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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Where is the Monolith?

The Dawn of Man
(according to Clarke and Kubrick)



Interfax has a commentary on the Pope's trip and its relationship to the rest of the Orthodox world. Though dated today (the 30th), it seems to have been written before the Pope left for Turkey.

The final paragraph (my bolding):

Meanwhile, the ecumenical vector of Benedict XVI’s policy seems to have grown ever more consistent after the first statement he made immediately after his election to the See of Rome, pledging to commit himself to the visible unity of Christian Churches. The Eastern Christian component of ecumenism appears to be a priority for the pope, who admitted a month ago a desire to bring nearer the moment of communion with the Orthodox Greeks. However, the historically establish multi-polar nature of the Orthodox world will demand that the Holy See elaborate as multi-component and multifaceted policy of relations with National Orthodox Churches. The meeting of the Orthodox-Catholic Theological Commission in September in Belgrade has reaffirmed that it is inadmissible to use uniform methods in the dialogue between the Roman Catholic West and the polycentric Orthodox East and that it is necessary to use individual reciprocal ways in every particular case. The Istanbul meeting between Benedict XVI and one of the Orthodox patriarchs, even if more ready than others to make a compromise on the issue of the papal primacy, will still remain a meeting between the leader of the Catholic world and the head of the Patriarchate of Constantinople. And the opinion of the religious leader of a comparatively small Greek flock to be expressed in a future joint declaration made together with the Pope of Rome will never become, however strong the wish, a testimony to an ‘ecumenical breakthrough’ in the awareness of the millions-strong Orthodox world.

Elena ZHOSUL,
Interfax-Religion observer

The Divine Liturgy

I will spare you all from massive excerpts. Amy Welborn has them all and links to the associated texts that came out of the Divine Liturgy celebrated today.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Discourses at the Church of St. George

Pope's Discourse at the Patriarchial Church of Saint George
Istanbul, November 29, 2006


“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity” (Ps 133:1)
[...]

I conclude by expressing once more my joy to be with you. May this meeting strengthen our mutual affection and renew our common commitment to persevere on the journey leading to reconciliation and the peace of the Churches.
I greet you in the love of Christ. May the Lord be always with you.

Welcome by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

We are deeply grateful to God that Your Holiness has taken similar steps today in the same spirit. We offer thanks to God in doxology and express thanks also to Your Holiness in fraternal love.

Beloved Brother, welcome. "Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord."

"Blessed is the Name of the Lord now and forevermore."

Homily at Ephesus

Mass before the Shrine of Meryem Ana Evi
Homily of the Holy Father, Ephesus, Wed. 29 Nov. 2006


Here are some passages that stood out with salient points bolded by me.

A privileged witness to that event was the author of the Fourth Gospel, John, the only one of the Apostles to remain at Golgotha with the Mother of Jesus and the other women. Mary’s motherhood, which began with her fiat in Nazareth, is fulfilled at the foot of the Cross. Although it is true – as Saint Anselm says – that “from the moment of her fiat Mary began to carry all of us in her womb”, the maternal vocation and mission of the Virgin towards those who believe in Christ actually began when Jesus said to her: “Woman, behold your son!” (Jn 19:26). Looking down from the Cross at his Mother and the beloved disciple by her side, the dying Christ recognized the firstfruits of the family which he had come to form in the world, the beginning of the Church and the new humanity. For this reason, he addressed Mary as “Woman”, not as “Mother”, the term which he was to use in entrusting her to his disciple: “Behold your Mother!” (Jn 19:27). The Son of God thus fulfilled his mission: born of the Virgin in order to share our human condition in everything but sin, at his return to the Father he left behind in the world the sacrament of the unity of the human race (cf. Lumen Gentium, 1): the family “brought into unity from the unity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Saint Cyprian, De Orat. Dom., 23: PL 4, 536), at whose heart is this new bond between the Mother and the disciple. Mary’s divine motherhood and her ecclesial motherhood are thus inseparably united.
[...]

[...] The text also contains the expression that I have chosen as the motto for my Apostolic Journey: “He, Christ, is our peace” (Eph 2:14). Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul tells us that Jesus Christ has not only brought us peace, but that he is our peace. And he justifies this statement by referring to the mystery of the Cross: by shedding “his blood”, by offering in sacrifice “his flesh”, Jesus destroyed hostility “in himself” and created “in himself one new man in place of the two” (Eph 2:14-16). The Apostle explains how, in a truly unforeseen way, messianic peace has now come about in Christ’s own person and his saving mystery. He explains it by writing, during his imprisonment, to the Christian community which lived here, in Ephesus: “to the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph 1:1), as he says in the salutation of the Letter. The Apostle wishes them “grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph 1:2). Grace is the power that transforms man and the world; peace is the mature fruit of this transformation. Christ is grace; Christ is peace. Paul knows that he has been sent to proclaim a “mystery”, a divine plan that only in the fullness of time has been carried out and revealed in Christ: namely, that “the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” (Eph 3:6). This mystery is accomplished, in salvation history, in the Church, the new People in which, now that the old dividing wall has been broken down, Jews and pagans find themselves united. [...]

[...] Strengthened by God’s word, from here in Ephesus, a city blessed by the presence of Mary Most Holy – who we know is loved and venerated also by Muslims – let us lift up to the Lord a special prayer for peace between peoples. From this edge of the Anatolian peninsula, a natural bridge between continents, let us implore peace and reconciliation, above all for those dwelling in the Land called “Holy” and considered as such by Christians, Jews and Muslims alike: it is the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, destined to be the home of a people that would become a blessing for all the nations (cf. Gen 12:1-3). [...]

With firm trust let us sing, together with Mary, a magnificat of praise and thanksgiving to God who has looked with favour upon the lowliness of his servant (cf. Lk 1:48). Let us sing joyfully, even when we are tested by difficulties and dangers, as we have learned from the fine witness given by the Roman priest Don Andrea Santoro, whom I am pleased to recall in this celebration. Mary teaches us that the source of our joy and our one sure support is Christ, and she repeats his words: “Do not be afraid” (Mk 6:50), “I am with you” (Mt 28:20). Mary, Mother of the Church, accompany us always on our way! Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us! Aziz Meryem Mesih’in Annesi bizim için Dua et. Amen.

Turkish EU bid

There has been quite a bit floating around out there after it was announced by the Turkish prime minister that the Vatican would support Turkey's bid to enter the European Union. As Amy has pointed out here and as I mentioned the other day, the actual statement by the Pope is not quite as black and white.

The Holy See wants to to see reciprocity. European countries accept the right of Muslims to practice their religion, so Muslim countries should return the favor. The clarification of the Turkish PM's comments shows clearly that this is the message: accept the EU's conditions regarding religious freedom, the rule of law, etc. and the Vatican will not oppose Turkish aspirations.

But many are saying, "Turkey doesn't belong!"

Leaving aside present-day considerations, the historical Ottoman Empire was not exactly a purely Middle-Eastern entity. Bosnia, just across the Adriatic from Italy, has quite a few Muslims precisely because the Ottomans ruled there for quite awhile before 19th century nationalism began to weaken their rule on Southeast Europe. As the principal successor state to the Ottoman Empire, Turkey's heritage is a European one, whether Europe likes it or not.

However! Just because a modern nation-state can claim to be a part of the European historical tapestry, it should not be entitled to automatic inclusion into what is not a cultural organization. The European Union is (aside from behing a huge bureaucratic mess) a political and economic supra-national organization with various delegated powers. Its purpose is not cultural exchange or preserving European culture. If Turkey is going to be admitted into the European Union, it should be admitted according to present-day criteria (rule of law, personal liberty, etc.).

