July 31, 2002
Who or what is HV3SJ? In 1966, Father General Arrupe wanted an instrument to communicate rapidly with Jesuits in remote countries. To satisfy his desire, the suggestion was made to install a Ham (Amateur Radio) station on the roof of the Curia. The proposal met with enthusiastic response, especially by Provinces in Latin America. Peru and Colombia were ready to provide the equipment.
Before they did, Mr William Halligan, from an American firm in Chicago, sent to Father General the latest model in amateur broadcasting. With the cooperation of the Vatican, HV3SJ went on the air from the roof of the Jesuit Curia. It continued to serve its original purpose until technological developments made it obsolete.
A few years ago, the antenna came down and the equipment was dismantled. The identification [HV3SJ], however, continued to be officially active. In May of this year, at the request of the Society, the Vatican requested from the International Union of Telecommunications (UIT) that the call letters be cancelled. [Source: Jesuit Press and Information Office]
On July 1, the Rome Statute establishing the first International Criminal Court in human history went into force. The court will be fully operational by mid-2003. This means that the perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide can henceforth be indicted and tried.
However, as it currently stands, the United States will be on the sidelines. President Bush announced that the United States would refuse to join and that America would pull out of the United Nations peacekeeping operations unless all US personnel involved received immunity from the court.
The United Nations declined to offer immunity in advance, but the issue is pending. Fr Robert Drinan SJ feels the Bush White House is wrong in its demand because no alleged crime committed before July 1, 2002, may even be investigated, much less prosecuted. In addition, no charges against American soldiers would be necessary because the United States has committed itself to follow the four 1949 Geneva Accords on the conduct on war.
The White House warns about "political" charges being made by some of the 76 nations that have joined the International Criminal Court.
Fr Drinan comments: "I served on the task force of the American Bar Association on the court. All of the proposals were examined by jurists and diplomats of every ideological orientation. The United States refused to join for reasons that cannot be justified by law, logic or morality."
Ironically, the United States was the original author of the idea of the world court when it created the Nuremberg tribunal following World War II. The International Criminal Court is a permanent Nuremberg tribunal. [Sources include: National Catholic Reporter, July 19, 2002]
Pope John Paul II has approved the beatification cause of Jesuit Fr Jan Beyzym (1850-1912) born in today's Ukraine; he joined the Society at the Stara Wies novitiate in 1872. In 1898 he was missioned to Madagascar where he worked for 13 years in the leprosarium of Ambahivuraka. Although no official announcement has been made, it seems that the beatification ceremony will take place on August 18 during the pope's visit to Poland.[Source: <http://www.jesuit-europe.org/>]
The United States must work with other nuclear powers to significantly reduce current world nuclear arms and prevent further spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, said Jesuit Fr Drew Christiansen, international affairs adviser to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Fr Christiansen testified on behalf of the bishops' conference at a July 23 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on ratification of the Moscow Treaty, which would significantly reduce US and Russian nuclear armaments.
The bishops' conference supports the treaty and also urges US ratification of the multinational comprehensive test-ban treaty, he said. The United States also must pledge that it will never be the first to use nuclear weapons and that it will not threaten to use nuclear weapons to counter non-nuclear threats, Fr Christiansen said.
The US-Russian treaty was signed in Moscow in May by President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, but needs Senate approval. Critics at the hearing said the treaty's major defect is that it lacks a verification system to assure that both nations reduce their nuclear weapons. Defenders said that it reflects the mutual trust that has evolved in US-Russian relations since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
"We are concerned that US planning and policies keep pace with the dramatic changes in world politics since the end of the Cold War, and move away from reliance on nuclear weapons as a central part of our nation's military doctrine," Fr Christiansen said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
Despite its "militaristic patriotism" and exaltation of all things American, the film Spider-Man offers moral lessons that more and more people are finding only in the movies today, said La Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit magazine.
A classic tale of the struggle between good and evil, the film illustrates the point that, while science can give one power, it is up to the individual "to use it for good or evil," said an article in a recent issue of the magazine.
