Confirmation of Trip to Portugal to Beatify Two Fatima Children

VATICAN CITY, MAR 22 (ZENIT.org).- On October 8 John Paul II will
entrust the Third Millennium to Our Lady of Fatima. The news was
announced by Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe, secretary general of the
Vatican Jubilee Committee. The statue of the Blessed Virgin will be
brought from Portugal to Rome for the occasion.

The consecration will take place at the very moment the Bishops from
around the world are meeting in Rome to celebrate their special Jubilee.

The idea of bringing the Fatima statue to Rome originated with the Pope
himself. The Bishop of the shrine was very pleased. Archbishop Sepe said
on Vatican Radio: "We are organizing the transport, but especially the
days during which the Virgin will be venerated in St. Peter's in the
Vatican. I think it will be one of the most moving Marian events of the
whole Jubilee."

The consecration will take place at the end of the Mass, which the Pope
will concelebrate with all the Bishops from around the world, who will
be celebrating their Jubilee in the Eternal City. "The statue of the
Virgin will arrive in Rome a few days before; therefore, we are
organizing it so that all the faithful who wish to venerate her may be
able to do so," Archbishop Sepe said.

For the time being, no plans have been made for the Fatima statute to
leave the Vatican. The Holy Father would have to approve such plans,
which will be published in the near future.

Archbishop Sepe also confirmed that John Paul II accepted the Bishop of
Fatima's invitation to beatify Francisco and Jacinta, the two visionary
children, in the Portuguese shrine itself on May 13. The Holy Father
will arrive in Portugal on Friday, May 12, and on the 13th he will
preside at the Beatification Mass which will be held in the fields near
the Fatima shrine.

Significant Jubilee Gesture

VATICAN CITY, MAR 22 (ZENIT.org).- The climax of the Jubilee of the Poor
will be John Paul II's dinner with 200 homeless on a Saturday in June.
This is a special Jubilee that was just announced by Archbishop
Crescenzio Sepe, secretary general of the Vatican Jubilee 2000
Committee. The specific date and program for the event will be published
within the next few weeks.

The initiative to dedicate a day to the homeless, to the poorest of the
poor, underlines the charity and solidarity dimensions of the Jubilee of
the Year 2000. The Pontiff has repeatedly pointed out that the call to
conversion this Holy Year should materialize in a commitment to the
neediest. In this connection, for example, the Holy Father has succeeded
in having the cancellation of the poorest countries' foreign debt become
a "Jubilee sign," which Christians are promoting throughout the world.

The Vatican Jubilee Committee has responded to the express wish "from
the heart of the Holy Father himself" to go out of one's way to meet the
poor, offering hot food to the Jubilee's neediest pilgrims.

The public dinning room on via Pfeiffer, next to St. Peter's Square in
the Vatican, is already in full swing. The majority of the people who
satisfy their hunger there are from Eastern Europe, especially Russia
and Moldavia, although pilgrims from other countries, including Italy,
are readily seen. Within the next few days, hot food will also be
available next to the Basilicas of St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, and
St. Paul Outside the Walls. In total, some 600 dinners will be offered
every day, including a plate of fresh pasta, a second choice of the day,
a candy, and a bottle of mineral water.


Special General Assembly Meeting to Mark 5th Anniversary of Beijing

NEW YORK, MAR 21 (ZENIT.org).- The final scheduled "prepcom" in
preparation for the U.N.'s Beijing+5 special session this June ended on
March 17. Over the last few days, a number of points of view have been
heard. Life and family groups have been very active in their effort to
counter initiatives taken by feminist groups and delegates of
institutions such as the European Union. Following, are some of the
topics that have been addressed at the working sessions.

"The Deconstruction of Masculinity" was studied for the first time in a
discussion led by Mrs. Yakin Ertuk, director of the Division for the
Advancement of Women, of the U.N. Department of Economic and Social
Affairs. The "deconstruction" of the masculine is part of the UNESCO
program, "Male Roles and Masculinities in the Perspective of a Culture
of Peace," whose purpose is to educate children from the perspective of
"gender," including respect for sexual preferences. A proposal was made
to create an international network of men who defend women's rights.

The sessions of the NGO "Center for Reproductive Law and Policy
(C.R.L.P.)" were dedicated to the legalization of abortion. Argentina,
El Salvador, and Venezuela were mentioned as countries experiencing
"delays" in this area. The report on Mexico noted that some of the
states are modifying their constitutions in favor of life. During the
meeting, it became clear that a new language is being used. Not only are
sexual rights considered human rights but, within this category,
abortion and the choice of sex must have the same status.

The "Vivant!" newspaper stated that there have been delays in the
formulation of the final document of the meeting because of attempts by
delegates of Western countries to introduce language and concepts in the
text that are not part of what was approved at the Beijing meeting 5
years ago. For example, in section IV of the document that addresses the
implementation of the Beijing Programme of Action, some Western
countries proposed that international organizations reinforce the
inspection of compliance with the Programme. However, Third World
countries, represented by the G-77 coalition, energetically opposed the
amendment, which would weaken their national autonomy.

Another initiative came from the European Union, which proposed the
addition of a paragraph on the issues of "sexual orientation" and "full
diversity of women," an issue that is not defined in the U.N. documents.
Not a few countries believe that this is an attempt to impose indirectly
the obligation to accept the "right" to abortion and homosexual

A problem that was noted throughout the sessions is that in many cases
the national delegations are controlled by feminist groups, in spite of
the fact they do not represent the opinion of the greater part of the
population of their countries. A very clear example is the Mexican
delegation, which has taken a position of leadership in the NGOs
Conference sessions, and supported the "gender" policy, in other words,
the ideology stating that human beings are not men or women but simply
distinguished by their "sexual orientation."

They also maintain that there is no such thing as "the family," made up
of father, mother, and children, but, rather, "families," which term
includes homosexual unions and other irregular situations. Mrs. Aida
Gonzalez, president of the Mexican delegation, is also head of the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against
Women (CEDAW), which, among other things, recently recommended to the
Chinese government that it legalize prostitution. By this action, CEDAW
has contradicted itself publicly, as its very own constitution clearly
and specifically condemns prostitution.

Because of the wide range of disagreement, C-FAM reported that some
intersessional meetings will be held before the actual Beijing+5
session. They also state that pro-life NGOs (like C-FAM itself) were
shut out of some of the supposedly public meetings. Those who did manage
to get in were often shouted down by the pro-abortion NGOs. A formal
complaint to the U.N. is pending.

Presents of God ministry