Kazotic, the first Dominican blessed from Croatia
celebrations were the responsibility of the Austrian and Croatian
provinces and the Hungarian vicariate. In the introduction to the
Mass the Croatian provincial told us that Agustín is the
first Dominican to be beatified in Croatia and this year celebrates
the 300th year of his beatification. Agustín Kazotic (1260-1323)
dedicated his life to the establishing of schools and to the search
for solutions in ecclesial conflicts. He was a famous peacemaker
and a worker for human rights as well as being someone concerned
for the poor of his society. He also authored some theological studies
and was bishop of Zagreb and of Lucera (in Italy). He dedicated
his energy to promote the common good, the public health of all
in the town of Zagreb, and he especially attended to the needs of
the lives of the lower clergy and the faithful in his diocese. His
option for the poor led to his banishment to France. Agustín
is not only a monument to the past but a monument to our future.
Let us be peacemakers, theologians, and protectors of the marginalized,.
The definitor of Austria presided and Friar Richard Schenk preached.
It was a homily in the scholastic style, as if it were an article
from the Summa of Saint Thomas: "Is it licit that Blessed Agustín
Kazotic be venerated in the Dominican Order as patron of interreligious
dialogue or not", with objections, "sed contra" and
responses to the objections, as in the times of Blessed Agustín.
Something was sung in German and there appeared a new choir director.
morning began well with the rapid approval of the prologue of the
Commission on the Common Life. They are two commissions in one -
one on Contemplation, the other on the Common Life.
document on the cooperator brothers followed. From the beginning
there have been two distinct ideological opinions. For some the
cooperator brothers deserve more and no one has wanted to enter
the authentic problem of a certain discrimination toward them. Others
think that the differences must be recognized, knowing that all
are equal, with the same dignity given by our same solemn profession,
but with different tasks. With the raw question put forth in so
many words, the dialogue became especially heated. Someone proposed
that a commission be constituted to tackle the subject of the cooperator
brother, or non-cleric, or non-ordained. Only nine minutes before
its end, the morning work was interrupted by the plenary session's
approval of the idea to hear from those cooperator brothers present
who have been translating and interpreting for the chapter. Those
cooperator brothers had already been invited to speak to the commission
and their opinions had been heeded in the elaboration of the document.
But now they will appear before the entire assembly.
the afternoon some of the "ragged edges" in the document
about the intellectual life were considered. What languages must
be studied for our communication? There was a struggle between Caleruega
(all should know English, and the English-speaking should know Spanish
or French) and Bologna (all should know any one of the official
languages; if one of those is one's native tongue, one should learn
one of the other two). Bologna won. Therefore it is not necessary
that everyone should know English. With the text's final expression
of thanks, the Document on the Intellectual Life has emerged as
a fine piece of work.
As for any important assembly or congress, the Commission on the
Challenges to Our Mission had prepared three declarations: 1) against
the death penalty; 2) against economic sanctions - in particular
the embargos against Iraq and Cuba - because of the consequences
on the civil populations; 3) against the scarcity of pharmaceutical
products needed to fight AIDs.
wished to amplify the first declaration to include all of human
life (abortion, euthanasia, genetic experimentation
commission did not accept it. When we make this declaration we will
have already spoken to the authorities about the Church being in
favor of their abolition. The dialogue finally ended, some corrections
were made, and it was approved with an almost absolute majority.
second declaration stated more specifically that the embargos had
procured neither liberty nor democracy, but had brought only more
misery to the civil population. Some asked that if with this declaration
the dictatorial régimes, tyrannies, etc. were being acknowledged
(as within their rights), and if it would be advisable to say anything
took the ethical stance and said it should be declared that an embargo
is intrinsically perverse, because it bore grave consequences for
the innocent. The assembly was not in a radical frame of mind and
rejected both proposals. A large majority also approved the second
medicines. The AIDs pandemic has affected a terrifying number of
the world's population, especially in Africa. Of 34 million persons
with AIDs, 24.5 million are in Africa. There are medicines to fight
it but they are not within the reach of the poor. The document asks
that the pharmaceutical companies lower the prices of their products.
An amendment was proposed: in the text there is no clear political
defense of the family nor a real sexual education - in the true
sense of the word - that could help solve the problem. The commission
did not like the amendment, which spoke only of the AIDs patients,
not of those who could be infected, but it was approved. In the
declaration there will be an ethical note.
the day ended. The Master congratulated all for the depth and sincerity
of the debates, amid such diversity of opinion.
Austrian provincial presided at Vespers. Something was chanted in
German and the petitions were made in Croatian and Hungarian. The
Vespers began with a hymn to Blessed Agustín Kazotic, whose
feast we celebrated.
essential person here at the Chapter is the secretary general, Friar
George Schommer. He intervenes publicly no more than is necessary.
His face reflects his calmness and is always wreathed in a smile.
It seems that he is doing little, however the weight of the chapter
is on his shoulders. He knows how to work hard and well and to do
it in the shadows. Many thanks, George!