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WEDNESDAY     November 3, 1999     SECTION TWO      vol 10, no. 208

To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION ONE

Archbishop of Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, O.P. has made great strides in healing the rift between Austria and Rome

    Our one-hundred-eighteenth red-hat we feature, in alphabetical order is the 54 year-old youthful prelate Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, O.P., Archbishop of Vienna since 1995 and the man who is considered the miracle worker in preventing an all-out schism in Austria. Some believe there will be more fireworks for this young Dominican is being groomed for higher things inside the Vatican. He received his red-hat and elevation to the cardinalate from Pope John Paul II in the Holy Father's most recent Consistory of February 21, 1998. For more on Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, O.P., click on COLLEGE OF CARDINALS COLLECTION

118.   Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, O.P.

Appreciating the Church's vigiliance against Heresy and Schism

    We continue our new daily series in uncovering the great treasuries of the Church contained in her Deposit of Faith. Today, we feature, the Church's vigilance against Heresy and Schism, something that has hounded followers of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church since its inception. For the forty-fourth installment, click on APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH


part one


    Today we commemorate the Thirty-first Wednesday in Ordinary Time and the Feast of Saint Martin de Porres, religious and missionary while tomorrow we celebrate the Feast of Saint Charles Borromeo, bishop. For the readings, liturgies, meditations, and vignettes on these feasts, click on DAILY LITURGY.

Wednesday, November 3, 1998

Feast of Saint Martin de Porres, Religious

Thursday, November 4, 1998

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



    VATICAN ( -- At his Sunday Angelus audience on October 31, Pope John Paul II pointed to the signing of a Catholic-Lutheran agreement as "an event of great importance," and a step toward "unity and communion among Christians."

    The Pope was alluding to the formal signing, in Augsburg, of an agreement between the Holy See and the World Lutheran Federation, on the subject of justification. The accord was signed, he observed, "in the same city where, in 1530, the Augsburg Confession wrote a decisive page in the Lutheran Reformation." The new document, the Holy Father said, lays the groundwork for further ecumenical advances, by establishing a common understanding on one of the most hotly disputed theological points that has divided Catholics and Lutherans.

    Cardinal Edward Cassidy, the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, led a Vatican delegation to Augsburg for the ceremony. The cardinal urged all Christians to redouble their efforts to promote Church unity. He added: "Unfortunately, we also have the duty to begin work to repair the damages inflicted on the building by the storms, conflicts, and sometimes even earthquakes caused by men."

    The greatest task facing all Christians, the Australian-born prelate continued, is to spread the word of the Gospel around the world. "Our divisions are a great obstacle to that task," he observed. But the new Catholic-Lutheran accord, he said, could "give new life and new hope to the ecumenical movement as a whole."

    In a separate development on the ecumenical front, a Vatican delegation headed by Cardinal Cassidy and Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, the prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, will soon visit Armenia to greet the new leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and to sign an accord strengthening ties between that church and the Holy See. The election of a new Armenian leader, or Catholicos, was delayed because of the terrorist attack on the Armenian national parliament last week.


Cardinal Cassidy and Bishop Hans Christian Knuth Explains Significance of Joint Declaration

    VATICAN CITY, NOV 2 (ZENIT).- An historic step was taken on October 31, in the progress of the ecumenical dialogue, when a Joint Declaration was signed on the Doctrine of Justification by the Catholic Church and the World Lutheran Federation, in the German city of Augsburg.

    This event was described by John Paul II as a "consoling sign" on the eve of the Jubilee of the Year 2000, and as "a corner stone on the complex road to the reconstruction of full unity among Christians."

    Hundreds of guests from all over the world participated in the ceremony, along with Cardinal Edward Cassidy, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Bishop Christian Krause, president of the World Lutheran Federation. The German media consider the event as a decisive change for relations between Catholics and Protestants. The change comes almost 500 years after the Reformation instigated by Martin Luther, with his famous 95 theses nailed to the door of All Saints Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517.

    Cardinal Cassidy pointed out the significance of this ecumenical step, during an interview on Vatican Radio, in which he explained that it "touches on one of the most important questions at the time of the Reformation. It could be said that it was a central issue in the situation that caused the division of the Western Church. Now, we and the Lutherans from all over the world, have been able to find a formula to express the same faith in the fundamental truth of justification, although we put the accent on different aspects."

    The Australian Cardinal believes that the agreement closes a wound that was opened almost five centuries ago, "as this division, which goes back to the time of Luther, caused the condemnations by the Catholic Church, as well as the Lutheran condemnations of Catholics. Today the document states clearly that those condemnations of the past are no longer applicable."

    The Joint Declaration is also very important because it addresses the very matter of man's salvation.

    "It is very profound," Cardinal Cassidy continued, "because -- above all, it is concerned with salvation, which comes from Our Lord Jesus Christ; the new life, which we are called to live thanks to Baptism; justification, as in Baptism a new life begins that leads us to sanctity and eternal life. I would say that it is more a spiritual question than a theological one. This act of salvation is both divine -- as it is Jesus Christ who saves us -- and human, as we must collaborate with grace. The Lord gives us the grace to collaborate with grace."

