| 6/16/2008 7:48 PM
The preceding page contains the complete documentation we have so far of the Holy Father's pastoral visit to Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi this weekend, including translations of all five texts he delivered there.
Pope would like the traditional Mass
available in each parish,
says Cardinal Castrillon
By Simon Caldwell
LONDON, June 16 (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI would like every Catholic parish in the world to be able to celebrate the traditional Mass, a Vatican cardinal has said.
Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos also told a June 14 press conference in London that the Vatican was writing to all seminaries to ask that candidates to the priesthood be trained to celebrate Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Latin rite, also known as the Tridentine Mass, which was restricted from the 1970s until July 2007 when Pope Benedict liberalized its use.
The cardinal, who was visiting London at the invitation of the Latin Mass Society, a British Catholic group committed to promoting Mass in the Tridentine rite of the 1962 Roman Missal, said it was "absolute ignorance" to think that the Pope was trying to reverse the reforms of the Second Vatican Council by encouraging use of the rite.
"The Holy Father, who is a theologian and who was (involved) in the preparation for the Council, is acting exactly according to the council, offering freely the different forms of [accepted] celebration," he said.
"The Holy Father is not returning to the past; he is taking a treasure from the past to offer it alongside the rich celebration of the new rite," the cardinal added.
When asked by a journalist if the Pope wanted to see "many ordinary parishes" making provision for the Tridentine Mass, Cardinal Castrillon, a Colombian, said:
"All the parishes. Not many, all the parishes, because this is a gift of God. He (Pope Benedict) offers these riches, and it is very important for new generations to know the past of the church," said Cardinal Castrillon, president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" which works to help separated traditionalist Catholics return to the church.
"This kind of worship is so noble, so beautiful," he said. "The worship, the music, the architecture, the painting, come together as a whole that is a treasure. The Holy Father ants to offer this possibility to all the faithful, not just for the few groups who demand it, so that everybody may be acquainted with this way of celebrating the Eucharist in the Catholic Church."
He also said his commission, which also is responsible for overseeing the application of Summorum Pontificum
, the 2007 papal decree authorizing the universal use of the Tridentine rite, was in the process of writing to seminaries not only to equip seminarians to celebrate Mass in Latin, but to understand the theology, the philosophy and the language of such Masses.
The cardinal said parishes could use catechism classes to prepare Catholics to celebrate such Masses every Sunday so they can "appreciate the power of silence, the power of the sacred way in front of God, the deep theology, to discover how and why the priest represents the person of Christ, and to pray with the priest."
In Summorum Pontificum
, Pope Benedict indicated that the traditional Mass should be made available in every parish where groups of the faithful desire it and where a priest has been trained to celebrate it.
He also said the Mass from the Roman Missal in use since 1970 remains the ordinary form of the Mass, while the celebration of the Tridentine Mass is the extraordinary form.
The document did not require all parishes to automatically establish a Tridentine Mass schedule, but it said that where "a group of faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition exists stably," the pastor should "willingly accede" to their request to make the Mass available.
Cardinal Castrillon told the press conference, however, that a stable group could mean just three or four people who were not necessarily from the same parish.
Later in the day, Cardinal Castrillon celebrated the first Pontifical High Mass in the Tridentine rite in London's Westminster Cathedral in 39 years. The event drew a congregation of more than 1,500 people, including young families. None of the English or Welsh bishops attended
[One would think the Archbishop of Westminster and Primate of England, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, should at least have been present! More than just a breach of elementary courtesy, this also appears to emphasize the continuing resistance, if not outright hostility, of many UK prelates to the traditional Mass, not to mention their blatant 'dismissal' of a legitimate and well-founded decree by the Pope and Vicar of Christ, to whom they have vowed communion!
Start plugging your ears now against the pained and outrageous squeals of protest that are bound to come in crescendo from those self-styled custodians of 'the spirit of Vatican-II' who will once again cry that Benedict XVI is betraying the Council!]
Here's a take by one of Reuters's religious reporters on Cardinal Castrillon's statements - from the Reuters blog on religion, Faith World:
Latin Mass 'power of silence'
raises UK Catholic decibels
Posted by Sebastian Tong
June 16th, 2008
Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos was at Westminster Cathedral in London over the weekend to lead one of the highest profile celebrations of the Roman Catholic Church’s old Latin Mass here since the 1960s.
The Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales has been lukewarm about the prospect of the old rite being celebrated alongside Mass in English, so the cardinal’s presence was a clear reminder of what the Vatican wants.
Before the Mass on Saturday, Castrillon Hoyos met four journalists (myself included) to explain why Pope Benedict decided last year to promote wider use of the old Latin Mass.
He praised the traditional Tridentine rite for its “power of silence,” an element of contemplation he said had disappeared from worship since the liturgical reforms of the 1960s.
If his pre-Mass briefing is anything to go by, however, the Latin Mass also has a power to raise the decibel level among Catholics in Britain.
The Colombian-born cardinal, who is head of the pontifical commission Ecclesia Dei for relations with traditionalists, said the new form of the Mass had led to “abuses” that had prompted many to abandon the Church. So, he said, the Pope wanted the older form to be offered again in all parishes (not only where a group of parishioners requested it, as originally said).
“The experience of these 40 years has not always been so good. Many people abandoned the sense of adoration (of God)…There is (now) an atmosphere that makes it possible for these abuses, and that atmosphere must be changed,” he said in English. “It is not a matter of confrontation but of dialogue — fraternal dialogue — making efforts to understand the precious things contained in the new and the old rites.”
The cardinal added that Pope Benedict would soon clarify his motu proprio — the decree allowing wider use of the old Mass — to clear up confusion over issues ranging from the differences between liturgical calendars of the old and new rites, the use of vestments, ordinations to the sub-diaconate and the Eucharistic fast.
How polarising this issue can be within the Church was apparent even in that small group during the 45-minute interview.
Elena Curti, deputy editor of the Catholic magazine The Tablet
, said many Catholics like herself were confused at the new emphasis on the old rite. It seemed to diminish the role of the laity, she said, and she asked the cardinal if this was a regression from the reforms of the Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965. [What role of the laity? In the Mass, the role of the laity is primarily to follow attentively - and thereby participate - in the Sacrifice offered by the priest-celebrant in persona Christi. Nothing more, nothing less - unelss you count the adjunct services rendered by, say, a lay altar server or the person called on to do a Reading.]
The cardinal said no: “The Holy Father is not returning to the past but taking from the past a treasure to make it present today alongside the richness of the new rite.”
Curti’s comments sparked a declaration from Damian Thompson, Daily Telegraph
religion reporter and editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald
, that he “deplored” her comments.
“I’d like to very strongly distance myself from what Elena has said and to say that there is tremendous enthusiasm among younger Catholics for the motu proprio, that many Catholics are deeply grateful to the Holy Father for making the change and many younger Catholics regard this as an extremely exciting development,” Thompson said to the cardinal.
John Medlin, General Manager of the Latin Mass Society that organised the Mass and the briefing, felt obliged to intervene and ask for “charity around the table.” [Charity does not preclude making clear where fundamental differences lie, much less speaking the truth!]
Thompson kept up the same tone in his two reports on the meeting — “Latin Mass to return to England and Wales” and “Victory against the sandalistas” — and on his blog Holy Smoke (with partial transcript of the briefing). Since The Tablet
is a weekly, we’ll have to wait until Friday to see what Curti writes.
The revival of the Old Latin Mass has been compared to a cultural revolution within the Catholic Church. It looks like it’s off to a rousing start. [Still, much less of a 'cultural revolution' - and a far less ideological, more considerate and charitable one - than the overnight foisting of the Novus Ordo on the universal Church in rather arbitrary and summary fashion 38 years ago, with hardly a decent period of transition.]
Actually, it is amazing what has happened in less than a year since Summorum Pontificum was issued! I think he will release the clarifying instructions on or before the first anniversary of the most-awaited and most-speculated Motu Proprio ever in Church history.
Pope Benedict XVI, ever gentle but always firm, continues to set beautiful and inspiring examples for how liturgy must be celebrated - he makes the Novus Ordo look and feel 'traditional' in the best sense of the word - showing very clearly that certain traditional touches (altar arrangements and accoutrements, liturgical vestments, celebration ad Orientem, Latin prayers used selectively, Gregorian chant and appropriate sacred music, kneeling for Communion and taking the Eucharist directly on the tongue) are not incompatible with the Novus Ordo, and indeed, can enhance it, imparting a sense of mystery, reverence and awe to what has all too often been reduced to mechanical exercise of a formula. Often sullied by thoughtless 'innovations' that have lost sight of the Mass as a celebration of Jesus's supreme sacrifice for mankind, and an occasion for intimate communion with him, not for socializing with each other or for selfish indulgence.
BENEDICTUS QUI VENIT IN NOMINE DOMINI!
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/18/2008 11:58 PM]
| 6/17/2008 2:18 AM
Registered in: 11/23/2005
The pope, the president and politics of faith
June 17, 2008
Acting on faith in politics means exactly what it does in personal life: to do what is right even when it is dangerous to do so, when received opinion howls against it, and when the ultimate consequence of such actions cannot be foreseen. After Pope Benedict XVI showed unprecedented courtesy to visiting American President George W Bush last week, much has been written about the Christian faith that binds the pope and the president.
It is not only faith, but the temerity to act upon faith, that the pope and the president have in common. In the past I have characterized Benedict's stance as, "I have a mustard seed, and I'm not afraid to use it." (See Ratzinger's mustard seed Asia Times Online, April 5, 2005.) Despite his failings, Bush is a kindred spirit. That is what horrifies their respective critics within the Catholic Church and the American government, who portray the president and the pope as destroyers of civilizational peace. The charge is spurious because there was no civilization peace to destroy, but like many calumnies, it contains an element of truth.
Never before did a pope descend to the Vatican gardens to greet a national leader as Benedict did for Bush, returning the unprecedented deference that the president showed in meeting the pope's plane at Andrews Air Force Base in April. More than mutual courtesy is at work here; the two men evince a natural affinity and mutual sympathy. Prelates in the Vatican's permanent bureaucracy fumed at the warmth with which Bush was received, the Italian daily La Repubblica noted June 12, given that the US president "is very distant from papal exhortations condemning war", the Iraq war in particular.
Benedict XVI, like his predecessor John Paul II, disagrees with American policy in Iraq, but not the way that the European or American left would like. "There was not a word from the papal throne about the possibility of an attack on Iran during the coming months, the catastrophic results of which terrify all the bishops of the Middle East," Marco Politi fulminated in La Repubblica June 14. "In the Holy Land, the Holy See is being towed behind the snail's pace [in peace negotiations] of Washington and the Israeli government."
Despite his position on Iraq, Benedict's critics within the church regard him as a civilizational warrior as dangerous as the US president. Bush might denounce "Islamo-facism", but continues to believe that Islam is a "religion of peace". Muslims suspect that the pope wants to convert them, a threat they never have had to confront in Islam's 1,500-year history.
The May issue of the Jesuits' international monthly Popoli , for example, featured a blistering attack on Egyptian-born Italian journalist Magdi Allam, who this year converted from Islam to Roman Catholicism, and the circumstances of his conversion, by the prominent Italian Jesuit Father Paolo dall'Oglio, of the Deir Mar Musa monastery in Syria. By officiating at Allam's conversion, Father Dall'Oglio charted, Benedict confirmed Muslim suspicion that his campaign for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience is a "Trojan Horse" whose aim is to cause Islam to disintegrate. On this more below.
The pope and the president are less at odds over the Iraq war than the Vatican's anti-war position might suggest. America invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein for reasons of state that no religious leader could bless.
After the September 11, 2001, attacks, American intelligence had no means to determine which Muslim governments were in league with terrorists. Middle Eastern governments do not resemble Western nation-states so much as they do hotels at which diverse political factions can rent accommodations, including factions who provide weapons, passports, training and intelligence to the sort of men who flew planes into the World Trade Center. Elements within the governments of Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, among others, supported terrorists, besides Saddam.
The only way to resolve the matter quickly was to make a horrible example out of one of these regimes. That got the undivided attention of the others. "Kill the chicken, and let the monkey watch," say the Chinese.
Bush chose Iraq simply because existing United Nations Security Council resolutions provided a pretext in international law. Did the American president "lie"? Not exactly, but head of states do not tell the whole truth about such matters, and religious leaders do not put their imprimatur on the rougher side of raison d'etat.
Bush was magnificently right to conduct a punitive expedition against Saddam, but horribly wrong to wade into the mire of nation-building. He should have found a cooperative dictator to replace Saddam and marched out, as American neo-conservative historian and political commentator Daniel Pipes suggested at the time. Nonetheless, as I wrote in 2004, "The West should be thankful that it has in US President George W Bush a warrior who shoots first and tells the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to ask questions later. Rarely in its long history has the West suffered by going to war too soon. On the contrary: among the wars of Western history, the bloodiest were those that started too late." (See In praise of premature war Asia Times Online, October 19, 2004.)
Going to war in Iraq was a leap of faith, a repudiation of half a century of American commitment to stability in the region, to the enduring dudgeon of the foreign policy establishment. Until the last moment the establishment did not believe that Bush would go through with it. A former British prime minister assured me privately in December 2001 that he had it on the personal authority of George Bush Senior that war was out of the question. Despite the grave policy errors that followed, Bush had the faith to upset the existing order of things without foreknowledge of the consequences, because he knew that it was the right thing to do.
In that sense, the president's war policy and the pope's pacifism arise from a common source, the politics of faith. Despite the exigencies of state security, which make necessary the employment of deadly force as well as harm to civilians, someone must speak the voice of mercy, and pray that the stern decree will pass from the world. A religious leader must say, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," while a head of state must follow the maxim, "Do unto others before they do unto you." What divides the president and the pope is not so much their conflicting positions, but rather a difference in the existential vantage point from which each must respond to the great events of the world.
Benedict XVI may preach against violence, but in his own fashion he takes a tougher stance than the American president. That surely is not the way it looks at first glance. Bush invaded an Arab country, while Benedict preaches reason to the Muslim world, receiving in the past few months Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah as well as delegations from Iran. He has agreed to a meeting with a group of 138 Muslim scholars at the Vatican in November. Why should Muslims fear Benedict?
For the first time, perhaps, since the time of Mohammed, large parts of the Islamic world are vulnerable to Christian efforts to convert them, for tens of millions of Muslims now dwell as minorities in predominantly Christian countries. The Muslim migration to Europe is a double-edged sword. Eventually this migration may lead to a Muslim Europe, but it also puts large numbers of Muslims within reach of Christian missionaries for the first time in history.
That is the hope of Magdi Allam, the highest-profile Catholic convert from Islam in living memory (see The mustard seed in global strategy Asia Times Online, March 26, 2008).
As noted above, the Jesuit Arabist Paolo dall'Oglio warns that the pope has confirmed the worst fears of the Muslim world. His views on the subject bear careful reading. As the editors of Popoli introduce his article, Dall'Oglio is "someone who has carried out years of apostolic activity in the Muslim world, and in position to understand the sensibilities and to intuit the possible repercussions and ways in which the event might be exploited".
Dall'Oglio began his article (in Italian - citations are my translation), "We hope that we are dealing with an eclipse of the sun," that is, a one-time event, and adds:
The moon of urgent concern for freedom of conscience and religion has blocked the sun of charitable discretion, of respect for Muslim feelings, and of the renunciation of proselytism ... [Magdi Allam's baptism] discouraged numerous efforts to construct harmony and friendship, in the quarters of European cities as well as in the countries, for secular and peaceful Islamic-Christian coexistence. It neutralized attempts to defuse inter-religious violence and to show how far the Church is from the neocolonialist logic of the Western hegemonic powers, and how a great majority of Muslims are opposed to the logic of hostile confrontation ...
Before the world, and on the occasion of his baptism, Magdi Allam has declared his intent to affirm "the authentic religion of truth, of life and of freedom" against the "the root of evil is inherent in an Islam that is physiologically violent and historically conflictive". In this fashion he confirmed the Muslim impression, intentionally or not, that there is an objective strategic convergence of Christian neo-proselytism and the blasphemous actions against the holiest realities of Islam promoted by the northern European media [ie, the satirical cartoons of Mohammed in a Danish newspaper].
In other words it is difficult to escape the impression that the sacred banner of freedom of conscience is being used by the West to introduce a Trojan Horse into Islam with the aim of causing it to disintegrate [emphasis added].
