World's cardinals meet in extraordinary consistory
Strong support expressed for 'Dominus Iesus'
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, briefing reporters on the closed-door meetings of the world's cardinals during their extraordinary consistory in May, said that many of them had thanked Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the publication of the Dominus Iesus declaration last year.
That declaration clearly sets forth the unique and universal character of the salvation brought by Christ through his Church. In their addresses, the cardinals suggested that this document be a guide, especially in inter-religious dialogue.
Cardinal Avery Dulles, in his address, dealt with the topic of papal primacy and its importance for Church unity. The Jesuit theologian said that some believe the issue of primacy creates a great ecumenical difficulty. But he argued that the opposite is actually the case.
In fact, he said, the great problem of many Christian confessions today is that they do not have a sign of communion to represent them, to give them unity. Many have no leader who can speak on their behalf with other faiths. The absence of an authority also leads to divisions over doctrine and discipline.
Denver Archbishop acts on pro-abortion speaker
Calls for policies that respect sanctity of human life
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver last May ordered that an archdiocesan agency revoke its invitation to US Representative Diana DeGette to speak at an awards dinner because of her pro-abortion views. DeGette had been invited to speak at a dinner sponsored by the Denver Archdiocesan Housing Committee by the fundraising chairman, Denise Ludwig. Ludwig issued the withdrawal to DeGette on 2 May
DeGette sent a harshly worded letter in reply, with a copy to Archbishop Chaput. She said she had been "surprised at being invited to speak because of the Catholic Church's apparent litmus test regarding elected officials' views on a woman's right to choose." But she said that she thought the invitation might be an "olive branch" from the archdiocese and that she "was delighted to accept." However, she wrote, "the fringe politics of abortion have apparently won out."
The Archbishop replied to DeGette on 4 May. After praising her commitment to peace and justice, he added: "I've always been puzzled by political leaders who exclude unborn children from the protection of the justice they publicly claim to champion. I invite you to turn away from the fringe politics (of the abortion issue) by bringing your own politics more consistently in line with real service to the sanctity of human life."
He also rejected her accusation that the Church employs a "litmus test since your own party enforces a pro-choice litmus test on its potential candidates far more roughly and with far less moral legitimacy."
DeGette later told the Denver Post that the withdrawal of the invitation was "rude" and the Archbishop's letter "confrontational and combative."
Catholic World News
Sandhurst's new Bishop calls for vocations
Promises diocesan support for those receiving "call"
During his homily in Sacred Heart Cathedral, Bendigo, on the occasion of his Installation Mass last April, the new Bishop of Sandhurst, Most Rev Joseph Grech, called on the diocese's Catholics to be mindful of their identity as people "who do what Jesus tells us to do ... who follow what Jesus teaches." This identity had to be expressed with a "boldness" like that of Christ's disciples after Pentecost.
Bishop Grech reminded those present of the Vatican II teaching "that we Catholic Christians are called to holiness." This, he added, was the focus of the present Pope at the close of the Jubilee Year. The Catholics of Sandhurst Diocese, he said, should "never be ashamed to proclaim who we are and to adhere to what the Church teaches."
On the matter of vocations, Bishop Grech invited any young people experiencing "a stirring in their hearts ... to dedicate their lives as priests and religious" to "go for it!" He promised the Diocese "will help you to mature in this call."
Finding of new study on the Turin Shroud
Scanner captures image of reverse side
The Shroud of Turin has bloodstains on its reverse side, indicating that the image of the man it bears was not copied, a new study indicates.
The Shroud, widely believed to have been the burial cloth of Jesus, was subjected to new scanning techniques last November, and results of the tests were first scrutinised by a symposium of scientists. Cardinal Severino Spoletto, Archbishop of Turin, released the news of the tests in May.
In 1534, two years after a fire damaged the Shroud, Poor Clare nuns added a linen lining to the cloth to mend the damage. That allowed only one side of the relic to be seen. The recent examination, carried out with a scanner, revealed bloodstains on the reverse side, indicating that the image was not copied.
"This is a confirmation of the unfounded character of the hypothesis formulated in the past, according to which the image of the Holy Shroud was formed by combustion, namely, by the warming of an image wrapped in the cloth," said Monsignor Giuseppe Ghiberti, Vice President of the Commission for the Exposition of the Shroud.
Paolo Soardo of the Galileo Ferraris Italian Institute carried out the scanning of the reverse of the Shroud, which no one had seen in more than 450 years.
In the one-week study, done in the sacristy of the new cathedral, a flat scanner was introduced between the Shroud and the linen lining. This made possible the photographing of the central band, and yielded the unique images, Monsignor Ghiberti said. The photographs show bloodstains from the wounds in the feet, legs, hands and arms.
