Cardinal Stafford on Laity and World Youth Day

Cardinal J. Francis Stafford, the head of the Pontifical Council on the Laity, had two messages for the flock he guided as archbishop of Denver. The cardinal was back home for the summit on technology and the Church.

The Rocky Mountain News (March 30) reports that he took the occasion to stress the importance of the laity in the Church's mission—and the difficulties they can therefore expect to face. The article said Cardinal Stafford believes lay Catholics are the “backbone” of the Church.

"Indeed,” he said, “for lay Christians trying to live out their faith today— say, in the realms of medicine, technology, and politics—‘;the world is increasingly difficult’.’

"Yet, it is those who succeed who will bring back to public life something woefully lacking today,” which the prelate called “nobility of spirit.’

Cardinal Stafford also wanted to talk about the 1993 World Youth Day that was held in Denver, according to a March 30 Denver Post Report.

"In particular, [Cardinal] Stafford spoke about Butterfly Hill at Cherry Creek State Park, where 500,000 people gathered to see the Pope and celebrate the final hours of the 1993 conference.’

"[The cardinal] believes that just as butterflies go through a metamorphosis, there was a metamorphosis of the spirit at Butterfly Hill on Aug. 14 and 15 of 1993 that profoundly impacted the youth of the world.’

"Retired Denver police officer Phil Harrington, who was at Sunday's reception for [Cardinal] Stafford, remembers that before the Pope's arrival in Denver, the city had experienced what became known as ‘The Summer of Violence.’”

Harrington, a Catholic deacon also ordained by the cardinal, said the Pope's visit there had “a calming effect” that was evident when he arrived.

The Consensus Catechism

The Presbyterian Church, following the Catholic Church's lead, plans to release its own catechisms, the Associated Press reported March 28, 1998.

Like their predecessor, the new catechisms will be conversational in tone. “But unlike the 688-page Catholic catechism, the Presbyterian catechisms avoid definitive stands on such issues as abortion and homosexuality that have divided the denomination in recent years. As with earlier catechisms, the 14-page Study Catechism and the five-page First Catechism—a simpler document intended for ages 10 and up—focus on traditional teachings.’

But the catechisms won't avoid all recent or contentious issues: they affirm “modern scholarship as a tool for interpreting the Bible,” and the importance of the environment, the report stated.

One Presbyterian scholar is quoted saying, “We tried very much to produce a consensus document, the broad consensus, the broad middle within the Presbyterian Church.’