What seems to the West a low-key appeal to reason and Western norms of religious freedom, Dall'Oglio warns, looks like a Trojan Horse to Muslims. Islamic leaders already have noted that months before Allam's baptism, the Vatican published a "doctrinal note" on evangelization that specifically repudiates the notion that Catholics should refrain from attempting to convert people of other faiths. Church-watcher Sandro Magister notes  that one of the 138 Muslim scholars scheduled to meet with the pope in November already has filed a protest in the Vatican monthly Mondo e Missione.
Mustafa Cherif, an Algerian Islamic scholar prominent in dialogue with the church, singled out the December 3, 2007, doctrinal note  from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith affirming that "evangelization is aimed at all of humanity", and seeking to correct "a growing confusion which leads many to leave the missionary command of the Lord unheard and ineffective".
As Father Dall'Oglio warns darkly, Muslims are in dialogue with a pope who evidently does not merely want to exchange pleasantries about coexistence, but to convert them. This no doubt will offend Muslim sensibilities, but Muslim leaders are well-advised to remain on good terms with Benedict XVI. Worse things await them. There are 100 million new Chinese Christians, and some of them speak of marching to Jerusalem - from the East. A website entitled Back to Jerusalem proclaims, "From the Great Wall of China through Central Asia along the silk roads, the Chinese house churches are called to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ all the way back to Jerusalem."
Islam is in danger for the first time since its founding. The evangelical Christianity to which George W Bush adheres and the emerging Asian church are competitors with whom it never had to reckon in the past. The European Church may be weak, but no weaker, perhaps, than in the 8th century after the depopulation of Europe and the fall of Rome. An evangelizing European Church might yet repopulate Europe with new Christians as it did more than a millennium ago.
Speak about thinking outside the box - Spengler takes the medal! Here I was, waiting breathlessly for which one in MSM would do a serious commentary on the Benedict-Bush relation after last Friday's unprecedented meeting at the Vatican, and the last one I would have thought to come out first was Spengler. And does he give us a lot of groundbreaking throught-provoking ideas to consider! Not a single stereotype in the lot - not about Benedict, not about Bush, not about Islam. How utterly refreshing! (And right on, I happen to think). "The temerity to act upon faith" is not bad at all, whether you are Benedict XVI or George W. Bush.
But he does introduce us to a 'new' Jesuit dissident right out of the cookie cutter. Only worse. Because insofar as Benedict's attitude that the whole world is out there to be evangelized - as Jesus ordered - this Dall'Oglio is waxing even more "popish than the Pope", in this case, more 'Muslim' than King Abdullah himself, custodian of the Holy Places of Islam!
I am obviously no Arabist or "someone who has carried out years of apostolic activity in the Muslim world, and in position to understand the sensibilities and to intuit the possible repercussions and ways in which the event might be exploited".
But if Magdi Allam's conversion and Benedict's statements have not stopped King Abdullah from pushing forward an interfaith dialog he has discussed with Benedict XVI, how can this 'pseudo-Muslim' Dell'Oglio claim to speak for Islam? How about taking the simple common-sense view that right-thinking Muslims might perhaps better respect an interlocutor who stands by his convictions rahter than anyone wishy-washy, or as politically correct as Dell'Oglio?
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/17/2008 2:08 PM]
| 6/17/2008 2:21 PM
THE POPE'S DAY, 6/16/08
THE POPE TO CAMEROON AMBASSADOR:
The Holy Father met today with
- H.E. Antoine Zanga, Ambassador of Cameroon to the Holy See, who presented his credentials.
Address in French.
- Bishops of Pakistan on ad-limina visit.
'CATHOLICS MUST ALWAYS BE
ACTIVE IN PUBLIC LIFE'
VATICAN CITY, 16 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received the Letters of Credence of Antoine Zanga, the new ambassador of Cameroon to the Holy See.
Through the ambassador the Pope greeted the civil and religious authorities of Cameroon, and invited the Catholics of that county "always to be an active part of the 'res publica', ... spreading fundamental human and Christian values for the life of society, for the development of the nation and for the wellbeing of everyone".
"Your country like so many others in Africa", the Holy Father told the diplomat, "suffers from the current economic situation which affects so many families who lack the minimum requirements to meet their most elemental needs and which does not favour the growth of the nation. Yet there are internal factors that could help. All nations musty seek their own economic and social stability, using their own means and respecting their institutions. It is important to support micro-projects which provide local employment, at the same time combating illegal trafficking and corruption. Hence, I invite all Cameroonians to become ever more aware of the common good".
"It is also to be hoped that the international community, providing concrete and appropriate forms of assistance and by economic planning on a world-scale, may contribute to breaking the vicious circle of under-development and poverty. Furthermore, it is necessary to take into account phenomena ... such as natural disasters, global warming, epidemics, war and terrorism".
The Holy Father then went on to express his hope that the international institutions with which the authorities in Cameroon collaborate "in order to diminish or cancel external debt, and with a view to a fairer distribution of wealth", may favour "a new economic and social drive for the good of all inhabitants and to give young people hope in a better future".
Referring to the increasing numbers of refugees arriving from neighbouring States, the Pope invited "the countries of this region to respond more fully to the requirements of peace and security, and to counteract the violence of which both innocent people and the Church are victims".
Benedict XVI recalled the tragic deaths of Msgr. Yves Plumey, of the Jesuit Engelbert Mveng and of the Claretian Anton Probst, highlighting how "one of the fundamental duties of political leaders is to offer their citizens a peaceful society".
Leaders must "undertake to put an end to those tensions which regularly generate conflicts, so that dialogue and respect for legitimate cultural diversity between social and ethnic groups may prevail, in order to build and unify the nation".
Benedict XVI launched a call to "everyone involved in the sale or traffic of arms, often concerned only with profit, to reflect upon the consequences of their actions", and he expressed the hope that the international community may intervene alongside local authorities in this area.
Finally, the Pope mentioned the Church's own efforts, much appreciated by local people, in the field of healthcare and education in Cameroon.
"Local ecclesial communities, missionaries and Catholic charity institutions", he concluded, "seek above all the good and development of the population".
Pope makes appeal against
drug and arms trafficking
Vatican City, 16 June (AKI) - Pope Benedict XVI launched an appeal on Monday to people involved in arms sales and trafficking, to question their behaviour.
Benedict, speaking with the new Ambassador of Cameroon to the Holy See Antoine Zanga, launched an appeal "to all the people involved in arms sales and trafficking, often with very lucrative interests, to question themselves on the consequences of their behaviour."
"May the international community join forces with the local communities to place peace as the priority in every country," said the Pontiff, quoted by the Vatican media service.
Benedict also asked the international community for the cancellation of Cameroon's debt and a more fair distribution of wealth.
Pope urges world community
to help Cameroon out of poverty
By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY, June 16 (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI called on the world community to help Cameroon break its "vicious circle of underdevelopment and extreme poverty."
He also denounced the world's arms traffickers, urging them to reflect upon the consequences the lucrative industry had on the lives of innocent people.
The Pope made his comments in a June 16 audience with Cameroon's new ambassador to the Vatican, Antoine Zanga.
Cameroon's government, like that of all nations, must seek to ensure social and economic stability for its citizens, the Pope said. He urged authorities to invest in small projects that promote local entrepreneurship and fight more effectively against illegal weapons trafficking and corruption.
But while the people of Cameroon must commit themselves to working for the common good, the Pope said the international community also should guarantee economic policies that could "contribute to breaking the vicious circle of underdevelopment and extreme poverty" in Cameroon.
He said he hoped measures would be taken to reduce or cancel the African nation's debt and to bring about "a more equitable allocation" of the nation's natural resources to revive its economy and give young people hope for the future.
The Pope launched an appeal "to all people involved in the sale or trafficking of weapons, which often (involves) very lucrative stakes, to ask themselves what their conduct breeds."
Armed conflict was often the reason a growing number of refugees fled to Cameroon, he said.
The Pope appealed to the region's leaders to do more to ensure peace and security for its people. He said pockets of violence scattered throughout the country hurt innocent people, even the church.
The Pope recalled the 1991 killing of retired Archbishop Yves Plumey of Garoua; the 2003 death of German Claretian Father Anton Probst, a missionary in Cameroon; and the 1995 death of Jesuit Father Englebert Mveng, a noted theologian, who was slain in his home.
Pope Benedict said it was one of the key tasks of a nation's political leaders to guarantee safety for its people by working to resolve "tensions and discontent that regularly generate conflict" and to promote dialogue and respect for cultural and ethnic diversity.
Cameroon, a former German, British and French colony, is located in West Africa and is one of the world's poorest countries.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/18/2008 8:23 PM]
| 6/17/2008 2:22 PM
PASTORAL VISIT TO LEUCA AND BRINDISI, June 14-15, 2008
Because it does not come out on Mondays, L'Osservatore Romano carries its full coverage of the Holy Father's visit to Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi this weekend in today's double issue for June 16-17.
Ad orientem, even in geopolitics
With eyes turned to the East
by Mario Ponzi
the June 16-17 issue of
With his thoughts turned to the East, Benedict XVI, from the port of Brindisi - 'thrusting out to the Mediterranean' - invoked peace and cooperation among peoples in his Angelus message on Sunday.
He spoke of hospitality, brotherly solidarity, and compassion that is not piousness, in calling on the international community, as he did at the United Nations in April, to look for "ways to prevent and control conflicts, exploring every possible diplomatic means", paying attention even to 'the faintest signs of dialog'.
Although he did not say so, the Pope was certainly referring to the political situation in the Near and Middle East, but neither did he overlook all the factors that threaten the faith as well as the great human values of human life - family, love and brotherly solidarity - in today's world.
These ware the themes the Pope touched on during the visit which concerned a setting much broader than the local region he was addressing.
For Benedict XVI, it was a 'return' to Puglia. He was here as the newly-elected Pope in May 2005 to close the National Eucharistic Congress.
This time, he came as a concerned pastor, aware of the difficulties faced by a population that - perhaps due to atavistic omission - feels the effects of Italy's current economic crisis more than any other part of the country.
He has no practical solutions to offer, and he says so to the civilian authorities present: "The Christian community cannot and would never wish to undertake the legitimate and obligatory competencies of public institutions", but he proposes Christ and his message of love as a key to solving problems.
The first part of this pastoral visit took place 'at the feet of the Mother of Christ' - in the Shrine of Santa Maria de Finibus Terrae in Leuca, which has been the repository of confidences and hopes for the people of Puglia who have sought comfort and hope from the "Mother of last recourse', as a holy man of the area, Fr. Tonino Bello, called her.
In Leuca, Benedict opened his dialog with the people of Puglia, a joyous people rich with an old faith which has not weakened despite their daily cares.
The Pope speaks to them of the human aspects of social policy in a time of uncertainty and questions.
"Good triumphs," he reminds them, "and even if sometimes it may seem overcome by cunning, it continues to work in silence", which is the way of social renewal.
"To start over from Christ" is the message he left in Leuca, what he called 'an advance post' of the Church with a 'particular calling to be a bridge between peoples and cultures.'
Later that night, to the citizens and particularly the youth of Brindisi, he would urge the normality of a life inspired by love, to have hope that is not utopian but realistic, to guard against falling prey to false promises and artificial Paradises.
"Only love, authentic love," he told them, "is the key to every hope" because it is rooted in God. But he also reminded them that Christ, though merciful, is demanding and will not take half measures.
The Pope was interrupted many times by cheering youth, chanting his name, and he often had to bring their attention back to his message - Christ and his Gospel - improvising from his prepared text to explain himself better in 'the logic of the Kingdom of God".
A concept he brought up in his homily on Sunday morning - a logic born out of "Jesus's unmistakable style...characteristic of God who does great things in simple humble ways".
The embrace of a people
by Mario Ponzi
the June 16-17 issue of
Beyond every expectation. The enthusiasm and affection shown for Pope benedict XVI by the people of Puglia who came to Brindisi truly went beyond all expectations. Even Archbishop Rocco Talucci was surprised and could not hide his happy wonder.
Crowds on either side of the street followed the Popemobile in the few kilometers between the landing place for the helicopter had brought him to Brindisi and the center of the city where he would address its citizenry for the first time.
Among the crowds that Saturday were children and toddlers - more than a hundred of them - children of families belonging to the Neo-Catechumenal Way who came to Brindisi to show their gratitude to the Holy Father for having approved the statues for their movement.
Approaching Brindisi by helicopter, the first sign of the port city's welcome was the powerful illumination that outlined the main buildings of a city rich in history and opening out to sea. From the air, the lights gave the idea of large arms opened wide for an embrace, and even if this was inadvertent, it anticipated what took place later in via Lenio Flacco, where the entire city of Brindisi appeared to have converged for the nighttime meeting with Benedict XVI.
The Pope was welcomed by the Archbishop of Brindisi-Ostuni, Mons. Rocco Talucci, along with the civilian authorities who had welcomed him earlier in Santa Maria di Leuca, joined now by the Mayor of Brindisi, Domenico Mennitti.
But above all, there were the young people, whose festive mood set the tone for the entire assembly. They had been waiting for hours, organized in prayer groups and carrying procession candles.
To start off the encounter with the Pope, welcome remarks by the Italian Minister for Regional Affairs Raffaele Fitto, by Mayor Mennitti and by a young man belonging to the local Catholic Action, in representation of the youth. They expressed the concerns and hopes, doubts and certainties, that preoccupy the city and the region today.
The youth representative said they dream of "an extrovert Church, capable of going forth to meet the man of today and to accept him with all his questions".
The Pope's address was interrupted by prolonged applause and repeated ovations, as he described to them the 'style' of a Church that does go forth to meet the man of today - a humble style that follows Jesus, the one answer to all questions.
It was later than expected when the Holy Father was finally able to proceed to the Bishop's Palace where he was to spend the night.
The Pope's Sunday program started in the Bishop's Palace, when he met with about twenty Benedictine and Carmelite cloistered nuns. The Holy Father stressed the centrality of prayer in the life of every religious and the particular importance that he attaches to the prayers offered by cloistered communities for the intentions of the
Church and the Pope.
Meanwhile, a huge crowd had already assembled for Mass at Sant'Apollinare wharf in the port of Brindisi. Once again, young people stood out. Many of them had spent the night in a prayer vigil on the site.
As many as 70,000 people coming from all parts of Puglia had gathered. For hours, special trains and dozens of buses had been unloading pilgrims outside the city, since city streets were closed to regular traffic for the occasion.
It was significant that among those present was Metropolitan Gennadios Zervos, the Greek Orthodox primate for Italy and Malta. Though this was not the only ecumenical touch in the day's Mass.
The chalice commissioned for the Pope's use was crafted by a silversmith of the Orthodox community in Ioannina, Greece. And the Greek community of Brindisi, who have an Orthodox parish dedicated to St. Nicholas of Bari, were celebrating Pentecost Sunday, according to their calendar, and chose to come to the papal Mass for the occasion.
Concelebrating with the Pope were all the bishops and priests of Puglia and even some priests from Albania.
Archbishop Talucci introduced an innovation when, after the Pope's homily, he asked the Holy Father "to confirm with the authority of the Successor to the First Apostle, the baptismal faith of our local Church, which is experiencing in this celebration the highest and most significant stage of its current diocesan synod."
At Communion, all those who received the Sacrament from teh Pope knelt to receive it on the tongue. [As in Leuca the day before, a prie-Dieu had been provided for the purpose.]
Later, after the Pope had delivered his Angelus message calling for peace and reconciliation among the peoples of the Mediterranean, especially those of the Near and Middle East, some 50 white carrier pigeons were released from a cage near the altar.
In the afternoon, before leaving back for Rome, the Holy Father visited teh Cathedral of Brindisi, where he met with the priests, religious and seminarians of the diocese. This too, was a joyous gathering, marked by informality and trust.
Then Benedict XVI was treated to yet another crowd phenomenon. Once again, Brindisini turned out to line both sides of the four-kilometer route between the Cathedral and the airport to bid him farewell.
The embrace from the people of Brindisi confirmed a proposal made by the Mayor the night before when he told the Pope that the city would erect a column in the center of Piazza Lenio Flacco to perpetuate the memory of the visit as a 'firm point of departure' for a renewal of the city.
The Pope appeared very touched by the affection showed by the people of Puglia. He told the bishops after lunch with them on Sunday, "I am going back to Rome much comforted."
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/17/2008 7:03 PM]
| 6/17/2008 4:05 PM
More on SP, as its first anniversary nears
'Summorum Pontificum' marks
a new era of liturgical seriousness
by George Neumayr, Editor
June 2008 issue
The forces in the Church most responsible for dividing Catholics from magisterial teaching are the quickest to use the word “divisive” in any controversy.
