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ZENIT, August 2, 1998
JUSTICE FOR PAUL VI "Humanae Vitae," Banner of Freedom for Women Subjugated by Machismo
HUMAN RIGHTS ARE NOT A MEANS OF EXCHANGE Cardinal Etchegaray to the Pastoral Congress on Human Rights
SUCCESSES AND FAILURES OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT Revelations of Permanent Vatican Observer to the U.N., Renato Martino
VATICAN WORKS TOWARD REBIRTH OF CATHOLICISM IN RUMANIA Courses for
Priests Forming to Help Reestablish Essential Structures
ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE IS IRREVERSIBLE Cardinal Christoph Schönborn Speaks on Dialogue Inside and Outside the Church
THREE MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY MURDERED The Spiritual Daughters of Mother Theresa were Victims of Uncontrolled Violence
HUNGER IN KOSOVO Bishop Denounces the "Catholic Exodus"
U.S. CONGRESS BLOCKS LAW AGAINST RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION Bill would have Affected Allies such as China and Saudi Arabia
WORLD ROSARY DAY TO BE CELEBRATED AROUND THE GLOBE Eighty Countries will Participate in the Simultaneous Prayer of the Rosary on Oct. 31
EUROPE FACES A DEMOGRAPHIC INVERSION Liberals Recognize Church's Service to Life
PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT FINDS NEW SUPPORT IN U.S. Only 22% of Americans Support Unlimited Access to Abortion
RECONCILIATION BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA IS CHURCH'S GOAL Interview with Archbishop Jin-suk of Seoul
THE WEEK IN REVIEW
People, Events, and Comments
Gospel Has Cure for Consumer Society,
Dominican General Chapter Urges Internet Presence,
Jubilee to be New Stage in Catholic-Orthodox Relations,
Mountain Tribute to Twenty-year Pontificate of John Paul II.o
JUSTICE FOR PAUL VI
JUSTICE FOR PAUL VI[TOP]
"Humanae Vitae," Banner of Freedom for Women Subjugated by Machismo
VATICAN CITY, JUL 29 (ZENIT) - When Pope Paul VI published "Humanae Vitae"
on July 25, 1968, he received a great deal of criticism. Today, however,
thirty years later, the world is recognizing more and more the prophetic
value of that encyclical.
The Commission that Pope John XXIII had formed during the Second Vatican
Council to study the problems of population, the family, and birth, which
gave its final report to Paul VI, had voted in favor of permitting the use
of artificial birth control medicines. Paul VI, however, valiantly chose to
support the minority opinion of that Commission, upholding the traditional
teaching of the Church. This set off a wave of attacks from critics and
secularists, even from some ecclesiastical circles.
In large part, the world was deaf to the message of "Humanae Vitae" when
it was published. However, according to "L'Osservatore Romano," the
semi-official Vatican newspaper, "The prophetic value of that encyclical,
which has formed a true and authentic turning point in the history of the
Church, appears more and more evident." The article continues by noting
that "the reactions of secularist groups, and to a certain extent, some
ecclesiastical circles, to 'Humanae Vitae' stemmed from a superficial and
forcedly hostile reading of the document."
To better understand the importance of this encyclical, ZENIT has
collected recent commentaries from various authorities on the subject,
published this past week in commemoration of the encyclical's 30th
Truth is not Decided by Majority Vote
In the introduction to his book "A Creed for Living," dedicated to
"Humanae Vitae," Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger writes: "Rarely has a text from
the recent history of the Magisterium become so much a sign of
contradiction as has 'Humanae Vitae,' which Paul VI wrote after a
profoundly difficult decision of conscience."
"Two fundamental objections are lodged against the text, one
methodological and the other attacking the content," explains the Prefect
of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. "From the point of view
of procedure, critics stress that the Pope had decided against the majority
of the 'ad hoc' study commission, and thus claim that it rests on rather
unstable ground. From the point of view of content, they accuse the
encyclical of mixing biology and ethics."
"The problem of the relation between the majority of the commission and
the definitive decision of the Pope touches on fundamental questions. Here
we must consider questions such as: When is a majority truly
representative? Who should be the representatives? How should their
representation be carried out? We can say the following in this respect: a
commission that gives an opinion about the doctrine of the Church should
never represent the majority of dominant opinions, but rather the interior
existence of the faith. The truth is not decided by majority; faced with a
question of truth, democratic principles end. In the Church, on the other
hand, present society never stands alone. In her, the dead are not dead,
because the Church goes beyond the confines of the present time as the
Communion of Saints. The past is not past, and the future is already
present for precisely this reason. In other words, in the Church, you can
never have the majority against the Saints, against the great witnesses of
the faith that characterize all of history. They always belong to the
present, and their voice cannot be put in the minority. For Paul VI,
therefore, this responsibility toward the doctrinal continuity of the
Church was justly more important than the 70-member commission, whose vote
he had to consider, but which could not have the last word before the
weight of tradition."
"Those who read the encyclical serenely," notes Cardinal Ratzinger, "will
find that it is not impregnated by naturalism or biologism, but rather is
concerned with authentic human love, with a love that is spiritual and
physical in that inseparability of spirit and body that characterizes the
human being (especially paragraph 9). Since love is human, for this reason
it has to do with human liberty, and thus must be love that loves the other
not for my sake, but for the other's sake. Thus, fidelity, unity, and
fertility are anchored in the interior essence of this love. For Paul VI,
it was very important to defend the human dignity of human and conjugal love."
