30 Missionaries Died for the Gospel in 2000

THE NANDO TIMES, Jan. 2—Thirty Catholic missionaries gave their lives for the Faith in 2000, according to the Internet daily.

The list was compiled by Fides, the Church's missionary news agency. In an editorial accompanying the list, Fides director Father Bernardo Cervellera observed that the list spans the globe and includes victims of religious bigots and of thieves.

Father Cervellera pointed to roving bandits, disease and the West's preoccupation with raw materials in Africa for missionary deaths on that continent.

He cited Muslim fundamentalism and “government without justice” in the Philippines and India for deaths there.

The Fides director also pointed out that the agency's list is incomplete, since it does not account for Christians who died anonymously in the Moluccan islands of Indonesia, in southern Sudan, in Rwanda and in the prisons of China.

The Fides list includes only those missionary workers whose deaths have already been made known to the world.

McDonald's Responds to Catholic Critique

NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, Dec. 31—Recent critical statements about fast food by Italian theologian Massimo Celani have sparked indignation from officials at the hamburger chain's Italian headquarters, the Washington-based radio news program reported.

Celani's claim, that fast food lacks the communitarian aspect of sharing in favor of an individualistic pursuit of quick gratification, was dubbed “the excommunication of the hamburger” by the Italian media.

A statement issued by the Italian branch of McDonald's said: “Fast food means that one is served rapidly, and not that one eats rapidly.”

It added that McDonald's serves customers of all races and religions and adapts to all cultures and tastes.

Analysts predicted Italians would ignore the hamburger chain when it opened its doors in Italy in the mid-80s.

They were wrong. McDonald's currently runs 270 restaurants in the country, serving an average of 800,000 customers daily.

Vatican Supports Efforts to Oust Estrada

FIDES, Dec. 19—Archbishop Antonio Franco, Papal Nuncio to the Philippines, dispelled media-fueled rumors that the Vatican was upset with bishops in the archipelago nation for trying to oust scandal-ridden president Joseph Estrada, the news service reported.

“The Holy See, at present as in the past, is in absolute harmony with the Catholic bishops of the Philippines,” Archbishop Franco said in a statement to clear up the rumors.

The Philippine media had reported that the Vatican Secretariat of State was not in full accord with the position taken by Cardinal Jaime Sin, Archbishop of Manila, who has personally called for the resignation of President Estrada.

“The Holy See,” the Nuncio continued, “fully supports the bishops’ commitment in favor of spiritual and moral values which should also guide the State institutions in their task to favor and protect the common good of citizens.”