A “divisive moment” is the Catholic left's euphemism for any papal action that seeks to unite Catholics to the actual teachings and traditions of the faith.
So it goes with Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum
, which authorizes wider use of the traditional Latin Mass.
“Any liberalization of the use of the Tridentine rite may prove seriously divisive,” British prelate Kieran Conry, Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, said to the Telegraph
shortly before the Motu Proprio's release. “It might send out an unfortunate signal that Rome is no longer fully committed to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council...”
No, what it signals is a welcome new era of liturgical seriousness and the beginning of the end to the demoralizing liturgical chaos and distortions of the last four decades. In Summorum Pontificum
, Pope Benedict has not only revived a venerable liturgical tradition but supplied a catalyst to reform the new liturgy.
By making the traditional Latin Mass and the new Mass two uses (extraordinary and ordinary) of “one and the same rite,” Pope Benedict is fostering a climate of healthy coexistence, perhaps one could even say healthy competition, in which false innovations may fall away and a sense of the sacred can be recovered.
In his letter to the bishops explaining Summorum Pontificum
, Pope Benedict writes:
the two forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The Ecclesia Dei Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard. The celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Paul VI will be able to demonstrate, more powerfully than has been the case hitherto, the sacrality, which attracts many people to the former usage.
Far from ignoring the “needs of our time,” as he is often accused, Pope Benedict is responding to the most crucial one: the hunger for holiness, the simple desire for a transcendent, God-centered liturgy.
Ordinary Catholics have asked for bread and been given stones, and the Holy Father is correcting the injustice:
Many people who clearly accepted the binding character of the Second Vatican Council, and were faithful to the Pope and the Bishops, nonetheless also desired to recover the form of the sacred liturgy that was dear to them.
This occurred above all because in many places celebrations were not faithful to the prescriptions of the new Missal, but the latter actually was understood as authorizing or even requiring creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear.
I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and its confusion. And I have seen how arbitrary deformations of the liturgy caused deep pain to individuals totally rooted in the faith of the Church.
Never too concerned about the trauma these arbitrary deformations caused in the faithful, the liturgical innovators now give voice to their own.
“I can't fight back the tears. This is the saddest moment in my life as a man, priest and bishop,” Luca Brandolini, a member of the liturgy commission of the Italian bishops' conference, said to La Repubblica
, reported Reuters. “It's a day of mourning, not just for me but for the many people who worked for the Second Vatican Council. A reform for which many people worked, with great sacrifice and only inspired by the desire to renew the Church has now been cancelled.”
This reaction would only make sense if the Second Vatican Council had decreed a hostility to tradition. But it didn't. All Summorum Pontificum cancels is the misapplication of Vatican II and mindless contempt for tradition, which resulted in a “fabricated liturgy
,” as Pope Benedict has said previously.
The Catholic left's game of driving a wedge between Vatican II and previous councils — of treating Vatican II as in effect a mandate to start a new religion from scratch — now appears over.
By shaking up a failing status quo, Pope Benedict has performed a great service for the Church. It is abundantly clear that postconciliar attempts to make the Mass “relevant” — which were often nothing more than a pretext to smuggle secularism into it — has rendered the liturgy increasingly irrelevant and catechetically destructive, as declining Mass attendance and gross ignorance of the faith confirm.
And he deserves great praise for having the courage to address an act of self-mutilation which treated a long and fruitful liturgical tradition as something “forbidden” or “harmful” — an act that appears all the more perverse in light of the fact that many of those who endorsed it were simultaneously using the new liturgy to advance bewildering innovations alien to the traditions of the Church.
Summorum Pontificum represents a central piece in the overall project of this pontificate: to arrest a culture of self-worship and restore God to the center of life
Many years hence, historians will likely see it as a critical turning point in the life of the Church — the moment the liturgy moved away from functioning like the invention of men and regained its splendor as the work of God.
we have the full text of the address given by Cardinal Castrillon on Summorum Pontificum
in London last week:
Cardinal Castrillon in choir dress and cappa magna before processing to the altar at Westminster Cathedral
for the traditional Mass he celebrated on June 14. .
Address to the Latin Mass Society
of England and Wales
London – 14th June 2008
By Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos
Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
Mr Chairman, Reverend Monsignori and Fathers, Ladies and Gentlemen;
I am grateful for your kind invitation and for your warm welcome. It is a pleasure to be present with you today in London and to address the annual general meeting of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.
I look forward to the joy of celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the great, historic and beautiful Westminster Cathedral for you this afternoon.
Today I would like to speak about three related subjects.
1. The first thing that I wish to say is that I appreciate the work which the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales has undertaken in the past four decades. You have worked with and under your bishops, at times without all of the results which you desired. Yet in all that you have done you have remained faithful to the Holy See and to the successor of Saint Peter. And you have been loyal during a very difficult time for the Church – a time that has been especially trying for those who love and appreciate the riches of her ancient liturgy.
Quite evidently these years have not been without many sufferings, but Our Blessed Lord knows them and will, in his Divine Providence, bring about much good from your sacrifices and from the sacrifices of those members of the Latin Mass Society who have not lived to be here today.
To all of you, on behalf of the Church, I say: “thank you for remaining faithful to the Church and to the Vicar of Christ; thank you for not allowing your love for the classical Roman liturgy to lead you outside of communion with the Vicar of Christ!”
I also say, “Take heart!” for it is obvious from the many young people in England and Wales who love the Church’s ancient liturgy that you have done very well in preserving and handing on a love for this liturgy to your children.
2. Secondly, I wish to speak about the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum
of our beloved Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. I know what great joy the publication of Summorum Pontificum
brought to your members and indeed to many faithful Catholics around the world.
In response to the prayers and sufferings of so many people in these past four decades, Almighty God has raised up for us a Supreme Pontiff who is very sensitive to your concerns.
Pope Benedict XVI knows and deeply appreciates the importance of the ancient liturgical rites for the Church – for both the Church of today and for the Church of tomorrow.
That is why he issued a juridical document – a Motu Proprio – which establishes legal freedom for the older rites throughout the Church. It is important to understand that Summorum Pontificum establishes a new juridical reality in the Church
It gives rights to the ordinary faithful and to priests which must be respected by those in authority. The Holy Father is aware that in different places around the world many requests from priests and lay faithful who desired to celebrate according to the ancient rites were often not acted upon.
That is why he has now authoritatively established that to celebrate according to the more ancient form of the liturgy – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as well the sacraments and other liturgical rites – is a juridical right, and not just a privilege accorded to all
Certainly this must be done in harmony with both ecclesiastical law and ecclesiastical superiors, but superiors also must recognise that these rights are now firmly established in the law of the Church by the Vicar of Christ himself.
It is a treasure that belongs to the whole Catholic Church and which should be widely available to all of Christ’s faithful. This means that parish priests and bishops must accept the petitions and the requests of the faithful who ask for it and that priests and bishops must do all that they can to provide this great liturgical treasure of the Church’s tradition for the faithful.
In this period immediately following the publication of the Motu Proprio our most immediate task is to provide for the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite where it is most desired by the faithful and where their “legitimate aspirations” have not yet been met.
On the one hand, no priest should be forced to celebrate according to the extraordinary form against his will. On the other hand, those priests who do not wish to celebrate according to the 1962 Roman Missal should be generous in meeting the requests of the faithful who desire it.
As I see it, two factors are necessary.
1. It is first of all important to find a centrally located church, convenient to the greatest number of the faithful who have requested this Mass. Obviously, it must be a church where the parish priest is willing to welcome these faithful from his own and surrounding parishes.
2. It is crucial that there be priests willing to celebrate according to the 1962 Roman Missal and thus to provide this important pastoral service on a weekly Sunday basis. Often there may be one or more priests in a given deanery or section of a diocese who would be willing and even desirous of celebrating this Mass.
Bishops need to be sensitive to such pastoral provisions and to facilitate them. This is a fundamental intention of Summorum Pontificum
. It is particularly sad where priests are prohibited from celebrating the extraordinary form of the Mass because of restrictive legislative measures which have been taken and which run counter to the Holy Father’s intentions and thus to the universal law of the Church.
In this regard I am also pleased to commend the Latin Mass Society for its provision of the training session for priests at Merton College, Oxford, last summer, allowing many priests unfamiliar with the usus antiquior
to learn how to celebrate it. I am very pleased to give my blessing to this initiative which will take place again this summer.
Let me say this plainly: the Holy Father wants the ancient use of the Mass to become a normal occurrence in the liturgical life of the Church so that all of Christ’s faithful – young and old – can become familiar with the older rites and draw from their tangible beauty and transcendence.
The Holy Father wants this for pastoral reasons as well as for theological ones. In his letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum
Pope Benedict wrote:
In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place.
3. This brings me to my third point. You are rightly convinced that the usus antiquior
is not a museum piece, but a living expression of Catholic worship. If it is living, we must also expect it to develop. Our Holy Father is also of this conviction.
As you know, he chose motu proprio – that is on his own initiative – to alter the text of the prayer pro Iudæis
in the Good Friday liturgy. The intention of the prayer was in no way weakened, but a formulation was provided which respected sensitivities.
Likewise, as you also know, Summorum Pontificum
has also provided for the Liturgy of the Word to be proclaimed in the vernacular without being first read by the celebrant in Latin.
Today’s Pontifical Mass, of course, will have the readings solemnly chanted in Latin, but for less solemn celebrations the Liturgy of the Word may be proclaimed directly in the language of the people. This is already a concrete instance of what our Holy Father wrote in his letter accompanying the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum
...the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard.
Naturally we will be happy for your input in this important matter. I simply ask you not to be opposed in principle to the necessary adaptation which our Holy Father has called for.
This brings me to another important point. I am aware that the response of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” with regard to the observance of Holy Days of obligation has caused a certain amount of disturbance in some circles.
It should be noted that the dates of these Holy Days remain the same in both the Missal of 1962 and the Missal of 1970. When the Holy See has given the Episcopal Conference of a given country permission to move certain Holy Days to the following Sunday, this should be observed by all Catholics in that country.
Nothing prevents the celebration of the Feast of the Ascension, for example, on the prior Thursday, but it should be clear that this is not a Mass of obligation and that the Mass of the Ascension should also be celebrated on the following Sunday. This is a sacrifice which I ask you to make with joy as a sign of your unity with the Catholic Church in your country.
Finally I ask your prayers for those of us called to assist the Holy Father in Rome in this delicate work of facilitating the Church’s ancient liturgical tradition. Please be patient with us: we are very few and there is much work to be done. And there are many questions to be studied and sometimes we may make mistakes!
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, intercede for all in this land which is so beautifully called “the Dowry of Our Lady,” and through her prayers may all Christ’s faithful come to draw ever more deeply from the great riches of the Church’s sacred liturgy in all of its forms.
Photos from the Mass at Westminster Cathedral, London, on 6/14/08:
The Times of London today (6/17) published the text of Cardinal Castrillon's homily at the 6/14 Mass in Westminster:
In medio ecclesiæ aperuit os ejus: et implevit eum Dominus spiritu sapientiæ et intellectus:
stolam gloriæ induit eum.
In the midst of the Church he opened his mouth and the Lord filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding.
He clothed him with a robe of glory.
Reverend Monsignori and Fathers,
dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am very pleased to be able to celebrate the feast of St. Basil the Great with you in this magnificent Cathedral dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Christ.
My gratitude goes to His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor for his kindness in welcoming me to celebrate this Pontifical Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite and to the Latin Mass Society for having made this possible.
Saint Basil, the well-known Father of the Church, is a figure from one of the most crucial periods in the Church’s bi-millennial history, a bishop and father of eastern monasticism, a man equally venerated in both the Christian East and West.
Our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in his general audience address of 4 July 2007 said of him: “He was an important Bishop in the fourth century to whom the entire Church of the East, and likewise the Church of the West, looks with admiration because of the holiness of his life, the excellence of his teaching and the harmonious synthesis of his speculative and practical gifts.”
The Holy Father, quoting from Sacrosanctum Concilium
and from Saint Gregory Nazianzus, said: Aware that ‘the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed’, and ‘also the fount from which all her power flows’ (Sacrosanctum Concilium 10), and in spite of his constant concern to do charitable acts which is the hallmark of faith, Basil was also a wise ‘liturgical reformer’ (cf. Gregory Nazianzus, Oratio 43, 34 in laudem Basilii: PG 36, 541c).
Thus it seems particularly appropriate for us to celebrate his memory today in this cathedral, so evocative of Byzantium, with the Pontifical Mass in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, for Saint Basil is a saint who transcends any narrow “provincialism” and belongs to the entire Church.
The Holy Father tells us that Saint Basil the Great was also “a wise ‘liturgical reformer’”, a bishop who was ready to adapt so that his flock could better integrate the liturgy into their lives.
My dear brothers and sisters, I know that you are here because you want to integrate the Church’s liturgy into your lives especially through the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Mass. I am aware that over the years the Latin Mass Society has been promoting the celebration of the usus antiquior
in all of the dioceses of England and Wales in obedient cooperation with your Bishops and in loyalty to the Vicar of Christ.
The Holy See is mindful of your love of the extraordinary form. The recent Motu Proprio is one of the principal ways that our Holy Father Pope Benedict wishes to encourage you and to extend and facilitate opportunities for the celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of 1962, promulgated by his predecessor, Blessed Pope John XXIII.
My visit today and my celebration of this Pontifical Mass is in the classical Roman Rite is an indication of my personal support for your worthy aims and of the desire also of the Holy See to identify with them. It is also intended to encourage a greater understanding of the new situation that has come about in the pastoral provision for the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.
As Pope Benedict has written in his letter to the Bishops, which accompanied the Motu Proprio: “the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching”, and I sincerely hope that your love for the classical form of the Roman Rite will never be translated into polemics against the ordinary form of the same rite and will be open to any subsequent directions of the Holy See for its celebration.
Indeed the object of the sacred liturgy of the Mass is to re-live in every celebration of the Mass, however solemn or humble, the sacrifice which Jesus offers to the Father. As he renews the offering of himself, we are invited to join the offering of ourselves with him.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts this very succinctly:
"The Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ’s sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering". (CCC #1368).
This needs to be the fundamental orientation of all Catholics at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. All of us, priests and faithful, are called to unite ourselves and our sufferings to the offering of Christ. This is the most fundamental dimension of “active participation” in the Mass in any recognized rite of the Catholic Church.
Is this not precisely the message of today’s Gospel? “Whoever does not take up his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Lk. 14:27).
The Mass in its simplest or most solemn form is always an invitation for us to unite ourselves with the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary and sacrifice, by definition, always costs. Without the discomforts, pains and the sufferings of this earthly life – physical mental, moral, emotional, spiritual – willingly offered to the Father in union with Christ, we are not fully and actively participating in the Mass.
And, indeed, the way that we live the Mass is to unite ourselves with the holy sacrifice in all that we do throughout the day.
As we honour his memory in the Mass of today, may we also ask him to aid us. May his prayers support us and teach us that liturgical renewal is primarily about the constant work of interior conversion and learning how to unite ourselves with the sacrifice of Jesus ad utilitatem quoque nostram totiusque Ecclesiæ suæ sanctæ
– for our good and the good of all his holy Church.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/18/2008 4:16 AM]
| 6/17/2008 9:26 PM
Registered in: 11/24/2005
What a exciting time to be a Catholic! What changes we have experienced since SP! Two things I'd like to point out from what Card. Hoyos said during his trip.
1."Let me say this plainly: the Holy Father wants the ancient use of the Mass to become a normal occurrence in the liturgical life of the Church so that all of Christ’s faithful – young and old – can become familiar with the older rites and draw from their tangible beauty and transcendence. The Holy Father wants this for pastoral reasons as well as for theological ones. In his letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum Pope Benedict wrote that:
"In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place."
2. DT: So would the Pope like to see many ordinary parishes making provision for the Gregorian Rite?
CC: All the parishes. Not many – all the parishes, because this is a gift of God. He offers these riches, and it is very important for new generations to know the past of the Church. This kind of worship is so noble, so beautiful – the deepest theologians’ way to express our faith. The worship, the music, the architecture, the painting, makes a whole that is a treasure. The Holy Father is willing to offer to all the people this possibility, not only for the few groups who demand it but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist in the Catholic Church.
Dear priests, take courage!
For those who would wail and gnash their teeth and claim Benedict XVI is betraying the Council, they should look at what Card. Hoyos said.
