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December 8, 1989     The Message
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December 8, 1989
 

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana December 8, 1989 Nuns and priests cl,escribe battles in Philippines By SR. MARY ANN WALSH Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Nuns and priests in the Philip- pines went into the embattled streets of Manila to call for peace as government soldiers fought rebel troops trying to overthrow Filipino President Corazon C. Aquino. Cardinal Iaime Sin of Manila called on the Religious "to make themselves visible," said Mercy Sister Margaret Ann O&apos;Donnell, in a Dec. 4 telephone interview from Manila's Makati Medical Center. "It's kind of tense around here," she said four hours after shooting had ceased in her neighborhood for the day. The medical center is located in Makati, Manila's commercial center and what appeared to be the "last stronghold" of rebels who launched their coup at- tempt Nov. 30. Sister O'Donnell, a U.S. citizen and a member of the Sisters of Mercy from Buffalo, N.Y., is one of three members of the order which provides pastoral care at the medical "Jatican "Continued from page 1 Archbishops Angels Sodano and Edward Cassidy, also were encouraged. For Archbishop Sodano, the encounter represented "the building of an important arch- way in the bridge that should unite the Holy See and the Soviet Union." Archbishop Cassidy said that "our impression is that Mr. Gorbachev has a vision of a world, not just in which con- flict is missing, but a world in which there is a real decent cooperation between peoples." "He sees in this process that he wants to pursue a place also for the Catholic Church," he said. Archbishop Cassidy said the meeting and recent events in Eastern Europe lead to "one great conclusion" -- that a pa- tient policy toward the Soviet bloc has paid off, in contrast to those who argued that the West should have gone to war to free Eastern Europe. Although people in these countries suffered over the years, he said, it "cannot be compared to the suffering that would have taken place had there been an armed conflict." Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, a Vatican official who dealt for several years in East European affairs, said the meeting marked an abrupt change in Soviet policies toward religion. Recalling his missions to Moscow, the cardinal called the turnaround "a miracle of pro- vidence." "We always hoped for it but never could imagine when or how it would take place," he said. He noted that the events also open up new prospects of dialogue with the Russian Or- thodox Church. Cardinal Paul Poupard, who heads the Vatican's dialogue agency with non-believers, said the pope-Gorbachev meeting was "an immense, epochal fact of great historic significance." It marks "the end of a long an- tagonism and the start of a con- crete dialogue," he said. "Christianity has resisted the frontal attack of atheism. Today it comes away younger, purer and more truly evangelical," Cardinal Poupard said. Reported commentary in the Soviet Union was also highly favorable. Soviet television, in a news broadcast, said the meeting "puts an end to a long period of mistrust and hostility, which had been fed by the intolerance of some of our country's past leaders." The Communist Party newspaper Pravda published on its front page the full texts of the talks by the pope and Gor- bachev along with a picture of the historic handshake. In a commentary, the newspaper praised the pope's "political dynamism." Andrej Grachev, a top Com- munist Party adviser on foreign affairs, said the announcement of a possible future trip by the pope to the Soviet Union was "very important, not only because of opens a new chapter in Vatican-Soviet relations, but because it exalts the Soviet Union's new way of thinking in foreign affairs." Russian Orthodox leaders also were enthusiastic after the meeting. Metropolitan Juvenaly of Krutitsi and Kolomna, who met with the pope Nov. 27, said the pope and Gorbachev had taken a "giant step" toward better relations between the Kremlin and leaders of religion. "In one morning, they have already taken us half the way there, with one cosmic step ahead," he said. He added that the encounter should help im- prove relations between the Or- thodox and Ukrainian chur- ches, which have experienced decades of enmity. The Ukrainian-Orthodox issue "is a theological, church problem, and therefore more of church than of state. I think that With God's help everything can be resolved," he said. The metropolitan also said he was in favor of a papal trip to Moscow. The Orthodox head of Volokolamsk and Jurevsk, Metropolitan Pitirim, called the meeting "extraordinarily im- portant," and said it was fur- ther evidence thai the Soviet Union's "perestroika" or social restructuring foresaw a new way of thinking on religious issues. Funer-aih6mes .. Four ZIEMER'SHEAFS Convenient Locations . EAST CHAPEL 800 S. HEBRON AVL PART TIME DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS EDUCATION St, Nicholas Chapel, Santa Claus, is in need of a parttime Director of Religious Education. The job involves working with three others on the pastoral staff for approximately 15-20 hours per week. The program encompasses Pre-School thru Adult Education programs, as well as summer Bible School. Applicants should have at least a Bachelor's Degree, with knowledge of religious studies. If in- terested, please contact: , Fr. Joseph Kitsch St. Nicholas Chapel R.R. 1 Box 308 Dale, IN 47523 center where civilian casualties from the fighting were being treated. Seven other members of the Buffalo order, all Filipinos who work in the Mindanao area of the southern Philippines, also were at the medical center -- stranded there by the fighting while attending seminars in the Philippine capital. Sister O'Donnell said two groups of Mercy nuns and some priests responded Dec. 3 to Car- dinal Sin's urging to the Religious to "go out where the soldiers could see them" as a way of making themselves available to negotiate a settle- ment. She said that, in the Philippines, Religious are viewed as "people of peace." Mercy Sister Rose Palacio, a doctor from Mindanao and one of the nuns who went into the streets, said the action was "dangerous" but that the nuns "wanted to answer the call" from Cardinal Sin. "We put on our habits and went to the Makati commercial center" a couple of blocks from the medical center, the nun said. She was in the first of two groups which went out from the medical center and was safe from shooting. However, a se- cond group got "caught in cross fire," she said, but none were hurt. "We knew the rebels were in upper stories of the buildings but did not know that govern- ment troops were located below," she said. After about two hours the second group was able to make it back to the medical center, she said. "There's lots of prayer going on," said Sister O'Donnell. She CHURCH WINDOW RESTORATION & STORM GLASS WINDOWS AND TIFFANY-STYLE SHADES DESIGNED, FABRICATED&REPAIRED 1220 FIRST AVENUE., EVANSVILLE, IN 47710 TIMOTHY L. 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GREEN RIVER RD. 476-3057 said students at Jesuit-run Loyola University, in Quezon City, near Camp Aguinaldo, the principal army headquarters about three miles northwest of Makati, held a peace rally Dec. 4 after government soldiers quelled the revolt there. "People sat in the streets with lighted candles," she said. All Filipinos were urged to put lighted candles in their win- dows as a call for peace and peace Masses were held in the country during the fighting, she said. On Dec. 1 churches held holy hours for peace, she said. Sister O'Donnell said the medical center is in a "no man's area," but the nuns "presume" it is considered a "safe zone" by troops because it had not been hit in the fighting. Many of the hospital staff were living at the hospital because of the danger in travel- ing to and from work, she said. Cardinal Sin previously has urged Religious to make themselves visible during time of political upheaval in the Philippines. In 1986, for exam- pie, during the turmoil follow- ing the election of Mrs. Aquino and the ousting of President Ferdinand Marcos, the cardinal urged Filipinos, including priests and Religious, to keep vigil outside a camp housing military leaders who defected from the Marcos government. Filipinos flooded the streets in response to that call, and troops loyal to Marcos refused to fire on the unarmed civilian crowds. That demonstration was instrumental in bringing Marcos' departure from office and from the country. Are We Our Brothers' Keepers? And Our Sisters' Too? w :\\; WE MUSTBE! Retired nuns and brothers in the U.S. face unfunded retirement liabilities of $3 BILLION. THEY NEED YOURHELP. Won't you send a check.'? RETIREMENT FUND FOR RELIGIOUS J[: