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Arkansas Catholic
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October 1, 1994     Arkansas Catholic
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October 1, 1994

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Page 8 ARKANSAS CATHOLIC October 1, 1994 International cooperate More than 150 denominations and religious organizations will join with the Children's Defense Fund in ceb ebrating the third annual national ob- servance of Children's Sabbaths Oct 14 - 16. The focus will be on the need to stop the epidemic of gun violence that is killing American children. Ac- cording to Children's Defense fund, a child is killed by gunfire every two hours in the United States. During the weekend, congregations will hold special services and educational pro- grams to explore the ways in which people of faith can respond to the crises facing children such as violence, poverty, and abuse and neglect. Last year more than 4,000 congregations participated in the national obser- vance. Members of the Children's Sabbath advisory committee include Bishop James W. Malone of Young- stown, Ohio, and Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee, as well as representatives of Jewish and Protestant groups. (CNS) The Pennsylvania attorney general will appeal a federal court ruling that eases restrictions on Medicaid-funded abortions in the state. "Je have every intention of continuing to fight to defend the Pennsylvania law," said Robert Gentzell, spokesman for Penn- sylvania Attorney General Ernest D. Preate Jr. "The commonwealth strongly disagrees that the Pennsylva- nia law conflicts in any way with fed- eral law." In a Sept. 15 ruling, U.S. District Judge John P. Fullam said Pennsylvania must comply with the current version of the Hyde amend- ment, which requires federal funding for Medicaid abortions in cases of rape, incest and danger to the mother's life. The court ruled that state restrictions cannot go further than those listed in federal legislation. (CNS) The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Policy welcomed the agreement reached in Haiti Sept. 18 clearing the way for the return to office of the ousted president, Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide. President Clinton is to be commended for walking the extra mile by commissioning these 11th- hour negotiations to avert the shed- ding of blood," said Bishop Daniel P. Reilly of Norwich, Conn., in a Sept. 19 statement. He said the terms of the agreement show respect on the part of the international community and the United States for the sover- eignty of the Haitian people." Out- lines of new plans and expectations for Haiti quickly followed sighs of relief over the announcement of the troop-supported settlement negoti- ated by former President Jimmy Carter to return Father Aristide to office. (CNS) by John Thavis Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY -With the contem- porary family facing threats from all sides, religions need to cooperate to protect the family as the basic cell of society, Pope John Paul II told an interreligious meet- ing at the Vatican. "We must work together so that civil society may recognize and safeguard the sacredness of human life at every stage and promote the family as the one way to defend human dignity," the pope said Sept. 23. He made the remarks to a group of mostly married couples representing a wide variety of faiths at an unusual week- long symposium on marriage and the family in the modern world. The event, marking the International Year of the Family, was sponsored by the Pontifical Councils for Interreligious Dia- logue and the Family. The pope said all religions recognize the family's vital importance as the place where cultural, social and religious val- ues were first transmitted. But he said, 'We must recognize that the family is today under threat in many ways." "Where a materialistic vision and an individualistic approach to life reign, there develops a tendency to question the fundamental truths and values on which marriage and the family are based," he said. The meeting was to include exchanges on how each religion views the family, the challenges facing it and possible so- lutions. It included members of diverse Christian churches, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists and followers of tra- ditional religions. Cuban Bishops urge solutions to refugee plight HAVANA (CNS) -- Cuba's bishops urged the United States to seek solutions to the plight of thousands of Cubans who left the island in flimsy rafts and are now detained at U.S.-run camps. The bishops, in a statement issued Sept. 23 after a plenary assembly, said they were encouraged by talks that led to a U.S.-Cuba accord on immigration two weeks before and by meetings be- tween Cuba's foreign minister and mod- erate Cuban exiles. Referring to the exodus of around 30,000 Cuban boat people in a five-week period from early August, the bishops said they were concerned by the plight of Cubans detained at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, in Panama and in other U.S. detention centers. '`We call on the U.S. govemment to find a just solution to the situation that Cubans are suffering in these places," the statement said. "Many have family mem- bers in the United States and left the country in the hope of joining them." The U.S.-Cuba immigration accord, which ended mass departures, confirmed a U.S. policy switch in mid-August that blocks Cuban boat people from the United States and detains them in camps, such as Guantanamo. The Clinton administration has said these Cubans will be held indefinitely, but can apply for visas to the United States if they return to Cuba and go through official channels. The bishops also said they were pained by the deaths of an unknown number of rafters on the journey into the Straits of Florida and by the anxiety of people who do not know if their relatives have been rescued at sea. CNS photo from Reuters REACHING OUT - A Haitian and a U.S. Army soldier reach out to each other in the streets of Port-au-Prince. 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