| 8/19/2006 1:19 AM
|This is an ode to faith, the kind of story that 'makes your day'. It's a most moving example of what faith makes possible, even in someone like Tim McVeigh, and a great tribute to priests like Father Charles Smith and all like him who toil with endless faith and dedication in the vineyard of the Lord. May their tribe increase
Priest who ministered to McVeigh
speaks of God's transforming grace
By Priscilla Greear
Catholic News Service
ATLANTA (CNS) -- When he ministered to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, Divine Word Father Charles Smith found that his faith, instilled in him by loving parents despite the childhood pain of discrimination, enabled him to be Christ's representative even as the inmate verbally assaulted him.
"When I first came in (to see him) I thought 'God is the owner of my life,' and I went to him and he threw his feces on me and called me all types of names and said, 'You can't be a priest because I've never seen a you-know-what as a priest,'" Father Smith said Aug. 5. "The devil was messin' with me."
He made the comments in a workshop he led during the 2006 Interregional African-American Catholic Evangelization Conference, which was held Aug. 4-6 in Atlanta.
Other priests and Southern Baptist ministers had previously worked -- unsuccessfully -- with the man found guilty of bombing the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995 and murdering the 168 people who died from the blast.
But Father Smith persevered in his ministry to McVeigh and the convicted murderer, who was a baptized Catholic, began to repent.
"He did a lot of things, but in the end we had confession, reconciliation. In the end he asked me a question a lot of people ask me. He asked, 'Father Charles, can I still get to heaven?'"
The priest said he responded, "I am not your judge," but reminded McVeigh that he had told him, "You must submit your will and ask God for true forgiveness. ... You knew there were a lot of innocent people and children in that building."
McVeigh asked Father Smith to walk with him to his June 11, 2001, execution. "And the tears came running down. He was crying, I was crying because he did something that changed my life, too.
"As a man it's hard to ask but for him to ask for God's love and God's grace, that did something to me," he recalled, reflecting on how God's grace can transform even the worst evil.
As he walked with McVeigh, Father Smith remembered how, when he was a child, a porter in an Illinois train told his light-skinned parents that he couldn't serve their "wicked children," who had darker skin, and how Mississippi restaurants refused to serve them.
"I remember my mom and dad say, 'Just be patient. God is going to make a way. God is going to change you. God is going to rise, and you're going to be raised up. Your life will be redeemed and your people (will be).' ... I remembered all of that, being with Timothy McVeigh."
Father Smith and his brother, Divine Word Father Chester Smith, were the first black Catholic twins to be ordained priests. Both priests are in residence at St. Rita's Parish in Indianapolis.
In his workshop presentation, Father Charles Smith encouraged people to speak the truth in love and humility, never pressuring anyone to join the church and avoiding a superior attitude to anyone.
"I know if God can call two little black boys from the South Side of Chicago to live 16-17 years in an international religious order, to go around the world and to come back home to be with his people to teach and to preach and be free in the Spirit, I have nothing to fear," he said. "I'm not worried about what any man says. And my eyes are on the sparrow. God is with me, and I know God is with you and we shall be free forevermore."
He encouraged his audience to be bold but gentle as they speak up for what they believe is right, even if it's controversial. But "don't be afraid to use prophetic dialogue ... in teaching us how to live, ... in ministry, catechism, Bible study. Use what is there to speak the truth."
He prescribed for them "old-school spirituality" of morning, noon and evening private prayer
, recalling how, when he was told as a youth that he couldn't learn and shouldn't go to college, his grandmother would say, "Child, you just pray and God will make a way." He went on to graduate from college as valedictorian.
"You are a child of God. If you give your all to God he'll give his all to you so we've got to be people of prayer," he said. "Pray for God's perfect timing in your life. He's going to give you the revelation that you need."
| 8/19/2006 8:51 PM
Registered in: 5/17/2006
Good work, Cardinal Arinze!
Mass is not a concert. Or a party.
| 8/22/2006 4:56 AM
Pope's visit lifts hope icon will be recognised
August 22, 2006
POPE Benedict will make a pilgrimage to a remote monastery in the Abruzzo region east of Rome next week to visit a mysterious icon that many believe shows the face of Christ.
The icon is said by locals to be "Veronica's Veil", a piece of cloth that St Veronica used to mop Jesus' brow on his walk to the Cross and which later assumed his image.
The cloth, which measures 24 centimetres by 17 centimetres, is similar to the Shroud of Turin, but the eyes of its image are open.
Veronica's Veil is said to have been taken to Rome in 1297, but mystery surrounds its later movements. It is mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy. People in the highland town of Man-oppello believe it was brought to them 500 years ago by a wandering pilgrim.
In recent months, the icon's popularity has soared, and it has become a destination for tourists from Rome. Its fame has persuaded the Vatican to edge closer to recognising it as a holy relic.
"There has been a great wave of people (visiting) — not of pilgrims, but of people coming from other tourist sites," said Father Emilio Cucchiella, a priest at the town's monastery. "There has not been enough time to welcome them all. They arrive from six in the morning until eight at night."
The Vatican has stressed that the arrival of the Pope, who treads a conservative theological line, does not amount to an official endorsement, but his visit will be interpreted as a papal acknowledgement that the relic is genuine.
| 8/23/2006 6:19 PM
Location and Procession of Choir
And More on Indulgences
ROME, AUG. 22, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university.
Q: It is my understanding that the choir should be located where visible to the congregation, but not so as to distract from the Mass itself. In our church the organ, organist (and music director) along with the entire choir are up in the sanctuary with the main altar at which Mass is celebrated. They are at the same level and above the altar just slightly to the left as the congregation faces the altar. The choir dresses in white-cassock style robes with a cloth accessory which is similar to the stole a priest wears when celebrating the liturgy. This often results in the congregation getting distracted from the Mass especially when the choir changes position and moves around during the singing of the responses for and with the congregation. Is this an appropriate or proper position and manner of dress for a choir in the church during Mass? Second question: What is the proper position for the choir in the entrance procession for Mass, especially on solemn feast days such as Easter and Christmas? Our choir processes in, leading the procession ahead of even the cross bearer, thurifer, acolytes, lectors and celebrants/concelebrants. Is this correct? My understanding from the GIRM is that the only choir included in leading processions is choirs of religious, not a lay music choir. -- M.Y., Rochester, New York
A: There are relatively few detailed norms regarding the position and dress of the choir. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) has the following indications:
"The Place for the Choir and the Musical Instruments
"312. The choir should be positioned with respect to the design of each church so as to make clearly evident its character as a part of the gathered community of the faithful fulfilling a specific function. The location should also assist the choir to exercise its function more easily and conveniently allow each choir member full, sacramental participation in the Mass.
"313. The organ and other lawfully approved musical instruments are to be placed in an appropriate place so that they can sustain the singing of both the choir and the congregation and be heard with ease by all if they are played alone. It is appropriate that, before being put into liturgical use, the organ be blessed according to the rite described in the Roman Ritual."
The bishops in the United States have also published guidelines in "Built of Living Stones" under the heading "The Place for the Pastoral Musicians":
"§ 88 Music is integral to the liturgy. It unifies those gathered to worship, supports the song of the congregation, highlights significant parts of the liturgical action, and helps to set the tone for each celebration.
"§ 89 It is important to recognize that the building must support the music and song of the entire worshiping assembly. In addition, 'some members of the community [have] special gifts [for] leading the [assembly in] musical praise and thanksgiving.' The skills and talents of these pastoral musicians, choirs, and instrumentalists are especially valued by the Church. Because the roles of the choirs and cantors are exercised within the liturgical community, the space chosen for the musicians should clearly express that they are part of the assembly of worshipers. In addition, cantors and song leaders need visual contact with the music director while they themselves are visible to the rest of the congregation. Apart from the singing of the Responsorial Psalm, which normally occurs at the ambo, the stand for the cantor or song leader is distinct from the ambo, which is reserved for the proclamation of the word of God.
"§ 90 The directives concerning music found in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal and the guidance offered by Music in Catholic Worship and Liturgical Music Today can assist the parish in planning appropriate space for musicians. The placement and prayerful decorum of the choir members can help the rest of the community to focus on the liturgical action taking place at the ambo, the altar, and the chair. The ministers of music are most appropriately located in a place where they can be part of the assembly and have the ability to be heard. Occasions or physical situations may necessitate that the choir be placed in or near the sanctuary. In such circumstances, the placement of the choir should never crowd or overshadow the other ministers in the sanctuary nor should it distract from the liturgical action."
These documents necessarily limit themselves to enunciating basic principles as it would be impossible to give detailed norms for every possible situation. The rest is left to the good taste and common sense of pastors as to what is most appropriate.
All the same, the documents do present the location of the choir within the sanctuary as a last-resort situation and not a first choice.
There are no official indications as to the proper dress for choir members and, where the custom exists, singers may wear some form of choir robe or formal dress.
With respect to the entrance procession, the function of the choir, or "pastoral musicians," is different from that foreseen in the liturgical books regarding the participation in the entrance procession of clergy in choir at some solemn, and especially episcopal, Masses (see Ceremonial of Bishops, No. 128).
This refers above all to some members of the clergy, such as canons, who do not concelebrate but who participate at Mass wearing formal choir robes from a reserved place within or near the sanctuary. The concept is sometimes broadened to embrace seminarians, either diocesan or religious, who participate in the entrance procession in cassock and surplice or their respective choir habits.
The pastoral musicians should not normally enter in procession but should already be in their places and exercising their ministry by singing while the ministers approach the altar.
* * *
Follow-up: Indulgences on Sold Items
After our piece on indulgences (July 18), a reader from Dunedin, New Zealand, asked: "I am very confused as to the exact nature of indulgences in our faith. When engaged in interdenominational dialogue they are often raised as a sign of the corruption of Catholicism! How do indulgences differ today from the pre-Reformation era? How do we justify the authority of their dispensation? And who benefits from the indulgence? Do we need to offer them for others?"
We dealt with the general theme of indulgences in Church doctrine in our columns of Feb. 15 and March 1, 2005. I hope that what was written there will render the doctrine of indulgences a little less alarming to our reader.
There is no essential doctrinal difference regarding indulgences today with respect to the pre-Reformation era. The so-called sale of indulgences that served as tinder for the Protestant Reformation was due more to an incorrect presentation of the doctrine concerning them by certain overzealous preachers.
