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October 3, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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October 3, 1998

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)tic ARkaNSAS CATHOLIC N / October 3, 1998 Page9 years as on new cumenzsm, human rights, social teachings and world travels highlight past two decades By John Thavis ~ CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE VATICAN CITY--- Pope John Paul II marks 20 years in office this fall, a mile- stone in a pontificate that has influenced World events, left a distinctive stamp on the Church and touched millions of indi- viduals around the globe. The anniversary was shaping up as a tribute to an already historic papacy. But Vatican officials, saying this pope is still i.apable of surprising people, also empha- lZed his goals for the years to come. Although the pope discouraged ex- Vagant commemorative ceremonies, a idaeo and musical presentation are .Panned for below the papal apartment in St. Peter's Square Oct. 16, the anniver- sa /of his election, and the pope will cncelebrate a special Mass Oct. 18. : POpe John Paul s Polish compatriots, including the country's bishops, were expected to arrive in Rome by the thou- .ds to bring the songs and sentiments !their homeland and recall together the [ eCtrifying moment when the world e.a ed of the election of the first non- )alian pontiff in 455 years: Poland's own arclinal Karol Wojtyia. dffhe pope they see today has changed 'amatically from the youthful and vigor- who from the balcony spoke in ter s Square 20 years ago. At 78, his Is slow and his speech halting. Often, eyes cast a heavy gaze --- perhaps a [m ptom of Parkinson's disease, or per- aps Simply the expression of a man who as rauch on his mind and in his soul. ., Beyond the tesfivities, Pope John Paul [l.anned to celebrate the anniversary in :L .oWn fashion, by issuimz a new encyc- 41C~j . . - . ,~ . ,, : on one ot his favorite tomcs' FaRh elh - .. . rte Lson." The document was expected '" id-Octoher. . - t: TYpically, the pope was spendmg more looking ahead -- at year-2000 2OJects, special synods and papal trips ,~an renfiniscing over his record. Today, I see a pope who is continu- ~YProjected toward the future, mentally L.c[ Spiritually I see it in his daily work," ~d~, . .' . Vail vabcan spokesman Joaquin Navarro- S. lier encyclical on moral truth, ' eritatis tries on more than 80 foreign trips, using Splendor." As Navarro-Valls put it, the the world as a pulpit to preach the Gos- pope is attempting not just to lay down a pel and denounce injustice. At the Vatican moral law, but to analyze our epoch and and abroad, he has given more speeches the roots of modern attitudes toward good than any predecessor, and in more lan- and evil, truth and morality, guages. He has met with more world lead- The pope has reached millions through ers, appeared more often on television, the mass media and written best-selling and given more press conferences. He has books that carry a much simpler message, beatified more than 800 people and de- His new encyclical, in contrast, will prob- clared 279 saints, a record. He has con- ably be read by a relatively tiny audience, vened more .synods of bishops, using them In reviewing the first 20 years under as extensive think-tank sessions for re- Pope John Paul, Vatican officials said it gional and universal problems in the was impossible to summarize the impact Church. He has changed the face of the of a pontificate that has recast the role of Catholic hierarchy, naming most of the the papacy in so many ways. active bishops in the world and the vast This pope has traveled to 119 coun-majority of voting-age cardinals. Pope John Paul II gives Communion to a woman in Zakopane, Poland, in June last year. In the first 20 years of his pa- pacy, he traveled more than 700,000 miles. 3Ohether he will be able to complete that he believes is his mission, only tl knows," Navarro-Valls added. The I spokesman, like other top Vatican als, did not want the 20th anniver- to become an occasion /'or closing "~e IX)ok,, on this pontificate. ,, i Cording to Navarro-Valis, the pot is "Z ering" in three main areas: lnterrellgious and ecumenical rela- C aL Next year, the pope hopes a trip to , ',ania will break through the curtain ) Catholic-Orthodox tension that hangs [ much of Eastern Europe and per- [ pave the way for a visit to Moscow. [ "11-luman rights. The pope who stood | COmmunist and right-wing dictators | the world has, in recent years, ]i]emphasizing that human rights is | a question for the political order, | arr.o yalls said. The pope has zeroed i life issues such as abortion, eutha- [ I la and genetic experimentation, and FI I su . as on o, [ I l TM and legal recognition ofirregu- '1 such asdomestic partnership J s new encyclical on faith and lea- YA Your opportunity to help a very poor child is much too important to miss. And Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (CFCA), an international Catholic sponsorship program can show you the affordable way. Through CFCA you sponsor a child for the amount you can afford. Ordinarily it takes $20 a month to pro- vide one poor child with the life-changing benefits of sponsorship. But if this is not possible for you, we invite you to sponsor at a level you can afford (minimum $10). 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