Year-end Review 2001
Pope John Paul names 37 new cardinals, a record, but only one from sub-Saharan Africa and none from South Africa. Shortly after, he releases a second list, which includes Archbishop Wilfrid Napier OFM of Durban.
South African Church officials come out in support of the controversial “Declaration of Commitment by White South Africans.”
Afghanistan’s Taliban government warns that Muslim converts to Christianity face execution.
The body of Pope John XXIII is removed from a grotto under St Peter’s basilica. It will be placed in a tomb inside the church.
Singer Celine Dion reveals that she might have been aborted had a parish priest not counselled her mother against an abortion.
Bishop Cyprien Mbuka, auxiliary in Boma, Democratic Republic of Congo, is detained by the army for allegedly “inciting people against the government.”
South African Anglican Bishop David Beetle of Highvale is appointed co-leader of Anglican-Roman Catholic Working Group, established by the Vatican and the Anglican Church.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier is among the 42 elevated to the College of Cardinals by Pope John Paul at the consistory in Rome.
Fr Bongani Eric Shozi of Dundee is murdered by intruders on February 5, days after Dr Doris Becker, a Catholic, was killed in an ambush near Ladysmith.
Journalist Wayne Weible, an author of four books on Medjugorje, visits South Africa.
Sr Madge Karecki SSJ-TOSF is elected general-secretary of the Southern African Missiological Society, the first woman and first Catholic to hold that position.
Fr Sitembele Sipuka takes over the rectorship of St John Vianney seminary, which notes a record number of registered students.
Safety and security minister Steve Thswete causes a diplomatic row by accusing the Portuguese community in Gauteng of racism in reaction to a November 2000 march against crime spearheaded by a Catholic priest, Fr Carlos Gabriel.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier describes South Africa’s crimewave as a “low-intensity war against ordinary people.”
The bishops of Southern Africa criticise pharmaceutical companies who block the sale of generic Aids drugs in South Africa.
Robbers attack monks at prayer in St Benedict’s monastery in Subiaco near Pietersburg.
Pope John Paul names German Cardinal Walter Kasper president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, succeeding Cardinal Edward Cassidy, a former nuncio to Southern Africa.
Archbishop Marcello Zago, former superior of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, dies on March 1 at the age of 67.
Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican’s assistant secretary of state, visits Iran for high-level talks. He is the highest-ranking Vatican official to visit Iran since the 1979 revolution.
Controversial Greek-Orthodox visionary Vassula Ryden visits South Africa.
The Vatican acknowledges problems of sexual abuse of nuns by priests in some missionary territories following a report in the US weekly National Catholic Reporter.
The Southern Cross launches its new look to coincide with Easter.
Church officials welcome news that pharmaceutical companies have withdrawn their case against the South African government over rights to produce cheaper generic medicines.
In a pastoral letter titled Tolerance and Hope, the bishops of Zimbabwe condemn the campaign of violence and intimidation waged by “war veterans” and criticise Robert Mugabe’s government.
Bishop Reginald Cawcutt, auxiliary in Cape Town, says the proliferation of casinos in South Africa is having an alarming effect on families and communities.
The Reverend Nicky Gumbel, founder of the popular Alpha course, visits Johannesburg.
The Vatican rules out shared Communion with the Lutheran church.
The Vatican reveals that the body of Pope John XXIII was found to be incorrupt when his coffin was opened in January.
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, chief organiser of the Jubilee Year, is appointed prefect of the Congregation for Evangelisation, succeeding Cardinal Jozef Tomko.
The 1999 robbery conviction of Fr Boniface Mashiane of Potgietersrus is overturned in the Pretoria High Court. His bishop suggests that Fr Mashiane was a victim of a set-up.
Pope John Paul makes historic visits to Greece and Syria, where he becomes the first pope in history to enter a mosque.
The world’s cardinals meet in Rome for a consultative meeting to shape pastoral policies for coming decades.
Radio Veritas, South Africa’s Catholic radio production house, goes on air on FM in Johannesburg for a limited period.
