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BY Jim Cosgrove
During a U.S. bishops ad limina visit June 6, 1998, Pope John Paul II stressed the importance of each bishop's role in the teaching of the Catholic faith in his diocese (See stories, Page 14).
In an ecclesiology of communion, the Church's hierarchical structure is not a matter of power but of service, completely ordered to the holiness of Christ's members.
The Marian dimension of the Church is prior to the Petrine or hierarchical dimension, as well as being supreme and pre-eminent, richer in personal and communitarian implications for the various ecclesial vocations. If I mention these well-known truths, it is because everywhere in the Church, and not least in your country, we see the spread of a fresh and invigorating lay spirituality and the magnificent fruits of the laity's greater involvement in the Church's life.
As we approach the third Christian millennium it is of paramount importance that the Pope and the Bishops, fully conscious of their own special ministry of service in the Mystical Body of Christ, continue to 'stir and promote a deeper awareness among all the faithful of the gift and responsibility they share, both in association and as individuals, in the communion and mission of the Church.
BY Jim Cosgrove
Pope John Paul II met with Irish bishops for their ad limina visit on June 26. Along with other themes, he stressed the need to protect human life, and to help mothers facing difficult situations. His words follow:
New ideas and new energies are required to meet the needs of couples in difficulty, and in particular to reach out promptly and efficaciously to women facing pressures to reject the unborn life they bear. The new evangelization involves a strenuous defense of the right to life, the most basic of all human rights — more basic than any individual's, group's or government's “right to choose”. It calls for the faithful to be ever more aware of the Church's social teaching, ever more active in promoting truth and justice in public life and interpersonal relations. It demands practical solidarity with the weaker sectors of society and all those who are left at the margin of economic development (No. 5).
BY Culture Of Life
When he received Lindy Boggs as the new American ambassador to the Vatican on Dec. 16, 1997, Pope John Paul II reflected on the founding of America. Noting that not just the Church, but nations, could take the Jubilee Year 2000 as a time of self-examination, he said:
“The United States of America was founded on the conviction that an inalienable right to life was a self-evident moral truth, fidelity to which was a primary criterion of social justice. The moral history of your country is the story of your people's efforts to widen the circle of inclusion in society, so that all Americans might enjoy the protection of law, participate in the responsibilities of citizenship, and have the opportunity to make a contribution to the common good.
“Whenever a certain category of people — the unborn or the sick and old — are excluded from that protection, a deadly anarchy subverts the original understanding of justice. The credibility of the United States will depend more and more on its promotion of a genuine culture of life, and on a renewed commitment to building a world in which the weakest and most vulnerable are welcomed and protected.”
BY Jim Cosgrove
Pope John Paul II made a powerful plea to his countrymen to respect human life June 13 when he spoke out firmly against abortion, euthanasia and prenatal medical intervention, said the Associated Press.
The Pope also referred to “interventions and … experimentation,” said the report, which seemed “to refer to medical procedures such as amniocentesis, which can detect genetic problems in a fetus.”
He told the people to show respect for “the laws of nature” which needed to be “extended to mankind itself.”
Said the Pope, “Is it really possible to oppose the destruction of the environment while allowing, in the name of comfort and convenience, the slaughter of the unborn and the procured death of the elderly and the infirm, and the carrying out, in the name of progress, of unacceptable interventions and forms of experimentation at the very beginning of human life?
“When the good of science or economic interests prevail over the good of the person, and ultimately of whole societies, environmental destruction is a sign of a real contempt for man.”