Death of Pope Lucius III, 171st successor of Peter. His pontificate lasted four years during which time he put together a constitution, exhorting all those in authority to suppress heresy by force of arms, having himself been forced to take refuge in Verona because of riots which had broken out in his own territories prompted by heretics.
Death of Saint Sergius of Radonezh, Russian abbot who founded 40 monasteries throughout Russia who died at the age of 77.
Christopher Columbus sets sail for America on his second voyage, increasing his fleet substantially from the three ships Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria.
Vasco de Balboa reaches the Pacific Ocean, planting the seeds of the faith with the Indians on the west coast through his entourage which included a few Franciscan missionaries.
Death of Pope Clement VII, 219th successor of Peter who was embroiled in the backlash of the Protestant Reformation. He was unable to curb the bitter struggle between Catholics and the Lutherans of the Reform. He excommunicated Henry VIII of which the consequences was the persecution of Catholics and confiscation of lands and property in England.
Death of Cardinal John Ireland first Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul, Minnesota. It was Cardinal Ireland who authorized the building of the grand Basilica in St. Paul across from the Capitol Building.
Death of Saint Nilus of Rossano Italian Abbot in southern Italy.
Beheading of hundreds of Crusaders by Sultan Bajezid including the noble French Catholic Knights De Philippe of Bar, Odard de Chasseron, and Jean de Vienne.
Birth of Giovanni Montini in Brescia, Italy. He would go on to become a Cardinal and bring the Second Vatican Council to its conclusion as Pope Paul VI. It was Paul who allowed clerical dress other than the cassock to be worn. Sadly this has been abused by the religious where today there is little semblance to religious garb. Paul's papacy lasted 15 years.
Pope John XXIII issues his third encyclical Grata recordatio on the Rosary, prayer for the Church and missions. It also dealt with international and social problems.
Death of Pope Urban VII, 228th successor of Peter, whose pontificate lasted only 13 days. He was a virtuous and charitable man who undoubtedly would have aligned his government with the Tridentine decrees from the Council of Trent had he not died of malaria shortly after his election. He earmarked all his wealth for the works of charity.
Death of Saint Vincent de Paul. For more on this priest and religious founder, see THIS WEEKEND'S LITURGY
Death of Pope Innocent XII, 242nd successor of Peter who ordered priests to wear the cassock everyday and to make retreats at regular intervals. France's King Louis XIV renounced the Gallican Proposals and Innocent agreed to recognize the bishops nominated by the king. Innocent died at age 85 after a pontificate lasting nine years.
"The beatification of Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac is an autonomous decision of the Catholic Church and the coordination of Jewish communities in Croatia has no objection to this decision," said Ognjen Kraus, head of Croatia's Jewish community in a statement released to media. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Paris called for a delay in the beatification last week and the opening of confidential Vatican files to allow a further study of Cardinal Stepinac by a third party.
While the Vatican and Croatians hail the cardinal as a saintly man who saved the lives of countless Jews and Serbians from the Nazi-supported Ustashe government, some Serbians and Jews have questioned his support of an independent Croatia during that time. After the war, the cardinal was tried and imprisoned by the Communist Yugoslav government. The Vatican has said that while the cardinal supported an independent Croatia, as the Ustashe did, that does not automatically mean he supported their other aims, goals, and activities.
The letter-– entitled One Bread, One Body-– also spells out the very limited circumstances in which non-Catholics may receive Communion in a Catholic church.
The document follows the widely publicized decision of Ireland’s President Mary McAleese to receive communion at a service in Dublin’s Anglican (Episcopalian) Christ Church Cathedral. Irish newspapers published photographs of President McAleese (a practicing Catholic) receiving the chalice at the service. Shortly afterwards, the United States ambassador to Ireland, Jean Kennedy Smith, also received communion in a Dublin Anglican Cathedral.
Dublin’s Archbishop Desmond Connell attacked the President’s actions. He said partaking of communion in a Protestant church was "a sham." (The resulting uproar forced the archbishop to explain that he did not mean that Anglican Communion was cheap or shoddy, but that it was not what it appeared to be.) The archbishop said that, if the rules for intercommunion were changed because of public pressure, there could be "a blurring of the boundaries about what we believe about the Eucharist and about who we are."
Today’s document on the Eucharist-– preparation of which began in 1996-– ensures that there will be no such blurring.
The document points out that the Eucharist is the heart and summit of the Church’s life, but it says the "sacrificial" understanding of the Eucharist needs renewed emphasis, even among Catholics. It says that, in some Catholic circles, there appears to be a confusion between the celebration of Mass, on the one hand, and a communion service (or celebration of the Word and Communion), on the other.
Only a validly ordained priest can bring the Eucharist into being, so it is essential that the person who presides at the Eucharist should have been validly ordained by a bishop in the recognized apostolic succession. "The Catholic Church is unable to affirm this of those Christian communities rooted in the Reformation," say the bishops. "Nor can we affirm that they have retained the authentic and full reality of the Eucharistic mystery. That is why reciprocity in sacramental sharing is not possible with these communities, whereas the same difficulty does not arise with the Eastern Churches."