Vatican Watcher's formal position is that the European Union should be disbanded in favor of several multi-lateral treaties on trade, immigration, joint defense, the environment and law enforcement. Yes, this position makes Turkey's admission a moot point.

Live blogging: Church of St. George

Benedict XVI and his host Bartholomew I are at the Church of St. George there in Constantinople. I have no clue what they're saying, but I'm watching.

The church there is pretty impressive. If the Patriarchate ever runs short of cash, they have plenty of gold to sell on the world market. My experience of Catholic churches is rather limited, but having seen different churches on TV, the West seems to have chosen marble over gold?

It looks like they'll be proceeding out and off to their private meeting in a moment. The camera shot pulled back showing the line of Orthodox clergy on one side and the Romans on the other is cool.

There they go. It's cool that Benedict has revived certain portions of the papal wardrobe. If he were simply wearing the usual white garb, he'd look rather bland and out-of-place I think.

An important reminder

Rorate-Caeli has a post on the various Turkish efforts at removing non-Turks from their homeland.

They really want him to come

From Zenit:

ROME, NOV. 28, 2006 (Zenit.org).- A delegation of the Israeli government visited the Holy See to renew its invitation to Benedict XVI to visit Israel and to establish an agenda of negotiations.

In this connection, Aaron Abramovich, director general of foreign affairs, and Oded Ben-Hur, Israel's ambassador to the Holy See, were received by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, and Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Vatican secretary for relations with states.

At a press conference, organized by the Israeli Embassy to the Holy See on Monday in Rome, Abramovich explained that the meeting took place in a very cordial atmosphere.

The Israeli representative added that during the meeting, an agenda entailing two meetings was established to overcome the present divergences in the implementation of the Fundamental Treaty between the Holy See and the state of Israel.

The first meeting will take place in December, and will be attended by experts from the Vatican and Israel. The second will be held in January, at the level of interlocutors with the rank of ministers.

Tuesday's addresses in Turkey

Magister has a summary of Benedict XVI's addresses.

Meeting with the President of the Religious Affairs Directorate
Address by the Holy Father, Ankara, Tues. 28 Nov. 2006


Above all, we can offer a credible response to the question which emerges clearly from today’s society, even if it is often brushed aside, the question about the meaning and purpose of life, for each individual and for humanity as a whole. We are called to work together, so as to help society to open itself to the transcendent, giving Almighty God his rightful place. The best way forward is via authentic dialogue between Christians and Muslims, based on truth and inspired by a sincere wish to know one another better, respecting differences and recognizing what we have in common. This will lead to an authentic respect for the responsible choices that each person makes, especially those pertaining to fundamental values and to personal religious convictions.

As an illustration of the fraternal respect with which Christians and Muslims can work together, I would like to quote some words addressed by Pope Gregory VII in 1076 to a Muslim prince in North Africa who had acted with great benevolence towards the Christians under his jurisdiction. Pope Gregory spoke of the particular charity that Christians and Muslims owe to one another “because we believe in one God, albeit in a different manner, and because we praise him and worship him every day as the Creator and Ruler of the world.”

Freedom of religion, institutionally guaranteed and effectively respected in practice, both for individuals and communities, constitutes for all believers the necessary condition for their loyal contribution to the building up of society, in an attitude of authentic service, especially towards the most vulnerable and the very poor.

Meeting with the Diplomatic Corps to the Republic of Turkey
Address of the Holy Father, Ankara, Tues. 28 Nov. 2006


Turkey has always served as a bridge between East and West, between Asia and Europe, and as a crossroads of cultures and religions. During the last century, she acquired the means to become a great modern State, notably by the choice of a secular regime, with a clear distinction between civil society and religion, each of which was to be autonomous in its proper domain while respecting the sphere of the other. The fact that the majority of the population of this country is Muslim is a significant element in the life of society, which the State cannot fail to take into account, yet the Turkish Constitution recognizes every citizen’s right to freedom of worship and freedom of conscience. The civil authorities of every democratic country are duty bound to guarantee the effective freedom of all believers and to permit them to organize freely the life of their religious communities. Naturally it is my hope that believers, whichever religious community they belong to, will continue to benefit from these rights, since I am certain that religious liberty is a fundamental expression of human liberty and that the active presence of religions in society is a source of progress and enrichment for all. This assumes, of course, that religions do not seek to exercise direct political power, as that is not their province, and it also assumes that they utterly refuse to sanction recourse to violence as a legitimate expression of religion. In this regard, I appreciate the work of the Catholic community in Turkey, small in number but deeply committed to contributing all it can to the country’s development, notably by educating the young, and by building peace and harmony among all citizens.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

South of Turkey

Asia News has an update on the Israeli situation:

Tel Aviv (AsiaNews) – In Israel, confirmation is available of the surprise statement of Israeli diplomats, at a press conference they convened in Rome yesterday (Monday, 27 November), that Israel and the Holy See have agreed to hold negotiating sessions of their "Bilateral Permanent Working Commission" in December and in January - after the Olmert Government had, in effect, declined to do so ever since taking office last spring. The officials of Israel's Foreign Ministry, led by the Director General, had just concluded a previously unannounced visit to the Holy See's Secretariat of State, at the Vatican Palace. The news is being received with relief, and with cautious optimism, in Church circles. Ever since the incoming Israeli Government cancelled the negotiating sessions that had been planned for May this year, there were apprehensions that the protracted negotiations ( begun on 11 March 1999) required by the 1993 Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel, might be suspended indefinitely - with incalculable consequences, both for the Catholic institutions in Israel and for the bilateral relationship, which is entirely founded on the Fundamental Agreement and its implementation.

The article goes on to describe the discreet diplomatic efforts of the Vatican along with pressure from the US Church, the US Government and an organization (Church and Israel Public Education Initiative) headed by one of the negotiators of the original 1993 agreement, Father Jaeger.

"The announced resumption of the negotiations is very important, and gives reason for renewed hope," says its President, Franciscan Father David-Maria A. Jaeger, who admits happily that he is "delighted" with Israel's own announcement of the imminent re-starting of the talks. "Whatever the difficulties," says Father Jaeger - himself an experienced negotiator, who is much respected in Israel, and elsewhere, for his role in helping to shape the historic accord of 1993 - "everything can always be resolved by negotiating, while nothing can be resolved by not negotiating...".

This is a positive sign, though there have been plenty of false starts before. I get the feeling sometimes that Israel wants to hold the Catholic Church hostage much the same way it does the Orthodox Church in Jerusalem. The Pope has no battalions, but he has the political action of a billion Catholics on his side.

December 1st

I have learned third hand that there may be an announcement on the first of the month on large withdrawals and a change in strategy. This would include a redeployment of military chaplains.

As far as what exactly what the alleged announcement is related to is anyone's guess, but that's the rumor.

Shuttle diplomacy was so last pontificate

I haven't seen anyone mention this article from National Catholic Register: Kissinger to Serve As Papal Advisor?

According to the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Pope Benedict XVI has invited the 83-year-old former adviser to Richard Nixon to be a political consultant, and Kissinger has accepted.

Quoting an “authoritative” diplomatic source at the Holy See, the paper reported Nov. 4 that the Nobel laureate was asked at a recent private audience with the Holy Father to form part of a papal “advisory board” on foreign and political affairs.
[...]

If true, there is speculation on which issues Kissinger would advise the Holy Father. Relations with Islam, Palestine and Israel, and Iraq — Kissinger has been critical of the conduct of the war but opposes a quick withdrawal — are likely to be high up on the agenda.

