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Published: 12/20/2003

Cardinal urges more power for local churches

FROM BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

VATICAN CITY - A top Vatican cardinal is calling for a Third Vatican Council to give more authority to local churches, saying Rome should listen more to them and dictate less.

Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao of Japan, who heads the Vatican office for migrants, told the Italian Catholic newsweekly Famiglia Christiana that the issue could only be dealt with in such an extraordinary meeting, since bishops conferences have so far been unable to make progress.

“Local churches, which aren t made up of children, should have more autonomy to evangelize and give pastoral care to their people,” Cardinal Hamao was quoted as saying.

He cited the example of Asia, where Christianity arrived well after Buddhism and Hinduism had taken root.

“If in such a context I proclaim that Jesus Christ is the only savior of humanity, I risk preaching to deaf ears,” he said. “The proclamation of the gospel must be gradual. In Rome, many think that this isn t the way you evangelize. In Asia, we are convinced that this is effective evangelization.”

Although the issue of ceding more power to local churches has long been discussed among cardinals, Cardinal Hamao s comments were among the strongest voiced by a top Vatican official recently.

The largest collection of Vatican art and important objects to tour North American comes to Cincinnati today, the third stop in a four-city, 18-month tour that opened in Houston earlier this year.

Titled “Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes,” the exhibit will be on display through April 18 at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, after which it will move to the San Diego Museum of Art.

The exhibit features more than 300 works of art and historically significant objects that trace 2,000 years of Catholic Church history starting with Saint Peter.

Many of the works have never been displayed outside the Vatican.

The exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday at the museum, 1301 Western Ave. Timed tickets are $18.50 for adults, $9.50 for children 3-12, and $13.50 for seniors 60 and over. Tickets and information are available from the museum, 513-287-7000 or 800-733-2077, and online at www.cincymuseum.org.

A Winter Solstice Drumming and Healing Circle and Labyrinth Walk will be held at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow at St. Mark s Episcopal Church, 2272 Collingwood Blvd.

The meeting will use drumming, readings, music, and petitions for healing and world peace in delving into the mysteries that accompany the longest night of the year.

Participants are asked to bring a drum, rattle, can filled with rice or beans, or two stones to bang together. Information: 419-242-7315.

American pop singer Lauryn Hill read a controversial statement before performing at the Vatican Christmas concert last weekend, criticizing the Roman Catholic Church for what she called moral corruption and exploitation.

“I m not here to celebrate, like you, the birth of Jesus Christ, but to ask you why you are not in mourning for his death in this place,” Ms. Hill said before singing at the Dec. 13 program.

“Holy God has witnessed the corruption of your leadership, of the exploitation and abuses which are the minimum that can be said for the clergy,” she said, then called for church leaders to “repent.”

Sitting in the front row were some of the Vatican s top officials, including Cardinal Camillo Ruini, head of the Italian bishop s conference.

An aide to Cardinal Ruini called Hill s statement “a rash outburst, an uneducated act showing a lack of respect for the place she was a guest and for those who invited her.”

Dr. Kevin Anderson, Toledo-area psychologist and author of Divinity in Disguise, will teach a course on creative journaling, starting Jan. 6.

The six-week series, titled “Casting Awareness into Silence,” will focus on personal and spiritual growth through journaling. The sessions will be held at Glendale Presbyterian Church, 4609 Glendale Ave. Information; 419-385-3567.



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