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The Church Around the World

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 Contents - Feb 2006AD2000 February 2006 - Buy a copy now
Editorial: Catholic schools: how much accountability? - Michael Gilchrist
Cardinal Arinze on the Liturgy: the Mass is not entertainment - Cardinal Francis Arinze
News: The Church Around the World
Catechesis: Latest research on Catholic school leavers - Michael Gilchrist
Education: Catholic Church and her schools face a 'wake-up call' - Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett
Liturgical Music: The spiritual impact of Msgr. Richard Schuler's priestly leadership and example - Fr John T. Zuhlsdorf
Priestly vocations: the key role of bishops - John Mallon
New Age paganism's creeping influence within the Church - Wanda Skowronska
Blessed Charles de Foucauld: seeking nothing but God's will - Dr Frank Mobbs
The Church of England: beyond satire? - Rev Peter Mullen
Letters: Clerical Celibacy (letter) - Fr Adrian Head
Letters: All Saints Day (letter) - M & L Morrissey
Letters: Ars priests retreat - Fr Robert Markey
Letters: Wrong chord? (letter) - John Daly
Prayer: The Abandonment Prayer of Charles de Foucauld
Letters: Beautiful music (letter) - Josephine Landsberg
Letters: Cardinal von Galen (letter) - Denise M. Cameron
Letters: Survival of the fittest (letter) - Arthur Negus
Letters: Evolutionism - Fr G.H. Duggan SM
Letters: Intelligent design (letter) - Paul MacLeod
Letters: Homilies (letter) - Robert Prinzen-Wood
Letters: Catholic magazines needed in India - Fr A. Joseph
Letters: EWTN tapes available - Harry and Antoinette Zwaans
Books: Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church - Peter Westmore (reviewer)
Books: The Pope Benedict Code, by Joanna Bogle - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: For the Life of the World:St Maximilian and the Eucharist, by Fr Jerzy Domanski - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Books: CATHOLIC FAMILY CATECHISM: Disciples' Edition and Apostles' Edition, Fr Tierney - Michael Gilchrist (reviewer)
Events: Virtus - Retreat for Young Men
Events: Lecture on the Compendium of the Catechism - Msgr Peter Elliott
Books: Stimulating reading from AD Books
Reflection: The hidden treasure of the Holy Mass - St Leonard of Port Maurice

Female Anglican bishops and threats of schism

Although several Anglican communities have expressed their rejection of the proposal, a number of Anglican bishops have said they plan to go ahead with a proposal at the next General Synod to allow women to be ordained bishops.

A group of Anglican leaders opposed to the idea planned to meet at Westminster in January 2006, together with over 1000 priests, bishops and laity. They plan to argue that sacraments administered by women or by any male priest ordained by a female bishop are not authentic.

The leaders say the issue of active homosexuals in the Anglican clergy has already caused enough tension in the communion.

According to a document leaked to The Times, if the proposal is approved at the General Assembly, the first female bishops could be ordained in less than six years.

Many Anglican leaders consider the proposal to be premature and they hope to postpone discussion of the matter for five to ten years.

Women currently make up 16 per cent of the total clergy of the Anglican Communion.

Catholic News Agency

Cardinal Pell: adult stem cell research grant

Cardinal George Pell announced on 16 December that Dr Pritinder Kaur of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne had won the Archdiocese of Sydney's $100,000 grant to support adult stem cell research.

Dr Kaur, who is Head of the Epithelial Stem Cell Biology Laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, was awarded the grant for her research into the use of adult stem cells in improving the regeneration of the skin. The formal title of the research project is "Improving adult skin regeneration for therapeutic purposes: the role of stem cells and the extra cellular matrix protein laminin-10/11".

Dr Kaur's research is aimed at determining whether adult skin stem cells can be made to expand rapidly for transplantation to patients who have sustained severe injuries as a result of fires, bomb blasts or accidents and who urgently need regeneration of their skin to prevent dehydration and susceptibility to infection, both leading causes of patient mortality.