Reuters: In some parts of the world there seems to be resistance on the part of local bishops to allow the faithful their full freedom to celebrate the Extraordinary Form. What do you recommend that the faithful do?
CC: To be informed. Many of the difficulties come out because they don’t know the reality of the Gregorian Rite – this is the just [correct] name for the Extraordinary Form, because this Mass was never prevented, never. Today for many bishops it is difficult because they don’t have priests who don’t know Latin. Many seminaries give very few hours to Latin – not enough to give the necessary preparation to celebrate in a good way the Extraordinary Form. Others think that the Holy Father is going against the Second Vatican Council. That is absolute ignorance. The Fathers of the Council, never celebrated a Mass other than the Gregorian one. It [the Novus Ordo] came after the Council … The Holy Father, who is a theologian and who was in the preparation for the Council, is acting exactly in the way of the Council, offering with freedom the different kinds of celebration. This celebration, the Gregorian one, was the celebration of the Church during more than a thousand years … Others say one cannot celebrate with the back to the people. This is ridiculous. The Son of God has sacrificed himself to the Father, with his face to the Father. It is not against the people. It is for the people …
[Edited by loriRMFC 6/17/2008 9:29 PM]
| 6/18/2008 3:07 AM
Pope names new president
of Pontifical Academy for Life
The Holy Father Tuesday (6/17) named Mons. Rino Fisichella, Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, as president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, succeeding Mons. Elio Sgreccia, who has retired upon reaching the canonical retirement age of 75.
Mons. Fisichella, who has also been Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, will be elevated to the rank of Archbishop.
An article in the June 18 issue of L'Osservatore Romano
describes the significance of the Academy in today's world:
Under an archbishop, starting today,
the Pontifical Academy for Life
frames Vatican policy on bioethics
by Angel Rodríguez Luño
Member of the Academy
the 6/18/08 issue of
A simple observation of the questions raised by modern biomedical research is sufficient by itself to justify the importance of bioethics.
If one adds to this the weakening, or even lowering the bar on non-negotiable basic values which characterizes relativism today, then it becomes irrenunciable to affirm the incontrovertible truth about man and human dignity.
In this context, it means taking into account not only the scientific dimension, but above all, the ethical dimension itself of the problems that scientific progress raises.
Benedict XVI, in his January 31, 2007, address to the plenary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, forcefully reaffirmed the increasing importance of bioethics in today's world:
"The new biomedical technologies, in fact, concern not only physicians and specialized researchers, but are quickly popularized through modern means of communications, provoking expectations and questions in ever wider sectors of society.
"The Magisterium of the Church certainly cannot and should not intervene on every novelty in science, but it has the task of reasserting the great values that come into play and to propose to the faithful and to all men of goodwill those ethico-moral principles and orientations regarding new questions [raised by scientific progress]."
There are two great values above all to reaffirm and to safeguard in this field: unconditional respect for the human being as a person in all the phases of his existence, from conception up to natural death; and respect for the originality of the transmission of life through the conjugal union of man and woman.
In other words, it is a question of defending human life itself and the irreplaceable character of the family rooted in the union between man and woman.
It is not uncommon for the Church to be denounced as if it were an obstacle to biomedical science. But the new problems linked, for instance to research using embryonic stem cells, the attempts at human cloning, the techniques of artificial reproduction, the freezing of human embryos, pre-implantation diagnosis of embryos, attempts at euthanasia (which some countries have now legislated) - all this show that there is a grave and actual risk of doing away with one of the pillars of true human progress: the dignity of man.
In this regard, the Pope, in the same speech, said: "When human beings, in the weakest and most defenseless state of their existence, are selected, discarded, destroyed or used as pure 'biological material', how can it be denied that they are no longer treated as 'someone' but as 'something', thus placing the very concept of human dignity in question?"
Certainly, the Church has always looked with hope on the progress of scientific research and encourages work which could open up therapeutic prospects heretofore unknown, as for instance therapies that could restore fertility, the use of somatic stem cells, and certain forms of gene therapy.
At the same time, it seeks to illuminate the consciences of everyone, so that scientific progress may truly be worthy of man.
In his address to the last general assembly of the Pontifical Academy for Life on February 24, 2007, the Holy Father said: "The formation of a conscience that is true - because it is based on truth - and correct - because it is resolved to follow the consequences of truth, without contradictions, betrayals or compromises, is a difficult and very sensitive undertaking, but essential and inescapable."
In view of these new horizons, the fundamental importance of the Pontifical Academy for Life, created by John Paul II with the motu proprio Vitae mysterium
on February 11, 1994, is very evident.
Its specific mission is "to study, inform and instruct on the principal problems in bioethics and in law, relative to the promotion and defense of life, especially in their direct relationship to Christian morality and the directives of the Church Magisterium."
As an organism of study and research, collaborating with experts from all over the world, it aims to promote a new culture of life by organizing international congresses on themes of particular relevance, producing well-documented publications with analyses in depth that frankly and directly confront scientific, anthropological, juridical and ethical issues.
In the last few years alone, under the wise leadership of Mons. Elio Sgreccia, first as vice-president and then as president, one can cite the following documents:
- Declaration on the production and scientific use of embryonic stem cells (August 24, 2000)
- Respect for the dignity of the dying person: Ethical considerations on euthanasia (Dec, 91, 2000)
- Prospects for organ implant recipients: Scientific aspects and ethical considerations Sept. 26, 2001)
- Ethics of biomedical research: For a Christian vision (Feb. 16, 2003)
- Dignity of human procreation and reproductive technologies (Feb. 21, 2004)
- Joint Declaration of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations and the Pontifical Academy for Life on the Vegetative State (March 17-20, 2004)
- Quality of life and the ethics of health care (February 21-23, 2005)
- The human embryo in the pre-implantation phase: Scientific aspects and bioethical considerations. (February 27-28, 2006)
- Christian conscience and support for the right to life (March 15, 2007)
- Caring for incurable and dying patients: Ethical and operative orientations (February 25-26, 2008).
These elements and the role that has grown considerably since its establishment are more than enough to justify that the president of the Academy now has the rank of Archbishop, which stresses the importance of its work and the trust that the Pope has for an institution that is an expression of the Church's commitment to promote and defend the life of every human being, since man was created in the image of God.
Incidental note about today's issue of OR: Anyone who is skeptical or doubtful about the nature of the Benedict-Bush relationship may well consider today's front page of L'Osservatore Romano:
in which there are no papal stories or pictures on Page 1, but the main story is about President Bush ending his European mission - with a picture yet of the Bushes leaving Belfast - even if they got back to Washington two days ago.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/19/2008 12:59 PM]
| 6/18/2008 1:35 PM
GENERAL AUDIENCE TODAY
A full translation of today's catechesis has been posed in
AUDIENCE & ANGELUS TEXTS.
At the General Audience today, the Holy Father's catechesis was on Saint Isidore of Seville. Here is the English synthesis:
For his post-audience Popemobile tour, the Holy Father donned his straw 'saturno' for the first time this year:
Pope greets Eucharistic Congress in Quebec
In today’s catechesis we turn to Saint Isidore of Seville, the brother of Saint Leander and a contemporary and friend of Saint Gregory the Great.
Isidore lived during the Visigothic invasions of Spain, and he devoted much energy to converting the barbarian tribes from heresy and preserving the best fruits of classical and Christian culture. His encyclopedic, albeit somewhat eclectic, learning is reflected in his many writings, including the Etymologies, which were widely read throughout the Middle Ages.
Isidore worked to bring the richness of pagan, Jewish and Christian learning to the rapidly changing political, social and religious situations in which he lived.
Throughout his life, he was torn between his devotion to study and contemplation, and the demands made by his responsibilities as a Bishop, especially towards the poor and those in need.
He found his model in Christ, who joined both the active and contemplative life, and sought to "love God in contemplation and one’s neighbour in action" (Differentiarum Liber, 135).
This is a lesson which is as valid today as it was in the life of the great Bishop of Seville.
and prays for revival of belief
Vatican City, Jun 18, 2008 (CNA)- After delivering his reflections on St. Isidore of Seville at his Wednesday general audience, Pope Benedict addressed some remarks to participants in the International Eucharistic Congress being held in Quebec, Canada, from June 15—22 on the theme: "The Eucharist: gift of God for the life of the world."
"I am spiritually present at this most solemn ecclesial meeting", he said, "and I trust it will be a time rich in prayer, reflection and contemplation of the mystery of the Blessed Eucharist, for the Christian communities of Canada and for the Universal Church. May it also be a favorable moment in which to reaffirm the Church's faith in the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament."
Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by praying that the congress "may revive in believers - not just in Canada but in many other nations in the world - an awareness of the evangelical and spiritual values that have forged their identity along the course of history."
While Pope Benedict is not attending the Eucharistic Congress, he will give the homily for the closing Mass on June 22 via a live satellite link from Rome. The faithful will be able to view the Holy Father’s homily on large screens stationed throughout the area.
OTHER POST-AUDIENCE EVENTS
Holocaust survivors announce symposium
on Pius XII’s work to save Jews during WWII
Rome, Jun 19, 2008 CNA - during the Wednesday General Audience, a group of Holocaust survivors who are part of the Pave the Way Foundation greeted Pope Benedict XVI and announced they would organizing a symposium in September of this year on “the important help Pius XII gave to the Jews” during World War II.
Garry Krupp, president of the Foundation, said the symposium would be held in Rome September 15-18 and would be dedicated to studying Pope Pius XII’s efforts to save Jews. He said his attendance at the audience, together with the Holocaust survivors, was “an expression of gratitude to Pope Pacelli to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death.”
Benedict XVI stopped to greet each member of the group one by one.
The Pope also was greeted by Mame Mor Mbacke, a Senegalese Muslim leader, who expressed his desire to work for peace and justice with Christians.
He was also greeted by Samart Sue and his large family, who financed the construction of 50 churches in Thailand.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/20/2008 9:26 PM]
| 6/19/2008 2:34 AM
MSM - and even the more specialized media - failed to provide adequate informed and timely commentary on the Holy Father's addresses in the United States. But then one can say that for almost every discourse and major message that Benedict XVI makes [I'm sure it was the same way with John Paul II], where the tendency is to extract the soundbite with the most 'headline' potential and practically ignore the rest.
Here is a thoughtful consideration of the kernel in Benedict XVI's speech to the United Nations General Assembly, from the admirable wrap-up of the Pope's US trip by Tracce, the monthly magazine of Comunione e Liberazione. Here is a translation:
Benedict XVI at the UN:
In serving the truth,
the Church educates the heart of man
by Santiago Ramos
When he visited the United Nations, Benedict XVI continued the tradition started by Paul VI in 1965 and carried on by John Paul II in 1979 and in 1995. But the message of Pope Benedict, in its content, was both traditional as well as innovative.
Paolo Carozza, associate professor of law at the University of Notre Dame and recently named president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, helps us to analyze the ideas developed by the Holy Father in his address to the United Nations General Assembly last April 18.
Why does the Pope set such great store by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
In this, he is carrying on the work of his predecessor. Like John Paul II, Benedict XVI even as a cardinal spoke amply of how the idea of human rights is linked to the irreducibility of the person. Human rights make sense only to the degree that one can show what is their basis, that is - only if one is aware of the essential significance of the human being, which is their basis.
So the Pope sets great store by the Universal Declaration because it expresses the dignity of the human person in recognizing these basic rights. But in a certain sense, the praise that Benedict has made for that Declaration is much more measured than that of John Paul II.
One of the most misleading ways with which Benedict's UN speech was reported was when media claimed that the Pope 'forcefully affirmed human rights.' It's true and not true. Certainly he praised it, but he also underscored that the Declaration is based on the idea of the unity of every individual, going on to say that when the idea of the unity and integrity of the human being is ignored, then the idea itself of human rights shatters and becomes dangerous.
So the Pope expressed concern that "when human rights are presented simply in terms of legality, then they risk becoming labile propositions detached from the ethical and rational dimension which is their basis and purpose."
That is a very acute observation. When human rights take their meaning and their authority from formal acts of legal organisms, then the risk is that they do not rest on any solid basis. It is only when their authority derives from their being the expression of what is demanded by a relationship of justice among individuals, that they gain a certainty, making them concepts that are not subject to being manipulated or ignored.
If human rights simply had to do with an institution that says what they are, then anything can become a human right, any desire, any interest, depending on who has the power to legislate. This would be a betrayal of the original ideals of the Declaration and of its elevated aspirations to universality.
The Pope appears to trace the origin of the idea of human rights to the thinking of the scholastic philosopher Francisco de Vitoria.
He traced to De Vitoria the idea of the responsibility of public authorities to protect the common good. From the classic idea of natural law, he defended the controversial contemporary idea of the 'responsibility to protect'- RTP in current jargon.
As Benedict XVI described it, RTP recognizes that the protection of the common good is always the measure of the legitimacy of any intervention by public authority. By tracing the idea back to De Vitoria, and therefore before the birth of the modern nation-state, the Pope is not only affirming the legitimacy of the principle, but is also reminding us that this is a principle that the Church has always upheld as truth - namely, that the authority of law and of government derive from their being in the service of the common good.
Thus, on the one hand, he reproposes the role of the Church in international questions, which consists in educating us in the principles of justice and peace. On the other hand, this is a reproach to the United Nations and its various agencies for not taking account, in their daily decision-making, of this fundamental question of the common good.
The Pope seems to deduce from this 'responsibility to protect' a moral imperative to intervene when necessary: "If States are not able to guarantee such a protection, the international community should intervene with the juridical means provided for in the Charter of the United Nations and in other international instruments."
Exactly so. In fact, he goes on to say that no one can reasonably maintain that such intervention would be a violation of sovereignty. In effect, he is radically relativizing the authority and sovereignty of nation-states. Once again, this is not really something new: what is new is the forum where the Church is saying so - John Paul II and Paul VI did so in other forums.
The Pope is simply re-stating the fundamental principle that has guided the Church in its concept of the origin of authority. Political authority does not come from the territorial factor.
And the best expression of all this is the idea of subsidiarity. The Pope is affirming the principle of subsidiarity and how it applies to sovereign nation-states. In its actions on a certain level, a State enjoys autonomy, but when it becomes incapable of concerning itself with the good and the needs of its people - the fact which confers its very legitimacy - it becomes an obligation of the international community, as part of the human family, to intervene so that such 'common good' may be provided for.
[I wish the interviewer had asked for specific contemporary examples. When Saddam Hussein used chemical warfare to exterminate an entire Kurdish village of thousands, in a deliberate and pitiless act of genocide, what did the international community do? Yet the UN intervened in Kosovo to stop Serbian genocide of minority Muslims. Moreover, the international community has been virtually ineffectual about the situation in Darfur and in Somalia. In the face of such years-long failure, one can only say there is no political will to back lip service to that 'responsibility to protect'!]
The Pope also spoke of religious freedom: "It is inconceivable that believers should suppress part of themselves - their faith - in order to be active citizens."
That is why it is important to note that the principal guideline of the Pope's entire discourse was 'the unity of the human being'. He used this expression in different contexts during the entire address. He explained clearly how such unity is essentially guaranteed by being open to transcendence, that is, to all the dimensions of reality and of the person.
That is the reason he advocates religious freedom, in particular religious freedom relative to all aspects of human life, including the political - because to isolate the religious dimension of human life means failing to respect the unity of the human being, and failing to respect this unity becomes the basis for corrupting human rights, for the reduction of international institutions to a formal and not substantive role, even in all the other questions about which he expressed his concern.
It is necessary that we create the conditions for recognizing and respecting the unity we enjoy when we live in total openness to God.
Is there something not cited in the speech that can make us better understand the import of the Pope's visit to the United Nations?
I would point to the importance of the meeting he had with Catholic educators, when the Pope spoke of the 'diaconate of truth' for mankind. In a certain sense, what Benedict XVI did at the United Nations had a performative aspect: it was not only what he said, but the fact that he said it at all, and said it in the way he did, not limiting himself to the usual formulas.
What he is doing is serving that 'diaconate of truth' himself, to make the Church function as a diaconate for mankind, to educate the human heart.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/19/2008 2:40 AM]
| 6/19/2008 12:46 PM
This a delayed report of an event that took place in March, but we get very sparse reporting from Moscow, and the event described is certainly a signal one.
'SPE SALVI' IN MOSCOW
by Giovanna Parravicini
? It is just as fundamental for us Orthodox, because it speaks of a certainty: that a life in Christ is full of happiness that must be shared", says the vice-rector of the Theological Academy of Moscow, Fr. Valdimir Smalij, who is also secretary of the Synodal Theological Commission of the Patriarchate of Moscow.