It has also been speculated that, in view of the Muslim hostility to Benedict’s recent Regensburg speech, Kissinger might provide advice on dealing with an increasingly fractious Islamic world.

Furthermore, like the Pope, Kissinger has analyzed the challenges of globalization and might provide advice in this area as well.

“The idea [of his appointment] sounds like a good one,” said veteran Vatican journalist Sandro Magister. “But so would it also be to consult other experts on geopolitics with different orientations.”

Aside from the fact that the Pope has in the past and will continue to call in outside experts for their opinions (or their witty repartee over dinner), this mention of a papal advisory board perhaps says something as well about how Benedict XVI feels about the experts of the Secretariat of State.

This morning

I got up too late to see anything live as far as the arrival. Other stuff going on this morning will take place while I am out at my regular morning activity. :(

As it's been widely reported, the Prime Minister of Turkey found time in his busy schedule to welcome the Pope. According to the BBC, they met for about 20 minutes.

Monday, November 27, 2006

On to Constantinople

I once read that in Greece, road signs leading to Turkey name the city Constantinople 500 years after its fall to the Turks.

I was going to come up with a huge summary post, but all the material out there floating around was rather daunting. Various other sites out there have done a great job. Down the left under the 'Daily Readings' heading are blogs that have and will have lots of info. Amy's post is invaluable for details on what the Pope will be doing in Turkey over the next few days.

So yeah, note to self: don't take the week off right before the Pope takes off to Turkey. :)

Random thoughts
It's a certainty the mainstream media will be fixated on the Christian/Muslim aspect of the trip. CNN and Anderson Cooper have already aired a 'When Cultures Collide' thing that I didn't bother watching.

Despite the statement from the other day from the Vatican regarding Turkey's membership in the EU, the way I read it, there is plenty of wiggle room there as far as what the intent was. 'We hope you do everything you need to to get in'... Like accept religious freedom for Christians, etc. etc. 'But if you don't'...

Back to the real reason for the trip, the visit from the Pope can only strengthen the Patriarch. It's funny though. Back 150 years go, Europe went to war in the Crimea over the Holy Land with the Ottoman Empire as the fulcrum. Here we are a century and a half later with Turkey pursuing admission into the EU. The Orthodox of that country continue to be squeezed while Russia looks elsewhere. It is the Church of Rome that's stepping up in fraternal friendship with its brother Church.

Home again

I am home again. But I'll save any posting for either tonight or tomorrow as I sort through everything that I just glanced at these last few days.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The rest of this week

I have a doctor's appointment here in a while and then I am travelling for Thanksgiving. Posting will be light, though I'll keep up on any official pronouncements from the visit.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Catholics welcome Bishop Amos to Iowa (QCTimes.com)

Bishop Martin Amos knocked on the doors of a Quad-City church, and the people of the Catholic Diocese of Davenport stood to welcome him into their arms during his formal installation ceremony Monday.

Archbishop Jerome Hanus of the Archdiocese of Dubuque officially welcomed Amos through the open doors of St. John Vianney Church, Bettendorf, and bade him be a “loving father, gentle shepherd and wise teacher” to the faithful of the diocese that stretches over 22 counties in southeastern Iowa.

Later, during his homily, the new bishop discussed life’s journey. He spoke of an experience when he became lost during a walk and finally, after some difficulty, found his way back to a monastery.

“Life is like this,” he said, noting that the journey is not made alone but in concert with others and with Christ.

Amos said he will reach out to those who were sexually abused by priests and try to promote healing. He also will work to restore financial health to the diocese, which last month became the fourth one in America to declare bankruptcy.

“I will continue the journey and listen to God’s word on the gentle breeze, move with Jesus and trust the shepherd,” he said.

Amos, who becomes the eighth bishop to be installed in the 125-year history of the Diocese of Davenport, will begin his new job by doing a lot of listening, he said, repeating his intentions to go out and meet the people of the 84-parish diocese.
[...]

In his homily, Amos talked about the call he received to move to the Davenport Diocese.

“The nuncio told me what the pope wanted to do to me,” he said, adding that Bishop Franklin assured him he would find that many good people live in this area of the country.

“I was then calm, but that didn’t last,” he said with a laugh.

Image: Kevin E. Schmidt/QUAD-CITY TIMES

Monday, November 20, 2006

Magister has something on the remarks of the Holy Father to the Irish bishops and the growing efforts of the Holy See in cracking down on priest who abused minors.

Ratzinger as well, when he was prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, was less insistent than he is today. Offenses against the sixth commandment were the exclusive domain of his congregation, but in a number of cases, even very circumstantiated denunciations were never pursued. Still in November of 2002, when the scandal in the United States was at its acme, Ratzinger minimized the number of guilty priests: “less than 1 percent,” and he attributed the explosion of the scandal above all to “the desire to discredit the Church.”

But then he changed course. It was the autumn of 2004, and Ratzinger ordered the promoter of justice at the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, Charles J. Scicluna of Malta, to retrieve from the files all the cases concerning the sixth commandment.

The order was: “Every case must take its normal course.” In other words: no one could be held as untouchable anymore, not even those protected by the then extremely powerful cardinal Sodano, and not even the favorites of the reigning pope, John Paul II.

Rowan Cantaur meets Benedict PP. XVI

David Virtue wrote last year about the first meeting between the two men after the inauguration:

At Benedict XVI's inaugural mass Dr. Rowan Williams was invited but Frank Griswold was not. Archbishop Drexel Gomez (West Indies) was invited, but the Canadian archbishop was not. The US church was represented by Bishop Pierre Whalon of Europe, and Bishop Christopher Epting, the Griswold's deputy for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations.

Symbolism is everything. When the new pope met with the patriarchs from the Orthodox churches there were public embraces and kisses, but when Benedict XVI met Williams there was only a handshake. Dr. Williams edged forward perhaps hoping for a papal embrace but it was not forthcoming.

By the way, read through all of David's letter. It is a well-written personal encounter with the Southeast Asian Anglican community that illustrates 'orthodox' Christianity growing by leaps and bounds within the communion while ignoring the northern craziness.

The Independent has a profile of Dr. Williams:

Instead, [the Anglican Communion] needs at its head someone who will take a clear line over divisive issues such as the ordination of women and gay priests, so that the whole communion doesn't just tear itself apart. Yet the confused signals that Dr Williams repeatedly sends out on these and other subjects have caused a dramatic reversal of fortunes for the 56-year-old, Welsh-born archbishop.
[...]

Expectations were high. But some of Dr Williams's friends believe he was always too clever for the job. It is better suited to a dully plodder, like the previous incumbent, George Carey, or a high-profile man of certainties, like the cleric hotly tipped to be the next, Archbishop John Sentamu of York. Dr Sentamu's interventions on Islam and secularism have been in marked contrast to Dr Williams's invisibility on such subjects, though you could argue that it is easier to take risks in speaking out when you're second-in-line rather than the primate.

That could very well be true about Sr. Sentamu. Of course, if Dr. Williams didn't think he was up to the task of dealing with everything wrong with the Anglican Communion, he could have declined. After all, he was chosen through a political process (is there any Anglican theology out there declaring the Prime Minister and the Queen as acting as divine instruments?).

At her blog this Thursday last, Ruth Gledhill linked to an interview of the archbishop in which he declared, "And the thing that always held me back from becoming a Roman Catholic at the points when I thought about it is that I can’t quite swallow papal infallibility. I have visions of saying to Pope Benedict: “I don’t believe you’re infallible” — I hope it doesn’t come to that. [Laughs]" Perhaps he ought to ask for some helpful hints on how to be a leader since he'll be meeting with someone who in the last year and a half has proven himself to be quite able.