Like a Ray of Light
"Like a ray of light." This is the metaphor chosen by Cardinal Paul
Pouppard, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture in an interview
with "Vatican Radio" on the anniversary of "Humanae Vitae." "That ray,"
recalls Cardinal Pouppard, who worked in the Vatican Secretariat of State
under Paul VI, "at a distance of thirty years appears as a catalyst, a
revealer above all of the separation between the dominant and Catholic
The reaction to the proposal of Christian love contained in that
encyclical, a reaction sustained "by the primarily mediatic culture, as a
rejection in the name of the independence and freedom of man," concludes
the Cardinal, "thirty years later has been shown more and more to be
He Defended the Truth without Counting the Cost
"An effort for the defense of truth that has its final foundation in God";
the proclamation of "a truth that is not political, that is exposed to
calculations and transactions," nor a species of "successive truth," linked
to changeable circumstances, but rather a reality and a permanent
requirement." This description of "Humanae Vitae" as a search for truth
comes from the reflections of Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, President of
the Pontifical Council for the Family, writing in "L'Osservatore Romano."
The Cardinal stresses that this cost Paul VI "many sufferings and
misunderstandings as a painful 'suffered' service, which he did not hide."
The Encyclical as Flag of Freedom
" 'Humanae Vitae' by Paul VI is an encyclical with prophetic value,"
states Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Genoa. The Vice-President of the
Italian Episcopal Conference says, "At a distance of thirty years, the
encyclical appears prophetic in many ways, especially in its clear and
strong affirmation of woman. I think that especially the people of the
Third World received the encyclical with great joy at that moment because
it represented a flag of true freedom for women from the various forms of
slavery to which a certain machismo was leading them." According to the
Cardinal, "this flag of freedom is being flown today not only by the
peoples of the Third World, but also in the nations of the European
The Encyclical was not Understood
The encyclical was not understood, and those theologians who criticized
Paul VI's position somehow legitimated the misunderstanding. These
theologians committed "a grave act of irresponsibility and a theological
error for which we are still paying the consequences," points out Msgr.
Elio Sgreccia, director of the Institute for Bioethics of the Catholic
University of Rome. Bishop Sgreccia, who also serves as Vice-President of
the Pontifical Academy for Life, assures that thirty years after its
publication, "Humanae Vitae" is "far from being completely understood
beyond its reduction to the prohibition of the use of the pill." "The
immediate understanding of the encyclical," Sgreccia told the Italian News
Agency ANSA, "was incomplete and partial, closed to a global study of an
anthropological nature. Its message has not been fully received, especially
the more 'constructive' parts, in which it presents an ample vision of
responsible procreation, legitimating the recourse to natural methods."
An Act of Great Courage
Bishop Pasquale Macchi, Pope Paul VI's personal secretary for 25 years,
says, "'Humanae Vitae' is a text that presents conjugal morality in a
positive way, ordered toward its mission of love and fertility, in a vision
which is integral and earthly, but also supernatural and eternal. Those who
would define Paul VI's Pontificate as contradictory and vacillating
obviously haven't read a single line of his discourses." Paul VI himself
said the same thing on the eve of his death in a speech in St. Peter's for
the 15th anniversary of his coronation, June 29, 1978. He recalled "the
commitment I have suffered and offered in service and defense of truth and
In the encyclical it is clear that Paul VI was truly concerned about human
dignity and conjugal love, and that he considered the human person to be
capable of two things: fidelity and self-denial.
HUMAN RIGHTS ARE NOT A MEANS OF EXCHANGE
HUMAN RIGHTS ARE NOT A MEANS OF EXCHANGE[TOP]
Cardinal Etchegaray to the Pastoral Congress on Human Rights
VATICAN CITY, JUL 26 (ZENIT) - In his speech to the World Pastoral Congress
on Human Rights, organized at the request of Pope John Paul II, Cardinal
Roger Etchegaray stated, "As regards human rights and their universal
character, we must reestablish the fundamental and regulating ethical
instance of a world order founded on these rights."
"To speak, as is done today, of crimes against humanity," added the
Cardinal, who is head of the Preparation Committee for the Great Jubilee,
"means that man in our times feels himself part of a humanity that is not
just an abstraction, but rather an integral part of a community set to
write a common history."
"Although the U.N. Letter has contributed greatly toward raising a certain
consciousness of humanity about human rights," stressed the former head of
the Council "Justice and Peace;" "in some countries we are seeing a market
in these rights. There are countries and potent economic 'lobbies' that use
human rights as a means of exchange."
The Church and Human Rights
Where is the Church in this field of light and shadows? Cardinal
Etchegaray responded to this question by affirming, "The Church goes beyond
the person whose dignity has been offended. In the Gospel pastoral plan,
the Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan are the same thing."
"If the Church looked upon human rights with suspicion in the last
century," explained Etchegaray, "this was due to the fact that on occasion,
these rights were declared with a libertarian and anti-religious accent.
Rather than speaking of replanting the Church with respect to human rights,
it would be more correct to speak of the Gospel as the original matrix of
human rights. Writing a letter doesn't automatically create access to
rights. It is the job of the international community to seek common values
that can unite men."
Foreseeing possible objections concerning excessive concern for the human
person to the detriment of the Creator, Cardinal Etchegaray stated, "The
Church simply wants to manifest how the dynamism of faith can transfigure
and reinforce the rational requirement in favor of human rights. The idea
of both John XXIII and John Paul II to make all people understand this
reality, must still be deepened and explored. We're not talking about a
double language, but rather of giving the Church's words the double meaning
of both God and man."
