Thursday, July 26, 2007

St. Joachim and St. Anne

From Catholic News Agency:

St. Joachim and St. Anne were Jesus' grandparents and Mother Mary's parents. The Gospels don't tell us anything about this couple. Still, devotion to the couple, especially St. Anne, is great and dates back to the sixth century in the Church of Constantinople and the eighth century in Rome. It increased even more in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The only writings that exist about St. Joachim and St. Anne are found in the Protogospel of John, which was not included in the canon of Scripture.

Ala The Sopranos Cat Plays Furry Grim Reaper


Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours.

His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Feast of Saint James the Apostle

From Vultus Christi:

An Eye-Witness of the Transfiguration

When one considers that James was an eye–witness of the Transfiguration, the deeper meaning of today’s First Reading comes into focus. While James looked on, together with Peter and with his brother John, Jesus “was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became white as light” (Mt 17:2). The splendour of Jesus’ Face burned itself indelibly into the heart of James. Contemplating the Face of the transfigured Jesus, James was filled with “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God” (2 Cor 4:6). This is the treasure that Saint James carried in a shell of fragile earthenware: his own human weakness.


The Transfiguration reveals the treasure; the agony in the garden of Gethsemani reveals to us the fragility of the earthen vessels. To Peter, James, and John, Jesus said, “Remain here and watch with me” (Mt 26:38), but after His prayer to the Father, he found them sleeping. Again, a second time, He asked these, his intimate companions, to watch and pray, warning them of the weakness of the flesh, and again He came and “found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy” (Mt 26:43). And so it happened a third time but, by then, the hour of Jesus’ betrayal was already at hand (Mt 26:45). The radiant memory of Jesus transfigured, “the knowledge of the glory of God” (2 Cor 4:6), was held in earthen vessels: in the hearts of men who could not watch even one hour with their Master in his agony.

Discouraged and Weary

Tradition recounts that after Pentecost Saint James went to preach the Gospel in far off Spain. There his work met with little response. In fact, the Apostle found hostility and active resistance to his preaching. James grew discouraged and, in his weariness, began to question his mission. In this, there is not a priest alive who, at certain moments, cannot identify with Saint James.

Also you can read what Pope Benedict XVI says about Saint James in:

The Search for Old Vestments

An opportunity for vestment makers everywhere, from Reuters:

Both Siffi and Medlin are involved in de facto traditionalist "matchmaking", linking people who have old vestments or other paraphernalia with those seeking them.

After the changes in the 1960s and 1970s much of the material was thrown out, sold to antiquarians or stashed away in dusty cupboards of rectories or church attics.

"Gradually, these objects are being made available for use again," said Medlin.

One hard-to-find item is the "burse": a stiff, cardboard pocket between nine and twelve inches square. It must be covered in silk and of a color to match the mass vestments.

The burse, which fell out of use after the Second Vatican Council, is effectively a pouch which holds the "corporal", a square piece of white linen cloth on which the chalice is placed during the mass.

Another piece of paraphernalia now being sought is the "maniple", a napkin-like vestment which hangs from the priest's left forearm during mass.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Me as a Simpson

2007 Political Activity Guidelines for Catholic Organizations

From the USCCB, here is a sampling:

Columnists. Generally, the statements of columnists appearing in a Catholic organization periodical are attributable to the organization. Catholic organizations typically pay for columns that appear in their publications, either through salary or syndication payments. Even if a columnist is unpaid, the opinion expressed may nonetheless be attributed to the Catholic organization, especially if the columnist is a Church official, because the periodical constitutes an official publication of the Catholic organization and the organization exercises editorial control over its columnists. Opinion columns are not analogous to unsolicited letters to the editor (see below). Accordingly, prudence dictates that Catholic periodicals reject columns that endorse, support, or oppose candidates.

Photo Ops. It is not unusual, during the heat of a campaign, for a candidate or campaign organization to contact a Catholic organization requesting some accommodation, which might range from a photo opportunity at a Catholic school, health care facility or homeless shelter, a "meet and greet" with the bishop or pastor, an appearance at a sponsored event, to other forms of access to Catholic populations. It is difficult to generalize about the appropriateness of such requests from a section 501(c)(3) perspective. In addition, (arch)dioceses may have local policies regulating such access. A Catholic organization receiving an accommodation request should inform the candidate immediately of its status as a section 501(c)(3) organization, the limitations imposed by the political campaign intervention prohibition, and the need for further consultation. The organization should then contact the (arch)diocese concerning the existence of any local policy governing the request. If no local policy would bar the request, local legal counsel should be consulted to evaluate the applicability of the political campaign intervention prohibition.

