VATICAN CITY—The Pope has called on North American bishops to avoid the "clericalising of the laity and a laicising of the priesthood".
Bishops from the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska met the Pope during their ad limina visit earlier this month. Speaking on October 9, the Holy Father urged the bishops to be radically faithful to the Church's doctrine and to "avoid onedimensional and unilateral interpretations" of the Second Vatican Council.
He said: "The liturgy, like the Church, is intended to be hierarchical and polyphonic, respecting the different roles assigned by Christ and allowing all the different voices to blend in one great hymn of praise."—(L'Osservatore Romano)
VATICAN CITY—The Pope has appointed a fellow Pole as the highest Canon Law judge.
Archbishop Zenon Grocholewski becomes the new prefect of the Apostolic Sepia:ma, the highest court of appeal in the Catholic Church.—(KNA) VATICAN CITY—Croatia should be welcomed into the European Union, Pope John Paul H told the country's new 'ambassador to the Vatican.
During a ceremony on October 12, the Pope said he had seen Croatia's democratic progress at first hand during his pastoral visit there earlier this month.
"With the fall of Communist totalitarianism, your country and the other nations of Central and Eastern Europe are no longer separated from the great family of European nations." he said.—(CNS) VATICAN CITY—Prospects of a papal visit to Romania recived a setback this week because of latent tension between the Vatican and The Romanian Patriarchate.
Relations improved greatly when the head of The Romanian Orthodox Church attended Mass in Bucharest recently. but Cardinal Cassidy, head of the Pontificia] Council for Christian Unity, said that The Holy Father can only visit places where "there are no tensions between the Orthodox Church and ours ."—(ZEN/7)
VATICAN CITY—The International Theologian Commission will meet at the end of the month to decide whether the Church should apologise for the persecution of non-Catholics during the Inquisition.
Prior to the meeting, Bishop Bruno Forte, a member of the commission. gave a glimpse of what is to come. He told Vatican Radio: "The Church feels, as any mother does, that the sins committed by her children are her own, especially the consequences of their sins."—(ZEN/7)
VATICAN CITY—The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano has criticised the award of this year's Nobel Prize for Literature to the atheist Portuguese novelist Jose Saramago, calling it "yet another ideologically slanted award".
Saramago first came to prominence in 1982, with a novel in which young lovers flee the Inquisition. The paper described Saramago as "an unreconstructed communist".
Although former Portuguese President Mario Soares welcomed the award, Saramago has not always been popular in his own country. His earlier novel The Gospel According to Jesus Christ was criticised by the Portuguese government for being offensive to Catholics. It portrayed Christ in a relationship with Mary Magdalene, trying to avoid crucifixion.
VATICAN CITY—Vatican Radio celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Ethiopian service with a Mass broadcast to almost 25 million listeners.
Cardinal Paulos Tzadua, Emeritus Archbishop of Addis Ababa, presided at the Mass held in the Chapel of the Annunciation in Rome. The liturgy was in Ge'ez, the ancient Ethiopian liturgical language.
Since the sixties the programme's official language has been Amharic, the main language used by Christians in Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is listened to widely by both Catholics and Oriental Orthodox.—(L'Osservatore Romano)
ROME—A former East German spy has claimed that a German Benedictine spied for him in the Vatican during the Cold War.
Markus Wolf, the ex-chief of the Stasi secret police, alleged that the spy was called "Brammer" or "Brammert" and worked in a Vatican office.
German Catholics identified the "spy" as the Benedictine Fr Eugen Brammerz, who worked with the German edition of the Vatican Newspaper. L'Osservatore Romano, until his death in 1987 at the age of 71.—(CNS)
RIDDES, Switzerland—Members of the Priestly Society of St Pius X, which is in schism with the Catholic Church, have dedicated a new church in the Diocese of Sion, Switzerland.
After more than 20 years of bargaining with local authorities for building permits. Lefebvrist priests dedicated the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on October 10.
