Year-end Review 2002
Archbishop Denis Hurley, 86, retires for good from active ministry. Since retiring as archbishop of Durban, he had served Emmanuel cathedral parish as its pastor.
At least 33 Catholic priests and religious in mission territories were killed in 2001. While the official list includes Fr D’Annucci, murdered in December 2001, it excludes Fr Bongani Eric Shozi of Dundee, who was murdered on February 5, 2001.
Pope John Paul II hosts a peace meeting of religious leaders in Assisi, Italy.
The bishops Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office expresses support for planned legislation regulating conditions of employment for domestic workers.
A year after he made what many regarded as derogatory remarks about the Portuguese communitys concerns over crime, safety and security minister Steve Tshwete makes up with the community in a Johannesburg meeting. (Mr Tshwete died suddenly in April.)
The bishops of Zimbabwe say they will remain above party politics in their countrys presidential elections in March.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier calls on the government to demonstrate its seriousness about moral renewal, suggesting a suspension of all abortions as a gesture.
A suitable kidney donor for Cape Town teenager Emile Leaner comes forward in response to an appeal in The Southern Cross.
Fr Juan Vecchi, head of the Salesians worldwide, dies on January 23 at the age of 71.
Following the conviction of defrocked paedophile priest John Geoghan, the Boston Globe newspaper reveals several instances of paedophilia among the clergy and cover-ups of abuses. From here on, new revelations of the scandal snowball, creating a crisis for the Church worldwide. Especially Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston is under fire.
Pope John Pauls remark to Catholic lawyers that they should not handle divorce cases creates an outcry in the Italian media.
The national council of the Catholic Womens League calls for stronger punishment for child abusers.
Bishop Paul Mandlenkosi Khumalo, a Mariannhill Missionary and former vicar-general of his congregation, is installed as bishop of Witbank.
Fr Pasquale Borgomeo, Jesuit director-general of Vatican Radio, calls for effective controls on capitalism following the collapse of US energy company Enron.
The Vatican protests against the Costa-Gavras film Amen, which suggests an alliance between Pope Pius XII and the Nazis.
In an interview with The Southern Cross, former Zimbabwean Justice & Peace official and opposition MP Mike Auret says that Robert Mugabes re-election in March would spell disaster for his country.
The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference says it feels “betrayed” by the anti-Aids group Treatment Action Campaign over its involvement in a billboard campaign that claims Catholic bishops “dont care” about Aids.
Mgr Heinrich Festing, head of the Kolping Society International, visits South Africa.
The late Princess Margaret of England had seriously considered converting to Catholicism, according to a new book, Margaret: The Last Real Princess.
Church leaders in Malawi call for urgent international aid after the government announces that up to 70% of the population could face starvation.
Palestinians take refuge inside the church of the Nativity in Bethlehem after the West Bank city is occupied by the Israeli army.
The Vatican releases a revised version of the Latin Missal.
The largest airport in Albania, in the capital Tirana, is being renamed after Mother Teresa, an ethnic Albanian.
German philosopher Hans Georg Gadamer, a close friend of Pope John Paul, dies on March 15 at the age of 102.
Colombian Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino is murdered in Cal after officiating at a wedding.
Prominent Cape Town priest Basil van Rensburg dies on Easter Sunday, within hours of the death his friend Peter Biehl, father of slain American student Amy Biehl.
In a statement signed by Cardinal Wilfrid Napier, the SACBC condemns all forms of abuse, “especially of power and sexual abuse.”
The ABCD Lifestyle Campaign against Aids is launched by the SACBCs Youth Desk and the Association of Catholic Tertiary Students (Acts).
The department of health includes natural family planning methods in its literature, signalling an official acceptance of the latest NFP methods.
Sacred Heart Father Giuseppe Pierantoni escapes from his abductors in the Philippines after six months in captivity.
Two Ugandan soldiers are summarily executed for murdering Irish missionary Declan O’Toole.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine, says that he thinks the next pope could well be an African.
Polish archbishop Juliusz Paetz of Poznan resigns over allegations of sexual misconduct.
The popes preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, says that other religions have some role in God’s plan for salvation.
Redemptorist Father Francis X Murphy the famous insider reporter at Vatican II dies on April 11 at the age of 87.
Mariannhill Father Siegfried Jwara is elected president of the Conference of Major Superiors.
South Africas Catholic radio station, Radio Veritas, begins daily broadcasts on shortwave.