    Although it has taken a giant step, communion with Lutherans is still far from complete. There are very important matters still pending, such as the sacraments, for example.

    "This fundamental point opens the door to the coming century. The Holy Father has requested that, in view of the preparation for the Jubilee, initiatives be promoted that will unite Christians even more. We have not arrived at the end of the road. There are many questions that remain to be resolved. In a few words: we must continue to work, as the Pope has said: 'It is a long and difficult road, but full of joy,' " the Cardinal concluded. ZE99110202

    Meanwhile in Berlin the leader of the German Evangelical-Lutheran Church, the principal representation of the Reformation in Germany, Bishop Hans Christian Knuth, 59, said, "It has been an historic step, without which, further steps could not be taken in the future. We have found common formulations precisely on a point that caused the schism five centuries ago: this is great news."

    Bishop Knuth, who is also the highest representative of the General Synod of the Lutheran Episcopal Conference, and of the German section of the World Lutheran League, is responsible for relations with Catholics and, therefore, knows from within the long negotiations with the Holy See to arrive at this step of mutual agreement.

    "Of course a process of this nature, cannot take place without frictions, without problems. It is somewhat similar to politics: when the matter is serious, everyone gets nervous. And, undoubtedly, following the Vatican note of June 25, 1998, we thought the whole process was in difficulty. Later, however, and all of a sudden, the substantial change came. I believe, that in the midst of human give and take, and of the nebulousness of diplomacy, the Holy Spirit wanted to give a signal," Knuth told the Italian newspaper "Avvenire."

    According to the Lutheran leader, the decisive step was also taken for a very simple reason: in this long process, the two churches have come to know one another better. Old stereotypes have fallen away. "Undoubtedly, it is clear that a better perception of the other -- both in the personal as well as the theological aspects -- has been of great help. Moreover, ... it is an important fact that we faced a common front: the pressure of secularization, on one hand, and the new religions, on the other. This has led us to concentrate on what unites us, and not on what separates us."

    There are those who believe that these agreements between experts in theology and those responsible in the churches leaves the normal faithful indifferent. Knuth disagrees. "No. On the contrary, I would rather say that everyone now ask us what the consequences of this Declaration will be."

    And what are the Lutheran expectations? "We would like an end to the scandal that Christians must separate precisely at the moment when they approach the Table of the Lord. From our side, we have already sent out an invitation. What's more, we say we are not issuing the invitation, but the resurrected Christ is. We would like the Catholic Church to do the same."

    The Lutheran Bishop feels that "precisely because it is clear that it is a long road, the theological commissions have developed the necessary preparatory work for the next steps. The Declaration on Justification is the balance of a long process that was later officially confirmed by the respective hierarchies; at present, the same should be done with the other aspects, that is, to go over all that has been elaborated by the commissions to see if a consensus can be reached. I repeat, the work is already done."

    Regarding the wounds of the past, Bishop Knuth said "the Declaration states clearly that our Synods are recognized as organs of ecclesial guidance. For us, however, a further step cannot be ignored: it must be stated clearly that it is about the Church, not simply about religious communities." ZE99110205


    ROME, 2 (NE) A group of faithful in East Timor commemorated last Sunday the apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, with a procession that began some hours after the last Indonesian troops left the oriental part of the island. The Marian feast, which is celebrated in many parts of the world on October 13, could not be celebrated in East Timor on that date due to the lack of security and had to be postponed.

    The Apostolic Administrator of Dili, Bishop Carlos Belo, thanked during the celebration for the horizon of hope that opens for the people of East Timor. Before and image of the Virgin of Fatima, he thanked the international community for its support, which prevented a total massacre of the people by pro Indonesian militias.

    The Prelate praised as well the effort that the peace forces stationed in East Timor are accomplishing. He stated that this is an example that armies can also serve "to construct," as well as for "solidarity, humanity and justice."


Statements by Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan

   BAGHDAD, NOV 2 (ZENIT).- On November 1, Iraqi Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan gave assurances that his country would be pleased to welcome John Paul II and that the papal visit will not be manipulated for political ends, but be respected as a religious pilgrimage.

   "The visit is something normal. Iraq welcomes everyone who comes to visit," the Vice-President said to the local press, while visiting a commercial fair in Baghdad. Yassin Ramadan said that his country is not looking for political profit from the visit.

   John Paul II hopes to go on pilgrimage to various original sites of Revelation. In a letter published on June 29, the Holy Father confirmed his intention to visit Ur of the Chaldeans, Abraham's birthplace, considered the Father in faith of believers of the three monotheist religions.

   However, in the document the Pope states that his tour of the places of the Old and New Testament has a strictly spiritual character. Consequently, he wants to avoid any political interpretation or manipulation of his visit.

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November 3, 1999 volume 10, no. 208  DAILY CATHOLIC