This led some to understand indulgences as a sort of permission to commit sin with no consequent fault or loss of grace, an idea totally foreign to the general doctrine which requires the state of grace in order to obtain an indulgence.
| 8/24/2006 5:08 AM
| What a brilliant idea this is! I always thought that the modern world does not pay enough attention to authentic miracles - as opposed, that is, to freak shows that get media attention from time to time. I haven't checked out yet the site described here, but if it is what I think it could be, it's great that it is in English....
A WEB PAGE ON MIRACLES THROUGH THE AGES!
Web Page Features Miracles
of Yesterday and Today
British Initiative Coincides
With TV Production
LONDON, AUG. 23, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Catholic Agency to Support Evangelization has launched a Web page on the miracles from the time of Jesus as well as from modernity.
CASE launched the page, "Miracles Do Happen," at www.life4seekers.co.uk/aplaceforgodinourworld/Miracles.html.
Started by the bishops of England and Wales in April 2004, CASE aims to support dioceses, parishes, schools, groups and individuals in proclaiming the Gospel.
The new Web page was launched to coincide with the broadcast of a BBC television series called "The Miracles of Jesus," which uses drama, special photography and computer-generated images to bring the miracles of Jesus to life.
Monsignor Keith Barltrop, CASE director, is lending his support to the TV series and has asked Catholics to invite non-Catholic friends, family members and neighbors to watch the programs.
"Your invitation could change someone's life," he urged. "Pope John Paul II repeatedly called for Catholics to seek new and dynamic ways of communicating and celebrating their faith so as to be of relevance to people living in these times."
The BBC series "has the potential to serve in precisely this way as a powerful tool of contemporary evangelization," explained Monsignor Barltrop.
The Web page launched by CASE asks: "Do miracles still happen? Did they ever happen in the past? Two thousand years ago, many believed that Jesus Christ performed them. Were they real or just tricks to astonish the crowds? Intrigued? To help you decide, explore the following resources."
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 24/08/2006 6.12]
| 8/25/2006 7:58 PM
The shroud of evidence
August 26, 2006
Sydney Morning Herald
Locals call it 'the Holy Face' but others believe the face is Christ's. The Pope will see for himself next week, writes Desmond O'Grady.
The brown hair is shoulder-length and a narrow, straggly beard covers the lower part of the oval, asymmetric face. There is a hint of a moustache. A tuft sprouts at the centre of the hairline.
Bruises are visible on either side of the nose and there appears to be other damage to the forehead and an eyebrow. Slightly open lips reveal the teeth, and the eyes are open. The face's biscuity colouring and expression change according to the light thrown on them.
The face certainly makes an impression as you look at it - young, battered - at a church in the foothills of the Abruzzo mountains in Italy. The face, on a piece of fabric measuring 24 centimetres by 17 centimetres, is preserved in a reliquary above and behind the main altar of a church in Manoppello. The town of 5000 is in the foothills of the majestic Maiella massif near the Adriatic coast.
It's a face set to spark more controversy if, as scheduled, Pope Benedict XVI visits the site on Friday.
IN 1991 a German Jesuit art historian from the Gregorian University in Rome, Father Heinrich Pfeiffer, made the startling claim that the image, called "the Holy Face" locally, was Veronica's Veil.
Veronica's Veil was the major drawcard when the first Jubilee, or Holy Year, was held in Rome in 1300, attracting an estimated 2 million pilgrims. It was of huge importance to believers because they considered it the "vera icona", or true image, of Christ.
The words "vera icona" were melded into "Veronica" and a legend grew that a compassionate woman had offered a cloth to Jesus Christ to wipe sweat and blood from his face when he fell while carrying his cross to Mount Calvary. On receiving the cloth back from him, she found his image on it.
There is no mention of such a woman in the Gospels, but John, in Chapter 20, talks of a cloth which had been over Christ's face in the tomb: "Simon Peter … went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground and also the cloth that had been over his head: this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself."
If the Manoppello image is superimposed on that of the Shroud of Turin they coincide, although the Turin face is strained, with closed eyes, while the Manoppello face seems to be waking, with eyes open and upturned. The hypothesis is that the release of energy at the resurrection somehow imprinted the image.
But wasn't the Turin shroud discounted after carbon dating showed the fabric was from later than the time of Christ?
"Shroudies" say the sample was taken from the edge of the shroud, which had been repaired over the years. Moreover, pollen subsequently discovered on the shroud dates from the time of Christ, they say.
Christian art and relics moved westward in the eighth century amid growing opposition in the eastern church to the veneration of images, as well as the rise of Islam.
In his assessment of the Manoppello image, Pfeiffer said the image was clearly the model for representations of Christ in early centuries.
About the time Pfeiffer made his claim, a German nun, Blandina Paschalis Schlomer, used sophisticated photo-analysis and blow-ups to show the image coincides with that of the Turin shroud. In 1999, analysts at the University of Bari in southern Italy concluded the image was not painted or impressed on the fabric in any way that could be explained.
The friars in charge of the church welcome scientific analysis of the image but won't allow the glass to be removed to enable the fabric to be examined because the image twice disappeared temporarily when the glass was replaced early in the 18th century. The fabric is believed to be woven from a "silk" produced by a type of mussel. Woven expertly, it produces a transparent fabric.
Church authorities have shown increasing interest in the image. The area's bishop, Bruno Forte, who encourages pilgrimages to Manoppello, is a leading theologian. Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter of Munich and Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna are among the churchmen who have visited Manoppello recently.
Meisner is said to have kindled Pope Benedict's interest in the image. The Italian cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini says: "Father Pfeiffer has established beyond doubt that the Manoppello image is what was once known in Rome as the Veronica."
The Pope will visit Manoppello next week as part of celebrations for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the Holy Face. He is unlikely to attempt a definitive pronouncement on the image.
But his visit is an endorsement, particularly because, unlike John Paul II, he is not an enthusiastic supporter of borderline cases of popular devotion.
Italy is full of weeping Madonnas and curious relics, including various body parts (there was even Christ's foreskin in a church outside Rome, but it may have been withdrawn).
When there is a big market for relics, some will be fake or at least dubious, with a confusing range of alleged traditions to boost claims. Most modern popes have kept their distance. Benedict, in particular, seems well equipped to spot the shonky, including claims about a holy face in a remote place. When, as Cardinal Ratzinger, he had to pronounce on Fatima and its "third secret", he was cautious and balanced. He knows that such phenomena do not change the Gospel message but can reinforce devotion.
The Pope's visit will be one more surprise in a pontificate of quiet but significant surprises. It seems consistent with his surprising first encyclical on love, which he said was inspired in part by The Divine Comedy of Dante, who damned several of Benedict's predecessors to hell.
A visit to Manoppello is in line with the last lines of Dante's vision of paradise, when he peers into the Godhead, the divine light, and there discerns the human face of Christ.
In a radio interview this month, Benedict said a basic theme when he visited Germany next month would be that "we have to rediscover God, not just any God, but the God who has a human face, because when we see Jesus Christ we see God".
Two consequences of his visit to Manoppello seem certain: some red faces in the Vatican and more pilgrim hostels in Manoppello.
| 8/26/2006 3:59 AM
So finally, after more than a year of being written up in the German press, thanks to journalist Paul Badde's personal research into the matter, the Holy Face of Manoppello is getting some attention in the Anglophone media - and it has to be from an Australian paper!
However, I'd like to take exception to the first line of the report: "Locals call it 'the Holy Face' but others believe the face is Christ's." I do not think the locals ever thought the Holy Face to be of anybody else's but Christ, so that is a strange - and completely unnecessary - distinction to make!
It has to take the Pope's visit to make the Anglophone media sit up about this astounding story, even if rather late in the day. I certainly didn't see any reaction or play in the Anglophone media when the Pope's visit to Manoppello was first announced early this year.
As someone who has 'pushed' this story from the first time I read about it, I have been thinking all along, "Why aren't many more people showing any sense of wonder at all about the Holy Face of Manoppello when so many details about it defy explanation? The simple fact alone that it superimposes perfectly with the Face in the Shroud of Turin should awaken wonder, never mind all the other seemingly unexplainable details, as fascinating as they are!"
[If you missed the earlier post in this thread about Manoppello, go back to
When I read about the Pope's visit to the Sacnctuary of the Crucified Jesus and its legendary Crucifix in Nemi earlier this week, I thought the Pope might be sending a message to the faithful, through his visit to Nemi, along with his forthcoming visit to Manoppello, and using the Sacred Chalice of Valencia in the Mass he celebrated there.
That there are local legends that are well worth for us the faithful to take into account even if we may not fully accept them as 'miracles'. That there are certain icons worthy of veneration as representative of God's power - beyond their intrinsic value or authenticity as relics or as a miraculous outcome - simply because the faithful through the centuries have attached their faith to these images, as they have to certain places of worship.
[In a recent comment I posted in the main forum following someone's account of a pilgrimage to Lourdes, I remarked on the palpable sense of the supernatural, the divine if you will, in certain shrines like Lourdes and Fatima, or even some Buddhist temples I have visited in Tibet, built up, I believe, by the accumulated and literal deposit of faith by millions of pilgrims through the years.]
Joseph Ratzinger of Bavaria grew up near one of the great shrines and icons venerated this way, as did Karol Wojtyla of Cracow. Altoetting and Czestochowa are fine examples of popular devotion turned into venerable tradition. And the Catholic religion is rich with such examples in all the places where it has established itself.
What a wonderful thing is faith that both nourishes devotion and is nourished by it.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 26/08/2006 20.07]
| 8/26/2006 2:15 PM
|Here is a translation of an interview given to korazym.org by a married priest whom Cardinal Ratzinger helped to acquire a papal dispensation 22 years ago.
Essentially, this ex-priest makes clear the obvious: Any priest who decides he can no longer be celibate and prefers the married life should simply give up his ministry according to the prevailing rules of the Church. You simply can't have it both ways!
A married ex-priest
tells his story
By Matteo Spicuglia
ROME - Gianni Gennari is a journalist who is as well acclaimed for being a topgrade Vatican correspondent for RAI, the Italian state TV, as for his column "Lupus in pagina" in Avvenire
, the newspaper of the Italian bishops conference.
He has a very human story to tell. As a former priest, who was a professor of moral theology at the Pontifical Lateran University in the 1980s, and who had the courage to risk everything for the love of a woman. Not a confused man or someone seeking escape, but someone who made a well-thought out choice that he wished to live in the open, in peae, above all, as it concerned the Church.
