CARDINAL John O'Connor of New York has denounced the thy authorities for awarding the permit for this year's St Patrick's Day parade to a pr gay group. The cardinal said the group, which was refused the permit last year, had hijacked a religious celebration for political reasons. Two rival parades may now be held on March 17. Sicily in May, it was announced this week. The Pope will visit the towns of Trapani, Agrigent, Mazara dell Vallo and Caltanissetta during his stay.
SLOVAKIA's Cardinal Jozef Tomko made dear this week that he -will not stand for the presidency of his country, which split from the Czech Republic last month. The cardinal said it was impossible for a Catholic bishop to enter political life. The suggestion was made by the country's leader, Vladimir Meciar. BOHEMIA 's oldest Benedictine monastery celebrated its 1000th anniversary, and the 80th birthday of its abbot. last week. The Brevnov Monastery in Prague was founded by the tenth century Adalbert of Prague. His 20th century heir, Dom Anastasius Opasek, became abbot in 1947 at the age of 34.
TWO Spanish nuns in the Philippines were this week kidnapped by gunmen from a beach in the mainly Muslim island of Job.