BELFAST—President Clinton will begin a three-day visit here on Thursday, in an attempt to boost the peace process in the wake of the Omagh bombing.
The President and his wife, Hillary, will begin their trip in Belfast. Representatives of all parties in the new Northern Ireland Assembly will meet the President, who will emphasise the need for progress towards lasting peace. After attending a ceremony at a new cross-community school in West Belfast, the President will go on to Omagh to meet victims of the bombing.
On Saturday, President Clinton finishes his visit with a round of golf at Ballybunion, Co Kerry. He will unveil a bronze statue of himself in the town centre, erected by local residents in his honour.
ROME—The surgeon who saved the Pope's life after his attempted assassination in 1981, has died aged 67.
Francesco Crucitti, the director of the Institute of General Surgery at the Catholic University in Rome, operated on Pope John Paul II when he was shot by Mehmet Ali Agca. Crucitti spent over five hours removing two bullets from the Pope's body. which had come within millimetres of killing him. After the successful operation, Crucitti became the Pope's consultant surgeon. In July 1992, he removed a tumour the size of an orange from the Pope's colon. In 1996, he extracted John Paul Ifs appen dix. He also advised the ageing Pope to rest and cut back his exhausting schedule. Shortly after hearing of Crucitti's death, the Pope visited his widow, Allessan
dra. "I am here to show you in some way my appreciation for this man who saved my life,he told her.
Vatican secretary of state. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, presided over a Requiem Mass on Wednesday.— (CNS, The Daily Telegraph, L'Osservatore Romano)
VENICE —The Vatican is sending a representative of the Pope together with an ecclesiastical delegation to the Venice Film Festival. which began on the Venice Lido yesterday.
The delegation, which will include Mgr Enrique Plana, head of the Vatican's film library; Don Dario Vigano, in charge of cinema for the Italian Bishops' Conference: and Don Luigi Pellegnni, head of
the Pontifical Council for Culture, will be headed by Mgr John Foley, who is president of the Pontifical Council of Social Communications. "There is a growing interest on the part of the Church," Mgr Foley, said, "and last year John Paul II made a point of recalling the way cinema had helped to contribute to the progress of humanity." — (Bruce Johnston, Rome Correspondent)
CASTELGANDOLFO—The 18 members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARM) met the Pope here last week.
His Holiness told the delegation that Christian unity was a fundamental objective before the third millennium. He said he continually prayed that "Anglicans and Catholics, repentant of past sins and celebrating new hopes, will know the joy which is experienced when brothers and sisters are reunited." The theme of this year's meeting will be authority in the Church. — (Zenit)
KRAKOW—Poland's President Aleksander Kwasniewski has denounced the planting of crosses at Auschwitz as a political campaign.
"This is a political activity which is unacceptable both fbr us and our Jewish partners." he said.
Days before, the Polish bishops appealed to hardline Catholic groups to stop planting crosses near the death camp. However, they said that the large cross marking the papal visit in 1979 should remain.
The cross-planters' leader, Kazimierz Switon, said he would resist any attempt
to remove the crosses by force. "I will set myself ablaze if they try," he said. — (EWTN)
BARCELONA—The Archbishop of Barcelona has proposed the city's most famous architect, Antoni Gaudi, for beatification.
Cardinal Ricard-Maria Caries said that the flamboyant and modernist Catalan architect who designed the celebrated unfinished Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia, "lived the Christian virtues with heroic courage, with sobriety and generosity. His life should be studied with a view to sainthood." He pointed to the profound and intimate spiritual life evident in his designs."
Gaudi, born in 1852, left a huge imprint on Barcelona. His magnum opus, the
Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia, has been described as "a catechism in stone". Promoters of the architect's cause hope that Gaudi will be beatified by 2002, in time for the 150th anniversary of his birth. — (L'Osservatore Romano, aci) RIMIN1—The Pope denounced new age religions at the annual meeting of the Communion and Liberation lay movement this week.
In a preview of his next encyclical, expected in October, he said that new age movements and sects "peddle unreal dreams".
He said the young were especially vulnerable to "illusory ideologies" which appear to offer spiritual answers. but in the end confuse and disappoint. He said that only Christianity offered a clear moral framework that enables people to "strive for the absolute". — (The Times)
BONN—The President of the German Bishops' Conference has condemned the SPD party's plan to endorse an abortion pill if it is elected next month.
Bishop Karl Lehmann said that the RU-486 pill did not guarantee a safe abortion and criticised the left of centre SPD party for raising it as an election issue. The SPD, lead by Gerhard Schroeder, is ahead of Helmut Kohl's CDU party in opinion polls. — (Radio Vatican) KOSOVO—Serb forces have shot dead three Mother Teresa Society volunteers as they delivered food supplies to refugees in Kosovo.
The three aid workers, all ethnic Albanians. were fired on as they drove a trac for laden with flour to the town of Vlaski Drenovac. 25 miles west of Pristina, the regional capital.
The Mother Teresa Society has led the relief effort to 200,000 people displaced by fighting between Serb security forces and the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army. — (The Times, The Guardian) BIRKENHEAD—Merseyside police have opened an investigation into the death of a parish priest found hanged in his bedroom on August 14.
The body of Fr Michael Raiswell. curate of St Joseph's Church, Birkenhead, was discovered by a colleague two weeks before Fr Raiswell was due to start a new job as parish priest of St
Werburgh's Church, also in Birkenhead. Police are not treating Fr Raiswell's death as suspicious.
AMPLEFORTH—A new urban monastery is to be established in Brownedge, near Preston, by the Benedictine monks of Ampleforth.
The monastery wiCl form part of a new pastoral initiative aimed at serving the Catholic community in the South Ribble region. The monks hope to maintain strong links with Benedictinerun parishes in Preston and Ormskirk. The project is expected to get under way next January.
Abbot Timothy Wright, who proposed the project, said: "I am delighted that the pastoral care of these parishes is assured, and I believe the new monastery will enrich the life of the Church in the area."
LONDON—The Canons Regular of St Augustine have elected Fr Anthony Maggs as Abbot Primate of their Confederation. Fr Maggs is Provincial of the English Province and chaplain to Pax Christi.