Controversial Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo is married to Maria Sung in a Moonie ceremony in New York.
For the first time in its history, the Catholic Church in Southern Africa issues a general Code of Conduct for Church personnel.
Religious superiors of Southern Africa pledge to fight sex abuse and misconduct within the Church during their AGM in Bronkhorstspruit.
Zimbabwe’s so-called war veterans threaten the country’s bishops with unspecified retaliatory action “if they do not mind their own business.”
Bishop Hubert Bucher of Bethlehem in the Free State tells a meeting of the metropolitan province of Pretoria that inculturation is “an official programme of the Church,” supported by Pope John Paul.
The Vatican issues strict instructions governing the translation of liturgical texts. Liturgical commissions of the English-speaking bishops’ conference state their objections.
Two Rwandan nuns are convicted in a Belgian court on charges of participating in Rwanda’s genocide.
In an interview in The Southern Cross, anti-apartheid activist Donald Woods says that his Catholic faith has helped him in his battle with cancer.
South Africa hosts the 74th board meeting of the International Catholic Education Office.
Crooner Perry Como, a Catholic, dies on May 12, six days before his 89th birthday.
Pope John Paul singles out South Africa as a sign of encouragement for nations struggling with racial discrimination.
The prestigious Christian Brothers’ College in Green Point, Cape Town, announces its closure at the end of the year.
Pope John Paul embarks on another historic visit, this time to the Ukraine.
Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh is executed, despite appeals by church leaders, including Pope John Paul.
The Vatican renews its appeal for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty.
Three military officers and a priest are found guilty of the April 1998 murder of Guatemalan Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera.
Sr Pientia Selhorst CPS, one of South Africa’s leading religious artists, dies in Holland on June 11.
Ten die in a bomb attack on a Bangladesh church during Mass.
Pope John Paul canonises a saint with a local link. The miracle recognised in the cause of Fr Luigi Scrosoppi involved the healing of a South African seminarian.
The bishops of Southern Africa say that the Church’s ban on condoms cannot be lifted, but add that married couples where one partner has HIV/Aids could “take appropriate means” to prevent passing the disease to the uninfected partner. Prior to the bishops’ meeting, Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg suggested that ways of relaxing the ban on condoms should be found in an effort to combat the spread of Aids.
A Southern Cross editorial on the Church’s position on condoms and Aids receives worldwide media coverage, including Time magazine, Voice of America, the BBC WorldService, and wire services in Europe.
One protester is killed in the violence during the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy. Before the meeting, Pope John Paul said that the world’s richest nations should act for the common good for all the world.
In a formal declaration, Rwandan Bishop Augustine Misongo says that the Virgin Mary regularly appeared to three women in the town of Kibeho in the early 1980s.
The bishops of Zimbabwe ban the July issue of their own magazine, Catholic Church News, because it carries articles on sexual abuse among clergy and the marriage of Archbishop Milingo. Editor Petronilla Samuriwo resigns in protest.
Argentine Fr Carlos Azpiroz, 44, is elected master general of the Dominican order.
The South African government declines Sudan’s oil exploration deal with parastatal Soekor. Sources credit protests from the Catholic Church as crucial in the decision.
Bishops from eight Southern African countries offer to play a facilitating role to bring peace to Angola.
After much drama, Archbishop Milingo officially reconciles with the Catholic Church and renounces his marriage to Maria Sung.
South African journalist and anti-apartheid activist Donald Woods dies on August 19 in England at the age of 67.
Archbishop Denis Hurley celebrates the 50th anniversary of his ordination as archbishop of Durban.
The Southern African bishops call for the implementation of a Basic Income Grant for poor South Africans.
Ghanaian Fr Gabriel Afagbegee is appointed director of the Lumko Institute in Germiston.
British Labour politician Lord Longford, a convert to Catholicism of 60 years, dies in London at the age of 95.
Pop star Aaliyah, 21, who died in a plane crash, is buried from a Catholic church in New York.