The new church, with three priests, is on the border of the villages of Riddes and Saxon, in a valley surrounded by the Swiss Alps.
Lefebvrists, followers of the late, excommunicated French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, discard many teachings of the Second Vatican Council. Archbishop Lefebvre, who died in 1991, was excommunicated ten years ago by Pope John Paul II.
Officials of the Vatican's Ecclesia Del commission, which helps followers of the late archbishop to return to full communion with the Catholic Church, said that members of the Priestly Society "are suspended but not automatically excommunicated". Their ordinations are considered "valid but illicit".—(CNS) MORECOMBE—A relief by Eric Gill, the celebrated and controversial Catholic sculptor, went missing from a Lancashire hotel last week.
Odysseus Welcomed from the Sea by Nausicaa, which weighs six tons and measures 16ft by 10ft, is thought to be worth more than £1.5 minion.
The relief, which had been in12 pieces after being returned from an exhibition in London, had been temporarily stored in the ground floor of the Midland Hotel in Morecambe as it awaited reassembly.
The relief fresco had been stored in the hotel since April, but the manager had refused to rehang it on the grounds that it was a threat to safety. The sculpture by Gill, who had incestuous relations with his daughter and sister, had also been deemed by some as pornographic.
Police are searching galleries and auction houses in an attempt to relocate the relief.
FORT WILLIAM—The National Conference of Priests and Deacons of Scotland said that many priests feel "guilt and inadequacy" over the lack of new priests at the end of its annual conference in Fort William.
The Conference spoke of "disorientation and bewilderment" at the decline in Church-going and in vocations.
"Every diocese believes that there is a shortage of priests," according to a statement prepared by more than 40 priests representing every deanery in Scotland.
The conference identified a new pastoral situation which required "recognition and support at a personal, interpersonal and structural level" and pledged itself to work together with the Bishops' Conference of Scotland to find practical pastoral solutions to dwindling numbers of priests.
The conference echoed many of the themes discussed at the meeting of the National Conference of Priests for English and Welsh clergy held in September.
AMPLEFORTH—The headmaster of Ampleforth College has criticised Catholic parents who send their children to non-Catholic schools.
Fr Leo Chamberlain claimed that Catholic parents were guilty of a "shallow sentimental approach to the Church" and attributed the decline in loyalty to Catholic schools as the result of "secularising forces in our society".
Fr Chamberlain also criticised the standard of religious education in Anglican schools. "Rare is the Anglican school that has all its pupils in chapel on Sunday," he wrote in The Tablet.
Meanwhile, Edward Stoutton, the exAmpleforth pupil and presenter of the BBC television series on Catholicisim The Absolute Truth, has opted to send his son to Eton rather than to a Catholic school.
Catholic independent schools have declined by almost a third in the last 15 years.
LOS ANGELES—A priest attempts to remove a protestor from the site of the new Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in downtown LA. The Catholic Worker movement opposes the project on environmental grounds.— (CNS/Reuters) MANCHESTER—Father Denis Maher, parish priest of St Paul's Church in Hyde, Tarneside, has spoken of his great discomfort at having to witness the exhumation of an elderly widow as part of a local murder inquiry.
Fr Maher said the "terribly upsetting" exhumation of close friend Marie Quinn, who died aged 67, was a "violation" of something very sacred.
Mrs Quinn is the sixth woman in the area to be exhumed as the police investigate the deaths of 28 patients who attended the surgery run by Harold Shipman, 52.
NORTHAMPTON—Archbishop Pablo Puente, the Apostolic Nuncio, celebrated a special Mass to mark completion of the reordering and renovation work at the Cathedral of Our Lady and St Thomas.
Bishop Leo McCartie said: "Previously, some of the priests were behind me when I presided over diocesan occasions. Now everyone is in front, and we are able to give a sign of unity of priests and bishop."