Times (of London) Online has a story about the Pope's recruitment efforts:

Pope Benedict XVI is keen to reach out to conservative Anglicans who have been antagonised by their church’s stance on women priests and homosexuality. Senior Vatican figures are understood to have drawn up a dossier on the most effective means of attracting disenchanted Anglicans.

The recruitment drive is a potential embarrassment for Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is travelling to Italy for his meeting with the Pope.

It is understood that Fr Joseph Augustine di Noia, undersecretary of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the most powerful of the Vatican’s departments, has led a team analysing the current schism in the Anglican world.

John Myers, the Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, who has been involved in supporting former Anglicans who have converted to Catholicism, has been helping di Noia with his recruitment dossier. He travelled to Rome last month to suggest ways of appealing to Anglicans.

The Pope’s enthusiasm for bringing traditional Anglicans into the fold was expressed powerfully three years ago when as Cardinal Ratzinger he sent greetings to a group of conservative churchmen meeting in Texas [and bypassing the national church] in protest at the election of Robinson.
[...]

While the Pope is keen to welcome any conservative Anglicans, he is also keen to forge good relations with Williams. “The Vatican will do nothing to undermine Williams at such a precarious moment in Anglican history,” one source said.

Despite the friendly overtures, the Pope believes the Anglican Church faces a difficult future. Graham Leonard, the former Bishop of London and now a Roman Catholic monsignor, said: “The Pope’s view is that theologically Anglicanism has no guts in it.”

The Times story makes no specific mention of the pastoral provision in the United States, the ongoing efforts to broaden it or the talks between the Traditional Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church. I discussed the rumors regarding a proposal to facilitate the entry of Anglicans a few days ago.

Catholic News Service and The Tablet both have stories suggesting that the rifts in the Anglican Communion will be the primary points of discussion rather than the issues that separate the Catholic Church and the communion. In its story, The Tablet calls for a 'wait and see' approach on the part of the Holy See to see into what the communion evolves.

The question I have for the writers at The Tablet is for what are we waiting? It's been posited at different places at different times that whatever the Anglican Communion ends up as, the Anglo-Catholic faction will be a dead letter. There will be those who are pro-sexual liberation and there will be the evangelicals dominated by the Global South and the Anglo-Catholics will be gone to Rome.

Complete credit goes to titusonenine for pulling together these stories. That will be the blog to check out for all things Anglican this coming week.

My assessment (what you've all been waiting for)
One thing the Russian Patriarch can be admired for is the fact that he is serious when it comes to meeting the Pope. He isn't going to meet with Benedict XVI until real progress is made and the meeting can be more than just a photo op. The Archbishop of Canterbury will go to Rome. Gifts will be exchanged. He and the Holy Father will meet for one of Benedict's usual 25-30 minute private audiences (probably longer though). Then he'll make the rounds to the various dicasteries that concern him. All the while, the basic message will be, "It's great having you here. We're sorry about your troubles at home. We'll talk again soon. Good luck and ciao."

In the spirit of all these documents I've been reading, I'll sign off this this...

Given in IC on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time of the year 2006, the second of our blogificate.

Documents

Sunday, November 19, 2006

An account

[Unedited except for some line breaks. Veracity is unknown.]

The Revd Thomas Mozely, the Times Special Correspondent in Rome in 1870 records the Definition of the Dogma of Papal Infallability took place during a violent thunderstorm. One hesitates to predict the weather for the forthcoming visit of the Archbishop but if he denies Papal infallibility to the Pope’s face, I forecast a chill wind.

Here is his account.
The reading of the Dogma was followed by the roll-call of the Fathers, and Placet after Placet (vote of agreement) followed, though not in very quick succession. (in fact, 533 votes for, two against, one of the two going to the throne immediately afterwards with the words, "Modo Credo, sancta Pater – now I believe Holy Father." Many French bishops had already left - my added comment). They were uttered in louder and bolder tones than on former occasions, either that the echo was greater from the comparative emptiness of the church or that the Fathers were pleased at being shorn, and amid their utterances there was a loud peal of thunder.

The storm, which had been threatening all the morning, burst now with the utmost violence, and to many a superstitious mind might have conveyed the idea that it was the expression of Divine wrath, as ' no doubt it will be interpreted by numbers,' said one officer of the Palatine Guard. And so the Placets of the Fathers struggled through the storm, while the thunder pealed above and the lightning flashed in at every window and down through the dome and every smaller cupola, dividing if not absorbing the attention of the crowd. Placet, shouted his Eminence or his Grace, and a loud clap of thunder followed in response, and then the lightning darted about the baldacchino and every part of the church and Conciliar Hall, as if announcing the response. So it continued for nearly one hour and a half, during which time the roll was being called, and a more effective scene I never witnessed. Had all the decorators and all the getters-up of ceremonies in Rome been employed, nothing approaching to the solemn splendour of that storm could have been prepared, and never will those who saw it and felt it forget the promulgation of the first Dogma of the Church.

The facade of the Hall had not been removed as on former occasions, only the great door was opened, so that it could be scarcely called an open Session, and people could get a glimpse of what was going on only by struggling fiercely and peering over one another's shoulders, or by standing at a distance and looking through a glass. I chose this last and better part. The .storm was at its height when the result of the voting was taken up to the Pope, and the darkness was so thick that a huge taper was necessarily brought and placed by his side as he read the words which invested him with Divine powers, ' Nosque, sacro approbante Concilio, ilia ita decernimus, statuimus atque sancimus ut lecta sunt, definimus et apostolica auctoritate confirmamus' And again the lightning flickered around the Hall, and the thunder pealed.

I was standing at this moment in the south transept trying to penetrate the darkness which surrounded the Pope, when the sound as of a mighty rushing something, I could not tell what, caused me to start violently, and look about me and above me. It might be a storm of hail. Such for an instant was my impression ; and it grew and swelled, and then the whole mystery was revealed by a cloud of white handkerchiefs waving before me. The signal had been given by the Fathers themselves with clapping of hands. This was my imaginary hailstorm ; and it was taken up by the crowd outside the Hall and so the storm grew in violence until at length it came to where I stood. Viva il Papa Infallibile! Viva il trionfo dei Cattolici!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

For all

CWN: Pro multis means "for many," Vatican rules [updated] --Subscription required for full text.

Vatican, Nov. 18 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican has ruled that the phrase pro multis should be rendered as "for many" in all new translations of the Eucharistic Prayer, CWN has learned.

Although "for many" is the literal translation of the Latin phrase, the translations currently in use render the phrase as "for all." [...]

Here we have the Roman Canon with the Latin and the English side by side [at the link; here it is one over the other]:

Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes:
--Take this all of you and drink from it:

hic est enim calix Sanguinis mei novi et aeterni testamenti, qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum.
--this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all and for many so that sins may be forgiven.

The emptiness


The dark alley of the Turkish Soul

A visitor walks through an alley at the sixth century Byzantinian monument of St Sophia in the old city of Istanbul November 16, 2006. The place was once a church in the Byzantinian era that turned into a mosque during the Ottoman empire and now is now a museum. REUTERS/Fatih Saribas (TURKEY)

The enigmatic Spengler of Asia Times Online revisits the novel Snow by Orhan Pamuk. The title of Spengler's essay is 'The fallen bridge over the Bosporus' and it is an apt one. He writes:

Not since Boris Pasternak refused the Nobel Prize for literature in 1958 has a Nobel laureate regarded the award with such mixed feelings as Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk. He set out to be a political dilettante, as befits a postmodern European novelist, and to his profound consternation has had to become a man of principle. That in no way diminishes the poignancy of Pamuk's position, but it makes him more interesting than the average martyr, in a postmodern sort of way.
[...]