"Celibacy is not an imposition but a rule that one accepts." he explains, "and from the moment I felt that my reasons for giving the promise had diminished, it was only right to take all responsibility for getting otu of it."
That is why, he says, crusades like those of Bishop Milingohave no basis, whether because of the role played in the affair by REverend Moon's sect or because quite siumply "the priesthood is a gift, not something one claims by right."
Howwever, Gennari concedes that "the issue of married priests is a real problem," especially because of some strictures in the getting a papal dispensatiom allowing a priest to marry. He elaborated on this in an interview with korazym,org:
Celibacy as a rule for priests. How and when did it start?[/C
In the first millenium of its history, the Church had married priests as well as celibates. The apostles were almost all married, an example that was followed by not a few of the early bishops.
In the first century, the problem of celibacy was not faced, because the true ideal then of Christian sanctity was martyrdom. This changed when, after the persecutions ended (and also thanks to great saints like Jerome and Ambrosius), virginity worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven began to be seen as the peak of Christian perfection.
Still, that did not impede marriage for priests for ten centuries, despite an abundance of rules about clerical continence. Many cultural factors also played a role in this.
The ancient world, whether Greek or Roman, considered sexuality as something dirty, a judgement that extended even to the woman who was considered of minor rank. So even in Christian thinking, the idea of virginity, already present in other cultures, was considered a superior choice compared to matrimony, even if the latter was always a sacrament.
It is a fact that in 1139, the Latin Church decided to introduce the obligation of celibacy for priests, for practical reasons as well, to avoid questions about inheritance, scandals, family interests, nepotism.
But the Oriental Churches chose differently
Yes. The Oriental churches retained the possibility of marriage but before ordination. This does not present a problem. Vatican-II referred to the venerable tradition of priestly celibacy but it also acknowledged that married priests in the Oriental churches were not less 'good priests' than the celibate priests of the Latin church. But celibacy remains a rule with value.
In what sense?
This value is spoken of in the Gospel, and the fact alone that there is a rule of celibacy must be considered. Today, a Catholic priest of the Latin church, before being ordained, makes a solemn vow of virginity. This means that as long as the historical rule is in place, he has an obligation that is not only juridical but moral to keep this vow.
And if the priest comes short?
When a priest, for whatever reason - even the most dignified and honorable ones - finds he cannot keep his vow, he must take full responsibility and follow the rule of the Church in this matter, which is to renounce the exercise of the priestly ministry that was entrusted to him.
You are referring to the papal dispensation which allows a priest to be married in the Church but asking him first to stop being a priest
Yes. That instrument exists, which is a gift, whereby the Church satisfies the request of those who ask for it. Once the dispensation is given, the priest remains a priest (a sacrament cannot be cancelled) even if he gives up exercising the ministry. Technically, canon law describes it as a "passage to the lay state."
This has nothing to do with the so-called 'sospensione a divinis' which is a penalty for some violation. For instance, for a priest who gets married civilly without waiting for or asking for dispensation. But whoever asks for and gets a dispensation can be married in the Church like laymen.
But in recent years, there have been many restrictions about these dispensations
That is true. And that came about because in the 1970s, the Church found itself faced with the phenomenon of a great number of priests who abandoned their ministry without asking for dispensation or notifying their bishops. This is a grave breach which undermines ecclesial communion because as a priest, you vowed celibacy, it was not imposed on you.
The problem is that the decision to leave the priesthood is not always a mature choice, and there are many cases of priests who, failing to deal completely with their emotions, take off with the first woman they encounter.
Nevertheless, Paul VI granted thousands of dispensations. What happened after him
There was a maturation of the process, involving the bishops amd the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which instituted a commission to evaluate requests for dispensation, which acccording to the practice, may be given to priests who are 40 years old or older.
The unhappy part of this process is the waiting which can last years for many, and the fact that such a dispensation must follow the same course needed for annulment of a marriage. And so, the dispensation is usually given only if the priest's maturity at the time of his vow is placed in question.
This is not right, and it is something that I rejected and was able to counter successfully, thanks to Cardinal Ratzinger to whom I shall be eternally grateful.
What happened in your case?
In 1984, I wrote the then Prefect of the CDF, explaining sincerely that I was a priest who felt convinced of my choice to remain celibate. However, I pointed out that I had since received another gift - the love of a woman. Therefore, according to Church law, I was asking for papal dispensation to be able to exercise my role as one of the faithful.
So in effect, I was renouncing the ministry which I loved in obedience to the Church whose rules I did not wish to violate. The dispensation was given to me a few days later, on April 18, by John Paul II through Cardinal Ratzinger's mediation. And on June 3rd of that year, I got married.
When did you meet your wife?
It is a beautiful story. I was teaching theology at the Lateran University and I met Annamaria in Bologna during the school term. When I realized that the situation had grown and matured, I gave it a lot of thought. I then decided to go to my bishop and explain to him what I wished to do but in the open, despite the fact that many had advised me to just pursue the relationship clandestinely.
So then you got married...
Yes. We did not have children but we adopted a boy who had been in an institution for 11 years. We went through some difficulties because his epxerience had touched him profoundly. But now he is a young man of 22 like everybody his age.
When you left the priesthood, did you meet with any prejudices?
I wouldn't say so. I think my frankness paid off. Only thing was I found myself jobless and I had to re-plan my future. But I was happy. I could not have tolerated living in hypocrisy.
Today, looking back, are you happy with your choice
I am very happy, even if I continue to feel I am a priest. If one day the Church should tell me that I can take up my ministry again, I would be the happiest man.
But just as there is baptism that is desired, priesthood also must be desired but with all its rules. What's wrong is when some priests who want to be married or have already married pretend as though nothing has changed.
However, one can say that probably the rule of celibacy may be reviewed in the light of some changes.
To take an example, the doctrine on sexuality has changed. In 1983, John Paul II formally declared that virginity as such is not superior to matrimony, saying that the only superiority that counts in Christianity is measured by the love that one lives.
Because of this, I think the time has come for a review of priestly celibacy, that this is something that only the Pope can do.
Certainly, there have been over 100,000 priests who married in the past 50 years, but there are far less doing that now. and the Church is facing the question without impositions because some ideological premises have changed.
Clearly, the debate must be pursued but calmly, without demonstrations or any screaming.
But that is not the case with Milingo or other organizations
Milingo is someone out of control. This has nothing to do with married priests. In his case, it is his decision to break the ecclesial communion. As for the world of militant organizations, they appear to be driven by a spirit of revenge and anger which even brings them to question the cardinal principles of the faith. In the past, when I led a group called Vocatio, I was even requested to show the lack of theological foundation for priesthood itself!
How do you see the future?
I am convinced that at least a fifth of priests who have become laymen could re-exercise the ministry enriched by the experience of matrimony which has not always been easy for everyone. They lost certain rights, they had to reinvent themselves to make a living, some had to experience poverty and even social prejudice.
Things will change, but we must also point out that this is not a question of rights. Priesthood is a gift which one must live. To lay claim to it means to live up to one's promise.
As to the debate within the Church on this issue, an important cardinal told me 20 years ago that I had arrived too soon. Well, I am in no hurry.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 27/08/2006 14.37]
| 8/26/2006 4:17 PM
Registered in: 9/3/2005
| I have been interested in Mary's House in Ephesus for some while, and long to see it. Here is an excellent book about it.
Mary's House Escapes Fire
Miracle of Mary’s House in Ephesus, spared from the flames
An enormous fire destroyed 1,200 hectares of forest, but the flames stopped one metre short of the shrine. Here is the account of a monk who witnessed what people did not hesitate to describe as a “miracle”.
Ankara (AsiaNews) – People are saying it is a miracle while religious admit the incident was indeed “extraordinary”. A devastating summer fire in Turkey wiped out 1,200 hectares of forest and came to a halt barely a metre away from the House of Mary, near Selcuk, a shrine that is the destination of pilgrims from all over the world, Christians and Muslims. The house of Meryem Ana is also likely to be a stage in the journey of Pope Benedict XVI to this country at the end of November. This led some of the media to think, at first, that the fire was caused by arson, while others suspected an attack by the PKK of the Kurds. Speculations were put to rest when it was found that the fire was probably caused by people who were picnicking in the forest: the heat, dryness and wind contributed to the fire, as happened in other coastal areas.
On Sunday 20 August, as a result of the torrid heat sweeping across Turkey and the strong dry wind, 23 enormous forest fires were reported at the same time along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. They struck the most crowded tourist areas like Bodrum and Antalya and 1,200 hectares of forest were burnt. Even Izmir zone was not spared and the “House of Our Lady” risked going up in flames. Fully immersed in greenery, it was reached by the fire that spread from the bottom of the hill, furiously burning everything that came in its way.
But the flames, as if by magic, stopped barely a metre away from the simple brick house. The building consists of two sections identified as the living room and bedroom of the Virgin, who is said to have ended her earthly life here. Currently the place is a shrine, the destination of both Christian and Muslim pilgrims who come from all around the world. Everyone immediately claimed this was a miracle and the news was reported in capital letters in the headlines of the main national papers.
The extraordinary nature of the event was confirmed by an Italian Capuchin, Fr Adriano Franchini, resident of Meryem Ana Evi (Mary’s house) and superior of the Custody of Turkey. “Yes, we had a rough time,” he said. “After receiving the notice to evacuate, I concerned myself with bringing the car to a place of safety to be able to escape. I found for our guests and then I wanted to return home to get some things but there was no chance to do so, we could no longer approach: we saw the smoke and the high flames coming closer. We feared the wind may change direction and we would be trapped; the speed with which the flames spread and advances among the pine trees was incredible.”
He continued: “We had to escape quickly amid tears and desperate searching for relatives, but everyone was able to reach safety. When we came together down in Selcuk (a town at the foot of the hill), the first news that reached us from the helicopters, when they finally arrived, were really bad: everything is burning, nothing will be saved! Then there was a ray of optimism... at last, towards the evening, there was the realization that the fire had been truly devastating, spreading across a large area and all around Meryem Ana and our homes, but the shrine and homes had remained intact!”
The Franciscan did not say it was a miracle, but he admitted that what had happened was extraordinary. “Even around our houses, the fire reached the outer wall on three sides, and a burnt tree fell on the roof but the flames did not take hold in the residence; even a palm tree one metre from the house was burnt to cinders! The fire around the shrine came as far as the benches outside, where mass is celebrated in the open, and stopped there. People who saw the devastation all around say it is a miracle. Certainly it is a scenario with incredible features.”
