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Evansville, Indiana
November 3, 1995     The Message
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November 3, 1995

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III II I III III 0 10 ! Speakers: Anti-immigrant laws make life tougher for refugees By JOHN THAVIS Council for Migrants and Trav- Catholic News Service elers, focused on the effects of VATICAN CITY (CNS -- Wave of anti-immigrant is making life more for the world's refugee migrant population, experts said at a Vati- meeting. rom the United States to to Asia, legal efforts a widespread public have resulted in ex- aOas, forced repatriations a cutback in assistance they said. experts encouraged agencies to continue with the most vulner- migrant population, Women, children and who often else to turn. Oct. 24-27 meeting, d by the Pontifical what it called a major change in richer nations: passage from virtually open immigration to a "strict policy of closing fron- tiers and repressing illegal im- migration." Pope John Paul II told par- ticipants that migration is in- creasingly seen as a "burden, a disturbance and a problem," creating a climate of suspicion and hostility toward immi- grants. In the United States, U.S. bishops said, economic fear and political fallout have been the driving forces behind anti- immigrant measures. Bishop John S. Cummins of Oakland, Calif., told the as- sembly that a "flavor of unwel- come for immigrants" prevails St. Simon re-dedication Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger celebrated a re-dedication Mass at St. Simon Church, Washington, on Oct. 28. For additional photos, see page 8. -- Message photo by Paul A. Newland in the United States today. Participants say loss of priests' identity leads to problems cYa CINDY WOODEN tbolic News Service the people of God to whom we ,N CITY (CNS) -- difficulties facing today stem from of the particu- of priests, said par- at a Vatican confer- ng more on what than on who they. COntrihute to stress Srientation among to easy criticism among lay beakers said at an must strengthen understanding are men specially d to serve the final message marking the of the Second document on and ministry, Ordinis." ty is a ques- the files tion of fidelity to Christ and to are sent," Pope John Paul II said Oct. 27 during a television special in connection with the meeting. Confusion about the particu- lar identity of the priest over the past 30 years, he said, arose as more and more people abandoned their religious prac- tice and as the church gave more and more emphasis to the dignity and role of laity in the church. "Priests began to ask them- selves: 'Are we still needed?' And, in not a few priests, there appeared symptoms of a cer- tain loss of their own identity," the pope said. "Priestly identity is impor- tant for the priest; it is impor- tant for his witness before men and women, who seek in him nothing other than a priest, a true man of God who loves the church as his bride," the pope said. Diocese of Evansville Item money did you (or, you and your spouse to the Church in 1993? Catholic parish? Statewide not 5oh -- Did not give 15% -- Under $100 $499 * 34 -- $100 -- $499 "" $500  $999 23c"/c -- $500 -- $999 or more 24, -- $1.000 or more The church must strengthen all its members' understanding that priests are men specially chosen by God to serve the church Knowing a priest who puts his relationship with God first, the pope said, "it is easier for the faithful to kneel down and confess their sins; it is easier,for them, when they participate in the Mass, to be- come aware of the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the hands and in the heart of the priest through the sacrament of holy orders." The 280 cardinals, bishops and priests at the Vatican meeting said keeping priests rooted in their special identity would require ongoing forma- tion, a deeper prayer life and a greater sense of support and community among priests. "A clear and constant aware- ness of his own identity is what determines the balance in a priest's life and the fruit- fulness of the pastoral ministry which flows from it," said the meeting's final message. The Catholic Church must rediscover the sacred character of priesthood and avoid ten- dencies to see it just as a func- tional office within the church, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told the meeting. One symptom of the prob- lem, he said, is the "growing tendency to avoid using the ex- pressions 'priest' or 'priest- hood,' which carry a sacred connotation, and to substitute them with the neutral, func- tional 'minister,' which in Catholic theology was never given much say. Cardinal Ratzinger main- tained church teaching on the sacramental quality of priest- hood and the fact that a priest is changed by ordination. All of the church's members participate in its mission, but they do so according to their own gifts and call, he said. The priest is chosen by and belongs to Christ, and through Christ is sent to be the servant of all people, the cardinal said. The Catholic Church sees this belonging to the Lord, ini- tiated by God, as the only way a priest can legitimately offer the sacrifice that is Christ's alone: the sacrifice of Christ's body and blood in the Eu- charist, Cardinal Ratzinger said. "No man can procure this for himself, nor can anyone be del- egated to do so by any commu- nity," he said. The idea of Catholic commu- nities democratically electing their own priests reflects a misunderstanding of the priesthood and of the nature of the church itself, said Arch- bishop Julian Herranz, presi- dent of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Leg- islative Texts. "The one who elects the priest, is the same one who ton- secrates and sends him: that is, Christ himself through the apostles and their successors," the archbishop said. While all of the baptized par- ticipate in the priesthood of Christ, he said, Christ gave the church a structure in which different people are called to different ministries. The priest is a member of the people of God, chosen from among others with a particular call to be consecrated by a spe- cial sacrament and sent to per- form specific functions in the service of the people of God and all humanity," the arch- bishop said.