In brief

Source: FSSPX News


According to Cardinal Lehmann, the Church must “retake the initiative” but without “fanaticism”

 In an interview given to the Italian daily La Repubblica on November 14, 2004, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, archbishop of Mainz and president of the German Bishops Conference, said he believes that Christians must defend their position in Europe. But without having recourse to “fanaticism” or “fundamentalism.”

 The Church must “retake the initiative and present her values with more intensity, in a more articulate and thorough way” in the European pluralist society and show herself to be “tolerant of other people’s positions,” explained the cardinal. “It is a tolerance which does not lead to renunciation of ones own position, or stepping aside for opinions and language which prevails in public opinion . On the contrary, attachment to tolerance must coexist with the clear will to expose, without ambiguity, the positions which allow us to define ourselves as the Church,” he said.

 It is evident that we must do so, without recourse to any form of “fanaticism” or “fundamentalism,” said the German prelate. “We must reflect long and hard on the fact that many Americans voted for President Bush because they were convinced that ethical standards and the Christian option have far more importance than many other political issues.” Finally the cardinal said that the European legislation against religious symbols had been “unfortunate.” “It appears necessary to reaffirm in universal terms, religious freedom. It is a right which is valid also for Islam,” he concluded.


Pope’s declaration after death of Arafat

 Pope John Paul II “was united with the Palestinians in their grief after the death of their president, Yasser Arafat,” who died in Paris on November 11, and had prayed for him, said his spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls.

 Yasser Arafat was “a charismatic leader, who loved his people and sought to guide it towards national independence,” stressed John Paul II through the voice of his spokesman. “May God in his mercy welcome the soul of this illustrious person, and grant peace to the Holy Land, with two independent States fully reconciled to each other,” he added.

 John Paul II had received the president of the Palestinian authorities ten times, eight of which were at the Vatican. Yasser Arafat was received twice at Castel Gondolfo. During their sixth meeting at the Vatican, in February 1999, Yasser Arafat renewed his invitation to John Paul II, to visit Bethlehem in the year 2000. The pope accepted the invitation, and went there on March 22, 2000, during his visit to the Holy Land.


 Nicolas Sarkozy received by Cardinal Sodano at the Vatican

 Nicolas Sarkozy, the French minister for the Economy, Finance and Industry, was granted an audience with Cardinal Angelo Sodano on November 8. According to Apic, the meeting, which lasted 75 minutes, “was one of great confidentiality”, and was of a “fairly personal” nature. The discussions revolved around the book written by Nicolas Sarkozy, formerly in charge of the Interior and Worship, entitled, La République, les réligions, l’espérance, published on October 30.

 In this work, Sarkozy suggests a relaxing of the 1905 law of separation of the Church from the State, which lays the foundations for French secularism. According to the minister, a modification of this law could permit the French State’s participation in the finance of the construction of religious buildings, mosques in particular.

 On the other hand, on November 14, during a visit to Marseilles, the president of the French Republic said he was not in favor of calling the 1905 law of separation of Church and State into question. Jacques Chirac said that “secularity is an essential element of our social cohesion.” The 1905 law is a kind of “pillar of the temple,” he said. “In general this law is well respected and we do not really want to open an additional and useless discussion in France on matters for which there is a consensus.”