None of the many pilgrims present were injured and the incident did nothing to stop the flux of tourists and believers, who are currently going in even greater numbers to take stock of the disaster and to admire the miracle.
[Modificato da Wulfrune 26/08/2006 17.06]
| 8/26/2006 5:02 PM
Thanks for the story on Mary's house in Ephesus, Wulfrune. The ways of God are truly mysterious and wondrous!
This would relate to the story of the shrine of the House of Nazareth at Loreto, Italy, which is one of the topics I had wanted to introduce into the this thread. In fact, I was reminded of it when I was writing my post above about manifestations of faith. In IN HIS OWN WORDS, I have even posted a translation of a homily delivered by Cardinal Ratzinger years ago in Loreto, a shirne he has visited several times over the years. There is a story somewhere in the main forum summarizing all his visits to Loreto that will bear translating once the topic is introduced here.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 26/08/2006 17.03]
| 8/26/2006 5:59 PM
| From John Allen's ALL THINGS CATHOLIC of 8/25/06, a sort of post-script to my recent comments above on manifestations of faith
WOJTYLA'S 'MIRACLE WATER' IN WADOWICE
Catholicism has always been ambivalent about "popular religion." Church leaders point with pride to Marian devotions, Corpus Christi processions, and celebrations of saints' feast days, as evidence of the faith's deep roots in popular sensibility.
Yet the same leaders often look askance when popular devotion erupts (think Medjugorje, Garabandal, or Bayside), concerned about the border between charisma and chicanery.
Thus it is that church officials have watched busloads of pilgrims arrive at Wadowice, the hometown of Pope John Paul II, drawn to the pope's "miracle water," with a certain weary caution.
The phenomenon began shortly after Pope Benedict XVI's May 27 visit to Wadowice, when Benedict referred to seeing John Paul soon raised to "the glory of the altars." Shortly afterwards, reports began to circulate about water forming at the base of a statue of John Paul in Rynek Square.
At first, people thought the appearance of the water was itself a miracle, but the mayor indicated that city officials simply thought the statue would look better with water at the base and had installed a pipe.
Attention then shifted to whether the water had miraculous properties, regardless of where it came from. That's what draws pilgrims today, who fill water bottles from the statue in the conviction that, like the waters of Lourdes, it can bring some blessing.
Youth who flocked to John Paul were known in the Italian press as the "papa-boys," so Corriere della Sera has dubbed these pilgrims "tappo-boys," tappo being Italian for "cork."
Whatever its supernatural merits, the water is certainly a blessing for Wadowice, positioning it to become the Polish equivalent of San Giovanni Rotondo, the massively popular shrine of Padre Pio.
Recently, a Polish company launched a gold-painted train, emblazoned with the John Paul motto Totus Tuus, to carry pilgrims from Krakow to Wadowice. With space for 155 disabled people, the train shows videos and photographs of John Paul on television monitors. [The Totus Tuus train line was inaugurated during Pope Benedict's visit so it came before the 'miracle water
Devotion to the late pope in Poland remains fierce. Recently a film festival was cancelled in Lublin, where Karol Wojtyla taught, because its gift shop carried a T-shirt with the words, "I never cried for the pope."
All this suggests that when crowds chanted Santo Subito! during John Paul's funeral, they weren't really asking for a formal declaration. They were asserting a popular conviction that, like the tides, couldn't be held back even if officialdom tried.
| 8/27/2006 12:52 PM
| Emma in the main forum posts a story from this week's issue of GENTE (Italy's equivalent of PEOPLE magazine) which presents the story of the Holy Face of Manoppello for popular consumption. The occasion is, of course, the Pope's pilgrimage on Sept. 1 to the mysterious icon. Here is a translation
POPE'S VISIT 'VALIDATES' MANOPPELLO ICON
Benedict XVI will look
at the face of Jesus
By Donatella Briganti
On September 1, the Pope will go to Manoppello where there is a cloth impressed with the face of the Son of God.
Five hundred years ago, this image was given to a prominent person of the locality by a mysterious pilgrim.
"It is not a painting," the scientists say.
And September 1, 2006, will not be any date for the parish community of this town in the Abruzzi. Indeed, it is a most important date for the whole Catholic community.
This little town wrapped in the greenery of its hills is in a ferment of preparation for the visit of the Pope. It will be a 'private' visit, but it has the sense of something official: a recognition of the image of the Holy Face by the Vatican.
The image appears to be nothing but an old painting faded by time. But this extra-thin veil of inexplicable nature has attracted the attention of scientists for years.
It may be inexplicable for many, but not for the Capuchin friars of Manoppello who have guarded it jealously in its sanctuary for over 400 years.
For them, the face of Jesus Christ at the time of His resurrection is impressed on that cloth measuring 24 by 17 centimeters.
"The Holy Father's visit is for us a true recognition," says Fr. Carmine Cuccinelli, rector of the Sanctuary of the Holy Face. "The fact that Benedict XVI accepted our invitation is a sign of his approval and esteem. We obviously do not need a process like beatification or canonization. We are speaking of Jesus - who could be holier than Him? Meanwhile, so many, including non-believers, have tried in vain to give a scientific explanation for the image. But the only conclusion they can come to is that it is not a painting."
Why this certainty? "Do you know of any painting in which the image is visible both front and back?," Fr. Carmine continues. "If it was an oil painting, there should be color residues, and if it was a watercolor, the contours and lines of the image would not be so well-defined. It is not a picture, it is not a painting, it is not human work. Of course, we do not have a certificate of proof, but as far as we are concerned, that which is impressed on this cloth is the true Face of Christ."
So many versions, so many hypotheses, so many studies have been focused on this small piece of cloth, apparently a fine marine fabric obtained from the peduncles with which mussels anchor themselves to rock - probably the most expensive fabric ever, known to some as sea-silk.
Extremely thin, the cloth has been kept between two pieces of glass to which it appears to be adhered. It seems the glass is necessary in order to "see" the Face. Some of the stories about this mysterious image claim that if the cloth is taken out from between the two pieces of glass, the image becomes invisible.
This has made an exhaustive scientific study of the image a complex undertaking. Studies have bben based only on photographs and enlargements of digital images scanned at high resolution that allow analysis of the fibers of the cloth itself.
But how did the Holy Face of Jesus get to Manoppello? There are many different suppositions, but Fr. Carmine trusts that which he considers most probable.
"The story of the Face in our small town is first found in the Historical Account written in 1640 by the Czpuchin father Donato da Bomba which is currently kept in Aquila. According to his account, an unknown pilgrim in 1506 handed the Veil, rolled up, to a prominent member of the community, one Giacomo Antonio Leonelli.
Surprised by the unexpected gift, Leonelli unrolled it and to his great surprise, found a face pictured on it. He turned to thank the pilgrim but it seemed like he had vanished into thin air.
"It must have been an angel," Leonelli thought, and from that moment on, he took custody of the Veil. It remained in the possession of his family and heirs for almost a century.
It was subsequently stolen, sold, purchased and finally given to the Capuchins who became its custodians from there on. They eventually built a sanctuary for the Veil precisely to underscore its significance, even though to many, it may have seemed like just another piece of cloth.
The Sacntuary has attracted the faithful who visit the mountaintop sanctuary by the thousands every year. It is not only to pray before the Holy Face, but also to see a photo exhibit by Sister Blandina Paschalis Schlomer, a German scholar- nun who, after patient research, made the astounding discovery that the Holy Face of Manoppello is identical to the face impressed in the Holy Shroud of Turin.
But whereas the Shroud is a blanket which wrapped the entire Body of Christ after His death, the Veil of Manoppello only covered His face.
"Observing the two sacred cloths at length, I found first of all that there were several points in common if one placed one image over the other. Subsequently I succeeded in showing that, in fact, the two images can be super-imposed on each other. But whereas the Shroud has the impression of the dead Christ, our Veil has the face of the resurrected Christ."
Benedict XVI will arrive in Manoppello by helicopter on September 1 to fulfill a trip he had been planning for some time and was postponed when he was elected Pope.
Although it is a private visit, the Sanctuary fathers say the Pope will meet with the faithful.
The town is caught up in preparations. Prayer is the principal commitment not only of the friars but of the many faithful who wish to express their thanks for the graces they have received from the Holy Face.
Father Carmine exclaims: "It is that incredible sensation that you feel inside that makes us believe this is Christ's Face. Whoever enters the Sanctuary and looks at it reports finding a sense of peace. Most of those who come back to thank Jesus say that He has given them a serenity which they have not known before - which is the greatest gift that the Lord can give us."
An entire wall inside the sanctuary is covered with photos and letters from children, adults and old people thanking the Lord for an illness that was mysteriously healed or for a life saved from torment. There are also many crutches left there because they are no longer needed.
Is this icon simply a veil? Probably not. Is this just a question of faith? Probably more than that. Is it human work? Probably not.
Father Carmine is a man of faith. If men of science, who are skeptics by definition, are unable to explain the nature of this Veil, Pope Benedict XVI by his visit appears to be implicitly recognizing the authenticity of a relic to which his fellow Germans have been particularly devoted.
| 9/2/2006 7:20 AM
| Thanks to the site of an organization called Priests for Life, here is the text of a memorandum sent by then-Cardinal Ratzinger as prefect of the CDF to Cardinal McCarrick, who was Archbishop of Washington, DC, during thr 2004 U.S. presidential campaign.
COMMUNION MUST BE MERITED, NOT TAKEN FOR GRANTED
It was widely publicized at the time, but as far as I know, no Catholic priest in the United States saw fit to follow it, and John Kerry, who has openly advocated abortion and the laws that support abortion on demand, has been receiving Communion everywhere, regardless.
I may be biased, but surely, no Catholic can argue the reasonableness and logic of Cardinal Ratzinger's presentation of the issues.
In fact, just yesterday (8/31), in a comment on news item about religion and US politics in NEWS ABOUT BENEDICT, I excerpted the citation of the Cardinal's thoughts about the distinction between euthanasia and abortion, on the one hand, and just wars and the death penalty on the other, as having different moral weight. That citation comes from this memorandum.
Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion:
by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
1. Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgment regarding one’s worthiness to do so, according to the Church’s objective criteria
, asking such questions as: "Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church? Am I guilty of grave sin? Have I incurred a penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?"
The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf. Instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum," nos. 81, 83).
2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae
, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a "grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’" (no. 73). Christians have a "grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil.