Voter Guides -- Candidate Questionnaires. Candidate Questionnaires. Polling candidates or asking candidates to complete questionnaires designed to elicit their positions on various issues is a neutral activity, assuming that the questions themselves do not exhibit bias. It is only when the results are disseminated during an election campaign that the political campaign activity prohibition becomes a potential issue. IRS has identified the following criteria for determining whether publication or distribution of candidate questionnaire results violates the political campaign activity prohibition: (a) whether the questionnaire is sent to all candidates; (b) whether candidates are given a reasonable period of time to respond; (c) if given a limited choice of responses, whether candidates are also given a reasonable opportunity to offer explanations that are included in the voter guide; (d) whether all responses are published; (e) whether the questions indicate bias toward the sponsoring organization's preferred answer; (f) whether the responses are compared to the sponsoring organization's positions on the issues; (g) whether the responses are published as received, without editing by the sponsoring organization; and (h) whether a wide range of issues of interest to voters is covered. The range of issues criterion is contextual; it depends on the particular office being sought. Thus, candidates for local school board need not be queried on foreign policy. Rather, they can be questioned on a broad range of education issues relevant to school board office. [See: Rev. Rul. 2007-41 at 1421; Election Year Issues at 371-2; Rev. Rul. 78-248, 1978-1 C.B. 154, Situation 4.]

Cardinal Levada on Document and Motu Proprio

From The Weekly San Francisco:

During a July 17 interview while visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, Cardinal Levada commented on his congregation's work, Pope Benedict XVI's recent instruction on the Tridentine Latin Mass, themes of the young papacy, and challenges facing the universal Church today.

The cardinal was quick to describe as "purely coincidental" the fact that his congregation's document on the nature of the Church was made public only three days after the pope's announcement of his decision to allow broader use of the Tridentine liturgical rite.

Many commentaries have linked the two. "Many have tried to see it as some kind of one - two punch," Cardinal Levada laughed, "but the truth is that it is simply a coincidence that they were published in such proximity."

In restoring easier access "to the principal way of worship in the Church for more than 400 years," the pontiff "expressed a great generosity" toward persons intensely devoted to the Tridentine Latin Mass, the cardinal said.

The papal directive "was not primarily aimed at the United States," he said, adding that he feels it will have more impact in France, Germany and Switzerland and little effect in Latin America or Italy.

Turning to the doctrinal congregation's recent commentary, "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church," the cardinal said it grew out of extensive conversation and collaboration with theological consultants to the CDF and others, as well as a broad review of published materials.

The document addresses five questions about the nature of the Church "and all five are a commentary on Vatican II documents," the cardinal said, adding, "It has the advantage of collecting all that has happened since Vatican II up to the present time" and explaining how Church articulation of its own nature as well as its views of other Christian communities have developed.

He said he has been "somewhat surprised" at the amount of "ecumenical commentary" the document has generated. "It is primarily a document addressed to Catholics as believers and teachers and is intended to clarify the teachings of the Second Vatican Council," he said, "especially the teaching on the nature of the Church."

That teaching, he said, has been skewed by those who argue "that the Church of Christ can subsist in churches outside the Catholic Church, but that is not the case."

Cardinal Zen Warns Against Confusion

Surrounding Pope's Letter to the Chinese Catholics, from Asia News Italy:

It is not true that the letter Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Chinese Catholics says that bishops from the underground Church can concelebrate services with “all” bishops from the official Church. It is not correct to claim that the letter says that there are no more reasons for the existence of the underground Church or that “underground” bishops are urged to seek recognition of state authorities. It is not true that there are no more canonical sanctions against unlawfully ordained bishops. This in a nutshell is the reply Card Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, bishop of Hong Kong, delivered to a July 6 article by Fr Jeroom Heyndrickx, head of the Ferdinand Verbiest Foundation at Leuven’s Catholic University (Belgium), that appeared in the UCA News agency (the cardinal’s reply was published on July 18 and Father Heyndrickx’s counter-reply on the 20).

Cardinal Zen does acknowledge that the Belgian sinologist loves China and “has done a lot of work” to bring together “the Chinese Catholic community with the universal Church.” However, he is concerned that the latter’s “every initiative needs the approval of Mr. Liu (Banian) of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CCPA), and has to be carried out according to conditions imposed by him.” This is the same Mr Liu who is the CCPA deputy chairman and whose “enormous power . . . has allowed him to oppress and humiliate our bishops.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Fr. Z "I don’t think you will go to hell if you read Harry Potter."

