Perhaps the only major newspaper in the world to be mum on the marriage of Mrs. John F. Kennedy to Aristotle Onassis was the Vatican’s Osservatore Romano.

Its silence was the loudest announcement of church embarrassment over the marriage of Mrs. Kennedy, one of its most noted members and widow of the first Roman Catholic to be U. S. President, to a divorcé.

Mrs. Kennedy, now Mrs. Onassis, put the Catholic Church in a tight spot. Public pressures flared quickly for Vatican approval of the union. But that seemed just short of impossible. For the church to close its eyes to its ancient laws to accommodate one celebrity would both crack its credibility and open the way for many other Catholics to remarry.

If the public sought church approval, Mrs. Onassis apparently did not. She presumably knows well the intricacies of church marital laws, since her sister, Lee, obtained an annulment of her marriage to actor Michael Canfield from the Sacred Rota in Rome, to marry Prince Stanislaus Radziwell. Their mother is also divorced, and remarried a divorcé.

Vatican officials appeared at first to seek a way out, when they suggested that an annulment of Onassis’ first marriage by his Greek Orthodox Church might ease the predicament.

“The church would like to be in a position to show understanding,” a high Vatican source said.

One main problem: There is no such thing as annulment in the Greek church.

A later Vatican statement was more rigid. News agencies quoted Vatican spokesman Monsignor Fausto Valainc as saying: “Mrs. Kennedy is not a child and therefore she must know perfectly well what are the laws of her church. Therefore, if she is not a child and not out of her mind she must have known that she could not legally marry Mr. Onassis. It is clear that when a Catholic marries a divorced man she knowingly violates the law of the church. It is not a question of excommunication. It is what is termed in canon law an irregular situation.” He said Mrs. Onassis is now cut off from receiving the sacraments.

Whatever some churchmen thought, family intimate Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston said he had known the marriage was planned for months and “I encouraged and helped her in every possible way.” He said in a speech, “This idea of saying she’s excommunicated, she’s a public sinner—what a lot of nonsense. Only God knows who is a sinner, who is not.”

Cushing also revealed he had been “contacted by many of those who are identified in high places with the administration of the late President Kennedy, and by others intimately related and associated with the Kennedy family to stop all this from taking place.”

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A year ago Mrs. Kennedy’s marriage to a Greek Orthodox in a Greek ceremony would have been legally questionable in the Roman church. Since then the two bodies have agreed to recognize each other’s marriages, though not without reservations, as a result of ecumenical talks.

But in Catholic eyes, the former Mrs. Kennedy has committed adultery in marrying a man whose first wife is still alive, since the church holds that a valid marriage is virtually indissoluble, except by death.

Onassis married his first wife, the former Athina Livanos, after he had known her for three days, according to the Saturday Evening Post. He was 40 and she was 16, daughter of a multimillionaire Greek shipowner. She obtained a civil divorce from an Alabama court in 1960 on grounds of mental cruelty. Onassis’ cavorting with opera singer Maria Callas was said to be a major factor in the divorce. A Greek Orthodox court in New York recognized the civil divorce in 1961. The first Mrs. Onassis, since remarried, is now the Marchioness of Blandford, wife of the son and heir of the British Duke of Marlborough.

There is only one way the Roman church could declare Mrs. Kennedy’s marriage legal. The Roman Rota, the highest marriage tribunal, would have to study the reasons behind Onassis’ divorce, and conclude that the first marriage had been null and void from the beginning.

But the grounds for Catholic annulment are few, among them nonbaptism of one party, a prior marriage, intention by one partner not to have children, or proof that one party had never intended the marriage to be permanent. The last condition is probably the only one Onassis might try to qualify for. But, according to one canon-law expert, he would have to “prove through evidence of general conduct or statements he made before and during the first marriage that this [no intent for a permanent marriage] was his mentality from the beginning.”

It is highly questionable whether the dynamic, iron-willed Onassis and the former Mrs. Kennedy would care to subject themselves to the process. It seems logical, then, that she decided to enter the marriage no matter what the cost to her relations with the church.