[...] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it" (no. 74).
3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia.
For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion.
While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia
4. Apart from an individual's judgment about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).
5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist
6. When "these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible," and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, "the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it"
(cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration "Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics" , nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.
[N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia
When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.]
| 9/4/2006 3:20 AM
ROME, SEPT. 3, 2006 (ZENIT.org).- The dean of the Theological Faculty of St. Bonaventure has written a book on heaven, inviting readers to have a fresh vision of a central mystery of the faith.
Polish Father Zdzislaw Kijas, dean of the Seraphicum, wrote Il Cielo, Luogo del Desiderio di Dio
(Heaven ,the Place of the Desire for God), published by Città Nuova and now available in Italian bookstores.
ZENIT spoke with Father Kijas, a Franciscan Conventual -- who has been professor of systematic and ecumenical theology at Krakow's Pontifical Academy of Theology -- to understand how heaven appears today to the eyes of the believer.
Let's begin with the central question: What is heaven?
First of all, as seen with the eyes of faith, heaven exists as union with God, a union that must be seen from the point of view of the sacred texts, specifically, with the help of the Old and New Testament.
However, heaven is something more profound than this union. Its characteristics can be deduced from the biblical data and also from our experience, from the special moments of life, when we experience tranquility, serenity, [and] absence of evil desires and fear.
Heaven is not a material or geographic place, it is more than a state of spirit, it is our interiority, our spirit which is at peace with itself; it is to experience authentic peace, to live the joy of the richness of life with peace of heart.
Are you saying that every one has his heaven?
Every man has his personal heaven because he is like a microcosm; he has been created in the image and likeness of God. Jesus died and resurrected for each man; each man has his own richness, his own desires.
Believers should tend to personal enrichment, in the search to fulfill their own lives, plans which are essential in the life of each one, of each couple, of the consecrated and of communities.
Basing oneself on the biblical data and on one's own vocation, on the universal call to holiness, with the help of God and of his grace, each one is called to this optimum state of his life, to a more perfect, personal union with God.
Here is heaven itself: the holiness of God personalized, embodied in one's life. A personal union that leads to full development of the likeness with him.
Every age has its challenges, its appeals. Art, music and literature as expressions of one's state of life - they reflect in visible and figurative language one's state of spirit and the characteristics of one's union with God. So the way of expressing oneself, of making art, becomes a mirror of the relationship between the artist and God.
How can one respond to this "desire" for heaven?
In my book I speak of responding to the desire for heaven, of reviving it -- not by limiting oneself to look for heaven on earth in relationships we experience in the world even if they are fundamental.
These relationships are important, as it is important to make an effort to read the seeds of the paradisiacal state now here in this life. But what counts is to understand that here on earth there are only pale reflections of those to which we are really called.
The strength to change the everyday, the courage to face problems, the desire to live more profoundly our human vocation, our work, human relationships, does not come only from the freshness of the desire of union with God which for us, believers, is heaven
Herein lies daily creativity in relation to paradise. Without being separated from the earthly reality, efforts must be made to change everything with the force of the desire for heaven, to shape our daily reality in view of paradise, transforming the earth with the desire for heaven.
What is your idea of heaven?
Heaven is not something static; even our own imagination does not understand it as something static. It is a continuous happening, a growth that advances with our call, our desires, our deficiencies themselves.
The idea I have, common to many, is that of a reciprocity made up of dialogue, a never feeling well alone but in dialogue, a reflection of the life of the Trinity, a communion of people who love one another and give themselves abundantly.
This is the paradisiacal state, never to possess, but to be open to the other's need, to his good -- a response of love to someone else's request for love.
Heaven and paradise are as synonyms, a being well together, a consequence of being well with God, convinced that he alone makes us be well in community. Heaven is communion of friends, never a boring reality, a richness enriched by others.
The Church invites us to open to this dialogue that gives a foretaste on earth of the taste of the joy of heaven.
Somehow, this interview leaves me perplexed. On the one hand, Father Kijas keeps saying, in one form or another, that heaven is a state of mind - or state of being, if you will- in which we feel we have achieved union with God. And then consider his last statement which says, in effect, that this state of being is 'a foretaste on earth of the taste of the joy of heaven.' What is this second heaven, then?
Sometimes I think that to dwell too much on what heaven and hell really are can be counter-productive. I tend to stick to the simple concepts I began with, almost literal images of an infinite and eternal assembly of light presided by God on high, and sempiternal fire-and-brimstone in the abyss (which Dante later populated for me with memorable images and characters)!
Meanwhile, common sense and experience tell us that we do create our own heaven and hell here and now, in our earthly existence, by what we do and do not do, and the consequences of such action or inaction. But I do not think that is what the ultimate heaven and hell are.
Of course, as we mature, we realize that you do not try to be good because you want to go to heaven and avoid going to hell. You try to be good because that is the right thing to do, what God wants us to be, and in this respect, it really does not matter what heaven and hell are.
What do you think?
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 04/09/2006 20.29]
| 9/4/2006 5:47 PM
300,000 Marian devotees gather to pray for peace in Sri Lanka
TEWATTE, Sri Lanka (UCAN) -- In conflict-torn Sri Lanka, 300,000 devotees from all over the country came to the National Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka to pray for the sick, as they do every year, but also for lasting peace.
The basilica, which is just north of Colombo, observes an annual day for the sick on the last Sunday of August, which fell on Aug. 27 this year.
"There is no peace in our country. But every year we gather like this and pray for peace. We believe that our mother Mary will grant us peace," A.H. Samarasinghe, 55, told UCA News. He came with his family to the basilica four days before the observance from Thoduwawa Parish in Chilaw diocese, about 125 kilometers north of Colombo.
Priyani Perera, 47, a mother of two children from Kalutara parish of Colombo archdiocese, spoke with UCA News after the Sunday prayer service. "Every year we attend this prayer service and pray for our country. We need peace and I think we should pray as one family for peace."
According to Father Marl Shanthi Perera, the basilica administrator: "Many religious devotees of other faiths attend the feast every year. This year we observed many Muslim devotees participating in this feast. All people want peace."
Under the theme of Win Peace through Forgiveness, the solemn healing and prayer service started around 2 p.m. Archbishop Oswald Gomis of Colombo, his predecessor, Archbishop Nicholas Marcus Fernando, and his auxiliary, Bishop Marius Peiris, were present, as was Father Robinson Wijesinghe, secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature in Colombo. Over 300 priests and Religious from several dioceses also came and prayed with the lay devotees.
Before adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the gathering implored the Blessed Mother to "give us peace," as they recited the "Prayer to Our Lady for Our Country."
Archbishop Gomis presided at the prayer service. "Since we do not have peace within our families, we do not have peace in our country. If people can build peace in their families, it can restore peace in the country," he told the crowd in his sermon.
Father Perera told UCA News that three days of prayers preceding the Sunday observance drew 700-800 families from as far as Anuradhapura, 170 kilometers northeast of Colombo, and Panadura, 60 kilometers south of the capital.
"Our devotees did not have the chance to go to the Madhu shrine due to security reasons this year. Therefore they came here and prayed to Our Lady of Lanka to grant peace," he explained.
The Madhu shrine, northeast of Anuradhapura in an area controlled by Tamil rebels, was the country's most popular Marian shrine before fighting broke out between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Sinhalese-led government in 1983. People began returning there after a cease-fire was signed in 2002, by which time the ethnic conflict had claimed up to 80,000 lives, but fighting has resumed on a limited scale in recent months.
Hilary Fernando, 25, a university student who came to Tewatte with a youth group from Thalawakelle, in Kandy diocese, central Sri Lanka, told UCA News: "We need peace ... a true and understanding one. To obtain that peace we need good guidance ... that can come only from God. Our dear Mother Mary has saved our beautiful country from war once, so I believe Mother Mary can save us from this crucial situation too. But we should pray with strong faith."
The national basilica in Tewatte was built in keeping with a vow Archbishop Jean-Marie Masson, then archbishop of Colombo, made to the Blessed Mother in 1940. He vowed that were the island saved from the horrors of World War II, he would build a basilica in her honor. In 1946, Archbishop Masson gained Vatican permission to build and dedicate the basilica to our Lady of Lanka. In 1948, Pope Pius XII proclaimed the Blessed Mother the Protectress of Sri Lanka.
Church-based and interreligious activities for peace are being held in many places around the island amid reports of fighting between and attacks by government and LTTE forces.
Local media reported that a Sri Lankan Air Force attack on Aug. 14 killed 61 girls and injured 130 others at Puthukudirippu, in Jaffna, the northernmost area of the country. The previous week 15 Action Against Hunger workers in Muthur, along the eastern coast, were shot dead Aug. 7. The workers were all Tamils providing humanitarian assistance to families displaced by fighting there. The Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission, an international mission that monitors the cease-fire, is now blaming government forces for that incident. It blamed the LTTE for a bus bombing in June that killed 60 civilians.
The LTTE wants Tamil autonomy in the north and east. Tamils predominate in the north and are a majority in some areas along the eastern coast. Sinhalese, who form more than 70 percent of the population, predominate elsewhere.
| 9/26/2006 3:53 AM
Registered in: 11/23/2005
The Most Difficult Sacrament
From Bishop Boyce's Homily at Knock
KNOCK, Ireland, SEPT. 25, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Here is an excerpt from a homily delivered by Bishop Philip Boyce during the Raphoe Diocesan Pilgrimage to the Marian shrine at Knock last month. The excerpt focuses on the sacrament of reconciliation.
* * *
Confession is the most challenging and difficult of the sacraments, because in it we lay bare our inmost thoughts, our weaknesses and sins that shame us, our deepest motives. This we do to another human person, a priest who, we know in faith, takes the place of God. It can be very humiliating. And yet we get untold benefits of freedom, forgiveness, peace, healing and strength from this sacrament. We sin as individuals. We also have to make an individual confession. It does us good to go on our knees, put our sinful deeds into words before an ordained priest, face up to the truth about ourselves and entrust our lives to God's merciful and just love.
Indeed, in a Synod for Europe held in 1991, the bishops saw the sacrament of reconciliation playing a fundamental role in the recovery of hope for our ancient continent. They said: "One of the roots of the helplessness that assails many people today is found in their inability to see themselves as sinners and to allow themselves to be forgiven, an inability often resulting from the isolation of those who, by living as if God did not exist, have no one from whom they can seek forgiveness" (John Paul II, "Ecclesia in Europa," No. 76). In some ways they are among those whom St. Paul describes as "having no hope and without God in this world" (Ephesians 2:10).
