February 5, 1998   vol 9, no. 26    


694 and counting...

WORLDWIDE NEWS & VIEWS with a Catholic slant



      VATICAN (CWN) -- At his weekly general audience today, Pope John Paul II clarified the Church teaching on inter-religious dialogue. He pointed out that the Catholic Church offers the single effective means of salvation, but other faiths can contain "salvific elements."

      In his seventh talk on the them of Christ, the sole Savior of mankind, the Pope taught that there are no paths to salvation apart from the one offered by Jesus Christ through the Church. "One cannot put other sources or other independent paths to salvation beside Christ," he cautioned.

      However, citing the teachings of Vatican II, the Pope added that other religions may offer "salvific elements, which are effective, but dependent on the grace of Christ." The Holy Spirit -- the fruit of Christ's sacrifice-- helps men along the road to salvation according to the designs of Providence. The Catholic Church, the Holy Father continued, is (as Vatican II taught) "the sacrament of intimate union with God and the unity of all humanity."

      The theme of Christ's central and irreplaceable role in the economy of salvation was explored by a panel of theologians from several different countries, whose work culminated in the release of a 1996 document, approved by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, affirming that all hope for salvation comes from Christ-- through his sacrifice on Calvary and his ministry in the Church.


     WASHINGTON, DC (CWN) - Two liberal Democrat Senators proposed a bill on Monday that would ban the production of human cells or tissues through cloning for ten years, except for research into fighting disease and infertility, which could result in the spontaneous abortion of thousands of embryonic, unborn children.

      "This legislation is carefully drafted to prohibit attempts to clone a human being, while not impeding other vital research involving the cloning of cells, tissues, DNA and animals," said Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, is the bill's co-sponsor. Republican leaders immediately criticized the bill because it allows the creation of embryos for laboratory research, an act banned under their own proposals.

      Current law bans federally funded research on human embryos, but not private work. The Feinstein-Kennedy proposal would allow such research up to the point of transferring cloned cells to a woman's uterus. "A temporary ban is unacceptable. You can't put a statute of limitations on right and wrong. Congress should enact a permanent ban on human cloning to keep this frightening idea the province of the mad scientists of science fiction," said House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

      The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) said it favored the Democratic plan. Benjamin Younger, ASRM executive director, said conservatives in Congress were mixing-up abortion politics and science in their attempt to ban some types of research that use practices that could lead to human cloning. "The very-conservatives in Congress feel that when you have a single embryo cell, you have a person and to do anything with that is abortion. The scientific community does not agree," Younger said.


     LIMA (CWN) - The Archdiocese of Lima, Peru announced last week that Catholic theologian Father Gustavo Gutierrez, one of the authors of Latin American liberation theology, is still under scrutiny by the Vatican Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and will need to make further corrections to his theological writings.

      According to the announcement, early in January, Cardinal Augusto Vargas Alzamora of Lima received a letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of the CDF "expressing concern for the delay in resolving" Father Gutierrez' clarifications of his theology. A copy of the letter addressed to Cardinal Vargas Alzamora was sent to Bishop Ramon Gurruchaga, head of the Commission of Faith at the Peruvian Bishops' Conference. The exact content of the letter has not been made public, but according to sources in the Archdiocese of Lima, the document reminds the bishops that the Gutierrez "case" cannot be considered closed or resolved, and asks them to make Peruvian Catholics aware of this in order to "avoid further confusion."

      The letter also says that the partial corrections made by Father Gutierrez to his main book "A Theology of Liberation" has not been sufficiently distributed and published, despite the agreement made with the Archdiocese of Lima in 1991. At the time, Father Gutierrez agreed that he would write a separate article containing corrections to the propositions in his books, especially "A Theology of Liberation" and "Historical Power of the Poor." According to the agreements, the wide distribution of the article would ensure a "new key for the interpretation" of Gutierrez' books. The article was written in 1991, but it is not well known among Gutierrez' readers.

      The CDF also said that Gutierrez has not yet resolved "the problem of his ecclesiology, which still requires further clarification," and also expressed "negative surprise" at Father Gutierrez' support for Sri Lankan theologian Father Tissa Balasuriya who was excommunicated by the Vatican last year for refusing to recant erroneous teachings. The penalty was lifted early this year after he signed the Creed of Pope Paul VI and agreed to change his writings.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT:To subscribe to Catholic World News Service, available daily by e-mail, click here .


"The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."

Proverbs 9: 10

For all other standard features, articles and columns, click on Archives

Click here to return to SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.

February 5, 1998 volume 9, no. 26          DAILY CATHOLIC

Textonly Vistors to date in 1998