The film's success is due not simply to its special effects, but to the fact that it was able "to create a hero and a myth that measure up to Western culture."
The story's hero, Peter Parker, is the stereotypical "good guy," not the most popular, not rich, but good at school and "God-fearing," the magazine said. [Sources and related sites: La Civilta' Cattolica www.laciviltacattolica.it/, Spiderman (The Movie website) www.spiderman.sonypictures.com/main.php ]
Leaders of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men in the United States (CMSM), which will meet during August, say the orders are unlikely to take the same approach as the nation's bishops.
One-third of US priests belong to religious orders, and their fates will be determined not by bishops, but by the major superiors and provincials who lead their orders.
The bishops agreed last month in most cases to seek to remove from the priesthood priests who had sexually abused a child or an adolescent. But the leaders of CMSM say they do not expect to take that step.
The reason, they say, is that the relationship between a bishop and the priests of his diocese is very different from the relationship between a major superior and the priests, monks and brothers in a religious order.
Conference executive director Fr Ted Keating said: "Whether he's sick, or in prison, or charged with something, [an abusive religious priest is] still a member of the family, and we take care of him and watch out for him, even though we would not tolerate what he did in any way."
"Many of these men who are real sexual abusers are sick men, some who have been sexually abused themselves when they were young, or who are disturbed with compulsions," he said. [Sources: Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) www.cmsm.org/, Associated Press: www.miami.com/mld/miami/news/politics/3712494.htm/, CNN: www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/07/21/priest.lawsuit.ap/index.html ]
Two decades after soldiers and national police carried out torture and murder against civilians in El Salvador, two retired military officers were found liable for atrocities committed during the nation's civil war.
The court ordered Carlos Vides Casanova, former director of the Salvadoran National Guard, and Jose Guillermo Garcia, former Defense Minister, to pay $54.6 million to three torture victims now living in the United States.
The July 23 verdict is significant for Salvadorans as they have been unable to secure justice through their own legal system or to hold their military accountable for abuses, said Fr Stephen Privett SJ, who was a human rights observer in El Salvador for the Jesuits.
The retired military men live in south Florida. They arrived with valid US visas in 1989. A 1992 US law allows human rights civil suits to be filed by people living in the United States even if the abuses were committed in another country.
The verdict in favor of the victims "is a sign of hope that their [Salvadorans'] cause is not dead, but justice can be sought through other legal systems in other countries," Fr Privett, who is now president of the University of San Francisco, said.
"To my knowledge, this is the first time the military of El Salvador has been held accountable," he said, calling it an important development because about 85 percent of the fatalities were caused by the army or paramilitary groups operating with impunity. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
The Vatican has rejected two major new English liturgy translations submitted by the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL), including revised translations of the Roman Missal and the Rite of Ordination. The texts were submitted to the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship, which has the ultimate authority on such matters.
Both texts are now being reconsidered by the 11 English-speaking bishops' conferences who are members of ICEL.
The organization submitted the translations after detailed study of both the Ordination Rite and the Roman Missal, which contains all the prayers and ceremonies used during the sacraments. The translations had previously been approved by all the bishops' conferences of the member countries.
Scottish Bishop Maurice Taylor of the Galloway explained to that the congregation had studied the documents and decided not to offer 'recognicio', which is effectively their endorsement. He said he understood the decision had come because the wording was not faithful enough to the original Latin text.
One ICEL member, who asked not to be named, expressed his frustration at the rejections. He said they were based on "misrepresentations, or at least misinformation." He questioned the congregation's willingness to "spare no effort" in resolving difficulties over translations. And he claimed that invitations over the past decade for Vatican representation at meetings of ICEL's Episcopal Board had gone unanswered, while requests for high level meetings had been refused.
[Links, Commentary, and Source: Text of the rejection letter, and observations, of Cardinal Medina of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: www.webelieve.cc/html/medianlet.htm; We Believe: A Website for the Roman Catholic Liturgical Reform: www.webelieve.cc/; Adoremus: A Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy www.adoremus.org/; Source: The Universe ]
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