On March 25, he joined Archbishop Paolo Pezzi, of Moscow's Catholic 'diocese', in presenting the encyclical in Moscow, at the Library-Center of the Spirit. Tracce asked Fr. Smalij to explain his participation and the significance of the encyclical in the life of the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian society, elaborating on the presentation he made.
FR. SMALIJ: The encyclical Spe salvi
deals with a theological virtue that is also a very profound and substantial necessity for man in all times. As the Pope underscored, he seeks to unite the answers Christianity gives to the 'why of living' with the world's quest for the sense of life.
It is a great opening for dialog, as well as a strong acknowledgment that faith, the coming of Christ, can respond not only to the circle of believers, but to man per se. And is this not what the secular culture today disputes, namely, the Church's intention to emerge from the 'golden ghetto' into which society would cage it?
I think the encyclical touches on a very actual and crucial theme, because the collapse of hope seems to be the distinctive characteristic of our civilization, which is apparently so sated, but which actually shows despair and the absence of prospects with every step.
And the most significant index for this is not the high rate of suicides, but the great number of palliatives which people look for in order to make up for their spiritual emptiness: mass culture, consumerism. They seek to keep themselves together by buying things, filling their life with things.
As a priest, I have much experience having people knocking at the Church door because they feel lost, disoriented, and often are not even aware that the problems they face start from the fact they no longer hope in anything.
Hope, as the Pope rightly points out, is the motive force for the human being's existence, not only for the Christian, but for every person. That is why dialog with society, with the world, on the foundations of hope, is fundamental.
I also think that hope is something very personal and intimate. In our world, everyone seeks to compensate through an exterior aspect what he lacks inside, and will not allow anyone to breach the frontier to the heart, which is what the Pope calls for.
What struck me is Benedict XVI's delicate sensitivity - he does not come on as a severe judge, he does not impart his teaching from on high or with harshness, but proposes answers to the individual with extreme delicacy, even as he shows with great lucidity and certainty the errors and misunderstandings that we tend to have when we think of hope. For instance, he warns against reducing hope to something psychological - rather, that hope is indeed a concrete, objective reality.
In this sense, Joseph Ratzinger sheds clear light on the risks of a subjectivism which is a constant temptation in the West, penetrating even the conscience of Christians. The Pope calls strongly for a self-criticism of Christian modernity which should return to its own roots. What does this mean for Christians, in your opinion?
With that sensitivity and respect for his interlocutor that distinguish him, the Pope notes that Christians themselves have made a subjectivist reduction of hope, significantly citing the interpretation born with Luther but which Catholic exegesis has also affirmed.
It is interesting to note the Pope's method, making use of this example in a constructive, ecumenical way, almost inviting Protestants to return to the sources of their own identity and recover the certainty of being saved.
What aspects of the encyclical seem particularly interesting for the Russian situation?
I don't think there are any specific elements for Russia. Benedict XVI is addressing man as man - Christians of all traditions, as well as non-Christians.
But the contents of Spe salvi
are perhaps particularly important to us Russians for the very fact that it speaks about hope with certainty, as an objective earnest of eternal life, which also leads to missionary commitment: by virtue of faith, and the certainty of hope that it inspires, we are called to testify that life in Christ is one full of certainty, of happiness, and one that we have the duty to share.
I was much struck by the passage about sharing suffering, which is a virtue of saints. How many examples of suffering we have before our eyes, and what a great task of compassion we have! We Christians cannot just be onlookers to the suffering in this world, and be content with individual, selfish salvation.
Saints are in the first place witnesses to Christian faith...
Even in this, we should go back to the tradition of the undivided Church. St. Athanasius says that if anyone does not believe in the Resurrection, one should cite to him the example of martyrs who held life of little count and simply gave it, testifying with eloquence to their certainty of the new life that Christ brought. And even today, how many such witnesses we have before our eyes!
And I don't mean only the canonized saints, but so many who live their own vocations with joy, testifying to their certainty through daily trials, being put to the test... I think of those who have the courage to have a family and are not afraid to have many children, of so many who live their illness as an offering, of consecrated persons. I have had the good fortune of meeting many persons who live hope in an objective, substantial manner.
We should learn to look and recognize the great number of witnesses to hope who surround us, we should not be ashamed to cite them, to remember that faith helps us to live in hope through the most diverse
In your opinion, what is most lacking, what is the Christian conscience most in need of in order to right itself?
One aspect that particularly strikes me and pleases me particularly about Pope Benedict XVI is his sympathy, his appreciation of rationality, of reasonableness, an aspect which, quite to the point, we orthodox often lack.
Even in the West, this aspect is not understood, and we hear Westerners tell us, who think that they are praising us, "Look, with us, everything has been reduced to rationalism, without any room for sentiments and emotions, whereas you Orthodox have mysticism."
Actually, this 'mystical' claim often means renouncing one's reason and one's own responsibility in order to delegate to a 'spiritual father' life choices which require personal decision. No, the Christian should understand that reason is a gift given to us and with it comes the obligation to live and transfigure our life in its light. It is not by chance that in the Orthodox liturgy, Christ is called 'the light of reason'!
This is a truth common to the Christian traditions of both East and West. The emphasis on so-called mysticism - which is really a renunciation of one's own reason - is a phenomenon that became typical of Orthodoxy at a later date, if we consider that in someone like John Damascene with his Aristotelianism or the Cappadocian Fathers, we see the exaltation of human reason.
The philosophical-religious thinking in Russian religion towards the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th saw a return to the Fathers and the integralness of their vision of man.
It is no wonder that even an Orthodox conservative like Fr. Georgiy Fiorovskij invites us to read the Catholic medieval authors in addition to the Fathers - because thus it is possible to find the same roots, the same Christian impetus, identical in the East and West, for the transfiguration of man in his wholeness, in all the aspects of his being, including reason. Whereas the influence of political ideologies had led people to believe that Christianity was not reasonable, but confined to the emotional and sentimental fringes of being, nothing more than a 'palliative' cure for existential unease for which, in case of need, one could have recourse to priests as one would to a psychotherapist.
Faith therefore as a path of knowledge...
Of course, because as a rational being, I cannot fail to consider reality, that is to take into account and make a moral judgment on it. If I renounce reason, then I also renounce my conscience, my responsibility and my adult freedom.
It is interesting how the rejection of reason as a factor of the Christian personality leads to two extremes which touch each other: in the East, to infantilism which places all the responsibility on the spiritual authority, and in the West, to the supposed autonomy of certain spheres of the human personality. In both cases, there is a dualism, a contradiction that is unreasonable and therefore anti-Christian, but above all inhuman, because it contradicts reason which is a characteristic of the human being.
I think that here lies one of the fundamental educative tasks we have: to teach our people, our children, to be responsible, and that responsibility cannot subsist without the light of reason. If reason does not govern our sentiments and emotions, how can we persevere in our individual calling, our own mission, in the completion of our tasks?
Why is the Church often regarded as a place of prohibitions, of rules designed to curb desires, rather than a place to realize them?
That's not easy to answer, but I think that once again one must have the courage to recognize, first of all, that a great part of the desires that our society breeds and cultivates are often ruinous to man. Just look at advertising, at the social stereotypes peddled on television. We cannot fail to ask ourselves if this is really what our heart wants, or simply what is being imposed on us which is ultimately negative and damaging. That may sound bitter and be an unpopular view, but it is a necessary diagnosis in order to cure our existential illness. Even in the area of desires, we cannot do without reason. I should examine very desire that arises in the light of reason.
It is not by chance that the Pope, in Spe salvi
, describes Christ as a pastor-philosopher, therefore, a teacher of life on the basis of his own experience, his own example, and that human instrument which is reason.
It is interesting to follow Benedict's reflection on the overcoming of ideology, which is another common theme between the West and Russia. It is clear that the Pope refers to ideology as being, above all, a form of 'social engineering', of progressivism, citing Marxism
as its exemplification.
With the collapse of Marxism, the progressivist ideology has not disappeared and continues to be dangerous for human civilization. Perhaps here in Russia we are more 'inoculated' against certain forms of ideology, but we are helpless in front of others. And the problem of progressivist ideology remains, even if it has taken other forms.
Often the indicated and favored means of dialog among Christians belonging to different confessions is in the social and charitable spheres as being the most 'neutral' ground. But does that not risk dissolving the specificity of Christianity, by making it equivalent to an ethical doctrine? What do you think can be the basis for a real dialog and collaboration among Christians, particularly between Catholics and Orthodox, in terms of resensitizing the world to true hope?
Mons. Ilarion Alfeyev, the Russian Orthodox Bishop of Vienna, has spoken many times of the need for Catholics and Orthodox to get together and propose common answers to problems of a moral, social and political character. But this inter-confessional discussion cannot be dissociated from a more ample debate on the social level, of the role that Christianity should take within society as a whole.
The Pope works a delicate but clear formulation of the Church's proposition to discuss the problems that plague society today with all of society itself. The Christian communities should be active above all in the area of sharing human suffering, to show the world the alternative that Christianity offers to the prevailing despair in society today.
And this brings us back to the question of education which can be effected only through encounter, experience, testimony. One will not convince the young people with mere words, with cliches - but living testimonies of the beauty of Christian life will.
Christianity is a way of life, and it is up to us Christians to bear witness to the hope we live in and live by. Christianity conquered the world not as an ideology but as a new way of life. Exactly as the Pope says - as a 'performative' truth, not simply 'informative'.
Even in the Russian Orthodox Church today, we have the problem of how the lay faithful can bear witness to Christ, which has not been defined or codified as it has been in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, but it is certainly essential for the life of the Church. As you Catholics in the West have put it, 'secular, therefore Christian' is a way to transform the world.
| 6/19/2008 2:55 PM
THE POPE'S DAY, 6/19/08
PRESIDENT KABILA INVITES THE POPE
The Holy Father met today with
- H.E. Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and delegation.
- Bishops of Pakistan, Groups 2 and 3, on ad limina visit. Address in English.
- Participants in the meeting of the Works in Aid of the Oriental Churches. Address in Italian.
TO VISIT THE CONGO
VATICAN CITY, 19 JUN 2008 (VIS) - At midday today, the Holy See Press Office released the following communique:
DR Congo situation improving,
This morning Joseph Kabila Kabange, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was received in audience by the Holy Father Benedict XVI in the Apostolic Palace.
The President and his minister for foreign affairs subsequently went on to meet with Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States.
The discussions focused on the political and social situation in the country, with particular reference to the eastern provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu.
The importance of respecting human rights was reiterated, in order to put an end to the suffering of the civilian population and build a more just and united society.
Regional aspects of the question were also considered, with the hope being expressed that the forthcoming implementation of the 'Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region' may mark a decisive turning point in the promotion of the peace and wellbeing of all inhabitants of the area.
Concerning the future of the country, particular emphasis was given to the importance of the education and formation of the young, for whom the Church is always ready to make her specific contribution.
Other topics of joint interest were also examined, such as the importance of dialogue and collaboration, also in resolving the problem of the restoration of certain properties of the Church which were nationalised several decades ago.
President Kabila invited the Holy Father to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo.
President tells Pope
VATICAN CITY, June 19 (AFP) - Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila told Pope Benedict XVI the situation in his conflict-ravaged country was "a little better" when they met at the Vatican Thursday.
Talks between the pair had originally been scheduled for last December but Kabila was forced to put off his trip to Rome when clashes between rebel and government forces resumed in DR Congo's restive Nord-Kivu province.
A Vatican statement said they had discussed "the political and social situation" in DR Congo and especially in Nord Kivu and Sud Kivu provinces, in the east of the country.
The Pope stressed the "priority for respect for human rights to end the sufferings of the civilian population and build a fairer and more cohesive society."
Kabila, a Protestant married to a Catholic, invited the Pope to visit Kinshasa.
PAKISTAN: SEEDS OF GOSPEL GROW
VATICAN CITY, 19 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father received prelates from the Pakistan Catholic Bishops' Conference, who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.
"The seeds of the Gospel, sown in your region by zealous missionaries in the sixteenth century", said the Pope in his English-language talk, "continue to grow despite conditions that sometimes hinder their capacity to take root".
He asked the prelates "to assure your clergy of my spiritual closeness to them as they carry out [their] task", then went on to indicate that "the centrality of the Eucharist, both through the worthy celebration of the Lord's Supper and in silent adoration of the Sacrament, should be especially apparent in the lives of priests and bishops. This will lead the laity to follow your example and come to a deeper appreciation for the Lord's abiding presence among them", he said.
The Eucharist "reorients the way Christians think, speak and act in the world and makes present the salvific meaning of Christ's death and resurrection, thus renewing history and vivifying all creation. The breaking of the bread reminds us again and again that the absurdity of violence never has the last word, for Christ has conquered sin and death through His glorious resurrection".
"Eucharistic spirituality", said the Holy Father, "embraces every aspect of the Christian life. This is evident in the emerging vitality of ecclesial movements within your dioceses. ... By exhorting the members of these movements and all the faithful to listen attentively to the word of God and to cultivate a habit of daily prayer, may your people foster genuine fellowship and create ever expanding networks of charitable solicitude for their neighbours".
"The 'theologate' in Karachi, the programme of philosophy in Lahore and your minor seminaries are vital institutions for the future of the Church in Pakistan", said the Holy Father. "Never doubt", he told the Pakistani prelates, "that your investment of human and material resources will ensure a solid formation for your candidates for the priesthood.
"Generous collaborators", he added, "are also to be found among members of religious orders who can help to enhance programmes of priestly formation and strengthen bonds of co-operation between religious and diocesan clergy.
"Of particular urgency at the present time is the task of preparing these men - and indeed all catechists and lay leaders - to become effective promoters of inter-religious dialogue. They share a responsibility with all Christians in Pakistan to foster understanding and trust with members of other religions by constructing peaceful forums for open conversation".
The Pope also recalled how other Catholic institutions such as "hospitals, schools, social and charitable agencies ... continue to serve the common good of the Pakistani people" by responding "to the concrete needs of others".
In this context, the Pope concluded by encouraging the bishops "to build on the noble example of service to neighbour etched in the history of these institutions. Priests, religious and the lay faithful in your dioceses, by caring for the sick, helping young people grow in knowledge and virtue, and meeting the needs of the poor, reveal the human face of God's love for each and every person".
POPE CALLS ATTENTION TO CHRISTIANS
IN ARMENIA, GEORGIA, IRAQ, LEBANON
AND THE HOLY LAND
VATICAN CITY, 19 JUN 2008 (VIS) - This morning, the Holy Father received participants in the annual Meeting of Aid Agencies for the Oriental Churches (ROACO), to whom he indicated that the "everyday life and the special mission" of the Eastern Churches, "especially at the ecumenical and the inter-religious level, must be supported by the entire Catholic Church".
The Pope spoke of ROACO's concern for religious communities in Armenia and Georgia "which were among the first to receive the light of Christ", affirming that "by living humbly and fraternally with other Christian Churches, and by generously serving the poor, these Catholic communities, small though they are, can express in a very practical manner the communion of love proper to the universal Catholic Church".
Benedict XVI then described his continuing apprehension for the difficult situation of Christians in Iraq, recalling the figure of Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho of Mosul of the Chaldeans, who died in tragic circumstances after being kidnapped on 29 February this year.
Turning his attention to Lebanon, the Holy Father spoke of his "gratitude and relief" at the fact that the country has apparently "found the path of dialogue and understanding", and he reiterated his hope that "Lebanon may respond decisively to her vocation to be - for the Middle East and the entire world - a sign of the real possibility for peaceful and constructive coexistence between human beings".
He then went on to mention Fr. Jacques Ghazir Haddad who will be beatified next Sunday in Beirut, speaking of his hope that the example of the new blessed "may touch the hearts of young Lebanese, showing them the sweetness of an evangelical life at the service of the poor and the weak, and bringing them to become faithful witnesses of the Catholic faith in the Arab world".
Finally, Pope Benedict recalled a recent visit by Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, and by some of his collaborators in the Roman Curia, to the Latin- and Eastern-rite communities in the Holy Land.
The "cause" of these communites, said the Pope, "is vital for the entire Church. I share their trials and their hopes and fervently pray that I may be able to visit them in person, just as I pray that certain signs of peace, which I greet with immense hope, may soon be put into effect.
"I appeal to the leaders of nations", he added, "that the Middle East - in particular the Holy Land, Lebanon and Iraq - may be offered its longed-for peace and social stability, while respecting the fundamental rights of the person, including that of real religious freedom."