How can the Church contribute to respect for human rights? "It is the
Church's task to employ all the resources of her educative experience for
the daily application of human rights. To educate in human rights means to
confirm the very manner of living the Gospel. We cannot win the battle if
we don't fight together. Our task is to sustain the defenders of human
rights who expose themselves to prison, torture, and death in all its most
tragic forms, as happened with Bishop Juan Gerardi of Guatemala. But it is
never enough just to denounce. All denunciations must be accompanied by a
message. You cannot denounce evil without indicating the road to goodness.
The role of the Church is to be prophet and sentry, a Church that preaches
the living God, the God who does not cease to live for people and for the
SUCCESSES AND FAILURES OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
SUCCESSES AND FAILURES OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT[TOP]
Revelations of Permanent Vatican Observer to the U.N., Renato Martino
ROME, JUL 28 (ZENIT) - A few days after the U.N. closed its Conference in
Rome on the creation of an International Criminal Court, U.N. Secretary
General Kofi Annan published an article in the "International Herald
Tribune" assuring that the day of the vote was a historic day. "We at the
U.N.," stated Mr. Annan, "never forget that our organization was founded as
part of a global struggle against regimes responsible for horrible
The head of the United Nations said that he was convinced that "in time,
the States that nourish fear will come to appreciate the value of this
great new instrument of international justice." Certainly the failure of
nations such as the United States, China, and the Russian Federation to
vote for the measure plants serious questions about the possible efficacy
of the judicial body.
Archbishop Renato Martino, Vatican Permanent Observer to the U.N., spoke
to Vatican Radio about exactly this problem. "We hope that the Tribunal
will be able to function, and that even those States that did not vote for
it will collaborate with it, since in the statutes there is a provision
that non-signing States can collaborate with the Court. We know that the
U.S. has still not signed the Convention on the rights of children, and
nonetheless, 191 other countries have ratified it. Something similar
occurred with antipersonnel mines. The U.S. has still not ratified this
treaty, unlike a large number of States. There is time, since the rules for
the next step have still not been edited, and will have to be completed by
June 30, 2000. The Tribunal will need about a year before it comes into
Attributions of the Court
As far as the real power of the Court, Archbishop Martino indicated, "We
hope that the great power that has been given to the prosecutor, who can
act on his own initiative, and the power given to the Security Council,
which can temporarily block an investigation, will be exercised with
moderation, since one or the other could cause the Tribunal to dedicate
itself to everything or could paralyze the action of the Tribunal
Archbishop Martino also provided details about the debate over the term
"forced pregnancy." "Someone tried to introduce this term without defining
it, so that a husband who tried to convince his wife not to abort could be
accused of 'forced pregnancy.' The same could be applied to States that
have laws restricting abortion. In the Conference, the term was used to
refer to the horrors that women have suffered in Bosnia and other war
situations. Thus, as the delegation of the Holy See, we tried to define
these circumstances. 'Forced pregnancy' for the tribunal means the illegal
detention of a woman who has been made pregnant by force with the objective
of changing the ethnic composition of a population. The delegation of the
Holy See was intensely committed not only to obtain a definition of this
crime of 'forced pregnancy,' but also to fight against the death penalty
and to guarantee the rights of the accused."
Defense of the Secret of the Confessional
The Pope's "ambassador" went on to clarify, "Although in certain
circumstances it will be easy for the prosecutor to obtain proof, in many
cases it could occur that the accused does not have the means to obtain
proof for his defense. At a certain moment, we had to guarantee the right
to confidentiality between a doctor and his patient, a lawyer and his
client, a priest and a penitent."
The Vatican representative also revealed that his delegation tried to
introduce international drugs and arms trafficking as crimes to be handled
by the new Court. Although they were unsuccessful in this bid, Archbishop
Martino stated that the Conference had decided to study this problem again
in the future.
VATICAN WORKS TOWARD REBIRTH OF CATHOLICISM IN RUMANIA
VATICAN WORKS TOWARD REBIRTH OF CATHOLICISM IN RUMANIA[TOP]
Courses for Priests Forming to Help Reestablish Essential Structures
VATICAN CITY, JUL 27 (ZENIT) - The problems facing Catholics in
ex-communist countries of Eastern Europe are grave and difficult. For this
reason, the Vatican Congregation for Oriental Churches is organizing days
of study and formation to understand and help the priests of these
In concrete, Bishop Claudio Gugerotti, Undersecretary of the Congregation,
just visited Rumania. The trip was organized to offer formation encounters
in order to answer the questions of the leaders of these Churches provoked
by the particular situations in which the priests and religious had to
prepare for their consecration. "The idea of the trip to Rumania came from
the local Bishops with the objective of gathering young priests from all
the dioceses of Rumania into a brush-up course to complete their
catechetical formation," explained Bishop Gugerotti. "Given the conditions
in which the Church has lived, their formation had to be very condensed.
This year, we have chosen the theme of the Sacraments, and it has been very
interesting to note that along with the Western scholars that were invited,
we also saw the first scholars of the Rumanian Church. These young priests
have attained the necessary academic degrees and can now teach. There was a
group of about eighty priests."