Thanks be to God, we should say, for our faith and for the sacrament of confession!
At times we do not appreciate the treasures we have in our Catholic faith. At other times we take them for granted. Yet many are those who experience the spiritual benefits of confession. The first effect and principal purpose of this sacrament is reconciliation with God. Anyone who makes a good confession with a contrite heart and a firm purpose of amendment is sure that God has blotted out the sin that weighed on his conscience. That person is certain of having been restored to God's friendship and to the blessings of a child of God.
A silent weight is lifted off the mind as a result of a good confession. The gnawing worry caused by a troubled conscience gives way to peace of soul. As our Catechism says: "For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, reconciliation is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation. Indeed the sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true 'spiritual resurrection,' restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of which the most precious is friendship with God" (CCC 1468).
I remember one time I visited a Marian shrine on mainland Europe, in Belgium. One evening as I walked around I met a lady who was looking for the confessional area and may not have been receiving the sacraments very often. "Father, could you tell me where I could get the sacrament of …" and she hesitated for a minute. Then she continued: "Where I could get the sacrament of resurrection." I thought it was a very good description of confession. For that is what it truly is: a sacrament that gives a true spiritual resurrection from sin to friendship with God, from slavery to freedom, from darkness to light.
If we have committed a grave or mortal sin, we must go to individual confession before receiving holy Communion. But we need not be great sinners or be away from the sacrament for years or have grave sins on our conscience to go to confession. In fact, the Church asks those who wish to make progress in holiness, or who are more deeply united to God in the religious or consecrated life, to avail of the sacrament of reconciliation more frequently -- not because they are greater sinners but because they need more grace and strength to live a holy life. "The purpose of the sacrament of penance is to make saints as well as to save sinners" (L. Trese). In fact the grace of this sacrament gives strength for the journey ahead; it inoculates against temptation and heals the wounds we receive in the good fight of every day against the weaknesses and selfish inclinations of our fallen nature.
Confession is indeed the sacrament of pardon and of new life. It is often a forum where a soul receives advice, encouragement, counsel and direction. This sacrament accompanies a Christian on the way to perfection. "It would be an illusion to want to strive for holiness in accordance with the vocation that God has given to each one of us without frequently and fervently receiving this sacrament of conversion and sanctification" (John Paul II, March 27, 2004). In fact, it contains limitless possibilities of healing and growth.
Moreover, this sacrament reconciles us not only with God, but also with others whom our sin has wounded or against whom our sinful ways have set up a barrier of discord or enmity. Here we are reconciled with the Church whose life our sin had weakened. We are reconciled with our brothers and sisters with whom our fraternal communion was damaged by our sinful actions. We are also reconciled with ourselves in our inmost heart and regain our peace of conscience.
A famous convert, John Henry Cardinal Newman, who knew what it was to be deprived of sacramental confession and then who experienced its benefits, once wrote:
"How many are the souls, in distress, anxiety or loneliness, whose one need is to find a being to whom they can pour out their feelings unheard by the world? Tell them out they must; they cannot tell them out to those whom they see every hour. They want to tell them and not to tell them; and they want to tell them out, yet be as if they be not told; they wish to tell them to one who is strong enough to bear them, yet not too strong to despise them; they wish to tell them to one who can at once advise and can sympathize with them; they wish to relieve themselves of a load, to gain a solace, to receive the assurance that there is one who thinks of them, and one to whom in thought they can recur, to whom they can betake themselves, if necessary, from time to time, while they are in world" ("The Present Position of Catholics," p. 351).
And later he added the phrase in a sermon: "Happy all Catholics, if they knew their happiness" (Sermon Notes, p. 200).
Although the sacrament of penance may be "laborious" at times, it has been seen since the first centuries of Christianity as a "second plank following shipwreck" (Tertullian), that is, another chance to have sins committed after baptism forgiven and a broken or weakened friendship with Christ restored. In a world threatened by sin, it is a sacrament given to us to enable us to grow in the spiritual life and reach union with God.
| 10/10/2006 5:46 AM
|Music as a Way to Speak of God
Interview With Benedictine Jordi-Agusti Piqué
MONTSERRAT, Spain, OCT. 9, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Music is much more than a simple ornament for the liturgy, says a doctoral thesis defended by Benedictine Jordi-Agustí Piqué Collado.
He entered the Abbey of Montserrat in 1990 as a monk, after pursuing higher studies in music, specializing in the organ. In 2005 he received a doctorate from the Gregorian University.
In this interview with ZENIT, Brother Piqué Collado explains how the language of music can open men and women of our time to the experience of God.
Have theology and music always dialogued or have you found a specific moment when these two disciplines united?
Music has always been present in the celebration of Christian worship.
Singing, as one of the fundamental elements, as the basis of all liturgical prayer, contributes something more than a simple ornament or solemnity to the celebration, as Pius X well pointed out in his "motu proprio" "Tra le Sollecitudini" on sacred music.
Here one finds a possible explanation of this dialogue: If theology seeks to say a word, something comprehensible about the ineffable mystery of God, and music helps to understand, to celebrate and to participate in this mystery, especially when united to the Word, I do not think it daring to state that a profound dialogue can be analyzed about the comprehension of the experience of the mystery of God.
All periods of thought are related to a specific music. I believe that both theology and music can be languages of transcendence.
You allude to the "drama of the incommunicability of the experience of God." Why is the drama of "saying God" so difficult?
I believe, as some phenomenologists point out, that the problem of our age is, essentially, a problem of language.
I believe sincerely that the question of the existence of God is today already surmounted, that is, it is not the center of reflection of many men and women who deep down continue to seek God, but they seek him experientially; a formula or definition is not good for them.
The language of theology, today, does not help in this search. Hence it is dramatic to see how many abandon their relationship with God and with religious practice because they do not find a language to communicate their experience; moreover, languages to understand or live the faith, languages with which they are told about God, are not, at least for them, relevant.
I believe that in our contemporary period, as [a Christian], I as a theologian have the obligation to "say God," to communicate my experience, to make it empathic, participatory, comprehensive.
It is Moses' drama in Schönberg's opera which I analyze in my thesis: He has experience of God, with whom he speaks, but he cannot find the just, beautiful and moving word to transmit to his people the grandeur of that experience, and his people prefer to adore a god of metal, the golden calf, because at least they can see and perceive it.
I believe this is the drama of our time. It is the paradigm of the conversion of St. Augustine, one of the theologians analyzed, who -- through the singing of the Church, gathered together -- feels overwhelmed by the singing that leads him to tears -- and those tears, he says, did him good.
You suggest a "word of God that moves one." Is this word music
Music is a language that can lead to perception, to understanding something of the Mystery of God and in that sense it is, also, theology.
The Church has always adopted it as an essential element of her liturgy. But today I think that, even outside the liturgy, it can be a key of openness to transcendence.
I could mention the examples of Taizé, or the phenomenon of Gregorian chant: They are two aesthetic experiences that open to an experience of transcendence.
But, just as I explain in my thesis, the experience that passes through sensible perception is not always unanimous: The distorted music of a discothèque can lead to alienation; the music of an ad can lead to compulsive consumption.
But, I believe that an aesthetic experience can open ways to understanding the transcendence and Mystery of God.
Perhaps today, when addresses and words are so devalued, the aesthetic experience might be the key to open to the men and women of our time to the experience of God.
Of course this experience will have to be followed by catechesis and formation, but at least the indifference is surmounted which seems to lull our Western world.
You quote theologian Joseph Ratzinger several times. What contribution has he made to the field of music and liturgy
In my thesis, I analyze some theologians who, at different times, have treated music as a theological problem. St. Augustine, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Pierangelo Sequeri are the main ones.
But in the writings of the theologian Ratzinger -- who as known, is also a good musician -- a theme appears that is key for me: the biblical foundation of the theological reason for music within the liturgy.
The Pope was able to establish the basis for that understanding from a reading based on the Psalms, the Bible's book of music par excellence, and in the reading of St. Thomas. From here he explains how song and music, within the liturgy, are elements that lead to an understanding of God.
In my work, I have enlarged this vision with the analysis of some composer musicians who in their works have addressed some theological problems: Tomás Luis de Victoria, Arnold Schönberg and Olivier Messiaen.
| 10/10/2006 2:59 PM
| The brief interview above with a Benedictine music scholar serves as a mini-warm-up to this very unusual survey of Church music today - where it is, why it is where it is, and what it could and should be.
TWO POPES ON CHURCH MUSIC: IMAGINARY BUT PLAUSIBLE REFLECTIONS
These are imaginary reflections by the current Pope and his predecessor on the state of Church music, as plausibly - and audaciously, in the case of the imagined JP-II 'undelivered address' - presented by one of the world's leading experts on Gregorian chant and other forms of pre-modern liturgical music.
These reflections are hymns in themselves to liturgy as adoration of the Lord and not a vehicle for self-celebration or self-expression.
The Secret Thoughts of Joseph Ratzinger
They are well explained by Giacomo Baroffio,
a great expert in liturgical music,
using the device of an imaginary discourse
written by the current pope, and a request
for forgiveness left in his predecessor’s desk
by Sandro Magister
ROMA, October 9, 2006 – Let’s imagine that the document that follows is the discourse that Benedict XVI has prepared for the upcoming feast of saint Cecilia, patroness of music, which falls each year on November 22.
The person who “discovered” the document and sent it to www.chiesa
is professor Giacomo Baroffio, one of the world’s leading specialists in Gregorian chant and liturgical music.
Together with this text, Baroffio has sent us another “previously unpublished document“: a request for forgiveness that John Paul II is imagined to have written for the feast of Saint Cecilia in 2003, but then decided not to deliver.
Instead of this penitential address, on November 22, 2003, pope Karol Wojtyla actually signed a document on sacred music that Baroffio sees as highly disappointing: “an academic commemoration that lurches laboriously from one citation of magisterial documents to another.”
Farther down on this page are some of the passages from this imagined new discovery of a request for forgiveness from John Paul II.
But the address by Benedict XVI released here in advance is another that will never be delivered out loud.
That’s because professor Baroffio is playing with a literary device.
The game he’s playing at, however, is dead serious.
Pope Joseph Ratzinger’s thoughts on liturgical music are well known: he has set these forth over the years in articles, books, and speeches.