"Peace", the Pope concluded, "is the only way to face the serious problem of displaced people and refugees and to halt immigration, especially Christian immigration which affects the Oriental Churches so deeply. I entrust these wishes to Blessed John XXIII, a sincere friend of the East and the Pope of Pacem in terris
Pope prays for Middle East peace
VATICAN CITY, June 19 (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI called Thursday on leaders across the Middle East to work for peace, saying that he is praying "ardently" for the ability to visit the Holy Land in person.
In a clear reference to the fragile truce in the Gaza Strip, which began at 0300 GMT, the Pope was speaking after meeting with international Roman and Eastern Catholic leaders, including representatives from the region.
"I am launching an appeal to national leaders so that the Middle East, and in particular the Land of Jesus, Lebanon and Iraq, can offer themselves peace and social stability, respecting fundamental human rights, including that of a genuine religious freedom," he said.
"I am praying ardently that I will be able to visit them in person, just as I am praying that certain signs of peace, which I welcome with great confidence, will come to full fruition," he added.
"Peace is the only way to tackle the serious problem of displaced persons and refugees, to put an end to the flight in particular of Christians, which so wounds the Eastern churches."
The Pontiff said he had followed "with gratitude and relief" recent developments in Lebanon.
The country finally elected a president and a prime minister last month government after a long stand-off and clashes between rival factions threatened to drag the country into civil war, but remains without a government.
"Once again, I express the wish that Lebanon will find the courage to fulfil its vocation as an example to the Middle East and the world at large of peaceful and constructive co-existence between men," he added.
'BENEDICT-DAY' TODAY - 38 MONTHS SINCE JOSEPH RATZINGER BECAME POPE.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/19/2008 11:27 PM]
| 6/19/2008 10:00 PM
COLLECTION OF PAPAL NEWS
I have collected newspapers, articles, pictures of Pope published by Italian newspapers; it's quite a rich collection that actually I can't keep because I have to "make houseworks" (painting, change of furniture...) and I lack space.
I don't want to sell what I have collected, I'd love to give it for free to someone who I know loves Papa. I can ship abroad too!
Please, email me at email@example.com ; please, don't use FFZ because I'm not sure it is working.
I'm publishing this message on all the foreign section of the forum!
[Edited by Sihaya.b16247 6/19/2008 10:04 PM]
Suor Sihaya Madre Superiora dell'Ordine Benedettino delle Suore delle Sante Coccole al Romano Pontefice
ECCE CRVX DOMINI FVGITE PARTES ADVERSAE
| 6/19/2008 10:18 PM
What a welcome presentation of the situation for the general reader! If only every major publication in MSM had someone like George Weigel to do this kind of clarification on Church issues that is helpful even to average Catholics.
Latin Days Are Here Again?
Pope Benedict wants to revive the Latin mass in Roman Catholic worship. But what exactly does that mean?
By George Weigel
Newsweek Web Exclusive
June 19, 2008
Is Pope Benedict XVI determined to restore the Latin Mass that many Roman Catholics thought had been consigned to the dustbin of history? The answer, in short, is both yes and no.
But neither the "yes" nor the "no" quite fits the conventional speculations in several recent media reports following off-the-cuff remarks to a small Catholic association in Great Britain by a Vatican official. In unraveling this, it helps to begin at the beginning.
As he reminds us in his interview-memoir, Salt of the Earth
, the young Joseph Ratzinger was deeply influenced, both spiritually and intellectually, by the mid-20th-century movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church's public worship - a movement that helped pave the way for the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).
Father Ratzinger was a peritus, a theological expert, at the council, and like many others, he welcomed the council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy: here was a ratification of the liturgical reform movement he had long supported and a blueprint for further organic development of the celebration of Mass.
In the immediate aftermath of Vatican II, however, Ratzinger became convinced that organic development had been jettisoned for revolution, the liturgical Jacobins being a cadre of academics determined to impose their view of a populist liturgy on the entire Catholic Church.
In the decades between Vatican II and his election as Benedict XVI, Ratzinger became a leader in what became known as "the reform of the reform": a loosely knit international network of laity, bishops, priests and scholars, committed to returning the process of liturgical development in the Catholic Church to what they understood to be the authentic blueprint of Vatican II.
Seeing a Gregorian chant CD from an obscure Spanish monastery rise to the top of the pop charts in the 1990s, they wondered why much of the church had abandoned one of Catholicism's classic musical forms.
Finding congregations that seemed more interested in self-affirmation than worship, and priests given to making their personalities the center of the liturgical action, they asked whether the rush to create a kind of sacred circle in which the priest faces the people over the eucharistic "table" might have something to do with the problem.
And they reminded the entire Church that Vatican II had not mandated many of the things most Catholics thought it had decreed: for example, the elimination of Latin (and chant) from the liturgy and the free-standing altar behind which the priest faced the congregation.
Over the past 40 years, the Catholic liturgical wars have tended to be fought among specialists and activists. The largest post-Vatican II splinter group, associated with the excommunicated French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, certainly had its problems with the new liturgy; but the deeper cause of the Lefebvrists' march into schism was primarily their rejection of Vatican II's teaching on religious freedom, which they deemed heresy.
The overwhelming majority of Catholics throughout the world have welcomed the new form of the Mass that became normative in 1970, a Mass celebrated entirely in English (or Spanish or French or Polish, or whatever language the congregation speaks).
Over time, the silly season in Catholic liturgy that peaked in the 1970s - "clown" masses (with the priest vested as Bozo or somesuch), free-for-all prayers that ignored the prescribed rite, dreadful pop music, inept "liturgical dance," a general lack of decorum - began to recede.
A re-sacralization of Catholic worship became evident in many parishes. What Ratzinger and other specialists had called "the reform of the reform" was underway at the grass roots, and under its own steam.
It was to accelerate that "reform of the reform" that Benedict XVI issued a decree last summer permitting the widespread use of the 1962 Roman rite, known technically as the Missal of John XXIII. Amidst the recent, fevered speculations that Latin days are here again, it's important to note what the Missal of John XXIII is not.
It is not the "Tridentine Rite," because it includes modifications of the missal mandated by the Council of Trent in the 16th century; it is not the "mass of Pius V," which some Catholic megatraditionalists argue is the only valid form of Catholic worship.
It is, in fact, the Mass as celebrated every day at every session of the Second Vatican Council. (The 1962 missal did contain a Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews, which some, but certainly not all, Jews found offensive. After a brief flurry of criticism, Benedict XVI modified the prayer; conversations about its further alteration continue. The modified prayer was used in the minuscule number of Catholic congregations that celebrated Holy Week 2008 according to the Missal of John XXIII; no pogroms resulted, and indeed the argument seems to have died out.)
Some may find it ironic that the "old Latin mass" that Benedict XVI has permitted is precisely the Mass as known by Pope John XXIII, hero of Catholic progressivism. But there is in fact something "progressive," in the sense of reformist, about Benedict's strategy here.
Yes, the mass of John XXIII is celebrated in Latin, and yes, it is often celebrated (although it need not be) with the priest and the congregation facing the same direction as they pray - looking together, as classic liturgical theology teaches, toward the return of Christ and the inauguration of the heavenly Jerusalem.
But the Pope's point in making this form of liturgy more widely available is neither nostalgic nor retrogade. Rather, by encouraging the more widespread celebration of this classic form of the always-evolving Roman rite, Benedict XVI intends to create a kind of liturgical magnet, drawing the "reform of the reform" in the direction of greater reverence in the Catholic Church's public worship.
In doing so, the Pope is also reminding the church that, as Vatican II put it, the Mass is a moment of privileged participation in "that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle."
"Going to Mass," in other words, is not something we do for ourselves, or something we make up ourselves; liturgical worship is our participation in something God is doing for us.
Will this Benedictine reform-of-the-reform mean that every Catholic parish will soon have at least one Sunday celebration of Mass in Latin, using the Missal of John XXIII? It seems unlikely, not least because very few priests today are competent Latinists.
But in those places where the Latin mass of 1962 is celebrated reverently and without nostalgic accretions (lace-bedecked older vestments, for example), it will be a source of spiritual nourishment for the minority that prefers this way of worship, even as it introduces a new generation to what will be, for them, a new form of liturgy.
In international settings, the use of this rite in Latin may help revive that ancient tongue as a common Catholic language for common worship - no small matter in an increasingly diverse and pluralistic church.
Among scholars and parish clergy alike, the more widespread celebration of Mass according to the Missal of John XXIII may prove to be the reformist magnet that Benedict XVI wants it to be, encouraging those who are already at work re-sacralizing the liturgy.
And the net result, over time? Almost certainly not "Latin days are here again" in every Catholic parish but rather a more reverent, more prayerful celebration of Mass according to a reformed missal of 1970 - and according to what the Second Vatican Council actually prescribed.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/19/2008 10:39 PM]
| 6/20/2008 12:22 PM
Here is a reading of Spe salvi in terms of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's own life.
The 'already' and the 'not yet'
in 'Spe salvi'
by Marcella Farina
Daughter of Mary Help of Christians
Pontifical Academy of Theology
the 6/20/08 issue of
, Benedict XVI's second encyclical, like the first, synthesizes thinking that embraces his entire existence. It traces his interior portrait, not only from the point of view of doctrinal theology, but even and above all, from the mystic-spiritual point of view - in which he proposes reflections from his life and experience that have served him to grow and be fulfilled in Christ.
Even the dense theological and philosophical themes reflect what he has lived through as a believer, a scholar, and a pastor - someone who has undertaken his studies in the name of Logos-Love, namely, according to the logic of love and truth. Love and truth, not material goods, are the substance of hope.
Therefore, he is in the company of saints, who are witnesses to the paradox that hope is Christ. Thus he cites Bakhita, the slave girl from Darfur who, thanks to Christ, enters into the dynamics of hope: "I am definitely loved and whatever happens to me - I am awaited by this Love. And so, my life is good" (No. 3).
It's not a self-centered hope: "The hope born in her which had 'redeemed' her she could not keep to herself; this hope had to reach many, to reach everybody"(No. 3).
The reference to saints is frequent in the encyclical.
The anthropological-pastoral dimension is evident, in that he proposes the message of divine revelation as a theo-anthropological reality, in the intimate nexus between God's call and the human response, a nexus which he himself has experienced in joy and gratitude.
His life has played out as love received and love given, in friendships that were sought, cultivated and nurtured in humble transparent faith. He knows that "man is redeemed through love...He needs unconditional love" (N. 26). From the anthropological point of view, this is where hope is born.
He experienced this from birth in his family and his parish, vital spaces where hope grows like the mustard seed, in the joys and difficulties of daily life. His parents constantly bore witness to Christian hope to the end of their earthly life, and for him they were firm ground, a taste of God's reliability, of hope that does not disappoint, of happiness that comes from faith. In them he always found that confident security that was so essential to his existence.
The Church, in the concreteness of the parochial community, was the other place where he learned hope - that most intimate 'homeland' to which he was bonded from his baptism with the Paschal water which opened him to eternal life (cfr No. 10).
In his parish, which was mistreated and shaken by an anti-Catholic regime, he saw the hope that is inherent in patience and perseverance, and thus, courage against lies, complicity and servility.
The solidity of his family and his Church prepared him to face the hard test of Nazism, because the faithfulness of love had made him understand the truth of Christian hope and the falsity of deceitful promises built on lies and fear. Beyond that, he saw a future built on love, on truth and on hope.
"Only his love gives us the possibility of soberly persevering day by day, without ceasing to be spurred on by hope, in a world which by its very nature is imperfect. His love is at the same time our guarantee of the existence of what we only vaguely sense and which nevertheless, in our deepest self, we await: a life that is 'truly' life." (No. 31).
"Faith is the hypostasis of things hoped for, the proof of things not seen". It offers better good, the true good, compared to material substance, to promises of progress and to worldly utopias.
It is more reliable than material income, because "it draws the future into the present... and thus the things of the future spill over into the present and those of the present into the future" (No. 7)
And so hope is not an empty waiting, but a waiting-welcome for the gift that is already here: the Lord, Emmanuel, God-with-us. The martyrs and the ranks of believers who abandoned everything for him attest to this (CFR N. 8S, 22-27)
And that is why hope makes it possible to face the present: "The present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey" (No. 1).
During his years as a student, that firm hope was illuminated by the testimony of his teachers, particularly that of Gottlieb Soehngen. These were singular witnesses of a reliable Church and of trust in intelligence: in his sincere quest for the truth, going to the root of questions, he received the wisdom of a long line of teachers, from the ancient philosophers to contemporary wise men, from the martyrs to the Fathers of the Church, the great medieval doctors of the Church and the modern ones, mystics and saints who have enriched the centuries with their spiritual energies.
Söhngen guided him through his doctoral and post-doctoral work, in which he studied two authors both eloquent in the language of hope: Augustine and Bonaventure, the great Patristic tradition and the Franciscan. They are two witnesses to that reliable God from whom he would learn that hope, in order to be received and nourished, must find a heart that is expanded and purified by love, free from every attachment to the goods of this earth.
bears the marks of this genealogy of faith and human wisdom. Even from the pastoral point of view, he had singular educators who introduced him to generous and ardent priestly service, to liturgical prayer, to an apostolate among young people. Even here, he experienced love and confidence, the friendship and joy that make faith fruitful and firm in hope.
That is why he is careful to acknowledge the trust that was placed in him. He rejoices in the familial atmosphere in the seminary, in the centers of study to which he was called to carry out his mission, because lovingness, respect, friendship - the 'substantial' human and suprahuman values - constitute the rich humus for hope.
It is not surprising that he leaves Tuebingen, because he could not study and teach in a climate dominated by ideology and rivalry rather than love and the passion for truth.
And it is interesting to note that even his experience at Vatican-II was marked by great and profound friendships, the search for truth in the perspective of great hope.
Even his new obediences, first to the episcopal ministry, then to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and finally to Peter's Chair. have been lived in love, in confident abandon to the Lord who has called him to work in his vineyard. His continuous expression of gratitude for the gestures of affection shown to him are signs of a spirituality nourished by faith, hope and love.
He lives in hope, between what is already and what is not yet, the mustard seed he tends on good earth, bringing forth small hopes as well as great ones.
It is the revelation of God-Love which is the basis of an existence that is firm and sure amidst the fragility and precariousness of earthly life. So the hoping and the trusting of the created being comes from the faith which is their substance: "Faith gives life a new basis, a new foundation on which we can stand, one which relativizes the habitual foundation, the reliability of material income. A new freedom is crated with regard to this habitual foundation of life, which only appears to be capable of providing support, although this is obviously not to deny its normal meaning" (No. 8).
And all this is valid not only for oneself, but for all mankind - past, present and future - not only for the collectivity, but for me personally, for each of us. It is a waiting in communion, which "presupposes that we escape from the prison of our 'I'... our gaze open to the source of joy, to love itself - to God" (No. 14).
The encyclical, in this respect, has illuminating passages in which the clarity and logical sequence of argumentation bring out the characteristics of Christian hope, which is not escape nor presumption; not selfish enjoyment of one's own happiness nor dispersal in activism, but is always, and in all dimensions, a gift, a grace which attests to the primacy of God and the responsibility, the loving, free and intelligent response of the human creature who allows himself to be involved by Him in his Passion for the salvation of everyone.
In the center is God's revelation fulfilled in Christ, true image of the living God, as well as the revelation of the mystery of the human being himself, who comes from Love with the specific calling to love to the very end, as the Son of God did.
The Son of God, the Word, Jesus of Nazareth, in his earthly life, is for us the possibility of learning to call God Father. His Gospel is a communication that "makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open: the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life" (No. 2).
Jesus "tells us who man truly is and what a man must do in order to be truly human. He shows us the way, and the way is the truth. He himself is both the way and the truth, and therefore he is also the life which all of us are seeking. He also shows us the way beyond death. Only someone able to do this is a true teacher of life... He shows even the way beyond death; one who walks with me even on the path of final solitude, where no one can accompany me, guiding me through. he himself has walked this path, he has descended into the kingdom of death, he has conquered death, and he has returned to accompany us now and to give us the certainty that, together with him, we can find a way through. The realization that there is one who even in death accompanies me, and with his 'rod and staff comforts me', so that "I fear no evil' (cf. Ps 23:4) - this was the new hope that arose over the life of believers" (No. 6).
Christian hope does not nullify history, it does not delude with the possibility of eliminating suffering but impels us to build a world of love and truth. It is not individualistic but involves the , universe, all of mankind, all of creation.
