Pope Benedict XVI on a mission to THE YEAR IN REVIEW DECEMBER 22, 2006 THE CATHOLIC HERALD 8
Will Gore and Freddy Gray look back at the stories that dominated the headlines in 2006
A year on from the tsunami that struck South East Asia, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor visited Sri Lanka . The Cardinal spent 11 days touring the island that was devastated by 2004’s Boxing Day disaster. In Rome, Francis Campbell , the new British ambassador to the Holy See, issued a “gentle challenge” to Pope Benedict XVI over the admission of Turkey to the EU –a prospect that the Pope had opposed before his election. The Union was at the centre of further controversy after EU lawyers attacked a draft concordat between the Holy See and Slovakia guaranteeing the right of Catholics to refuse to take part in abortions. Catholic politicians and pro-life campaigners expressed outrage at the news, accusing the European Commission of imposing its “secularist agenda” on a new member state that has a 70 per cent Catholic population. Dr Anna Zaborska, a Catholic Slovakian MEP, said the attack was a “crucial violation” of the principle of subsidiarity – the idea, supported by Catholic Social Teaching, that decisions should always be taken at the lowest possible level. “This is a restriction of democracy and freedom in Slovakia,” she said. “It is a deliberate attempt to polarise Slovakian society and it represents an expression of intolerance towards religions and churches.” The faithful were cheered by the publication of Pope Benedict’s first encyclical,
Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), a spiritual meditation on love. The Pontiff said he aimed to “reawaken hope” in the world. Introducing the contents of the 50-page document, the Pope said: “I want to explain the contents of love in its various dimensions.” In America, President George W Bush faced criticism from America’s Catholic bishops, who delivered a six-page statement to the White House and Congress reiterating their opposition to the invasion of Iraq.
The statement criticised the President over the failure to find weapons of mass destruction. It said that reports of abuse and torture of terror suspects in prisons run by the American military and Iraqi government were “deeply disturbing”. The bishops urged a withdrawal of troops from Iraq “sooner rather than later”. Meanwhile, Mehmet Ali Agca , the terrorist who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, was released after serving almost 25 years in prison. He spent 19 years incarcerated in Italy before being extradited to Turkey to
serve a separate sentence for robbery and murder. In England and Wales, two new auxiliary bishops were appointed to the Archdiocese of Southwark. Bishop Paul Hendricks, 49, and Bishop Patrick Lynch, 58, were welcomed by Archbishop Kevin McDonald of Southwark as an invaluable help. In England, Cardinal Walter Kasper , president of Promoting Christian Unity, told an international ecumenical conference in Durham that different approaches to modern ethical questions were making the prospect of Christian unity appear distant. Speaking at Ushaw College, he said: “I am very sad we are not able to speak with one voice on these issues to a world that needs to hear.” And in other news a Congolese music star caused controversy in his country after it emerged that he had renamed himself Benedict XVI. The bishops of the Democratic Republic of Congo were said to have publicly scolded Koffi Olomidé for choosing the same name as the Holy Father. But Mr Olomidé denied the accusations and insisted that he had not changed his name to “Benoit XVI” but rather to “Benoit XVII”, possibly in expectation of future elevation.
Newspapers in February were dominated by reports of the uproar across the Muslim world following the publication, in a Danish newspaper, of cartoons mocking Mohammed , the founder of Islam.
Pope Benedict XVI signs his first encyclical in his private library at the Vatican on January 23
Thousands of Christians were caught up in the angry backlash. A Catholic priest was shot dead in Turkey by an Islamic extremist, apparently in revenge for the drawings. Witnesses said that the gunman screamed “ Allahu Akbhar ” (God is Great) as he fired two bullets into Fr
Andrea Santoro. Earlier that day there had been fierce riots in Istanbul in protest at the cartoons. In Rome, Pope Benedict met the most senior cardinals to decide the status of the Tridentine Rite under his papacy. The Pontiff discussed a possible reconciliation between the Church and the
rebel Society of St Pius X as well as proposals to allow loyal Catholic priests greater freedom to celebrate the Old Rite. Following the meeting with his cardinals, Pope Benedict XVI also urged the Church’s highest court of appeal to speed up the process of granting or deny
ing marriage annulments. The Pontiff caused quite a stir by removing the most senior English official in the Vatican, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald . The Arabic-speaking former missionary left his role as president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and became papal nuncio to
Egypt and the Arab League. The move came a month ahead of a dramatic reorganisation of the Roman Curia. It had been expected that Archbishop Fitzgerald would be among a new batch of cardinals created by Pope Benedict XVI in March.
“Into Great Silence is an extraordinary experience... a very moving account that comes from the heart” Cardinal Poupard, President, Pontifical Council for Culture
“succumb to the sense of peace and spirituality” Empire
WINNER BEST DOCUMENTARY EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY 2006 PRIX ARTE
WINNER SPECIAL JURY PRIZE WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY SUNDANCE 2006
WINNER BEST DOCUMENTARY BAVARIAN FILM AWARDS 2005
OFFICIAL SELECTION EDINBURGH FILM FESTIVAL 2006
OFFICIAL SELECTION VENICE FILM FESTIVAL 2005
The first film ever about life inside the Grande Chartreuse, home of the legendary Carthusian Order.
A MEDITATION ON LIFE A CONTEMPLATION OF TIME
SILENCE, REPETITION, RHYTHM
IN CINEMAS 29 DECEMBER FOLLOWED BY SELECTED CINEMAS NATIONWIDE: Irish Film Institute,Dublin (5 January); ICA Cinema,London (12 January); Cornerhouse,Manchester (12 January); Watershed,Bristol (12 January); Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry (20 January); Kino Cinema, Cork, Ireland (26 January); Pictureville, Bradford (26 January); Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham (27 January); Showroom, Sheffield (9 February); City Cinema, Norwich (11 February); Ipswich Film Theatre, Ipswich (16 February); Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast (16 February); Falmouth Arts Centre, Falmouth (20 February); Watermans Arts Centre, Brentford (24 February); Hull Screen, Hull (27 February); Assembly Rooms, Ludlow (27 February); Tricycle Centre, London Nw6 (3 March); Chapter Cinema, Cardiff (5 March); Strode Theatre, Street (12 March); Riverside Studios Cinema, London W6 (14 March); Plough Arts Centre, Torrington (14 March)