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Pope's 22nd anniversary celebrated
Jubilee year busiest of his pontificate
Pope John Paul II celebrated the 22nd anniversary of his papal election on Monday, 16 October. Vatican officials noted that this year has been the busiest of John Paul's remarkable pontificate.
For the Holy Father, the highlight of the Jubilee year has been his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This was the most important of his four foreign trips made this year - the others being to India (and Georgia), Egypt and Portugal. The Jubilee year has produced a special event, punctuated by a solemn Mass at which the Pope has presided, nearly every Sunday of the year. Particularly memorable, in this regard, have been the Jubilee celebrations for youth, the sick, for consecrated life, for artists, for bishops, and for the family.
The season of Lent was marked by an unprecedented solemn "Day of Pardon" ceremony, and Easter with the usual solemnities, including the Way of the Cross in the Roman Colosseum and a massive Easter Sunday celebration in St Peter's Square. June saw the Eucharistic Congress and the Corpus Christi procession through the streets of Rome, while August brought two million participants for World Youth Day.
Catholic World News
South Korean President wins Nobel Prize
Catholic faith a major influence on his policies
South Korea's Nobel Peace Prize-winner, President Kim Dae-jung, is a devout Catholic whose faith has motivated his overtures of reconciliation to North Korea.
On 13 October, he joined the select circle of Peace Prize winners, which includes Mother Teresa of Calcutta. According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the award to the first Catholic Korean President in history is merited because of "his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular."
Dae-jung, 75, has been President since February 1998, and since then, "has contributed to consolidate a democratic government and promote reconciliation with North Korea," the Nobel Committee said. "Through his 'sunshine policy,' Kim Dae-jung has attempted to overcome more than 50 years of war and hostility between North and South Korea."
Last June, the South Korean's "sunshine policy" shone in all its splendour when he began the rapprochement with the North Korean Communist leader, Kim Jong-il, by taking part in a historical summit in Pyongyang.
On that occasion, Dae-jung proposed to Kim Jong-il that John Paul II be invited to North Korea as a sign of peace and reconciliation. The proposal was supported by the North Korean leader, and is currently being studied by the Vatican.
"I think God preserved me in difficult moments to help me lead the country in the new century," Kim Dae-jung said, following his victory in the 1997 presidential elections, after four previous unsuccessful attempts.
Kim Dae-jung is a former dissident who was condemned to death and escaped several assassination attempts, the most serious in 1970, which left him with irreparable physical damage. International protests saved him from the death penalty in 1980, after which he lived in exile in the United States for almost five years.
Thomas Han Hong Soon, Professor of political economy at Hankuk University in Seoul, commented that faithfulness to Sunday Mass in Sejong Ro parish in Seoul is not merely a formality for the President. "He has witnessed to the faith in his political activity" by offering "authentic Christian witness."
The President's testimony is particularly significant, Professor Hong Soon said, because Catholics are only 10 percent of the population. However, South Korea has one of the highest rates of adult conversions in the world, particularly by virtue of the Church's decisive influence in defence of human rights.
Zenit News Service
Science backs authenticity of St Luke's relics
Archbishop of Padua requested the research
Relics kept in the Basilica of St Justina in Padua, Italy, are really those of St Luke the Evangelist, new research suggests. Following two years of study, scientists concur that the headless skeleton kept in a lead box belongs to the author of the third Gospel, a doctor by profession, who died at age 84 in Boeotia, Greece, and was buried in Thebes.
The body of the Evangelist, who wrote around the year 63 with a refined Greek vocabulary, was taken to Constantinople in the fourth century and eventually to Padua during the Crusades, according to tradition.
Since then, it has been kept in the Basilica of St Justina. The cranium, however, was taken from Padua to St Vitus Cathedral in Prague in 1354, at the request of Emperor Charles IV.
The scientific research, requested by Archbishop Antonio Malttiazzo of Padua, involved the work of geneticists, historians, biologists and anthropologists. Results were published at an international congress on St Luke, meeting in Padua.
The scientists' findings agree with a second-century document that refers to Luke's death at an advanced age. Carbon-14 testing dated the skeleton to the first century of the Christian era.
A review of Prague's metropolitan archive in 1980 revealed that the Evangelist's cranium, which is in St Vitus Cathedral, was brought from Padua in 1364, to enrich Charles IV of Luxembourg's collection.
Armidale Diocese welcomes overseas priests
Polish priests to help ease clergy shortage
The Brisbane Catholic Leader reports that two Polish priests have arrived in the Armidale Diocese to help relieve the shortage of clergy there. Bishop Luc Matthys said they would stay at the Cathedral while they became familiar with the Church and its mission in the diocese.