Another interesting aspect: Greek Orthodox spokesmen said Mrs. Onassis would be required to sign a pledge that any children from the new marriage would be brought up in the Orthodox faith. This doesn’t directly affect Mrs. Onassis’ children, John and Caroline Kennedy, who are Roman Catholic. But the Roman church would normally require that Mrs. Onassis raise any new children as Catholics also.

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Onassis is known not only for his charm with women but also for his fabulous, if sometimes murky, rise from rags to riches. His shipping firm’s ocean fleet, larger than some navies, is the basis of his wealth. The fleet is insured at $500 million. His firms, however, have been fined a total of $7 million for violation of U. S. shipping regulations. He is also one of the lowest-paying employers in the world maritime industry, giving wages about one-fourth those of U. S. shipowners.

One institution that appeared delighted with the marriage was the controversial Greek military regime. It apparently hoped, validly or not, that the marriage would be a boon to fractured U. S.-Greek relations.

God’S Smuggler

To most people behind the Iron Curtain he’s just a tourist who travels in a fast car by day and sleeps in a tent at night. To border guards and customs officials he has all the semblance of the elusive Pimpernel. To Christians in Communist lands he’s one of a small band working to supply Bibles in their languages, as well as tape recorders and cars.

But in England “Brother Andrew” is likely to become known as “God’s Smuggler”—a title he would never choose for himself, but one given to his first book, recently published in England.

In a London interview last month, the 40-year-old Dutch missionary told how he started as an independent evangelist in 1955. Now he has a staff limited to twelve and directs a work which goes under many names. He said he has worked in every Communist nation except North Korea and North Viet Nam, and goes to Cuba once a year for an evangelistic campaign. He has been in Czechoslovakia twice since the Soviet occupation and hopes to visit Viet Nam this month.

Besides preaching, his main task is providing Bibles, and how he does it remains a closely guarded secret. “I take up to 700 complete Bibles with me at a time, and not one page from them is ever seen by the officials,” he says.

He is known only by the pseudonym “Brother Andrew,” and contributions to his work go by that name to Bible Societies or to a post office box in Ermelo, the Netherlands.

He operates on the theory that a Christian should trust in the Lord to protect him, yet use every reasonable precaution. The Bible says it is not enough to love God with your heart alone, he reasons. “We must also use our minds and our common sense and not take needless risks.”

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Tactics often change, since doors open and close quickly in Red lands. Poland doesn’t need smuggled Bibles because it has a flourishing Bible store, but it is short of material for children’s work.

Czechoslovakia permits 3,000 Slovak Bibles to be imported each year, but that many never arrive. In East Germany Bibles are printed and distributed openly, and the New English Bible has now been printed there with official permission.

A team of three—including 70-year-old Dutch woman evangelist Corrie Ten Boom—came out of the Soviet Union last month reporting a need not only for Bibles but also for typewriters and tape recorders. (Any Briton can legally send a car to the Soviet Union, and such vehicles meet a great church need).

Brother Andrew is a Baptist, but he experienced the new Pentecostalism many years ago: “The basis of Pentecostalism is that the power within us is greater than the power that is without us, and only this assurance has enabled me to go through so much enemy territory. If I had listened to the advice of Christian friends I would not have made one trip behind the Iron Curtain.

“So far as speaking in tongues is concerned, I use this gift in my personal praying rather than publicly, but I find it indispensable when crossing the border with Bibles.”

He says there is no competition with Eurovangelism, Operation Mobilization, and other groups taking Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. He himself is not looking for staff recruits, and refers potential volunteers to OM or Wycliffe Bible Translators, since translation is “the first essential.”

Brother Andrew says he always needs support, “but it must be given from the right motive. I do not accept funds from people who are only anti-Communist. I want support from people who are just pro-Jesus.”


Ireland: Paisley’S Shabby Victory

Students of Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, are not normally given to mass demonstration. At present, however, they plan further protest marches calling for such things as a new voting system, a revised housing program, and a ban on job discrimination against Roman Catholics.

What lies behind it? Was one writer correct in saying the marches at Londonderry that turned violent began as a “peaceful demand by British citizens for rights enjoyed everywhere else in the United Kingdom”? There is strong evidence to support the statement.