The world changes on September 11 as Islamic terrorists fly passenger planes into the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. A further hijacked plane crashes in Pennsylvania.
The Catholic Church is represented at the UN World Conference Against Racism in Durban. At a Mass coinciding with the conference, Cardinal Wilfrid Napier says Christians must strive to effect reconciliation.
Pope John Paul continues his series of ground-breaking trips by visiting the former Soviet republics Kazakstan and Armenia.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican’s doctrinal head, and Cardinal Carlo Martini of Milan, often mentioned as a possible future pope, both express a desire to retire. Both turn 75 in 2002.
Fr Oskar Wermter SJ steps down as social communications secretary of the Zimbabwean bishops’ conference.
Pope John Paul beatifies the first married couple, Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi.
Bishops from around the world take part in the month-long Synod of Bishops in the Vatican. Several bishops call for a decentralisation of decision-making in the Church.
Church leaders in the Vatican and the United States cautiously endorse US military action in Afghanistan, but warn that civilian casualties must be prevented.
A report by the Medical Research Council, released by President Thabo Mbeki only after press leaks, says five to seven million people will die of Aids-related causes in the next decade, about 195,000 this year alone.
The Southern African bishops criticise a Pretoria High Court ruling allowing same-sex couples to adopt children.
Fr Paul Mandlenkosi Khumalo, vicar-general of the Mariannhill Missionaries in Rome, is appointed bishop of Witbank.
South African Church officials warn that proposed anti-terrorism legislation could curb civil rights.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger criticises Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi for saying that Western culture is superior to Islam.
Mike Maidment of Durban is installed as new national president of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.
Fr David Gibbs, who found the body of slain mystic John Bradburne, dies on October 29 in as road accident in Harare.
Revelations of collaboration between the Swiss secret service and the apartheid government justify the campaign for debt cancellation from the Swiss government, says Neville Gabriel of Jubilee 2000.
Southern Cross journalist Terri Dunbar-Curran wins the Christian Network’s prestigious Media Award for Christian journalism for an article titled “When Motherhood Hurts”, published in The Southern Cross on June 21.
Zimbabwe expels Irish Father Gabriel Maguire. Sources claim that the priest’s opposition to the Mugabe regime was decisive in his deportation.
The bishops of Southern Africa warn that genetically modified foods will pose a threat to the environment and human life if no intervention is made to stop current practices in food production.
Else Strivens, editor of the Catholic magazine Trefoil, is elected chairwoman of the Independent Forum for Religious Broadcasting.
The Catholic-founded Zulu weekly UmAfrika is relaunched under the editorship of Cyril Madlala, former editor of the Independent on Sunday.
Bishop Wilton Gregory is elected president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is the first African-American and first convert to head the conference.
The general-secretaries of various African Catholic bishops’ conferences meet in Cape Town to find ways of addressing the Aids pandemic.
The Vatican recognises a miracle attributed to Padre Pio, clearing the way for his canonisation, possibly next year.
Churches in South Africa launch an ecumenical anti-corruption campaign
A collection of essays on Archbishop Hurley is published in a book, Denis Hurley: A Portrait By Friends, edited by Presbyterian minister Tony Gamely.
Fr Michele D’Annucci of Pretoria is murdered on December 8 during a hi-jacking in Shoshanguve, near Pretoria.
In his strongest statement since the terror of September 11, Pope John Paul says that countries have a right to defend themselves against international terrorists.
The Catholic Church in South Africa says it will join a government-initiated moral-renewal campaign, due to kick off during 2002.
Senegal’s first post-independence president Leopold Senghor, a Catholic, dies on December 20.
The Vatican issues new norms governing “graver offences” against Church law, including sexual abuse. The norms centralise the canonical procedures regarding sexual abuse.
The apostolic nunciature in Pretoria announces the death of Archbishop Joseph Mees, nuncio to Southern Africa from 1985-87.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor of Westminster is invited to preach to the English royal family during their annual winter break.