DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     May 26, 1998     vol. 9, no. 101

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In a meeting with a group of bishops from the United States, on Thursday, May 21, Pope John Paul II asked that the American prelates carefully explain to the faithful why the Church cannot ordain women.

          Speaking to bishops from the states of Ohio and Michigan, who were in Rome for their ad limina visits, the Pope said, "As bishops, you must explain to the faithful why the Church does not have authority to ordain women to the ministerial priesthood, at the same time making clear why this is not a question of the equality of persons or of their God-given rights."

          In a talk which centered on the role of the priesthood, the Holy Father emphasize that the vocation should never be seen in terms of worldly power. "It is not a career, nor does it mean belonging to a clerical caste," he said. Rather, the priesthood involves a life of dedicated service to the Christian community. He added that good priests must also be "men of prayer like Christ himself."

          While underlining the importance of the priest's own interior life, and calling for renewed devotion to the Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours, and private prayer, the Pope also asked American priests to take a special interest in the preservation of strong family life. He made special mention of "the assistance that priests can give to young couples as they prepare for the responsibilities of married life."

          A day earlier, Pope John Paul II had referred to the family as "the most precious and important resource for the present and the future of Italy."

          Speaking to the bishops of Italy, who were meeting in Rome for their 44th annual assembly, the Holy Father pointed to the many threats to strong family life today, and underlined the need for pastoral work to combat those dangers. He also called attention to the Italian constitution, which recognizes the family as the fundamental unit of society, based on marriage.

          Speaking to Italian pro-life workers the next day, the Pope said that the 3 million unborn Italian children killed by legal abortions in the past 20 years testify to the weakness of the country's current legal system. He argued that the legalization of some abortions has failed to stem the increase in clandestine abortions, and has contributed to "the degradation of public morality." And he called for international moves to recognize and codify the fundamental right to life.

          The Pope also pointed out that 40,000 babies have been saved from abortion because of the intervention of pro-lifer volunteers who offer help to pregnant women. He encouraged those workers to continue their efforts, and asked parishes and dioceses to support them.

          Returning to his theme of the previous day, the Holy Father concluded his address by stressing the need to protect the family, the institution of marriage, and the dignity of women.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

May 26, 1998       volume 9, no. 101


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