This congregation is responsible for missionary work throughout the world. That in itself makes it a very, very important and integral congregation in the Roman Curia. Cardinal Jozef Tomko of Slovakia serves as the Prefect with Bishop Marcello Zago, OMI serving as Secretary. The former is the former Superior General of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, one of the foremost of active missionary orders in the Church founded by Saint Eugene de Mazenod who the Holy Father canonized on December 3, 1995. This congregation is near and dear to the heart of the present evangelizing Pope who has been referred to as the "Pilgrim Pope." He places great emphasis on this congregation's charge to foster missionary vocations, assigning missionaries to various fields throughout the world, and organizing financial means to help pay for missionary activities. In addition it establishes ecclesiastical jurisdictions and proposes candidates to serve as bishops and other supervisory capacities in association with the orders' general houses. Attached to this congregation is a Supreme Council for the Direction of Pontifical Missionary works which includes the Missionary Union of the Clergy and Religious, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St. Peter the Apostle for Native Clergy, the International Center of Missionary Animation and the Society of the Holy Childhood.
This congregation first began as a commision of the cardinals by Pope Saint Pius V and then Pope Gregory XII as a result of the Council of Trent to oversee and promote missionary efforts in in the East and West Indies at that time as well as regulating the areas missions should be established to counteract the Reformation and Protestant influence in Europe. In 1599 Pope Clement VIII established the Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith and it was blended in with this congregation but it was shortlived. In 1622 Pope Gregory XV resurrected the original congregation for missionary endeavors with his Apostolic Constitution Inscrutabili Divinae on June 22nd. It remained that way until it was reformed and brought up to current standards with the present name by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1988.
This congregation regulates Religious and secular institutes, societies of apostolic life and third or tertiary orders also known as secular orders. Under the leadership of Spain's Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo as Prefect, this congregation oversees matters related to the establishment, general direction and suppression of the institutes as well as general discipline in accord with each respective order's rules and constitutions. It also addresses renewal and reform regarding cultural and contemporary circumstances plus open communications with principals of the orders and monitoring councils and conferences called by them.
This Sacred Congregation began on May 27, 1586 during the pontificate of Pope Sixtus V as the Congregation for Consultation of Regulars and was made official with his January 22, 1588 Apostolic Constitution Immensa. Pope Saint Pius X made it autonomous in 1908 changing the title to the Congregation of Religious and in 1967 Pope Paul VI changed the name to Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes. Finally, on June 28, 1988 in his wide-ranging reforms, Pope John Paul II gave it its present title and responsibilities.
This congregation is oversees the competence of all Catholic scholastic institutions and Catholic education from the primary level through secondary to higher education. Under Prefect Cardinal Pio Laghi, this office deals with issues of direction, discipline and the temporal administration of seminaries, specifically diocesan formation programs for priests and deacons, and coordination with religious institues and secular institutes for higher learning. The latter is attached to the second section of this congregation which supervises universities and scholastic institutes of higher learning and coordinates the establishment of Catholic centers on secular campuses such as the Newman Centers on American campuses. The secondary and primary level has its own office in the third section of this congregation which oversees education and studies and coordinates with episcopal conferences in all regions while working with civil authorities regarding matters of education. Cardinal Laghi is also responsible for overseeing the Pontifical Works for Priestly Vocations.
This congregation has its origins on November 4, 1915 when its functions were defined by Pope Benedict XV and further defined by Pope Pius XI during his pontificate and then Pope Pius XII expanded responsibilities both in 1941 and 1949. Pope Paul VI changed the name to its present title in 1967 and it was further defined by Pope John Paul II on June 28, 1988 combining the functions of other congregations condensed into this one.
The deployment of soldiers from Australia, New Zealand, and Britain occurred smoothly, although many of the soldiers were taken aback at the amount of destruction that took place in two weeks of violence by pro-Indonesian militias.
Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, invaded mainly Catholic East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. In August, the region held a Jakarta-proposed referendum to allow Timorese to choose either autonomy within Indonesia or full independence. After the pro-independence results were revealed, pro-Indonesia militias, armed and backed by Indonesia's military, went on a rampage, killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee the former Portugese colony.
