DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     October 9-11, 1998     vol. 9, no. 198

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Church theologians are working to set up "criteria of interpretation" for issues on which the Church might ask pardon for historical errors, according to one theologian involved in the process.

          Msgr. Bruno Forte, an Italian theologian, told a Vatican Radio audience that the International Theological Committee-- which met in Rome last week-- said that the Vatican-appointed group was setting up standards for the process of asking forgiveness, including the need to be faithful to the truth and to affirm the solidarity of living Christians with their forefathers, despite any criticism of the latter.

          Msgr. Forte has been appointed to chair a subcommittee of the International Theological Commission, which will prepare a "working document" on the questions involved in an appeal for pardon.

          Pope John Paul II has several times repeated his suggestion that the Church should prepare for the third Christian millennium by examining her pasts, identifying failures, and asking for pardon. Msgr. Forte emphasized the need to prepare adequately for this gesture, which he described as "prophetic."

          The Theological Commission addressed the practical difficulties involved with such a measure. Msgr. Forte alluded to two obvious difficulties: "In what sense can someone ask pardon for faults committed at another time, by other people? And how can we maintain the solidarity of all baptized people in Christ, across space and time, while at the same time we acknowledge that our predecessors might have committed these faults?"

          The answer to both questions, the theologian stressed, must be found in fidelity to the truth. The Church should recognize the errors of her children, as any mother does; and the children should recognize that they are bound together in the love of Christ.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
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October 9-11, 1998       volume 9, no. 198


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