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THURSDAY 12 June 2003

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  • John N. Lupia
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 11, 2003
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      Volume 3, Issue 114
      THURSDAY 12 June 2003

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      • Highlights of Apostolic Trip to Croatia
      • Europe Needs to Rediscover Its Christian Identity, Says Pope
      • Pope's Message to Patriarch of Constantinople on the Environmen
      • Proselytism or Evangelization? (Part 2)
      • 20,000 Central African Refugees in Dire Straits
      • Zimbabwean Police Detain Archbishop Before Peace Service

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      Highlights of Apostolic Trip to Croatia

      John Paul II Offers Evaluation

      VATICAN CITY, JUNE 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II's address during today's general audience, which he dedicated to recall the highlights of his third apostolic visit to Croatia, from June 5-9. The address was in Italian.

      Dear Brothers and Sisters!

      1. Today, I would like to recall with you the trip to Croatia which I was able to carry out in the past days, and which had as its theme "The Family: Way of the Church and of the People." It was my 100th apostolic trip! From the depth of my heart, I raise a most profound thanksgiving to the Lord, who for 100 times has opened to me the roads of the world and of nations, so that I can bear witness to him.

      I returned to the noble land of Croatia to confirm the brethren in the faith; I wished to take to all message of peace and of reconciliation, and I was granted the joy to raise to the honor of the altar Sister Marija Propetoga Isusa Petkovic.

      I wish to express my cordial gratitude to the episcopate for having invited and received me with attention and affection. My gratitude is extended also to the president of the republic and to the other civil and military authorities, for their courteous support and solicitous collaboration. Lastly, I thank the Archdiocese of Rijeka, as well as its seminary, for their hospitality to me and my collaborators.

      2. The first stage was the ancient and glorious city of Dubrovnik, proud of its history and of its tradition of liberty and justice. I celebrated a Mass there, during which Sister Maria of Jesus Crucified Petkovic, outstanding daughter of the Church in Croatian lands, was beatified. A woman gifted with a heroic desire to serve God in the poorest brethren, she founded the […] Daughters of Mercy of the Third Regular Order of St. Francis, to propagate, through spiritual and corporal works of mercy, knowledge of divine Love.

      In light of this admirable figure, I addressed a special message to Croatian women, whom I encouraged to offer to the Church and to society their spiritual and moral contribution; I asked, in a special way, the consecrated women to be an eloquent sign of the loving presence of God among people.

      3. The following day, at Osijek, at the extreme northeastern area of the country, Diocese of Djakovo and Srijem, I had the pleasure to preside over the solemn conclusion of the second diocesan synod and to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the ecclesiastical province of Zagreb.

      On that occasion, I reflected on holiness as the vocation of every Christian, one of the central teachings of the Second Vatican Council. In particular, I invited the lay faithful to fully appreciate the grace of baptism and confirmation. Only one who is motivated by a robust faith and generous love can be an apostle of reconciliation and moral reconstruction, there, where the wounds of a painful and difficult past remain open.

      In Djakovo, I was able to stop briefly in the beautiful cathedral, where I greeted the seminarians and their professors, together with a vast group of women religious.

      4. During the Mass on Sunday, June 8, feast of Pentecost, at Rijeka, I prayed for a renewed outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit on the Christian families of Croatia and of the world. I wished to put them all under the special protection of the Holy Family of Nazareth. Moreover, it seemed useful to me to confirm the primary social value of the institution of the family, soliciting for it special attention and concrete steps, which favor its constitution, development and stability.

      In the afternoon, I went to the Shrine of Trsat, situated on a hill of the city of Rijeka to join myself ideally to the pilgrims who venerate the Mother of God there. In fact, according to a pious tradition, the Holy House of Nazareth was placed there, before arriving in Loreto.

      5. The last stage of my trip was Zadar in Dalmatia, a city rich in history. In the shadow of the Cathedral of St. Anastasia, martyr of Sirmio, I celebrated sext ["l'Ora Sesta"], on the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church. This Marian feast, which prolongs the solemnity of Pentecost, made us relive the atmosphere of the Cenacle. As then, also today, Mary continues to be present in the ecclesial community: a humble and discreet presence, but animating prayer and life according to the Spirit; a contemplative presence, capable of recalling pastors and faithful to the primacy of the spiritual life, of listening to and assimilating the Word of God, indispensable condition for a convincing and effective evangelical proclamation.

      Dear Brothers and Sisters! During this trip I was also able to see how much Christianity has contributed to the artistic and cultural, but above all to the spiritual and moral development of Croatia and its people. It is on this solid base that now, at the start of the third millennium, the dear Croatian nation will be able to continue to build its cohesion and stability, to integrate itself harmoniously in the consortium of European peoples.

      May God continue to bless and protect Croatia! It will always have a special place in my affection and in my prayer.

