Nation and World News

Papal Audience

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - Here is the Vatican text of Pope John Paul II's remarks at a recent general audience.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Psalm 92 (91) is a hymn of praise to God the creator. In it, the figure of the wicked person and that of the righteous are presented in stark contrast. The wicked have hearts and minds filled with evil. In the end they are destined to perish.

The righteous, on the other hand, are filled with strength by the Lord. They will flourish and sing forever the praises of God, who anoints them with the oil of gladness and enlightens them with the knowledge of salvation. The hope of the righteous finds its ultimate foundation in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the source of new and everlasting life for all who believe.

Catholic Conference reviews

NEW YORK (CNS) - The following are capsule reviews by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting.

'Bad Company'

Inconsistent comedy-drama in which a streetwise bookie (Chris Rock) is convinced by a top CIA agent (Anthony Hopkins) to take the place of his twin brother, an agent killed during a secret operation, in order to seize a suitcase-sized nuclear weapon before it falls into the hands of fanatical terrorists.

Despite a few exciting action sequences and some humorous moments, director Joel Schumacher's film stumbles along until its protracted ending, using nuclear terrorism as a plot device to create suspense.

Intermittent violence with a few intense action sequences, brief sexual suggestiveness and sporadic crass words with an instance of rough language.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops classification is adults.

'Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood'

Passable adaptation of Rebecca Wells same-titled novel in which a young playwright (Sandra Bullock) living in New York City implies in a magazine interview that her Southern mother (Ellen Burstyn) was not a good parent, causing a terrible rift between the two women that can only be repaired with the intervention of the mother's dearest and oldest friends (Shirley Knight, Fionnula Flanagan and Maggie Smith).

Although the high melodrama is softened by a talented cast and snappy one-liners, writer-director Callie Khouri's tribute to the fruits of female friendship among an eccentric group of Louisiana women is encumbered by confusing flashbacks from two different time periods.

A live-in relationship, a scene of child abuse, mature thematic elements and intermittent profanity and crass language with an instance of rough language.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops classification is adults.


Monotonous World War II drama in which the U.S. military recruits Navajos (Adam Beach, Roger Willie) to communicate the secret battle positions of U.S. troops in the Navajo language without the Japanese understanding, but the Marines (Nicolas Cage, Christian Slater) assigned to protect them must also be prepared to kill them if capture is imminent.

The movie was inspired by true events. The premise's potential is never tapped in director John Woo's ultrabloody epic with the horrific battle scenes punctuated by dry storytelling that fails to flesh out the moral quandary faced by the Marines or the bonds forged among the men.

Much graphic war violence with sporadic rough language and profanity.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops classification is adults, with reservations.

Bishops offer prayers upon tragedy

Here is the text of a Sept. 11 statement issued by the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the wake of terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

WASHINGTON (CNS) - Here is the text of a Sept. 11 statement issued by the Administrative Committee of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the wake of terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

This is a day of national tragedy. Though we do not yet know its full extent, we mourn those who have lost their lives and pray for their eternal rest and for the consolation of their families.

We pray for the living victims that they may know that God is with them in their sufferings. We pray for those who are rescuing and ministering to the injured, that God may strengthen them in their heroic and often heartbreaking work. We pray for our national community that we will be of support to one another in the days ahead as we come to grips with the enormity of what has happened.

We express our support for our president and other government leaders, both national and local, who bear the tremendous responsibility of dealing with the aftermath of these unbelievable events. They are in our prayers in a special way.

If, as seems likely, this tragedy is the result of acts of terrorism, then we pray also for those whose hatred has become so great that they are willing to engage in crimes against our common humanity. May they realize, at last, that such violence creates not justice but greater injustice.

On Friday and Saturday, we celebrate the feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross and then honor our Blessed Mother under the title of Our Lady of Sorrows. These are particularly apt days for Catholics to reflect on the ways in which we are called to take up the cross and follow our Lord.

We call upon all our fellow citizens to renew their trust in God and to turn away from the bitter fruits of the kind of hatred which is the source of this tragedy. Especially let us not engage in ethnic, religious, or national stereotyping for what may be the acts of a few irrational terrorists. As the Catholic bishops of the United States, we unite in prayer to the Lord our God in the words of the psalmist:

In you, O Lord, I take refuge ...

Incline your ear to me, and save me.

Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety. (Psalm 71)

World and National News Briefs

Pontiff urges people to pray the rosary

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - Pope John Paul II asked people around the world to pray the rosary daily to help protect humanity from the "evil scourge" of terrorism. In the wake of deadly attacks in the United States, the Pope said the Church wants to make a prophetic call for world peace - a peace that involves justice but that is motivated by moderation and love. The Pope made the remarks at a noon blessing at the Vatican Sept. 30 after celebrating Mass with more than 240 bishops at the start of a monthlong Synod of Bishops.

Mandatory contraceptives case to be heard

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (CNS) - The California Supreme Court Sept. 26 agreed to review an appeals court decision requiring Catholic Charities of Sacramento to comply with a state law requiring employers to include contraception in health plans that cover prescriptions. Without comment, the high court's six judges voted in private in San Francisco to review the July 2 decision by the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. Catholic Charities argued in a suit filed last year that the law should be set aside because it violates the group's religious freedom.

Group goes to Pakistan to aid Afghans

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - The Church's confederation of Catholic relief agencies, Caritas Internationalis, is sending an emergency-response team to Pakistan to provide aid during the exodus of Afghan refugees. The eight-person team is made up of European and U.S. medical and operational professionals who have dealt with humanitarian crisis situations in the past, the Vatican-based organization said Oct. 1. Two operational experts from Catholic Relief Services, the U.S. bishops' international relief and development agency, will be on the team. The Caritas response came as refugee experts around the world warned of a growing crisis in Pakistan, which is already home to tens of thousands of Afghans who have fled their country in recent years.Mother Angelica suffers minor stroke

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CNS) - Mother Angelica, founder of Eternal Word Television Network in Birmingham, returned to her "Mother Angelica Live" TV show Sept. 25 after a three-week absence due to a stroke. In a posting on its Web site, EWTN described the stroke as "minor" and said, "Her doctors firmly believe that the impact of this stroke is temporary and will result in little, if any, lasting effects." At the start of her Sept. 25 show the 78-year-old nun, a Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration, joked about an eye patch she was wearing because she could not close her eye properly - one of several signs of slight facial paralysis resulting from the stroke

Conference leader supports call for truce

WASHINGTON (CNS) - The head of the Colombian bishops' conference expressed hope that a peace commission's proposal for a six-month truce between the armed forces and Colombia's largest guerrilla group would be accepted. "The proposal will be well-received. The entire country is hoping for a cease-fire," said Archbishop Alberto Giraldo Jaramillo of Medellin, bishops' conference president, in a telephone interview. The Archbishop was interviewed Sept. 26 after a peace commission proposed the truce between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, called FARC after its Spanish initials.

Flags in church? It's up to bishop, pastors

WASHINGTON (CNS) - What are the Roman Catholic Church's rules on flags in church? None, really, says the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Liturgy. So it's up to the local bishop, who in turn can leave it to the discretion of his pastors. Father James P. Moroney, executive director of the secretariat, told Catholic News Service that the secretariat posted information on flags in church on its Web site Sept. 25 after receiving about a dozen inquiries in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

World and National News Briefs

Catholic University calls effort success

WASHINGTON (CNS) - The Catholic University of America in Washington plans to continue its nationwide parish scholarship program that was begun last year and has benefited students from 38 states. "Response to the program exceeded our every expectation, and I hope that we can award more scholarships in the second year as the program becomes better known," said Vincentian Father David M. O'Connell, university president. Last year, the university offered an annually renewable $3,000 scholarship to every parish-nominated high school senior accepted for admission for the fall 2001 semester. More than 800 students from parishes in 43 states were nominated for the program. Of that number, 555 students were admitted to the school and 256 high school seniors from 38 states enrolled. Forty percent of the incoming freshman class received parish scholarships.

Muslims to attend Jan. 24 Assisi event

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - More than 50 religious leaders, including about two dozen Muslims, will join Pope John Paul II in a pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy, Thursday, Jan. 24, to pray for peace and condemn violence committed in the name of religion. At the same time, in dioceses throughout the world, Catholics will be hosting ecumenical prayer services to ask God for the gift of peace and interreligious meetings to make commitments to use faith to foster peace. The Pope is expected to be joined by Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the worldwide spiritual leader of the Orthodox, in leading the pilgrimage of religious representatives to Assisi. The pilgrimage, a two-hour train journey from the Vatican, also will include other Christian leaders, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and followers of traditional African religions, as well as the Muslims.

Pro-lifers to send baby rattles to senators

WASHINGTON (CNS) - A group of pro-life organizations has launched a nationwide campaign to mail baby rattles to members of the Senate and to begin rallying for Supreme Court nominees who will oppose abortion. At a Washington press conference Jan. 14, representatives of a variety of organizations voiced their support for the "Shake the Nation Back to Life" campaign, which includes television commercials featuring what it calls "former heroes" of groups supporting legal abortion. Speaking in one of the commercials are Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a co-founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League who now says the movement was based on lies; Norma McCorvey, whose lawsuit became the Roe vs. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide; and Sandra Cano, whose divorce and child custody lawsuit became the Doe vs. Bolton case that served as a legal companion to Roe.

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