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Volume 1, Number 13 B

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  • John Lupia
    Roman Catholic News Volume One, Issue Thirteen B Sunday, 30 September, 2001 Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time * * * Bishops´ Synod May Examine the Very Way
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 2001
      Roman Catholic News

      Volume One, Issue Thirteen B

      Sunday, 30 September, 2001

      Twenty-Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

      * * *

      Bishops´ Synod May Examine the Very Way It Operates

      Goal Is More Flexibility and Efficiency

      VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 28, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The synod of bishops that opens
      Sunday will discuss, among other topics, the need to streamline relations
      among bishops and with the Pope and Roman Curia.

      The topic was addressed last May during the extraordinary consistory of
      cardinals called by John Paul II. At least eight of the 60 cardinals who
      spoke during the consistory addressed this issue.

      The first to propose a discussion of the question was John Paul II himself.

      In his apostolic letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte" (No. 44) he wrote: "More
      than ever, the new century will have to see us intent on valuing and
      developing the forums and structures that, in accordance with Vatican
      Council II´s major directives, serve to ensure and safeguard communion. In
      the first place, how can we forget those specific services to communion that
      are the Petrine ministry and, closely related to it, episcopal

      The discussion at the consistory offered suggestions that will be taken up
      at the synod´s working sessions.

      For example, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O´Connor, archbishop of Westminster,
      called for "a serious examination of the synods´ working method." He added:
      "Never Peter without the Eleven, but never the Eleven without Peter."

      Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, who up until recently was prefect of the
      Vatican Congregation for the Oriental Churches, said that at times the
      synods are turned into "monologues without debates or answers."

      Perhaps no one stressed the importance of this question more than Belgian
      Cardinal Godfried Danneels. The archbishop of Malines-Brussels went so far
      as to hold a press conference to address the issue. He suggested that the
      Pope should have more frequent consultations with bishops who are "on the

      To do this, bishops would have to meet in synods with a different
      methodology. Cardinal Danneels asked that each bishop be free to discuss
      whatever topic he wished, without being restricted to a specific issue.

      He admitted that the synod´s current form does not encourage "the
      development of a genuine culture of debate within the ´college´ of bishops
      meeting with the Pope."

      "There is no real discussion in the synodal auditorium," he observed.
      "First, there is a long series of free speeches, where everything is
      discussed for two weeks. Then there is not enough time to focus attention on
      specific points and draw effective conclusions. Something is written up in
      one night, and everything is left in the Pope´s hands."

      Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, archbishop of Boston, suggested at the
      consistory that "annual synods" be held "without a topic," which would be
      shorter and allow a free exchange of ideas on issues of the moment.

      The last two proposals were questioned by Cardinal Jan Pieter Schotte, the
      synod´s secretary-general, who believes that the current methodology
      guarantees free speech to all bishops.

      When presenting the synod´s Working Document on June 1, Cardinal Schotte
      warned that if the topics and amount of time for each speaker are not
      organized ahead of time, there is a risk that only bishops with leadership
      qualities will speak. That might mean that a bishop from a small country, or
      one with less talent for public speaking, might be silenced, he said.

      * * *

      Nobel Eyes Are on John Paul II and U.N.´s Annan

      "Non-controversial" Figure Sought for Centenary of Award

      OSLO, Norway, SEPT. 28, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II and U.N.
      Secretary-General Kofi Annan are the favorite candidates for this year´s
      Nobel Peace Prize, Reuters reported.

      Experts consulted by the news agency said that the five-member committee is
      seeking a high-profile winner, who is relatively non-controversial, to
      celebrate the centenary of the award, first conferred in 1901.

      "I think that Kofi Annan is the candidate with the greatest possibilities
      this year," especially given the fear of war, said Stein Toennesson,
      president of Oslo´s International Research Institute on Peace.

      Adam Daniel Rotfeld, president of Stockholm´s International Research
      Institute on Peace, said he would like John Paul II to receive the award,
      for his efforts to reduce tensions among the world´s religions, or Annan and
      the United Nations.

      "The Pope is the spiritual leader who has contributed to peace in many parts
      of the world," Rotfeld said.