Hard to figure why everyone gets so in a tither about Harry Potter. Nancy Brown has written an excelent Catholic Family Guide(notice it is a Catholic family guide...very nuanced in what she says--it would be wrong to characterize it as pro or con) which she deals with all the issue. Now the very orthodox Catholic priest, Father Z gives his take on it:

I will say, however, that this book is all about finding one’s way through loss, trying to find identity and peace when life has been so truncated at its very start. The loss of Harry’s parents while so young deals a profound wound which does not heal in him. He always looking for his father in father figures in the whole series and everyone of them is stripped away from him with violence. He finds surrogates and redemptive figures all along the way. He has close friends and even an adoptive family who shares his pains but only in part. He is always very much alone. The bildungsroman is always going to be popular, but with the fracturing of families today, the confusion and wounds and the never-healing loneliness many young people have grown up with over the last decades, I understand how these books have met with such success.

Rowlings has tapped a dark and bloody vein in our post-Christian psyche.

St. Bridget of Sweden

Today's feast, from her Revelations:

Now, however, I am totally forgotten, neglected and scorned, like a king cast out of his own kingdom in whose place a wicked thief has been elected and honored. 5 I wanted my kingdom to be within the human person, and by right I should be king and lord over him, since I made him and redeemed him. Now, however, he has broken and profaned the faith he promised me at baptism. He has violated and rejected the laws I set up for him. He loves his self-will and scornfully refuses to listen to me. Besides, he exalts that most wicked thief, the devil, above me and pledges him his faith. 6 The devil really is a thief, since, by evil temptations and false promises, he steals for himself the human soul that I redeemed with my own blood. It is not because he is more powerful, as it were, than I am that he is able to steal it, since I am so powerful that I can do all things by a single word, and I am so just that I would not commit the least injustice, not even if all the saints asked me to. However, since man, who has been given free will, voluntarily scorns my commandments and consents to the devil, then it is only just that he should also experience the devil's tyranny. 7 The devil was created good by me but fell through his own wicked will and has, as it were, become my servant for inflicting retribution on the wicked.[2] Although I am now so despised, nevertheless I am still so merciful that I will forgive the sins of any who ask for my mercy and who humble themselves, and I shall free them from the evil thief. 8 But I shall visit my justice upon those who persist in holding me in contempt, and hearing it they will tremble and those who experience it will say: 'Alas, that we were ever born or conceived, alas, that we ever provoked the Lord of majesty to wrath!'

Archbishop Bars Deacon from Preaching

The Deacon's Bench has the story.

Archbishop Bars Deacon from Preaching

Latin Professor, Fr. Reginal Foster, A Nudist?

From Matt Abbott: Nudist priest: Latin Mass 'useless'

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pope Calls for an End to All Wars (compare the two versions)

Perhaps a hint of the encyclical he is working on?

First from Asia News Italy:

“Never again war!”: from the mountains of Cadore, a place of great natural beauty that was transformed into a theatre of slaughter during the First World War, Benedict XVI launched an appeal that the path of peace and dialogue be chosen above conflict. The mountains around Lorenzago where the Pope is spending his vacation this year, still bear the scares of trenches and dig outs, built by the soldiers of the war. Recalling that “Great War” and the appeal launched by Benedict XVI, who in 1917 asked the world to stop the “senseless slaughter”, the Pope dedicated the words pronounced before the Angelus prayer in Piazza Calvi, of Lorenzago di Cadore, to the value of peace.

There to hear his words, among the festive crowds of faithful and tourists, was also the Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal Angelo Scola, the bishop of Hong Kong, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, who had travelled to Cadore with a group of deacons and their families, the president of the Italian bishops conference, Msgr. Angelo Bagnasco, the bishop of Belluno-Feltre, Msgr. Giuseppe Andrich, the bishop of Treviso, Msgr. Andrea Bruno Mazzocato, Edoardo Luciani, brother of John Paul I – whom the Pope described as “my great friend” - and representatives of the lay associations from the diocese of Belluno-Feltre, whom he greeted after the Marian prayer.

