy.

      More than anti-Christian prejudice -- which is not surprising -- one is astonished by the cultural myopia, because to speak of Christian roots does not mean ideological limitation, but rather remembrance of the ferment produced in the history of Europe, and from Europe disseminated worldwide, remembrance of the greatest revolution of the spirit that humanity has known; it does not mean to hope for the return of seasons that have passed, but to hope for a new humanism, which will not lose its vigor because of relativism, or remain sterilized by technology; to hope for a new humanism which will naturally respect and be open to other cultures, and furthermore, oriented to a new and loftier form of civilization.

      Q: There are ongoing discussions in Europe on the opportunity to enlarge the Union to include Turkey. On one hand, this decision might weaken the cultural unity of our continent, precisely at a time in which the latter seems to be losing its color in a generic relativism. On the other hand, the Muslim world could be given an important example of integration and rejection of the so-called clash of civilizations. In this connection, what is the position of the Holy See?

      Archbishop Lajolo: I don't think the Holy See has expressed until now an official position. Of course, it holds that, in case of adherence, Turkey must respond to all the political criteria set forth in the Copenhagen Summit of December 2002.

      In regard to the Church in Turkey, the Holy See holds that religious freedom in that country not only must be guaranteed at the level of the Constitution, legislation and administration, but must also be effectively protected in the concrete aspects of the social fabric.

      You have mentioned some positive and negative aspects to Turkey's admission: You express that what is at stake here is of transcendental relevance and it is, therefore, very understandable that some European governments want to be supported in their decision by a referendum.

      In any case, the Holy See is not afraid of an enlargement of Europe. John Paul II has spoken on occasions of a Europe united from the Atlantic to the Urals. It is critical that the new Europe have a profound inner cohesion.

      In this connection, for example, it seems to me that more attention should be paid to states that are already candidates, such as Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, as well as Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Armenia, countries that have an old and great culture.

      And the list could continue with other states of the Balkans, such as Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania, which Europe cannot do without, and to which the Holy See also feels very close.

      Q: In Spain, the decisions of the Zapatero government have given rise to accusations of anti-Catholic prejudices. Do you think that also in that country, of profound religious traditions, there is a risk of an attack on the values of Catholicism?

      Archbishop Lajolo: In a very short time the new Spanish government has promulgated or has on reserve measures concerning the condition of the teaching of the Catholic religion in schools, divorce, homosexual unions, abortion, assisted fertilization, which without a doubt are opposed not only to the values of Catholicism, but of the great tradition of Christian humanism of the Spanish people.

      Political wisdom is also being able to take into account the profound religious convictions of a people or, at least, of the majority. This has not happened in Spain.

      Spanish Catholics have not failed to raise their voices and, they will certainly not let themselves be intimidated by press campaigns or opinion polls. They are also ready to undertake a serious and constructive dialogue.

      * * *


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      3. Today's Lectionary Readings Text
      <http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/110304.htm> (English)

      <http://www.alingilalyawmi.org> (Arabic)

      Biblica Online

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      5. Polish Rosary Hour by the Conventual Franciscans

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      Our Father Movie

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      Color Photograph of Mama Gili, Biography and Prayers

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 1)

      Cause of Mama Gili as Servant of God (Part 2)

      Need a Miracle?

      Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili (1892-1985)


      The Mama Gili Guild was established several years ago to gather,
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      10. Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ. English Trans. Online

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      When the Eucharistic host is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary,
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      the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

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      "during this important time, as the eve of the new millennium
      approaches unity among all Christians of the various confessions will
      increase until they reach full communion." John Paul II, Tertio
      Millennio Adveniente, 16

      "Keep close to the Mother of God as if you were the child Jesus
      clinging to her robes while walking down a dusty and busy crowded
      street and you'll always be safe."

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