The document distinguishes between different degrees of worshippers at Mass. "At nearly every Mass, there are people in differing degrees of spiritual and visible communion with the Catholic Church. A typical congregation includes mainly Catholics able to receive Holy Communion, and so participate fully in the Eucharist.
"There are also others who know they may not receive Communion, such as • unbaptized people being prepared to be initiated into the Church, • baptized Christians on the way towards reception into full communion with the Church,•Catholics in new relationships established after one or both partners have suffered the trauma of breakdown in their marriages, • Catholics conscious of serious sin who know they need the Sacrament of Reconciliation before coming forward to Communion, • children who have not yet received first Holy Communion and • fellow Christians who do not feel ready or willing to come into full communion with the Catholic Church.
"In Catholic teaching, full communion of faith is made clearly visible above all at the celebration of Mass. The simple act of receiving Holy Communion is the highest expression of a living and visible unity of faith… "Full participation at a Catholic Mass through reception of Holy Communion normally implies full communion with the Catholic Church itself…For this reason, as Catholic Bishops in Britain and Ireland, we do not judge the celebration of the Eucharist at an ecumenical gathering or event to be a situation in which sacramental sharing might be considered as appropriate in our countries."
The bishops accept that, in certain circumstances, the non-Catholic partner in a mixed marriage may exceptionally be admitted to Communion in a Catholic Church. Non-Catholics might also be allowed to receive Communion if, for example, their child is to be baptized or to receive first Communion or Confirmation during Mass. The wife of an Anglican clergyman being ordained into the Catholic Church might also be allowed to receive Communion. But these examples were to be judged on an individual basis by the bishop or his delegate-– not by individual priests.
Other than that, the bishops say a non-Catholic should only be allowed to receive Communion in a Catholic Church where the person is:
Non-Catholics receiving Communion must:
The document says "priests and other Catholic ministers should issue neither general nor specific invitations to other Christians to receive Holy Communion," although those who ask to receive Communion should be treated kindly and sensitively, even when their request cannot be granted.
The bishops also called for the renewal of periods of Exposition, Benediction, and personal visits for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
Archbishop Sean Brady, the head of the Irish Catholic Church, said: "It should be emphasized that the Catholic Church’s teaching and norms in regard to the Eucharist apply throughout the world and are not the prerogative of any one part of it."
Initial reaction from Protestants to the document was negative, with the Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel and Ossory, Bishop John Neill, describing the letter as outdated, absolutist, ambiguous, and inconsistent.
Denis Halliday, coordinator of the UN's "oil for food" program in Iraq, resigned in protest against sanctions which he said "harm an innocent population." Interviewed yesterday by Vatican Radio, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto agreed that the embargo against Iraq should be lifted.
"The lifting of sanctions would be not only a gesture of solidarity, but the only real gesture of solidarity which Iraq needs," the papal representative said. He added that every nation should have the right "to enjoy the conditions of normal life."
The international embargo on Iraq, now in place of eight years, " does not help the countries that imposed it, and does not affect the government" of Iraq, according to Halliday-- an Irish diplomat who has served the UN for 30 years, and spent the past year in Iraq. But the sanctions have "definitely weakened the Iraqi population," he reported. He cited a sharp rise in infant mortality, and a spree of crime, which was previously almost unknown in Iraq.
Meanwhile, in an appeal to international financial institutions, Bishop Francois-Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan-- the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace-- has called for "decisive progress" to resolve the burden of external debt on developing countries.
In order to preserve the hopes of people in impoverished countries, the archbishop said, world leaders must take action now, without delay. His pleas was issued as the governors of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund prepare for their annual meeting in Washington next week.
Archbishop Van Thuan paid tribute to the lenders who had already taken action to relieve the debt burden, but added that the same steps "should be adopted for the entire world, more rapidly and in the most flexible manner." He emphasized that the question of international debt "cannot be postponed any longer," and urged the need for a solution in time for the Jubilee Year. He cited the words of Pope John Paul II, in Tertio Millennio Adveniente, in suggesting that the Jubilee could be "a favorable time" to consider "an important reduction, if not the complete erasure" of international debts.
The Italian press, which generally takes a discreet approach to the Pope's meetings with AIDS sufferers, did take note that the Holy Father embraced several people who were known to be HIV-positive. Reporters pointed out that this was not the first such encounter: one of the photos featured most prominently in Italian papers during the reign of John Paul II has been the picture of the Pope kissing a baby who was suffering from AIDS in a hospital ward in San Francisco.
Rosaria Iarpino, a spokesman for the AIDS group, told reporters, "We did not expect such a warm welcome; he was just like a real father."
The group had asked Pope John Paul to urge more government action to protect AIDS sufferers from discrimination. They also called for action to ensure that HIV-positive individuals could remain in the workforce.
The Pope in his turn asked the AIDS patients to "feel Jesus at your side, and through your hope bear witness to the life-giving power of his Cross."