City of Miraculous Cures

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, Dec. 16 — The only American city that can claim two saints just became the location of a third Vatican-approved miracle, the Philadelphia daily reported.

On Dec. 18, Pope John Paul II signed a decree accepting as miraculous the case of Bernadette McKenzie, a Philadelphia native cured of a painful spinal defect in 1992 after praying for the intercession of Blessed Frances de Sales Aviat.

The second approved miracle attributed to Blessed Frances, it clears the way for her canonization.

The Vatican's decision comes on the heels of the October canonization of Philadelphia heiress Katharine Drexel.

Two other Philadelphia residents, Amy Wall and Robert Gutherman, had childhood healings from deafness that were certified by the Vatican as miraculous.

Philadelphia's other saint is the Czechoslovakian-born St. John Neumann, who was consecrated bishop of the city in 1852.

Philippine Church Activism Worries Vatican Official

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, Dec 18 — “The Vatican is very concerned with the local Church's active involvement with the move to oust the president,” Philippine ambassador to the Holy See Henrietta de Villa told the news service after he had a long, informal conversation with Msgr. Luis Montemayor, who heads the Vatican's Asia Secretariat.

De Villa said the Vatican believes the campaign “has placed the entire Church in a precarious situation,” and such an expression of political sentiment “could eventually redound to a negative effect on the country, the Church and the ‘magisterium of the presidency.’”

Philippine bishops have led street protests calling for the resignation of Estrada, who was impeached last month by the country's House of Representatives on charges of bribery, corruption, betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the constitution.