THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT iS
bent on ending an 80-year price-fixing racket in Catholic church candles, it was revealed this week. The Secretary of State for Economic Affairs told the Dutch Church Candle Convention that the state will no longer tolerate their alliance, even though it has the approval of the Church. The Candle makers been told that the y "show little sign of operating in accordance with sound business principles".
THE VAI*ICAN HAS dismissed as ridiculous an allegation by an Italian newspaper that some of the Holy See's senior officials were behind the shooting that almost killed John Paul II in 1981. La Voce quoted testimony from Oral Celik, a Turk suspected of helping convicted gunman Mehmet Ali Agca, who apparently said: "Those who hired Ali Agca are members of the Holy See hierarchy, at very high levels."
FEARS FOR TIIE safety of Br Christopher Mannion, a British Marist, missing in Rwanda for more than a month, increased at the weekend, following the discovery, near the Burundi border, of the body of his driver near the burnt-out car in which he and a Hutu Marist brother had been driving.
A US BISHOP HAS decried the American "fixation on the OJ Simpson case" while at the same time the crisis in Rwanda has attracted little interest or assistance. Bishop Donald Trautman said this week: "Is there a selfish streak in the American character that says Rwanda is a remote land and therefore we are not as concerned as with the OJ Simpson case?"
Cross the Jordan
DAYS AFTER THEIR historic peace agreement, Israel and Jordan this week agreed that a border crossing point should be opened between the resort cities of Filet and Aqaba, both situated on the shores of the Red Sea. Currently, it is designated for the passage of tourists who are third party nationals only. They will be allowed to cross the border in both directions.
THE CHURCH OF Ireland's Bishop of Meath, Dr Michael Smith, has confirmed a newspaper report that £500,000 is the asking price for a site owned by his diocese and earmarked for the proposed Dunboyne Community College. There had been reported "consternation" when the valuation was revealed but Dr Smith retorted "I am not entitled to make a gift of the site to the Department of Education and I have not intention of doing so."
THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT this week issued a medal marking the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and the Vatican and "the end of 2,000 years of "rift and misunderstanding" between the two states. The face of the medal (pictured below) depicts the emblems of the Israeli State and the Holy See. The inscription reads: "Establishment of relations between Israel and the Holy See". On the obverse side is written "Shalom Aleichem" in Hebrew and "Pax Vobis" in Latin.