The Church Around the World

The Church Around the World

Vatican vetoes Sydney heroin injecting room

Action follows Cardinal Clancy's request for ruling

Last August it was reported that the Sisters of Charity Health Service was to establish a drug injecting facility at King's Cross, Sydney. At the time the Catholic Weekly quoted the spokesman for the Archdiocese, Fr Brian Lucas, as saying this move was "not inconsistent with Catholic moral teaching."

A number of other prominent Catholics also expressed support for the idea, including Sr Margaret Cassidy, President of the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes, who said the Sisters of Charity were taking positive action to redress the suffering of broken lives.

However, the proposal was also strongly criticised from a number of quarters as against Catholic teaching, in co-operating with moral evil, and Cardinal Clancy subsequently referred the matter to Rome for a ruling. This emerged on 28 October during an interview with the Cardinal on the ABC Radio program 'PM.'

During the course of the interview, it was made clear that it was Cardinal Clancy, not the Holy See, who had taken the initiative on the matter. As the Cardinal put it: "I sought an authoritative determination of what is a very difficult question."

The Cardinal explained to the interviewer, who was attempting to put an 'inquisitorial' slant to proceedings, that the matter was "a question of theology, or morality, of the Church's teaching, and the authoritative body to address these issues is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."

Simultaneously, in a press release dated 28 October, Archbishop George Pell of Melbourne expressed support for the Vatican prohibition on Catholic participation in "supervised injecting rooms," but made clear he had played no role as regards the Sydney situation. However, he indicated that he had been in contact with the new State Premier of Victoria, whose Labor Party was proposing to set up 'safe' drug injection facilities, and emphasised that "no Catholic agencies in Melbourne will be taking part in such an initative."

Chicago's Cardinal George addresses homosexuals

Calls for observance of Church teaching

Media reports of the appearance of Cardinal Francis George of Chicago at the recent conference of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian & Gay Ministries failed to report his "surprising" intervention at the beginning of the conference, according to a national Catholic newspaper.

The Wanderer newspaper reported this week that the Cardinal gave an unscheduled address at the NACDLGM conference opening. For his decision not to cancel the conference, as had been requested by many faithful Catholics, the Cardinal received a standing ovation as he approached the microphone. But the enthusiasm was severely dampened as he presented an orthodox message calling the organisation to submit to the Church's teaching against homosexual sex.

Cardinal George said that the conference "could not be to criticise or mount a movement against" the Vatican's teaching, nor would it be "a gathering place for Dignity and others who are publicly opposed to Church teaching." He further stated that the "Church's teaching, the teaching of Jesus Christ, from Divine Revelation [is that] the gift of human sexuality is oriented toward uniting a man and woman in marriage for life, for their own unity in Christ and for the giving of new life to children."

"That teaching," he said, "will not change because it cannot change, based as it is in faith and in human nature itself. To deny that the power of God's grace enables homosexuals to live chastely is to deny, effectively, that Jesus has risen from the dead."

The Cardinal warned the NACDLGM members that the "organisation is at a crossroads. You are without an episcopal moderator; when you ask for another, you will have to explain who you are and make clear your purpose and your goals in the Church."

Catholic World News

Synod of Europe concludes

Pope's 'men' dominate elections for post- synodal council

Hopes among media commentators and the Church's liberals that Cardinal Carlo Martini of Milan might succeed John Paul II as Pope were dampened following the close of the Synod of Europe late in October.

One of the final actions of the Synod Fathers was the election of the 14 members of a post-synodal council which will assist the Holy Father in drawing up the Apostolic Exhortation that follows all Church synods.

In a strong indication of the mind of the Church in Europe as it enters the new millennium and looks ahead to the next papacy, the Synod Fathers elected men who are close to the present Pope as well as a strong contingent from Eastern Europe.

Cardinal Martini fared badly in the voting for the 14 member Council, while Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Genoa, generally considered a conservative, polled strongly.

In all, there were 41 cardinals at the Synod, almost all of them from Western Europe where Cardinal Martini might have been expected to have his strongest support. The lack of support for the Cardinal was also evident at the Synod's final press conference where it was pointed out that there was little backing for the proposal floated by Cardinal Martini that an assembly of bishops with decision-making powers might be held sometime in the future.

