Religious Freedom -- Saudi Style
POST CONTINUED AT RHYMES WITH RIGHT
John McGivney had enough.
"Dear brothers and sisters, after our great pope, John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in God's vineyard.
I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and how to act, even with insufficient tools, and I especially trust in your prayers.
In the joy of the resurrected Lord, trustful of his permanent help, we go ahead, sure that God will help, and Mary, his most beloved mother, stands on our side.
John Paul visited numerous countries where the Orthodox Church is dominant and spoke of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as equals, expressing hope that Christianity once again may "breathe with both lungs." He implored Orthodox Christians to forgive and set aside the schisms of the second Christian millennium and take inspiration from the first millennium, when the Churches of East and West were united. John Paul's encyclical letter Ut Unum Sint ("That All May Be One,") offered a bold invitation to all Christians for their ideas on how the papacy might be transformed to be more effective in promoting Christian unity. Even before Pope John Paul, some four decades ago, Orthodox and Catholic prelates rescinded their mutual excommunications, and the churches recognize the full validity of one another's ordinations and sacraments.
The conservative group's president, Tony Perkins, "stepped over the line," Mr. Schumer said. "He said it's people of faith versus Democrats."
"That is so un-American. The founding fathers put down their plows and took up muskets to combat views like that - that one faith or one view of faith should determine what our politics should be," Mr. Schumer said on the ABC News program "This Week."
Black smoke streamed from the Sistine Chapel's chimney today to signal that cardinals failed to select a new pope in their first round of voting, held just hours after they began their historic task: finding a leader capable of building on John Paul II's spiritual energy while keeping modern rifts from tearing deeper into the church.
"It seems white. ... No, no, it's black!" reported Vatican Radio as the first pale wisps slipped out from the narrow pipe and then quickly darkened.
As millions around the world watched on television, at least 40,000 people waited in St. Peter's Square with all eyes on the chimney, where smoke from the burned ballots would give the first word of the conclave: white meaning a new pontiff, black showing that the secret gathering will continue Tuesday.
In the last moments of twilight, the pilgrims began to point and gasp. "What is it? White? Black?" hundreds cried out. In a few seconds — at about 8:05 p.m. — it was clear the 115 cardinals from six continents could not find the two-thirds majority needed to elect the new leader for the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics. Only one vote was scheduled for today.
Few expected a quick decision. The cardinals have a staggering range of issues to juggle. In the West, they must deal with the fallout from priest sex-abuse scandals and a chronic shortage of priests and nuns. Elsewhere, the church is facing calls for sharper activism against poverty and an easing of its ban on condoms to help combat AIDS.
The next pontiff also must maintain the global ministry of John Paul, who took 104 international trips in his 26-year papacy and is already being hailed as a saint by many faithful.
Four South Windsor high school students were sent home Friday after T-shirts they wore bearing anti-gay slogans caused disturbances, students and school officials said.
The boys, who wore white T-shirts with the statement, "Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve," say their constitutional right to free speech was violated.
"We were just voicing our opinions," said Steven Vendetta, who made the T-shirts with his friends, Kyle Shinfield, David Grimaldi and another student who was not identified by the Journal Inquirer of Manchester. "We didn't tell other people to think what we're thinking. We just told them what we think."
Other students say they felt threatened by the shirts, which also quoted Bible verses pertaining to homosexuality.
"I didn't feel safe at this school today," said Diana Rosen, who is co-president of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance.
Vendetta said the impetus for the T-shirts came earlier in the week, when students at the high school took part in the annual Day of Silence, a project orchestrated by the national Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. On the Day of Silence, students across the country do not speak, as a reminder of the discrimination and harassment experienced by homosexuals.
Students at the high school also wore signs showing their support for legislation that would recognize civil unions for same-sex couples in Connecticut, Vendetta said.
Vendetta and his friends, who oppose civil unions, wanted to make their feelings known.
"We felt if they could voice their opinions for it, we could voice our opinion against it," he said. "There is another side to this debate, and we're representing it."
Almost immediately, the shirts drew comment and debate from other students, Vendetta said.
"I walked down the hall, and people were either cheering me on, yelling at me, or just sneering," he said. "It was the most intense experience."
Teachers brought the situation to the attention of high school Principal John DiIorio, who said Friday that the law protects students' freedom of speech, as long as that speech doesn't disrupt the educational process.
He told the boys they could continue to wear the shirts as long as they didn't become a distraction to others.