“In these days of rest, - said the Pope - I feel even more intensely the painful impact of the news I receive about bloody conflicts and violent events happening in so many parts of the world. This leads me to reflect once again on the dramatic situation of human freedom in the world. The beauty of nature reminds us that we were instructed by God to cultivate and keep this garden that is the earth (Gen 2, 8-17). If men lived in peace with God and with each other, the earth really would look like a 'heaven'”.

“Unfortunately sin has ruined this divine project – continued Benedict XVI – generating division and allowing death to enter this world. Thus men by succumbing to the temptations of Evil, make war with each other. The consequence is that in this stupendous garden which is the world, there is now room for hell. War, with its after effects of destruction and death, has always been rightly considered a calamity which contrasts God’s project, who created everything to give life and who wants to make mankind one family”.

The Pope therefore re-evoked the appeal launched by Benedict XV 90 years ago on August 1st 1917, when he asked the nations at war to put an end to that inhuman conflict which he had the courage to define as a “senseless slaughter”. “This expression of his – continued the Pope – is carved into history. It was justified by the concrete situation of the summer of 1917, especially by what was taking place on this North Italian front. But those words ‘senseless slaughter’, contain a greater more prophetic value and can be applied to the many other conflicts which have cruelly broken countless lives. This very land were we find ourselves, which emanates peace and harmony, was a theatre of the First World War, as many testimonies and some moving Alpine songs still recall today. These events must not be forgotten! We must treasure the negative experiences which our fathers unfortunately had to suffer, so they will never happen again. Pope Benedict XV’s Nota did not limit itself to condemning the war; it also indicated, along juridical lines, the ways to build a just and lasting peace: the moral force of law, balanced and controlled disarmament, arbitration in controversy, the freedom of the seas, the reciprocal remission of war costs, the restitution of seized lands and fair negotiations to resolve outstanding issues”.

“The Holy See proposal was directed towards the future of Europe and of the world, according to a project inspired by Christianity, but open to all because founded on the rights of the people. It is the same imposition which the Servants of God Paul Vi and John Paul II followed in their memorable addresses to the United Nations Assembly, repeating in the name of the Church: ‘Never again war!’. From this place of peace, in which the horrors of ‘senseless slaughter’ are amplified’, – ha concluded the Pope – I renew my appeal to tenaciously pursue the rule of law, to refute with determination any recourse to arms and the temptation to apply old systems to new realities”.

Then from the wire services as taken here from Forbes:

Pope Benedict XVI called Sunday for an end to all wars, saying they were "useless slaughters" that bring hell to paradise on Earth.

Benedict made the appeal in this small mountain town in Italy's Veneto region while on vacation. He recalled that 90 years ago - on Aug. 1, 1917 - predecessor Pope Benedict XV urged a similar end to the first World War, then ravaging this part of northern Italy.

"While this inhuman conflict raged, the pope had the courage to affirm that it was a 'useless slaughter,'" Benedict said. "These words - 'useless slaughter' - contained a fuller prophetic value that can be applied to so many other conflicts that have cut off countless human lives."

Benedict didn't cite any conflicts in particular in his comments to several hundred faithful gathered in the main piazza of Lorenzago di Cadore for his traditional Sunday blessing. Rather, he made a general appeal.

"From this place of peace, where one still senses how unacceptable the horrors of 'useless slaughters' are, I renew the appeal to pursue the path of rights, to strongly refuse the recourse to weapons and refuse to confront new situations with old systems," he said.

Notice the avoidance of real reporting in the second, while the search for a sensational headline.

Father Mark's Retreat to the Bridgettines in Darien

Nothing Happens Without Your Permitting It

Tammy Faye Messner Dies at 65

I met her once in July of 2003 in Orlando at the Christian Bookseller's Convention. Mentioned here and here.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Brownback Launches Catholic Coalition

From the Des Moines Register:

U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback today announced he's formed a coalition of Roman Catholics to build support for his presidential campaign and spread what he contends is the most authentic social-conservative message in the GOP race.

Brownback, of Kansas, unveiled the Iowa Catholics for Brownback Leadership Team at a midday news conference, flanked by conservative Catholics and members of his campaign. The 144-member group was created to organize conservatives as Brownback’s campaign braces for the Iowa GOP straw poll Aug. 11.

In an interview, Brownback said the campaign had singled out Catholics for the announcement to tap so-called values voters who are generally religious, opposed to abortion and against non-traditional forms of marriage.

The Pope on Vacation

Video of Pope in the mountains

Hat tip Father Z.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pope to US in the Spring--Canada in June?

