Accusations of synod revisionism rejected
by Peter Stanford and Eleni Dimmler in Rome POPE John Paul has been joined this week by Cardinal Basil Hume in rejecting accusations, from dissident theologian Hans Kung amongst others, that the forthcoming extraordinary synod of bishops will "put the clock back" on the reforms of the second Vatican Council.
"This cannot be so", the Cardinal said, commenting on suggestions that the synod is an attempt on behalf of the Pope "to change the orientation given to the Church by the Council". Cardinal Hume was in Rome this week to preside at a meeting of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences.
He outlined the task of the synod as `to recapture some of the enthusiasm, idealism and unity" of the days of Vatican II, and "to see how far and with what success we have managed to put the teaching of the council into practice, and to point out for the people of God the surest way ahead".
The cardinal's comments came after a weekend when the purpose of the synod had been a matter for debate in Rome. Professor Hans Kung, the Swiss theologian, who had his licence to teach in a Catholic University withdrawn by the Vatican in 1979, launched a cutting attack on the "seven lean years" of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II. In the first instalment of a two-part article that appeared in several western newspapers, Hans Kung accused the Pope of launching a new inquisition.
"I am saddened and angered by what is happening in our Church in the 1980s after the hopes aroused in the 1960s by the conciliar explosion", he wrote. "People are no longer burned but they are psychologically and professionally annihilated when necessary".
Summing up what he considered to be the Pope's intention for the Church, Professor Kung went on: "Brakes must be applied to the council movement; internal reform of the Church must be arrested; ecumenical understanding with the oriental churches, with Protestants, with Anglicans, must be blocked; and dialogue with the modern world replaced by unilateral teaching authority".
In the second of a series of Sunday addresses which will continue until the extraordinary synod opens on November 25, Pope John Paul assured his congregation in St Peter's Square on Sunday that he was deeply committed to the teachings of Vatican 11. But he warned that since the conciliar principles were drawn up by human beings, they "can be imperfect and remain open to ever more precise formulation".
Thousands of pilgrims gathered in Bernini's great square, and listened attentively as the Pope told them that the Church's bishops must be "conscious in a special way of the indebtedness they assume towards the word of the Holy Spirit since it was they that translated the word of God into human language" at the Council.
Several important announcements concerning the workings of the synod, which will last for two weeks until December 8, were announced in Rome this week. The Pope has invited ten Protestant and Orthodox churches to send observers.
Pope John Paul has also named 20 papal delegates to the synod, including three noted conservatives — Cardinal Jean Marie Lustiger of Paris, Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, and Cardinal John Krol of Philadelphia. However, their presence has been balanced by the naming of several distinguished figures from Latin America, Cardinal Eugenio de Araujo Sales of Rio de Janeiro, Cardinal Aloisio Lorscheider of Fortaleza in Brazil and Bishop Antonio Quarracino of Avellaneda, president of the Latin American bishops' council.
Pope beatifies. martyr Jesuit
POPE John Paul has urged POPE John Paul has urged the world's young Catholics to follow the example of religious devotion set by a 17th century missionary who was hacked to death by natives tired of his constant preaching. Speaking at the Mass last Sunday in St Peter's Basilica fur the beatification of the missionary Diego Luis de San Vitores and of two other Spanish Jesuits, the Pope said young Catholics must contribute time and energy to the propagation of the Faith. "Young people who hear me or who receive this message," Pope John Paul said, "Open your hearts to the Lord who is knocking at the door." "Be generous like the young Diego who abandoned everything to become a pilgrim and missionary in far-off lands to pay witness to God's love for man." More than 5,000 people including thousands of pilgrims from Spain attended the Mass at which John Paul proclaimed Jesuits de San Vitores, Jose Maria Rubio Y Peralla and Francisco Garate "Blesseds" of the Catholic Church. De San Vitores was a Spanish Jesuit missionary who was killed in 1672 in the Marianas Islands of Mircunesia by natives he was trying to convert. The Pope also praised the Jesuit order for the large number of missionaries and educators it has given the Raman Catholic Church since the community was founded four centuries ago in Spain.