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John Paul II's address on globalisation
Calls for "new constitutional organisation" for adequate regulation
Pope John Paul II addressed the issue of "The Governance of Globalisation" when he met with some 70 scientists, writers, philosophers, economists, sociologists and jurists, members of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences, on 2 May.
During his address he noted that it was "disturbing to witness a globalisation that exacerbates the conditions of the needy, that does not sufficiently contribute to resolving situations of hunger, poverty and social inequality, that fails to safeguard the natural environment."
He added: "All of this is far- removed from the concept of an ethically responsible globalisation capable of treating all peoples as equal partners and not as passive instruments. Accordingly, there can be little doubt of the need for guidelines that will place globalisation firmly at the service of authentic human development - the development of every person and of the whole person - in full respect of the rights and dignity of all."
This goal could not "be achieved without guidance from the international community and adequate regulation on the part of the worldwide political establishment."
Hence, "now is the time to work together for a new constitutional organisation of the human family, an organisation that would be in a position to meet the new demands of a globalised world."
Zenit News Service
European bishops praise Pope's Eucharist encyclical
A treasure that "cannot be neglected, reduced or manipulated"
Church leaders in Europe are endorsing the norms designed to guarantee respect for the Eucharist, as spelled out by John Paul II in his latest encyclical.
Support for Ecclesia de Eucharistia has particularly come from Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Belgium, where debates regarding the Eucharist have been going on for decades.
On Holy Thursday, when the encyclical was being published in Rome, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, president of the German episcopal conference, said the document had been long-awaited by German Catholics to emphasise the unique relation between the Church and the Eucharist, and at the same time, to confirm the commitment to ecumenism.
In a statement issued after the publication of the encyclical, the Dutch bishops' conference described it as a "little catechism" of the Church's doctrine on the Eucharist and said it would begin initiatives so that the text will be read by the greatest possible number of people.
The bishops acknowledged that some of the "shadows" the Pope refers to - abuses or lack of respect for the Eucharist - are present in the Netherlands. In this respect, they say the document should lead to reflection on "the place the Eucharist has in each one's personal life of faith and in the liturgical practice of parishes."
The Dutch episcopate also proposed new initiatives for eucharistic adoration as being important "to revitalise eucharistic devotion."
The Swiss episcopal conference described the encyclical as a "precious instrument" confirming the "central position of the Eucharist in the life" of Catholics, which implies a responsibility both "in daily life as well as in liturgical celebrations."
Cardinal Godfried Danneels, Archbishop of Malines-Brussels, in commenting on the encyclical, called the Eucharist a treasure that "cannot be neglected, reduced or manipulated," whose link with the Church "is manifested through the person of the ordained minister, bishop, or priest, who acts 'in persona Christi'."
He added: "May the treasure be, precisely, a treasure, recognised as such, in the first place by Catholics, called to rediscover it and witness to it; then by all Christians, invited to accept it in its fullness."
Catholic World News
Pontifical Biblical Commission centenary
"The Bible and Morals" theme to be addressed
The Pope on 29 April welcomed members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission and its president, Cardinal Ratzinger, as they celebrated their annual plenary assembly on the theme "The Bible and Morals" and also commemorated the centenary of the institution of this pontifical commission.
Noting this anniversary, the Holy Father said that "the Pontifical Biblical Commission serves the cause of the Word of God according to the objectives that were established for it by my predecessors Leo XIII and Paul VI. It has gone forward with the times, sharing uneasiness and anxieties, concerning itself with indicating in the message of Revelation the answer that God offers to the serious problems that from era to era trouble mankind."
The Pope continued: "One of these is the object of your current research. You have summed it up in the title 'The Bible and Morals'. Everyone can see that there is a paradox: man today, disillusioned by so many unsatisfactory answers to the basic questions about life, seems to open himself to the voice that comes from the Transcendent Being and is expressed in the Bible message. At the same time, however, he seems to be more and more intolerant of being asked to behave in harmony with the values that the Church has forever presented as founded on the Gospel. We thus see the most varied attempts to unlink Biblical revelation from the most binding proposals of life."
He concluded that "an answer to this situation can be found in carefully listening to the Word of God, which has its fullest expression in the teaching of Christ."
Vatican Information Service
Cardinal Trujillo defends new Vatican Lexicon
Designed to clarify "ambiguous and controversial terms"
A Vatican Lexicon, issued to clarify the meaning of popular terms regarding marriage and family matters, has been heavily criticised since its appearance in Italy in April. Edited under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for the Family, it received the approval of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and in that sense is an official Vatican document.
The Lexicon - available for now only in Italian, with translations now being planned - is designed to clarify "ambiguous and controversial terms regarding the family, life, and ethical questions." Among the 80 terms included in the document are phrases such as "safe sex" and neologisms such as "homophobia." Critics have argued that the Vatican document takes a slanted perspective on these terms.
