U.S. Notes & Quotes

Not a Pope Newsweek Would Want

NEWSWEEK, May 31—The national magazine included an item that leveled a cheap shot at the Vatican's Cardinal Francis Arinze. His crime: propagating the teachings of Pope John Paul II. The cardinal's fall from grace occurred at Wake Forest University where he gave this year's commencement address at the graduation of his nephew, Niki Arinze, a player on the university's basketball team. “On everyone's short list of papal candidates, Arinze, 66, makes about three U.S. visits a year — far more than John Paul II prior to his 1978 election,” said the magazine's The Buzz section. The reader might assume that a lack of a thorough knowledge of the U.S. is probably why the Pope is so out of step with American thinking, at least of the type approved by Newsweek. “In his address, Arinze used terms — “solidarity,” universal destination of created good, straight from the current Pope's phrasebook. The face is African, but so far Arinze,s ideas are papal deja vu all over again.”

Should an African Catholic who regularly visits the U.S. hold views at odds with a Catholic from Poland who has been to these shores only rarely? While Newsweek may be let down, Cardinal Arinze's identification with the Pope's thinking is exactly why many American Catholics consider him a suitable successor.

Visit to Romania Has ‘Great Value’

THE TOLEDO BLADE, May 22—In addition to the worldwide implications for Catholic-Orthodox relations, Pope John Paul II's recent visit to Romania has born sound ecumenical fruit in the United States — despite difficulties caused by America's conflict with Serbia, an Orthodox nation, according to a Blade story. “It will not mean an immediate solution to the differences [between the churches], but as a symbolic encounter, … it has great value,” said Father Leonid Kishkovsky, ecumenical officer for the Orthodox Church in America, told the Blade. Bishop Nathaniel of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate in the U.S. said he viewed the Pope,s trip as a positive development in the quest for understanding between the two churches. The paper reported that a Catholic-Orthodox dialogue that has met in the U.S. since 1965 may finalize a common statement on mutual recognition of sacraments at its upcoming meeting June 1–3 at St.Vladimir,s Orthodox Seminary in New York. However, an international Catholic-Orthodox dialogue scheduled to meet in June in Maryland for the first time since 1993, has been postponed for a year because of the war in Kosovo. “Serbian and other Balkan Orthodox leaders reportedly are reluctant to be away from home during the war and also to visit the chief member country of NATO, which is bombing Orthodox Serbs,” said the Blade.

The U.S. Capitol dome

House Expected to Pass ‘Respect for Marriage Act’ on Thursday

The bill, which would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and recognize same-sex marriages on a federal level, has drawn criticism from Catholic leaders for not providing strong enough protections for those who believe marriage is between one man and one woman — a belief in line with Church teaching.