NEWS: November 22, 2002
Bird’s Eye View of the News
by Atila Sinke Guimarães
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A GROWING CONSERVATIVE TIDE – Good news, coming from Poland. Yesterday the conservatives were only a narrow stream there. Today they have swelled to huge wave that is beginning to worry the Polish Episcopate. This growing current of people meet around Maryja Radio, the radio of the “ultra-conservative” Catholics. According to several polls the movement has grown 30% in the last five years. The radio has 1.1 million regular listeners per day, plus 6 million who tune in once a week. Fr. Ryclzyk founded the radio in the city of Torun in 1991. Today he is at the head of a powerful organization: one newspaper, several clubs, four schools (around 2,000 students), and 20 elected politicians who are linked to the radio. Four Bishops have been named to a commission with the assignment of putting a stop to this growing movement. Also Cardinal Jozef Glemp, Primate of Poland, gave an order that beginning in October the radio would no longer be allowed to solicit funds as a Catholic association. But this and other measures have not diminished the prestige of the movement. It has continued to grow. Today people say that the only brake capable to stop it is John Paul II himself (Actualité des religions, November 2002, p. 38). Will he intervene? And what will happen afterwards? Interesting…
BUDDHIST INCENSE PRODUCES CANCER – A recent study conducted by scholars from the Cheng Kung University of Taiwan reached the conclusion that Buddhist incense is a cause for cancer. Their report was published in the English magazine New Scientist. The smoke from the aromatic sticks characteristic of Buddhist worship is more harmful than cigarette smoke because it contains molecules of poly-cyclical hydro-carburets as well as benzopyrene, both elements known to cause cancer (Actualité des Religions, November 2002, p. 7). The same cannot be said about traditional Catholic incense, which is taken organically from some special scented trees and is not a part of daily Catholic worship.
ANGLICAN SPLIT – Rowan William, new primate of the “Anglican Church,” is favorable toward the ordination of homosexuals. It is expected that he will also officially approve the “marriage” of the numerous Anglican homosexual priests who are publicly living with other men. The feminists hope as well that he will allow women to become bishops. These probable actions of William further threaten the already feeble unity of the Anglicans (Actualité des Religions, October 2002, p. 32).
I guess that the larger part of an eventual split would ask to enter the Catholic Church. Would they be received? I doubt it. In 1993, after the “Anglican Church” admitted women in the priesthood, seven bishops, 700 priests/deacons and 5,000 lay people asked to enter the Catholic Church. It was a cause of real embarrassment for Vatican ecumenism. The group was discouraged from becoming Catholics by Cardinal Basil Hume (for documentation, please check Previews of the New Papacy, by Marian Horvat and myself, p. 204). In 1996, the book The Roman Option by a Catholic convert from Anglicanism stated that the English Catholic Bishops put up all kind of obstacles to prevent that mass conversion, which they qualified as “an invasion of intolerance” in the Catholic Church. No one knows exactly what happened to all those Anglicans. The subject sank into a profound silence… I imagine that something similar will take place with regard to the Anglicans who would want to leave the rotten institution under the direction of Rowan William.
JESUITS DEFEND ORDINATION OF HOMOSEXUALS – On the eve of the Bishops’ general meeting in Washington to deal with pedophile priests and related subjects, the magazine America printed an editorial (November 11, 2002) asking for the ordination of gay priests. Let me transcribe some excerpts that speak for themselves:
• “Healthy and dedicated gay men serving in the priesthood make an important contribution to the life of the Church.”
I will not analyze the merit of the statements, which each reader can do for himself. I will make only two side comments.
• “The main argument in favor of the ordination of gay men is far more convincing than the arguments against it – namely, the real-life example of thousands of healthy and hard-working gay priests and Bishops. These men lead lives centered on Christ and in the service to the Church – celebrating the sacraments, running parishes, schools and Dioceses and carrying out every type of Christian ministry. They do this in the face of withering criticism, frequent scapegoating and widespread prejudice, sometimes at the hands of those they serve. Their witness overcomes any argument against their ordination.”
• “One could also advert to the gifts that gay priests bring to the Church. Their experience of suffering persecution, for example, can often make gay priests more compassionate toward others; and sometimes hard-won battle for self-knowledge can serve others in confession, spiritual direction and counseling.”
• “Preventing the ordination of gay men would deprive the Church of many productive, hard-working and dedicated ministers and would, moreover, ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit, who has called these men to holy orders.”
A first point to observe is that America, a quite well-informed source, considers that there are not only homosexual men already in the priesthood, but also there are homosexual Bishops. It is worthwhile to ask the magazine who they are. Otherwise, the American faithful have the right to start investigating all the Bishops. This would be more than fair. And should this happen, it should not be attributed to some obscure conspiracy against the power of the Bishops, like the recent statement made by Bishop Gregory, president of the USCCB (see my last column), who denigrated the good public reaction against pedophile abusers in the Clergy. It would be the natural reaction of a healthy public opinion that abhors homosexuality.
A second point to note is that, as far as I know, America represents the thinking of the Society of Jesus in the United States. Now, given that the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, was in the U.S. in late October, it is hard to believe that he was unaware of the content of this controversial editorial in America before it was published. Anyone who has dealt with Jesuits knows that their obedience, even today, is one of the most rigorous in the Church. Therefore, the position of America would represent the position of Superior of the Society of Jesus as well. That is, all the Jesuits around the world would be following the same path.
I was shocked reading this editorial, and I am not a man easily shocked by such matters. I knew that these same arguments had been made publicly by homosexual movements like Dignity and New Ways Ministry. But until I read this editorial, I had never seen these arguments defended by a serious organ of the ecclesiastical establishment. So here we are. Morally speaking, the whole progressivist establishment, if it agrees with this opinion taken in America, would not be so much different from the putrid “Anglican Church” that is preparing to accept homosexual priests. The editorial is a real sign of the times.
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