Bishop Reginald Orsmond of Johannesburg dies on May 19. As a young priest, Bishop Orsmond founded the South African Boys Town.
Pope John Paul issues a new apostolic letter on penance, Misercordia Dei.
Alleged Boston serial child rapist Fr Paul Shanley is arrested on three charges of rape.
Justice ministry spokesman Paul Seretse warns that “church ministers” face criminal charges if they fail to report cases of child abuse by clergy.
Several cardinals say that they believe Pope John Paul would resign if he could no longer lead the Church but added that there is no reason for him to do so now.
About 30 Latin American prelates including a top Vatican official and a cardinal call for a third Vatican Council.
Pope John Paul visits Azerbaijan and Bulgaria.
The influential US Catholic magazine Commonweal calls on Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston to resign over his “arrogant and obtuse” attitude following revelations of sex abuse cases and cover-ups in his archdiocese.
Bishop Kevin Dowling, episcopal head of the SACBCs Justice and Peace department, and retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu criticise the government grant of amnesty to 33 Eastern Cape convicts.
Pope John Paul canonises Padre Pio in St Peters Square, drawing one of the biggest crowds in Vatican history.
The diocese of Brooklyn, New York, announces that the late mafia boss John Gotti would not have a funeral Mass.
Outgoing Anglican Archbishop George Carey of Canterbury makes a final visit to the pope.
Several Catholics star in the football World Cup in Japan and South Korea, among them coaches Luiz Felipe Scolari of winners Brazil, Giovanni Trapattoni of Italy, and Jerzy Engel of Poland, top scorer Ronaldo, Brazilian goalkeeper Marcos, Senegals Henri Camara, Irelands Damian Duff and referees Simon Carlos of Brazil and Markus Merk of Germany.
Christian Brother Jim Murtagh of Kokstad, former head of the Catholic Institute of Education, dies on June 8.
Fr Massimo Biancalani of Durban is awarded the international Michael Bell Memorial Award of the International Alliance of Catholic Knights.
Britains most eminent Catholic layman, the Duke of Norfolk, dies on June 25 at the age of 86.
World Youth Day is held in Totonto, Canada, drawing 215000 young Catholics, including about 100 from South Africa.
Pope John Paul travels to Toronto for World Youth Day, then to Guatemala and Mexico, where he canonises Marian visionary Juan Diego.
Cape Town teenager Emile Leaner receives a kidney from Benedictine Brother Maximilian Kolbe Jacobs in an operation at Groote Schuur Hospital.
Bishop Kevin Dowling in a speech in Bulawayo condemns the use of torture by President Robert Mugabes regime.
The Vatican bans smoking in its offices, leaving the press pool breathless with anxiety.
Bishop Kevin Dowling and a nun, Sr Georgina Boswell, are attacked by robbers in the bishops residence in Phokeng, near Rustenburg.
The Church marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Oblate of Mary Immaculate priest Jabulani Nxumalo is named auxiliary bishop of Durban, while Bishop Reginald Cawcutt resigns as auxiliary in Cape Town.
Fr Roland Pasensie of Cape Town becomes the first person from a non-German speaking country to be appointed to the praesidium of the International Kolping Society.
Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Genoa is appointed archbishop of Milan an unusual step that commentators say solidifies his position as Italian frontrunner in the next papal election.
The Vatican excommunicates seven women who were ordained priests by a schismatic bishop in June.
Al-Qaeda plotted terror attacks on the Vatican last year, an Italian newspaper reveals.
Former Southern Cross correspondent Jack Kearney of Pietermaritzburg dies on July 14 at the age of 91.
Welsh Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams is named archbishop of Canterbury.
At a huge function in Durbans Exhibition Centre, the archdiocese of Durban celebrates the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first Oblate missionaries in the region, and the ordination of Bishop Nxumalo has auxiliary bishop.
South Africa celebrates the 50th anniversary of being placed under the patronage of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven.
The UN World Summit for Sustainable Development kicks off in Johannesburg. While the Vatican is represented at the summit, Church organisation take part in a concurrent summit for NGOs.
Pope John Paul visits his old archdiocese of Krakow in Poland.
Fr Ian Laurenson OFM of Johannesburg is appointed head of the bishops Lenten Appeal, succeeding Fr Noel Coughlan OMI of Durban, who led the Lenten Appeal for 36 years.
Monks in the monastery of Zhovka, Ukraine, find a grave containing the remains of 226 people murdered in the aftermath of World War II.