The Vatican representative indicated that the experience was also "very
meaningful," because "it was a time of sharing, of fraternal encounter, of
support in the effort that they are making to begin again. You have to
understand that in large part, we are talking about priests who do not have
a Church or building, because the buildings are in the hands of the
Orthodox Church, even though the Greek Catholics originally constructed
them. Thus, they celebrate wherever they can, outdoors, in camps, in
schools, or in people's homes. These are particularly difficult pastoral
situations. It was a source of consolation for them to have a place to
study, to meet with persons from abroad and with representatives of the
Congregation for the Oriental Churches, which they see, in a certain sense,
as the right hand of the Holy Father in the rebuilding of their structures.
We had very interesting question and answer sessions. They wanted to know
what the Holy See thinks; how to regain their rights that were violated in
the past (and in a certain sense also in the present); what the Vatican
wants from their Church; how the Apostolic See sees the special mission of
the Greek Catholic Church in the local context."
The meeting also put an emphasis on the necessity that priests not close
themselves into their own world. Thus, the participants confronted concrete
problems, such as poverty or how to resist problems created by the
aggressive consumer mentality that is relentlessly invading from the West.
ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE IS IRREVERSIBLE
ECUMENICAL DIALOGUE IS IRREVERSIBLE[TOP]
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn Speaks on Dialogue Inside and Outside the Church
LOURDES, JUL 27 (ZENIT) - Accompanying a local pilgrimage group to Lourdes,
Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna presented his evaluation of the
Pope's recent visit to Austria and his perspectives on the dialogue between
Catholics and Orthodox.
According to Cardinal Schönborn, who was just elected President of the
Austrian Episcopal Conference, "the visit of the Pope has been above all
'the grace of Peter,' a grace of confirmation and reinforcement in the
faith. I don't think you can analyze John Paul II's trips only with
statistics. During the three days of the Pontifical visit to Austria, I
thought of the text in the Acts of the Apostles in which 'Peter's shadow'
cured the ill by his passing. Our country is living a very profound grace
of healing of hearts after the visit of the Holy Father, and this cannot be
measured. In fact, the Pope came to alert Austrians against a certain
meanness of spirit, a self-centeredness, which affects both society and the
Church. He opened the horizons for us and reminded us about our vocation to
Curiously, the Austrian Cardinal revealed that, parallel to the crisis
Catholicism has suffered in his country, in recent years, there has been an
authentic "movement of conversions." "I note that many adults are asking
for Baptism," explained the Cardinal to the Parisian newspaper "La Croix."
"The wave of defections and indifference that affects our communities is
also paradoxically accompanied by a 'return' to the Church, linked to a
general cultural and social context. For many, modern society has not given
a satisfactory response to the great questions of life. This movement is
also explained by the sadness brought about by 'pure capitalism.' The faith
lived by the Church is presented to these converts as a true path of
development of happiness."
Dialogue in the Church
The Archbishop of Vienna has convoked a dialogue with all sectors of the
Church in Austria, including the most confrontational. The Pope himself
suggested this move in his visit. This includes movements like "We Are
Church," which promoted a petition drive to force the Church to change its
teaching in certain doctrinal and moral matters. Cardinal Schönborn
explains the initiative in this way: "I am basing myself in a positive
prejudice, that is, the hypothesis that they love the Church. At the same
time, I see that some of their affirmations are in conflict with the
Church's teaching. Thus, we have to help them enter into dialogue with
others who are also Church. The media has to understand that it's not the
hierarchy on one side and the people on the other. The Church is plural,
multiform, and no longer has the monolithic character that we could detect
in the 50s. The Church has often been such a fraternal space of great
diversity of spiritual expression, as in the fourth and thirteenth centuries.
A meeting between John Paul II and Alexei II, Patriarch of Moscow, was
cancelled at the last minute this past spring. This is the second time in
two years that the two religious leaders have been unable to meet. The
Archbishop of Vienna, whose diocese has always maintained good relations
with the Patriarch of Moscow, explained what happened. "The meeting was
cancelled because of internal tensions in the Russian Orthodox Church," he
explained. "This 'failure' is not the last word. On the contrary, the
process of dialogue is moving forward, I think irreversibly. For my part,
although ecumenical relations may be difficult, I feel close to the
Orthodox Church, and I think that I can bring to this dialogue a very great
love for that Church."
THREE MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY MURDERED
THREE MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY MURDERED[TOP]
The Spiritual Daughters of Mother Theresa were Victims of Uncontrolled
HODEIDAH, YEMEN, JUL 27 (ZENIT) - Three Missionaries of Charity, members of
the religious congregation founded by the late Mother Theresa of Calcutta,
were assassinated today upon leaving a clinic in the city of Hodeidah in
the Republic of Yemen. Hodeidah is on the Red Sea, about 140 miles west of
the capital, Sana'a.
According to local authorities, the three nuns (one Filipino and two
Indians) were killed by men armed with automatic weapons. It appears that
one of the presumed assassins is already in custody. No paramilitary group
has yet claimed responsibility for the crime.
The Missionaries of Charity have been active in Yemen since 1970, and this
is the first instance of violence against them. When Mother Theresa died
last September, the Congregation had 3,604 members with vows, along with
411 novices and 260 aspirants. The congregation operates in 119 countries
(both developed and developing) and has 560 "tabernacles," as they call
The daughters of Mother Theresa are "contemplative" missionaries, who
spend four hours a day in prayer. The rest of their time is dedicated to
loving service to the poorest of the poor.
The Holy Father's Sorrow
The Holy Father sent telegrams of condolence to Sr. Nirmala, Superior
General of the Missionaries of Charity and to the Apostolic Delegate in
Arabia, Giovanni Bernardo Gremoli, who had informed the Pope of the event.