Fr Slawomir Jakubiec and Fr Marian Flis, who have served as chaplains to their countrymen in England, are both Lublin diocesan priests who have been given permission by their bishop to work outside their home diocese.
Fr Flis said he had been overwhelmed by the friendliness and welcome since arriving in Armidale on 29 September. He noted that one similarity between Armidale and his native land was the good attendance at weekday Masses in the Cathedral.
The two priests are expected to be assigned elsewhere in the diocese after Christmas, when several priests are due to retire.
Canadian bishops support feminist march
Pro-abortion, pro-lesbian groups involved
Sunday, 15 October, was the first of the final three days of the controversial World March of Women 2000, a feminist propaganda measure that has split the Catholic Church in Canada.
The Canadian effort saw several thousand women marching to the Parliament buildings in Ottawa waving feminist logos. Seven women represented the group in a meeting with the Prime Minister. Of these seven, the top five came from overtly pro-abortion, pro-lesbian groups.
The Ottawa Citizen reported that six Catholic bishops participated in a Mass for the feminist march at Notre Dame Cathedral, including Archbishop Marcel Gervais of Ottawa, Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary, Bishop John Sherlock of London (Ontario), Bishop Ernest Leger of Moncton, Bishop Francois Thibodeau of Edmonton and Bishop Paul- Andre Durocher of Sault Ste Marie. The Citizen reported that Bishop Gervais had intended to join in the march, but police warned him that it would be unsafe.
Outside the Cathedral a few Catholic pro-life protesters held signs reading "Reject Feminist Supremacy." During his remarks in the church, Bishop Gervais told the packed audience to "smile at their fellow Catholics as they run the gauntlet of anti-march protesters."
Catholic World News
US bishop urges prayer for vocations
Jubilee Station Mass in Arlington, Virginia
Continuing with the Jubilee Station Masses last October, Bishop Paul S. Loverde of Arlington - this time at St Louis Church in Alexandria - encouraged the faithful to respond to the Lord's call: "Following Christ often puts us at odds with the society in which we live, the culture surrounding us." The Bishop stressed that "society and culture tell us: if you want to live happily, get more - more money, more gadgets, more power, more prestige, more pleasure. And yet, look around: so many who have all these things are not happy, not fulfilled. Real happiness, authentic peace, inner joy are not rooted in these: they are rooted in a relationship with Jesus, in following him".
Recalling that we "are all called to holiness", Bishop Loverde said that holiness "is lived out in the various vocations to which God calls each of us". He continued: "Today, I invite us to reflect upon the vocation to the priesthood and the consecrated life, which includes religious life and secular institutes."
Stressing the need for people who give fully their life to God, Bishop Loverde invited the faithful to pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. "Your prayer and your encouragement are key elements to ensure that we have sufficient priests and religious to work in the kingdom of God in each of the generations to come."
Bishop Kasper speaks on 'Dominus Iesus'
World conference on missions in Rome
German-born Archbishop Walter Kasper, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, told a group of theologians and mission workers on 18 October that the recent Vatican statement Dominus Iesus furnished an essential point of reference for the work of evangelisation.
Speaking to participants in a world conference on missions at the Urbanum in Rome, Bishop Kasper noted that "the mission of the Church is universal," and thus it would be a mistake to equate that mission with "any nation, culture, or particular political or economic system."
Side by side with that universality, he said, one must recognise "the unity - or rather the unicity - of the Church's message." In other words, the Church recognises "only one Saviour, Jesus Christ" with "no salvation except in his name". He is "the sole mediator between God and man ...".
To suggest that Christianity is just one among many possible ways to religious truth was to strike at "the identity of Christianity and of the Church." Christians must remain in dialogue with believers of other faiths, but cannot accept the notion that "another religion or culture surpasses or completes the path to salvation that is in Christ."
Zenit News Service
New Instruction on the Roman Missal clarified
Mass facing the people not obligatory
In response to a query as to the stance of a priest celebrating Mass, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has indicated that "facing the people" is not obligatory.
A reply dated 25 September, and signed by Cardinal Jorge Medina EstÚvez, Prefect of the Congregation, indicated that the word expedit in the Latin text of the new General Instruction on the Roman Missal "does not constitute an obligation, but a suggestion that refers to the construction of the altar."
The expression "where possible," said Cardinal EstÚvez, "refers to different elements, such as, for example, the topography of the place, the availability of space, the artistic value of an existing altar, the sensibility of the people participating in the celebrations of a particular church, etc." The Instruction, he explained, "reaffirms that the position towards the assembly seems more appropriate, inasmuch as it makes communicating easier, without excluding, however, the other possibility."
But physical stance should not be the prime consideration - rather the "internal spiritual orientation" of priest and congregation "towards God through Jesus Christ, as representative of the whole Church."
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 13 No 11 (December 2000 - January 2001), p. 6
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