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October 22, 1993     The Message
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October 22, 1993
 

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2 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana October Pope celebrates 15 years, on the jo ]By JOHN 'I3RAVIS Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) Pope John Paul II marked the 15th anniversary of his elec- tion saying that the job is tough and asking prayers for strength and pastoral energy over the coming years. As congratulatory messages h including a letter from Pres- ident Bill Clinton -- poured in from around the world, the 73- year-old pontiff attended a con- cert in his honor at the Vatican Oct. 16. He thanked the sev- eral thousand people who had come to help him celebrate the day. "I want to ask with insis- tence that you all say a special prayer to God for me, so that I be given the strength neces- sary to do my best -- to give myself completely, like St. Paul, in the service of the church," he said. The pope said the papal min- istry was a taxing one. He said it involved a constant commit- ment of his spirit as he tried to be a "builder of communion be- tween the various particular churches." Additionally, the promotion of peace and justice iri a world full of tensions adds "more worries and more burdens" to the papacy, he said. The Polish-born pope was elected on Oct. 16, 1978, the first non-Italian pontiff in 455 years. On the anniversary, the world's media and church lead- ers recalled the historic event in detail, and the Vatican marked it as a holiday. But the pope did not spend much time reminiscing -- he was busy with other things, as usual. In addition to morning Mass and meetings with several Ital- ian church officials, the pope held an hourlong private audi- ence with Aleksandr Solzhenit- syn, the Russian writer and dissident under communism. Both men had turned a spot- light on human rights abuses under the Soviet regime, and both have been critics of the moral shortcomings of Western society. Asked to describe the encounter afterward, the 74- year-old Solzhenitsyn said that such a profound and intense conversation could not be con- densed. But he added: "If we want to recover from communism, we should not apply the selfish vi- sion of capitalism." The evening concert was performed by a German sym- phony orchestra and chorus, the Mitteldeutscher Runfunk of Leipzig. Among the works was the Vatican anthem, ac- companied publicly for the first time by a set of lyrics written by an Italian Jesuit, Father Raffaelo Lavagna. The new anthem lyrics, after recalling the death of St. Peter in Rome, describes every pope as a "fisher of men," a "beacon among the shadows" and a de- fender of freedom and unity. Among the congratulatory messages was one delivered in person at the concert by Cardi- nal Bernardin Gantin, dean of the College of Cardinals. He thanked the pope for launching a "new evangelization," for en- riching the church's teaching office with documents and a new catechism, for carrying the Gospel message to more than 100 countries on 61 for- eign trips, for being a voice for the poor and for warning about environmental destruction. "The church still has great need of you, of your teaching, your pastoral energy, your un- tiring apostolic labor: People at the end of this century need you greatly," he said. In his letter to the pope, President Clinton offered best wishes from all Americans and said he was confident the Vati- can and the United States will keep working together toward a more humane and secure world. =In light of the grave con- flicts in many regions through- out the globe, your continued efforts to bring the world closer to the ideals of peace and free- dom have truly made a positive impact," Clinton said. Several Italian TV stations ran specials on the pope's first 15 years in office, and newspa- pers dedicated full-page fea- tures and editorials on his pon- tificate. The commentary was overwhelmingly positive; as the Rome newspaper I1 Mes- saggero said, "Even his most bitter enemies consider the pope a leading personality of this century." The Milan newspaper Cor- riere della Sera predicted years of energy and some surprises from the pope. "We should.not expect a repetitive and tired final phase of his pontificate," it said. The Vatican's own newspa- per, L'Osservatore Romano, marked the anniversary with a series of 12 articles on various aspects of his ministry. Like other commentaries, they high- lighted the pope's global mis- sion and his evangelizing on- Church moral teaching not 'dogmatic' pope says By CINDY WOODEN Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) When it insists that some ac- tivities are morally wrong, "the church is not being "dogmatic,"' Pope John Paul II said. Rather, the church's promo- tion of the truth about good and evil in human activity is a defense of human dignity, the pope told bishops from New York, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. The bishops' Oct. 15 group meeting with the. pope was part of their "ad limina" visits, which heads of dioceses make every five years. Pope John Paul said the church serves humanity through the activities of its members and institutions and through its proclamation of God's design for humankind. "The church possesses a truth, a doctrine, a wisdom and an experience" which peo- ple need as they seek authentic freedom and good, he said. The pope said his new en- cyclical letter on moral theol- ogy, in which he reaffirms church teaching on morality, is "intended to help dispel the crippling confusion which many people today feel in rela- tion to fundamental questions of good and evil, right and wrong." The letter, "Veritatis Splen- dor" ("The Splendor of Truth"), was released Oct. 5 at the Vati- can. The pope said he knew the U.S. bishops were well aware of the "widespread ethical cri- sis affecting contemporary so- ciety," and they also know they will be "challenged and put to the test" as they try to defend the church's teaching. But that defense is a defense of the truth about human be- ings who are able to know the truth about good and evil, he said. "Because this "law' is in- scribed in our hearts, to accept it and to act accordingly is not to submit to some extraneous imposition," he said. "It is to embrace the deepest truth of our own being." "By ensuring that the basic truths of the church's moral doctrine are clearly taught, we are offering a reaffirmation of the dignity of the human per- son, a correct understanding of conscience, which is the only solid basis for the right exer- cise of human freedom, and a foundation for living together in solidarity and civic har- mony," the pope said. He told the bishops that modern society will not be able to "pull back from its slide into increasingly destructive behav- ior involving the violation of the basic rights of the human person" without rediscovering III II II I MILLER & MILLER "A family name you can trust" , ' 424'9274,  D'O'WN-T.O-W'N Hi-Tech Sheet Metal Inc. " Residential, Industrial & Commercial Heating & Cooling Installation Sales & Service 1422"9242l 301 MAIN ST. VINCENNES. IN 47591 = i ii iiiii iiiiii Ed. L. Lee Mortuary 101 North Meridian Street Washington, IN 254-3612 ii i i Operated by Michael and Patricia Koch 15 S. Third Avenue. 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For modern societies to serve the common good, he said, in- dividuals must accept personal responsibility for their actions before God, others and their consciences. ergy; his deelc church's teaching, both cial issues and in areas sonal morality such as l control; his special the weak, the sick and poor; his pastoral young people; his strengthen ties between and the world's bishops his deep spiritual life. Other observers in noted that when Karol Wojtyla's electioD announced 15 years ago,:! the thousands Peter's Square rece name. Today, it cult to imagine the int tional scene without him. Vincennes Continued cilities and Financial of the Vincennes Schools." That prepared by three State University Dr. Boyd, Dr. Ulm ar Robert S. Estabrook. (Boyd and Ulm their involvement at meetings, work on Saturday.) Following the April 1 of the "Comprehensive document, the s o' "LOVE" proposal was for council con: full title was Ownership for a cation, but we just 'LOVE.'" 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