Also well known are the Church’s needs, expectations, and difficulties in this area.
The imaginary new address attributed to Benedict XVI is the logical outcome of these two factors.
So although it isn’t a genuine address, it’s a plausible one. It was conceived as an imaginative device, but it expresses a dream that could become a reality with this pope.
And here it is:
”I will not let your hopes be disappointed...”
by “Benedict XVI, November 22, 2006”
Beloved brother bishops! Dear Church musicians!
It is with immense joy that I welcome this extensive and representative body of musicians involved in liturgical service from every part of Europe. I great all of you who have come on your own account, or as the appointed representatives of numerous associations and groups.
Let me extend, on everyone’s behalf, a most cordial greeting to the young Bavarian artists, the “Domspatzen,” who graced with beauty the celebrations I presided over in the cathedral of Regensburg, and to the president of the “Consociatio Internationalis Musicæ Sacræ,” with whom I have collaborated on a number of occasions.
You all know of my passion for music, and many of you may be familiar with the pages in which I have written down my reflections on the liturgy and on music during my mission as a university teacher, and during my pastoral ministry in Munich and in Rome.
For my part, I have read with interest, and sometimes with unconcealed amazement and apprehension, certain pages expressing various judgments, desires, and fears, written when I was called to succeed my well-beloved predecessor, John Paul II.
Now bishop of Rome, precisely because I have a special penchant for music, permit me to address you with familiarity and simplicity, what I would almost call the confidence of friendship, which breaks down mistrust and fear.
It is my firm conviction that there is very scarce attention to music in the Catholic Church. Of course, this depends on musical conditions which, in Italy for example, include the widespread musical illiteracy to which young people are condemned through the lack of adequate formation in the schools. The problem, in my humble opinion, is nevertheless far more serious, and transcends the area of music; it concerns our continent, and the entire world.
Wherever there is no deep interest in sacred music, it is because even before this there is no attention to the liturgy. A perverse worldly infiltration has overturned the order of things, and has fostered the rise and spread of a dreadful conviction: that the liturgy is a series of cultural maneuvers created by men according to their individual tastes; as desired, when desired, if desired.
There has been a loss of the mystical sense of what in the Church, and for the life of the Church, was and is the “Opus Dei”: the work that we accomplish in the sight of God by lifting up our prayer to Him, but even before this – and this is the most important thing; it is essential – it is what the Spirit of God carries out in our hearts, and brings to fulfillment when, in the totality of our personhood, we are transfigured and made capable of calling God by the tender name of “abba,” “daddy.”
The liturgy is not a moment in the journey of faith that can be relativized, that can be performed or omitted as one pleases, nor can it be manipulated and twisted in a breathless quest for support and applause.
The liturgy is a privileged and unique moment in the history of salvation: it has as its protagonist Christ the Lord, who calls us to follow him through his hidden life in Nazareth and his public life – in social engagement, in spreading the good news of the Beatitudes, and in the silent wonder of adoration.
The liturgy is, in the first place, the memorializing of the passion, death, and resurrection of the Lord, who opened his heart in confiding his deepest secrets through the words of the Gospel.
For these reasons, dear friends, your formation as Church musicians cannot be limited to choral exercises, to the study of instruments, and to a deeper understanding of compositional techniques.
In your formative development, too, there us a priority: a rigorous and passionate contact with the Word of God. This commitment finds support in the study of the Church’s life and in becoming historians of the liturgical rites, of their theological and spiritual meaning.
These forms of knowledge must not, of course, be limited to sterile rote learning, but rather are the beginning of a journey toward interior maturation that leads to spiritual wisdom, to a taste for the things of God, to the perception of the reality and value of the liturgy in daily life.
So then, you will be thinking: soon the pope will tell us that we should sing only Gregorian chant. I would say so instinctively, and with great emotion.
But there are two considerations that hold me back: the first, which is tragic – and I know the weight of this word! – is that very few communities today would be ready to implement a demanding musical program in a dignified manner.
Don’t be fooled by appearances: Gregorian chant, what we today sing with a single melody, is a musical form that is as difficult as any to interpret in a creative way. I think, among other things, of the simple line of psalmody: the smooth execution of this requires a spiritual energy and a verbal precision that are acquired only through enduring effort in the areas of personal prayer and communal singing.
The second consideration: Gregorian chant constitutes a fundamental and still relevant experience in the life of the Church, as can be said also, to a different extent, of sacred polyphony.
But the Church’s vitality, which is also manifested in the contemporary realization of the experience of prayer from the past (not because it belongs to the past, but because our forefathers made achievements of permanent validity), requires discerning symphonic composition between “nova et vetera,” between preservation and innovation.
Some of you will be disappointed, but well-considered and prudent choices must be made at this particularly critical moment in the life of the Christian community.
This community is adrift and confused; it has lost, or cannot find, precise points of reference. I don’t believe it is opportune to say this or that is forbidden. I think that the teachings of the Church’s magisterium, and the norms of canon law, are already sufficiently explicit and clear. I am convinced that the most urgent thing is the recovery of Christian identity through a renewed spiritual commitment.
Church musicians: before singing, playing, or composing some work for the glorification of God and the sanctification of your assemblies, pray, meditate on the Word and on the texts of the sacred liturgy.
Pray. Set aside silent time for adoration, kneel before the Eucharist, give yourselves the gift of hours of astonished adoration. The renewal of sacred music demands a deep piety that blossoms from listening to the Word and from the prayer derived from this. Let us lay the foundations for a renewed ecclesial body distinguished by its beauty and harmony, its luminosity and transparency.
In order that this journey may receive a concrete and effective impulse, I would like to issue a pressing invitation to you, my beloved brothers in the episcopate.
Look after the formation of the clergy! Help the seminarians to become ministers of the Word, and not cold bureaucrats and mere organizers.
May each one be encouraged to find the time for the “otium” necessary to engage in reading that is not directly related to passing academic exams, but is necessary for the complete formation of the person: reading poetic texts, reading and listening to music, “reading” works of painting and sculpture, “reading” architectural structures that give the sense of interior spaces that extend, not on high, but rather toward the Most High.
May music be cultivated in the seminaries as the discovery and lived experience of ineffable and limitless interior vibrations.
May some selection from the Gregorian patrimony be sung every day in a dignified way, partly with the intention of equipping pastors of souls with the sense of liturgical singing. Thus they will acquire a solid standard of judgment for accepting new compositions in the future which may be different in language, but are similar in spiritual meaning.
I won’t keep you any longer, dear friends, but I assure you that you are present in my heart. I will not let your hopes for a renewal of sacred music be disappointed.
I hope to be able to give to you an official document within a few months, perhaps an encyclical or a “motu proprio.” I am thinking about a document that would face the questions of sacred music in a positive and systematic way, a “Magna Carta” that would outline the liturgical universe and its music, and provide prompts for theological-spiritual reflection and clear operating guidelines.
Dear Church musicians! I hope to meet you again soon, imbued with that sensibility that makes you all active collaborators in the field of the Lord.
Shun, all of you together, the ephemeral weeds of banality and squalor, and cultivate flowers of luxuriant beauty that exude the perfume of the Spirit. May your voices be a prophecy of the Word that proclaims a radiant dawn of hope in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
And these are some passages of the address that pope Wojtyla – in the serious game played by professor Baroffio – is imagined to have written, but not delivered, for the feast of saint Cecilia in 2003:
”For this I ask forgiveness today...”
by “John Paul II, November 22, 2003
Beloved brothers in the episcopate! Beloved believers in Christ Jesus, the blessed!
[...] On a number of occasions during my long pontificate I have felt the urgency of asking forgiveness for the faults that have stained the Church over the course of the centuries. [...]
In the area of music, during recent decades and also during my pontificate, I have witnessed a phenomenon harmful to the entire Church. [...] I have been astonished myself – and for this I ask forgiveness from God today, and ask for clemency from you – by the secular mentality that nests in so many pockets of ecclesial life.
[...] I have permitted the ways of the world to enter into the temple, with proposals prompted by the fear of not having followers, and suggested by the need for immediate and reassuring results. I have forgotten what a wise friend of mine, cardinal Suenens, said during the days of the council: “He who marries fashion today is a widower tomorrow.”
I have favored in everything the fashion for banality, permitting a tide of bizarre noises to smother the Gregorian melodies which are prayers before they are songs. Why? Because of the simple fact that at a certain moment – as a faithful friend of God, the rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, has revealed in the Jewish camp – we, too, were concerned more with filling the places of worship with anonymous crowds than with exerting ourselves as much as possible to fill the hearts of the faithful with the Word of God. [...]
I have in fact permitted, among other things, the expulsion of Gregorian chant from the liturgy, and I have favored, instead, the spread of noisy and sappy things which, apart from their artistic incoherence, are not capable of orienting hearts toward God. [...]
With nothing but pretty words of praise for Gregorian chant, I have contributed to the commission of a theft that I hope is not irretrievable.
I have deprived the people of God of a good that was given by the Spirit through the mission of so many poets and cantors who throughout the centuries have constructed that monument to God, with its character of beauty. In part for this reason, many celebrations, I am told, are moments of alienation in an annoyance and distress that cannot be compensated by a legalistic praxis.
And I have something to say to you, young people from all over the world whom I hold close to my heart. [...] I think with sadness of the euphoria that has pervaded so many of our massive encounters, which have often been like soap bubbles that have disappeared into nothingness, leaving bitter tears of burning disappointment. [...]
I would like, finally, to urge the pastors to restate forcefully the centrality of the liturgical life and its music in Christian existence.
Indifference toward sacred music is all the more blameworthy insofar as such an attitude in fact conceals a total lack of interest in the liturgy itself. I am talking about the liturgy and sacred music, and not about their vile substitutes.
The authenticity of the liturgical experience is not confirmed by the enthusiastic welcome of the moment, by the crowd pressing in against the aged pontiff. The liturgy is authentic through the charity that works invisibly, and is nourished by the silence of adoration.
This is the silence from which Gregorian chant was born more than a thousand years ago, a silence that even today is the only vital space in which the new singing for the liturgy of tomorrow can take shape. [...]
Forgive me, brothers and sons! May God grant me a son’s audacity to turn to Him, aided by the singing of your assemblies.
Exert yourselves in finding, in the fear and trembling of adoration, the way to recover Gregorian chant: the guide along our journey of faith, the light that illumines the words of the eternal Father and of his blessed Son, in the gentle power of the Spirit. Amen!
