NEWS: February 15, 2000
Bird’s Eye View of the News
Atila Sinke Guimarães
"A BETRAYAL OF THE GOSPEL" - Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver sent a letter (Dec. 10) to the Jewish community apologizing for wrongs committed by Catholics against Jews down through history. Chaput's letter was published in the Intermountain Jewish News. Some excerpts follow: "Too often in the past we have lived like a branch which denies its root. The Christian faith is rooted in the Jewish people. In turning away from them, in persecuting G-ds chosen people down through the centuries, in ignoring or cooperating in violence against Jews especially during this century, too many Christians - including Catholics, and most shamefully, even some ordained to do G-ds ministry within the Church - have betrayed the Gospel and been a countersign to its message of redemption and love."
The Archbishop continued his letter saying: "On this last evening of Hanukkah [feast of lights], I greet the Jewish community …. in humility and with the love of a younger brother in faith" (Origins, Jan. 6, p. 2). Msgr. Chaput, so radical in attributing fault to the Saints and Pontiffs who combated the errors of the false Judaic religion, does not seem to remember how to distinguish between just doctrinary opposition to Judaism and the pagan type of racial persecution the Nazis made in the 20th century. Chaput's lack of equilibrium sanctions injustice, exaggeration and a favoring of the Jewish religious errors. He indisputably assumes that the Jewish religion remained faithful to the call of God, a thesis clearly contrary to Catholic doctrine.
INQUISITION AGAINST THE CHURCH - Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee delivered a speech at a conference for Catholics and Jews (Nov. 7). There he stated: "I acknowledge that we Catholics, by preaching a doctrine that the Jewish people were unfaithful, hypocritical and God-killers, reduced the human dignity of our Jewish brothers and sisters and created attitudes that made reprisals against them seem like acts of conformity to God's will" (National Catholic Reporter, Dec, 17, p.7) Weakland goes beyond the usual requests for pardon. He attributed error to Catholic doctrine itself and not just to persons. He insinuated that the part of doctrine that does not accept the Jewish religion should be abolished. The day does not seem that far off when he will request an inquisition against those who still profess the entire Catholic Faith.
RECEIVED BY THE POPE - Retired Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco presented Pope John Paul II (Dec. 6) with his recent book titled The Reform of the Papacy: The Costly Call to Christian Unity. (see my review of this book) The book grew out of Quinn's lecture on the issue three years ago in Oxford, England. "I came to present my book to the Pope and Cardinal Ratzinger, so that they would have it from me first" (Origins, Dec. 16, p.2; National Catholic Reporter, Dec. 17, p.10). The Archbishop has been an outspoken advocate for changes in the papacy. For those who know Vatican habits, Quinn's admission to a private audience signifies a tacit approval of the Holy See.
Likewise the Archbishop called for a re-examination of the role of the College of Cardinals, which he said presents a stumbling block to Christian unity. He asserted that future ecumenical councils of the world's bishops should include other Christian leaders, especially the Orthodox, as full members. Quinn made his remarks in an interview with the Italian magazine Jesus published in its January issue (The Tidingss, Dec. 24, p.2).
Shortly before he was received by the Pope, the retired Archbishop gave talks in the San Francisco area, in which he said that Church authority as carried out under the Roman Curia's current structure is "a serious impediment" to Christian unity (The Tidings, Dec. 3, p. 2). Thus, in two weeks Quinn attacked Papal primacy, the College of Cardinals and the Roman Curia, in addition to suggesting pan-Christian councils: he really broke the record!
THEIR GIFTS AND EXPERIENCES - On December 20, Cardinal Roger Mahony stated: "In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles I continue to support our ministry with gay and lesbian Catholics and their families in order to bring theirs gifts, talents and experiences to enrich the Local Church. We will continue to extend our welcome and our ministry to gay and lesbian Catholics throughout the Archdiocese, a ministry that will continue to remain a priority for our Church" (The Tidings, Dec. 31, p.10). Cardinal's assertion was made regarding Proposition 22, which deals with the definition of marriage. It would have been useful if Mahony would have explained what exactly comprises these "gifts" and "experiences" that the homosexuals could bring to "enrich the Church." Would the "gifts" that they bring be to look like the opposite sex? Would the "experience" be their criminal and anti-natural relation? The Cardinal leaves the door open for all interpretations.
