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January 7, 1994     The Message
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January 7, 1994
 

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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana Jam 1993 Coinued from page 1 tional television networks -- used World Youth Day to again focus on church controversy and to interview leaders of groups opposing official church positions. If World Youth Day repre- sented the bright side of Catholic life, the darkest side was plainly the ongoing story of child sex abuse and other sexual misconduct by Catholic clergy. Some allegations were dis- proved or remained unre- solved, but others brought ad- missions of guilt, resignations from active ministry and in some cases costly compensa- tion to victims by Catholic dio- ceses. The most notable case of the year was the allegation by Steven Cook in November that Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin of Chicago sexually abused him once in the mid-1970s, when the cardinal was arch- bishop of Cincinnati and Cook was a teen-ager preparing to enter the archdiocesan semi- nary. The accusation met wide disbelief and brought public at- tention to questions being raised by some psychologists about the accuracy of some "re- covered memory" claims. In December James R. Porter, a former priest accused of sexually abusing scores of children in three states before he left the priesthood in 1974, was sentenced to 18-20 years in prison after pleading guilty to multiple charges in Massa- chusetts. He spent four months in a Minnesota prison earlier in the year for sexual abuse of a teen-age girl. Last March Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez of Santa Fe, N.M., widely regarded as the leading Hispanic figure in the U.S. hierarchy, resigned after acknowledging inappropriate relations years earlier with several young women. Al- though he was not accused of child sex abuse, the miscon- duct allegations against him were sparked in part by com- plaints that he mishandled nu- merous sex abuse charges against some of his priests. In September his successor, Archbishop Michael J. Shee- han, promised at his installa- tion to visit every victim of child sex abuse by a priest in the Santa Fe Archdiocese. In June Archbishop William H. Keeler of Baltimore, presi- dent of the National Confer- ence of Catholic Bishops, formed a committee of bishops, headed by Bishop John F. Kin- ney of Bismarck, N.D., to study the issue of sexual abuse and recommend ways the bishops can address the problem na- tionally. Pope John Paul II personally addressed the issue on several occasions. In a letter to the U.S. bishops he invoked Christ's words of woe to those who scandalize little children and expressed "concern for the victims so seriously hurt by these misdeeds." As a result of recommenda- tions by a joint Vatican-U.S. committee, the U.S. bishops in November asked Rome for spe- cial provisions to make it eas- ier for them to suspend or re- move priests found guilty of sexually assaulting minors. Questions about what drives extreme religious cults occu- pied Americans for two months last spring as the FBI laid siege to a Waco, Texas, com- pound that was home to scores of heavily armed Branch Da- vidians, followers of apocalyp- tic preacher David Koresh. Cult members set the com- pound on fire when the FBI stormed it April 19, and more than 70 people died. In America's heartland, the biggest story of the year was the massive summer flooding along the Mississippi and other rivers that forced tens of thou- sands of Midwesterners out of their homes and caused dam- age of more than $12 billion, most of it to farms. Catholics across the country held parish collections to help flood vic- World Youth Day, clergy sex abuse voted top news stories ,of 1993 By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN, Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) m Catholic editors voted World Youth Day festivities in Denver as the top religiou s news story of 1993, and named clergy sex abuse as the year's second most sig- nificant story. Pope John Paul II, who visited Denver for four days in August, emerged as the top news- maker of the year in the annual year-end poll conducted by Catholic News Service among sub- scribing editors. Runners-up in the newsmaker category were Catholic youth, in second place, and President Clinton in third place. The poll was the 32nd annual CNS survey of editors of Catholic newspapers in the United States and Canada. This year's ballots were distributed Dec. 3 and the deadline for returns was Dec. 10. Editors were asked to vote for the top 10 news stories from a list of 37 selected by CNS edi- tors and the top five newsmakers from a list of 21. Votes were weighted by the ranking editors gave -- 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second, etc., and five for top newsmaker, four for second, etc. With 44 editors submitting ballots, the maximum points a story could have received was 440. The most a newsmaker could receive on the five-point scale was 220. Fractions in the point count are the result of an editor ranking two or more stories as a tie. When the first editors' poll was conducted in 1962, the overwhelming choice for top story for that year was the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Last year, editors voted develop- ments affecting women in the church and the U.S. elections as the top religious news stories. Here is the editors' choice of top 10 stories and top five newsmakers of 1993, followed by points received in the weighted ballot count and, in parentheses, the number of first-place votes received. STORIES: 1. World Youth Day, 342 (16.5 first-place votes). 