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Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
July 11, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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July 11, 1998

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87, Number 26 By Malea Waiters ~rrOR tn his 25 visits to Rome in his lifetime, Bishop McDonald has h :lt the opportunity to meet pri- tel), with several popes. In his" and final official ad limina to Rome June 22-28, he again Was invited to St. Peter's for a Private meeting with Pope John Paul II. Even though it was my sixth drny last official visit, it remains a'aesome experience to sit in a rn one on one with the Vicar 0[ . Christ on earth,' Bishop "lCl nald said. "While tile visit is rernonial, it is a wonderful sign .r itY between the Diocese of tue Rock and the Diocese of "Ullle. The Diocese of Little Rock Weekly Newspaper July 11, 1998 'awesome into the magnitude of the deci- sions Pope John Paul II has to make regarding the naming of successors when bishops retire. The Congregations of the Bish- ops oversees about 1,576 dioceses worldwide. The Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith over- sees another 1,200 mission dip- ceses. "I guess that's why it takes so long" (to name successors), he said. In his discussions with the Con- gregation fbr the Clergy, he said the topic was the shortage of priests. 'They are sympathetic to us," he said. He said dioceses have wimessed the generosity of its active priests who have taken on more tasks. "It hi the 15 minute meetin'- in does make us pray for the need i the-- , g h. pope s private quarters, for more vocations,' he said. hP McD . ,lcl alcl the none Durin their ad limina visits 1 ~m,-- OLa ............ ,__ g . . | *~ed him about the Catilolic bishops are required to cetet3rate It l~ptllation in Arkansas and the Mass at the Tomb of St. Peter | of ecumenism, and the Tomb of St. Patd. At St. I re is a good spirit among Pope John Paul II greets Bishop McDonald June 22 during the private meeting in residence. Paul's, Bishop McDonald was !!:i 'religions,,, Bisho-- McDonald , chosen to be the presider ano P , ,, ..... telling the pope 'We are Rome every five years to report on McDonald in preparing a quin- reflections, Bishop McDonaldhomfiist. At the end of his vlsu, encin the comin, of the the status of their dioceses. Bish- quennlal report. The report is stud. the bishop made add uonal visits 2 .a .anicswhoarea tto isstate ons from Texas, Oklahoma and Ar- separated at the Vatican andBishop McDonald said at no to the churches of St. Mary Ma- | m,-. kansas. We are trying to re- kansas are in the same regaon and gwen to different committeestime was upcoming retire- jor and St. John Lateran. t sisters and priests to minister made their ad limina visit together known as con re ations, ment mentioned in his meeting 'The requirement tor us to go ., ,, , . ..v . , g g ..... In advance of his wslt, dmc-"We 11 hear from each one of with the pope or Roman Cuna. to Rome every five years is good, 1 ,es_ an offices assist Bishopthem and they will write back their He said he get some insight he i Dissent within Church not tolerated, pope's apostohc letter says fl]OhnThavis i ! m Catholic Church. He cited points of At the top of this hierarchy are truths :AI"FIOLlC NEWS SERVICE il " canon law that call for a 'Just penalty" for that are divinely revealed and require the CITY- With his apostolic "Ad Tuendam Fidem" ('To Defend Pope John Panl II has rein- Ls on dissent in the Church, Catholics must fully accept Church even on such controversial is- as Women's ordination. pope's unexpected document, is- 30 along with an even stronger the Vatican's doctrinal con- the latest step in a Vatican to invoke the Church's official Ly on issues still being de- the world's Catholics. Vatican's view, some Catholics especia!ly theologians --- are us- Church s concept of a "hierarchy to justify selective dissent, espe- teachings that have not been defined. latest documents take aim at this stating that the "ordinary or Church teaching author- propose definitive teachings firm acceptance by Catho- Church's positions against priests, euthanasia and fornication as examples. tWo documents' authoritative tone t atched with explicit references to Pope John Paul II has ordered changes to be made to the Code of Canon Law, underlining Catholics' obligation to ac- cept Church teaching. The pope out- lined the changes in an apostolic letter, "Ad Tuedam Fidem" ("To Defend the Faith") released June 30 at the Vatican. penalties for those who refuse to accept such definitive teachings. In the pope's words, "one who denies the propositions which are to be held de- finitively opposes the doctrine of the such dissent. The commentary by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, put it even more strongly, saying that anyone who thus rejects Catholic doctrine "would therefore no longer be in full commun- ion with the Catholic Church." In effect, the documents seem to place dissenting Catholics outside the fold, if they repudiate teachings proposed as definitive truths of Catholic doctrine. One striking aspect of the pope's letter was his stated reason for writing it: "To defend the faith of the Catholic Church against the errors that arise on the part of some faithful, especially those dedicated to the discipline of sacred theology." He said it seemed "absolutely neces- sary" for him to formally insist on adher- ence to definitive Church teachings and remind the faithful of the canonical pen- alties for those who refuse. The debate over dissent and how much can be tolerated among Catholics hasbeen closely tied to the related and complicated discussion about the three-fold distinction of Church doctrines. These distinctions were included in a Church profession of faith issued in 1989, and the pope referred to it in his apostolic letter. assent of faith. Examples include Church doctrines on original sin and on the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Next come "definitive" teachings about faith and morals that have an intrinsic connection to revealed truth; those de- finitive teachings must be firmly accepted and held by Catholics. The third category includes teachings that are not intended as definitive, which call for "religious submission of will and intellect." The problem, in the Vatican's view, is that these distinctions have led some Catholics to subscribe to a "hierarchy of agreement," in which only infallibly de- fined or revealed truths merit assent. The doctrinal congregation's commen- mr), made two interesting points in this regard. It said there was no difference in See Apostolic Letter page 3 INSIDE Diocesan theology program set to begin third year .............. p. 2 Bishop McDonald makes final official ad limina visit to Rome ..................................... p. 8