During a June 2004 visit to Turkey, US President George W Bush offered:

The Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk has said that the finest view of Istanbul is not from the shores of Europe, or from the shores of Asia, but from a bridge that unites them, and lets you see both. His work has been a bridge between cultures, and so is the Republic of Turkey. The people of this land understand, as that great writer has observed, that "what is important is not [a] clash of parties, civilizations, cultures, East and West". What is important, he says, is to realize "that other people in other continents and civilizations" are "exactly like you".

The bridge has fallen, leaving Pamuk gasping for breath on the Western shore. Turkey's Western loyalties were founded upon a secular nationalism that sought to bury Islam under modernizing reforms. Pamuk's theme in Snow is the horrible emptiness of secular Turkey, with its poverty, inertia, bureaucratic sclerosis and official brutality. Thoroughly secular in upbringing and outlook, Pamuk nonetheless evinces profound sympathy for the Islamic loyalties of the Turkish poor, as well as the terrible attraction that political Islam holds for Turkey's disappointed elite.


From where will the light come?

Friday, November 17, 2006

A link

I don't read Andrew Sullivan. I don't like to take this blog too much into the realm of 'secular politics'. However, this interview is interesting and I thought I'd post it. A commenter at titusonenine linked to an interview of Andrew Sullivan by Hugh Hewitt the radio show host and blogger. It's interesting.

Spin your headline

The Age: Vatican softens line on married priests

THE Catholic Church may be preparing to readmit priests who left to marry — as long as they are now celibate.

A Vatican meeting chaired by Pope Benedict on Thursday discussed readmitting priests and issued a more neutral statement than many expected, while upholding celibacy.

Calgary Sun/AP: Vatican sticks with celibacy stance

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican yesterday reaffirmed the value of celibacy for priests after a summit led by Pope Benedict that was spurred by a married African archbishop who has been excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

The three-hour meeting's conclusions "were not a change in how the present rules (on celibacy) are applied," Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said by telephone.

The actual communique:

"In the Apostolic Palace this morning, November 16, the Holy Father presided at one of the regular meetings of the heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia, for a moment of shared reflection.

"The participants in the meeting had at their disposal detailed information concerning requests for dispensation from the obligation of celibacy presented during recent years, and concerning the possibility of readmission to the exercise of the ministry of priests who currently meet the conditions established by the Church.

"The value of the choice of priestly celibacy in accordance with Catholic tradition was reaffirmed, and the need for solid human and Christian formation was underlined, both for seminaries and for ordained priests."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

And there you have it

From the BBC:
"The value of the choice of priestly celibacy... has been reaffirmed,"

Housekeeping

The labels/categories have been expanded and more posts have been labeled/categorized. Remember though, not all posts have been labeled, so if a complete search is needed, the search box at the top is still the best bet.

What is this about?

Interfax: Ukrainian Greek Catholics’ attempt to seize an Orthodox church in Transcarpathia

Moscow, November 16, Interfax - The Ukrainian Greek Catholics attempted to seize an Orthodox church in the village of Zarechevo, Perechin district, Transcarpathia region.

The Orthodox village inhabitants could not enter their church for two weeks because the Uniates blocked it up.

The Orthodox church in Zarechevo has always been open, even under the Soviet power. The Greek Catholic comprise 2% of the local worshippers, yet the Transcarpathia administration resolved to build a church for them at the state’s expense. The Orthodox worshippers living in the village favored the decision, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church press service told Interfax.

The Uniates declined the offer and made an attempt to seize the Orthodox church by force.

Bishop Agapit of Uzhgorod and Mukachevo arrived in Zarechevo to encourage his flock. The police managed to stop Uniates’ provocations, and the Orthodox believers could enter the church and celebrate the divine service.

In checking out the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church's website, The Resolutions of The Patriarchal Synod of Bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church make interesting reading.

The first resolution:

1) A sui juris Church;

2) Completely united with the successor of St. Peter- the Bishop of Rome;

3) Bearers of the Eastern Christian Byzantine tradition from the time of Volodymyr's Baptizing;

4) Taking into consideration our history, our geographic location, and our religious and ecclesiastical experience, we are called to assist in the full and mutual understanding of two Christian traditions- Byzantine and Latin.

The list of resolutions concludes with this [bolding is mine]:

These resolutions are effective as of October 14, 2006, on the Feast of theProtection of Our Most Holy Queen, the God-Bearer and Ever-Virgin Mary

+ Lubomyr

Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

The interdicasterial meeting

From VIS:

VATICAN CITY, NOV 16, 2006 (VIS) - As announced earlier, this morning in the Vatican, the Holy Father met with heads of dicasteries of the Roman Curia in order to examine the situation that has arisen following the disobedience of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo. The order of the day also included an examination of requests for dispensation from the obligation of celibacy, and requests for readmission to the priestly ministry presented by married priests over the course of recent years.

Now we wait.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Anglicans

I was going to wait and post on this closer to the Archbishop of Canterbury's visit to Rome, but with the recent remarks of Professor Tighe making the rounds, I think I'll take a moment to contemplate the situation.

For background, Professor Tighe left a comment to the post on the Archbishop's trip to Rome at titusonenine. In the midst of talking about the plight of the Archbishop of Canterbury's own making as far as the Church of England's support of women's ordination and actively gay clergy, Tighe noted the following (bolding is mine):

However, one would really like to be privy to their conversations, especially as I have heard that a proposal is due to land on the pope’s desk on November 16, a proposal that has something to do with facilitating the entry into the Catholic Church of disgruntled Catholic-minded Anglicans. I know nothing of the details, but I would guess that it might involve some sort of expansion and “globalization” of the present “Pastoral Provision” set up some 20+ years ago here in the USA for Episcopalians distressed over WO. My guess is that it may involve a “Personal Prelature” for these people (as for Opus Dei) or else an “Apostolic Administration” like that that was erected a couple of years ago for a whole schismatic “Tridentine Mass” group and their bishop in Brazil. (And it may be that certain ECUSA bishops received a “sneak preview” of what’s in the works on September 6th, but verbum satis sapientibus est, ans we won’t know about it till after January 31st at the earliest.)

Following up yesterday on Professor Tighe's comment was The Times' (of London) religion correspondent Ruth Gledhill at her online column. In part (be sure to read Ruth's actual post, she had all kinds of relevant links throughout her post):

The comment on Titus was posted by the well-informed US church history professor William Tighe. So it cannot be discounted. But the truth actually might be a little more complex. One possible option, for example, is that the document Tighe refers to and the [Tridentine Mass] indult are one and the same. That the indult will contain a more general permission for the Anglican Use rather than it being confined to the US. This was not adopted as the solution to the Anglican women priest's crisis in the first place because it was opposed by the late Cardinal Hume, as William Oddie reported in his book The Roman Option.

This speculation is not, according to a well-informed Anglican source, a step too far. Fr Aidan Nicholls wrote a wonderful essay on the Anglican Use recently. And Paddy Power has him as 5-1 to be the next Archbishop of Westminster. He was also the theologian offered by the Archbishop of Westminster to Forward in Faith, when they asked him for a Catholic to contribute to the discussions for their recent paper, Consecrated Women.

Kudos to Amy for pulling all this together.

So...

1. I think the major indicator in this not being likely in the near term is the fact we have not seen any kind of response from the hierarchy. On the one hand, this document could be really secret and people are being discreet in their comments. However, as we've seen from the French response to the alleged motu proprio on the Mass of Pius V, the hierarchy isn't afraid of publicly making its thoughts (both for and against) known.