"Faith in Christ has never looked merely backwards or merely upwards, but always also forwards to the hour of justice that the Lord repeatedly proclaimed. This looking ahead has given Christianity its importance for the present moment" (No. 41).
Christian hope is victory over death and not an illusory strategy to eliminate suffering. Rather it leads to the truth of life, and gives sense to suffering. In suffering we are not alone: God is with us.
The Pope underscores that in life we can walk only in the dynamism of love and therefore of truth: the experience of being loved and to be able to love fills life with light and makes it possible to project the future as an itinerary of hope.
| 6/20/2008 4:23 PM
Pope Benedict speaks from Rome
on Quebec's Plains of Abraham!
QUEBEC CITY, June 19 - The president of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress (2008 IEC), Marc Cardinal Ouellet, is pleased to invite the population to attend and take part in the closing celebration (Statio Orbis) of IEC 2008 on Sunday, June 22.
The site on the Plains of Abraham in front of the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec will open at 7:30 a.m.
Activities will be begin at 8:30 with the Jerusalem Community, Les Voltigeurs de Québec, Nathalie Choquette, Florence K., and the Pueri Cantores choir.
The Eucharistic celebration, with papal legate Jozef Cardinal Tomko presiding, is scheduled for 11 a.m., preceded by a procession of 1,200 cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests, and deacons.
His Holiness Benedict XVI will deliver the homily live from Rome around 11:30.
An outdoor fair and picnic with activities for the whole family will follow on the celebration site. The entire Catholic population is invited.
The event will be held rain or shine. Although seating and food will be for sale on site, participants are invited to bring their own chairs and meals. For best access to the site, public transit is recommended.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/22/2008 8:29 AM]
| 6/20/2008 5:46 PM
THE POPE'S DAY, 6/20/08
Catholic Radio receives
The Holy Father met today with:
- Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, Arch-Priest of the Basilica of St. Paul-
outside-the-Walls, and Fr. Edmund Power, OSB, Abbot of St. Paul
- Mons. Héctor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, O.F.M., Archbishop of Trujillo (Peru)
- Bishops of Pakistan, Group 4, on ad-limina visit.
- Participants in the International Congress for Catholic Radio executives, sponsored by
the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Multilingual address.
And in the afternoon, with
- Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
boost from Pope Benedict
Vatican City, Jun 20, 2008 (CNA).- Over 100 representatives of Catholic radio from around the world were greeted by Pope Benedict at the Vatican on Friday. Through their broadcasts, Catholic radio stations make it possible for their listeners to open their hearts to Christ, the Pope said.
The radio broadcasters were gathered in Rome for a symposium organized by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which is headed by Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli.
"As you work in Catholic radio stations you are at the service of the Word," the Pope told the more than 100 delegates from 50 countries. "The words that you broadcast each day are an echo of that eternal Word which became flesh. ... The Incarnation took place in a distant village, far away from the noisy imperial cities of antiquity. Today, even though you make use of modern communication technologies, the words which you broadcast are also humble, and sometimes it may seem to you that they are completely lost amidst the competition of other noisy and more powerful mass media.
"But do not be disheartened!" he encouraged the media professionals.
"The words which you transmit reach countless people, some of whom are alone and for whom your word comes as a consoling gift, some of whom are curious and are intrigued by what they hear, some of whom never attend church because they belong to different religions or to no religion at all, and others still who have never heard the name of Jesus Christ, yet through your service first come to hear the words of salvation.”
The Holy Father explained that this work, which requires “patient sowing, carried on day after day, hour after hour, is your way of co-operating in the apostolic mission."
Another facet of Catholic radio that the Pope underlined is how its mission is to serve the Truth. “Jesus Christ gives us the Truth about man and the truth for man and, on the basis of that truth, a hope for the present and future of humanity in the world," he reminded his listeners.
Because radio involves the speaking of words, it is associated with the Word of God, and “participates in the mission and visibility of the Church,” Benedict XVI said.
Additionally, “it also creates a new way of living, of being and of making the Church; this brings with it various ecclesiological and pastoral challenges. It is important to make the Word of God attractive, giving it consistency through your transmissions so as to touch the hearts of the men and women of our time, and to participate in transforming the lives of our contemporaries."
"What exhilarating prospects your commitment and your work open up!" the Holy Father exclaimed.
"Even now, your networks can be a small but real echo in the world of the network of friendship that the presence of the risen Christ, the God-with-us, inaugurated between heaven and earth and among mankind of all continents and epochs. In this way your work will become a full part of the mission of the Church, which I invite you to love deeply.”
Pope Benedict closed his address to the radio workers by reminding them of the bigger picture. “By helping the heart of each person to open to Christ, you will help the world to open to hope and to that civilization of truth and love which is the most eloquent result of His presence among us."
AP moved this story although the account from Minsk on Cardinal Bertone's visit to Belarus in the 6/21 issue of L'Osservatore Romano (a translation has been posted in PEOPLE AROUND THE POPE) says nothing about the invitation, although, of course, such an invitation is usually extended pro forma to another head of state by the host country, especially if the invitee has not been there before.
Belarus President invites
the Pope to visit
By YURAS KARMANAU
Cardinal Bertone in Minsk: left, with Cardinal Swiatek; right, meeting Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov.
MINSK, Belarus, June 20 (AP) - Belarus's authoritarian president invited Pope Benedict XVI to the mostly Orthodox former Soviet republic, the presidential press service said in a statement Friday.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made the offer the same day he met with Vatican's No. 2 official, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who is in the country to preside at the weekend consecration of the first Catholic church to be built in the capital city, Minsk, since 1910.
The Orthodox church, which includes about 80 percent of the population, wields significant clout in Belarus through a 2003 agreement it signed with the government.
But the Vatican under Benedict has been pursuing a goal of outreach to the world's 250 million Orthodox Christians. A trip to Belarus by Benedict could move the Vatican and Russian Orthodox Church one step closer to a meeting — and the ultimate goal of healing the nearly 1,000-year schism between the two main branches of Christianity.
Lukashenko is also desperate to boost his reputation ahead of September's parliamentary elections — including hiring a British public relations firm in March to package his policies in for Western consumption.
Lukashenko met Friday with Bertone, the Holy See's secretary of state, when the President indicated approval of an agreement between Belarus and the Holy See that would give the Catholic Church the legal right to work with government institutions in promoting its values.
"Our co-operation answers all the demands of our society, its values and orientations," Lukashenko said, according to Friday's statement from the presidential press service. It was unclear when the agreement would be signed.
Bertone said the Vatican would help Belarus "find its place in the world."
"The Catholic Church will try to ensure that Belarus has a significant place in the international arena," Bertone said Friday in comments shown on state TV.
Bertone is the Vatican's highest-ranked official ever to visit Belarus.
Minsk-based political analyst Yaroslav Romanchuk said Friday's developments were the upshot of successful bargaining.
"The Vatican is realizing a long-held strategy of expanding throughout Belarus and getting access to state structures," Romanchuk said.
Lukashenko, for his part, will use the Vatican to "lobby for his type of politics" using its sway within the European Union and the United States, he said. Furthermore, the Vatican will uphold the sovereignty of Belarus, which Lukashenko fears may eventually fall into Russia's hands, Romanchuk said.
Catholic-Orthodox relations in the former Soviet Union have been particularly thorny following the demise of the Soviet Union, with the Orthodox accusing the Vatican of trying to poach for converts. The Vatican insists it is just looking after the welfare of its tiny flock there.
The tensions have prevented a meeting between the Russian Patriarch Alexy II and the Pope.
Property disputes have aggravated attempts to improve relations between Catholics and Orthodox in the former Soviet Union, and were one of the reasons John Paul II, a Slav, never realized his dream of making a papal pilgrimage to Russia.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/21/2008 1:29 PM]
| 6/21/2008 2:15 PM
THE POPE'S DAY, 6/21/08
Mons. Twal to be installed tomorrow
The Holy Father met today with
- Cardinal James Francis Stafford, Major Penitentiary, and Mons. Gianfranco Girotti, Regent
of the Apostolic Penitentiary.
- Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Segnatura.
NB: He is widely speculated to succeed Cardinal Camillo Ruini as the Pope's Vicar for Rome when Ruini retires from the position.
But Ruini will continue to head the Cultural Project of the Italian bishops conference, to which he was recently appointed
president for the next 5 years.
Tonight, the Pope's letter thanking Cardinal Camillo Ruini for his services to the Church was read at the Mass celebrated by
the cardinal at the Basilica of St. John Lateran to mark the 25th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop. The cardinal
formally announced his retirement as the Pope's vicar in Rome.
Today, the Pope accepted the resignation of His Beatitude Michel Sabbah as Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins,
and has named Mons. Fouad Twal to succeed him.
The Pope also named Mons. Andrew Thanya-anan Vissanu of Thailand, who has been up to now a Counsellor at the Apostolic
Nunciature in Indonesia, to be the under-secretary for the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religous Dialog.
as the new Patriarch of Jerusalem
Translated from the
Italian service of
Mons. Twal, left, and Mons. Sabbah
Mons. Fouad Twal is the new Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem. He was named by Benedict XVI today to succeed Mons. Michel Sabbah who has resigned after reaching canonical retirement age. The new Patriarch was Mons. Abbah's coadjutor bishop.
Mons. Twal, born in Jordan in 1940, is a pastor with diplomatic experience. He was ordained a priest in 1966 and first served as vice parish priest in Ramallah on the West Bank.
He entered the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy in 1974 and earned a degree in canon law. From 1977-1992, he served in teh Vatican diplomatic service, first in the Apostolic Nunciature in Honduras, then in the Public Affairs Council of the Vatican Secretariat of State, and then in the nunciatures in Germany and Peru.
He was named Bishop of Tunis in 1992 and three years later, promoted to Archbishop. In that capacity, he became president of the North African bishops conference.
The new Patriarch will be installed tomorrow afternoon at the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, where he will also celebrate his first Pontifical Mass on Monday morning.
He will make his solemn entry into the Basilica of teh Nativity in Bethlehem on Wednesday.
From the start of his Pontificate, Benedict XVI has shown great attention and closeness for the Christian community in the Holy Land.
Just last Friday, addressing participants in the assembly of ROACO, an organization assisting the Oriental Churches, the Holy Father called again for peace in the land of Jesus and the countries of teh Middle East:
"I share their trials and their hopes, and I pray ardently that I may be able to visit them in person, just as I pray that some recent signs of peace, which I greet with great confidence, may soon find fulfillment. I appeal to the authorities of these nations to bring the desired peace and social stability that respects the fundamental rights of persons, including true religious freedom, to the Land of Jesus, to Lebanon and to Iraq."
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/21/2008 9:46 PM]
| 6/21/2008 8:07 PM
Benedict may visit
Africa in 2009
VATICAN CITY, June 21 (Translated from Apcom) - It has been learned from Vatican sources that the Holy See is arranging for Pope Benedict XVI to visit Africa for the first time as Pope perhaps as early as next year.
The exact first destination is under study, and the sources say an African trip is unlikely to cover several countries. But they say the place will be chosen depending on where it will be best to re-launch the Christian message on the continent today.
Language will be a factor in a country where English and French survive from colonial times as 'common language' alongside hundreds of local languages and dialects.
The sources said that, for instance, because of its size and for its being very 'representative' of the continent, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (former Belgian Congo, known as Zaire from 1971-1997), whose President Joseph Kabila, visited the Pope last week and invited him to his country, could well be one of the first destinations.
In his three years as Pope, Benedict has visited Europe four times,
Asia once (Turkey, whose territory is mostly on the Asian continent) and the Americas. Later this year, he will visiting France.
John Paul II was the first Pope to visit Africa, and he did so several times over the course of his long Pontificate - in 1980, 1982, 1985, twice in 1988, 1989, twice in 1990, twice in 1992, 1993 and 1995.
Meanwhile, an update on what was widely expected to be the first Papal trip in 2009:
Papal trip to Mexico
to be decided after WYD
Mexico City, Jun 20, 2008 (CNA).- The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Mexico, Bishop Carlos Aguiar Retes, said this week Pope Benedict XVI has not yet determined whether or not he will travel to Mexico for the World Meeting of Families that will take place in January, but he hopes the decision will be made after the Holy Father’s trip to Sydney for World Youth Day 2008.
“We haven’t been told yes or no regarding a possible visit by the Holy Father Benedict XVI,” Bishop Aguiar said. He said discussions have taken place but that a decision would not be made until after the Pope’s trip to Australia.
He said the Pope would be following the event very closely nonetheless and that if he could not be present physically he would at least address the meeting via satellite from Rome.
Bishop Aguiar also said the Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, has accepted an invitation to come to Mexico to preside at the Mexican bishops’ week for formation. “We will be pleased to have his presence among us,” he said.
While he was in Rome, Bishop Aguiar related that he met with Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care, who is recovering from surgery, and that the cardinal told him to thank the Mexican people for their prayers for his health.
As I had not visited the official site of the Mexico Encounter since I first picked up their logo several months ago, before they had an official banner, I see now their banner incorporates an image of the Pope, and I certainly pray he will be able to make the trip.
[The site is maintained in Spanish and in English]
This is their first poster:
And the icon for the 2008 Encounter (also used
in Valencia) showing the Holy Family returning
to Nazareth after finding the boy Jesus in the Temple:
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/21/2008 8:51 PM]
| 6/22/2008 12:11 AM
The Sunday issue (6/22/08) of L'Osservatore Romano - which was posted online Saturday afternoon - leads off with the Holy Father's thanks to Cardinal Camillo Ruini as he marked the 25th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop by retiring as the Pope's Vicar in Rome and Arch-Priest of the Basilica of St. John Lateran. The unusual play in the Vatican newspaper is tribute enough to a man of God who almost singlehandedly made the Church an influential voice once more in postwar Italian society. The Italian MSM have been equally cognizant of the cardinal's farewell.
POPE THANKS CARDINAL RUINI
FOR 17 YEARS AS VICAR OF ROME
the 6/22/08 issue of
A pastor with simple direct faith and creative intelligence. An expert and generous collaborator with a great capacity for work. A bishop faithful to the living identity of the Church of Rome, one with the Pope amid difficulties, always with a confident and smiling optimism.
That was the picture that Benedict XVI drew of Cardinal Camillo Ruini on the 25th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop, in a letter that the Pope sent to him for the occasion. In it, he recalls the many positive contributions that Cardinal Ruini has made to the Church and to Italian society.
Among this, Papa Ratzinger recalls the support he has received from the man who was his Vicar in Rome for three years - and for 14 years before that, as Vicar to John Paul II - in working so that education of the youth in the diocese may be more effective.
He also cited the cardinal's cultural projects like "Encounters with the city', a dialog open to all citizens of Rome on the most important and complex problems of Rome today; 'Dialogs in the Cathedral' between leading Church figures and representatives of secular society; and the citizens' mission in preparation for the 2000 Jubilee Year celebrations.
The Pope's letter was read at the Mass that Cardinal Ruini celebrated Saturday evening at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, the Cathedral of Rome, to mark the silver jubilee of his episcopal ordination.
In his homily, the cardinal said: "The small testament that I wish to leave the Diocese of Rome is this: let us look at the great challenge [of a major loss of faith and confidence] that society faces today, let us not hide before it, let us seek to comprehend its power, its weight, its pervasiveness, its capacity to penetrate, that capacity and attraction that it exercises especially on the new generations.
"But let us look at it without illusion, rather with penetrating eyes, with the eyes of faith which is necessarily different and even more penetrating that a look that is merely human... I dare to say that God continued to draw to him in a special way our Church and our City of Rome, as I have been able to touch first hand all these years.
"In my small way, if God allows it, I would like to continue to work in a different way this time so that Romans and Italians today may look at the world with the eyes of faith and not be afflicted 'as others are who have no hope'" (Thess 4, 13).
NB: Cardinal Ruini continues as president for the next five years of the 'Cultural Project' which he started 10 years ago when he was president of the Italian bishops conference with the aim of actively bringing the faith into the cultural life of Italian society.
The Vatican today (6/22) published the full text of the Holy Father's letter to Cardinal Ruini. It is obvious that the OR story hardly did justice to the unusual letter. Here is a translation.
Ruini bids farewell to Rome
Cardinal CAMILLO RUINI
Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome
Twenty-five years have passed since that 29th of June, 1983, solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, when in the Cathedral of Reggio Emilia, you received episcopal ordination with the imposition of hands by the late Bishop Mons. Gilberto Baroni.