From Western Catholic Reporter:

A statement issued July 16 by Joseph Zwilling, New York archdiocesan communications director, was apparently the first official indication that such a visit would take place in the spring.

Zwilling told Catholic News Service July 16 that unnamed sources said the pope would visit in the spring instead of late September, when the new session of the UN General Assembly opens, because of next year's presidential elections. It would be Pope Benedict's first visit to the United Nations and his first visit as pope to the United States...

...The pope is also expected to come to Canada for the International Eucharistic Congress next June 15-22 in Quebec City.

Pope Benedict to Promote Women to Vatican Top Jobs

So says Cardinal Bertone...from Monsters and Critics:

'Everybody knows we are discussing new appointments at the Vatican,' said Tarcisio Bertone, who as its secretary of state is one of the Vatican's most influential figures after the pope, 'I certainly think some of these will be taken by women.'

Bertone singled out women's charisma, potential and sense of responsibility as qualities that could help them 'render great services' to the pope and the Church.

Sheila Rauch Kennedy on Annulments

Most Catholics don't know that they can appeal a decision rendered by a Diocesan tribunal in this country by going to the Vatican as she did...she muses on the whole annulment process and in the end suggest adopting the Orthodox model:

From the The 'loose canon' in the Catholic Church:

Perhaps an answer is closer than we think. The Catholic Church might look to its sister institution, the Orthodox Church, and to Catholic marriage rules in other situations for a solution to the divorce dilemma. In the Orthodox Church, marriages may be viewed as valid without being "sacramental," a distinction the Catholic Church currently makes when its members marry people who are not baptized Christians. In such cases, after pastoral counseling, the Catholic spouses are still welcomed to Communion and confession.

Such an approach may not be perfect, but it's preferable to the sham of easy annulment.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

NY Times Book Review of Last Harry Potter Book

Obtained by a retailer who did not observe the embargo:

For Harry Potter, Good Old-Fashioned Closure

The Jewishness of the Roman Rite

From First Things:

In my experience, Catholics who have an affinity for the particularly Judaic character of their Christian faith are more likely to be drawn to the Tridentine Mass than are Catholics for whom Judaism is a category on the other side of a boundary they would consider it bad manners to try to cross. You might think that, while Reform Catholics were on the subject of Catholic liturgy and Judaism, they would ask what happened to the Church’s observance of the event that most vividly marks Jesus as Jewish. The establishment of the 1970 missal as normative was accompanied by a certain curious change in the liturgical calendar: The Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord, on January 1, eight days after the celebration of his birth, wasn’t just moved. It was eliminated.

Of the criticisms that early Protestants leveled against Catholicism, the one that arguably cut deepest was that the Church presumed to revive the Levitical priesthood, which the spilling of Christ’s blood on Calvary now rendered obsolete. They inveighed passionately against the Mass, which they saw as overtly Judaic in its tone, structure, and purpose. (This Jewishness they objected to was largely a theological construct, not to be confused with the social and cultural construct of Judaism familiar to students of Jewish Studies departments at American universities.)

Protestants were correct that the Mass, in its aspect as a sacrifice, could not be fully understood outside the framework of pre-rabbinic Judaism. By the middle of the twentieth century, when Rome’s wish for some thaw in its cold war with Protestantism was in full bloom, it reformed the Mass such that the visible and audible distinctions between Mass and the worship services of the mainline Protestant churches were now greatly softened. Many Catholics saw it as an appropriate ecumenical gesture. So did many Protestants. Whether that step in the direction of Wittenberg and Geneva was deliberate or unconscious, what it was a step away from was Jerusalem, from the Temple and the daily sacrifice priests used to perform there.

E. Michael Jones

Papal Visit to US Could Come as Early as Spring 08

Strikes me they already know the date...from the New York Times in an otherwise ugly story:

“Practically the first thing Cardinal Egan did after Pope Benedict was elected was to invite him to New York,” Mr. Zwilling said, referring to Cardinal Edward M. Egan. “We had been hoping he would be willing to come. We first got word of this several months ago that the pope had accepted the invitation of Ban Ki-moon to address the United Nations. A few days later the Holy See made it clear it would not be in 2007, so from that point on we anticipated it would be in 2008.” Mr. Zwilling added that the visit to New York could occur as early as the spring, but cautioned that no firm date had been set.

Vatican City Web Site

Web Cams and info...Vatican City

New Bishop Named for Pittsburgh

Bishop David A. Zubik of Green Bay, WI

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pope Regularly Uses Older Rite?

