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The Church Around the World

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 Contents - Apr 2006AD2000 April 2006 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: New cardinals: Benedict XVI signals his intentions - Michael Gilchrist
Conscience: Dissenters' appeal to Rome 'a real hoot' says Cardinal Pell - Michael Gilchrist
News: The Church Around the World
Books: Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
EarthSong: Green Christianity or a new paganism? - Michael Gilchrist
Salesian Missions: Cardinal Pell visits East Timor - Michael Lynch SDB
Creation: Intelligent Design and the war against God - Stephen Hitchings
The Domestic Church: The Christian Family Movement: re-evangelising through families - Leslie Sammut
Has just punishment had its day? - Fr Matthew Kirby
1973 Decree: A Fourth Rite of Reconciliation for Queensland? - AD2000
Music and Culture: Benedict XVI, Mozart and the quest for beauty - Mark Freer
Letters: Religious education - Saskia Ebejer
Letters: Action needed - Kevin McBride
Letters: New Age - Yana Di Pietro and Magenta Ray
Letters: Translations - George Simpson
Letters: National suicide - Greg O'Regan
Letters: Anti-life politicians - Robert Bom
Letters: RU486 - Brian Harris
Letters: Courageous example - Arnold Jago
Letters: Inclusive language - Ottavio Kos
Letters: Overseas priests - Peter Gilet
Letters: Leadership needed - Tom King
Letters: Church of England - Jim Turley
Letters: Religious life - Barbara Chigwidden
Books: Swear To God: The Promise and Powers of the Sacraments, by Scott Hahn - Jacinta Cummins (reviewer)
Books: Mother Angelica, by Raymond Arroyo - Stephen Hitchings (reviewer)
Books: Fr Martin D'Arcy: Philosopher of Christian Love, by H.J.A. Sire - Michael E. Daniel
Events: Holy Week 2006: Classical Roman Rite in Melbourne
Books: Stimulating reading from AD Books
Reflection: The redeeming Cross: at the centre of Christian faith - Cardinal George Pell

Benedict XVI names 15 new cardinals

After the general audience on 22 February, Benedict XVI announced the names of 15 prelates who would be created cardinals in a consistory to be held on 24 March.

Among those made cardinals were leading members of the Vatican Curia, including Archbishop William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Other cardinals came from Venezuela, the Philippines, France, Spain, South Korea, Poland, Italy, the United States (Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley OFM Cap, of Boston) and China.

One of the most significant of these appointments was that of Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun SDB of Hong Kong (the only Chinese cardinal under 80), who has been outspoken in his support for the democracy movement.

Bishop Zen told the Italian daily La Repubblica that he saw his selection as an indication of "the Pope's regard for the Chinese people and his hope of improving relations with China". As a cardinal, he said, he should "have greater visibility and access to the leaders of the Chinese Government" who, to date, had preferred to deal with him "at a distance," because of his statements critical of the Government's restraints on human rights, particularly religious freedom.

Bishop Zen said he hoped his appointment could help end the 55- year dispute between the Vatican and China. Earlier, he told a press conference in Hong Kong that his forthright style would be hard to change but he hoped Sino-Vatican ties could be normalised before the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Meanwhile, the Pope's choice of Hong Kong's Bishop as a cardinal brought rejoicing to the Church in China, particularly to underground Catholics.

Catholic World News

EWTN arrives in Australia

Auxiliary Bishop Julian Porteous of the Sydney Archdiocese officially launched the Television Services Eternal Word Television Network on 3 March before an audience of 700 broadcasting and multicultural representatives.

In his address at the launch, Bishop Porteous said: "EWTN has been a great pioneer in Catholic television for 25 years. It has set benchmarks in programming, providing the marketability of a clear straightforward presentation of Catholic culture and beliefs."

EWTN is one part of the Australian Multicultural Television (AMTV) package which originates from Liverpool in South West Sydney. AMTV will provide free-to-air satellite television that can reach all of Australia. All that is required is a $649 once only payment.

Information on how to get connected can be obtained from the AMTV website,, or by phoning 1300 65 9022.

US poll: most say teach evidence against evolution

Most Americans believe that public schools should provide students with evidence both for and against the theory of Darwinian evolution, according to a new nationwide poll published in March.

The survey by Zogby International found 69 per cent of all respondents believe that biology classes should explain both the theory of evolution and the scientific evidence against Darwin's claims. Only 21 per cent of those surveyed said teachers should confine themselves to teaching the Darwinian theory.

The Zogby poll was commissioned by the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based think-tank. "This poll shows widespread support for the idea that when biology teachers teach Darwin's theory of evolution they should present the scientific evidence that supports it as well as the evidence against it," said Casey Luskin, program officer for the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.

Luskin said that while the Discovery Institute would not favour mandatory public-school instruction in the theory of intelligent design, "we do think it is constitutional for teachers to discuss it, precisely because the theory is based upon scientific evidence, not religious pre- mises."

The poll also found strong support for introducing scientific evidence that points to an intelligent design alongside the instruction in evolutionary theory. Some 77 per cent of the respondents agreed that the evidence of intelligent design should be presented to students, and a majority - 51 per cent - agreed strongly. Only 19 per cent disagreed.

Catholic World News

Religious orders key to spiritual reform

Pope Benedict XVI is seeking to revitalise the faith life of the Church, a "spiritual reform" that must begin with the world's men and women religious, said Archbishop Franc Rode, head of the Vatican office that oversees religious orders.

