ROME—Thirty million people will flock to Rome during the year 2000, organisers said last week, revising their earlier estimate of 26 million.
The Jubilee Information Agency said that an estimated 29.4 million people will visit the Eternal City during the year. The average Jubilee Year pilgrim will be middle-class, between 35 and 55 years of age, with strong religious motivations, who will want to see the Pope at least once, the agency said. These pilgrims will visit the basilicas, catacombs, and prefer to visit during the months of April and May.
The president of the agency, Luigi Zanda, said: "It will not be a meeting of millionaires, but a mass popular phenomenon. The whole organisation is based on these projections." —(Zenit) LINCOLN—The Bishop of Nottingham met the Bishop of Bruges and the Anglican Bishop of Lincoln last week, to discuss the role of their churches in Europe.
Bishop James McGuiness, Bishop Roger Vangheluwe and Bishop Robert Hardy agreed that the churches should remind governments of prosperous EU countries not to ignore their own poor, or the worldwide poor.
They said that European union was not just a matter of economic integration, but must include harmony and cooperation between religious groups.
Since 1981 the three dioceses have been ecumenical partners. LONDON—Sales of Fairtrade products have increased from £3 million to £14 million in four years, it was announced last week.
At a celebration marking Fairtrade's fifth anniversary, Development Minister Clare Short said that the ethical trading initiative "helps producers have control over their future and guarantees them a fair return for their work".
Fairtrade, which is supported by CAFOD and other Christian charities, sells a range of 45 products including tea, coffee and chocolate , which it buys at a fair price from developing countries.
Sales have increased by 65 per cent a year as Fairtrade products become more available in high street shops such as Sainsburys, Tescos, Safeways, Waitrose and Co-ops, as well as health food shops.—(Josephine Siedlecka) LONDON—The number of marriages in England and Wales fell by 20 per cent between 1986 and 1996 according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.
The number of divorces increased by one per cent between 1995 and 1996 and the number of adoptions fell. The largest fall in marriages was among those manying for the first time.
BELFAST—Gerry Adams called for abortion to be legalised in Northern Ireland in an interview with The Independent last week.
The Sinn Fein leader said that woman should be allowed to procure abortions in a variety of "social and medical circumstances".
These included circumstances where women's mental and physical health were at risk.
CLONMEL, Ireland—A man cut off his penis after he was sexually abused by a Rosminian brother at a special school 20 years ago, a court in Clonmel has heard.
Alan McNeill said that he forgave former brother Sean Barry, who was sentenced in nine years in prison.
Barry, 52, pleaded guilty to 14 charges of buggery, indecent assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm at St Joseph's, Clonmel, and at Woodsdown, Co Waterford, from 1977 to 1979.—(Irish Times) BONN—Germany's Catholic bishops have asked John Paul II to intervene to solve a dispute over whether the Church should provide abortion counselling.
The Pope last year called on the German Church to prevent its almost 250 pregnancy counselling centres from giving women legal certificates needed to have an abortion.
The bishops decided at the time to continue counselling, but to stop handing out the certificates.—(Irish Times) SALZBURG—An Austrian historian claims he has found the grave of the controversial fifth century theologian, Nestorian.
Professor Peter Hofrichter of Salzburg University discovered the "grave" of the former Patriarch of Constantinople during an ecumenical trip to Egypt.
Nestorius was branded a heretic at the Council of Ephesus in 431 and banished to Upper Egypt in 436, where he died several years later.
He gave his name to the doctrine that there were two separate persons in the Incarnate Christ (Nestorianism), but is venerated by the Assyrian Church of the East, which claims he never held the condemned doctrine.—(Kathpress) PRAGUE—Cardinal Miloslav Vlk has met the President of the Czech Republic in a bid to end the dispute between State and Church over restoration of Church property confiscated by the Communists.
Cardinal Vlk and President Milos Zeman discussed the role of a controversial government commission that monitors relations between the Church and state.
A week earlier, the Czech Bishops' Conference decided to boycott the commission. The bishops insisted that the boycott did not signal a total breakdown of Church-state relations.—(Kathpress) BUCHAREST—Plans by the Pope to visit Romania in May have been hailed by the country's Orthodox leader as a sign of a new "ecumenical openness" between Rome and the Orthodox Churches.
In an interview, Patriarch Teoctist described the plans as "a signal of dialogue and peace" and gave assurances that preparations would be ready in time for the visit on May 7 9.
The trip, which some experts believe could pave the way to an eventual visit to Russia and an historic meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow, Alexey II, will be the first by the Pontiff to an Orthodox country. —(Bruce Johnston, Rome Correspondent) MOSCOW—Local government officials in the Siberian town of Irkutsk have given Catholics permission to build a new church.
The present church was built in the nineteenth century and was confiscated by the Communist state and used to store musical instruments.
Permission for a new church was granted after the intervention of Russia's Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop John Bukowski.—(KNA)