      However, on Aug. 21, Lutheran Bishop Gunnar Staalseth of Oslo, a member of
      the Nobel Committee, met with U.N. leader Annan to propose the latter as
      recipient of the award.

      In Annan´s presence, the Lutheran rejected John Paul II´s candidacy because
      the Pope is opposed to the use of condoms in the struggle against AIDS,
      promoting instead marital fidelity.

      The Catholic Church looks after a third of AIDS patients worldwide.

      Last year the Nobel award was conferred on South Korean President Kim
      Dae-jung, the first Catholic chief executive of that Asian country, for his
      efforts in reconciliation with North Korea.

      The winner of this year´s award will be announced Oct. 12.

      * * *

      Reporters Get a Close-up View of Pope

      Holy Fathers Bounces Back After Grueling Trip

      VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 28, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The reporters who were flying
      back to Rome with John Paul II after his six-day trip to Kazakhstan and
      Armenia received a special treat at midnight Thursday, the New York Times

      Vatican officials suddenly invited the 60 reporters on board the airliner to
      file one by one to the front of the plane, sit next to the Pope for a
      minute, say hello and have a photo taken.

      The invitation was extraordinary, the Times said, and it gave many reporters
      who had been covering the Pope for years their first chance to shake his

      It was a surprise end to a grueling trip. The Holy Father had flown to
      Kazakhstan, attended five to seven events each day and gave remarks in four
      languages. The 81-year-old Pontiff walked and talked with difficulty at
      times. But he refused to cut back at a moment when he felt that his message
      of tolerance was needed more than ever.

      Then, during a nationally televised address in Yerevan, the Armenian
      capital, he got only as far as saying, "Thank you for welcoming me to your
      home," when he slumped in his chair and had to stop.

      He tried to collect himself, but finally allowed an Armenian priest to take
      the text and deliver the bulk of the remarks. The Vatican said the handoff
      was planned. The Times noted that the Pontiff usually only turns over
      speeches in languages he does not speak, which was not the case in the
      address he had been giving in English.

      Only a few hours later, after some rest, he entered another event walking so
      well that he waved his cane playfully in the air, the Times reported.

      At one point in the week, when the Holy Father seemed particularly stooped
      and labored in his movements, his chief spokesman, Joaquín Navarro-Valls,
      was asked delicately, in Italian, if the Pope did not seem "stanchissimo,"
      tired in the extreme.

      "It´s possible," was Navarro-Valls´ response.

      On Thursday night, however, reporters found John Paul II smiling and
      switching languages easily every few seconds -- from French to English,
      Spanish and Italian -- while greeting reporters, the Times said.

      On his flight from Kazakhstan to Armenia, the Pope was well-briefed,
      friendly and even affectionate -- fixing his blue eyes and holding a
      reporter´s hands in his as he spoke and bestowed his blessings, the Times

      The paper noted that, at least for that moment, he managed to seem less
      "stanchissimo" than his aides, some of whom were dozing nearby.

      * * *

      * * *

      European Union Seeks U.N. Ban on Reproductive Cloning

      In a "Race Against the Scientists," Says Observer

      NEW YORK, SEPT. 28, 2001 (Zenit.org).- France and Germany are leading a
      European Union effort to create an international convention to ban
      reproductive human cloning, the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
      (C-FAM) reported in its weekly Friday Fax.

      The two countries recently petitioned the U.N. General Assembly to place
      this issue on its agenda so that talks could begin as soon as possible.
      Debate could begin in November.

      The French and Germans have proposed this "urgent initiative" in response to
      reports that scientists in Europe and the United States are already in the
      process of cloning humans, C-FAM said.

      A representative for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that,
      "given the speed of such scientific developments," nations must "take the
      necessary measures to protect ourselves from the perils of a slippery slope
      that would have unpredictable consequences for humanity."

      Christian Müch, a legal adviser to the German Mission in New York, said the
      European Union is in a "race against the scientists" working to produce
      viable cloned humans.

      Cloning involves inserting the nucleus of a cell from one of the body´s
      organs or tissues into an unfertilized egg that has had its own nucleus
      removed. This results in the creation of a human embryo with the same
      genetic code of another human being.