The color and black-and-white pictures will be published in two volumes: one for the general public and one for experts.
Zenit News Agency
Catalyst for Renewal criticises choice of bishops
Alleges a "lack of transparency" opposed to spirit of Vatican II
Archbishop Pell's appointment to Sydney has prompted an adverse reaction from Catalyst for Renewal.
In a recent feature article in its publication The Mix, the editor, Fr Michael Whelan SM, who is also the President of the Aquinas Academy in Sydney, took the opportunity to criticise the "lack of transparency" in recent episcopal appointments which he saw as "at odds with the Church's movement towards renewal in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council and the Code of Canon Law."
He wondered at the impact this would have "on the commitment and energy levels of the bulk of committed Catholics." He saw this as reflective of "the mind-set or world-view that seems to be driving the processes that have led to the recent appointments of our bishops and some of the other decisions and actions we have seen in recent years from Rome."
This "mind-set", he said, was an "ideology ... essentially opposed to the vision of the Second Vatican Council, the Code of Canon Law and statements in Novo Millennio Ineunte despite rhetoric to the contrary."
Irish Mass attendances increase
More university students "finding God"
Mass attendance in Ireland is on the increase for the first time in almost 40 years, reports the Irish edition of The Sunday Times.
Priests across Dublin have noted an increase in the size of Sunday congregations while collections in the city have increased for the third year in a row. "We have had a low attendance [in the past], but people are coming back now," said Father Eugene Taafe of Mulhudart, Dublin, whose Sunday congregation has doubled in size over the past six months.
In the early 1960s, 90 percent of Ireland's population attended Sunday Mass. But by the 1990s that had fallen to just over 60 percent. "You don't hear talk about decreasing attendance that there would have been a few years ago," said Father Martin Clarke, director of the Catholic communications office. "We don't have definitive figures but in some places there is now an increase."
College students also appear to be finding God: 6,000 attended Mass at University College Dublin's Belfield campus on Ash Wednesday this year, about a third of the total student population.
Catholic World News
New Catholic E-Book on Internet
Another St Gabriel Communications initiative
Perth-based lay Catholic apologist Raymond de Souza has launched his latest E-Book, Women Priests? Why Not? (subtitled, "Does a female priesthood reflect the mind of Christ?").
It is one of many projects by the St Gabriel Communications Apostolate in response to Pope John Paul II's call to re-evangelise the baptised and contains a dialogue between Raymond de Souza and his wife, Theresa, with two nuns in Perth. The E-Book addresses the question of ordination of women outlining the Church's teaching on this subject in simple, non-technical language.
The E-Book can be downloaded free of charge at the website: http://saintgabriel.iinet.net.au/priesthood.html
Vatican intervenes on cathedral renovations
Archbishop Weakland asked to halt changes
In an unusual move, the Vatican has asked Milwaukee's Archbishop Rembert Weakland to put his cathedral renovations on hold. It is concerned that the plan for St John's Cathedral may be contrary to Church norms.
Archbishop Weakland has been spearheading a renovation project that would overhaul the inside of the cathedral. The plan calls for moving the altar closer to the people and exchanging pews for chairs that would encircle the new set-up.
Some Catholics in the Archdiocese have criticised the move as making the cathedral more Protestant than Catholic. They recently sent their concerns to Rome and on 28 May received the following response: "Having received further information about the project from Archbishop Rembert Weakland, which nonetheless left doubts that the project would conform to canonical and liturgical norms, on 26 May 2001, we moved to suspend the work of renovation until these doubts may be clarified."
This was welcome news for Mr Al Szews, who has been a vocal opponent of the renovation plan: "It is a radical change, it is unwarranted and there is no precedent for it. It is merely being done because those in power want to do it."
The renovation is already under way. The pews are gone and it is not known how long the work will be postponed.
The Volume 14 Number 5, June 2001, (print) edition of AD2000 carried an article reporting on Church reform in Australia.
The article may have been read as identifying Archbishop Adrian Doyle, who is the only non-mainland bishop, as not being comfortable with the leadership and teaching of Pope John Paul II and not committed to the implementation, beyond lip service, of the Statement of Conclusions.
AD2000 sincerely regrets and apologises to Archbishop Doyle for any suggestion of disloyalty or lack of commitment to Pope John Paul II and his leadership and teachings. AD2000 further acknowledges that in his case any such suggestion would be entirely untrue and without any foundation whatsoever.
AD2000 unreservedly retracts any suggestion or imputation to the contrary.