Bishop Carlos Belo of Dili said on Sunday that he would return to his diocese, from which he had been forced to flee last week, after calm had returned and peacekeepers had deployed across the territory. Dozens of Catholic churches were burned and unknown number of priests and nuns were feared dead after anti-independence forces targeted them because of the Church's moral leadership in the island region.
Shortly after 8:30 a.m. this morning, the Pope's plane left Rome's Fiumicino airport and arrived after an hour and a half in Maribor, the second largest city of Slovenia, and the economic and cultural capital of the Slovenian south. After the welcoming ceremony, attended by President Milan Kucan, who has been the political leader of this Alpine nation of 2 million inhabitants since its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, the Pope went to the Betnava square, where the beatification ceremony took place.
In addition to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, the Mass was concelebrated by some 60 Bishops representing virtually all the Eastern Churches. About 250,000 pilgrims were present from all the Slovenian dioceses, as well as several neighboring nations.
During the homily, the Pope evoked the example of the newly beatified Bishop Slomsek, who was committed to the unity of Christians, the promotion of educational institutions and love for his country. An example from which Europe must draw lessons to insure a future free from conflicts and violence, the Holy Father said, repeating the same words he spoke in this country three years ago: "Sanctity is the only force than can change the world."
In his first statements to the press, the bishop gave thanks to his fellow bishops and to Pope John Paul II "for his prayers and intervention" and said: "I will keep being a bishop faithful to the Church and leading my people in the diocese of Tibu."
The bishop said that he was treated well, but strongly criticized kidnapping as "an evil that has no excuse, not even for political or so-called social reasons." He added, "My mission as Bishop of Tibu will continue as usual, because my task is evangelization and evangelization is a process that cannot stop because of violence or other difficulties." The bishop was reportedly released with a warning from the rebels that he leave the region.
On Saturday, the release of Bishop Quintero was suspended by the EPL, who accused the Colombian army of creating "an unstable situation" in the area. Francisco Caraballo, the EPL leader jailed at the Itagui penitentiary near the city of Medellin, said that the kidnapping of Bishop Quintero -- kidnapped for the second time in less that two years -- on August 15, near his diocese of Tibu, "was nothing personal against the bishop, but only a way to make an statement."
The alliance said that their goal is to counter the disproportionate influence of pro-abortion youth groups at the UN. "It is our intention to show UN delegates that radicals do not speak for very many young people at all," said co-founder Diana Kilarjian. "We realized after Cairo+5 that it was necessary to organize pro-life, pro-family youth more formally."
At the preparatory meetings for the conference marking the fifth anniversary of the Cairo population conference, Kilarjian noted that youth participation focused almost exclusively on sex and reproductive rights. While pro-abortion youth -- hand-picked, funded, and trained by UN agencies and non-governmental agencies -- receive wide-ranging access and latitude at UN conferences, pro-life youth said they are systematically excluded from the same meetings.
In the Cairo+5 meetings since August 1998, the radical "Youth Coalition reduced us to our sexual faculties, said alliance co-founder Anna Halpine. "Almost every mention of youth was connected to reproductive and sexual health and rights. Most youth of the world have much different and more important concerns," such as "the development of the whole person (including) the moral, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual as well as the physical dimensions."
Meanwhile in the same city, Jewish leaders on Sunday made public a letter from Cardinal John O'Connor of New York expressing sorrow for historic injustices by some Catholics against Jews.
Elie Wiesel, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, had the letter published in the Sunday New York Times at a cost of $99,000 after receiving permission from the cardinal. "He went very far and it's a great gesture of understanding and the quest for understanding," said Wiesel "For the prince of the Church to say the things he does, it's very strong."
"I ask this Yom Kippur that you understand my own abject sorrow for any member of the Catholic Church, high or low, who may have harmed you or your forebears in any way," the cardinal said in the letter dated September 8, just after undergoing surgery for a brain tumor.
Wiesel said the letter goes beyond past official statements of the Catholic Church and last year's statement from Pope John Paul II, who apologized for the errors and failures of some Catholics during the Holocaust. Archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling said the cardinal, in his letter, was referring to both Nazi atrocities and other anti-Semitic acts of the last 2,000 years.