A BAD SIGN - A combination of rain of water and sewage rushed into the Tomb of the Virgin Mary next to the Basilica of Gethesemane during the first heavy winter rain on December 13. The water reached 49 feet (The Tidings, Dec. 17, p.2). The Tomb of Our Lady occupies Her last place on earth before She was assumed into Heaven. It is expressive that this flood of sewage should occur there. It seems an affront of the demon against the Queen of Angels. Certainly a bad sign.
JOHN HUS - The Vatican and the Czech Bishop's Conference sponsored an international meeting about John Hus, who was burned at the stake as a heretic in the 15th century. John Paul II gave a speech to the participants (Dec. 17) in which he affirmed: "Today, on the eve of the great jubilee, I feel the need to express deep regret for the cruel death inflicted on John Hus and for the consequent wound of conflict and division which was imposed on the minds and hearts of the Bohemian people" (The Tidings, Dec. 24, p.2; Origins, Jan. 6, p.2).
REASONABLE CONDITIONS… - There is still no official response from the "Orthodox" authority of Greece to John Paul II's request to make a pilgrimage to Athens. Among the reactions to this request is that of the monks of Mount Athos, known as a strong pillar of "orthodoxy." They affirmed that they will receive the Pope "with the condition that he become orthodox, renounce the papal primacy and papal infallibility, and do penance and ask pardon for the Fourth Crusade," in which Constantinople was taken in 1204 (Actualité des Religions, Paris, December, p. 7). This is obviously an insult to the Papacy and affront to Catholic honor. Notwithstanding, they could now be seriously considered by the progressivist current as reasonable conditions in the ecumenical tide sweeping through the Vatican in our days.
REFUSED - Iraq informed Pope John Paul II that conditions are not right for his pilgrimage to that country in connection with the Jubilee of the Year 2000, Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Vals said December 10. Iraq cited the UN economic embargo and the U.S. and British imposed no-fly-zone as two insurmountable obstacles to the visit (Origins, Dec. 23, p.2).
The first symptom of the refusal came October 28 with a letter of seven Iraqi intellectuals, including a government official, criticizing the proposed trip by the Pope to Iraq. The document expressed the fear John Paul II would use the trip, which includes a stop in Israel, to rally Arabs and world public opinion behind the Jewish state (Inside the Vatican, November, p. 38). Without examining the truth of the alleged excuses, the refusal is a strong blow to the ecumenical plans of the festivities for the Millennium. The pretended pilgrimage "in the footsteps of Abraham" was a first symbolical initiative to be followed by many others, which now will not be followed with the same interest.
POPE'S RESIGNATION - The Italian journalist Luigi Accattoli, Vatican expert from the newspaper Corriere della Sera (Milan), said that John Paul II, "who has brought so many new things to the throne of Peter, would also be capable of stepping down from that throne …. One has the impression that John Paul II would not be convinced to remain for reasons of 'image' if he felt he could not continue to govern the Church" (The Tidings, Jan. 14, p. 9). The wave of rumors continues to circulate broadly, giving the impression that there really is something being prepared.
MOSLEM IMPERIALISM - At the European synod, Giuseppe Bernardini, 72, Archbishop of Izmir, Turkey, launched a broadside against Islam, bluntly accusing Moslems of plotting to dominate Europe and de-Christianize the continent. The Archbishop has lived in predominantly Moslem Turkey for 42 years. His words were among the harshest delivered against Islam inside the Vatican in recent memory. Bernardini accused oil-rich Moslem countries of "using petro-dollars not to create jobs in poor countries of North Africa and the Middle East, but to build mosques and cultural centers in Christian countries where Moslems have migrated, including in Rome, the center of Christianity" (Inside the Vatican, November, p. 39). The militant intervention of Msgr. Bernardini lets in a little fresh air for those who are fighting for the Holy Church in the nauseous climate of irenism.
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