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FRI-SAT-SUN      December 17-19, 1999     SECTION FOUR      vol 10, no. 240

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WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



Statements by Cardinal Edward Cassidy

    VALENCIA, SPAIN, DEC 16 (ZENIT).- On October 31, Australian Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, signed the Joint Catholic-Lutheran Declaration on Justification. However, this new-found agreement is not so new, according to statements made December 5 in Valencia: "There is nothing in this agreement tat is not in the Council of Trent or the Catholic tradition."

    In statements to the Archdiocese of Valencia's agency AVAN, the Cardinal emphasized that the documnet makes no judgment of the past, but that it affirms that that which Catholics and Lutherans hold today is the same as regards the doctrine of justification of salvation through faith.

    Cardinal Cassidy presided over the placing of the cornerstone of a future ecumenical temple in Oliva, Valencia. Our work, he said, "is based on the dialogue of truth." From this vantage point, "what happened in Luther's time is that some put the accent on good works, not so much in doctrine as in devotional practice, while others emphasized the divine aspect, justification which comes from the Lord."

    These different positions, "are not contradictory, but two ways of expressing the same truth, because the axis was then and is now found in the faith itself," according to Cardinal Cassidy, who believes that "the problem arises when one or another element is stressed, and one is removed from what is true."

    The Joint Declaration on Justification was signed on October 31 in the German city of Augsburg by Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy and Lutheran Bishop Christian Krause, president of the World Lutheran Federation. ZE99121505


    VATICAN ( -- The Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints is prepared to release a 730-page book, summarizing all of the causes for beatification and canonization which have come before the Congregation since it was established by Pope Sixtus V in 1588.

    The new volume will be presented by Archbishop Jose Saraiva Martins, the Portuguese-born prefect of the Congregation. It will include both the causes which have reached completion and those which are still under study.

    The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has produced similar volumes, on an irregular basis, since 1880. The last such book was published in 1988.

    The publication will not include the latest decrees, approved by the Congregation in October, which will remain secret until December 20, when they are read in the presence of Pope John Paul II.


    WARSAW ( - Poland's lower house of Parliament on Thursday passed a new bill that outlaws hard-core pornography, a measure supported by the conservative Solidarity bloc (AWS) and the Catholic Church.

    "We are pleased and satisfied. Today's decision by parliament is a Christmas present for families," said deputy Antonii Szymanski from the AWS. The availability of pornography in Poland and the whole of Eastern Europe exploded after the 1989 fall of Communism. "We are against pornography because it turns human beings into objects. Tightening regulations against pornography is a move in the right direction, but we must wait and see whether the law will be obeyed," said bishops' spokesman Artur Shultz.

    While the upper house is expected to pass the bill without opposition, ex-Communist president Aleksander Kwasniewski has not indicated whether he will sign the law.


    GALVESTON, Texas ( - Police in southern Texas are baffled at the theft of several statues of the Virgin Mary from in front of homes and churches and at cemeteries in and near Galveston.

    Police said statues have been disappearing since late summer. "I have no earthly idea why this is happening," police Sgt. David Millican said. "I stopped trying to figure that out." While some have theorized that a gang of kids is engaged in a lengthy prank, others believe the actions are an anti-Catholic campaign.

    "It is deeply troubling," Father Frank Rossi, chancellor of the diocese of Galveston-Houston, said. "We can only assume there is some negative intention." Rubie Huvar regards the theft of her 80-pound Mary from a nativity scene an anti-Catholic hate crime. "I feel like they've invaded my religion," she said. "They came into my yard and took the thing that shows I'm a Catholic. I could see once, somebody being silly, but this has happened time after time."

    Owners of the statues have begun taking the statues off their property and storing them indoors until the crime wave is solved.

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December 17-19, 1999 volume 10, no. 240  DAILY CATHOLIC