Poland: issue of banknote bearing image of John Paul II
On April 19, the central bank of Poland announced the issue of a banknote bearing a likeness of John Paul II, with a nominal value of 50 zlotys (13 euros). It will go into circulation next October 16, the anniversary of the election of the deceased pope to the Holy See.
Germany: Benedict XVI Square
At Wathlingen, near Hanover (in the north of Germany), Station Square has become Benedict XVI Square under the benediction of the priest after Mass on Sunday April 23. An initiative of Torsten Harms, mayor of the village of 6,300 inhabitants, voted for by the Christian Democrats against the opinion of the Social Democrats and the Green Party.
France: “While catechism classes close, marabouts are opening”.
Mgr. André Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, speaking on TV channel France 3 –Ile-de-France, has condemned the attraction of sects as a “phenomenon which is progressing in proportion as religious culture declines” with the French. “This leaves the field free for any phantasmagoria. When a whole generation of our young people are given a scant Christian education, the instruments for reacting to slogans and campaigns by sects” are weakened, he explained, and “while catechism classes are closing, marabouts are opening.”
Russia: Alexis II recalls the Orthodox Church in exile to Moscow
The Patriarch of Moscow and of all Russia, Alexis II, has declared himself in favor of a reunification of the Russian Orthodox Churches of Russia and abroad. “There is no longer any reason today to make a distinction between the Muscovite Patriarchate and the Russians who found themselves abroad at the time of the Revolution (of 1917),” he pointed out to the agency Itar-Tass. Since the visit in May 2004 of Metropolitan Lavr, head of the Orthodox diaspora, reunification is progressing slowly.
United States: the diocese of Boston is registering an alarming deficit.
Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston in the State of Massachusetts, has declared disastrous the financial situation of the archdiocese of Bostons. The deficit rose on June 30 last year, to $46 million over a period of 18 months and is partly explained by the scandals which are affecting members of the clergy involved in lawsuits.
The archbishop of Boston said that the financial losses would force the diocese to cut jobs, tighten up or merge schedules, sell property, look for other sources of income and step up efforts to collect funds.
Cardinal O’Malley has set up a commission which will ensure financial accountability in order to regain the confidence of the devastated faithful.
Germany: Catholic Church withdraws from homosexual day
The diocese of Augsburg has refused this year to take part in the planned ecumenical celebration, the Christopher Street Day. Josef Heigl, the vicar general, explained that this day of celebration of lesbians and homosexuals, which was becoming more and more political, was demanding the recognition of of same sex couples. Now, he recalled, the Catholic Church considers homosexuality “a serious transgression against the natural law and against creation,” which makes its participation impossible.
The association of lesbians and homosexuals of Germany (HuK) has condemned the diocese of Augsburg’s decision as a step backwards in the local pastoral policy. Thomas Wunsch, a member of the HuK committee, has stated that Christian lesbians and homosexuals will still be praying and singing together.