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MONDAY      October 12, 1998      SECTION TWO       vol 9, no. 199

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Events Today in Church History

     Today is the 206th anniversary of Congress officially recognizing and honoring the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus who was so instrumental in bringing the Catholic faith to the new world with the missionaries he brought with him. Besides Columbus Day, there are other pertinent events throughout the centuries that are memorable in Church history today. Click on MILLENNIUM MILESTONES AND MEMORIES

Historical Events in Church Annals for October 12:

Columbus Day

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant

provided by Catholic World News Service



      VATICAN ( -- Speaking to a group of bishops from the United States who were making their ad limina visit today, Pope John Paul II said that reforms within the Church-- particularly the liturgical reforms begun by Vatican II-- must be anchored in tradition. He said that theological training should be similarly grounded in "sufficient familiarity with the patristic tradition."

      The Holy Father was meeting with bishops from the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. He said that misunderstandings about "the true nature of the liturgy" have given rise to "deviations, which lead to abuses, polarization, and sometimes even grave scandals."

      The challenge of liturgical reform, the Pope said, is to find a "point of equilibrium" among the tensions within the liturgy-- which is, at the same time, "local and universal, temporal and eternal, horizontal and vertical, subjective and objective." The answer to that challenge, he continued, can be found in "returning more deeply into the dimension of contemplative adoration."

      The fundamental dispositions of the faithful participating in the liturgy, he said, must be "faith, reverence, and adoration." So while he encouraged "active" and "conscious" participation by the laity, he cautioned that their demeanor should include "silence," "calm," and "listening." There is no need for constant noise and action in the liturgy, he said; nor is there a need "to make explicit what is implicit."

      The Pope emphasized the importance of liturgical guidelines, and the responsibility of the priest in his representation of Jesus Christ. "The priest--who is the servant of the liturgy, not its inventor or producer-- has a special responsibility in this respect," he stressed.

      The Vatican Council, the Pope continued, had based its plans for liturgical reform on the understanding that it would be guided by Catholic tradition. The teachings of the Council involve a return to patristic sources, to the words of Scripture, and to theological and moral traditions. The same sources, he said, should-- along with the Catechism of the Catholic Church-- provide much of the material for homilies.

      Afterwards, Pope John Paul II issued a statement condemning every form of "exploitation of workers," and urged Catholics to work "with greater clarity and determination" to ease the plight of immigrants.

      The Pope's statement was delivered to participants in an international conference on migrants and immigrants, organized by the Pontifical Council for Migrants.

      The problem of migration is a complex one, the Pope acknowledged. Countries which have applied more stringent controls on immigration have found themselves flooded with illegal entries, who are often forced to live in "difficult conditions" precisely because of their illegal status.

      The factors contributing to emigration are also diverse, including warfare and persecution as well as economic necessity and social disruptions of various kinds. The Pope also mentioned discrimination, "irrational industrialization" and "galloping corruption" as trends which accelerate the desire to leave one's native country. He called for "rapid action" to correct the economic tendencies which allow powerful individuals to manipulate the marketplaces of less developed countries.

      One clearly negative factor in the process of economic globalization, the Pope continued, is "the system of production based on the logic of exploitation of workers." He expressed his fears that workers in the least developed countries could be "reduced to the condition of new 'serfs of the world.'" He lamented that "the human dimension of work is nearly neglected" in this process of exploitation.


      WASHINGTON, DC ( - The US Senate passed a measure on Friday that would require the president to take action against countries that engage in a pattern of religious persecution.

      The Senate bill, similar to a bill already passed by the House, was approved 98-0. The measure creates a federal office responsible for monitoring treatment of believers in certain countries, and then requires the president to choose from a list of options to take against the countries, unless it is not in the national interests of the United States.

      "Our purpose is not to punish any country," said Sen. Don Nickles, R-Oklahoma, the bill's sponsor. "Our goal is to change behavior." Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, added: "We have seen worldwide unspeakable religious persecution. We have seen Catholic clerics mistreated and tortured in China, we have seen Christians sold into slavery in the Sudan, we have seen the risk of the death penalty in Egypt and in Saudi Arabia (for) those of the Islam faith who seek to convert to Christianity."

      Under the bill, a 10-member commission appointed by Congress and the president would investigate incidents of suspected religious persecution and make policy recommendations. Sanctions available to the president under the bill include: public condemnation; the cancellation of scientific or cultural exchanges; cancellation of state visits; the withdrawal, limitation or suspension of some forms of US aid; directing the US members of international financial institutions to vote against loans benefiting countries engaging in religious persecution; and other financial penalties.


      LISBON ( - The winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for literature criticized the Vatican on Friday for its condemnation of his award.

      Jose Saramago, the first Nobel laureate for literature from Portugal and a committed Communist, told a news conference that he applauded the Swedish Academy for not letting his beliefs become an obstacle. "But if the Pope were on the jury they wouldn't have given me anything," he said. The 75-year-old Saramago's 1991 book "The Gospel According to Jesus Christ" was condemned by the Church as blasphemous and was censored by the Portuguese government.

      On Thursday, L'Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper, called the selection of Saramago as the 1998 laureate "yet another ideologically slanted award." Saramago replied, "The Vatican is easily scandalized, especially by people from outside. They should just focus on their prayers and leave people in peace. I respect those who believe but I have no respect for the institution."


      MEXICO CITY ( - Bishop Arturo Lona Reyes of Tehuantepec, Mexico refused to resign from his diocese as specified by Catholic canon law this week, saying the request for his resignation stems from his beliefs in Liberation theology.

      Bishop Lona Reyes said that Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Justo Mullor called him to Mexico City and asked him to submit his resignation from the diocese he has served for 27 years as required by canon law upon reaching 75 years old. The bishop said the request was politically motivated. In 1986, Bishop Lona Reyes was summoned to the Vatican to answer an accusation by then-papal nuncio Archbishop Jeronimo Prigione, who said Bishop Lona Reyes had not submitted official reports since 1971.

      Lona Reyes said Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Prigione tried to replace all of Mexico's bishops who support Liberation Theology, which advocates economic and political freedom to ensure spiritual freedom, including 86 out of 100 Mexican bishops. "I have been putting up with humiliating behavior from these people for 27 years, then they suddenly requested my resignation, but I did not agree. I will not resign. It would be like betraying my people, the priests, and nuns, the women, men, young people, and children," he said.

      Archbishop-emeritus Bartolome Carrasco of Oaxaca called on all of Mexico's bishops to support Bishop Lona Reyes in his fight to remain. Archbishop Carrasco said the pressure exerted on Bishop Lona Reyes represented an attempt to turn back the clock to the times when the Church was a purely hierarchical institution with no participation.

For more headlines and articles, we suggest you go to the Catholic World News site. CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.


"If a son ceases to hear instruction, he wanders from the words of knowledge."

Proverbs 19: 27

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October 12, 1998 volume 9, no. 199   DAILY CATHOLIC