      If the embryo is intended for implantation in a womb -- and for eventual
      live birth -- it is considered a reproductive clone. If it is created solely
      for research purposes -- for the extraction of its stem cells, which results
      in its destruction -- it is considered a therapeutic clone.

      This European Union initiative is silent about therapeutic cloning. Though
      Germany bans therapeutic cloning, Müch said the Union chose not to address
      this issue because it "is not as black and white" within the international
      community and its inclusion would "bog down negotiations."

      Last December the British House of Commons backed new government rules
      allowing for therapeutic cloning, but other European Union countries
      condemned this decision, as did the European Parliament.

      A German politician warned, "We don´t want to repeat the dreadful genetic
      experiments made by the Nazi regime."

      The European Parliament passed a resolution asserting there was no moral
      distinction between therapeutic and reproductive cloning, and charged that
      Britain was guilty of a "linguistic slight of hand" in its efforts to
      justify therapeutic cloning.

      Müch expects a binding worldwide agreement against reproductive cloning
      within three years.

      Austin Ruse, president of C-FAM, observed: "Pro-lifers will find it
      interesting to ally themselves with the E.U., which is very pro-abortion at
      the U.N."

      * * *

      Ways to Help Avoid a Clash Between the West and Islam
      World Peace Day Message Outlines Strategies

      NEW YORK, SEPT. 29, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Are the terrorist attacks in the
      United States an example of the clash of civilizations feared by some

      The actions of extremist groups cannot be taken as a valid expression of
      general opinion. However, as a number of recent press articles have pointed
      out, in many Middle Eastern countries there was not a little rejoicing to
      see how America was humiliated.

      The Oct. 1 issue of Business Week dedicated a two-page article to examining
      "Why so many people hate America." Its authors contend there are "vast
      segments" in the Middle East affected by hatred for the United States and in
      other places where people are "switching loyalties to an Islamic belief

      America's role as the most powerful Western nation has made it the principal
      target of hostility. Added to this is the cultural tension resulting from
      the increasing globalization during the last decade.

      The strength of Western market capitalism and liberal democracy after its
      victory over communism in the Cold War has led some states and cultures to
      feel threatened by the pressure to conform. Not a few in Muslim countries
      have expressed hostility toward what they see as arrogance, irresponsible
      individuals, and permissive cultural and sexual behaviors.

      Western civilization is more than just the United States, of course. While
      Europe doesn't attract the same degree of overt hostility, it too faces a
      severe test in its relations with the Muslim world.

      According to the Revision of World Population Prospects for 2000, issued
      Feb. 28 by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social
      Affairs, in Europe for the 1995-2000 period the average number of children
      being born per woman during her reproductive years was only 1.41. If this
      fertility level remains unchanged, Europe's population of 727 million will
      plunge to 556 million by the year 2050.

      This means large numbers of immigrants will be needed -- more than 3 million
      a year for the next 50 years if the population is not to decline, and the
      most likely source will be from Islamic countries. This will profoundly
      transform a continent that was once almost exclusively Christian.

      In France, already home to several million followers of Islam, there have
      already been debates in recent years over whether girls from Muslim families
      should be allowed to wear head scarves to school. This is a seemingly minor
      question, but one that has important consequences for the education system
      and its role in the cultural identity of citizens.

      The Pope's message

      Well before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, John Paul II addressed the need
      to seek cooperation between cultures in his World Peace Day Message for Jan.
      1, 2001. In this text, titled "Dialogue between cultures for a civilization
      of love and peace," the Pope recognized how difficult it is to maintain
      peace between people who have to live together, while coming from differing
      cultures. Moreover, the message spoke of the possibility of dangers due to
      migration leading to many people from different cultures and civilizations
      living close together.

      The Pope's message offers a number of pointers to help avoid conflicts
      between cultures.