The seven women excommunicated for being “ordained” appeal against the Vatican order.
Two New York radio disc jockeys are fired for broadcasting a couple having sex in the citys St Patricks cathedral.
The Catholic captain of Northern Irelands football team, Celtic Glasgows Neil Lennon, retires from international football after being abused and threatened by Northern Irish sectarian bigots.
Retired Bulawayo high court judge Fergus Blackie, a Catholic, is arrested by the Mugabe regime for allegedly “attempting to defeat the course of justice”. Sources believe Justice Blackie has been victimised for ruling against justice minister Patrick Chinamasa.
The bishops of Southern Africa come out in opposition to a constitutional court ruling that allows homosexuals to adopt children.
A year after the September 11 terror attacks, the US government has lost the worlds good will and trust, according to the head of Pax Christi USA.
Fr Patrick Kelly of Mutare diocese in Zimbabwe goes into hiding after being targeted by Mugabes security forces.
Polish communist-era spies kept tabs on Cardinal Karol Wojtyla before he became Pope John Paul II in 1978, investigators say.
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo says in a rare interview that he was manipulated into an arranged marriage last year so that followers of the Rev Sun Myung Moon could use him to establish a “parallel Catholic Church” in Africa.
The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano describes the film The Magdalene Sisters, about asylums once run by Irish nuns, as coarse and banal.
Pope John Paul adds five new mysteries to the rosary, dedicated to chapters from Jesus life.
Pope John Paul canonises two Ugandan martyrs, David Okelo and Jildo Irwa, as well as Opus Dei founder Jose maria Escriva.
Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze is named head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, while Cardinal Bernard Gantin of Benin announces his retirement as dean of the College of Cardinals.
Fr Dieter Gahlen of Umtata is appointed superior-general of the Missionaries of Mariannhill worldwide.
The Vatican approves a miracle attributed to Mother Teresas intercession, clearing the way for her beatification, possibly in May 2003.
An ossuary (burial box) bearing the legend “James, son of Joseph and brother of Jesus” surfaces in Israel. Scholars believe it may be linked to Jesus Christ.
The Vatican decides not to approve the US bishops new policy on sex abuse, pending revisions.
According to informed sources, the Vatican is preparing a document containing directives against the admission of homosexuals to the priesthood.
Alleged Washington DC sniper John Allen Muhammad phoned two priests before his arrest but nobody knows what he wanted.
Archbshop Milingo returns to active ministry in Italy.
Salesian Father Declan Collins is murdered on November 16 at his Johannesburg residence in Ennerdale during an apparent robbery.
Speaking in Durban, Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo calls for support in finding a peaceful solution to Zimbabwes political situation.
A Nigerian priest is seriously injured and two churches are destroyed in religious clashes in Kaduna that leave more than 200 dead.
Bishop Kevin Dowling says in an interview with the British Catholic magazine The Tablet that the Church should permit the use of condoms if used to prevent Aids infection.
A Pretoria court dismisses charges of rape against Fr Vusi Mosife of Shoshanguve.
The head of the Swiss Guards, Pius Segmller, quits after four years in charge of the Vatican army, to take up a top police post. He is succeeded by Elmar Mader.
Church leaders in Malawi warn that a religious war between Muslims and Christians is brewing in the country.
Southern Cross columnist Owen Williams writes his 1,000th consecutive column for the newspaper.
Colombian Bishop Jorge Jiminez Carvajal is kidnapped by leftist rebels. He is later freed by security forces.
A KwaZulu-Natal priest, Fr Msizi Garth Michelson, seeks out and confronts a repentant hijacker.
Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo says that President Robert Mugabe is using hunger as a political weapon.
The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference moves its Pretoria headquarters from Visagie Street to Paul Kruger Street.
Cardinal Bernard Law resigns as archbishop of Boston over his handling of sex abuse allegations.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is elected new Dean of the College of Cardinals following the retirement of Cardinal Bernardin Gantin.
The SACBCs Aids Office criticises Mpumalangas health department for spending a third of its Aids budget on non-Aids related events.
Franciscan Father Stan Brennan of Boksburg is honoured by the South Africas Human Rights Commission.
Veteran journalist Joe Lawless, a Catholic, dies on December 23 in Johannesbug at the age of 90.
Popular artist Larry Scully, who donated many of his works to the Catholic Church, dies in a car crash near Gordons Bay on Christmas Eve.
Mwai Kibaki, a Catholic, becomes Kenyas president after winning the countrys national elections.