"May this sacrifice help the cause of interreligious dialogue," stated John
Paul II, when he learned about the shooting.
Srs. Tilia, Anetta, and Michael worked at a hospital for elderly,
handicapped, and marginalized in the Red Sea region. In his messages, John
Paul II wrote, "I received the news with great sorrow and invoke the
eternal rest in the peace of Christ for the victims." At the same time, he
expressed his hope that the sad episode would serve to help in the mutual
understanding between faiths.
In some parts of Yemen, the government has lost control of the situation,
with tribes taking hostages for economic concessions. There are also
reports of legal disputes being settled by resort to firearms and duels.
Due to a government program of saving funds, which will bring an increase
to the prices of many basic products, some tribes have launched attacks
against the oil pipelines, and have even organized ambushes of caravans of
ministers or shootings against government buildings.
HUNGER IN KOSOVO
HUNGER IN KOSOVO[TOP]
Bishop Denounces the "Catholic Exodus"
PRISTINA, YUGOSLAVIA, JUL 28 (ZENIT) - "Malishevo is starving, Djakovo is
starving, and many other villages are starving," asserted Bishop Marc Sobi
of Prizren, Kosovo. "They do not permit aid to reach the villages that are
along the Albanian border. Our humanitarian organization, 'Mother Theresa'
(named in honor of the Albanian-born Nobel-Prize winner, a native of these
lands), has tried to bring grain to those villages; it was confiscated,
with the excuse that it would help the rebels of the Liberation Army. They
have even prevented Caritas from entering those zones."
The Bishop is worried because the Serbs are forcing zones controlled by
the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) into starvation. "We can do little,
because our Church is a poor one, living on external aid," asserted Bishop
Sobi. "Even our faithful know this and don't ask for anything. But they
leave. They are all leaving." There were once 65,000 Catholics in this
area, "but now less than half remain." With anguished words, he explained,
"They started to emigrate in the 70s to find work in Switzerland and
Germany, but at least they left their families here. Now, however, they are
taking their wives and children abroad."
The Catholic community in Kosovo may be small, but is made up of natives
to the region. "Albanian lands were Christian before they were Muslim,"
explained Bishop Sobi. "Saints Paul and Timothy converted the Illyrians,
our ancestors, travelling down Via Egantia [a Roman road], which passes by
here. The Emperor Constantine was Albanian, an Illyrian from Nish, while
St. Niceto, author of the 'Te Deum' was from Kosovo. We have always been of
the Latin Rite. Even the Muslims recognize our patriotic Albanian roots to
a certain extent. Fortunately, this is not a religious conflict, even with
The Bishop does not condemn those Kosovans who have decided to take up
arms. "If they are defending their homes with dignity, even the Church
would permit that." Despite the difficulties brought by the war, the
Catholic community in Kosovo remains active. "We have eighteen
seminarians," recounted the Bishop with pride, "but we don't have a
seminary. We will be sending eight of them who have completed theology to
Italy's Caritas is sending aid, but the situation is confused, and the
danger of a widening of the font is becoming greater. The defense
organization of the European Union has stated that the situation in Kosovo
is deteriorating so fast that the possibility of a peace agreement are
practically null in the Serb province.
U.S. CONGRESS BLOCKS LAW AGAINST RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION
U.S. CONGRESS BLOCKS LAW AGAINST RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION[TOP]
Bill would have Affected Allies such as China and Saudi Arabia
WASHINGTON, JUL 26 (ZENIT) - The supporters of a bill introduced in the
Senate to punish countries that apply religious persecution has been
blocked by the very Congressmen who proposed it.
The measure would have required the United States to apply commercial
sanctions, cutting off any subsidies, to countries that clearly violate
religious liberty. Among countries that would be affected by the measure
are several major political and commercial allies of the U.S., notably
China and Saudi Arabia. In China, all Catholics are forced to belong to the
government-run Chinese Catholics' Patriotic Association, which denied the
authority of the Pope. Those who do not join risk imprisonment or even
torture. Saudi Arabia bans all form of worship except the Islamic, even
within foreign embassies. Christians caught with Bibles or other religious
materials may suffer imprisonment, torture, or even death by beheading.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee killed the bill after its
supporters realized that it would not achieve the necessary majority on the
floor of the Senate. The measure will not be considered again in this
The bill had achieved an impressive majority (375-41) in the House of
Representatives. The majority of Senators, however, feels that the
sanctions against these countries would harm the foreign trade of the U.S.,
creating serious problems in diplomatic relations with strategic allies.
These arguments have profoundly divided the Republican Party, who
introduced and formed the bulk of the support for the bill.
WORLD ROSARY DAY TO BE CELEBRATED AROUND THE GLOBE
WORLD ROSARY DAY TO BE CELEBRATED AROUND THE GLOBE[TOP]
Eighty Countries will Participate in the Simultaneous Prayer of the Rosary
on Oct. 31
MEXICO CITY, JUL 29 (ZENIT) - The Third Annual World Rosary Day will be
celebrated on October 31 this year. The plans call for the simultaneous
prayer of many rosaries throughout the seven continents.