      --Value of culture

      To start with, John Paul II noted the importance of culture in forming a
      personal identity. Being rooted in a specific culture is necessary in order
      to avoid vulnerability to conflicting forces that can prevent a balanced
      personal development. In turn, cultural values such as love for one's
      country are "to be fostered, without narrow-mindedness but with love for the
      whole human family and with an effort to avoid those pathological
      manifestations which occur when the sense of belonging turns into
      self-exaltation, the rejection of diversity, and forms of nationalism,
      racism and xenophobia" (No. 6).

      --Common elements

      A certain balance is needed so that, while appreciating the positive aspects
      of our own culture, we also recognize that it has limitations. To prevent
      belonging to a particular culture from turning into isolation, John Paul II
      recommended the study of other cultures, in order to appreciate the common
      elements that are beneath the outward variations.

      --Mutual respect

      The message points out how cultural differences have been the cause of wars
      and that even now "we are witnessing with growing alarm the aggressive
      claims of some cultures against others" (No. 8). To avoid conflict, people
      must examine the underlying ethical principles of a culture and be aware
      that its authenticity and validity can be measured in the degree that human
      dignity is promoted.

      --Danger of secularization

      Another threat comes from a "slavish conformity" to a cultural model of the
      Western world that has left behind its Christian origins. The resulting
      secularism, practical atheism and radical individualism are promoted by
      powerful media campaigns. But the Pope warns that with Western cultural
      models, "there is growing evidence of their deepening human, spiritual and
      moral impoverishment." A culture that seeks to secure the good of humanity
      by eliminating God "loses its soul and loses its way, becoming a culture of
      death" (No. 9).

      --Dialogue between cultures

      A constructive dialogue between cultures, based on the protection of the
      distinctiveness and the recognition of an underlying unity, is needed. This
      does not mean uniformity or an enforced homogenization, explains the Pope,
      but is "the convergence of a multiform variety, and is therefore a sign of
      richness and a promise of growth" (No. 10).

      --The challenge of migration

      What attitude should be take faced with immigrants from different cultures?
      First, John Paul II recommends that "immigrants must always be treated with
      the respect due to the dignity of every human person" (No. 13). Cultural
      practices of immigrants should be respected, as long as they do not
      contravene universal ethical values or fundamental human rights.

      When customs of immigrants are not readily compatible with the practices of
      the majority, the Pope calls for "a realistic evaluation of the common good
      at any given time in history and in any given place and social context" (No.
      14). This should be done in a genuine dialogue, without giving way to
      indifferentism about values.

      --Guiding principles

      The last part of the message puts forward a number of principles to guide
      the dialogue between cultures. First come solidarity and justice. People
      must recognize "the common destiny of the entire human family" (No. 17),
      pleads the Pope. And at the heart of a true culture of solidarity is the
      promotion of justice, explains the message. Justice will help those who are
      excluded or marginalized.

      Next comes the promotion of peace and understanding between peoples, which
      the Pope calls to be a primary objective of all societies. And a part of
      peace is respect for the value of life, because, "It is not possible to
      invoke peace and despise life" (No 19).

      Another fundamental means of promoting dialogue is education, in which
      understanding of others and respect for diversity is learnt. Finally, the
      barriers of the past must be overcome by means of forgiveness and

      Certainly the application of these principles will not be easy, but it is
      the best way to achieve true peace.

      * * *

      Renowned Moral Theologian Weighs in on Anti-Terrorism
      Germain Grisez Offers Six Principles to Guide Response to Attacks

      EMMITSBURG, Maryland, SEPT. 29, 2001 (Zenit.org).- In the wake of the Sept.
      11 attacks on the United States, ethics professor and theologian Germain
      Grisez of Mount St. Mary's College has prepared a brief statement on what he
      considers to be morally suitable means of combating terrorism.

      Best known for his monumental "Way of the Lord Jesus" moral theology series,
      Grisez is no stranger to such issues. In the third volume of the series,
      "Difficult Moral Questions," Grisez tackles a vast range of ethical
      questions ranging from the morality of planting tobacco to the
      responsibility of researchers regarding the use of tissue from aborted

      Below we include the text of Grisez's guidelines on responding to terrorism.

      President Bush and other officials now are forming a policy on responding to
      terrorism. That policy will be settled very soon and will have huge
      consequences. If the policy is defective, remedying the defect may be
      virtually impossible until the nation learns better by bitter experience.