In addition to Cardinal Tettamanzi, other close papal allies elected to the council included Cardinal Christoph Schšnborn of Vienna, Prague's Cardinal Miloslav Vlk and Archbishop Jozef Zycinski of Lublin, Poland.

'The Irish Catholic'

Fraternity of St Peter

Foundation in Melbourne approved

On 26 October 1999, the Fraternity of St Peter, whose priests celebrate the traditional Latin Mass, was formally invited into the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Father John Rizzo of the Fraternity met with Bishop Denis Hart, Vicar General, and received word that the Fraternity would be allowed to come to Melbourne on 1 March 2000.

Present plans call for Father Rizzo to arrive by then. Three months later, a newly ordained priest, a native of Sydney, would come to assist Father Rizzo in the establishment of a Latin Mass community.

Eucharistic abuse concerns Vatican

Improper reception on the increase

Archbishop Julian Herranz, who heads the Vatican agency charged with the implementation of Canon Law, has indicated a growing concern with the improper reception of the Eucharist.

Archbishop Herranz, the president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, said that the abuse of the Eucharist seems to be becoming more and more common among the world's Catholics, and he pointed to the sharp decline in the practice of sacramental Confession.

The Archbishop pointed out that anyone who is guilty of a grave sin "must be purified of that sin through the Sacrament of Reconciliation" before approaching the Eucharist. To receive the Eucharist without having obtained absolution, he said, would constitute a sacrilege and thus would compound the original sin.

Catholic World News

Cardinal O'Connor returns to pulpit

Following treatment for a brain tumour

For the first time in three weeks, Cardinal John O'Connor gave his Sunday homily on 24 October in St Patrick's Cathedral in a slow, yet steady voice, marked by his typical Irish humour.

The effects of radiation therapy were obvious as he joked about his loss of hair: "Some people tell me my hair may grow back," he said. And added, "Red and curly, perhaps?"

Cardinal O'Connor, who will turn 80 in January, had been hospitalised recently for radiation therapy being applied for a small brain tumour, which was removed in September.

He was received with a thunderous ovation from those attending Mass as he continued his reflections on his own condition. "Maybe I'll stick with the Yul Brynner look ...", he said with a smile, adding, "you know, Our Lord never said that hair had anything to do with getting to heaven."

Joe Zwilling, spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, said that "Given his age ... and given the relatively high doses of radiation that he has received, he's going to experience a little bit lower energy level. He was actually overjoyed to be able to preach at the Mass today."

Zenit News Service

East Timor seminary reopens

Seminarians return to Dili

East Timorese seminarians, evacuated to Kupang in West Timor amid the post-referendum atrocities in their homeland, have returned to Dili to continue their studies. Some 100 students of Dili's Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Minor Seminary, accompanied by seminary staff, returned to the East Timor capital on 25 September.

Father Jovito Rego de Jesus Araujo, prefect of the minor seminary, told reporters that the seminary facilities are intact, so that school activities would be able to resume. He said the seminary currently has 200 students and 30 teachers.

Bishop Matthys addresses RE co-ordinators

Proclaim, teach and pass on the Catholic Faith

Bishop Luc Matthys, recently appointed to Armidale, NSW, addressed a meeting of religious education coordinators in his diocese. He reminded them they were a part of the Bishop's "extended team of proclaiming, teaching and passing on the Catholic Faith." Teachers did not "work in isolation, nor on [their] own authority," he emphasised.

Less important than any particular catechetical method, he said, was the focal point of "Christian anthropology." This means that we are dealing with people subject to Original Sin, who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ and reborn as children of God through baptism. To all the human elements, "must be added the note of redemption."

Bishop Matthys concluded his address by encouraging the RE coordinators "to keep on putting your heart and soul and efforts into proclaiming, teaching and passing on the Catholic Faith ...".

'Catholic Viewpoint' (Armidale)

Fulton Sheen Society formed in WA

Inaugural function in December

The Fulton J. Sheen Society of Perth WA Inc was formed early in 1999 and incorporated in August. It is due to hold its Inaugural memorial Lecture on 9 December 1999, that date being the 20th anniversary of Archbishop Sheen's death.

Archbishop Barry Hickey will celebrate a memorial Mass and then deliver the lecture at St Mary's Parish Centre, Leederville, WA.

Inquiries about the Society should be directed to Daniel Tobin at 30 George Road, Lesmurdie, WA 6076, tel (08) 9291 8224.

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