Not only will the participants pray the same prayer in many languages, but
they will also be praying for the same intentions. This year, the prayer
intentions are for a blossoming of charity among the people of the world,
for peace in the world, for life and the family, for the Pope, and for
priests and vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
The idea for the initiative came up three years ago in the Archdiocese of
Mexico City. Its promoters ask that as many rosary groups as possible be
set up around the world. If possible, a priest or bishop should be present,
so that the prayer may be done before the exposed Blessed Sacrament. It is
also hoped the priests will hear confessions during the event.
The first World Rosary Day in 1996 involved 20 countries, with 2,600 groups
being formed in Mexico alone. Several of these groups were very large,
gathering in stadiums, auditoriums, schools, parks, etc. Last year, there
were participants in 40 countries, with 4,000 groups reported in Mexico
alone. As will occur again this year, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of
Mexico City presided over the group in the Mexican capital. Last year's
celebration in Mexico City attracted 43,000 faithful and was broadcast live
by television around the globe.
The promoters hope for participation in 80 countries this year, with the
goal of expanding again each year to reach all the countries by the 5th
Annual World Rosary Day during the Great Jubilee. It is hoped that John
Paul II will be able to preside in Rome in 2000, with individual mysteries
being transmitted by television from major Marian shrines, such as Fatima,
Lourdes, Czestochowa, the Vatican, and the Basilica of Our Lady of
Guadalupe in Mexico City.
Groups who would like to participate in the World Rosary Day by organizing
an event in their city can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
their Home Page at www.churchforum.org.mx/rosario .
EUROPE FACES A DEMOCRATIC INVERSION
EUROPE FACES A DEMOCRATIC INVERSION[TOP]
Liberals Recognize Church's Service to Life
ROME, JUL 27 (ZENIT) - "When laicists and liberals hear about defense of
the family, they immediately pull a gun (metaphorically speaking, of
course)," reads an editorial on the front page of the Italian liberal
newspaper "La Repubblica." In the text, the author makes a historic "
repentance," and an interesting recognition of the service the Church has
made in defense of the family.
The opinion piece, signed by Antoni Polito, admits, "They [liberals] did
the same a few years ago in defense of universal contraception. For years,
they have voiced chilling statistics to show the danger that the world was
about to end due to overpopulation, dead of hunger, suffocated by billions
of mouths asking for food. More than once, the terrifying images of African
famines were used to push this subliminal message, rather than considering
the guilt and egotism of the prosperous West."
On the other hand, says "La Repubblica," "the Church, perhaps trusting in
Providence or its age-old prudence, never wanted to create this scene."
The journalist asks secularists and liberals to make a self-examination.
"Perhaps the Church was right. While our common sense is still working with
the fantasy of overpopulation, something totally and surprisingly different
is taking place. The most recent studies indicate that the world population
will reach the level of 7.7 billion inhabitants within forty years, and
then will begin to decline. In underdeveloped countries the average number
of births per woman, which was once about six, has descended to three. In
the industrialized West, we have a real population implosion before our
eyes, a lack of children, which could change the future of our societies
and involve even Europe with its unified currency. It is the first time
that this has happened without an external agent: an epidemic of
pestilence, a potato famine, the Thirty Years' War. It is the first time
that this has happened by the will of the human race."
The journalist goes on to point out that "Italy has become the first
country in the world, in the history of mankind, in which the number of
persons older than 60 years old is greater than that of those younger than
twenty. Bologna is about to set the sad record of 25 'grandparents'
(citizens over age 50) for every child (under age 5)."
Not by chance, the liberal newspaper published this editorial on the front
page on the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of "Humanae Vitae,"
Pope Paul VI's controversial encyclical on birth control.
PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT FINDS NEW SUPPORT IN U.S.
PRO-LIFE MOVEMENT FINDS NEW SUPPORT IN U.S.[TOP]
Only 22% of Americans Support Unlimited Access to Abortion
ORLANDO, JUL 30 (ZENIT) - The National Right to Life Committee has just
ended its convention in Orlando, Florida. This meeting was intended
primarily to evaluate the activities already carried out and to encourage
participants to concentrate their forces in the defense of life in the next
year, both in the personal dimension as well as the family and social
Executive Director David N. O'Stein stated that the dramatic character
entailed by the option to abort is becoming better known. This statement is
confirmed by the most recent statistics, which indicate that only 22% of
Americans support unlimited access to abortion. In an interview in "Florida
Catholic," Mr. O'Stein provided further details. "Judging from the
statistics and their tendency toward life, the number of abortions is
decreasing, while the pro-life movement is growing despite obstacles from
the courts and the media."
The President of the National Right to Life Committee, Wanda Franz,
speaking before Congress, indicated that the legalization of abortion,
according to those who defended it, should have solved all of the great
problems of the country: child abuse, unwed mothers, and teen pregnancies.
However, despite the legalization of abortion, these problems have not
diminished, but have grown. "Thus, we are seeing a weakening of the
positions that proposed the call for the right to abortion," she affirmed.
"We told the truth," she added, "while the promoters of abortion produced
Another positive element in the fight against abortion is that despite the
Presidential veto on the national level of partial-birth abortion
legislation, twenty-five states have introduced legislation banning the
procedure. Many Americans consider this procedure to be equivalent to
RECONCILIATION BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA IS CHURCH'S GOAL
RECONCILIATION BETWEEN NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA IS CHURCH'S GOAL
Interview with Archbishop Jin-suk of Seoul [TOP]
SEOUL, JUL 30 (ZENIT) - The Most Rev. Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, aged 67, was
installed as the 13th Archbishop of Seoul on June 29th, 1998 the solemnity
of the Apostles Saints Peter and Paul, succeeding His Eminence Stephen
Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan who at 76 has reached retirement age. He gave the
following interview to the Vatican News Agency FIDES.
