NEWS: February 21, 2003
Bird’s Eye View of the News
Atila Sinke Guimarães
UPCOMING VISIT TO THE SYNAGOGUE – On February 12, John Paul II received at the Vatican Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome, along with other rabbis. Without any mention of converting the Jews from their false creed, JPII emphasized “the intense desire that the Catholic Church nourishes to make its ties of friendship and reciprocal collaboration with the Jewish community more profound.” He also referred to the “historic and unforgettable” visit he made in 1986 to the synagogue of Rome. That event, “gift of the Almighty,” represented “an important stage in the path toward understanding between Jews and Catholics,” the Pope said. |
He acknowledged that in the past the two communities were hostile toward one another. But he said that the gradual application of Vatican Council II’s document Nostra aetate, on the Church's relations with non-Christians, as well as the gestures of friendship between the two communities, “have contributed to direct our relations toward ever greater reciprocal understanding.”
JPII wants "more profound ties of friendship and reciprocal collaboration" with the Jews - LA Times, August 5, 2002
In his response, Di Segni officially invited the Holy Father to visit again the synagogue of Rome on the 100th anniversary of its construction, which will take place next year (Zenit Agency, February 13, 2003).
Anyone who had misgivings that JPII had approved the document by the Pontifical Biblical Commission that presented the Jewish interpretation of Scriptures as a model for Catholics can put those doubts to rest. The Pope's statements of February 12 followed the same line that the document defended. Id est, when he said that Catholics should unite and “profoundly collaborate” with Jews in many things, the interpretation of the Scriptures seemed to be included in this partnership (more on this document).
Also and above all, we should be prepared for another upcoming visit of the Pope to the synagogue of Rome. What will happen there, if God does not intervene first?
OPEN ARCHIVE – On February 15 the Vatican Secret Archive was opened to researchers. The reason for this was to make available to Jewish scholars documents from the period when Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, the future Pope Pius XII, was nuncio in Munich and Berlin (1922-1939). Researchers already have access to the records of the Bavarian nunciature of Eugenio Pacelli (1917-1925), from the time of Pacelli's arrival to that of his successor, Msgr. Cesare Orsenigo. The Berlin documents are also available (Zenit Agency, February 17, 2003; Actualité des Religions, February 2003, p. 39).
The general opinion of the Jewish scholars is that Pope Pius XII was pro-Nazi and did not sufficiently oppose the German persecution against their people. John Paul II believes that the Jewish scholars will find documents that prove the contrary. Then they will naively recognize their error and convert to the truth. It is not so easy to believe this imaginary scenario. Anyone cognizant of the constant distortion of Catholic History so often made by Jewish interpreters is not so optimistic. There is little cause to think that access to the documents will convert the contumacious researchers and make them admirers of Pius XII. Let us wait and see.
ANGLICAN CONFRONTATION – The Anglican archbishop of Nigeria, Gabriel Ganaka, signed an official document condemning the liberalism of the new primate of his confession, Rowan Williams, regarding homosexuality. Williams is known for his approval of homosexual priests. There are two details of interest about this condemnation. First, Ganaka is head of 20 million followers, one-third of the total Anglicans in the world. Second, the declaration against Williams was signed some days before he was invested in his new role as chief of the Anglican confession (Actualité des Religions, February, 2003, p.38). It represents another earthquake inside the Anglican milieu.
MASONS OUT! – Eighty-eight Philippine Bishops in their January 27 plenary assembly approved a document warning Catholics that they cannot be Masons. If Catholics do not obey this norm they will face excommunication. A booklet to this effect is being printed and will be disseminated among the faithful. Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi of Caceres observed that the Philippine Bishops issued guidelines on Masons in 1990 that were to be implemented by individual Bishops, but some chose to not do so. In their new declaration, the Bishops decreed that any Catholic who is a “convinced member of Freemasonry, notoriously adhering to the Masonic vision” should be already considered excommunicated according to Canon 1364 of Church Law (National Catholic Reporter, February 14, 2003, p.7).
It is with joy that I report this news. I would like, however, the text to be clearer in order to be efficient. The phrase stating that only Catholics who “notoriously” adhere to the “Masonic vision” should be condemned is very imprecise. What does a notorious adhesion mean? Is it an adhesion that is known by three, ten, or twenty people, or by a whole city? It needs definition to be effective. What does adhering to a “Masonic vision” mean? Is a member of the Rotary Club or the Lions Club an adherent of the Masonic vision? This vision that the Bishops alluded to is too generic. It is a philosophical system of thinking that needs to be defined. Without these precisions, the laudable norm of the Philippine Bishops lacks conditions to be seriously applied. I hope that someone in that Episcopate will notice these weak points in the document and correct them, so that the measure will produce the good fruits it seems intended to bear.
ONCE A JESUIT, ALWAYS A JESUIT – The ex-Jesuits still congregate around the Society of Jesus. Under the pretext that there are more Jesuits outside of the Society than inside, an organization of ex-Jesuits was born in California in January 2003. Its name is Just Good Company and its members have founded an online magazine (justgoodcompany.com). The goal of both the organization and website is quite vague: “Will ours be a Catholic magazine? We want to produce a magazine that will be more Catholic than catholic,” says Robert Blair Kaiser, one of the founders and present day Rome correspondent for Newsweek. Kaiser, also an ex-Jesuit, continues: “Certainly it won’t be a magazine to defend the hierarchical Church. Overall it will be an intelligent forum for thinking people and people of good will. The correspondents and editors will be ex-Jesuits. Many of us are still Jesuits at heart.”
What does it mean to be a Jesuit at heart? Kaiser answers: “Around the world today there are more ex-Jesuits than Jesuits. Many of us still live trying to respond to the challenge of Ignatius of Loyola.” To understand what Kaiser is saying, it is helpful to recall that before Vatican II there were 36,000 Jesuits; immediately after the Council 10,000 left the Order. This was only the beginning of the exodus.
Kaiser also stated that the magazine would be distributed gratis through the Internet, and that in the “free forum” of the magazine everyone can participate if he is concerned “about the greater glory of God,” – Ad majorem Dei Gloriam, the Jesuit maxim. As far as dissemination, their first goal is to reach 100 thousand subscribers, with an eye toward one million in a short time (Adista, January 11, 2003, p. 8.)
In brief, a new progressivist organ was born. If it is true that all the ex-Jesuits are organized, a question necessarily arises: Who is behind them? It would be very Jesuitical if the Society of Jesus itself would have organized them and then deny that it had done so…
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