You have praiseworthily chosen to celebrate this jubilee with priests of the Diocese of Rome who are also celebrating significant anniversaries this year.
Therefore, in this happy occasion, I wish to unite myself with you, dear and venerated brother, in giving thanks to God, recalling the stages of your fruitful episcopal ministry.
First of all, the first three years in your Diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla, as Auxiliary Bishop, and titular to the ancient Church of Nepte. Having already been a well-known and respected priest to them, the faithful of Reggio Emilia and Guastalla rejoiced to see you as the primary collaborator of Mons. Baroni in the pastoral leadership of that Church, with the particular assignment of overseeing the formation and promotion of the lay apostolate and the celebration of a diocesan Synod whose theme was "The announcement of the Gospel today in Reggio and Guastalla".
In those years, you were also intensely committed to your work as vice president of the organizing committee for the national convention of the Italian Church that was to be held in Loreto.
Seeing in you a bishop who is faithful and wise, intelligent and far-sighted, my venerated predecessor John Paul II named you to be secretary-general of the Italian bishops conference (CEI) in 1986. Since then till March 7 last year, you have served the Italian episcopate uninterruptedly, particularly since 1991, when you became the president of the CEI.
As I had occasion to note in the letter I sent you on March 23, 2007, you have transmitted with courage and tenacity the magisterial and pastoral instructions of the Successor of Peter, showing great concern to help our brothers in order to receive them correctly and make them operational.
The reason above all which urges me to thank you at this time, Lord Cardinal, is your commitment in the service of the Church of Rome. It was on January 17, 1991, when the Servant of God John Paul II called you to succeed the late Cardinal Ugo Poletti, entrusting to you, as the beloved Pontiff wrote then, "that which is most my own and most dear to me: apostolic Rome, with its incomparable treasures of Christian spirituality and Catholic tradition; with its living strength in its priests, religious communities, and committed laymen, but also with its numberless human experiences, its thousand ferments, its materializations and its expectations."
He knew he would find in you "an expert collaborator who is trusted and generous" (ibid.), one who has known how to subordinate every other interest to the assiduous and affectionate care of the Diocese. You have offered the very same collaboration to me in these last three years.
In the Church of Rome, everyone could observe your great capacity for work, your simple and direct faith, your intelligent pastoral creativity, your faithfulness to the living identity of the Institution through union with the Pope even in the midst of difficulties, your trustful and smiling optimism.
Thus I extend to you, venerated brother, a fervent gratitude for all that you have done in this beloved Diocese. Above all, for having brought to fulfillment the diocesan Synod in 1993.
After the first phase led by your predecessor, you carried out the second stage, promoting the widest involvement of the parishes and all the other ecclesial entities present in the Urbe, particularly through the pre-synodal assemblies at the prefecture level, and through the initiative called 'Encounter with the City', working out an open dialog with the entire citizenry on the most important and complex problems of Rome today. Finally, you led the celebration of that Synod up to the publication of the Book of the Synod.
That book, which owes so much to you, continues to be relevant today to identify the ways suitable for favoring a real encounter with Christ in the areas of pastoral activity that the Church of Rome favors: the family, youth, social, economic and political responsibility, culture.
In order to carry out these pastoral indications, many occasions for reflection and dialog on the principal themes of faith and of pastoral programming continue to take place at the Basilica of St. John Lateran [the Cathedral of Rome]. I think, for instance of the 'Dialogs in the Cathedral' and to the annual church conventions, at which I have personally participated since I was called to Peter's Chair.
Among the commitments of these years of your episcopate in direct service to the Bishop of Rome, how can I not mention the preparation and celebration of the city's mission in preparation for the Great Jubilee of 2000? It was a mission in which the People of God were not only the beneficiaries but also its active protagonists.
Then, there was the Jubilee itself, whose high point was the 20th World Youth Day - an unforgettable experience for the universal Church, for which much is owed to the Diocese of Rome.
But one owes a special word of appreciation for your ordinary episcopal ministry. In the course of years, you have accompanied to ordination 484 diocesan priests, and have favored with various initiatives the establishment of 57 new parochial churches, of two subsidiary places of worship, and of the Church of the College of the Holy Korean Martyrs.
It is also thanks to you, Lord Cardinal, that numerous Catholic communities from other nations of the world have been able to have at their disposal in Rome a church for their celebrations and for keeping alive relationships among fellow countrymen and their lands of origin.
I wish to thank you, too, for what you have done for priests, deacons, religious men and women, seminarians, lay associations and all the People of God in the Diocese of Rome. In these years, the diocese has grown in communion and awareness of the urgency of mission.
In this respect, I must express to you my personal recognition of the dedication with which, during these years, you have introduced me to the complex reality of this beloved Church, accompanying me in my parochial visits, in encounters with the clergy, with the poor, with the sick, with the young.
Thank you for having supported my invitation for a serious commitment to education and for having convoked many times in St. Peter's Square so many faithful to listen, support and encourage the ministry of the Roman Pontiff.
In all these circumstances, you have been a faithful exemplar of your episcopal motto, "Veritas liberabit nos" - Truth frees us. In the name of this Truth, which is Christ himself, you have continually given yourself for the people of God who live in Rome.
For so many other services that you have rendered to the Church and to society in these 25 years of episcopate, one must thank you, venerated brother.
May the Lord, who knows the hearts of men, in particular, the joys and sufferings of pastors, reward you as only he knows, and continue to fill you with his gifts.
I entrust your beloved person to the Virgin Mary, Salus Popoli Romani, to St. Joseph, to the Apostles Peter and Paul, and to the virgin and martyr Agnes who watched over the years of your formation at the Almo Collegio Capranica and whose Basilica on via Nomentana you are the titular bishop.
With great affection, invoking a renewed outpouring of the Holy Spirit, I impart to you a special Apostolic Blessing, which I extend gladly to your family, to your co-workers and everyone dear to you.
From the Vatican
June 19, 2008
and reminds bishops that
their weakness can cause
problems for the Church
ROME, June 21 - For Rome, it is the end of an era.
Camillo Ruini, the 'subtle cardinal' as they call him in the Curia for his intelligence and perfectionism, made his farewell tonight, in a solemn Mass at the Basilica of St. John Lateran, from the Diocese that he has led as the Vicar of the Pope since 1991.
A role that until last year was super-imposed on his presidency of the Italian bishops conference and which gave the Cardinal from Emilia-Romagna unrivalled visibility and authority in Italian Catholicism and the life of the nation.
Ruini - one of the closest collaborators to Papa Wojtyla as well as to Papa Ratzinger - revived the public role of teh Church in Italy in the 1990s after the collapse of the Christian Democrats as a viable political party and made the Church an absolute leading player in Italian cultural, political and social life.
In his farewell to the Diocese of Rome on the 25th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop, he begged to be excused by the faithful if he had given back 'little' compared to the love he had received from them, and above all, "for my weakness and mediocrity in what is the first duty of any bishop - prayer".
"How many times did I receive from others requests for prayers, in their correct belief and certainty that a Bishop is above all a man of God, and therefore, a man of prayer. I ask pardon if I have not done enough in this regard, and I certainly plan, with the help of God, to remedy that failing in some way. Because I feel that I have not done enough to merit the solidarity that I have received, and for this, I beg your pardon.
"The contribution I sought to make was, above all, in my sense of duty, which meant assiduousness at work and in taking on my responsibilities, trying as best as I could to be sincere and faithful."
He said he wished to leave a 'small testament' to the diocese: on how to meet the great challenge of "the kingdom of sin that threatens Christian faith in thought and deed."
Thus, he said, "let us look at it without illusion, rather with penetrating eyes, with the eyes of faith, which is necessarily different and even more penetrating that a look that is merely human."
Then he noted that the Church today would have less problems if all bishops showed themselves more strong and more united in their support of the Pontificate - and he recommended this to be an orientation for the future.
"To stand with the Pope in announcing and testifying to the faith, especially when this may be inconvenient or requires courage, is really the task of every bishop, an essential aspect of episcopal collegiality," he explained.
"Allow me to say that if the entire episcopal corps were strong and explicit in this regard, then many difficulties in the Church would have been less serious, and so, even for the future, this should be an effective way to cut down problems to size and be able to overcome them."
Then he spoke of his relationship with the city: "In all these years, I have received a great gift from Rome itself, from the diocese and from the city of Rome - a gift that I understood a little at a time and increasingly more with time. Now that my service as Cardinal Vicar is over," he said, "I hope to enjoy it even more, and to repay you, in the years that are left to me, with memory and prayers."
Pope Benedict XVI thanked Ruini in a special letter that was read during the Mass 'for your commitment in the service of the Church of Rome."
"Everyone recognized your great capacity for work, your simple and direct faith, your intelligent pastoral creativity, your faithfulness to the living identity of the Church through unity with the Pope even in the midst of difficulties, your confident and smiling optimism."
Curial sources say that Cardinal Agostino Vallini, now prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Segnatura (the highest court of canon law), will be named Ruini's successor. He is an internationally respected canon law expert, but has also had pastoral experience, first in Naples as auxiliary to Cardinal Giordano, and then as Bishop of Albano (the diocese to which Castel Gandolfo belongs).
Vallini met with Pope Benedict this morning and attended the Mass at the Lateran.
Ruini's farewell and
the Pope's gratitude
the Italian service of
ROME, June 21 (ADNkronos/IGN) - Cardinal Camillo Ruini took leave today of his position as the Pope's Vicar for Rome in a Mass he celebrated this evening at the Basilica of St. John Lateran to mark his silver jubilee as a bishop.
"Now that my service as Cardinal Vicar has ended," he said in his homily, "I will enjoy the affection that Rome has given me and will try to pay it back in the years left to me with memory and prayers."
In the homily, he dwelt on the 'true mission' of bishops and the courage needed to carry out that mission.
Bishops must be strong, he said, in resisting the pressure of public opinion in order to announce the gospel of Christ without compromises.
He recalled his statement that 'paper bullets should arouse no fear', referring to anti-Church broadsides in the media during a closed-door session with Italian bishops. But the phrase was somehow leaked out and became much quoted in the Italian media.
Speaking from his long experience in the frontlines of the Italian Church, he said bishops needed to be strong and courageous "against external factors, especially the pressure exerted by public opinion - as it is interpreted, and not seldom, made up, by the communications media".
It is indispensable, he said, for a bishop to avoid being subordinated by such pressures. "To this end, it is important to remember that the truth handed down and entrusted to us - that truth which is ultimately Christ himself - is what matters and is far more important than any opinion."
"Actually," he added, "this was for me not much of a problem. As I said jestingly to some brother bishops when I thought there were no outside ears listening, paper bullets should arouse no fear. What was difficult for me was to strike a balance betqween firmness and love, in the way I expressed myself and communicated."
[The rest of the story repeats quotations used in the earlier story, as well as a reference to the Pope's letter and to Cardinal Valli as Ruini's successor
I was preparing to translate in PEOPLE AROUND THE POPE a story on Ruini's 25 years as bishop from RomaSette [the diocese of Rome's online news service] when OR came online with the 6/22 issue and the Italian services started posting stories about the Mass at the Lateran. So I decided to post the stories on this thread instead.
I would personally have felt very devastated that Ruini is no longer the Pope's Vicar in Rome because early enough, he became my favorite 'person around the Pope' - for his extraordinary intelligence and street smarts, his mastery and fearlessness in communicating it, and most of all, his unconditional loyalty to and obvious compatibility with the Pope. Plus, he gives the impression of a self-effacing, humble and good-humored man, which I find very lovable.
But it helps a lot that his successor at the CEI, Cardinal Bagnasco, turned out to be someone almost in an identical mold as Ruini, so the CEI is in good hands and the Pope continues to have a staunch, loyal, compatible and equally lovable ally there.
Meanwhile, Ruini will still be heading the CEI's cultural project, which means we certainly have not heard the last of him. I do look forward to more of his writing - his philosophical and theological analyses share an acuteness with the Pope's. It is perhaps not incidental that he is one of the few Italian cardinals who knows the German language and the German thinkers very well.
So, ad multos annos, Cardinal Ruini! I am glad we won't have to miss you.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/22/2008 11:58 PM]
| 6/22/2008 8:26 AM
June 22, 2008
THE HOLY FATHER'S HOMILY
AT THE CLOSING MASS
OF THE 49TH IEC TODAY
The Eucharistic celebration to close the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec City is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. (EST), preceded by a procession of 1,200 cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests, and deacons.
Papal legate Jozef Cardinal Tomko will lead the concelebration to be held at the Plains of Abraham in front of the city's Musee des Beaux-Arts.
His Holiness Benedict XVI will deliver the homily live from Rome around 11:30.
THE POPE'S WORDS TO CONCLUDE
THE ADORATION RITES
Last night, young people aged 18 to 35 gathered at Pavillon François-de-Laval in the Eucharistic City (ExpoCité) for a vigil of prayer and adoration led by Cardinal Tomko.
A pre-recorded video message from the Holy Father [the video he recorded last Saturday noon before leaving for Puglia] was shown at the event preceding the guided adoration until midnight, and prayer vigils at the various adoration sites.
The Vatican released today (6/22) the text of the Holy Father's bilingual video-message, which he began in French, translated here:
Dear young people,
I am happy to greet you from Rome and to assure you of my prayers while you are gathered for the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec.
I rejoice to see your attention to the mystery of the Eucharist, "gift of God for the life of the world", as the theme of the Congress underscores.
I invite you to meditate without ceasing on the 'great mystery of faith', as we proclaim at every Mass, after the Consecration.
First of all, in the Eucharist, we relive the sacrifice of the Lord on the evening of his life with which he saved all men. Thus we stay close to him to receive in abundance all the graces necessary for our daily life and for our well-being.
The Eucharist is, par excellence, God's act of love for us. What could be greater than to give his life for love? In this, Jesus is the model of total self-giving, a path along which me must follow him.
The Eucharist is also a model of the Christian approach which should fashion all of our existence. It is Christ who calls us to gather together in order to constitute his Church, his Body in the midst of the world.
To reach the two tables of the Word and of Bread, we must first receive God's forgiveness, the gift which sustains us in our daily routine, which restores the divine image in us, and which shows us how much we are loved.
Then, as he did to the Pharisee Simon, in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus addresses us ceaselessly through Scripture: "I have something to say to you" (7,40). Indeed, every word of Scripture is a word of life for us, which we should heed with great attention.
In a very special way, the Gospel constitutes the heart of the Christian message, the total revelation of divine mysteries. In his Son, the Word made flesh, God has said everything to us. In his Son, God has shown us his face as a Father, a face of love, of hope. He has shown us the way of happiness and joy.
During the Consecration, a particularly high point of the Eucharistic celebration because we recall the sacrifice of Christ, you are called on to contemplate the Lord Jesus as St. Thomas did: "My Lord and my God!" (Jn 20,28).
After having received the Word of God, after you have nourished yourself on his Body, let yourself be transformed interiorly and receive your mission from him. In effect, he sends you forth into the world to be bearers of his peace and witnesses to his message of love.
Do not be afraid to announce Christ to young people of your age. Show them that Christ does not interfere with your life or your freedom. Show them that, on the contrary, he gives you true life, he makes you free to battle against evil and to make something beautiful of your life.
He continued in English:
Do not forget that the Sunday Eucharist is a loving encounter with the Lord that we cannot do without. When you recognize him "at the breaking of bread", like the disciples at Emmaus, you will become his companions. He will help you to grow and to give the best of yourselves.
Remember that in the bread of the Eucharist, Christ is really, totally and substantially present. It is therefore in the mystery of the Eucharist, at Mass and during silent adoration before the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, that you will meet him in a privileged way.
By opening your very being and your whole life under the gaze of Christ, you will not be crushed – quite the contrary: you will discover that you are infinitely loved. You will receive the power that you need in order to build your lives and to make the choices that present themselves to you every day.
Before the Lord, in the silence of your hearts, some of you may feel called to follow him in a more radical way in the priesthood or the consecrated life. Do not be afraid to listen to this call and to respond with joy.
As I said at the inauguration of my pontificate, God takes nothing away from those who give themselves to him. On the contrary, he gives them everything. He comes to draw out the best that is in each one of us, so that our lives can truly flourish.
He concluded in French:
To you, dear young people and all the participants of the International Eucharistic Congress of Quebec, I impart an affectionate Apostolic Blessing.
The prayer vigils wrapped up with ceremonies to mark the closing of the 2008 IEC adoration sites.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/22/2008 8:59 PM]