Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
January 18, 2010
World News in Brief
Dominican theologian Schillebeeckx dies at 95
Dominican Father Edward Schillebeeckx, a theologian whose work had a huge impact on the Dutch Church, died at the age of 95 Dec. 23 in Nijmegen, Netherlands, where he lived since 1957.
Schillebeeckx taught theology at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, now known as Radboud University Nijmegen, from 1957 until his retirement in 1983.
He served as theological adviser to the Dutch bishops during the Second Vatican Council and was seen as the main inspiration behind the Dutch catechism for adults. The catechism was published in 1966 after approval by the country's bishops, who wanted the text to reflect the council's new approach to questions of faith.
But the Vatican criticized the text, ordered a study of it and in 1972 insisted on its withdrawal from use in Catholic schools.
In its obituary, Radboud University Nijmegen described Schillebeeckx "as a pioneer who connected faith, Church and theology with modern humanity in a secular society."
But his efforts to "rethink the Christian faith in the light of contemporary culture" - as Vatican Radio described his work Dec. 27 - led to three separate investigations by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith between 1968 and 1984.
Pope visits cardinal who broke hip
Pope Benedict went to a Rome hospital to visit the French cardinal who broke his hip when a woman rushed the pope at Christmas Eve Mass. The pope spent about a half-hour chatting with 87-year-old Cardinal Roger Etchegaray at Rome's Gemelli Hospital Jan. 9. The cardinal, who was recovering from hip replacement surgery, was able to walk the pontiff to the door of his hospital room at the end of the visit, the Vatican said.
The two spoke in French, and the pope asked about the recovery and rehabilitation program the cardinal was undergoing. The Vatican said Etchegaray's condition was very good, and that he was expected to leave the hospital in a few days. Etchegaray served as head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace until his retirement in 2002.
Vatican security worked perfectly - officer
Safety procedures worked perfectly and security personnel performed excellently the night Pope Benedict was knocked down by the same woman who had attempted to get close to him a year before, a chief security officer said. Salvatore Festa, the prefect in charge of coordinating the work of several branches of Italian security which protect the pope, said despite careful security measures, "it's also clear that there are many other factors that come into play and many times these are random and unpredictable." His comments were published Jan. 7 in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.
The visitors who entered St. Peter's Basilica all had been thoroughly screened for weapons and potentially dangerous objects, "and I can guarantee that not even a straight pin got in there without proper authorization," Festa said.
Domenico Giani, director of Vatican security services, immediately intervened to prevent the woman from harming the pope, Festa said.
Susannah Maiolo, 25, jumped a security barrier at the start of the Dec. 24 liturgy as Pope Benedict processed into St. Peter's Basilica. As Vatican guards tackled her, Maiola grabbed the pope's vestments, causing him to lose his balance and tumble to the floor.
Three more Irish bishops resign in abuse scandal
Three more Irish bishops have announced their resignations, bringing the total to four who have resigned as a result of a recent report on how the Dublin Archdiocese covered up clerical sex abuse allegations and put children at risk of further abuse. On Christmas Eve Dublin Auxiliary Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field announced they were offering their resignations to Pope Benedict.
"As we celebrate the feast of Christmas, the birth of our saviour, the prince of peace, it is our hope that our action may help to bring the peace and reconciliation of Jesus Christ to the victims/survivors of child sexual abuse," the bishops said in a joint statement. The previous day, Dec. 23, Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin announced his resignation, saying that he should have challenged the prevailing culture in Dublin's archdiocesan administration.
Forget doomsayers; fasten your seatbelt - astronomer
Forget worrying over end-of-the-world predictions; lives are more at risk of being lost from smoking and driving without a seatbelt, said a Vatican astronomer. Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno said, there is no reason to believe the claims behind the new apocalyptic science fiction film, 2012, or other doomsday scenarios. "People have been predicting the end of the world since the dawn of humanity. Up until now, none of these theories have turned out to be true and there is no reason to believe (that they will come true) in 2012," he said in an interview published Jan. 6 in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. Consolmagno said there is a more serious problem behind the many forecasts of doom on the horizon. "These beliefs spread because we are all tempted by the desire to possess secret knowledge of the future, thinking that it will make us more powerful than others. In reality, this is only a sign of bad science or bad religion," he said.
Collins named to Vatican communications council
Pope Benedict named Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto as a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. The archbishop, who turns 63 Jan. 16, has posted lectio divina meditations on YouTube, where users can upload, view and share music videos, television clips and video content of their own creation. The lectio divina meditations - a prayerful reading and reflection on the Scripture - were recorded during the archbishop's regular encounters with the faithful. Since coming to Toronto from Edmonton in January 2007, he has posted on his archdiocesan website dozens of podcasts of his homilies and holy day celebrations, as well as his meditations.
Outspoken cardinal pushed for peace in N. Ireland
Cardinal Cahal Daly, the former primate of all Ireland and an outspoken critic of paramilitary violence and poverty in Northern Ireland, died Dec. 31 at the age of 92. In a telegram released Jan. 2, Pope Benedict recalled the cardinal's "long years of devoted pastoral service to the Church" and expressed gratitude for his "sustained efforts in the promotion of justice and peace in Northern Ireland." Daly was best remembered for his contribution to ecumenical relations at a time when sectarian violence increased in Northern Ireland. As the former bishop of Down and Connor - the Northern Ireland diocese which includes the province's main city of Belfast - he witnessed firsthand the bloodshed waged by the Irish Republican Army.
At his installation as archbishop Armagh and primate of Ireland in 1990, he called on the IRA to end its strategy of terror and urged a government-sponsored "new deal" to aid economically depressed Catholic neighbourhoods in west Belfast.
At least 37 church workers killed in 2009
An increase in violence against Catholic Church workers in the Americas contributed to almost doubling the number of missionaries who were murdered in 2009 compared to the previous year, the Vatican's Fides agency said. The agency said 37 people working for the Church were killed in 2009, up from 20 people in 2008. It is also the highest number of deaths in the last 10 years, it added. Each year, Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, publishes a list of pastoral workers who died violently.
Church teachings reflect harmony of God's plan
Taken all together, the teachings of the Catholic faith are "a marvellous symphony that sings of God and his love," Pope Benedict said.
In a world where people tend to pick and choose what to believe, what to study and what to specialize in, the Church must help people see how all of its teachings about the Trinity, creation, redemption, the sacraments and morality reflect "the harmony of God's plan of salvation," the pope said at his Dec. 30 weekly general audience.
Pope Benedict spoke about the medieval philosopher Peter Lombard, who was born in Italy and died in 1160 as bishop of Paris. Lombard's famous work, The Sentences, like the Catechism of the Catholic Church, demonstrates how individual Church teachings are linked to one another and must be taken together if one is to have a full understanding of the faith, the pope said.
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