DAILY CATHOLIC TUESDAY November 3, 1998 vol. 9, no. 215
NEWS & VIEWS
STUDY OF INQUISITION MUST ESTABLISH HARD FACTS; POPE RENEWS CONDEMNATION OF EUTHANASIA
VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- As Pope John Paul II sees it, the need for an eventual request for pardon on behalf of the Church must be based on "exact information" rather than inaccurate impressions. For that reason the Pope is taking a special interest in the special conference on the Inquisition, which brought a group of 60 historians to Rome last week.
In his own address to the participants, on Saturday, October 31, the Holy Father observed: "The Inquisition reflects a tormented phase in the history of the Church." He recalled how in Tertio Mellinnio Adveniente he had encouraged an examination of conscience, conducted "in a spirit open to repentance," of the times when "methods of intolerance and even of violence" were employed "in the service of the truth."
Last week's conference, the Pope said, is a "first step" in the process of that examination. He explained that the historians were being asked not to render a final moral judgment, but to "offer help in reconstructing as precisely as possible the events, actions, and mindsets of that day, in the light of the historical context of that era." The quest for that sort of information requires a sort of scholarly detachment, he said, because it means overcoming "images conveyed by public opinion, often charged with passionate emotions."
The faithful of the Church should be acquainted with her past, the Pontiff said, just as members of any society should recognize their history. As the 20th century comes to a close, he suggested, many political leaders should also lead their people in an examination of conscience, in an effort to bring closure to the ideological conflicts, ethnic struggles, and other forms of hatred which have prompted so much killing in recent generations.
Also, in an address to the Pontifical Council for Health-Care Workers, Pope John Paul II has stressed the moral obligation to resist euthanasia.
Speaking to participants in a conference on care for the elderly-- organized in response to the UN's pronouncement of 1999 as the year of the elderly-- the Pope said that no "human authority" can make euthanasia legitimate.
"The temptation toward euthanasia appears as one of the most alarming symptoms of the culture of death," the Holy Father said. He decried "the secular mentality which has no respect of life, especially when it is weak."
To counteract that tendency, the Pope said, the Church must devise
"strategies to help" the aged, especially by encouraging recognition of their
innate human dignity. Those efforts must also help the elderly to appreciate
their own worth, he said, so that they do not "think themselves useless, and
do not reach the point of asking for death." Strong family relationships form
an important element of that strategy, he said.
Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
NEWS & VIEWS