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Throwback Thursday: Top 10 stories of the 1980s

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This graphic made the front page of the final edition of The Catholic Telegraph in 1989. (CT File)
This graphic made the front page of the final 1989 edition of The Catholic Telegraph. (CT File)

Print readers already know the final order of The Catholic Telegraph’s Top 10 stories of 2015, and online readers will find out at midnight tonight, but the tradition of selecting top stories to reflect on the news of the day goes back much further than just the last few years.

The Throwback Thursday team uncovered the attached image while looking for an end-of-year Throwback post on the topic of mercy, but couldn’t pass up a chance to revisit the 1980s.

Pictured from right to left at the top of the main graphic are Polish electrician and reformer Lech Walesa, Pope John Paul II after being shot and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The photo at the bottom shows Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran.

Just below this graphic, in the final issue of 1989, was an info box containing the top stories of the year. What were they?

  1. The papacy: Pope John Paul puts strong personal stamp on church order after turbulent post-concilliar era. travels all over the world, is leading voice for peace and the victim of an assassination attempt.
  2. The transformation of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union under Gorbachev.
  3. The abortion issue in the United States: Medicaid funding disputes, national election debates in 1984 and ’88, Operation Rescue, 1989 Supreme Court decision opening up new round of debate.
  4. Tensions between the Vatican and the U.S. church: Currant and Hunthausen affairs, disagreements over role of bishops’ conferences and a variety of other issues, and a calming down with the pope’s 1987 U.S. visit and 1989 Vatican summit with U.S. archbishops.
  5. The growing importance of the U.S. bishops as moral leaders in public policy debates with their pastorals on peace and the economy.
  6. The growing U.S. shortage of priests and new vocations, with increasing impact on parish life.
  7. Civil warfare in El Salvador, killing about 30,000 people over the decade, including the murders of Archbishop Oscar Romero and four U.S. women missionaries in 1980 and six prominent Jesuits in 1989.
  8. Women in the church as participants in and the subject of numerous controversies, including the ordination question and U.S. bishops’ planned pastoral on women.
  9. New bioethics issues surrounding the beginning and end of life: surrogate motherhood, test-the babies, frozen embryos, a Vatican declaration on such issues; court cases on  withdrawal of food and water from terminally ill patients, new campaigns to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
  10. Homosexuality: New Vatican document condemning homosexual activity, dioceses withdrawing support for Masses sponsored by Dignity, campaigns for homosexual rights, the AIDS epidemic.

Looking back, one can find many parallels with the issues and difficulties the Church faced in the 1980s and those it faces today. Still, 25 years later, the Church continues strongly on in its mission.

The Throwback Thursday staff and all of us at The Catholic Telegraph hope that you have had a blessed 2015 and offer you our prayers and good wishes for a grace-filled 2016.

Welcome to The Catholic Telegraph’s edition of Throwback Thursday. Throwback Thursday is a weekly online feature wherein users of social media share an old photo or anecdote about times gone by. We use Throwback Thursday to highlight the history of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and our publication.

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