Cardinal Pell praised the work being done by Dr Kaur and other researchers in Australia on therapeutic applications for adult stem cells. "Dr Kaur's work is emblematic of the remarkable progress being made in the field of adult stem cell research", he said.

"The success and continuing promise of Australian work on adult cells, as represented by Dr Kaur's research and the research of the seven other applicants for the grant, cast doubt on the persistent claim that without relaxation of the restrictions on embryonic research and cloning, our best scientists will leave the country.

"Adult stem cell research is advanced, safe, productive and morally incontestable - a strong contrast with its embryonic stem cell counterpart".

Benedict XVI: the role of a Catholic university

On 25 November, Benedict XVI visited Rome's Sacred Heart Catholic University for the inauguration of the academic year.

In his address the Pope asked of the many thousands of young people who graduated from the university: "How do they leave? What culture do they find, assimilate, develop? This is the great challenge".

A true Catholic university, he said, was "one that excels for the quality of its research and teaching and, at the same time, for its faithfulness to the Gospel and to the Church's Magisterium".

The Catholic university, he continued, "is a great workshop in which, in keeping with the various disciplines, new lines of research are constantly being developed in a stimulating encounter between faith and reason, one that aims to recover the synthesis between these two elements."

This synthesis, he observed, is "unfortunately contrasted by important currents of modern philosophy" in which "the fundamental questions facing man - how to live and how to die - seem to be excluded from the realm of rationality and are left to that of subjectivity. The end result is that the question which gave rise to the university - that of truth and goodness - disappears, to be replaced by the question of feasibility."

This, said Benedict, "is the great challenge facing Catholic universities: to practise science within the horizon of a rationality different from that which dominates today, in keeping with a form of reason open to the transcendent, to God."

Vatican Information Service

US Bishops divided over new Mass translation

At their meeting in Washington in November 2005, the US bishops' conference discussed the draft of the proposed new translation of the Missal, with sharply divergent views on the merits of the translation expressed by individual bishops.

Bishop Donald Trautman, the chairman of the bishops' liturgy committee, reported a roughly equal division in responses to the proposed translation, with 53 percent of the respondents approving the new text and 47 percent giving a negative response.

The central issue in dispute is the fidelity of the English translation to the Latin original. In several instances, the new translation brings the English back into accord with the Latin, but defenders of the translation now in use argue that ordinary Catholics would find the proposed new text stilted or unfamiliar.

Bishop Trautman noted that approval of the new translation would require a favorable vote by two-thirds of the US bishops. In light of the sharp disagreements, he observed, there is little likelihood of approval in the near future.

Catholic World News

Instruction on seminarians and homosexuality

The long-awaited Instruction from the Congregation of Catholic Education on the admittance of homosexuals into Catholic seminaries was released in late November 2005.

The Instruction directs that a man who is an active homosexual, has "profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies," or identifies himself as homosexual, should not be ordained or admitted to seminary training. A candidate could be admitted, the Congregation says, if he experienced some same-sex attraction as a "transitory problem" in adolescence, but has demonstrated that he has overcome any homosexual tendencies by remaining chaste for at least three years.

The Instruction adds that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, may not admit to the seminary and Holy Orders those who practise homosexuality, show profoundly deep-rooted homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called gay culture.

Bishop William Skylstad, President of the US Bishops Conference, described the Instruction as a "timely" document, adding that "the Congregation for Catholic Education is exercising a Christian realism about what is expected in candidates for the priesthood. This realism understands the challenges of our time."

Denver's Archbishop Charles J. Chaput published a column on the new document, focusing on the discernment of the Church regarding candidates to the priesthood. He wrote: "The Church seeks to ordain only those men who can joyfully accept Catholic teaching on human sexuality.

"Living the vocation of a genuinely holy priesthood can only be accomplished by a man who possesses a firm Catholic spiritual foundation, and who is supported in his maturity by the Church."

