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January 2, 1998     The Message
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January 2, 1998

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 page 8 country's former white supremacist had soughtsystematically in the 1980s to the Catholic Church because t to apartheid. continued to take a toll in North- 3f the year were marked by killings, Catholic-Protestant tensions over protest marches. The Irish Republi- a new cease-fire in July as church to join new peace talks. where an estimated 75,000 have been k six yearsof strife between the government and Seeking an Islamic state, the militants stepped aign of terror with nighttime raids on slaughtering whole families Islamic extremists gunned down nine Cop- church in February; a November extremists on a tour bus in Luxor left 58 olicemen and the gunmen dead. attacks in Israel, including a July that killed or injured near- to mar the Israeli-Palestinian peace ! Pope John Paul met with Israeli Prime The next month, in an to Israeli actions to establish an all- rim around Jerusalem, the pope said of ditors of CNS client stories m : rankgs tors points for second, four for second, etc. ballots, the maximum points a lwas 350. The most anewsmaker was conducted in 1962, was the Opg of the Second vo the abortion issue and i i,to i i ....  III!TII i?i ;: iii!iiL .... , : ,.: i! (2). ; ,24. : "grave decisions" by Israel were a threat to peace. In November the Vatican and Israel concluded four years of negotiations by signing a treaty spelling out, for the first time, the legal status of the Catholic Church and its institutions in Israel. Local Christian-Muslim clashes in Pakistan and Indonesia left hundreds dead and scores of buildings, including several churches, burned. In the Philippines, Muslim extremists kidnapped a Belgian missionary and were the chief suspects in the murder of a Catholic bishop outside his cathedral. Violence against clergy was not always religious or sectarian. In Colombia, anti-government guerrillas killed a priest and kidnapped a priest and two bishops. In India, unidentified assailants kidnapped and beheaded a Jesuit priest in October and shot a Salesian priest to death the following month. In Mexico Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia, an outspoken advocate of the poor in Chiapas state, escaped an ambush on a caravan in which he was riding, but two days later his sister was beaten on the head with a ham- mer in his cathedral. In Lima, Peru, a priest was among the 72 people held hostage for four months by 14 leftist rebels. Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne met sever- al times with the rebels in unsuc- cessful mediation efforts. The government ended the standoff with a surprise military attack in which all the rebels and one hostage were killed. ..... i ; : i id i iii "Always Our Children," a pastoral message by the bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family Life offer- ing support and encouragement to parents of gay and lesbian adolescent or adult children, received wide praise but was sharply criticized in some quarters. A theological debate over church teaching on homo- sexuality was held on the campus of Georgetown Uni- versity in Washington, despite objections by Washing- ton's Cardinal James A. Hickey. Georgetown, a Jesuit school, was also in the news for a controversy over whether it should have a crucifix in every classroom. Liturgical news ................................ The U.S. bishops completed a multiyear liturgical project in June with approval of final texts for a revised English-language Sacramentary, the book of prayers at Mass. The U.S. version and similar revised editions from other English-speaking countries around the world were expected to be comPiled and sent to Rome the United States alone, tlte church now M employs mote than 26,000 lay ministers in part- to full-time positions Natcra!o,disa,sters ...................................................................... Natural disasters prompted outpourings of aid in several parts of the world. In the United States, harsh winter bliz- zards killed thousands of cattle in the Dako- tas. As the snows melted, April floods in the Red River Valley forced some 80,000 peo- ple to evacuate their homes. ,Hardest his was Grand Forks, N.D., where most of the city was under water at the peak of the flood. When Hurricane Pauline hit Mexico's Pacific coast in October, it killed hundreds of people and left tens of thousands home- less. In North Korea, a third straight year of crop-destroying weather caused severe famine. Catholic Relief Services was among relief agencies that intervened with massive food shipments to keep the people from starving. Earthquakes in Italy damaged St. Francis of Assisi Basilica, collapsing part of its roof and destroying priceless frescos. Church concerns ....................................... Among church concerns in the United States were the continuing rapid changes in health care systems. Two large new Catholic health care networks were formed, each by the merger of three existing Catholic net- works. When owners of Catholic hospitals in St. Louis and Los Angeles decided to sell their institutions to for-profit systems, they met strong opposition from bishops. Public concern about children's exposure to sex and violence on television, coupled with the threat of federally imposed ratings, finally brought TV executives to adopt a voluntary age-rating system for their pro- grams in January, and then to refine it with content information in July when the simple age-based system proved inadequate. In response to gay and lesbian move- ments seeking legal status for same-sex unions, a study paper was prepared for the U.S. bishops analyzing social and legal implications of such a change. Comedian Ellen DeGeneres caused a stir when she used an episode of her ABC-TV sitcom, "Ellen," to announce that she was lesbian. The Southern Baptist Convention voted to boycott Walt Disney Co., owner of ABC, to protest company policies regarded as supportive of homosexuality. for final review in 1998. Vatican objections to inclusive language in a pro- posed new Lectionary  the Scripture readings used at Mass  were resolved at least temporarily with approval by the bishops in June of a compromise text worked out last winter by a small working group of Vatican officials and U.S. archbishops. The approved text consists of the readings for Sundays and major feasts. A second volume, with readings for other Masses throughout the year, is to be voted on next ]une. In their vote on the first volume, the bishops made clear tha, they intended to revisit the translation issue in about five years. Discussion with the Vatican ........................ In an autobiography published in April, Cardinal Ratzinger stoked a new debate over liturgical reforms by saying that Pope Paul VI caused "extremely serious damage" to the church by suppressing use of the Tri- dentine Mass when he issued the revised Roman Missal in 1969. In an article in America magazine in June Archbish- op Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee defended Pope Paul's decision to insist that all use the reformed rite. He said that since Pope John Paul reinstated use of the Tridentine rite in the 1980s, liturgical renewal has been derailed by anti-reform movements using the Triden- tine permission as a rallying point to challenge all the conciliar reforms. In November a new Vatican document spelling out limits on nonordained ministry warned against abus- es that might blur the boundary between lay ministry and ordained ministry. Critics said the document was too negative about lay ministry and the contributions of lay ministers to church life. The U.S. bishops were asked to view the Vatican document as an effort to reaffirm the necessary and distinctive role of ordained ministry in the church, not as an attempt to demean lay ministry. In the United States alone, the church nov," employs more than 26,000 lay ministers in part-to full-time posi- tions, according to a report presented to the bishops in November. On the ecumenical front, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America occupied center stage in August when its churchwide assembly: Approved the Catholic-Lutheran "Joint Declara- tion on the Doctrine of Justification," ugh which most of the world's Lutheran churches and the Catholic Church hope to say officially that the mutual condem- nations of the 16th century do not apply to what Catholics and Lutherans hold and teach about justifi- cation today. Approved a covenant of "full communion" with See BIGGEST ISSUES pag e !0 ,, ,