Report from Catholic World News:

Informed sources at the Vatican have confirmed reports that the Holy Father regularly celebrates Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal.

In his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum the Pope says that the older form-- the form in universal use before the liturgical changes that followed Vatican II-- was never abrogated.

Since becoming Roman Pontiff, Benedict XVI has always used the new ritual-- which he identifies in Summorum Pontificum as the "ordinary form" of the Roman rite-- for public celebrations of the Eucharistic liturgy. However few people have witnessed the Pope celebrating his private daily Mass.

I'd like to spontaneously ask the Holy Father to be able to attend.

Happy Birthday!

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Monday, July 16, 2007

THE POPE TALKS LIKE A CATHOLIC: Why That's Good News to Protestants

CommentaryBy Canon Gary L'Hommedieu

Nazareth Wants World's Largest Cross

From the Jerusalem Post:

The world's largest cross will be built in the Israeli Arab town of Nazareth in an attempt to draw millions of Christian tourists to the boyhood town of Jesus, according to an initial private building plan under consideration, officials said Sunday.

The proposal, which is still in its planning stages, is being floated by a group of affluent Christian businessmen from Israel and abroad.

The massive cross, dubbed "The Nazareth Cross," would tower 60 meters high, and would be decorated by some 7.2 million brilliant mosaic tiles made of Nazareth stone, according to project adviser Ibrahim Boulous.

How to Apply the Second Vatican Council

To Liturgy and Ecumenism, from Sandro Magister:

Just a few months ago, the French bishops were extremely concerned about the news that Benedict XVI was preparing to liberalize the celebration of the Mass labeled as that of Pius V. “Such a decision endangers the Church’s unity,” wrote the most alarmed of them.

Benedict XVI shot straight from the hip, with the “motu proprio” released on July 7. But there was no reaction of rejection from the French bishops. Nor was there from the bishops of the touchiest countries: Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain. On the contrary, their most authoritative leaders hailed the pope’s decision with positive comments: from the German cardinal Karl Lehmann to the English cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, both ranked among the progressives.

The same happened with the document released on July 10 by the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, which nails down some firm points of doctrine about the Church. There was no comparison with the criticisms that in the summer of 2000 were hurled – even by high-ranking churchmen – against the declaration “Dominus Iesus,” signed by then-cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, which to a great extent dealt with the same points of doctrine. Cardinal Walter Kasper, one of the critics back then, decisively supported the Vatican document this time: “Clearly stating one’s own positions does not limit ecumenical dialogue, but fosters it.” And from Moscow, metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk, president of the department for external relations at the Russian Orthodox patriarchate, described the text as “an honest declaration, because sincere dialogue requires a clear vision of the respective positions.”

Criticisms did arrive, naturally, against both of these promulgations, from within and outside of the Church, and especially from Protestants and Jews. But in the Catholic camp the protests were limited to confined sectors, mostly Italian: the sectors of the liturgists and of the intellectuals who interpret Vatican Council II as a “rupture” and a “new beginning.”

Among the liturgists, the one most pained in contesting the papal “motu proprio” was Luca Brandolini, bishop of Sora, Aquino, and Pontecorvo, and a member of the liturgical commission of the Italian bishops’ conference, in an interview with the newspaper “la Repubblica”:

“I cannot hold back my tears; I am living through the saddest moment of my life as a bishop and as a man. This is a day of mourning not only for me, but for the many who have lived and worked for Vatican Council II. What has been negated is a reform for which many worked at the cost of great sacrifices, motivated solely by the desire to renew the Church.”

Among the theorists of Vatican II as a “rupture” and a “new beginning,” the most explicit against the papal provisions were the founder and prior of the monastery of Bose, Enzo Bianchi, and the historian of Christianity Alberto Melloni, coauthor of the most widely read “History of Vatican Council II” in the world. For Melloni, the objective of pope Ratzinger is nothing less than that of “deriding” and “demolishing” Vatican Council II.

But instead it is known that Benedict XVI’s clear objective – plainly enunciated and argued in the memorable discourse to the Roman curia on December 22, 2005 – is that of freeing the Council from a particular interpretation: precisely the interpretation of “rupture” and “new beginning” dear to Bianchi and Melloni.

"The hermeneutic of discontinuity,” the pope said in this address, “risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church".

While instead the correct interpretation of Vatican Council II, in the view of Benedict XVI, is this:

“... the hermeneutic of reform, of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.”

We Have a Pope!

