DAILY CATHOLIC TUESDAY November 30, 1999 vol. 10, no. 227
NEWS & VIEWS
JPII on Y2K
Pope's Warns Against "Millenary Temptations"
VATICAN CITY, NOV 28 (ZENIT).- Today, the first Sunday in Advent, Christians worldwide are on the homestretch to the Great Jubilee of the third millennium, which will begin on Christmas Eve, when John Paul II officially opens the Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. Understandably, this was the Holy Father's central theme, when he addressed the several thousand faithful who congregated in St. Peter's Square at noon to pray the "Angelus."
"God is 'He Who comes': He came to be among us in the person of Jesus Christ; and He continues to come in the Church's sacraments and in every human being who asks us for help; and He will come in glory, at the end of the centuries. Because of this, Advent is characterized by a vigilant and active waiting, nourished by love and hope, that is expressed in praise and supplication and is translated into concrete works of fraternal charity," the Holy Father said.
But, this year Christians are living a very special Advent. "It is the Advent of the Great Jubilee - the Pope reminded those present -- in which we celebrate 2,000 years of the coming of the Savior in the humility of our human nature. With our sight fixed on the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of God, the Church prepares to cross the threshold of the third millennium. It is about a look of faith, free from all millenary temptation."
Millenarianism is an old theological error that believes Christ will reign for a thousand years on earth at the end of times, after the resurrection of the just and before the Last Judgment. The millenarists interpret the text of the Apocalypse literally (Apoc.20:1-6), they believe in a number of different factors, such as the persecution of the Church, and the triumph of the forces of evil: the fulfillment of the Kingdom, which was believed imminent, receded in time.
Combated by Origen and abandoned during the 4th and 5th centuries, millenarianism reappeared in various expressions of Catholicism and during the Reformation. In the 19th century, it also inspired some currents of utopian socialism. At present, it has significant impact on followers of some New Age groups and in certain fundamentalist Christian groups, which go so far as to mix theological arguments with the famous Y2K problem, or Millennium Bug, which will affect computers throughout the world. Essentially, the situation exists because of a shortcut employed for many years in which most programmers used the abbreviated two-digit form to register all dates in an effort to save space, unaware that when the year 2000 arrives, many computers may confuse the year 2000 for 1900, with the undesired consequences of making all their calculations on this erroneous basis.
However, as he explained this morning before reciting the Angelus, for Pope John Paul II, Y2K is something quite different. It means "to cross the Holy Door, symbol of the passage to a new and eternal life, which Jesus Christ opened for every man. This emphasizes the penitential dimension, which is already being lived during the time of Advent, and reminds one intensely of the figure of John the Baptist, who teaches precisely that the road to the Lord is prepared by a change in mentality and life."
As usual, this Marian Pope ended his reflection this Sunday by entrusting to the Virgin the real living of the Jubilee message, which is none other than what Karol Wojtyla has preached from the first day of his pontificate: "to open wide the doors of your heart to Christ."
But for the computer buffs and the curious, in a recent press conference
the Vatican assured the world that, from a technological perspective, it is
100% Y2K compliant. Experts advised that all the internal computer systems,
including those used at Vatican Radio, the web site, bank, telephone
system, newspaper and publishing house, are all ready for the new
millenium. On the other hand, the U.S. Department of State has listed Italy
as one of those countries seriously "at risk" of Y2K problems because of
getting such a late start trying to resolve their problems. Italian Y2K
officials admit they are way behind schedule but estimate they will get by
with only minor glitches. One anonymous member of the Italian Y2K panel
confessed that they're open to suggestions and even asked the Vatican for
their help. When asked how the Vatican might contribute to solving Italy's
enormous Y2K problems, he answered matter-of-factly: "We're hoping for a
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NEWS & VIEWS