WAN-f=The Holy See has
announced that it will not help to trace gold looted by the Nazis.
The Tripartite Gold Commission maintains that the Church organised escape routes for war criminals such as Klaus Barbie. — (The Guardian)
BELFAST—Representatives of the four main churches in Portadown have called for a meeting between the local Orange Order and the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition in an effort to break the impasse, still held in place by a token presence of Orange demonstrators at Drumcree.
Last week the Catholic. Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist churches in the town called on the two groups to "activate constructive discussions with a view to finding a reasonable accommodation to the Drumcree Church parade".
The Residents' group has said it would be willing to co-operate but the Orange Order has stated that it would only engage in talks after its parade was allowed to proceed down the Garvaghy Road. — (The Irish Times) GENEVA—The World Council of Churches begins a three-month celebration of its 50 years of Christian work in Geneva today.
The Council, which has 330 memberchurches in more than 100 countries worldwide. will conclude its celebrations in December in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Although the Catholic Church is not a member of the group, it takes part in some WCC programmes through the Vatican body the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
George Lemopoulos, an Orthodox lay theologian from Turkey, said the Catholic Church's position "presents some difficulties". He said: "It's clear that the selfunderstanding of the Roman Catholic Church being the universal church creates some tension with the structure of the World Council of Churches."
In anticipating the finale. Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops last week issued a statement. It said: "Our inability to share the Eucharist with Christians of other churches reminds us painfully of our division and lack of unity. This year we are given a very special and rare opportunity to promote Christian unity." — (CNS) ERLBACH, GERMANY—Cardinal Edward Cassidy moved to fend off criticism of the Vatican document We Remember: a Reflection on the Shoah, while attending a meeting of the International Council of Christians and Jews.
Cardinal Cassidy acknowledged difficulties encountered in the composition of the document. but defended the text. of which he was architect
The Vatican, he said. had been right to describe the Holocaust as the work of a thoroughly modem neo-pagan regime" whose anti-Semitism -had its roots outside Christianity". He said that to "make a jump" from the anti-Judaism of the Church to the anti-Semitism of the Nazis was to -'misread the nature ot Nazi persecution".
He said that the document was not intended to exonerate the Church hierarchy from any guilt that might be attributed to it, and he staunchly defended Pope Pius XII, whom he said had been praised by many Jews for his part in helping Jews whose lives were at risk from the Nazis. A rabbi from Chile said that the document and the publicity surrounding it had
made many Latin Americans think about the Holocaust from a Christian perspective for the first time. — (The Tablet)
MOSCOW—The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has issued a stern warning about the threat of civil war in Russia caused by the economic crisis and political uncertainty.
Alexei, the Patriarch of the Church, said that Russians must not go to war with each other as the crisis deepens and the people lose all faith in the country's political institutions. — (eni)
NAPLES—The Archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Michel Giorano. is facing repeated caas for his resignation after details of the investigation against him for alleged usury were published in Italian newspapers.
The Cardinal's brother. Mario Lucie Giordano, is accused of being at the centre of a loan-sharking ring in southern Italy. which has received £250,000 from the Naples archdiocese. — (The Guardian)
LONDON—By far the biggest Catholic beneficiary from this year's Heritage Lottery Fund handouts was Whitby Abbey in North Yorkshire which, it was announced on Tuesday, will receive a grant of up to £3 million to make repairs and renovations.
Among other Catholic institutions to receive notable grants was St Mary's Cathedral in Glasgow, which will receive f.586,000 for conservation and restoration work.
Elsewhere. Glenariff Church in Ballymena, Co. Antrim, will receive £120,000, and the grade H listed Church of the Holy Rood in Barnsley. South Yorkshire. has been designated £215,000 for muchneeded repair work.
LONDON—The controversial opening of a drop-in centre for AIDS victims in London has been defended by a Catholic priest.
Fr Dominic McKenna, parish priest of Our Lady of Hal, Camden Town. spoke out after a row erupted over plans by Camden Council to allow The Link charity to convert disused railway arches into a centre for advice, counselling. and support groups for AIDS sufferers. Some residents protested on the grounds of their Catholicism to sharing their localit) with people who they claim for the most part had contracted the virus as a result of "immoral and unlawful behaviour".
But Fr McKenna said Catholic teaching focused on helping those in need. • 'V vc no sympathy with the notion of discrimination against people who are in such
desperate need," he said. The council has since approved the plan.
EDINBURGH—The Dominican priest whose engagement to one of his students, a novice nun, shocked his order when revrakid in My, has married in a low-key ceremony last week.
Fr Paul Parvis, 52, the American-born former head of Blackfriars, the theological college in Oxford, wed Sara Dudley Edwards, 29. a novice for nine years, at a registry office in Edinburgh.
LONDON—A quarter of girls who go into the care system become pregnant before they are old enough to leave, it has been revealed.
A report by the National Children's Bureau found that rates of underage pregnancy ranged from 14 to 25 per cent among girls in care. compared to a national average of three per cent.
Judith Corlyon. co-author of the report, which was funded by the Department of Health, said most of the 30 youngsters interviewed were sexually active at an early age.
Their activity was prompted mostly. she said, by peer pressure and by a need for affection often denied to them by their families.
Jim Richards, Director of the Catholic Children's Society (Westminster), said if the Government was sincere in its attempts to slash pregnancy rates among girls in care it must help to stabilise their education.
He said: "I would like to see more vulnerable girls being put into long-term fostering and a check on whether adoption should have taken place. [(they are going to go into homes, those homes have got to be organised properly."