      [At the end of the audience, the Holy Father gave this summary in English:]

      Dear Brothers and Sisters,

      Today I would like to speak briefly about my recent pilgrimage to Croatia, the theme of which was "The Family: The Way of the Church and of the People." This was my 100th apostolic visit, and I give heartfelt thanks to Almighty God for opening to me once more the roads of the world so that I could bear witness to him among the nations.

      During this pilgrimage, my third to Croatia, I had the joy of beatifying Sister Maria Propetoga Isusa Petkovic in her noble homeland. I also encouraged women to make their unique spiritual and moral contribution to society, and reminded all the Lord's disciples that everyone is called to holiness. On Pentecost Sunday, I invoked a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Christian families in Croatia and throughout the world.

      May God continue to bless and protect Croatia; this country will always have a special place in my heart and in my prayer.

      I offer special greetings to the English-speaking visitors present today. Upon all of you, especially those from England, the West Indies, and the United States of America, I invoke the grace and peace of our Savior Jesus Christ.

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      Europe Needs to Rediscover Its Christian Identity, Says Pope

      Message to Central European Catholic Day

      VATICAN CITY, JUNE 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In a message for the inauguration of Central European Catholic Day 2003, held in Vienna, John Paul II stressed the contribution that Christianity offers to the continent's unity.

      With the motto "Christ, Europe's Hope," the event which opened today at the Cathedral of St. Stephen gathered representatives from Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

      In the letter sent to Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, the Pope expressed the hope that the initiative will help Central European Christians to "collaborate patiently in the healing of the wounds of unhappy division on the Continent and to contribute in this way with dynamism to the building of a great, common European home."

      "It is necessary that Europe rediscover and witness its Christian identity to promote those values on which are founded the peace of peoples, social justice and international solidarity," the letter affirmed.

      "If Europe wants to be a harmonious association of human beings and peoples that live with deep respect and mutual benevolence, Christ must inspire this continent," the Pope added.

      The Central European "Katholikentag" will continue over the next months with liturgical celebrations, prayer vigils, symposiums, and meetings for young people held in all the participating nations. It will conclude next May 22-23 with a pilgrimage to the Mariazell Shrine in Austria.

      For this reason, bishops have invited the Pope to return to Austria, Vatican Radio reported.

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      Pope's Message to Patriarch of Constantinople on the Environment

      "Ecological Irresponsibility Is at Heart a Moral Problem"

      VATICAN CITY, JUNE 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Here is the text of a message from John Paul II to Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I on the occasion of the 5th Symposium of the Religion, Science and Environment Project.

      This year the symposium focused on "The Baltic Sea: A Common Heritage. A Shared Responsibility." The Vatican press office published the text today.

      The symposium took place on a ship sailing in the Baltic. The Pope's message was given to the patriarch by Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who spoke at the symposium's inauguration ceremony June 2 in Gdansk, Poland.

      To His Holiness Bartholomeos I
      Archbishop of Constantinople
      Ecumenical Patriarch

      It gives me great pleasure to greet you and all those taking part in the Fifth Symposium of the Religion, Science, and the Environment project which this year devotes its attention to the subject: "The Baltic Sea: a Common Heritage, a Shared Responsibility." As the convention opens, it is a particular joy for me to know that you have gathered in my homeland of Poland, in the city of Gdansk. Through the presence of Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, I wish to renew my solidarity with the objectives of the project and to assure you of my fervent support for the success of your meeting.

      On a number of occasions I have commented on the growing awareness among individuals, and indeed the entire international community, of the need to respect the environment and the natural resources which God has given humanity. Your current Symposium attests to the desire to transform that growing awareness into policies and acts of authentic stewardship. I shall follow with interest your endeavors to realize the aims outlined in our Common Declaration of last year.

      It is imperative however that the true nature of the ecological crisis be understood. The relationship between individuals or communities and the environment can never be detached from their relationship with God. When man "turns his back on the Creator's plan, he provokes a disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of the created order" (Message for the 1990 World Day of Peace, 5). Ecological irresponsibility is at heart a moral problem -- founded upon an anthropological error -- which arises when man forgets that his ability to transform the world must always respect God's design of creation (cf. Centesimus Annus, 37).

      Precisely because of the essentially moral nature of the problems which the Symposium is addressing, it is proper that religious, civic and political leaders, alongside expert representatives of the scientific community, confront the environmental challenges facing the Baltic region. That the Symposium is taking place aboard a boat which will sail to many of the port towns on the Baltic Sea is itself a powerful reminder that the effects of ecological irresponsibility often transcend the borders of individual nations. Similarly, solutions to this problem will necessarily involve acts of solidarity which transcend political divisions or unnecessarily narrow industrial self-interests.