2. Benedict XVI has if nothing else proven himself to be a step-by-step kind of man. The tsunami of curial reform never materialized. In place of it, the Pope has steadily appointed people over the months. It just doesn't seem likely that any progress on an Anglican Use document would be pursued while the Tridentine Mass document is still out there. The latter could realistically take months to be processed. When Professor Tighe suggested nothing would be seen of the Anglican Use document until after January 31st of next year, I would agree with that assessment.

3. The Milingo factor. As it was mentioned at some point out there, a canonical framework for the Anglican Use as suggested by Professor Tighe would grant the ability to form seminaries for Anglican Use clergy. Let's consider a hypothetical. The Pope creates an Anglican Use prelature. Masses of Anglo-Catholics make the transition around the world. We now have the Latin Rite with its celibate clergy and the Anglican Use with its married clergy coexisting in may locales. Without trying to generalize the dynamics, it stands to reason that Benedict XVI would be considering such possibilities and any messages that might be sent while Archbishop Milingo's actions remain in recent memory.

Finally,
4. The time factor. It's November 15th. Ash Wednesday falls on February 21st, 2007. That is just over three months away. Assuming that Benedict follows the precedent he set this year during Lent, it's quite possible we'll see another consistory in early to mid-March. I would suggest that unless things breaks sooner rather than later, a lot of what everyone is waiting for could be held in limbo until March at the earliest.

Nothing to fear

AKI: TURKEY: POPE HAS NOTHING TO FEAR DURING VISIT, SAYS TOP ISLAMIC OFFICIAL
Bolding in red is mine.

Turin, 15 Nov. (AKI) - Turkey's top Muslim official who recently demanded an apology from Pope Benedict XVI for remarks the head of the Catholic Church made on Islam, believes the pontiff's safety won't be at risk during the papal visit to Turkey which begins on 28 November. "We are a democratic state and there's freedom: that's why some people don't approve of this visit and they say so. But this won't detract from our traditional hospitality," said Ali Bardakoglu head of the state department for religious affairs, the Diyanet (Mercy).

"This trip [the pope's to Turkey] won't resolve all the problems but it is a good step on the path to dialogue. Peace can be destroyed in an istant [sic] but it takes a long process to rebuild it," Bardakoglu was quoted as saying in an interview published Wednesday in the Turin-based daily La Stampa.

The Turkish cleric was among Benedict's most vocal critics after the pope on 12 September in a speech at a university in Regensburg, Germany appeared to suggest that the Islamic belief in jihad or holy war ran against the will of God and that Islam is at odds with the concept of rationality.
[...]

Asked if he would again ask for Benedict's apology [since B16 never gave one], Bardakoglu replied: "I don't waste time speaking about the past. It's not important whether the person who says something unacceptable on Islam is a layman, a religious figure or an important person - it is one's duty to correct him."

In the interview, Bardakoglu - who will be meeting Benedict XVI in Ankara - denied that Islam is irrational and described the meaning of jihad as "mainly an individual internal struggle agains the evil tendencies of human nature."

On Tuesday the Vatican's ambassador to Turkey, Apostolic Nuncio, Antonio Lucibello, said "we trust the sincerity of Turkish authorities," after meeting Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas.
[...]

On 2 November, a Turkish man fired a gun against the Italian consulate in Istanbul chanting slogans against Benedict and threatening to shoot him during the papal visit to Turkey. Police said they believed the 26-year-old man who was later arrested acted alone.
[...]

It's just this kind of thing that leaves me leery. I don't really expect anything to happen to Benedict while he's in Turkey. There will be too much security for that and the government would never allow an assassination to jeopardize its status with the EU. But it's just this kind of language that I've pointed out that illustrates why Turkey shouldn't be included. Michael Crichton wrote of the Japanese that their thinking was 'fundamentally different'. And note, he was writing of a society that is thoroughly modern and thoroughly Westernized. While proclaiming its secularity and Westernism, Turkey is busy preventing the Orthodox from training priests, suppressing any mention of the Armenian genocide and forcibly dealing with Kurdish autonomy aspirations. The Turks are going to eventually suffer the consequences and realize that they can't keep one foot in Asia and the other in Europe and play both sides without losing.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

News round-up

BBC: Vatican enters Muslim veils debate

Cardinal Renato Martino said immigrants must respect the traditions, culture and religion of the nations they go to.

They ought to abide by local laws banning the wearing of certain types of Muslim veils, he added.

"It seems elementary to me and it is quite right that the authorities demand it," said Cardinal Martino, who heads the Vatican department dealing with migration issues.

I agree wholeheartedly with His Eminence's words. It just struck me though. What if he were talking about for instance Mexican immigrants in the US and the Church's efforts to provide them with Spanish language services at the expense of English and assimilation? What would the response to be that? I'll leave you all to guess.

CNS: Pope calls Curia to discuss married priests, Archbishop Milingo
I really hope that there isn't any kind of a relaxation on this. It's a feel-good bandaid to the general lack of discipline in leading Christian lives. Not enough priests? Gee, I wonder why? Maybe because they don't get to have wives? Hey, one answer is as good as another!

Interfax: Alexy II is prepared for personal meeting with the Pope of Rome only after the differences between the two Churches are resolved

‘A possibility of personal meeting with the Pope has never been eliminated. We have always insisted that such a meeting should open a new page in our relations and not be just a protocol meeting before TV cameras to show that we have no problems, while in fact we have them,’ the Patriarch said in his interview to Paris Match published Thursday.

He noted that the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church had never met with the head of the Roman Catholic Church. If this meeting takes place, ‘probably in a third country, - it would have become an exclusive historic event.’

‘Therefore, this meeting should be thoroughly prepared with the betterment of relations between our Churches as its primary object,’ Alexy II underscored.

Does anyone ever get the feeling that the Russian Patriarch has... pretensions? Maybe it's just the translation and all that, but Alexy and his subordinates always ocme off as rather imperious in tone. 'We aren't going to meet with you until you see things our way...' 'Play the game the way we want or we'll take our ball home.'

AKI: VATICAN: TOP CLERIC SLAMS SATIRE OF POPE

Rome, 14 Nov. (AKI) - Pope Benedict XVI's personal secretary Georg Gaenswein on Tuesday slammed a TV and radio satire of the pontiff and himself. "I hope it stops right away," Gaenswein told Adnkronos. "I hope these programmes will end immediately: satire is fine but these things have no intellectual level and offend men of the Church. They are not acceptable."

Gaenswein's comments follow an article in Avvenire - the newspaper of the Italian Bishops' Conference - which slammed a satire of the pope by comedian Maurizio Crozza on private television channel La7 and the imitation, by another popular Italian showman, Fiorello, of the pontiff's secretary in a radio programme on state broadcaster RAI Viva Radio 2.

Avvenire lashed out at the programmes saying they were trying to "ridicule Catholic figures."

Gaenswein stressed that he would never watch nor listen to these programmes and noted he wanted "to forget" the entire episode.

He also stressed the pontiff had never commented on the programmes: "A comment of the pope would really honour too much these people."

I wish I had a secretary... :)

Briefly...

This morning I have to get out to the local vocational rehabilitation office to participate in a weekly job search/job counseling activity. I will post again in the afternoon.

If those of you out there who read this blog on a regular basis have any job openings that you think I might be qualified for based on what you've read here, please leave a comment or email me.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Surprise, surprise!

Let me just voice my disappointment at the lack of closed captioning for the live USCCB events being televised this week. My disappointment is made somewhat less by Amy's excellent summary, but still...