Giacomo Baroffio, the author of the texts presented above, is one of the world’s foremost scholars of Gregorian chant, ancient Roman chant, Ambrosian chant, and medieval liturgies.
He teaches the history of medieval music and the history of the liturgy at the University of Pavia – in the faculty of musicology in Cremona – and medieval musical paleography at the Catholic University of Milan.
From 1982 to 1995, he has been an instructor of Gregorian chant, and rector of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in Rome, the Holy See’s musical conservatory.
Born in Novara in 1940, he studied violin and harmony in Italy, musicology, art history, philosophy, and liturgy in Germany, and in Rome – as a Benedictine – theology and monastic spirituality.
He is director of the “Rivista Internazionale di Musica Sacra.” He is the author of books and essays published in multiple languages. He has produced and conducted recordings of Gregorian and Ambrosian chant.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 10/10/2006 19.38]
| 10/14/2006 1:44 AM
| If I were a priest, this is what I would write about the two forms of the Mass that may soon be able to 'co-exist' openly side by side. This is by Fr Jim Tucker, who describes himself as a Gen-X priest on his blog Dappled Things at
REFLECTIONS ON THE OLD MASS AND THE NEW MASS
I've held up on commenting on any of the rumors about an imminent universal indult for the traditional Roman Mass, commonly called the Tridentine Mass, mainly because I thought the rumors were mainly wishful thinking. The latest rumors seem much more solid, though, so a few words might be in order...
As all of our readers know, I've been involved with the Old Mass for a long while, and I attribute my love for liturgy in general almost wholly to my early introduction to the Traditional Rite, starting with studying my grandmother's old missal* when I was in elementary school.
I have long found great richness within it and encourage as many people as possible to become familiar with it, in the hope that they will find that same richness.
...The classical Roman Rite is not some strange, fringe interest that can be pushed into a dusty little corner of the liturgical closet in the hopes that it will go away.
It's not an extremist thing, even though some of its most vocal advocates are quite extreme themselves.
It's not elitist or exclusivist. And although it is quite traditional, the Old Rite is not necessarily "conservative" in some sort of political sense, nor is it an attempt to "turn back the clocks" to 1952.
That certain voices in favor of the Old Mass are also bitter, strident, and hateful has next to nothing to do with the Mass: rather, it's an unwarranted but ultimately understandable effect of the attempts to isolate and ostracize and back into a corner those who cling to this venerable old thing of beauty
What, then, is the Old Rite? It is the normal way in which Western Christians, both good ones and bad, educated and illiterate, have worshiped God for well over a thousand years. It is the historical mainstream
Like a great oak tree, it changes slowly from century to century, from locale to locale, building always on what went before and extending its heavy limbs toward the future.
If you want to understand the faith ,life and spiritual experience of all the generations that went before us in these lands that were evangelized from Rome, it is to the Old Mass and the old Canonical Hours that you must always return
. It is the farthest thing from an extremist fringe.
If the celebration of the traditional Roman Mass does indeed become, as is hoped, radically expanded at the Pope's initiative, there are a number of benefits I would expect to see.
(1) Even if the New Rite remains the normal form of worship (as most of us expect it will), the priests and people will be put back into contact with the "Mother Rite," so to speak.
That may help the New Mass to regain its Roman birthright and the gravity that can sometimes go missing.
(2) It will help clarify in people's minds the traditional understanding of what Liturgy is for: Christ the Head leading His Spirit-filled Body, the Church, in the perfect, sacrifical adoration of the Eternal Father, Whose mercy there descends upon us.
All of that is present in the New Rite, even though the past few decades have forced the Mass occasionally to serve other purposes.
As part of this, familiarity with the classical Roman Rite will make the Eastern Liturgies seem much less foreign.
(3) It will finally shatter the silly, Orwellian attempts (which have been steadily crumbling these last ten years) to regard traditional Liturgy and its accoutrements as taboo and not to be mentioned in correct ecclesiastical company.
(4) Tied to the prior item, a freer use of the Old Rite will de-politicize it. As it returns to mainstream use, the Old Rite will cease to be the preserves of the fringe (where that has happened).
All of this may well be (as some have suggested) a prelude to a "reform of the reform," revising the New Rite into a form more organically derived from what preceded it, as the Council called for.
I've managed to write all of this without having used the word "Latin" even once. For, while the Latin language does have pride of place in the Roman Rite (even in the New Rite, at least according to the law), none of this primarily about Latin versus the vernacular.
Even though my own personal preference is for the Old Rite completely in Latin, I would take the Old Rite in good English over the New one in Latin any day
The genius of the Old Rite, to my mind, lies not in the language used so much as in the ceremonial employed, and what that signifies
If we do see a reform of the reform, its greatest effect will be not in replacing English with Latin, but with re-emphasizing and (where they've been cut out) restoring certain ritual forms that have long characterized Roman worship.
In particular? I think the chief re-emphasis of any liturgical reform of the reform will be restoring eastward worship, a subject on which both the Pope and his choice for Secretary of the Congregation of Sacraments and Divine Worship have already spoken. I'm quite optimistic about the likelihood of this particular change within the next few decades.
Whatever the near-term future holds for the Old Rite, I think it's important for traditional Catholics to be gracious -- not resorting to spiteful comments about the New Mass (even when those comments seem justified)*, not using the Old Mass as a yardstick of someone's orthodoxy or sanctity, and not trying to make it a stand-offish enclave of like-minded right-wingers. Catholics who aren't liturgical traditionalists have some challenges, too.
They ought to show interest in this rich patrimony of all Latin Rite Catholics and try to educate themselves about it and participate in it on occasion.
They should set aside the negative caricatures that they have been fed and try to keep their minds open.
And they need to hold back from the temptation to judge the Old Rite by rules that pertain properly to the New.
And both "sides" need to avoid any tendencies to see the two Rites in hostile competition with each other, as though the flourishing of one must harm the well-being of the other.
Instead, together let's take full advantage of what may well be a great spiritual opportunity.
*And I can fully use my Missal again - the best gift I ever got as a child, a 'Misal Completo para Los Fieles' in Spanish and Latin, edited by a Jesuit priest and published in Valencia in 1951 - a First Communion gift when I was 7. [Although the so-called 'Proper' parts - those that are specific to the liturgy of the day - will probably change to reflect what the current prescribed Liturgy of the Day is.]
What a beautiful opening the old Mass has - from Psalm 42! After the Sign of the Cross, the first words are:
Priest- Introibo ad altare Dei. (I go to the altar of God)
Response- Ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.
(To God who gives joy to my youth.)
- And now, I see how literally true that was, for me!
**I must plead 'mea culpa to this - though my comments have been more despairing-derogatory rather than spiteful.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 14/10/2006 1.56]
| 10/17/2006 5:56 PM
Registered in: 11/23/2005
'I said a prayer'
Phil McCord, burdened with vision problems, prayed to Mother Theodore Guerin. Now, his eye is better -- and she has been made a saint
October 17, 2006
BY JERRY DAVICH Post-Tribune
The canonization Sunday of Mother Theodore Guerin by Pope Benedict XVI wouldn't have taken place if not for a former Valparaiso, Ind., engineer with chronic vision problems -- a Baptist, no less -- who offered her an offhand prayer.
"If you have God's ear," Phil McCord told her in 2001, "I would appreciate it."
Then, he says, a miracle happened.
In an interview, McCord, who now lives in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Ind., where Guerin lived, retraced his steps leading to her second reported miracle -- and his first.
McCord, a civil engineer, almost strolled past the Church of the Immaculate Conception on that January morning in 2001. He heard organ music echo in the hallway. It sounded peaceful. It sounded joyous. It sounded like a reason to go inside. He sat in a pew near the altar, not exactly to pray but to have an informal chat with God.
"God, you've probably heard about my eye problems," McCord said. "Of course, you have. You're God. Well, anyway . . ."
'A joyous place'
McCord, former director of engineering at Porter Hospital in Valparaiso, suffered with poor eyesight since he was 6 and was forced to wear thick glasses. By his 50s, his vision was much worse, with advanced cataracts in both eyes, and myopia and astigmatism so bad it blurred any hope for corrective surgery.
In 1998, McCord headed to a new job as director of facilities management at the Sisters of Providence, a Roman Catholic convent in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, just northwest of Terre Haute, Ind. He fell in love with the peaceful 1,200-acre grounds of the convent, founded in 1841 by Blessed Mother Theodore (Anne-Therese) Guerin, who'd come from France after a request from the bishop in Vincennes, Ind.
McCord remembers looking out his guest-house window one morning during the interview process. He saw horses prancing on a fresh blanket of snow, their breath visible in the crisp air. He saw what Guerin saw more than 150 years earlier. He saw his future.
"This," he told his wife, "is a joyous place.''
A prayer for help
On Sept. 21, 2000, McCord underwent surgery on his worse eye, his left. It helped. But a second surgery a month later, on his right eye, didn't help.
He was sent to a specialist who recommended a cornea transplant, a procedure that carried a risk of blindness.
McCord was scared, unsure of the right decision. He took some time to consider his future. This is when McCord heard that inviting organ music and ditched work for 10 minutes to go inside. He asked for help. He asked for peace of mind. He didn't ask for a miracle cure.
He added a few words for Guerin, figuring he is, in a way, her employee. Plus, he might as well cover all his bases.
"Blessed Mother, if you have any intercessions with God, I'd really appreciate some help here," he said.
Then, he exhaled a big sigh and told himself, "OK, I can do this."
As a kid raised in Anderson, Ind., McCord attended an American Baptist church, either willingly or dragged by his father, a lay minister. McCord said he has always been a believer, though not preachy.
A surprise in the mirror
When he looked in a mirror the day after his church chats, to see if he needed a shave, he had a hard time explaining what he saw.
The chronic droopiness and redness in his right eye was gone, the swelling, too.
"That's odd," he thought.
He told his wife, Debbie, a nurse. She asked: Can you see out of it any better?
Not completely, he replied.
Then, it isn't restored, she said.
Wishful thinking, he figured.
'I beg your pardon?'
But he went back to his doctor, the one who'd scheduled the cornea transplant. The doctor looked into McCord's eye and said, "Hmmm."
McCord asked: "Hmmm, what?"
Your eye is better, the doctor told him. You don't need surgery.
"I beg your pardon?" McCord replied.
The doctor asked what specialist McCord had visited and what he'd done to help his eye.
"I said a prayer," McCord told him.
Well, the doctor said, whatever you did worked.