February 13, 2013
By Orlando R. Barone We once thought there would never again be a pope whose name was a "first. " Then Pope John Paul I came along. We were once sure every pope would be Italian. Until the Polish Karol Wojtyla became John Paul II. The one remaining certainty was that popes never resign. Then, on Monday, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation. He cited faltering health and strength. I believe him. Whatever the pope sees on the horizon, he does not have the strength to deal with it. He is a man who values order and control, values them supremely, and things are slipping from his grasp.
October 29, 2012
On this day in 1958, 77-year-old Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was elected pope. He would lead the Roman Catholic Church for 41/2 years as John XXIII. See what you know of him and some of his predecessors. Answers on D3. 1. John is known for convening which famous church council 50 years ago? a. Trent. b. Vatican I. c. Vatican II. d. Nicaea. 2. John's brief pontificate produced eight encyclicals. Which was his last? a. Peace on Earth.
September 6, 2000
One day, Catholics may be able to pray to St. Pius IX and St. John XXIII. They were among a list of the newly beatified announced Sunday by Pope John Paul II. Beatification is the church's next-to-last step before sainthood. Most on the list have attracted no controversy. John XXIII, for example, is one of the most universally celebrated leaders of the 20th century. Pius IX? Problem. This longest-reigning of all popes (1846-1878) apparently was a convinced, authentic, vigorous anti-Semite.
January 28, 2000 |
What's a miracle? On prime-time TV, it's almost anything wonderful that can wrap up the plot in 30 or 60 minutes. For the Roman Catholic Church a miracle, in fact the entire process of declaring a saint, is a mix of legalese, medical specialty, bureaucracy, politics - and faith. At the same time, the church has streamlined its rules to place less reliance on miracles. That was demonstrated yesterday when Pope John Paul II issued two dramatic decrees: He confirmed a second miracle, the curing of an infant's hearing loss, to clear the way for declaring Philadelphia's Blessed Katharine Drexel a saint.
October 26, 1996 |
In spite of Pope John Paul II's poor health, there is little discussion of a possible successor because he wouldn't like that very much. One hears a few names: the ultraconservative Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, the somewhat conservative Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger of Paris (a convert from Judaism), the progressive Cardinal Godfried Daneels of Belgium, Cardinal Pio Laghi, once apostolic delegate to the United States (but hampered by the fact that he was nuncio to Argentina during the "dirty war" there)
August 24, 1996 |
In the year 607, the Roman Catholic Church forbade those who had a vote in the choice of the next pope from discussing the matter during the lifetime of the existing pope, and for three days after his death. On pain of excommunication. It's been a while, and the threat of hellfire no longer figures prominently in the private cosmology of some of the cardinals who will choose John Paul II's successor. But they keep their doubts to themselves, given the present atmosphere within the church - and none will discuss the succession.
June 9, 1996 |
Under the most difficult of circumstances, Gloucester Catholic's baseball team played like a true champion. A day after the sudden death of his brother, John, coach Dennis Barth guided Gloucester Catholic to yesterday's 9-1 win over Pope John XXIII in the NJSIAA state Parochial B championship game at Toms River East. John Barth, 43, of Mount Laurel, died Friday suddenly of a heart attack. There was a moment of silence before the game. Yesterday the entire Barth family, which consisted of Dennis' parents and brothers, Bob and Joe Jr., and sister, Joanne, attended the game.
April 5, 1996 |
The Democratic Party is hurtling toward disaster, and not even the divisive politics of the pompous Ross Perot will save it. The reason is this party of FDR and JFK has alienated a group of its most ardent supporters: Roman Catholics. Catholics have been a strong element of the Democrats since the days of Roosevelt because he embraced the ideals of social justice so dear to the Catholic mind since Pius XI, and later John XXIII, proposed them as basic building blocks of the good life.
November 22, 1992 |
In The African Queen, after the boat by that name has sunk, Katharine Hepburn is fished out of the lake by German officers, who ask how she and Humphrey Bogart got there. "We came down the Ulanga River," says Katharine. One interrogator, knowing the enemy forts along the way, the crocodiles and the unnavigable rapids, declares: "That's impossible. " "Never-the-less," she replies firmly, "we came down it. " It was a long river, with many rapids, and the passage was too fast, yet for all the wrong turns and terrible mistakes, the '60s were an extraordinary time of social invention and constructive politics.
May 16, 1991 |
Exactly 100 years ago yesterday, an octogenarian pope, Leo XIII, issued a letter to Catholics all over the world about the rights of workers and the moral use of money and property. That encyclical, as it is technically called, was a radical departure from other such world letters of the popes. It delved into matters which, on the surface, seemed beyond the Church's competence. In fact, at least one bishop in France refused to promulgate this solemn statement of the aging pontiff.