French opposition

Magister has a nice summary of events surrounding the motu proprio for the liberalization of the Mass of Pius V. He ends with the following [the link is my own]:

It is thus foreseeable that Benedict XVI will take a little more time, will listen to the objections from some bishops and cardinals, but in the end – probably by winter – will issue the Motu Proprio that will facilitate the use of the Tridentine rite.

He’s sure that this will do nothing but add to the plurality of rites that have always made the Church multifaceted.

The Council of Trent itself was careful not to unify the rites by force. Next to the “Roman” rite, Pius V confirmed the legitimacy of all the other rites in the Church that had been in existence for at least two centuries. And there were quite a few of these rites at the time. The predominance of the Roman rite asserted itself gradually over the following centuries, but it was never complete. Still today, there are marked differences between the Mass in the Roman rite and the “Ambrosian” rite celebrated in the archdiocese of Milan. To this must be added the great variety of the rites of the Eastern Churches united with Rome.

This is without mentioning the incredible – and often unapproved – variety in styles of celebration that was unleashed by the liturgical reform inaugurated by Vatican Council II and by its new missal, enacted in 1970.

Father Z has more on Magister's article.

While there are many out there who are eagerly awaiting a motu proprio, I am not terribly bothered by the delays. Mass these days is an almost-silent reading experience and the wonders of the Mass of Pius V will be found for me in the beauty of my missal and any outward movements of the priest up front rather than singing, chanting and the like. I was talking to a friend last night about the efficaciousness of going it alone through the missal while everyone else around me was busy singing, responding, etc. in the Novus Ordo. He said it was indeed efficacious and made the astute comment that I was merely doing what the laity had been doing for centuries before recent reforms.

That cheered me considerably.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Places to go, people to see in Turkey

From Zenit:

Tuesday, November 28th
The Pope will leave from Rome's Fiumicino airport at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28. He will arrive at the Esenboga airport at Ankara, the Turkish capital, at 1 p.m., local time.

The Holy Father will first visit the Mausoleum of Ataturk, "Father of the Turks," who proclaimed the Turkish republic in 1923.

Subsequently, the welcome ceremony will take place as well as a courtesy visit to Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

The Pontiff will then meet with the deputy prime minister before meeting with the president of religious affairs, Ali Bardokoglu, Grand Mufti and highest Muslim authority, at his headquarters, and with the diplomatic corps in the Apostolic Nunciature. The Holy Father will deliver addresses to each.

Wednesday, November 29th
The following day, Benedict XVI will travel to Smyrna, the country's third-largest city, known as "The Pearl of the Aegean," from where he will go to Ephesus, the city where the Apostle Paul lived and was captive, and where, according to tradition, the Blessed Virgin Mary and John the Evangelist also lived.

In Ephesus, Benedict XVI will celebrate Mass at the Meryem Ana Evi (House of Mary) Shrine and deliver a homily. It was in this city that a Council in the year 431 proclaimed the Virgin Mary "Theotokos," of Mother of God.

On that Wednesday afternoon, the Holy Father will fly from Smyrna to Istanbul -- formerly Constantinople -- where he will visit and pray at the Patriarchal Church of St. George and have a private meeting with Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople. The Pope will greet him at the patriarchate's headquarters.

Thursday, November 30th
On Thursday morning, Nov. 30, Benedict XVI will take part in the Divine Liturgy in the Patriarchal Church of St. George in Istanbul. He will deliver an address and sign a joint declaration.

The Pontiff will thus fulfill the original objective of his trip: to respond to the invitation of Patriarch Bartholomew I to take part on the feast of St. Andrew, patron of the patriarchate, observed on Nov. 30.

After the ceremony, the Holy Father will lunch with Bartholomew I in the patriarchate. In the afternoon, he will visit the St. Sophia Museum.

Then Benedict XVI will go to the Armenian Apostolic cathedral, where he will pray and meet and greet Patriarch Mesrob I.

That same afternoon, the Pope will meet with the Syro-Orthodox metropolitan and the chief rabbi of Turkey.

Finally the Holy Father will meet and dine with the members of the country's Catholic bishops' conference.

Friday, December 1st
On Friday, Dec. 1, Benedict XVI will preside over the celebration of Mass in Istanbul's Cathedral of the Holy Ghost and deliver a homily.

It will be his last appointment, as he will then go to the city's airport and, after the farewell ceremony, depart at 1:15 p.m. for Rome's Ciampino airport.

Recently in the PRC

Zenit has a nice summary of recent events in the People's Republic of China pertaining to religious affairs.

One item of interest:

HONG KONG, NOV. 12, 2006 (Zenit.org).- As speculation continues over the future of relations between the Vatican and China, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun recently offered to step up his activity in this area. In January the archbishop of Hong Kong reaches 75 years of age, when he must offer his resignation to the Pope. If this is accepted, then he would like to dedicate more time to the Church in mainland China, he told the South China Morning Post on Sept. 22.

Cardinal Zen said that he had spoken of this desire with Benedict XVI. According to a Sept. 28 report in the Morning Post, the Pope promised to consider the matter.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Capitalism and Catholicism

I was reading at Zenit.org this morning about the Oct. 31 videoconference that was organized by the Vatican Congregation for Clergy. The two addresses linked to below brought to mind a book I had read and that now sits on my shelf. The basic premise of the book by John Mueller is that capitalism is not as evil as it is made out to be and that it rewards virtue.

Christian Judgment on Neo-liberalism
- Address by Rodney Moss

First, Catholic social thought does not view economics as concerned only with facts or being value-free/neutral as do the neo-classical/neo-liberal economists. Importantly, economic systems are seen as based on some set of values, whether that system be capitalist, socialist, Marxist or some other economic variant.
[...]

Secondly, in Catholic social thought, the scientific or qualitative aspects of economics are secondary to the human element. Therefore "[e]ven in social and economic life the dignity of the human person and the integrity of his vocation, along with the good of society as a whole, are to be recognized and furthered. Man is the author, the center and the end of all social and economic life."[6]
[...]

Thirdly, Catholic social thought is not based on the belief that individual self-interest should be pursued and that somehow this will contribute to the good of society. This was the assumption of Adam Smith. However, Wilber notes that "Scholarly work in economics over the past fifteen years demonstrates that, under conditions of interdependence and imperfect information, rational self-interest frequently leads to socially irrational results."[9] We need a "moral culture" to inform economic life.

Fourthly, the common good is central to Catholic social thought and can never be regarded as a mere byproduct of individual self-interest. The common good, that which transcends particular interests and which is a good in which all can participate, is very different from a "mechanistic" and individualistic view of society dominant in classical and neo-liberal economic theory.

Finally, economic problems are not solved by growth alone. In "Centesimus Annus," No. 29, we read: "[D]evelopment must not be understood solely in economic terms, but in a way that is fully human. It is not only a question of raising all people to the level enjoyed by the richest countries, but rather of building up a more decent life through united labor, of concretely enhancing every individual's dignity and creativity, as well as his capacity to respond to his personal vocation, and thus to God's call."

Hedonistic Culture and the Global Market
- Address by Father Gary Devery

The overall positive or negative effect of globalization towards the common good of humanity will depend on what is the underlying anthropology giving rise to its moral component; it at this level that the Church has the most to offer.

