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BY Jim Cosgrove
Cardinal Ratzinger Plans Retirement
AGENCE FRANCE — PRESSE, Sept. 10 — Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, announced that he planned to retire next year, the wire service reported.
Cardinal Ratzinger, 74, has headed the congregation for 21 years. He said that he desired “to write books again,” and that his life had become “very hard” due to age and fatigue. In a pastoral letter, he added that he wanted to make way for “new faces.”
The Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that Pope John Paul II was unhappy about losing the services of his cardinal and friend, but there were no hints that the Pope would seek to change Cardinal Ratzinger's mind.
Pope Will Visit a Changed Kazakhstan
AGENCE FRANCE — PRESSE, Sept. 8 — The Catholic community of Kazakhstan grew as a result of terror, the wire service reported.
Josef Stalin exiled many Catholic Germans, Poles and Ukrainians to the steppes of this former Soviet republic, which Pope John Paul II plans to visit in late September. The breakup of the Soviet bloc brought a brief Catholic revival. But now Catholics are trickling back to their countries of origin, leaving the predominantly Muslim Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is a mostly secular state, and was the first former Soviet republic to reach an agreement with the Vatican. But many Muslims remain suspicious of the Church.
The Interfax news agency reported that the Pope has requested Italian translations of several Kazakh literary classics, in preparation for his visit.
Canadian Nun Steps Closer to Canonization
THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, Sept. 8 — Mother Emilie TavernierGamelin, one of the founders of the Sisters of Providence of St. Vincent de Paul, will be beatified in October, the Canadian daily reported.
Mother Gamelin lived in Montreal in the 19th century. She was widowed and lost both her children while still young.
In December 2000, the Vatican certified that prayers for her inter-cession had led to a miraculous cure of a boy's leukemia.
Orthodox Patriarch Urges Bulgaria to Welcome Pope
TROUD, Sept. 6 — Bartholomew I, Orthodox ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, encouraged Bulgarians to welcome Pope John Paul II on his proposed 2002 visit, the Bulgarian daily reported.
“If the faith of Bulgaria's Orthodox community is strong, then we have nothing to be afraid of, whether it is the Pope or anyone else who is not Orthodox,” the patriarch said.
In January, 75 Bulgarian intellectuals invited the Pope to visit Bulgaria this year even though the Bulgarian Orthodox Church opposed his visit. The church has since agreed to welcome the Pope only in his role as head of the Vatican state.
The Vatican has not officially confirmed that the trip will occur.