FIDES: What is your first impression as Archbishop of Seoul?
Archbishop Jin-suk: I feel that I have been given an enormous
responsibility. I have begun to realize just how great a person Cardinal
Kim is, who carried out this important role and responsibility for 30
years. In my heart, I hold him in deep respect. I want to fulfill my duty
as Archbishop of Seoul in such a way as not to undo the good my predecessor
Cardinal Kim has achieved.
FIDES: We know that Myongdong is "home" for you. How do you feel about
Archbishop Jin-suk: Yes, Myongdong (Immaculate Conception Cathedral of
Seoul) is my home, the place of my childhood. I was baptized here and
served as altar boy. In fact, I received five sacraments here, all except
the sacraments of matrimony and anointing of the sick! Except for the
period that I spent studying in Rome and serving as the Bishop of Chongju,
I had never left Myongdong. I come back here after 30 years of being away.
However, I feel somewhat awkward because it has changed so much. When I was
here 30 years ago, there were only about 50 parishes and 120 priests. But
the diocese has grown to 197 parishes, 805 priests, and 1,230,000
Catholics. I think there are many things that I have to learn.
FIDES: What are your pastoral orientation and plans for the Archdiocese?
What will be your pastoral focus?
Archbishop Jin-suk: The Archdiocese of Seoul is a big family in many
respects, especially for the number of priests and the faithful. Therefore,
I think what is most necessary and urgent for the Archdiocese is to foster
a family spirit within the diocese. We need to build a faith community with
one heart and one mind. In smaller dioceses, unity between priests and the
faithful is relatively easy. As far as concrete pastoral plans are
concerned, I intend to collect opinions from many clergy, religious,
faithful and various organizations and associations. It will take time, to
be sure. I may figure out my concrete pastoral orientation by the end of
this year, I guess.
FIDES: Cardinal Kim has had great influence over people in many ways. How
are you going to make yourself different from your predecessor?
Archbishop Jin-suk: After a change of civil government, people say that the
newcomer has to differentiate himself from his predecessor, but the Church
is not like that. My predecessor Cardinal Kim and myself are the servants
of God. Between servants there should not be much difference. I will follow
the same line as Cardinal Kim for a while in what he has started as a
servant of God. There will not be much difference.
FIDES: At your installation ceremony as Archbishop of Seoul you expressed
special concern and affection for the Church in North Korea as you serve as
Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang. What are your views and opinions
about the question of reunification, the reconciliation of Korean people
and the restoration of the Church in North Korea?
Archbishop Jin-suk: I think that the reunification of Korea will come when
God allows it. To bring about the reconciliation of the Korean people we
need to open our hearts to each other. Only God can help us open our
hearts. As the Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang, I will pray to God to
open our hearts to each other. Both South and North Korea must see the
Korean War as a national tragedy and repent for all the suffering and
heartache it has caused. This should be a path toward the unity of the
Korean people. North Koreans should enjoy the unalienable human rights that
God has given to human beings such as freedom of conscience, religion,
expression, choosing one's job, travel, etc. The Church should contribute
towards achieving reunification based on respect for fundamental human
rights. Last year was the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the
diocese of Pyongyang, but regrettably, there was no celebration. I hope
that my successor will not be the Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang but
its diocesan Bishop. Before political unity, we need freedom of religion.
FIDES: The Korean nation is suffering from economic crisis. How does this
affect the Church and how is the Church involved in trying to solve it?
Archbishop Jin-suk: We should remember there was a time when we were happy
without much money. But now people are not happy without money. People
divorce, and families are broken because of money. It is because money has
replaced God. Early Christians were happy even though they were poor,
because they knew how to share with each other. What the Church of today
should do is promote the system of sharing throughout the country. This is
the spirit of the Gospel. The economic crisis should make us understand
that we have been made subject to money; thus, we have to make this crisis
a moment of blessings. When we become money's masters, we will overcome the
economic crisis more easily. We should know that money is not everything in
our life. In this regard, the Church should be an example to people by
living out the teaching of Jesus Christ.
FIDES: What do you think about Myongdong Cathedral being used as a place of
demonstration? What do you think about conservatives and progressives in
Archbishop Jin-suk: In any human society, there have always been victims of
injustice because neither the law itself, nor the legal actions executed by
that law, is perfect. Therefore, when human judgement is unfair to people,
they need a special place where they can appeal to God and society. This
special place or "sanctuary" can be created by people's agreement, or the
public authority can designate it. Myongdong cathedral has been understood
and considered by people as a "sanctuary" or something like it, even though
the Church never designated it explicitly as a "sanctuary." People feel
that in Myongdong they can complain and appeal to a sense of justice. They
think that God hears their voice, pain, and cries of suffering and
maltreatment from Myongdong. And the police respect this belief.
FIDES: The entire Church is in full-swing preparation for the Great Jubilee
of the Year 2000. How should we understand it?
Archbishop Jin-suk: The Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 celebrates the
2,000th anniversary of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This means that
2,000 years ago Jesus came to liberate us from sin and death. Therefore we
should not keep the joy of liberation just for ourselves, but rather must
share it with others who don't know it. This is a duty and responsibility
for all of us Christians. The Great Jubilee Year means both joy of being
liberated from sins and efforts for conversion.