Diocese welcomes formerly schismatic nuns back into church

Latin Leaves Priests at a Loss

From the Guardian:

In nomine Patris, et, er, ... thingummy.

Pope Benedict may want more of his flock to have the chance to hear mass in Latin. But there is a snag. Not many of his priests know enough of the language to hold a service in it. Even in Italy.

Yesterday the newspaper La Stampa reported on priests' reactions to the Pope's decision this month to extend the use of the old Latin-only rite. Their views ranged from embarrassment to downright anger.

Pope Hopes to Visit USA Next Year

Hopefully, more than just the UN. From USA Today:

Pope Benedict XVI has a heavy international travel schedule coming up, with plans to deliver an important speech to diplomats in Vienna in September and confirmed trips to the United Nations, Australia and Lourdes, France in 2008, the Vatican spokesman said Sunday.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi did not specify what the speech would cover during the pope's Sept. 7-9 trip to Austria, but Lombardi said Benedict would deliver an "internationally important" speech to diplomats accredited to international organizations.

He said early plans are underway for a papal trip next year to the shrine at Lourdes, to mark the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the Madonna. The trip will also be a significant emotional one, Lombardi said, since Pope John Paul II's last foreign trip was to Lourdes.

"We also hope to go to the United Nations," Lombardi said. No date for the trip has been set.

The archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, has invited Benedict to visit Boston next year, saying it would help mend wounds from the clergy sexual abuse scandal that erupted in Boston.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Why Feminists Hate Harry Potter

In the current edition of The Wanderer by Pete Vere:

Harry Potter Christian litera­ture? A number of Catholic com­mentators, including those who have previously been critical of the children’s series, are begin­ning to ask this question. One such author is Nancy Carpentier Brown, who is well known with­in Catholic home- schooling cir­cles as a writer who promotes Catholic orthodoxy.

Our Sunday Visitor has just published Brown’s The Mystery of Harry Potterto read more...

Dr. Death and the U of Florida

Father Rob Johansen reports on the planned hosting of Dr. Jack Kevorkian and an organized move to protest that appearance and $50,000 payment!

The Media Just Doesn't Get It

Dave Hartline's got the goods...

My only comment is that it doesn't help that a good number of Catholic clergy, religious and laity don't get it either.

An Encyclical on Social Issues?

Something along those lines seems to be in the works, from the International Tribune:

Benedict said as he arrived in Lorenzago on Monday that he hoped to start writing the second volume of his book "Jesus of Nazareth" while on vacation. He also said he would begin writing an encyclical, which Lombardi said would be on a "social theme." News reports have suggested it would cover issues of globalization.

"There is also this idea about an encyclical, which, however, still seems to be at a very early stage, at the level of reflection on how it can be laid out, even though the social themes" are at the heart of it," Lombardi told RAI television. "It is still not at the level of production, of actual writing."

New Book Explores Soloviev's Views on a Modern Crisis

Enemies from the East?: V. S. Soloviev on Paganism, Asian Civilizations, and Islam (SRLT)


Most viewed picture on Yahoo (not for the squeamish):

Pope's Vacation Angelus

Reflects on next year's World Youth Day in Austrailia and on his present vacation--from Asia News Italy:

“Before the wonder of these pastures, forests and summits which rise towards the heavens – continued the pontiff – the soul spontaneously rises in a song of praise to God for the wonders of his works, and our admiration of nature’s beauty is easily transformed into prayer”.

Benedict XVI then urged everyone to use this period of vacation “to rest the body and nourish the spirit through greater space for prayer and meditation, thus deepening our personal relationship with Christ and in turn increasing our understanding of his teachings”.

Note the "tree man" in the picture...Amy will understand why I find this interesting.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Curious Boys

New Archbishop of Baltimore

Archbishop O'Brien...

The Holy Father appointed Archbishop Edwin Frederick O'Brien, military ordinary for the U.S.A., as metropolitan archbishop of Baltimore (area 12,430, population 3,055,477, Catholics 517,679, priests 545, permanent deacons 178, religious 1,380), U.S.A. He succeeds Cardinal William Henry Keeler, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

Answers to Questions Catholics are Asking

Ever since the Second Vatican Council....from the Congregation of the Faith:


