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RU 03/2006 - CHINA, POLAND

- CHINA: As good news are lacking, here is at least an impressive piece of information. It seems that the most aged Catholic priest of the world, 108 years old in 2005, lives in the Trappist abbey "Our Lady of Joy" on the island of Lantao in Communist China, a few kilometers away from the new international airport of Hongkong. His name is Rev. Fr. Nicolas (Nicolas Kao Se-tsean). He was born in 1897 in Fujian province, and ordained priest in 1933. After the eviction by the Communists, he was first missionary in Taiwan, then in Malaysia. Aged 75, he entered the Trappist monastery of Lantao, when this isle was yet part of the English crown colony. Aged 100, he was admitted to pronounce his perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. On November 12th, 2005, he was even vigorous enough to travel to Taiwan and to attend his rear-nephew's ordination as Trappist priest. - This news, indeed edifying, was announced on December 30th, 2005, by the KATHPRESS news agency in Germany. On the following day, a Bavarian priest sent the following message: "The issue whether the oldest priest in the world lives in China, should be studied more in detail. In the monastery at Hegne, close to Konstanz in Germany, on the lake of the same name, lives a priest called Rev. Fr. Konrad Fuchs. He also reached the age of 108 in the year 2005, precisely on October 15th". - There are apparently competitions that are not exclusively reserved for youths! - (ru; cf. KP Dec.30, SJN Dec.31)
- POLAND: Since the death of John-Paul II, everything goes astray in Poland. Within Solidarnosc, some leaders are fighting, in the Church some leaders incur reprimands. And now even the Vatican interferes. The facts of the matter? Solidarnosc: the charismatic ex-leader of the Workers Union Solidarnosc, Lech Walesa, now 61, could think of nothing better, during the celebrations commemorating the 25th anniversary of Solidarnosc on August 31st at Gdansk, than to announce that he would be leaving the movement "after the celebrations". In order to justify his decision, he stated that: "The Union has changed so much that we don't have anything in common anymore". He stopped paying his membership fees. "It's my way of pointing out what separates us. Certainly, it was necessary for the Union to make certain concessions in order to participate in the Government from 1997 to 2001. But it's necessary to know how to turn the page and not to remain prisoner of one's own victories". The historical leader of the Union, and ex-president of Poland, wants henceforth to devote his energies to a larger movement and to work "for more solidarity within the European Union". At the Mass celebrated in the church Saint Bridget at Gdansk, on the day of the anniversary of the Union, the former Solidarnocs chaplain, Fr. Jankowski, bluntly summed up the latest trends involving Poland within the E.U.: "Some people have been forgotten on the side of the road; and those with the least resources have paid the price for these reforms." And he pursued: "It's frightening to see the way which is being practiced today of imposing us laws which have been fabricated in the secret of ministerial cabinets by freemason politicians, by .... (censored) bankers, and by atheistic Socialists who are hostile to Catholicism. The struggle continues, because we are not free yet!" Immediate reaction from Walesa to the chaplain's courageous words: "If he feels captive, there's nothing I can do for him. As far as I am concerned, I am a free man." This shows perfectly the "politically correct" state of mind of Walesa, ready to travel in a 1st class seat on the streamliner E.U.. Monsieur has now got comfortably settled in democracy, capitalism, and the European Union, to the point of rejecting his ancient colleagues and friends who find, as far as they are concerned, that nothing changed except the label. It is therefore not surprising that Walesa, seeing that the issues are connected, violently attacked the radio station Radio Maryja of the Redemptorist Father Rydzyk, totally opposed to the European Union. Walesa attacks: "You are instrumentalising the religion and abusing the good will of many people and their love to Mary!". He didn't hesitate to add: "Stop donating! Not a single coin more to the founder of Radio Maryja, Father Tadeusz Rydzyk!" and "They are only a club of atheistic churchgoers!" He concluded "All this must be made to end!" - The end, fomented by number of Polish bishops who have a diametrically opposite stand to the combative mind of Radio Maryja - and who are well introduced in the Vatican -, didn't take long coming up. On January 10th, 2006 the apostolic nuncio in Warsaw issued a severe warning to Radio Maryja and Father Rydzyk in a communiqué. Without directly naming the Father and his media empire (radio, television, daily, publishing house, school of journalists...), the nuncio declared "illegal and harmful to the Church" some "institutional activities of certain members of the clergy acting without the authorization of their hierarchy". The nuncio announced "sanctions according to the canonical law". The 3 millions listeners to Radio Maryja in Poland are stunned. Did the "politically and religiously correct" clan in the episcopate - and Lech Walesa - manage to get Rome side with them? Cardinal Glemp, the primate of Poland, went even farther accusing Fr. Rydzyk "to lead the Church towards disintegration", while specifying: "Through perpetuating a devotion dating from World War II (he avoided to say: dating from before the Second Vatican Council) and through practicing a selection in the modern (!) teaching of the Church, he provokes divisions among the faithful, the clergy and the bishops" (!). In fact, the rigorous moral stand advocated by the radio, its practice of the daily rosary and Mass, and especially its hostility to abortion has stirred up an anticlerical current in Poland. To the episcopate this is the absolute horror, to be avoided by all means. Indeed, very much like France, all this! Or like Radio-Silence ( - (ru; cf. LF Jan.11, EdM 129).
- - A.M.D.G. - -

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