That means religious congregations must take stock, recover their "apostolic dynamism" and shed the excessive secularism of the post- Second Vatican Council period, he said.

Archbishop Rode, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, spoke of the challenges facing religious life and the directions being set under Pope Benedict.

The 71-year-old Slovenian, a member of the Vincentian order, said the vitality of religious orders has always been essential for spiritual reform in the Church. "Throughout the history of the Church, religious orders and congregations were always the ones pushing forward, bringing dynamism and a call for holiness. They were always on the front lines," he said.

Catholic News Service

Governor signs South Dakota abortion ban

South Dakota's Governor Mike Rounds in March signed a bill banning nearly all abortions in the state.

The new law - the first statewide abortion ban enacted since the 1973 Roe v Wade decision - is due to go into effect on 1 July. However, a legal challenge is inevitable, and opponents are likely to seek a court order postponing implementation of the law until the constitutional challenge is resolved.

The South Dakota law sets the stage for the first direct challenge to Roe v Wade, a case in which the US Supreme Court effectively overturned all state laws restricting abortion. The challenge would test the new balance of power on the Supreme Court, now including two Justices recently named by President George W. Bush.

The South Dakota legislation, based on new scientific evidence showing that human life begins at conception, was approved by solid majorities in both houses of the state legislature. A similar bill is on its way through the Mississippi legislature.

Radical abortion supporters have evidently begun exacting some retribution for their loss in South Dakota. Leslee Unruh, a pro-life activist who lobbied intensively for the new legislation, reports that she has received threatening phone calls in the middle of the night, eggs have been splattered across her house, coat hangers placed in her mailbox, and dead animals left at her husband's office. Unruh reports having received "a ton" of hate mail.

Catholic World News

Poland's Mass attendance figure still high

A survey of 17 European Union countries shows that 56.7 per cent of the people of Poland attend church regularly on Sundays. The news agency reported that pollsters at the Mastershausen/Hčnsruck Agency in Germany had carried out the survey on church attendance in the EU.

The results left Poland in first place, followed by Portugal with 30 per cent, and the mostly Orthodox Greece with 24.5 per cent.

In the traditionally Protestant countries, Sunday church attendance is much less, with Switzerland managing 13 per cent, Germany, 8.7 per cent (both Catholic and Protestant) Sweden and Estonia, 3.9 per cent and Denmark 3.2 per cent.

Catholic News Agency

Canadian religious orders in open revolt

John-Henry Westen of LifeSite News reported on 7 March that the Canadian Religious Conference (CRC), the official organisation representing the over 200 religious congregations in Canada, has publicly voiced dissent to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

The controversial statements come in a letter and document written by Alain Ambeault CSV, the President of the Canadian Religious Conference, which intends to make suggestions to Canadian bishops as they go for their once-every-five-year visit with the Pope in the coming months.

"Today, I speak for the 230 religious congregations (sisters, brothers, priests) that live in this country," writes Ambeault in an introduction to the document outlining concerns sent to the bishops.

The document takes issue with Church teaching on divorce, contraception, condoms and even assisted suicide. "We regret," says the CRC, "in terms of ethics and bioethics, the holding up of an ideal that leaves little room for advancement and progress; the defence of principles that do not reflect human experience (divorce, contraception, protection against AIDS, alleviation of suffering at the end of life)."

The document further laments Church teaching against homosexuality. "We regret," it says, "the legalistic image of the Catholic Church - and of our Canadian Church - its rigidity and its intransigent stands on sexual morals; its lack of openness regarding access to the sacraments for divorced and remarried Catholics, its lack of compassion for them; its unwelcoming attitude towards homosexuals."

The CRC takes direct and unabashed aim at "Rome" - meaning the authority of the Pope. The document says "we regret ... the unconditional alignment of our Church with directives issued from Rome."

Despite the fact that John Paul II ruled definitively on the matter, the CRC lobbies numerous times in the brief for women priests.

Finally the CRC asks the Catholic Church to be open even to homosexual 'marriage': "We hope that our Bishops create opportunities for discussion and discernment; engaging in the questions and problematic situations raised in today's society - the place of women in the Church, marriage between persons of the same sex, assisted suicide."

While Ambeault claims to speak for all the religious congregations, that contention is hotly contested. Basilian Father Alphonse de Valk commented: "The CRC certainly doesn't speak for me. They may be speaking for a number of those religious congregations but certainly not for all of them." Rev de Valk, editor of Catholic Insight magazine, said, "the more recent history of CRC includes heavy involvement in new age thinking and recently Fr Renshaw associated with the CRC came out as one who no longer accepts the church teaching on homosexual tendencies."

Scottish bishop seeks Polish priests

Bishop Peter Moran of Aberdeen, Scotland, visited Poland in February to invite bishops to establish links which could lead to Polish priests coming to work in his far-flung Scottish diocese.

"The Diocese of Aberdeen is the most northerly in Scotland," Bishop Moran told a Catholic radio station in Lublin, Radioer. "It is a diocese with a very small but scattered Catholic population.

"Catholics make up three per cent of the population but with the arrival of many people from Poland the Catholic population is increasing rapidly. In one of the cities, Inverness, the Catholic community is three times what it was two years ago.

"I have come to Poland because these Polish Catholics need pastoral care. I also need priests for my own Catholics. I heard that there are some priests from Poland who would be very happy to come and work in Scotland for a number of years."

During his visit, Bishop Moran met with Archbishop Jozef Miroslaw Zycinski of Lublin and Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow.

Zenit News Agency

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 3 (April 2006), p. 4

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