Catholic News Agency

US Catholic politicians confused about the faith

During an International Congress on Churches, the Lay State and Society in late November, Archbishop José Gomez of San Antonio, Texas, said most Catholic politicians in the United States had fallen into "a distorted understanding of what their faith is."

During a speech on Catholics and public life in the US, Archbishop Gomez noted that "today 70 per cent of politicians who claim to be Catholic in Congress and the Senate support abortion, and that figure reaches almost 90 per cent in traditional Catholic states such as Massachusetts or New York.

"Many Catholic politicians, inspired by the interpretation of some influential theologians, consider all the teachings of the Church to be on equal footing. They respect 'a large part' of that doctrine, especially in social matters, but they disagree on issues such as abortion, euthanasia and homosexual unions. According to them, they adhere to a 'large part' and say they are adhering to it all."

This understanding, the Archbishop pointed out, had led to "curious anomalies, such as a 'Catholicity' survey carried out by one Catholic senator among his colleagues in 2003 which showed that this senator and another were the 'most Catholic' of the Senate, despite having voted 100 out of 100 times in support of abortion, euthanasia, homosexual unions and experimentation with embryonic stem cells."

Archbishop Gomez concluded: "The Church teaches that abortion is a grave sin and that not all moral issues have the same weight as the interruption of the life of the unborn or euthanasia. If some candidate campaigns for and supports laws that allow abortion and euthanasia, his pastor should meet with him, instruct him in the teachings of the Church and inform him that he should not present himself for Communion until he puts an end to the state of sin in which he finds himself".

Catholic World News

Lourdes healing recognised as miraculous

The Catholic Church has officially recognised the miraculous healing of an Italian woman who visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France more than 50 years ago when she was suffering from a fatal form of rheumatic heart disease.

Anna Santaniello, now 94, said her illness disappeared during a pilgrimage to the Marian shrine in 1952. The international Catholic committee that runs the shrine has acknowledged Santaniello as the 67th person to be officially healed at Lourdes. In 1964, the Church had declared her case an "extraordinary healing."

Archbishop Gerardo Pierro of Salerno, in southern Italy where Santaniello lives, announced the Church's decision in November. Anna Santaniello told the daily Il Giornale that she was diagnosed with the disease as a child and the same illness had killed one of her brothers and a sister. "My condition got worse as I got older and after a while I was confined to bed, barely able to breathe. The doctors had lost all hope for me".

Catholic News Agency

Kansas schools allowed to mention intelligent design

On 8 November, the Kansas Board of Education passed a long-awaited vote which would allow intelligent design - the theory that the universe is too complex to be completely random, and that some sort of creator lies at its origin - to be mentioned alongside of evolution theories in the state's public schools.

The vote, which passed 6-4, asked teachers to point out that there are holes in the theory of evolution, and that some see the creative hand of an intelligent being as an alternative to the unproven aspects.

Simultaneously, in Dover, Pennsylvania, where a trial has been raging over the place of intelligent design in that school district, all eight members of the local school board have been swept out of office by challengers who disagreed with their policy to mention the possibility of a creator as a viable alternative to evolution theories.

Since October 2004, the Dover school district had required teachers to mention the fact that evolution was still a theory - not proven science, and that some see intelligent design as a viable alternative.

The policy sparked a trial in the Federal District Court, with a verdict expected by early January.

Opponents say that intelligent design has no place in public schools because it is merely religion, under a thin, scientific faŤade.

In contrast, Creighton University professor, Michael Behe, who was one of the Dover trial's major defendants, pointed out that while intelligent design recognised the place of a creator, it made no claims as to the identity of that creator.

During the trial, he said that while evolution should continue to be taught in schools because it is "widely used in science" and "many aspects are well substantiated," intelligent design challenged only part of the theory, namely that of natural selection.

Catholic News Agency

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Reprinted from AD2000 Vol 19 No 1 (February 2006), p. 4

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