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BY Jim Cosgrove
Cyprus Considers Papal Visit
ITAR TASS, March 12 — The government of Cyprus is considering the possibility of inviting Pope John Paul II to visit the island during his planned pilgrimage to Mediterranean sites visited by St. Paul. The Vatican has already announced that the Pope will stop in Athens, Damascus and Malta, but Cyprus was had not been mentioned as a stop until recently.
The news agency reports that the people of Cyprus are “ready to welcome the head of the Roman Catholic Church,” and that, according to government sources, the Cyprus Orthodox Church has no objections to a papal visit.
Lutherans Divided Over Pope's Role
IDEA, March 11 — Lutheran bishops in Germany are split over whether the Pope could act as a universally accepted spokesman for all Christianity, according to the Protestant news service.
Division over the topic arose after Hans Christian Knuth, presiding bishop of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany, suggested that Protestants might recognize the Pope in this role. Johannes Friedrich, Lutheran bishop of Bavaria, seconded Knuth's suggestion. But Margot Kaessmann, Lutheran bishop of Hanover, vehemently rejected her colleagues' proposal, calling it an illusion that was not evangelical. Said Kaessmann, “We don't need a Pope.”
Cardinal Karl Lehmann, chairman of Germany's Bishops' conference, said he welcomed the two Lutheran Bishops' proposal. Bishop Paul-Werner Scheele, ecumenical officer for the Bishops' conference commented that only a generation ago Protestants regarded the Pope as the Anti-Christ.
Did Pope Put a Hex on Scotland?
THE SCOTSMAN, March 13 — What's at the root of the floods, train crashes and foot-and-mouth epidemic scourging the British Isles?
According to one presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, the recent spate of disasters are divine retribution for last year's meetings by Queen Elizabeth II and Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish with the Pope last year. The Queen and the Pope met at the Vatican in October. McLeish met the Pope during a December visit to Rome. Reverend John Macleod, a Stornoway minister, wrote to both in his capacity as the clerk to the Outer Isles presbytery of the Free Presbyterian Church.
“The Westminster Confession of Faith, which was ratified by the Scottish Parliament in 1649 and which became the subordinate standard of the Reformation Church of Scotland, identifies the Pope of Rome as ‘that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God,’ Macleod wrote in a letter to McLeish, adding, “We view your action, Sir, as a gross betrayal of all that the martyrs stood for and we believe that there may well be a connection between it and the troubles which afflict our nation at present, not least of which is the sudden appearance of the virus causing Foot-and-Mouth Disease.”
Macleod expressed similar sentiments in a letter to Queen Elizabeth.