The Catholic Herald - 22 December 2006
CHRISTMASTIDE DOUBLE ISSUE
WITH BENEDICT XVI GEORGE CLOONEY RABBI LIONEL BLUE STUART REID SANDRA MIESEL AND MANY OTHERS
No. 6282 Christmas and New Year double issue
December 22, 2006 £2 (Republic of Ireland €3)
Don’t trample rights in the war on terror, Pope tells leaders
PAGES FOR £2 32
THEUNPRECEDENTED threat of terrorism should not cause governments to abandon human rights laws, Pope Benedict XVI has said in his message for the 2007 World Peace Day. In a statement sent to heads of state around the world, Pope Benedict wrote that terrorism had “unleashed completely new forms of violence”. But he warned leaders that efforts to combat this new threat must be bound by “ethical limits”. The Pope argued that recent conflicts –such as the fighting between Israel and the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon – had “largely ignored” international humanitarian law. In an era where “wars are not declared”, governments needed to establish “clearer rules to counter effectively the dramatic decline that we are witnessing,” he said. In a message released on December 12, Pope Benedict said: “The heart-rending situation in Lebanon and the new shape of conflicts, especially since the terrorist threat unleashed completely new forms of violence, demand that the international community reaffirm international humanitarian law and apply it to all present-day situations of armed conflict, including those not currently provided
for by international law. Moreover, the scourge of terrorism demands a profound reflection on the ethical limits restricting the use of modern methods of guaranteeing internal security,” he added. Commenting on the Pope’s message, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, called the worldwide struggle against terrorism “the Fourth World War. The Cold War was the third.” “But this war does not have the parameters of the wars we experienced in history,” the cardinal said. “This must push countries to ask, ‘What should we do?’ and to develop [human rights] regulations.” According to Cardinal Martino, the message was meant as a continuation of last year’s World Peace Day message, in which the Pontiff described peace as “the fruit of an order which has been planted in human society by its divine Founder”. This year’s message, entitled “The Human Person, the Heart of Peace” and released for World Peace Day on January 1, 2007, emphasises that authentic peace can only be achieved through an adherence to this natural order. One “disturbing symptom” of the world’s lack of peace, the Pope said, was the way religious believers were
stopped from practising their faith. “Speaking of Christians in particular,” the Pope explained, “I must point out with pain that not only are they at times prevented from doing so; in some states they are actually persecuted, and even recently tragic cases of ferocious violence have been recorded.” In recent months Muslim extremists in Iraq have reportedly crucified a 14-year-old boy and beheaded a Catholic priest. The persecution of minorities has led to half the Christian population fleeing the country. In November the crisis prompted the Catholic bishops of America to call for a safe haven to be established for Christians and other Iraqi minorities. The Pope explained that Christians were not only threatened by violence but also by the “systematic cultural denigration” of their beliefs by governments that were militantly secular. Pope Benedict also drew attention in his message to society’s “widespread violation” of the right to life. “Alongside the victims of armed conflicts, terrorism and the different forms of violence, there are the silent deaths caused by hunger, abortion, experimentation on human embryos and euthanasia. How can we fail to see in all this an attack on peace?” he asked.
A Franciscan friar watches a crane set the Vatican’s Christmas tree in place in St Peter’s Square
The Pope explained that peace was not only threatened by our actions –by terrorism, religious persecution and by violence against the unborn –but also by “indifference as to what constitutes man’s true nature”. A “weak” vision of the person, the Pope argued, makes us “easy prey to oppression and violence”. A “relativistic conception” of
the person leaves that person with “constantly negotiable rights” rather than rights which are absolute. The desire by some governments to acquire nuclear weapons, the Pope said, was “another disturbing issue”. Pope Benedict quoted Gaudium et Spes, the pastoral constitution of the Second Vatican Council, in arguing
that the use of nuclear weapons would be “a crime against God”. He urged governments to dismantle all nuclear arms, warning leaders that “threatening clouds continue to gather on humanity’s horizon”. The Pope pointed to “unjust inequalities” as another source of tension in the world. “Particularly insidious among these are, on the
one hand, inequality in access to essential goods like food, water, shelter, health; on the other hand, there are persistent inequalities between men and women in the exercise of basic human rights. “In some cultures,” the Pope added, “women are still firmly subordinated to the arbitrary decisions of men, with grave consequences for their personal dignity.”
George Clooney: from altar boy to Hollywood star
Kevin Grant is enthralled by Fatima
Foreign News 2 Home News 3 Features 7-9
Comment 10 Books 13 Charterhouse 16
Tridentine indult will soon be published, says Vatican cardinal
THEVATICAN ’ S Ecclesia Dei commission met last week to discuss a papal document to broaden the use of the Tridentine Mass, a Chilean cardinal has said. Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez, a former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, predicted that Pope Benedict XVI would release the document soon. The commission, which was set up in 1988 to supervise Vatican relations with traditionalist Catholics, discussed the document last Tuesday, according to the
cardinal, who is one of the commission members. Cardinal Medina Estevez explained that the results of the meeting would be presented to Pope Benedict XVI by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the Ecclesia Dei chairman. He said he did not expect the document to be discussed any further by Ecclesia Dei. The document is thought to give priests the freedom to celebrate the Tridentine Mass –the pre-Vatican II 1962 Latin Missal –without the explicit permission of the local bishop. According to Vatican
commentators the document will be issued motu proprio (on the Pope’s initiative). News of the proposed reform emerged in October when Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, then prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, mentioned the Pope’s plans to an audience of Canadian bishops. The move would bring the Society of St Pius X –a traditionalist group that has long pushed for wider use of the Tridentine Mass – nearer to reconciliation with the Vatican. Pope Benedict has made new efforts to reach out to
members of the traditionalist group –known as Lefebvrists after their founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who was excommunicated in 1988 –and met Bishop Bernard Fellay, the head of the society, earlier this year. But Bishop Fellay has said that the restoration of the Tridentine Mass would not solve all the problems the society had with the Second Vatican Council. Pope Benedict has repeatedly expressed distress at liturgical habits which have developed since the Second Vatican Council.
Beer good for health, claims Catholic study
BEER -BREWING monks and beer-drinking men have reason to rejoice. Four beers a day makes men live longer, according to researchers at the Catholic University of Campobasso, Italy. Providing further
evidence that moderate alcohol consumption increases longevity, the study, which was published in the American journal Archives of Internal Medicine , shows that men drinking two to four units of alcohol a day improve their live expectancy. Women, on the other hand, should restrict
themselves to two units. Yet, drinkers beware: the study has also shown that moderation is key and that an excess of alcohol is not only harmful but radically curtails life expectancy. The focus of the study was not alcohol but its consumption, explained Giovanni de
Gaetano, director of the research laboratories at the university. He said: “Alcohol can be a respectful guest on our table, but it’s good just when it goes with a healthy lifestyle, where moderation leads us toward a consumption inspired by quality not by quantity.”
COMING SOON IN 2007: ARE YOU BEING CALLED ?
A series in the New Year helping you to discern your vocation
On your bike, Sister!
reach out to
villages cut off
from the help
Now young people are hearing the Gospel
message that is so vital to their lives.
“We need to encourage the young people to
respond to God’s call,” one Sister told ACN.
This Christmas, would you be willing to help
Sisters to get on their bike and proclaim the
Saviour’s birth? A gift of just £30 from 30
people will make all the difference.
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