Pope John Paul II and the Church

By Peter Hebblethwaite | Go to book overview
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Seventh Commandment ("Thou shalt not steal") are denounced tax evasion, forging checks and unjust rental leases.

The catechism notes that homosexuals "do not choose their homosexual condition," adding in a remark that is bound to cause controversy: "for most of them, it is a trial." They must be treated with "respect, compassion and kindness." They should eschew genital activity.

In my view, it is a mistake to concentrate first and exclusively on the moral section of the catechism. For the commandments are set in the context of the creed, the sacraments and a commentary on the Our Father. This context illumines their meaning.

Archbishop Rembert Weakland, in his recent draft pastoral letter for the 150th anniversary of the Milwaukee diocese, recalls that "the Catholic church is a creedal church. . . . Good practice follows correct belief, and so there must be a concern on the part of all that Catholic belief be correctly stated and transmitted."

The Catechism for the Catholic Church will not be in vain if it meets that requirement and helps answer the questions: What do we tell the children? How do we instruct a potential convert?

'No lame-duck papacy' and other fantasies

( January 8, 1993) Popes are never allowed to be ill until they are dead, that, at least, was the rule up to and including Pius XII. Pope John Paul II seemed different. He had very public operations in 1981, after Mehemet Ali Agca's assassination attempt. Last July 12, he himself announced that he was going into the hospital for "tests and analyses." Three days later, he had a four-hour operation that was fully and polysyllabically reported upon. No concealment there.

The manipulation of news about the pope's health began after the July 15 operation. Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano and the Pope's Polish-language secretary, Stanislaw Dziwiez, determined henceforward to keep the entire news operation in their own hands.


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