The Second Vatican Council, with its Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen gentium," and its Decrees on Ecumenism (Unitatis redintegratio) and the Oriental Churches (Orientalium Ecclesiarum), has contributed in a decisive way to the renewal of Catholic ecclesiolgy. The Supreme Pontiffs have also contributed to this renewal by offering their own insights and orientations for praxis: Paul VI in his Encyclical Letter "Ecclesiam suam" (1964) and John Paul II in his Encyclical Letter "Ut unum sint" (1995). The consequent duty of theologians to expound with greater clarity the diverse aspects of ecclesiology has resulted in a flowering of writing in this field. In fact it has become evident that this theme is a most fruitful one which, however, has also at times required clarification by way of precise definition and correction, for instance in the declaration "Mysterium Ecclesiae" (1973), the Letter addressed to the Bishops of the Catholic Church "ommunionis notio" (1992), and the declaration "Dominus Iesus" (2000), all published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The vastness of the subject matter and the novelty of many of the themes involved continue to provoke theological reflection. Among the many new contributions to the field, some are not immune from erroneous interpretation which in turn give rise to confusion and doubt. A number of these interpretations have been referred to the attention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Given the universality of Catholic doctrine on the Church, the Congregation wishes to respond to these questions by clarifying the authentic meaning of some ecclesiological expressions used by the magisterium which are open to misunderstanding in the theological debate.


First Question: Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?

Response: The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it. This was exactly what John XXIII said at the beginning of the Council (1). Paul VI affirmed it (2) and commented in the act of promulgating the Constitution "Lumen gentium": "There is no better comment to make than to say that this promulgation really changes nothing of the traditional doctrine. What Christ willed, we also will. What was, still is. What the Church has taught down through the centuries, we also teach. In simple terms that which was assumed, is now explicit; that which was uncertain, is now clarified; that which was meditated upon, discussed and sometimes argued over, is now put together in one clear formulation" (3). The Bishops repeatedly expressed and fulfilled this intention (4).

Second Question: What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?

Response: Christ "established here on earth" only one Church and instituted it as a "visible and spiritual community" (5), that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. (6) "This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic […]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him" (7). In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution "Lumen Gentium" ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church (8), in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth. It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them. (9) Nevertheless, the word "subsists" can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the "one" Church); and this "one" Church subsists in the Catholic Church. (10)

Third Question: Why was the expression "subsists in" adopted instead of the simple word "is"?

Response: The use of this expression, which indicates the full identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church, does not change the doctrine on the Church. Rather, it comes from and brings out more clearly the fact that there are "numerous elements of sanctification and of truth" which are found outside her structure, but which "as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity" (11). "It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church" (12).

Fourth Question: Why does the Second Vatican Council use the term "Church" in reference to the oriental Churches separated from full communion with the Catholic Church?

Response: The Council wanted to adopt the traditional use of the term. "Because these Churches, although separated, have true sacraments and above all – because of the apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist, by means of which they remain linked to us by very close bonds" (13), they merit the title of "particular or local Churches" (14), and are called sister Churches of the particular Catholic Churches (15). "It is through the celebration of the Eucharist of the Lord in each of these Churches that the Church of God is built up and grows in stature" (16). However, since communion with the Catholic Church, the visible head of which is the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter, is not some external complement to a particular Church but rather one of its internal constitutive principles, these venerable Christian communities lack something in their condition as particular churches (17). On the other hand, because of the division between Christians, the fullness of universality, which is proper to the Church governed by the Successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him, is not fully realised in history (18).

Fifth Question: Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of "Church" with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?

Response: According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery (19) cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called "Churches" in the proper sense (20).

The Supreme Pontiff Benedict XVI, at the Audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, ratified and confirmed these Responses, adopted in the Plenary Session of the Congregation, and ordered their publication. Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, June 29, 2007, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. William Cardinal Levada Prefect Angelo Amato, S.D.B., Titular Archbishop of Sila Secretary

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Remember Who You Are

New Vatican document reasserts Catholic identity as stated by the Second Vatican promote true dialogue...


The document said the Council's opening to other faiths recognised there were "many elements of sanctification and truth" in other Christian denominations, but stressed only Catholicism had all the elements to be Christ's Church fully.
The text refers to "ecclesial communities originating from the Reformation", a term used to refer to Protestants and Anglicans. Father Augustine Di Noia, Under-Secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the document did not alter the commitment for ecumenical dialogue, but aimed to assert Catholic identity in those talks.
"The Church is not backtracking on ecumenical commitment," Di Noia told Vatican radio.
"But, as you know, it is fundamental to any kind of dialogue that the participants are clear about their own identity. That is, dialogue cannot be an occasion to accommodate or soften what you actually understand yourself to be."