Pressed by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dutch theologian Edward Schillebeeckx has retracted his views on priestly ordination that the Congregation found unacceptable.
The renowned Dutch theologian had argued that in "extraordinary circumstances," persons who had not been ordained by a bishop with the traditional laying on of hands could take on priestly functions, including consecration of the eucharist. His ideas were elaborated in a 1980 book, "The Ministry of the Church."
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Sacred Congregation, challenged Schillebeeckx's views, urging him to accept traditional church teaching that only men validly ordained by a bishop could consecrate the eucharist, according to extracts of letters published Jan. 10 by the official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, and read on Vatican Radio.
Correspondence continuing over two years climaxed with a Schillebeeckx letter dated Oct. 5, 1984. In it, he promised to accede to Vatican demands in a new book he is writing.
He wrote Ratzinger that, "there is no longer any question of an 'extraordinary ministery' of the eucharist, nor is there anything, in my view, which contradicts the 1983 declaration of your congregation" regarding the priesthood, he told Ratzinger.
The latest move by the Iranian government against the beleaguered Baha'i religious minority in that country is a kind of Catch-22 condition for the release of an estimated 750 members of the sect who are in Iranian prisons.
According to the Baha'i Washington Information Office, the Iranian government has demanded that imprisoned Baha'is sign, as a condition of their release, a statement admitting that Baha'is are an "espionage group," and that possession of any Baha'i literature or religious object "will be tantamount to my being of those who war against God." The latter is a capital offense in Iran.
The Baha'i faith, which originated in Iran during the last half of the 19th century, is considered heretical by the Muslim leaders in control of Iran today.
The persecution of Iranian Baha'is, which includes 194 executions under the current regime, is under investigation by the United Nations Commissions on Human Rights.
A Beckley, W. Va. judge this week refused to halt temporarily the state's new mandatory school prayer period, despite testimony from a young Jewish girl who said she was harassed by Christian students the day the law went into effect.
U.S. District Judge Elizabeth V. Hallanan refused to issue a temporary restraining order, saying the plaintiffs have failed to show that "irreparable harm" will result from continued prayer periods until a final ruling is issued.
Hallanan said she was not prepared to render an opinion on the constitutionality of the amendment. The lawsuit plaintiffs include Jews, Christians and Moslems who contend that the law violates constitutional guarantees of church-state separation.
The amendment, which went into effect last week and requires public schools to hold daily one-minute periods of silent "prayer, meditation or contemplation" for all students, was placed on the ballot by the 1984 Legislature and overwhelmingly approved in the November election.
The 11-year-old Jewish girl testified that she read a book during the first prayer period held at her school and was then harassed during a second-period class by fellow students.
After a two year decline, anti-Semitic vandalism increased in 1984, according to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith.
ADL national director Nathan Perlmutter said the organization's 30 regional offices reported 715 attacks or threats against Jews, Jewish institutions or property last year, and 369 assaults or threats, a 6.7 percent increase over 1983.
The 32 serious crimes included in the total -- arson, bombings and cemetery desecrations -- also reflected an increase over the 1983 figure of 23, the official reported.
Ten members of an unregistered Pentecostal church in Siberia were arrested during a two-hour demonstration of some 70 church members who were protesting the arrest on Dec. 10 of a fellow member identified as Viktor Walter, according to a British organization that monitors religion in the Soviet Union.
Officials at Keston College said that the incident took place in the village of Chuguyevka, northwest of Vladivostok. The precise cause of Walter's arrest was not clear.
Many Pentecostals in the Soviet Union refuse to register with the state and therefore risk prosecution for openly practicing their religion.
Keston officials said Walter faces charges for anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and may include internal exile. Keston's Soviet sources said that adult members of the congregation will begin a 30-day hunger strike Feb. 1. People in the News
The Rev. Lloyd Casson, a canon of the Washington Cathedral, has been elected canon and subdean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Casson has attracted national attention for his liturgical expertise and also carries responsibility in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington for community and ecumenical affairs. He will begin his ministry in New York in April.
The Rev. R. Clinton Hopkins will preach his first sermon as pastor of Viers Mill Baptist Church in Silver Spring tomorrow. The Virginia native has held church and denominational posts in Richmond and recently was administrative assistant to the president of Averett College in Danville.
The Rev. Charles R. Stith, pastor of Union United Methodist Church in Boston, said he has been asked by the Rev. Jesse Jackson to become president of the Chicago-based Operation Push.
The Rev. Beyers Naude will take over from Bishop Desmond Tutu as general secretary of the South African Council of Churches next month, when Tutu becomes Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg.