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Keeping an eye on the news from around the World.
BY John Lilly
Cardinal-Designate Zen: Beijing Must Change
March 14 — Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun said that China’s communist government
needs to overcome old prejudices toward the Church for the Vatican to make a
breakthrough in forging relations with Beijing, Associated Press reported.
The main stumbling blocks have been the
Vatican’s recognition of Taiwan and China’s demand to have a say in the
appointment of bishops.
Cardinal Zen, a firm advocate of
democracy and religious freedom, criticized the Beijing-backed Hong Kong
government for chipping away at Church control of Catholic schools, which he
said have made the Church in Hong Kong influential beyond its small numbers.
“If the Pope can [preach peace] to the
whole world, I can do it for Hong Kong,” he said. Problems of religious freedom
arise from old prejudices, the bishop said, calling it “possible” that China
and the Vatican could resolve their differences in time for the Summer Olympics
in Beijing in 2008.
Catholic Countries Help Block Embryo
REUTERS, March 13
— Catholic countries such as Italy, Poland and Austria are doing their part to
prevent the European Union from adopting an embryonic stem-cell research
policy, Reuters reported.
The 25-nation block instead will adhere
to its current program, which ends this year. Applications for funding for
human embryonic stem-cell research are considered case-by-case by a committee
rather than under a general policy. Each project has to show that the research
could not be conducted using adult stem cells such as bone marrow.
The over-arching policy would prove
impossible, as largely Roman Catholic members such as Italy and Poland could
muster a blocking minority. Austria, which holds the rotating EU presidency, is
among countries that ban the use of embryonic stem cells for research.
Elisabeth Gehrer, Austria’s minister
for education, science and culture, told a news briefing, “We still think that
adult stem-cell research is preferable to embryonic stem cells.” She added the
simplest solution would be to continue with the current system.
Lesbian Bishop Would Jeopardize
March 12 — Rev. Nick Wynne-Jones, the secretary of the Church of England
Evangelical Council, said that the election of lesbian Episcopal minister
Bonnie Perry to bishop would jeopardize the future of the worldwide Anglican
Communion, the London daily reported.
That Perry is on the short list of
candidates for appointment to the California diocese was “provocative” and “in
defiance” of the rest of the Anglican Church, Wynne-Jones said. The Anglican
Communion believes that the ordination of actively homosexual clergy is
incompatible with Scripture. The Church of England does not even recognize
female bishops, although the subject is under discussion.
“The condition of the Episcopal Church
in America is unraveling fairly fast and this would exacerbate this situation,”
Wynne-Jones said. “I think that more and more individual parishes are likely to
align with other dioceses. It is frustrating. Anyone who’s concerned for the
future of the church would be concerned.”
Chris Sugden, the
executive secretary of Anglican Mainstream International, a traditional
organization within the church, said, “The Archbishop of Canterbury … is very
clear that there is a group of people in power in the highest echelons of the
Episcopalian Church in America for whom this is a determined crusade. They will
brook no opposition; they will not listen to any calls for restraint. It has
been done during the moratorium deliberately. It is a clear challenge to the
rest of the Communion and the Church of England.”