      Your Holiness, in the Common Declaration on Environmental Ethics which we signed on 10 June last year regarding the safekeeping of creation, we outlined a specifically Christian interpretation of the difficulties which the ecological crisis presents. Christians must always be ready to assume in unison their responsibility within the divine design for creation, a responsibility which leads to a vast field of ecumenical and interreligious cooperation. As we stated, a solution to ecological challenges demands more than just economic and technological proposals. It requires an inner change of heart which leads to the rejection of unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. It demands an ethical behavior which respects the principles of universal solidarity, social justice and responsibility. As you yourself stated at the closing of the Fourth International Environmental Symposium in Venice, this calls for genuine sacrifice: "when we sacrifice our life and share our wealth, we gain life in abundance and enrich the entire world."

      Your Holiness, I wish to express my encouragement for your commitment to lead the Symposium of the Religion, Science, and the Environment project. I pray that Almighty God will abundantly bless this initiative. May he accompany you and your collaborators and guide you in the ways of justice, so that all creation may give praise to God (cf. Ps 148).

      From the Vatican, 27 May 2003


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      Proselytism or Evangelization? (Part 2)

      Maria Jose Ciaurriz on Indigenous Religions and Sects

      MADRID, Spain, JUNE 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In this second part of her interview with ZENIT, María José Ciaurriz, professor of ecclesiastical law, distinguishes between the concepts of religious movement, cultural tradition and harmful sect.

      Ciaurriz is the author of "The Right to Proselytize in the Framework of Religious Liberty, published by Spain's Center of Political and Constitutional Studies. Part 1 appeared Tuesday.

      Q: In what way can proselytism cause religious changes that clash with the tradition and culture of a people?

      Ciaurriz: From the point of view of appreciation of the supernatural, every religion has the right to consider that membership in it is a higher good than the other cultural traditions, and that for a people the acceptance of a different religion, of what we might consider the original or native one, might imply a notable benefit.

      Indeed, the whole of Europe has accepted, in the course of the centuries, the Christian religion in its different forms, which at the time of the Roman Empire and in subsequent centuries came to substitute the indigenous religions; and the Latin-Christian European tradition is regarded as a great good for the Continent. The same can be said of America, both of the North and the South, and of not a few other places of the planet.

      Indeed, the idea that ancestral tradition and culture must not be subjected to religious changes that alter them has been absent from the human mentality during the greater part of the centuries.

      Q: Religions are no longer in their places of origin: we are witnessing a universal expansion -- one might say global -- of Christianity, of Buddhism in the West, of Islam in Europe. Is it a natural effect?

      Ciaurriz: In the East, although the information we have in this regard is much less, there have also been religious invasions among peoples who had different cultures and traditions.

      Neither Buddhism, nor Shintoism, to give some examples, are today limited to the countries where they were born, not to speak of the phenomenon of Islam around the world, a clear phenomenon of substitution of indigenous traditions and cultures, which is notorious in India, in the Middle East, and in a good part of Africa, etc.

      Q: There are those who fear that religion is contrary to primitive cultural traditions.

      Ciaurriz: Of course. At present a movement has arisen, which is becoming ever more intense, to safeguard the cultural traditions of peoples, who have retained a certain primitivism.

      Thus, in some countries of Latin America they have gone so far as to prohibit evangelization that might affect tribes that still retain ancestral religions, to avoid the disappearance of those cultural phenomena that are considered the heritage of the country in which they exist.

      It is an altogether new phenomenon, based more than on the appreciation of indigenous religions, on a concept of archaeological conservation of the ways of being of ancient peoples. It will be interesting to see if the attempt to maintain them in their primitive religious culture also implies impeding their coming out of their primitive ways of life, thus closing to them the way of modern civilization.

      Q: In Latin America, for example, can sects change the face of Catholicism?

      Ciaurriz: The concept of sect is an ambiguous concept; there are aspects that are far from being sufficiently defined. Needless to say, sect is not a juridical but a sociological concept.

      Many religions, consolidated today throughout the world, have come into being by splitting from others, meriting at first the label of sects.

      The definition of sect generates under-valuation and, one should also add, suspicion. Any entity classified as sect becomes, automatically, suspicious before public opinion. And this burden of the term's negativity has affected not a few perfectly worthy confessions, which are not at all sectarian.

      Consequently, the classification of sect is rejected by the most responsible juridical doctrine.

      One can speak of new religious movements, of atypical confessional groups, or in any other way that does not imply raising suspicion about the unworthiness or behavior of the people who make up a new religious entity.

      Q: Yet, there are harmful sects.

      Ciaurriz: Yes, it is no less true that there are harmful sects that are dressed up as religions to attain objectives they would not reach if they appeared for what they are. In such cases, one can call sects those groups that harm many people while seeking their own benefit -- entities with economic ends, or pornographic or political ends, which adopt the dress of religion to appear nicer to public opinion, or to obtain benefits that many countries grant to religious associations.