      So, I believe all of us ought to do what we can to try to help the President
      and the others involved to adopt a sound and wise policy. For that reason, I
      have formulated some thoughts and sent them to many places and people-among
      them a number of US bishops. I am urging the latter to try to get the
      Conference to make soon a sound and clear collective statement.

      The following are my own thoughts, which I offer for your consideration:

      1) Terrorism carries out an intention to kill or injure people and/or to
      destroy or damage things of value in order to instill fear as a motive for
      desired behavior. Instilling fear so as to motivate desired behavior often
      is counterproductive, but doing so sometimes is good and even necessary. Yet
      even if instilling fear is appropriate, terrorism is a morally unacceptable
      means, just because terrorists intend (though not as their ultimate
      objective or goal) precisely to kill, injure, destroy and damage.

      2) People have at times put an end to isolated individuals' acts of
      terrorism by killing them. However, terrorism carried out by members of a
      widespread group for ideological ends that appeal to extremists in that
      group presents a far greater challenge. Any possible response is likely to
      have only limited success at best. Yet when a community undergoing
      terroristic attack deliberates about how to respond, anger and hatred induce
      the illusion that very violent responses are likely --and perhaps almost
      certain -- to succeed.

      3) The use of force to prevent terrorism can be justifiable and morally
      required of those responsible for defending the community. Even deadly force
      may be used against those one reasonably expects will otherwise continue to
      pose a grave threat. But force, especially deadly force, must never be used
      to avenge past acts or as terrorism to prevent terrorism. Such uses of
      force, even against military forces and assets, are morally unacceptable.

      4) Moreover, when stopping terrorism requires the use of force against the
      activities of terrorists or of people complicit in their terrorism, any
      foreseeable damage to innocents (that is, people not engaged in those
      activities) must be no more than what those using the force would think it
      fair to accept if the innocents were their own friendly associates.

      5) Responses to terrorism that are morally unjustifiable also are foolish.
      They provoke greater and more widespread anger and hatred: seven other
      demons will take the place of the first, and small atomic bombs will be used
      instead of hijacked airliners.

      6) Even when carried out within proper limits, deadly force against persons
      cannot be an adequate response to terrorism. A sound response must also
      include a very serious and sincere effort to improve relationships with less
      radical members of the group whose interests the terrorists are trying to
      promote by their bad means. That serious effort at reconciliation must be
      implemented by economic and political action designed to mitigate suffering
      and reduce hatred.

      A morally upright and wise policy may well turn out to be very demanding and
      costly. For instance, it might involve sending millions of men rather than
      dropping thousands of tons of bombs. But whatever the costs, only a morally
      upright and wise policy will be worth its price.

      * * *

      Sorrow Over Massacre in Parliament of Swiss Canton of Zug

      Man Kills 14 People, Wounds 15, Before Committing Suicide

      VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 28, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II was saddened by the
      news of Thursday´s massacre in the Parliament building of the Swiss canton
      of Zug.

      Friedrich Leibacher, 57, rushed into the Parliament, brandishing a pistol
      and rifle, and opened fire at random, killing a total of 14 people -- 10
      deputies, the Parliament´s president, and three state advisers of the canton
      -- and wounding an additional 15. The gunman then committed suicide.

      "In this humanly incomprehensible and overwhelming situation because of the
      nature of the terrible event, the Holy Father bears in himself the questions
      and sorrow that disturb many, to present them to God in prayer, Lord of life
      and death," Cardinal Angelo Sodano said in a telegram sent on behalf of the
      Pope, to Bishop Kurt Koch of Basle.

      In the message, the Pope asks for eternal life for those killed. For those
      suffering in body and soul, he asks for healing and renewed courage to face
      life with the hope that stems from faith. He also express condolences for
      the relatives and friends of the victims.

      The first ceremony in memory of the victims was held Thursday night in St.
      Oswald Church in Zug, attended by Moritz Leuenberger, president of the
      Helvetian Confederation. Afterward, hundreds of people went to Landsgemeinde
      Square carrying lit candles.

      * * *


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