The £220,000 renovations were carried out after consultation with English Heritage and the Historic Churches Commission.
LONDON—The governors of St George's School, Maida Vale, in central London, which failed its Ofsted inspection in May and faces closure if it does not show significant improvements within two years, have unveiled a plan to save the school.
Produced with the help of Westminster Council's Special Measures Task Force. the plan sets targets for improvements in pupil behaviour and the quality of teaching.
Earlier this month The Catholic Herald revealed that Frances Lawrence. whose headmaster husband Philip was killed in an attack outside the school in 1995, had been called in to advise staff on how to improve standards.
NEW YORK—The Holy See's permanent observer at the UN stressed the importance of family in his address to the UN General Assembly.
Archbishop Renato Martino, speaking on the theme of social development, said that a family unit was the best environment for the social and spiritual growth of individuals, especially the elderly, the young and the disabled.
He said that the family is "the primary bulwark against the vicissitudes of the world."—(ZENIT) WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Clinton is expected to sign a Bill creating a federal office to monitor religious persecution after the Senate voted unanimously to approve it.
The Bill also sets out a policy for sanctions against countries that violate religious rights.
The Senate voted on October 9 to approve a compromise version of the Freedom From Religious Persecution Act.
The US Catholic Bishops' Conference has backed the legislation and contributed to its final form.—(CNS)
NEW YORK—Dorothy Day. the Catholic Worker leader who died in 1980. should not be discounted as a candidate for sainthood because she had an abortion, said Cardinal John O'Connor of New York.
In an interview on October 9, he said that Day's repentence for the abortion may have been the start of her conversion. Her canonisation would "speak to a great number of women and others and remind them that God is very merciful," he said.
Dorothy Day was a suffragette and Marxist before her conversion to Catholicism. She devoted herself to the cause of New York's poor following first-hand experience of the Great Depression.—(CNS) WASHINGTON D.C.—The US Bishops' Conference last week issued two documents on the role of women in the Church. urging women to take a leading role in society and Church life but reiterating the ban on women's ordination.
CHEYENNE, Wyoming—The Bishop of Cheyenne this week condemned the fatal beating of a young gay man and urged Catholics to pray for the victim, his family and the two men charged with his murder.
Matthew Shepard, 21, is believed to have been murdered because of his homosexuality. The savageness of his death caused shock throughout the US.
Bishop Joseph H. Hart said: "I am sure that the Catholics of Wyoming find this heinous crime as repugnant as I do in view of its obvious clash with the message of the Lord."
Mr Shepard was beaten, robbed and left to die tied to a fence post in nearfreezing temperatures.—(CNS) LIMA—The Peruvian Bishops' Conference has issued a statement asking countrymen to "support with a spirit of unity the latest peace efforts" of the Peruvian government to end border hostilities with Ecuador.
Relations between Peru and Ecuador have been tense for over 50 years and led to a spiralling arms race. Both Peruvian and Ecuadorian congresses are set to vote on whether to give four guarantor countries—Brazil, Argentina. Chile and the US—the right to propose a solution that must be accepted by both sides.
The Peruvian bishops said: "Great steps have been made and this is the time to sign a definitive peace.
"Peru and Ecuador are two brother nations that have common historical roots and are united by strong ethnic, geographic and cultural links. with the Catholic faith being our stronger and deeper bond."—(CWN) NEW YORK—Police had to separate opposing crowds of demonstrators at the launch of the new Broadway play about a homosexual Jesus who has sex with Judas.
Around 2.000 Catholics and other Christians gathered in Manhattan last Tuesday to protest at the play Corpus Christi by Terrence McNally, which follows a Christ-like figure named Joshua from his first homosexual experience in a lavatory in 1950s Texas to his crucifixion as the "King of Queers".
A 300-strong counter-demonstration, featuring many celebrities, supported the play.
The play has been badly received by critics. "The excitement stops right after the metal detectors", wrote the critic of The New York Times.