      Those sects, by their own design, are false and, on many occasions, also aim, directly or indirectly, at exploiting the naiveté of many people from whom they obtain unjust benefit.

      There are also sectarian groups that capture individuals, in a line of radically illusory and harmful plans for human life. In this connection, reference must be made to collective suicides which, sadly, have taken place in different places, affecting many people, deceived by charismatic leaders who, in the majority of cases are, unfortunately, insane beings in mind and ideas.

      Naturally, these two types of sects must be controlled, pursued, impeding their carrying out their illegitimate ends. And the greater part of legislation, by requiring religious ends for an entity to be recognized as a religion or by considering the public order as a limitation to religious activities, are taking measures that attempt, insofar as possible, to impede or mitigate the harmful phenomena of the sectarian phenomenon.

      It is possible that in Latin America there is a movement of sects that is harmful to the population. That that same movement might change the face of Catholicism is absolutely not predictable.

      Catholicism in Latin America will continue to be what it is, just as the other religions will, regardless of the social harm that the mentioned sects can cause.

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      20,000 Central African Refugees in Dire Straits

      Sheltered in Chad, They Need Food and Water

      MOUNDOU, Chad, JUNE 11, 2003 (ZENIT.org-Fides).- Central African refugees sheltered in Chad are facing a serious crisis, says Radio Duji Lokar of Moundou.

      At least 22,000 people are camped on the border area between Chad and the Central African Republic, having arrived there between December and April. Many of them are abandoned children, the broadcaster told the Fides news service.

      The people fled from the fighting in the Central African Republic between President François Bozizé's army and troops loyal to former President Ange-Félix Patassé.

      There are groups of Central African Republic refugees in several places. There are about 10,000 at Gore. Some settled in the two local camps, others were taken in by families.

      Another 12,000 are spread around Yanmodo, Matiti and Koumba, sheltered under large trees or in makeshift dwellings. Their living conditions are precarious, and there is no clean water. Dirty water has to be collected several kilometers away.

      Food is scarce; only two food rations have arrived. The first was 3 kilograms of sorgo per family; the second, which arrived in April, was a 100-kilogram bag of flour for every 30 people. Since then, the refugees have been slowly starving. Officials fear a cholera outbreak is looming.

      Not until the end of June will work be completed on a camp for 20,000 refugees, which will be located 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from Gore. The camp will have a dispensary and a large food storehouse. However, food aid must come immediately, since the roads will be impassable for delivery trucks once the rainy season begins.

      * * *

      Zimbabwean Police Detain Archbishop Before Peace Service

      HARARE, Zimbabwe, JUNE 11, 2003 (Zenit.org).- State security agents briefly detained Archbishop Pius Alick Ncube of Bulawayo and warned him about discussing political issues, the Catholic Information Service for Africa reported.

      The agents detained him Friday before the start of an interdenominational prayer service for justice and peace in Zimbabwe, CISA said.

      "They warned that no political party regalia should be worn during the prayers; they also said inflammatory statements were not to be allowed during the church service," the archbishop told a packed cathedral in Bulawayo before the start of the prayers.

      "We told them that this is purely a church event with no party politics to be addressed, but we cannot avoid addressing political issues affecting the people of Zimbabwe," he said.

      "Politics is about food, shelter, school fees for your children, jobs and everything to do with our normal day-to-day activities," he added.

      In his sermon, Archbishop Ncube urged the congregation to pray for the country's leaders to uphold human rights.

      Last month, he conducted a service for torture victims, who gave harrowing testimonies of happenings at ZANU-PF youth camps around the country. ZANU-PF is the ruling party.

      Heavily armed police and soldiers were stationed outside the cathedral during the afternoon prayers.

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      3. Today's Lectionary Readings Text

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      Monks of Adoration:

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      5. Polish Rosary Hour by the Conventual Franciscans

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      Our Father Movie

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      Then once inside click on

      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, collect, and publish information on Dolores Immacolata Gili (1892-1985) for an investigation into her cause as a Servant of God, as well as to promote her cause and to perpetuate her cult by directing prayer groups assembled in her honor. It has continuously enjoyed the ecclesiastical approval of Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, and the Most Reverend John Joseph Myers, Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey.

      Call or write today regarding favors granted through the intercession of Dolores Immacolata "Mama" Gili, or, for more information about the cause of her investigation for canonization to:

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      10. Thomas a Kempis, Imitation of Christ. English Trans. Online

      Thomas a Kempis, De Imitatione Christi. Latin Text Online

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      When the Eucharistic host is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you the crucified Body of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for the conversion and salvation of the whole world."

      When the Eucharistic chalice is elevated at Mass say:

      "Eternal Father, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you the precious Blood of Your dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in reparation for all the sins committed against you and for 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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