The students returned to class. But heated arguments and altercations ensued almost immediately, with some students becoming "very emotional," said student Sam Etter.
Rosen said that when she first saw the shirts, she "almost didn't believe it." She became very upset, crying and spending most of the day in administrators' and guidance counselor's offices. She also got into several arguments, she said.
"I saw a large crowd gathered during one of our lunch waves," said senior William "B.J." Haun. "A large debate was going on. It involved a lot of people. By the end of the day, everyone was talking about it and giving their two cents."
Eventually, DiIorio called the boys into the office and told them that other students were becoming "emotionally distraught," Shinfield said. He then asked the boys to remove the shirts. They refused and were sent home.
At 4.30 p.m. on Monday, the procession of cardinal electors will leave the Hall of Blessings for the Sistine Chapel. This ritual will be transmitted live on television.
Once in the Sistine Chapel, all the cardinal electors will swear the oath. The cardinal dean will read the formula of the oath, after which each cardinal, stating his name and placing his hand on the Gospel, will pronounce the words: 'I promise, pledge and swear.' Over these days, there has been frequent talk of the bond of secrecy concerning the election of the Pope. However, I would like to reiterate that this is just part of the oath. First of all, an oath is made to observe the prescriptions of the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis; then another oath is made that - and I quote - 'whichever of us by divine disposition is elected Roman Pontiff will commit himself faithfully to carrying out the munus Petrinum of Pastor of the Universal Church.’
After the oath, the master of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff pronounces the 'extra omnes,' and all those who do not participate in the conclave leave the Sistine Chapel. Only the master of Liturgical Celebrations and Cardinal Tomas Spidlik remain for the meditation, once that has finished they too leave the Sistine Chapel.
During the conclave, the cardinals will have the following timetable:
At 7.30 a.m., the celebration or concelebration of Mass will take place in the Domus Sanctae
Marthae. By 9 a.m., they will be in the Sistine Chapel. There they will recite the Lauds of the Liturgy of the Hours and, immediately afterwards, voting will take place according to the prescribed ritual (two votes in the morning, and two votes in the afternoon). In the afternoon, voting will begin at 4 p.m. At the end of the second vote will be Vespers.
After the two votes of the morning and the two of the afternoon respectively, the ballots and any notes the cardinals have made will be burnt in a stove located inside the Sistine Chapel.
Purely as an indication then, the smoke signals could appear at around 12 noon and at about 7 p.m. (unless the new Pope is elected either in the first vote of the morning or the first vote of the afternoon, in which case the smoke signal will be earlier). In any case it is expected that, along with the white smoke, the bells of St Peter will sound to mark a successful election.
THE wartime past of a leading German contender to succeed John Paul II may return to haunt him as cardinals begin voting in the Sistine Chapel tomorrow to choose a new leader for 1 billion Catholics.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, whose strong defence of Catholic orthodoxy has earned him a variety of sobriquets — including “the enforcer”, “the panzer cardinal” and “God’s rottweiler” — is expected to poll around 40 votes in the first ballot as conservatives rally behind him.
Although far short of the requisite two-thirds majority of the 115 votes, this would almost certainly give Ratzinger, 78 yesterday, an early lead in the voting. Liberals have yet to settle on a rival candidate who could come close to his tally.
Unknown to many members of the church, however, Ratzinger’s past includes brief membership of the Hitler Youth movement and wartime service with a German army anti- aircraft unit.
Although there is no suggestion that he was involved in any atrocities, his service may be contrasted by opponents with the attitude of John Paul II, who took part in anti-Nazi theatre performances in his native Poland and in 1986 became the first pope to visit Rome’s synagogue.
“John Paul was hugely appreciated for what he did for and with the Jewish people,” said Lord Janner, head of the Holocaust Education Trust, who is due to attend ceremonies today to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
“If they were to appoint someone who was on the other side in the war, he would start at a disadvantage, although it wouldn’t mean in the long run he wouldn’t be equally understanding of the concerns of the Jewish world.”
His condemnations are legion — of women priests, married priests, dissident theologians and homosexuals, whom he has declared to be suffering from an “objective disorder”.
He upset many Jews with a statement in 1987 that Jewish history and scripture reach fulfillment only in Christ — a position denounced by critics as “theological anti-semitism”. He made more enemies among other religions in 2000, when he signed a document, Dominus Jesus, in which he argued: “Only in the Catholic church is there eternal salvation”.