During an interview with the Roman news agency I Media, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, responded to the criticisms, remarking that the Lexicon was designed "to help politicians to open their eyes about so-called solutions that in reality complicate the problem. At the same time we are reminding people of Church doctrines."
He added: "We wanted not only to stimulate debate, but in particular to confront the growing threat of relativism. There is a problem that in many parliamentary bodies today, political leaders - even with the best of intentions - are often very poorly formed regarding anthropological and even scientific questions, and even poorly informed on factual matters, because the information available to them is not clear.
"Under these circumstances, I don't think the Church can shrink from forming the consciences of men engaged in political work, simply out of fear that it might cause controversy. We have to regain our role in society, particularly through the help of Catholic universities. And I think the Lexicon might help in that effort.
Catholic World News
Austrian Emperor's likely beatification
Vatican congregation proclaims his "heroic virtues"
The Holy See took a decisive step in the path toward the beatification of Charles I, the emperor of Austria and king of Hungary, and the last monarch of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
More than 80 years after his death, the Congregation for Sainthood Causes proclaimed his "heroic virtues" on 12 April, in the presence of John Paul II. For beatification, only a miracle attributed to Charles' intercession is now necessary.
Born on 17 August 1887 in Persenbeug, Austria, Charles was the eldest son of Archduke Otto and grandson of Emperor Franz Joseph I. When his uncle, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated, and Franz Joseph died, Charles was proclaimed emperor of Austria and king of Hungary in 1916, while World War I was in progress.
Five years earlier, Charles had married Princess Zita of Bourbon- Parma, who on their wedding day said: "Now we must take each other to heaven." They had eight children.
During the ceremony of publication of the decree of heroic virtues, Cardinal Josť Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, described Charles as a "man of solid faith, who always sought the good of his people, and in his governance was inspired by the social doctrine of the Church. He fostered justice and peace, and nourished a constant yearning for holiness. He was exemplary as husband, father and sovereign."
When the Austro-Hungarian Empire fell on 11 November 1918, Charles abdicated and departed from Austria in March 1919. He lived in exile on the island of Madeira, Portugal, in conditions of considerable hardship, where he died in 1922 aged 34.
Zenit News Service
Survey of British priests' views on moral teachings
Findings disputed by spokesmen of bishops and clergy
Many Catholic priests in England and Wales do not support some of the Church's moral teachings, according to a new study.
The poll found a quarter of priests no longer believe in the need for chastity. More than half (61 percent) believe sex with a married woman should not debar priests from active ministry and 21 percent argue that practicing homosexuals should not be barred from the priesthood. One in 10 even felt pedophilia should not bar priests from active ministry.
The poll of 1,482 priests - almost half of the priests in England and Wales - was conducted by Msgr Stephen Louden of the Liverpool Archdiocese, and Leslie Francis, a Professor of Pastoral Theology at the University of Wales.
Questionnaires were originally sent out in 1996 to all 3,581 secular and regular Catholic priests serving in parochial appointments in England and Wales. Almost half the priests responded, making it the largest survey of its kind.
The survey also claimed 43 percent of the priests questioned actively opposed the Church's teachings on contraception, while a further 19 percent were unsure whether to support the doctrine.
A quarter said they believed a woman could be ordained a bishop.
The results, to be published in September by Continuum Books under the title The Naked Parish Priest, also reveal an increasingly liberal trend among younger priests.
The report concludes: "The greater acceptance of homosexuality among the youngest cohort of priests may simply indicate a greater willingness to accept alternative sexualities, or it may indicate a higher predisposition towards homosexuality among the younger priests themselves."
However, a spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales questioned the methodology of the survey and told the Sunday Telegraph: "The statistical findings of this book must be treated with great caution and cannot be seen as a true reflection of the current beliefs of priests in England and Wales."
His views were echoed by a spokesman for the National Conference of Priests.
Catholic World News
Ukrainian 1930s famine "an act of genocide"
Church leaders call for UN acknowledgement
Church leaders have asked the UN to recognise the mass starvation in Ukraine in 1932-1933 as an act of genocide.
In a message to UN Secretary General Kofi Anan, the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches argued that the "man-made famine" jeopardised "the very existence of the Ukrainian people." The famine was "deliberately aggravated" by the Soviet policy of that era which involved confiscating food and seed. Aimed at stifling opposition to the Communist regime, this policy was in effect a "final solution" to the Ukrainian nationalist challenge.
Their message claimed that the famine, which caused approximately 10 million deaths, was "the largest in scale, and yet at the same time among the least well known, of the tragedies of the 20th century."
Catholic World News
Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 16 No 5 (June 2003), p. 6
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