World Notes & Quotes

Irish President's Ecumenism

THE IRISH TIMES, Feb. 11—Irish President Mary McAleese called for a new inter-religious global ethic to lay down guidelines for human behavior - “to create the conditions for a sustainable world order,” reported Paddy Agnew.

McAleese made her comments in a series of speeches in Florence during a trip to Italy that will culminate with an audience with Pope John Paul II.

McAleese also cautioned that ecumenism should not be taken to mean the lowest common religious denominator but rather a unity that respected diversity.

Meanwhile, Britain's The Universe Catholic newspaper reported that McAleese will conform to papal etiquette during her visit with the Pope and wear the traditional full-length black dress with sleeves and a black veil. “This protocol was ignored by former President Mary Robinson in 1996 who met Pope John Paul in a green coat-dress,” reported the paper.

Australian Archbishop Tackles Liturgical Abuses

THE COURIER-MAIL, Feb. 11—Australians' widespread use of general absolution in place of individual confession has prompted Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby to assign more than 50 lay people to monitor liturgical practices in Catholic parishes over Lent and Easter.

Andrew Shaw, director of the effort, said the campaign is “very painful” in the short-term. “But long-term it's making the Catholic Church here in Brisbane wake up to the fact that what's going on is not in accord with the mind of the Holy Father,” he told reporter Wayne Smith.

Archbishop Bathersby ordered a stop to general absolution in a recent meeting with the 230 priests of the archdiocese.

General absolution can only be used with the specific permission of the bishop or under extreme circumstances, such as an army chaplain giving general absolution to troops before they go into battle.

“Some [priests] have openly said they will defy the Church and the archbishop,” Brazier said.