The Church Around the World

The Church Around the World

Pope's 22nd anniversary celebrated

Jubilee year busiest of his pontificate

Pope John Paul II celebrated the 22nd anniversary of his papal election on Monday, 16 October. Vatican officials noted that this year has been the busiest of John Paul's remarkable pontificate.

For the Holy Father, the highlight of the Jubilee year has been his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This was the most important of his four foreign trips made this year - the others being to India (and Georgia), Egypt and Portugal. The Jubilee year has produced a special event, punctuated by a solemn Mass at which the Pope has presided, nearly every Sunday of the year. Particularly memorable, in this regard, have been the Jubilee celebrations for youth, the sick, for consecrated life, for artists, for bishops, and for the family.

The season of Lent was marked by an unprecedented solemn "Day of Pardon" ceremony, and Easter with the usual solemnities, including the Way of the Cross in the Roman Colosseum and a massive Easter Sunday celebration in St Peter's Square. June saw the Eucharistic Congress and the Corpus Christi procession through the streets of Rome, while August brought two million participants for World Youth Day.

Catholic World News

South Korean President wins Nobel Prize

Catholic faith a major influence on his policies

South Korea's Nobel Peace Prize-winner, President Kim Dae-jung, is a devout Catholic whose faith has motivated his overtures of reconciliation to North Korea.

On 13 October, he joined the select circle of Peace Prize winners, which includes Mother Teresa of Calcutta. According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the award to the first Catholic Korean President in history is merited because of "his work for democracy and human rights in South Korea and in East Asia in general, and for peace and reconciliation with North Korea in particular."

Dae-jung, 75, has been President since February 1998, and since then, "has contributed to consolidate a democratic government and promote reconciliation with North Korea," the Nobel Committee said. "Through his 'sunshine policy,' Kim Dae-jung has attempted to overcome more than 50 years of war and hostility between North and South Korea."

Last June, the South Korean's "sunshine policy" shone in all its splendour when he began the rapprochement with the North Korean Communist leader, Kim Jong-il, by taking part in a historical summit in Pyongyang.

On that occasion, Dae-jung proposed to Kim Jong-il that John Paul II be invited to North Korea as a sign of peace and reconciliation. The proposal was supported by the North Korean leader, and is currently being studied by the Vatican.

"I think God preserved me in difficult moments to help me lead the country in the new century," Kim Dae-jung said, following his victory in the 1997 presidential elections, after four previous unsuccessful attempts.

Kim Dae-jung is a former dissident who was condemned to death and escaped several assassination attempts, the most serious in 1970, which left him with irreparable physical damage. International protests saved him from the death penalty in 1980, after which he lived in exile in the United States for almost five years.

Thomas Han Hong Soon, Professor of political economy at Hankuk University in Seoul, commented that faithfulness to Sunday Mass in Sejong Ro parish in Seoul is not merely a formality for the President. "He has witnessed to the faith in his political activity" by offering "authentic Christian witness."

The President's testimony is particularly significant, Professor Hong Soon said, because Catholics are only 10 percent of the population. However, South Korea has one of the highest rates of adult conversions in the world, particularly by virtue of the Church's decisive influence in defence of human rights.

Zenit News Service

Science backs authenticity of St Luke's relics

Archbishop of Padua requested the research

Relics kept in the Basilica of St Justina in Padua, Italy, are really those of St Luke the Evangelist, new research suggests. Following two years of study, scientists concur that the headless skeleton kept in a lead box belongs to the author of the third Gospel, a doctor by profession, who died at age 84 in Boeotia, Greece, and was buried in Thebes.

The body of the Evangelist, who wrote around the year 63 with a refined Greek vocabulary, was taken to Constantinople in the fourth century and eventually to Padua during the Crusades, according to tradition.

Since then, it has been kept in the Basilica of St Justina. The cranium, however, was taken from Padua to St Vitus Cathedral in Prague in 1354, at the request of Emperor Charles IV.

The scientific research, requested by Archbishop Antonio Malttiazzo of Padua, involved the work of geneticists, historians, biologists and anthropologists. Results were published at an international congress on St Luke, meeting in Padua.

The scientists' findings agree with a second-century document that refers to Luke's death at an advanced age. Carbon-14 testing dated the skeleton to the first century of the Christian era.

A review of Prague's metropolitan archive in 1980 revealed that the Evangelist's cranium, which is in St Vitus Cathedral, was brought from Padua in 1364, to enrich Charles IV of Luxembourg's collection.

Armidale Diocese welcomes overseas priests

Polish priests to help ease clergy shortage

The Brisbane Catholic Leader reports that two Polish priests have arrived in the Armidale Diocese to help relieve the shortage of clergy there. Bishop Luc Matthys said they would stay at the Cathedral while they became familiar with the Church and its mission in the diocese.

Fr Slawomir Jakubiec and Fr Marian Flis, who have served as chaplains to their countrymen in England, are both Lublin diocesan priests who have been given permission by their bishop to work outside their home diocese.

Fr Flis said he had been overwhelmed by the friendliness and welcome since arriving in Armidale on 29 September. He noted that one similarity between Armidale and his native land was the good attendance at weekday Masses in the Cathedral.

The two priests are expected to be assigned elsewhere in the diocese after Christmas, when several priests are due to retire.

Canadian bishops support feminist march

Pro-abortion, pro-lesbian groups involved

Sunday, 15 October, was the first of the final three days of the controversial World March of Women 2000, a feminist propaganda measure that has split the Catholic Church in Canada.

The Canadian effort saw several thousand women marching to the Parliament buildings in Ottawa waving feminist logos. Seven women represented the group in a meeting with the Prime Minister. Of these seven, the top five came from overtly pro-abortion, pro-lesbian groups.

The Ottawa Citizen reported that six Catholic bishops participated in a Mass for the feminist march at Notre Dame Cathedral, including Archbishop Marcel Gervais of Ottawa, Bishop Fred Henry of Calgary, Bishop John Sherlock of London (Ontario), Bishop Ernest Leger of Moncton, Bishop Francois Thibodeau of Edmonton and Bishop Paul- Andre Durocher of Sault Ste Marie. The Citizen reported that Bishop Gervais had intended to join in the march, but police warned him that it would be unsafe.

Outside the Cathedral a few Catholic pro-life protesters held signs reading "Reject Feminist Supremacy." During his remarks in the church, Bishop Gervais told the packed audience to "smile at their fellow Catholics as they run the gauntlet of anti-march protesters."

Catholic World News

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