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Online Edition - Vol. VI, No. 5: August 2000

In the News . . .

Homosexual march in Rome "an affront", says pope | Unity urgent, pope proclaims as archbishops receive pallium | Saint Louis Catholics throng to Corpus Christi procession

Homosexual march in Rome "an affront", says pope

Pope John Paul II lamented the message sent by the "Gay Pride" event in Rome in July. After months of maneuvering in which it seemed as if the Vatican might succeed in getting the event postponed until after the Jubilee Year, the march went ahead. The week-long event ended on July 8, when an estimated 70,000 people marched to the Circus Maximus. (Two hundred thousand had been predicted.)

The march had initially won the support of key Italian and Roman politicians, many of whom belong to the former Communist Party (now the Social Democrats). But Vatican opposition had led the socialist mayor of Rome to deny city services to the marchers.

San Francisco Archbishop William Levada played a role in mobilizing opinion against the march. At the request of a Vatican official, his office sent videotape of previous "Gay Pride" events in San Francisco, which featured topless women, men dressed as nuns and bishops, and simulations of lewd acts.

On July 4, the Catholic Lepanto Cultural Center organized a march protesting the impending event and seeking reparation for sacrilege.

Professor Roberto de Mattei told these marchers, "This homosexual rally aims at exercising a propagandistic pressure on European and worldwide laws in order to introduce a new crime, a new offense, that of homophobia -- the crime committed by those who believe in a natural and Christian family, those who believe in a natural and Christian order".

Pope John Paul II commented on the events on July 9, a day after their conclusion, when addressed 30,000 pilgrims in Saint Peter's Square.

"On behalf of the Church of Rome I cannot but express the disappointment for the affront caused to the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 and the offense to Christian values of a City that is so dear to the heart of Catholics throughout the world. The Church cannot silence truth, because it would diminish fidelity toward God the Creator and would not help to discern what is good from what is evil", the pope said.

***

Unity urgent, pope proclaims as archbishops receive pallium

"Full unity in the Church!" Pope John Paul II proclaimed in his homily during the ceremony at which 25 new archbishops received the pallium, a symbol of authority of a Metropolitan archbishop.

"In my interior I hear the echo of this instruction of Christ. It is an instruction that is more urgent than ever at the beginning of the new millennium. Therefore, we pray and work and never tire of hoping", the Holy Father said.

New York Archbishop Edward Egan was among those who received the pallium, a white woolen band embroidered with six black crosses, in a ceremony on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29.

Other new archbishops who received the pallium were five new archbishops from Africa, nine from North and South Americas, three from Asia, and eight from Europe.

The pallium, a symbolic vestment reserved to the pope and archbishops, is woven of the wool from the first shearing of two lambs presented annually as a tax by the Lateran Canons Regular to the Chapter of Saint John on the Feast of Saint Agnes. The lambs are blessed after a pontifical Mass before being presented to the pope. The pallium has been used since at least the 6th century.

The focus on unity was underscored by the presence of a delegation from Batholomew I, Ecumenical (Orthodox) Patriarch of Constantinople, and several bishops and archbishops from various Orthodox churches.

Before the Mass began, the pope had prayed with pilgrims, "Intercede for us, Saint Peter, so that the ministry of your successor is recognized and accepted by all in service of the unity of the Church of Christ, founded on the 'rock' of Peter's faith".

(Papal quotations from Zenit News)

***

Saint Louis Catholics throng to Corpus Christi procession

On June 25, after a solemn Mass at the Saint Louis Cathedral basilica in celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi, Archbishop Justin Rigali led a crowd of over a thousand Saint Louisans in a half-mile procession down Lindell Boulevard, a major city street, to Forest Park, where he blessed the congregation at Benediction.

Under the blazing midday sun, the participants of all ages sang hymns as they followed their archbishop.

Assisting Archbishop Rigali, who carried the Blessed Sacrament in solemn procession under a canopy of gold cloth, were Auxiliary Bishops Joseph Naumann and Michael Sheridan.

At the Mass preceding the procession, the Archdiocesan choir and a special children's choir sang triumphant music -- Renaissance to contemporary.

The celebration concluded with Benediction at at an altar placed before the cathedral's "Holy Door".

This was the first procession of this magnitude to be held in Saint Louis in many years. Eucharistic Adoration, however, has been a strong emphasis of the archdiocese for several years.

On August 25, the Feast of St. Louis, Archbishop Rigali will celebrate Mass at the Saint Louis Cathedral Basilica, followed by Eucharistic Adoration during the day and Benediction in the afternoon.

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