FIDES: Your predecessor, Cardinal Kim, was very interested in
interreligious dialogue and mutual exchanges. What is your opinion?
Archbishop Jin-suk: Collaboration with other religions goes without saying.
If true happiness of human beings is the goal of religions and if all
religions have the same purpose, then interreligious collaboration is a
very natural thing. However, on the way to realizing it, we may encounter
various difficulties, and the process requires concessions, because each
religion has its own doctrine. Some religions believe in the one God, but
others do not. Because of this, dialogue is not easy. However,
interreligious dialogue and mutual collaboration are vital. Thus Cardinal
Kim's line in this regard will be kept as it is.
THE WEEK IN REVIEW [TOP]
People, Events, and Comments
GOSPEL HAS THE CURE FOR CONSUMER SOCIETY
GOSPEL HAS THE CURE FOR CONSUMER SOCIETY[TOP]
CASTELGANDOLFO, JUL 26 (ZENIT) - The Pope had a pleasant surprise when he
gave his traditional "Angelus" message at his summer residence in
Castelgandolfo. The number of pilgrims far exceeded expectations, totally
filling the interior plaza, forcing some pilgrims to listen to the Holy
Father's words from an exterior plaza. John Paul II used this opportunity
to continue his reflections on Sunday, begun in his Apostolic Letter "Dies
Domini." "Unlike in the civil calendar, the liturgy does not see Sunday as
the last day of the week, but the first," indicated the Pontiff. Sunday
should also be a day of rest and enjoying nature and social relationships.
In fact, he said, "these values unfortunately run the risk of being empty,
due to a hedonistic and frenetic conception of life. By living them in the
light of the Gospel, Christians give them their true sense."
DOMINICAN GENERAL CHAPTER URGES INTERNET PRESENCE
DOMINICAN GENERAL CHAPTER URGES INTERNET PRESENCE[TOP]
BOLOGNA, JUL 28 (ZENIT) - The Dominican General Chapter is taking place in
Bologna, site of the death of St. Dominic, from July 12 to August 4. The
Dominicans, or "Order of Preachers," have sent delegates to make
recommendations for the next three years of apostolic work. In every third
Chapter, the Dominicans elect their Superior General. The current Superior
General, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, has asked the 60 delegates and 10 experts
to increase their idealism, generosity, formation of consciences, and use
of modern technology, such as the Internet. "We have more vocations in the
rest of the world than in the West," indicated Fr. Radcliffe in an
interview in "Avvenire." He told the interviewer, "Fr. Scott, a young U.S.
Dominican who coordinates our presence in the Internet, is participating in
this Chapter. He will help us reflect on how to preach and teach through
the Web. In France, we are developing an Internet university to teach at a
distance. We are also considering other ways of preaching, such as art,
music, and poetry. Blessed Fra Angelico preached through his frescoes in
the Renaissance. Today we have Fr. Kim En Joong, a Dominican painter in Korea.
JUBILEE TO BE NEW STAGE IN CATHOLIC-ORTHODOX RELATIONS
JUBILEE TO BE NEW STAGE IN CATHOLIC-ORTHODOX RELATIONS[TOP]
VATICAN CITY, JUL 29 (ZENIT) - One of the most important objectives for the
Church set by John Paul II on the threshold of the third millennium is the
unity of Christians. In this week's Wednesday audience, the Holy Father
touched upon the very point of division between Catholics and Orthodox: the
"filioque." In the Council of Constantinople, the Fathers had written the
text "I believe in the Holy Spirit . . . who proceeds from the Father."
Only later did the Latin rite add "and the Son" to this formula. The
Orthodox claimed that this decision violated the authentic doctrine -- that
the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father, through the Son.
In his treatment of this problem, the Holy Father clarified, "We can say
that the diversity between the Latins and the Easterns does not affect the
unity of the faith in the reality of the actual confessed mystery, but
rather its expression, the one legitimately complementing the other, which
does not compromise, but rather can enrich the communion in the one faith."
The Holy Father indicated that the Jubilee must also be an occasion for
increasing fraternal charity within the Church. He called for "every member
of the Church, every parish and diocesan community, every group,
association, and movement to make a serious examination of conscience that
would dispose their hearts to accept the unifying action of the Holy Spirit.
MOUNTAIN TRIBUTE TO TWENTY-YEAR PONTIFICATE OF JOHN PAUL II
MOUNTAIN TRIBUTE TO TWENTY-YEAR PONTIFICATE OF JOHN PAUL II[TOP]
ROME, JUL 30 (ZENIT) - To celebrate the twentieth year of John Paul II's
Pontificate, a group of mountain climbers has raised a granite cross
dedicated to the Holy Father in the Italian Adamello mountain range.
In 1984 and 1988, John Paul II spent a few days of his summer vacation in
the splendid peaks of the Adamellos, which separate the Italian regions of
Trentino and Lombardy. These moments have remained engraved in the hearts
of the residents. Now, in commemoration of and preparation for the
Pontifical anniversary in October, local authorities decided to place a
7,700 lb. granite cross on one of the peaks, dedicating that peak to the
Pope. At the base of the cross, they will affix a bronze shield with the
papal coat of arms and an inscription commemorating the event.
The peak is one of the traditional mountain-climbing goals in the Adamello
park. Faustino Pedretti, the artist who sculpted the cross, stated, "For an
old man like me, it is a great satisfaction to see that this work is
becoming an important act to commemorate the Jubilee and the Holy Father. I
have to point out that although I proposed the initiative, I found support
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