Pope to Apologize for Crusades?

AVVENIRE, Nov. 16—Pope John Paul II is preparing to ask pardon for the crusades, the Italian Catholic daily reported.

The Pope's plans were made public by Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, president of the Council of European Bishops’ Conference. Cardinal Vlk said the Pope will submit a document to all the confessions and religions which suffered as a result of the bloody campaigns to re-capture the Holy Land and defend Christianity from Muslim invaders in the early part of this millennium.

A papal apology would follow a complaint — made earlier this year — by the Greek Orthodox Church that Catholics have never expressed repentance for cruelty towards them during the fourth crusade in 1204.

According to one Vatican official, a meeting between the Pope and the heads of the Orthodox Church may even take place in Bethlehem in the year 2000, Avvenire reported.

Pope Dedicates New Chapel at the Vatican

THE UNIVERSE, Nov. 21—East and West meet in a burst of color and stone in the newly decorated Vatican chapel that Pope John Paul II dedicated Nov. 11, the British Catholic weekly reported.

“Here East and West, far from opposing one another, exchange gifts in order to better express the unfathomable riches of Christ,” the Pope said during Mass in the Redemptoris Mater (Mother of the Redeemer) Chapel.

The chapel, named after Pope John Paul's 1987 encyclical on Mary, had been closed for three years while artists covered the walls and ceiling with mosaics that represent scenes and symbols common in Eastern icons. They were designed and executed by Slovenian Jesuit Father Marko Rupnik and Russian Orthodox artist Aleksandr Kornooukhov, the Universe reported.

North American College Seminarians Choose Ratzinger to Ordain Them

INSIDE THE VATICAN, Nov.—The selection of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to ordain 31 American seminarians to the diaconate at St. Peter's Basilica, Oct. 7, reflects a shift in the attitude of seminarians from the United States and Canada.

According to custom, the seminarians vote for the curial cardinal who will ordain them. Inside the Vatican said for nearly two decades, some seminarians have always opposed Ratzinger as their choice. “But,” said Inside the Vatican writer John Drogin, “the student body began to change in the 1990's. Lately, a growing number of seminarians have wanted to invite Ratzinger. This year, their enthusiasm for him was very clear.”