GUATEMALA CITY—A Guatemalan priest accused of murdering Bishop Juan Gerardi, a leading human rights campaigner, protested his innocence last week.
Fr Mario Orantes told reporters as he waited outside court: "I'm innocent. I repeat: I did not see or hear anything."
The prosecution alleges that Fr Orantes attacked Bishop Gerardi with his German Shepherd dog in April. then bludgeoned him to death.
Human rights groups believe that the bishop's death was related to a damning report he published two days before his death that implicated the military in assassinations during the country's 36year civil war.
A recent post-mortem on Gerardi's exhumed body appeared to contradict the prosecution's case.
The priest's lawyers said: "There is no concrete evidence against Fr Orantes. We hope the judge frees him."—(CNS)
JERUSALEM—Experts fear that Christ's grave in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is close to collapse.
A tiny chapel that covers the grave is deteriorating rapidly. The chapel, which stands inside the church, has 190-yearold foundations. They support two domes and a set of pillars.
Repairs are being delayed because the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, who must approve reconstruction work, is ill.—(KNA)
NEW DELHI—Indian Christians marched for religious freedom through the capital city.
Almost 4,000 people joined the protest which called for better social conditions for India's lower castes and for an end to religious discrimination.
A memo was delivered to the Indian government demanding justice and equal rights.
Senior figures in the Indian Church have expressed concern at the increasing number of attacks on Christians and Church property.— (KNA) MANILA—Cardinal Jaime Sin's condition has stabilised after surgery at a Manila hospital.
A spokesman for Manila Archdiocese said that the cardinal had undergone an abdominal operation and was recovering well.
He said Cardinal Sin hoped to be out of hospital within a few days. The 70year-old cardinal is famous for his role in the toppling of President Marcos's regime in 1986.—(KNA) LAHORE—Pakistan's bishops denounced the passage of a bill by the National Assembly to "Islamicise" Pakistan's constitution.
The Bishops' Commission for Justice and Peace said the proposed constitutional amendment was "bound to cause a concentration of power opposite to the principles of democratic governance". They urged the Senate to "say no to the politics of convenience."—(CNS)
DHAKA—Bishop Paulinus Costa of the Diocese of Rajshahi said that torrential floods in Bangladesh had killed almost 900 people and thousands of livestock.
He said that clean water supplies were the most urgent priority for the country's population of 120 million.— (Kathpress)
DIM, East Timor—Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Carlos Belo called for calm as protest marchers paralysed the streets of East Timor's capital city, Dili.
Indonesia's state news agency Antara reported that the bishop had "no objections" to the protests, called to oust the city's Indonesian-appointed governor.
Bishop Belo warned the marchers not to turn violent or "ruin economic activities" in the former Portuguese colony invaded by Indonesia in 1976.
Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets demanding the resignation of Governor Jose Osorio Abilio Soares after he threatened the territory's 15,000 civil servants with the sack if they did not endorse Indonesia's proposals for autonomy. Indonesia has offered East Timor limited autonomy, but not outright independence. East Timorese guerrillas say nothing but full independence is acceptable.
BEUING—A Chinese bishop said he and his fellow Catholics were waiting "in full fidelity and prayer" for the day when Pope John Paul II can visit China.
Bishop Matthias Duan Yinming of Wanhsien said: "The Pope has shown that he loves the Chinese Church very much, giving it maximum attention. For this reason we hope with all our hearts that one day he can come to our country."
The 90-year-old bishop was speaking from China to Fides, the news agency for the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelisation of the Peoples.
KINSHASA—The bishops of the unsettled Kivu region of former Zaire said that the country risks becoming "the battleground of many nations and powers".
The bishops of six dioceses, including war-tom Goma and Bukavu, condemned the "murders, massacres, destruction and forced recruitment of minors". They called on the nations involved in the conflict to promote peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo and for an end to the recent wave of violence.--(ZENfT)