NEWS: May 17, 2002
Bird’s Eye View of the News
Atila Sinke Guimarães
MADAME THE BISHOP – Between Christmas and New Year, the “bishop” of Lund, Sweden, Christina Odenberg, the first woman bishop of the Lutheran Swedish “church,” presided over a religious ceremony that still is causing a commotion. As a matter of fact, in the cathedral of Upsala, Odenberg declared two women "married": pastor Anna Karin Hammar and theologian Nina Edgardh. The classic “yes,” the vows of perpetual fidelity, and also the blessing of the “couple” were pronounced during the ceremony. Preceding this bizarre act was another outlandish gay blasphemy that took place during Advent at Odenberg's Protestant temple at Gustav-Wasa. In the manger scene, Mary was replaced with a second Joseph, and the three Wisemen with three women (Actualité des Religions, March 2002, p. 6). It actually serves some purpose to know what is going on with the Protestants, since progressivists are changing many things in the Catholic Church in order to please them.
LADY-PRIESTS – A group of women in Germany and Austria affirmed that Catholic Bishops would ordain them within a year. The group, whose members stated they have been studying for the priesthood for three years, said two Bishops would carry out the ordinations. The women did not release the names of the Bishops. Rudolf Hammerschmidt, a spokesman for the German Bishops' Conference, stated that the ordinations would be invalid. “What these women are doing is a nothing, a nullity, a non-existent act,” said the enraged spokesman. Nonetheless, Christina Mayr-Lumetzberger, a teacher from Linz, Austria, who organized the course the women have been taking, confirmed that three of a group of 12 would be ordained (The Tidings, March 29, 2002). The fury of the Bishops’ spokesman, in my opinion, does not resolve anything. He is shooting blanks. If the German Catholic Bishops really wanted to resolve the problem, they could seek out the ecclesiastics who plan to ordain the women and punish them severely. Church law has many means to do this. It is not a question of a display of fury. It is a question of exercising a calm and efficient energy.
FIFTY-SIX – Fifty-six percent of Catholics polled by the Pew Research Center said Church leaders have “mostly tried to cover up the problem” of sexual abuse by priests, while third-two percent said the leaders have “mostly tried to deal with it” (America, April 1, 2002). The numbers speak for themselves. If Bishops were elected by the people, as many progressivist Bishops are clamoring for, they would lose their positions.
THE PRIMA DONNA’S NEW CANTO – Origins reported that the former Archbishop of San Francisco, John Quinn, was invited to speak at a November 30 – December 2, 2001 symposium at the Jesuit Boston College (April 18, 2002, p. 735). His lecture addressed authority and government in the Church. In his conclusion, the first of the practical measures Quinn proposed was this: “The Synod of Bishops should change its character from being merely an advisory body to the Pope to become an authentic witness to the Catholic doctrine of the collegiality of the Episcopate as taught by the Second Vatican Council … This would imply that the synod be not merely consultative but deliberative and that it should be superior to the Roman Curia.” Some years ago, Quinn was chosen to be the American progressivist prima donna regarding the reform of the Papacy. I analyzed his famous talk at Oxford (1996) and his last book (2000) on this topic (see booklet The Petrine Primacy Challenged, available from TIA). Now one can observe Quinn calling for a change in the status of the Bishops' Synod. To ask for a deliberative power for the synod is the equivalent of establishing a parallel pole of power in the Church alongside the Roman Pontiff. A pole of power that would supposedly be more representative of the whole Church. If this suggestion were acted upon it would represent the end of the monarchy in the Catholic Church and the installation of a democracy. In short, Quinn is still working to change the Papacy. He is just attacking it from another corner. The prima donna is singing a new canto.
ECUMENICAL FELLOWS – The Vatican’s Nuncio to Romania has confirmed that Eastern Catholic churches are being bulldozed by “Orthodox” occupiers and has urged the country’s political authorities to settle the dispute. “The entire responsibility for these demolitions lies with the local civil authorities, who approve such things,” said the Nuncio (America, March 4, 2002). Even in face of such blatant evidence, the Vatican has not made any accusations against the “Orthodox,” its beloved ecumenical fellows. I am convinced that if it depended on the Schismatic religious leaders, like the Russian patriarch Alexis II, they would bulldoze the Catholic buildings everywhere. But, the present day Vatican occupants do not want to see the reality…
A RED POPE? – February 17-23, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, Archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil, was invited to preach the spiritual exercises during the papal Lenten retreat. This invitation raised the guest speaker to a higher ranking among the papabile Cardinals. Inside the Vatican magazine (March 2002) qualified the Cardinal as a “rising star,” and gave him the top billing in that issue. Hummes chose to lecture the Pope on the topic of how to exercise authority. According to him, the authority in the Church should never exert dominion over others, even though this is a temptation for pastors. This service, he said, is especially difficult and important in the exercise of ecclesial authority, which must "welcome diversity in unity." Hummes added, "It is not always easy to have the pastoral and paternal sensibility to perceive and support the action of the Holy Spirit in the particular churches, in the communities, and in each individual, evangelically discerning their initiatives" (Zenit, February 22, 2002). In clearer words, these sermons looked like a message to the Pope: Do not be authoritative, do not exert any kind of dominion; you have to welcome the participation of others in the Pope’s power. Was the sermon agreed upon beforehand with the Pope or did it constitute some kind of unexpected threat? Either way, it was a bold statement.
When Hummes was Bishop of St. André, in the outskirts of São Paulo, he strongly supported communist strikes (see his photo addressing a metalworkers’ strike in Previews of the New Papacy, TIA, p. 137). He also allowed the leader of the Worker Party, known for his red platform, to make political speeches during his Masses.
If Cardinal Hummes will be the next Pope, will he have Castro and other communist leaders giving talks at the Vatican?
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