2. Sex abuse by clergy, 315 (14). 3. Encyclical "'Veritatis Splendor," 225 (3). 4. Health care reform, 201 (2). 5. Bosnia-Herzegovina, 150 (3). 6. Clinton administration, 126 (2). 7. Family values, 103. 8. The new catechism, 89. 9. Euthanasia, 87 (1). 10. Midwest floods, 81 (1). Just edged out of the top 10 were the Middle East peace process, with 78 points; media and religion, with 76 points and half of a first-place vote, and abortion, with 74 points. The topic of priestly celibacy received one first-place vote but did not make the top 10. NEWSMAKERS 1. Pope John Paul II, 157(22). 2. Catholic youth, 107 (11) 3. President Clinton, 71 (3). 4. Clergy sex abuse victims, 48 (2). 5. Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin of Chicago, 46. Israeli and Palestinian leaders Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat were only a half-point be- hind Cardinal Bernardin, with 45.5 pnints. Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Haitian president Father Jean- Bertrand Aristide each received one first-place vote but did not make the top five. tims. From questions of choice in education to crime in the streets, from sex education and condom distribution in schools to gays in the military, from immigration policy to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Catholic and other religious leaders sought to bring their religious convic- tions and moral principles to bear in.development of social and public policy decisions. Questions of religious rights and moral values in the United States came to the fore in vari- ous ways in 1993. Among them: In several decisions the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states must accommodate reli- gious believers. Florida was told it could not outlaw animal sacrifice as a religious practice. Arizona was told to reimburse parents of a deaf child in a Catholic high school for the services of his in-school inter- preter. A public school in New York was ordered to give a reli- gious club the same after- school access it provided to non-religious groups. New debates arose over more graphic sex and violence in the media. "NYPD Blue" stretched the boundaries of ex- posed flesh and blue language on prime-time network TV; the Supreme Court struck down federal restrictions on indecent broadcasting; video game man- ufacturers promised voluntary game ratings in an effort to forestall legislation on adult- oriented games. The U.S. Catholic bishops is- sued a message on family val- ues and another on the parish's social mission, urging new witness to Christian val- ues in family and community life. In the world at large, the civil wars in Bosnia-Herzegov- ina and Somalia brought new attention at many levels -- moral, humanitarian, diplo- matic, political, economic, mili- tary -- to questions of how the international community can intervene effectively in a na- tion's internal affairs when its social order collapses. In November the U.S. bish- ops addressed some of those is- sues in a new statement on \\; peace marking the 10th an- niversary of their peace pas- toral. A hopeful new step toward peace in the Middle East came with the Israeli-Palestine Lib- eration Organization agree- ment on limited home rule for Palestinians. Television watch- ers around the world saw PLO leader Yasser Arafat and Is- raeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shake hands on the White House lawn after sign- ing the accord. In South Africa an agree- ment to hold the country's first multiracial national elections in 1994 marked another major step toward ending decades of turmoil over white minority rule. African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela and South African President Fred- erik W. de Klerk were joint re- cipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to over- turn apartheid, South Africa's systematic racial segregation. Elsewhere in Afric new turmoil Despite pleas re! harmony by when he vi ruary, the secution of the and animist country's Arab ity continued. The bishops Angola pleaded an end to newed civil war, ing to some more devastation than that brought of fighting befc truce. As 1993 the government a forces agreed fire and U.N." talks, but an lion Angolans emergency food starvation. A new outbreak violence in undermined one talks but led to nev tiatives. In the Caribb on Cuba's Fidel the country's an end to restoration The Haitian stalled controversial Father Je remained in international barge. A candidate t nonevent of the nonpublicatic "Catechism Church" in in other major late 1992 or e originally by the chism was by Vatican with the National an ences and catechism had to out the book or lishers had to tens of who had ders. In June urged Rome to English text, to In November leased a cal Biblical terpretation criticized fun, preaches. It ology to Scripture led to but it also v reading ical positionS , lation. Earlier in "th' See issued a directory. II panded the for im eration thai two parts tury earlier, after the SecOn cil. Another ecumenical world Faith ence in 30 gust in Spain, cial Catholic the first how the Chr ,!