1999 March April/Urbi and Orbi

Pope opposes legalising gay unions. In an address to judges who serve on the Roman Rota, Pope John Paul II affirmed that “It is an incongruous claim to attribute the conjugal reality to a union between persons of the same sex.” Same‑sex unions could not be justified on the grounds of human freedom since they were “deviations from the natural law”. The Pope added that real freedom entailed “adapting one’s personal choices and will to God, and thus becoming ever more like one’s Creator”.

Since there is an “objective impossibility” for same—sex unions to be fruitful by transmitting human life, they lacked the “interpersonal complementarity” that is found in unions between a man and a woman, the Pope said. The latter unions are based on psycho­logical as well as biological realities. Anyone seen Bishop C‑‑t lately?

Padro Pio to beatified. The last step needed for the beatification of the Capuchin stigmatist, Padre Pio di Pietrelcina, has been taken with the reognition by the Pope of a miracle attributed to his intercession. Padre Pio will be beatified during a cer­emony on May 2. May his canonisation follow quickly!

A new Our Father. A new version of the Our Father, approved by Johannesburg diocese for use in the liturgy and likely to be approved by other South African dioceses, runs as follows:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive us those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever: Amen.

Some comments: first, “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and for ever” is not part of the Our Father, but an addition made by Protestants in order to give the Lord’s Prayer a ‘positive’ ending. In other words, Christ hadn’t got it quite right and His offering needed some improvement.

Second, there is a point to the use of “Thy” in the traditional version. In early Modem English “thy” was the familiar term of address, used for friends, family or inferiors, as opposed to the more formal “you used for strangers or persons deserving respect. The latter term gradually took over the role of the former familiar conversation, and “thy”, in a curious revers of meaning, came to be reserved for God and the saints, and in consequence acquired a tone of respect. To substitute “you” for “thy’ is to lose the reverence that the latter term has.

Finally, it seems odd that in the desire to modernise: the English of the Our Father, such a venerable term as “hallowed” should be left intact. The ICET version renders it as “held holy”, which is accurate. A wick soul might suggest that a clear translation

“hallowed” does not sit well with calling God “you but, of course, we don’t suggest such a thing ourselves….

Satanism growing in Spain. Satanic cults a activities are on the increase in Spain, according to an investigation involving interviews with police spokesmen, public officials, Church representatives and sect members themselves. Police estimates put membership of Satanic groups at about 150 000, it total of about 200 sects. The Spanish Bishops’ Conference offers the figure of 250 000 people engaging in devil worship, associated with 40 main groups.

Human sacrifice is one of the activities of these sects and statistics from Interpol show a rise in it across Europe, with at least 100 cases in the years 1989 and 1990. Whatever happened to the Pentecost of the Church?

German bishops continue to give tacit aproval to abortion. To obtain an abortion in Germany a woman must visit one of the 1650 consultation centres and get a certificate stating she had received consultation. 270 of these centres Catholic‑run, which is tantamount to giving necessary assistance for those seeking abortion. After Vatican requested that these centres cease issuing certificates, the Episcopal Conference estabtished a Commission to study the issue and give a reply following year. Come the new year the bishops voted a text that proposes replacing the consultation plan, which includes offering concrete aid to women. This plan, however, qualifies as a legal consultation, and will enable the women receiving it to obtain an abortion, after either taking an oath before a doctor or by the doctor contacting the centre in question by telephone. If the Vatican does not approve of this arrangement (how can it), then it is likely the German Episcopal Conference will set up another Commission to offer another solution And so on, ad infinitum….