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January 5, 1996     The Message
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January 5, 1996
 

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4 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Pope's U.S. visit caps year in religi By JERRY FILTEAU tradition of the word "Filioque" awareness of the extent to killed an estimated 100,000, Catholic News Service to the Nicene Creed, long a which Americans are still di- risked becoming another =w WASHINGTON (CNS) -- For five days in October Pope John Paul II drew the nation's attention to the Catholic Church as he visited four U.S. dioceses and addressed the United Natbms. The pope, who turned 75 in May, remained the world's foremost religious figure in 1995. Overcoming health problems he had suffered with a slow- healing broken leg in 1994, he resumed his world travels with renewed vigor and spoke out forcefully on major issues con- fronting the church and the world. He issued two encyclicals: -- In "The Gospel of Life" he reaffirmed the sacredness of all human life and condemned abortion and euthanasia. The U.S. bishops reflected on that teaching in their own state- ment, "Faithful for Life." In "That All May Be One," he praised 30 years of ec- umenical progress, called for a new commitment to Christian unity and asked other churches to share with him their ideas on how a renewed papacy might serve a ministry of unity to all Christians. Closely linked to his encycli- cal on ecumenism was his apos- tolic letter, "The Life of the East," in which he called for East-West church unity and said Western Catholics should discover and appreciate the rich monastic; spiritual and liturgical traditions of the Catholic and Orthodox churches of the East. He repeatedly condemned the war in Bosnia. As represen- tatives of the warring factions worked out a peace accord, he called the bishops of the region to Rome to work out plans for the church's contribution to peace and reconstruction. In late November and early December, he convened the bishops of Lebanon in a synod in Rome to discuss deep divi- sions in Lebanese civil and reli- gious life. In January the pope visited source of East-West dispute, and a joint group of Catholic and Orthodox dialogue mem- bers made a pilgrimage to Rome and Constantinople, the centers of Christianity in the West and the East. In the United States, a new round of Catholic-Southern Baptist discussions began, the first approved by the Southern Baptist's national convention. For most Americans, one of the biggest issues of the year was a basic shift in the philoso- phy of federal government as the first Republican-controlled Congress in 40 years began im- plementing its Contract With America. Led by House Speaker Newt Gingrich, within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress, the House of Representatives had passed nearly every one of the main legislative proposals promised in.the Contract With America. As the year drew to an end, however, President Clinton used his veto power to repudi- ate the most important of the Republican initiatives to date, a seven-year plan to balance the budget involving deep cuts in areas of environment, Medi- care, Medicaid and welfare benefits. On several of the issues the U.S. bishops and other reli- gious leaders had no specific policy positions. But on others, such as welfare reform and cuts in foreign development aid, Catholic officials were strongly opposed. Among natural disasters in 1995 were the stifling heat wave that killed hundreds in Chicago. Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn devastated Caribbean islands. A new law in Australia's Northern Territory legalized physician-assisted suicide there, but the euthanasia movement in the United States had several setbacks. Proposals to legalize physi- cian-assisted suicide failed in 11 state legislatures. The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal. An Oregon law, the Philippines, New Zealand, . the only one in the country per- Australia and Sri Lanka. In the Philippines, he presided at World Youth Day observances. In the United States the Women's Ordination Confer- ence, marking its twentieth an- niversary, had 1,000 people at its meeting. The Call to Action group drew 4,000 people to its national conference, where it announced plans to organize parish level dialogues across the country on women priests and married priests. Pope John Paul linked-many church concerns, especially evangelization and church unity, to the coming of the third millennium. When Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantino- ple visited Rome in June, he and the pope issued a joint dec- laration praising progress in Catholic-Orthodox dialogue and urging more collaboration as both sides work toward unity. Later in the year the Vatican issued a promised clarification to the Orthodox of the Western mitting physician-assisted sui- cide, was ruled unconstitu- tional by a federal judge. Religious access to public schools received new scrutiny last summer when President Clinton declared that the Con- stitution does not turn the na- tion's schools into "religion-free zones." He had Education Sec- retary Richard Riley draw up national guidelines telling school districts what religion- related activities or forms of ex- pression are permitted in pub- lic schools. In Wisconsin a new law in June expanded a school choice tuition voucher program for poor children to permit them to use the tuition assistance at re- ligious as well as non-religious private schools. But the expan- sion was put on hold until the Wisconsin Supreme Court re- solves legal challenges to the law. Opinion polls showing a deep divide between black and white views of the O.J. Simpson trial in Los Angeles raised national vided by race. After the trial Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony urged Catholics to "lead the way in racial and eth- nic understanding." The Million Man March in Washington sparked a new pride and sense of purpose among many black men. In November a joint report by several committees of the U.S. bishops called for several initiatives to improve race rela- tions, including development of a "racial reconciliation covenant." On the world scene, one of the most dramatic events of the year was the Nov. 4 assassina- tion, by a right-wing Jewish gunman, of Israeli Prime Min- ister Yitzak Rabin. Rabin was a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership in the Middle East peace process and the development of Palestinian home rule. Initial fears that his murder might shatter the peace process proved un- founded. In Northern Ireland, the 1994 cease-fire that ended a quarter-century of sectarian strife continued to hold, al- though peace talks stalled for 15 months over a disagreement between the British govern- ment and the Irish Republican Army whether the IRA must disarm itself before its political wing, Sinn Fein, could join the talks. On Nov. 30, two days after an accord was reached break- ing the logjam, President Clin- ton became the first U.S. head of state to visit Northern Ire- land. In Mexico, several foreign missionaries working in Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia's Diocese of San Cristobal de Las Casas were forced to leave the coun- try or denied re-entry in what diocesan officials regarded as a government campaign of retri- bution for the church's pastoral work for the poor. In March some 15,000 Indi- ans held a demonstration in support of Bishop Ruiz, a con- troversial advocate of Indian rights and the key mediator in peace talks between the gov- ernment and Zapatista rebels. In August Pope John Paul named Bishop Raul Vera Lopez, who has also been in- volved in the peace efforts, as coadjutor to Bishop Ruiz. Rwanda, scene of a bloody war between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups.in 1994 that killed about 1 million people, almost disappeared from U.S. newspapers and TV news broadcasts. Throughout the year Catholic Relief Services and other aid organizations distributed food to more than a million refugees. In April CRS and Catholic aid agencies in Britain and Ire- land warned that Burundi, where Hutu-Tutsi violence had JONES BODY SHOP * Front end alignment Complete body rebuilding o Radiator Service Estimates Given Call 2001-5358 207 E. South- Washington, IN Rwanda. After meeting with the pope in May, Burundi's President Sylvestre Ntimban- tunganya appealed for interna- tional help to restore law and order in his country and end serious food shortages among an estimated half-million refugees there. In its 1995 World Refugee Survey, the U.S. Committee for Refugees reported that about 40 million people worldwid were refugees from war, politi- cal oppression or human rights abuses the previous year. Com- mittee director Roger P. Winter said the end of the Cold War has made it harder for refugees to find a haven in the United States or other countries which a few years agowould have opened their doors for political reasons. In the United States, other news of religious interest to Catholics included: Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin of Chicago had surgery in June for life-threat- ening cancer. Many were in- spired by his witness of faith in his illness, operation and recov- ery. -- The U.S. bishops adopted a three-year strategy to in- crease vocations to priesthood and religious life. --About 10,000 Catholic teenagers and young adults participated in a National Catholic Youth Conference held in Minnesota in November. -- A joint statement by two committees of bishops urged parishes to help combat child sexual abuse and outlined ways to do so. -- The bishops issued "Guidelines for Celebration of the Sacraments With Persons With Disabilities," a document spelling out the importance of parishes not only welcoming those with disabilities but as- suring that they are able to participate as fully as possible in the church's life and min- istry. -- A million-copy mass mar- ket edition of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church," pub- lished by Doubleday, hit the nation's general bookstores and newsstands. -- The Walt Disney Com- pany drew nationwide protests from Catholics when a sub- sidiary, Miramax, decided to mass-market "Priest," a British film about a homosexual priest's struggles with his voca- tion and sexuality. Cardinal John J. O'Connor of New York called it a "viciously anti- Catholic" film. Cardinal Keeler, presi- dent of the National Confer- ence of Catholic Bishops and U.S. Catholic Conference since 1992, ended his three-year term in November. Elected to succeed hIm w Bishop Quinn of San mer announced early 1996 jutor, Levada, to -- Bi ,p of Youn mer NC and one of the active bishops have attended of the Second in the 1960s as tired in December. Among ures who died in 1 -- Passionist abas Mary nationally scholar, theologi! menist and a the biblical that helped Catholics for can Council: nia -- Holy Ann Gillen, 76, !igious rights founder of the Task Force Jan. 14, Pa. -- Rose 104, matriarch, of fiction, history,! phy, whose 47 two Pulitzer March 7, tion for a dletown, Conn. --J. Pc nent business philanthropist the American the Soy Malta, a Catho order devoted to work: April 19 of in New York. -- Cardinal 91, a pioneering: minican from ing under to vindication as Irs leading in the 1960s as a cardinal in after a Van Binh 85, City (: Vietnam's churchman since archbishop of July 1, after an ness, in Ho Chi Father ning, 58, founding of the North on the key figure in t he- of Christian in the United around the heart failure, in Miller & Colonial Supports the Knights of Colurn MEMBERS Bernie Miller Gerald Jon Miller Greg