World Notes & Quotes

Timorese Turn to God for Consolation

NEW YORK TIMES, Oct. 4—In the East Timorese capital of Dili, hundreds of worshippers gathered for Mass after Indonesian troops evacuated the town, leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake, Seth Mydans reported.

According to Mydans, the Portugese priest celebrating the Mass compared the East Timorese people to the ancient Israelites, who ”suffered for freedom, suffered so that they could have their own land.”

The congregants “[Wore] their church clothes, recited their prayers and sang their hymns with dutiful calm, “ Mydans said, adding, “but when the service ended, there was a rush up the steps into the shell of the home of their bishop, Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo. The house was roofless and featureless but swept spotlessly clean.

“The people fell to the ground and began to weep openly at the foot of a tall plaster statue of the Virgin Mary, the only furnishing remaining in the house. The vandalized statue, now missing its hands and most of its face, bent over them.

“For many people here, the time for tears is arriving as the urgency of terror and hunger receded and the pain emerges,” Wydans said, according to the report.

Scientists Confirm the Great Flood

WASHINGTON POST, Sept. 26—Scientists think they have unlocked the secrets of the great flood mentioned in the book of Genesis, reported Post staff writer Guy Gugliotta.

“Scientists have never found Noah or his ark, but they believe in his flood. It happened about 7,600 years ago, when the Mediterranean Sea, swollen by melted glaciers, breached a natural dam separating it from the freshwater lake known today as the Black Sea,” wrote Gugliotta.

He added, “It was an apocalyptic event, in many respects much worse than anything described in Genesis. Every day for two years 10 cubic miles of seawater cut through the narrow channel now known as the Bosporus, and plunged into the lake — more than 200 times the flow over Niagara Falls. Every day the lake rose six inches. And every day the water marched another mile inland, forcing people and animals to flee or drown, killing freshwater fish and plants by the ton, inundating forests, villages and entire cities and spreading pestilence and death for miles.”

Gugliotta said that the history of this event might be readable at the bottom of the Black Sea, where conditions after the great flood drew oxygen from its depths, leaving artifacts potentially incorrupt. In other words, Noah's ark may lie intact at the bottom of the Black Sea and scientists are now ready and able to find it.

“The ‘Black Sea Project’ hopes to prove that literally thousands of years of history may lie intact in the shipwrecks that are blanketed by the sterile waters of Noah's flood,” Gugliotta said.

The U.S. Capitol dome

House Expected to Pass ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ on Thursday

The bill, which would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and recognize same-sex marriages on a federal level, has drawn criticism from Catholic leaders for not providing strong enough protections for those who believe marriage is between one man and one woman — a belief in line with Church teaching.