What rights are claimed by Derry marchers and Belfast collegians? Derry provides probably the best illustration of all. In a population of around 60,000, 3 per cent are reported homeless, and more than one-fourth of the men are unemployed. The city is Unionist-controlled only because large numbers of the Roman Catholic majority are virtually disenfranchised through various devices. Ward boundaries have been manipulated to Unionist advantage. The dice are loaded against the young Roman Catholic couple seeking to set up a home, for a house means a vote—and who knows where that may lead? Some firms openly boast they have never employed a Roman Catholic.

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These are the facts, whatever one thinks about alleged police violence, Irish Republican Army infiltration, or papist plots. They are facts, moreover, that should be clearly understood before anyone says a word about the Rev. Ian Paisley.

He is an extraordinary man, with two apparently different sides. There is the pastor who cares for his own large congregation as a faithful shepherd, whose words God has used to bring many to himself, and whose ministry in the homes of his people has brought blessing and comfort to the sick and the troubled.

But there is another Ian Paisley: the pied piper whose summons to rally round the Union Jack, spread like wildfire through certain areas of Belfast, can promptly bring forth a motley crew whose indignation is not notably righteous, whose language is assuredly not that of Zion, and whose need is to have the Gospel preached to them.

Disown the extremists as he might, Paisley does little to discourage them. He needs them. The end may be considered as justifying the means. So last month a police-permitted student march was swiftly countered by one called by Paisley for which no police sanction had been given. His supporters chanted, “You can’t take the Pill,” sang Orange songs, jeered, and taunted the students.

Let no one imagine this was in defense of Protestantism uncompromised. It was a threatening mob trying to intimidate a peaceful, non-religious, thoroughly justifiable demonstration.

The outcome is telling. When things might have become dangerously ugly had the students retaliated in kind, one of their leaders made an effective loudspeaker appeal: “If there is bloodshed in Belfast tonight, there will be a return to violence and pogrom all over Northern Ireland, and the responsibility will be ours. We have made our point. Let us now go home with a little dignity.”

And they did. The Rev. Paisley had won a shabby victory.


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Sanctuary In The Sanctuary

The anti-war movement is taking sanctuary in the church.

In a series of actions centering in Boston, organizations opposed to the Viet Nam war have joined congregations to offer disaffected GIs the symbolic protection of church walls against federal arrest.

In the most dramatic incident so far, Army Private Raymond Kroll—backed by student supporters often numbering 1,000—held off police for five days at Marsh Chapel of the Boston University School of Theology (Methodist). Kroll, AWOL for more than a month, was taken into custody last month while several hundred students blocked the aisles in passive resistance.

In the weeks since this “bust,” radical students have been winning support for removing Army ROTC from campus. The only administration response has been creation of a study committee on the issue.

The sanctuary was staged by a group of anti-war seminarians in cooperation with the New England Resistance, a regional organization committed to anti-draft counseling and other protest activities and loosely affiliated with similar anti-war organizations across the country.

“The idea behind this form of protest,” explained Resistance staffer Joel Kuglemass, “is to reach people on the issue of the war who wouldn’t be drawn into traditional radical activity.”

The sanctuary tactic (which dates to early Greek history but is not recognized in Western law) was revived last May at Boston’s fashionable Arlington Street (Unitarian) Church. The same church had sponsored the 1967 draft-card burning ceremony which led to the controversial conspiracy conviction of Yale Chaplain William Sloane Coffin, Jr.

Since May, sanctuary has been extended to at least six soldiers on four occasions in Boston, as well as in several other cities.

The first campus sanctuary came in September at Harvard Divinity School. Besides poor planning, the event was marred when soldier Paul Olympia surrendered to military police on the second day, charging he had been “used” by organizers.

Olympia is known to have made a brief visit to Marsh Chapel moments before Viet Nam veteran Thomas Pratt, his good friend who was participating in Kroll’s sanctuary, surrendered himself and denounced his supporters. This led activists to suspect both were military “plants.”

In the face of controversy, the Boston University theology faculty, like the administration, has remained silently aloof, despite the fact that a majority of the teachers last year signed a petition supporting draft resistance.

Organizers believed last month they had found an effective way to refocus anti-war sentiment, which had dwindled since the start of the Paris peace talks. Their success seemed to assure repeat performances of the tactic-on and off campus-in sympathetic churches across the country.


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