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October 29, 1993     The Message
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October 29, 1993

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-- a e aS il I I III WEST DEANERY EAST DEANERY Catholics can celebrate Saints without obligation (CNS) -- *tholics of the All Saints 1, for many it time that they no legal obligation son is a decision bishops in and confirmed several months 1 falls on a the feast be observed USual, but with- to attend Year Nov. 1 is on a igation remains in feast falls on Week. Ops made similar 1, the feast of God; and feast of the As- ary. will be no gation on Jan. 1, on a Saturday, or Which falls on a The bishops decided to re- move the Mass obligation for observance of those holy days on Mondays and Saturdays for a variety of reasons, among them the confusion about Mass obligations that often occurs when a holy day and a Sunday fall back to back. A study paper issued last year in connection with the change encouraged Catholics to participate at Mass on those days even when the obligation is removed and urged parishes to continue making those days special by providing extra Masses at convenient times to encourage participation. Before the bishops adopted a single national rule for those three days, practice varied: from diocese to diocese and state to state, with bishops in some areas retaining the oblig- ation and bishops in other areaa, granting an exception. Church leaders express support as Haitian deadline approaches WASHINGTON (CNS) -- U.S. bishops and the Vatican reiterated support for restoring democracy in Haiti as the U.N. deadline for the return of the country's deposed president neared. In Haiti, the nation's bishops urged citizens to avoid suc- cumbing to fear as violence in- creased. CRS officials in the capital of Port-au-Prince, meanwhile, said they were closing their of- fice early to get off the streets to avoid possible run-ins with roving gunmen. Some U.S. and Canadian nuns have vowed to remain in the Caribbean nation with the poor, despite the troubles. Diplomats said they hoped to get a U.N.-brokered plan back on track for returning Haiti's ousted president, Fa- ther Jean-Bertrand Aristide, to power Oct. 30. Father Aristide was elected in the country's first democratic elections and served seven months -- Febru- ary to September 1991 -- be- fore being deposed in a mili- tary coup. Following the collapse of a peace plan to return the px:esi- dent, the U.N. Security Coun- cil imposed economic sanctions on Haiti. As a result of the economic quarantine, gasoline supplies evaporated, electrical black- outs became more frequent and food prices soared and public transportation was cur- tailed. The impoverished na- tion's telephone service was said to be near collapse be- cause of the lack of fuel. In Washington, Archbishop John R. Roach, head of the U.S. bishops' Committee on In- ternational Policy, reiterated support for Father, Aristide's government, hut cautioned out- siders against seeking to im- pose an outcome to the crisis. Without mentioning Father Aristide, Archbishop Roach emphasized that the Haitian people, who =had previously been able only to dream of a democratic order, have ex- pressed themselves through the ballot; their will must be respected." He noted the U.S. bishops' previous declarations against violence and human rights abuses in Haiti "committed both by the supporters and the opponents of the elected presi- dent, before, during, and after his time in office." Archbishop Roach said that "crimes committed against rep- resentatives of the church in early 1991" should not be for- gotten. He was referring to at- tacks by Father Aristide's sup- porters, who destroyed church buildings, stripped the papal nuncio to his underwear and sent Haiti's top chur.chmen scurrying into hiding. But, he continued, "neither can we pass over in silence the hundreds of violent deaths caused over the last twoyears by allies of the de facto govern- ment. The murders in recent days of prominent aides of the exiled president seem espe- cially heinous." The statement also reiter- ated insistence on "a more compassionate response by our government to the pleas of the Haitian boat people for refuge, a safe haven from the danger and persecution they fear in Haiti." Archbishop William H. Keeler of Baltimore, president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Oct. 22 that Haiti was "in our minds and our prayers." "We're following it very closely and praying that there will be a resolution of the situ- ation without bloodshed," said the archbishop, who was in Rome for meetings with the pope and other Vatican offi- cials. He said the church in the United States has a deep inter- est in Haiti for several reasons: It is a U.S. neighbor; there are many Haitians in the United States, and the situation of Haitian refugees has prompted several statements by U.S. bishops. In addition, he said, some local churches have "partner- ships" with Haitian dioceses, and so are acutely aware of how much the people are suf- fering there. At the Vatican Oct. 20, Pope John Paul II met with the papal nuncio in Haiti, Arch- bishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, to discuss the growing crisis. The Vatican released no de- tails of the papal meeting, but said it had not received any of- ficial request for mediation. The head of Haitian armed forces, Gen. Raoul Cedras, re- portedly had suggested in an interview that the pope might personally intercede to help find a solution to the political impasse. As the pope discussed the situation in Haiti, his aides said the Vatican supports a restoration of democracy and is ready to deal with Father Aris- tide as the country's tetimate leader if he returns to power. At the same time, the Vati- can maintains some reserva- tions about Father Aristide, who was expelled from the Salesian religious order in 1988 for his political activities, the officials said. Father Aris- tide has not practiced his priestly ministry since then. The Vatican officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the Vatican was open and realistic about Father Aristide regaining his political role. But his past problems with church authori- ties have leR some misgivings, they said. One official said the Vatican cannot forget that "people around" Father Aristide were responsible for the attack on church personnel and property in 1991, referred to in Arch- bishop Roach's statement. Fa- ther Aristide later expressed "great sadness" over the inci- dents. When the Vatican replaced its papal nuncio in 1992, four months after Father Aristide's 'ouster, there was another dis- agreement with the priest. The Vatican said it was merely re- placing a nuncio who had been transferred to Africa. But Fa- ther Aristide interpreted the move as recognition of the army-backed government and condemned the Vatican in a speech at the United Nations, The Vatican official said Fa- ther Aristide's U.N. speech was deeply disturbing to the Vati- can. In Haiti Oct. 20, the bishops spoke of "suffering children, See CHURCH page 12