YEAR IN BRIEF
1986 — 'it was a very good year' as the Frank Sinatra song goes. Cristina Odone includes 01' Blue Eyes in her summing up of its major events month by month.
PERIPATETIC Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mother Teresa of Calcutta, opens a centre to cater for Aids victims in New York, despite loud protestations from some sections of the Big Apple. Down under, the Catholic bishops make waves with their anti-nuclear document, Work for a Just Peace. The US Embassy in Sydney, and members of Australia's Parliament, are quick to condem the working paper. Cardinal John O'Connor, Archbishop of New York, refuses to bury Mafia Godfather, "Big Paul" Castellano, because of Mr Castellano's alleged connections with the Cosa Nostra. Speaking of the syndicate: journalist Kitty Kelley is putting the wraps on her biography of 01' Blue Eyes himself — Sinatra.
THE month marks the downfall of two dictators: "Baby Doc" Duvalier flees Haiti after weeks of anti-government demonstrations render his life less than pleasant. A few days later, taking his cue from "Baby Doc", Philippines' President Ferdinand Marcos and his glossier half, Imelda, flee into exile from Manila. Always in the thick of things, Mgr Bruce Kent, Vice-Chairman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmarment, stands trial on the charge of being equipped (with wire snippers) to do criminal damage at RAF Sculthorpe, in Norfolk. The Pope braves the Indian subcontinent, where a climate of hostility greets him: several Hindu leaders organise protest demonstrations throughout the country, warrenting tight security to shroud the ten day papal visit.
"Octopus Dei" and "Holy Mafia" are among the nicknames the Italian weekly, L'Espresso, gives the Order of Opus Dei in an article which leads Italy's left-wing parliamentarians to call for an inquiry into the organisation's records and list of members. The Inland Revenue, after threatening to crack down on covenants, reaches a middle-ofthe-road decision with regards to its tax covenant reform: no ceiling will be placed on the percentage of parish income which may be covenanted. The Vatican gives signs of thawing in its stance on liberation theology during a three day meeting between the Pope and representatives of the Brazilian hierarchy.
WHILE the US Libya conflict keeps the world at the edge of its seat, the Pope calls for peace and respect for human life in an Easter message that condemns both terrorism and "reprisal". Ever-industrious Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger presents his new document on "Christ, Freedom and Liberation": class struggle is rejected, unfettered capitalism condemned, and mass unemployment attacked in the magnum opus. Pope John Paul II becomes the first Pope since Peter to set foot in a synagogue when he visits Rome's main synagogue. Jews, says the Pope, are Christians' "preferred and elder brothers".
May CARDINAL Miguel Obando Bravo of Managua does not mince words in denouncing the democratically — elected Sandinista Government of Nicaragua as "a tool of Soviet interest" that has "gagged and bound" the Catholic Church. Despite the gag, the Cardinal says this and more in a Washington Post interview. Following vociferous protest from Catholic organisations, two out of five GCSE examination boards decide to drop "direct" references • to birth control in biology classes. Birds and bees talk allowed, The Vatican is forced to attend an unappetising court room trial as the landlord to Rome's first-ever
McDonald's: the fast food hamburger joint is being sued by snooty couturier Valentino, who lives on the floor above the sizzling fries and Big Macs. The designer swears his customers are being kept away from his salon by the smell of cooking not by his prohibitive prices.
June STATE of Emergency is declared in South Africa and Bishop Desmond Tutu marks the tenth anniversary of Soweto with a Johannesburg sermon that urges sanctions. Catholic nuns and lay women attend the first-ever conference to focus on the ordination of women priests. The London meeting is sponsored by the St Joan International Alliance. An allblack panel issues a report, With You In Spirit?, which focuses on blacks and the Catholic Church in the Wesminster Diocese. The report concludes that blacks face the same discrimination within
the Church as they do in secular society, and urges Cardinal Hume to set up an all-black steering committee in the diocese.
Correspondence between Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury is published, revealing that women's ordination remains the big obstacle between the two Churches. General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile is rocked as the largest strike since the military takeover in 1973 erupted. Catholic bishops condemn the General's subsequent arrest of 15 opposition leaders of the National Assembly of Civil Society. Lord Mowbray leads Catholic peers in revolt against plans of an all-party II man advisory council to celebrate the 1688 Glorious Revolution in the summer of 1988.
While the Pope holidays at Castel Gandolfo, a man attacks his guards with a hatchet and is shot dead. Mgr James Horan, architect behind the Knock Airport success, dies in his sleep during a Pilgrimage to Lourdes. The Vatican begins its crackdown on American liberal theologians: Fr Charles Curran, a moral theologian teaching at Georgetown, Catholic University, is found neither "suitable nor eligible to exercise the function of Catholic theology. "On both sides of the Atlantic, murmurs of protest begin.
The Secretary General of Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, Fr Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, discloses that he has been tortured by police during his detention under the Emergency Law regulations. In the Pretoria Supreme Court the priest wins the right to refer his detention to trial — a landmark decision. Vatican victim two: Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle is asked by Rome to relinquish authority in five key pastoral areas. His Auxiliary, Bishop Donald Wuerl is elevated amidst protests. Prince Charles raises Anglican eyebrows when he attends a Catholic Mass at the tiny church of the Holy Family in Kirkby Stephen. Parish priest Fr Geoffrey Severs expresses his surprise and happiness at the royal visit.
IN Naples the crystals said to be the blood of a fourth century saint liquefy — punctual, as usual — before the eyes of the faithful and of Cardinal Corrado Ursi of Naples. An earthquake registering 7.5 on the Richter scale leaves 10,000 injured and 150,000 homeless in San Salvador. Representatives of every world religion meet in Assisi on October 27, at the invitation of the Pope who has called an International Day of Peace.
Vatican's document labels homosexuals as suffering from "a moral disorder": prepared by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and his Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, it elicits immediate and angry criticisms. US bishops meet for their conference amidst fears of schism: key issues to be discussed are Archbishop Hunthausen's castigation by Rome and the Vatican's views on homosexuality. The bishops also issue a pastoral on the economy against poverty. The Pope starts his globe-trotting trip to Australia and various Asian countries.
PRO-life groups slam the Government's latest consulation paper on test tube babies. South Africa's Government admits that it holds 256 children under 16 in its jails . AIDS advertisements swamp the media, and the Catholic Church expresses its doubts about the promotion of contraceptives as the means of prevention.