TRURO—A new independent school based on the Danish "small school" model has been opened by parents and teachers who wanted to redress the lack of a Catholic secondary school between Plymouth and Land's End.
Fourteen children between the ages ot five and (f began the academic year last week. Michael &will. secretary to the Plymouth Diocesan Schools Commis
sion, said: "This school will complement the thin provision for Catholic education in Cornwall, and we wish it godspeed."
While parents are expected to contribute what they can afford to maintain the school (30.000 has been raised so far) no child will be refused a place on financial grounds. — (The Tablet)
GLASGOW—A contraceptive injection for men is being developed by scientists.
The vaccine, which is expected to last about 12 months. causes the body's immunity system to attack the proteins that help sperms to mature. The cells become too weak to fertilise an ovum.
The new vaccine, the work of a team at Strathclyde University, does not affect testosterone and it is therefore hoped that it will not cause side effects like loss of libido and weight gain. It could be on the market within eight years.
However, bio-ethics specialist Dr Helen Wan of the Church-run Linacre Centre in London said it would be a morally unlawful method of fertility control.
She said: "Fertility is not a disease so a vaccine for fertility would be inappropriate. Fertility should be seen as something positive in a marriage. The use of natural family planning is fine because the couple accept their fertility."
CASTELGANDOLF0---Speaking at his summer residence on September 6. the Pope warned that people should not put their faith in horoscopes, but in prayer.
In referring to the role of the Holy Spirit. which. he said, has for centuries been a source of wisdom and advice. the Pope said: "Neither horoscopes nor magical predictions are useful to this end. What is useful of prayer. authentic prayer. which always accompanies a life attuned to divine law,"
Speaking at Castelgandolfo last week, His Holiness said that the Church needs to make up for the legacy of communism in Slovakia. The Pope said that the Church must work within Slovak society. which "still resounds from haish communist persecution". by .`contributing to the good of ail. without letting itself become involved in conflicts between particular int,. — WM)
PITTSBURGH—A Catholic priest who died while under investigation for allegedly embezzling $1.3 million to pay for gambling trips and luxury cars may have been murdered in his hospital bed, according to police.
Fr Walter Benz, who died two weeks ago aged 72, had been suffering from leukaemia and a brain virus. A nurse in the Catholic nursing home. where he was being treated, discovered his intravenous line and oxygen tube removed. Police, who are awaiting a coroner's report to learn the cause of death, said that a couple who were in the priest's room when an alarm went off slipped away without being stopped by nursing staff or security, fuelling suspicions that the couple had helped in an act of euthanasia.
Police Superintendent Thomas Sturgeon said: "This is a homicide investigation, but we don't know that this is a homicide. It could very well be a coincidence."
His parishioners were shocked last month when police announced that Fr Benz admitted stealing S1,000 a week over 20 years from two churches. He and his former secretary, with whom he lived, allegedly used the money to holiday in Atlantic City. a gambling centre, as well as spending it on cars and guns.
He was not charged by police because he was so ill. He had lived in the nursing home since he retired in July. But Mary Anne Albaugh. 51, his former secretary. was charged with helping Fr Benz to steal the money, but she has been ruled out as a suspect in the homicide investigation. — (AP)
MARYLAND—Mans Brother John Klein of the Major Superiors of Men has warned President Bill Clinton that the air-strikes against Sudan and Afghanistan set a dangerous path for the future. He expressed concern over the "cries for vengeance" and retaliation against Islamic terrorists in America.
In his letter, Brother Klein said: "We do not want to watch our nation become an imperialistic superpower with accountability to no one for its use of considerable military power."--(CNS)
ALASKA—In the wake of moves to legalise homosexual marriage. Catholic bishops in Alaska have urged the approval a state constitutional amendment declaring that a valid marriage "may exist only between one man and one woman".
The amendment comes after an Alaskan judge's ruling in February that the state's law banning-same sex marriages violated fundamental human rights. — (CMS) RIO DE JANEIRO—More than 50 pilgrims were killed last week in the south-east of Brazil when the two buses carrying them home from a Catholic shrine crashed into a diesel tanker,
'The buses were earrying 98 Catholics home from the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida, a shnne to Brazil's patron saint. in Sao Paulo state. Police say that the .i,Lident, near the town of Araras.
was caused when the driver of the tanker fell asleep at the wheel. The vehicle burst into flames with the impact of hitting the buses and ran off the road.
Apart from the dead, 53 at the last count, another 38 were injured. — (CNS) WASHINGTON D.C.—A company in Virginia claims to have developed a technique to sort sperm so that the sex of a child can be determined before conception.
The company, the Genetics and IVF Institute, says it has already helped 13 out of 14 couples who tried to conceive girls, with around an equal number choosing boys.
Sex selection is already undertaken in the US for medical reasons, though Dr Jairo Garcia, Director of the IVF programme at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, has urged caution.
He said: "What I am afraid of is that this technology would have a tremendous potential to be abused. There are certain cultures in the world [where] they prefer to have boys over girls and I have some concerns about it."
LOS ANGELES— Jewish leaders have espressed anger over plans to canonise Pius XII.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said that the canonisation "would desecrate memories of the Holocaust".
NEW YORK—Arthur Blessitt from Florida has achieved his long-cherished ambition to carry a cross on a pilgrimage to every nation on earth.
Mr Blessitt has visited 277 countries and islands on his cross pilgrimages. — (eni)
BEIRUT—A Christian group of volunteers from Europe and North America is to spend the next six months on a tour of the Holy Land during which it will "apologise" to Arabs for atrocities committed during the Crusades.
Each of the group is to wear a T-shirt with the logo "We apologisewritten in Atitbic. — (The Times)