The present Pope, while still a cardinal, addressing the College of Cardinals before they went into conclave highlighted the urgency of this matter. He noted that today "relativism, that is, allowing oneself to be carried about with every wind of 'doctrine,' seems to be the only attitude that is fashionable. A dictatorship of relativism is being constituted that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the 'I' and its whims as the ultimate measure."[2]

The culture of hedonism is a consequence of relativism. The measure of the human person is the "I"; all values become relative and subjective. Forecasting this into a global market driven by an anthropology based solely on a "What is in it for me?" attitude could result in a tyrannical empire divided between the "haves" and the "have nots." The latter would be the necessary slaves to feed the hedonistic culture of the "haves."

On the other hand...

Capitalism, Democracy, and Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery
- By John Mueller

From Library Journal
The thesis behind Mueller's cleverly worded title is that capitalism gets terrible press (for promoting greed and deceit) while democracy's is naively positive and uncritical (it can never be as egalitarian and participatory as it claims). Mueller (political science, Univ. of Rochester) feels that Ralph's Pretty Good Grocery, from Garrison Keillor's mythical Lake Wobegon (the motto is, "If you can't get it at Ralph's, you can probably get along without it"), is a more realistic model for approaching the two entities. Mueller argues that our unrealistic images of capitalism and democracy prevent us from claiming the full benefit of each. Throughout, he is careful to qualify rather than make bold declarative statements that would be damned by exceptions. Many thought-provoking ideas are packed into this nuanced work, and Mueller's case is strong and well documented. The sophisticated argument, however, will limit its value to academic collections or public libraries where there is an active interest in political science. --Patrick J. Brunet, Western Wisconsin Technical Coll. Lib., La Crosse

Peace is not the absence of war

After the Germans and the Allies agreed to the general armistice on November 11th, what did the Pope have to say? On December 1st he issued the encyclical Quod Iam Diu on the peace and how it should be built.

Venerable Brethren,
Health and Apostolic Benediction
.

That for which the whole world has long sighed, which Christianity has implored with such fervent prayer, and for which We too, interpreter of the common sorrow, have never ceased to pray with the heart of the father intent on the good of all - that has come in a moment: at last, the clash of arms has ceased. True, peace has not yet in solemn fashion brought to an end the great war, but to peace the road has been opened happily with the Armistice which has, meanwhile, suspended slaughter and devastation by land, sea and air. Many and various reasons could be given to explain the suddenness of this event; but if the supreme reason be sought there is no other way but to look above to Him who rules all events. Moved to compassion by the unceasing prayers of His servants, He now lets humanity breathe again after so many trials and sorrows. While, then, all thanks are being given to the Lord for this wondrous boon, We are glad that many imposing demonstrations of piety have taken place in the Catholic world to that end. It remains now to implore of the divine mercy that the crown be put on the great gift accorded us. Soon the delegates of the various nations will meet in solemn congress to give the world a just and lasting peace; no human assembly has ever had before it such serious and complex determinations as they will have to take.

2. Words, then, are not required to show how great need they have of being illuminated from on high that they may carry out their great task well. And, as their decisions will be of supreme interest to all humanity, there is no doubt that Catholics, for whom the support of order and civil progress is a duty of conscience, must invoke Divine assistance for all who take part in the peace conference. We desire that that duty be brought before all Catholics. Therefore, Venerable Brothers, in order that there may come from the Congress shortly to be held that great gift of heaven, true peace founded on the Christian principles of justice, that enlightenment from the Heavenly father may descend on them, it shall be your care to order public prayers in each parish of your dioceses in the way you may think most convenient. As for Us, representing, however unworthily, Jesus Christ, King of Peace, We shall exert all the influence of Our Apostolic Ministry that the decisions which are to be taken to ensure for ever in the world the tranquility of order and concord be willingly accepted and faithfully carried out by Catholics everywhere.

3. As harbinger of celestial favours and pledge of Our benevolence, to you, Venerable Brethren, and to you, clergy and people, We impart from Our heart the Apostolic Benediction.

Given at Rome at St. Peter's on the 1st day of December, 1918, the fifth year of Our Pontificate.

BENEDICT XV

Friday, November 10, 2006

The condom thing (again)

There have been various articles floating around out there for the last few days. This one from the LA Times alleges that Benedict is waiting for a report on condom use.

Today — three popes and nearly 40 years later — Pope Benedict XVI has ordered a Vatican staff report on whether condoms can be approved for situations in which there is potential for HIV infection. That report is imminent, according to Vatican rumors, and it is likely that Benedict will act quickly on it given that it was undertaken on his initiative.

Benedict’s review was prompted, in part, by a handful of prominent cardinals and bishops who assert that condoms are necessary to control HIV infection worldwide. Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg, South Africa, after watching countless young women die of AIDS in a health clinic he established, veered from Vatican orthodoxy when he said in 1998 that “denying condoms is a death sentence for women.”

If in fact Benedict moves away from the absolute prohibition against condoms, it likely will be a very measured step; for instance, he might allow their use only in developing countries, where there is little stigma attached to husbands’ infidelity, a factor that increases the risk of infection for innocent wives. However, no matter how narrowly focused, any relaxation of the rules about condoms will have far-reaching consequences.
[...]

But a change of doctrine may not be easy.

Even the smallest reversal of Paul’s absolute moral rule calls into question the entire contraception ruling, the morality of abortion (which the encyclical forbids under the same argument as contraception) and the doctrine of papal infallibility. This last because even though Paul did not formally invoke papal infallibility, it was clear he meant to lay down a law with no exceptions.

Yet Humanae Vitae is not, in its reasoning, as absolute as one might think.

Peter C. Boulay, "a former religious brother, has been a reporter, magazine editor and editor of a Catholic newspaper. He is writing a book on gender issues within the Catholic Church," launches into a critique of the encyclical which does not concern me here.

Let us be frank. Assuming Benedict is actually waiting for a report, there are certainly pastoral reasons out there that supposedly justify an acceptance of condoms in order to protect young wives in Africa from whatever their husbands may carry home.

1. They have a plan for after? Allowing the use of condoms is merely a stopgap measure that does not solve the underlying problem. Do the cardinals and bishops who advocate the acceptance of condom use also have a plan for teaching Catholic men who are unfaithful about the damage they're doing to their immortal souls? I would really need to know a whole lot more about actual cases on the ground and how they're being handled before I would even begin to contemplate what is being suggested.

2. The global impact. In this day and age, if there were to be an acceptance of condoms, it would be traumatic for the Church. In a secularized world, such a move would be seen as a defeat. Condoms may only be tolerated in Africa, but they're still being tolerated and that would send a message to all kinds of groups. In the debates lately about the universal indult, the talk has been about reconciliation with the SSPX, etc. However, as commentators so often point out, there is much more than just the 1962 Missal. How would the SSPX react? For that matter, how would most faithful, orthodox Catholics react at a sudden reversal of such a central pro-life tenet?

Benedict XVI is a brilliant man. I trust him. My thought is that with so much else on his plate, pulling off a nuanced message on the use of condoms would be nearly impossible. Once the bell is rung, it'll be next to impossible to unring it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

On Tolkien

As an amateur Tolkienist (or whatever term one cares to use), I always find it interesting when articles pop up declaring they've found the key symbols that tie Tolkien's works to his Catholic faith.

In the book Morgoth's Ring, there is a fictitious debate called by Tolkien, 'Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth'. It is a debate between the immortal Elf Finrod and the mortal woman Andreth. Tolkien uses the debate as an exposition of the relationship of his mythology to the Christian tradition. Included is the description of the Fall of Man and its consequences and the Elvish thought on the end of the world.

After the debate concludes, Tolkien sets out in a 'third person' commentary the motivations of the Elf and the woman and how they look at various topics relating to life, death, evil in the world and the end of the world itself. After a series of arguments, Tolkien describes the probable final conclusion of the Elf that Eru (God) would in a redemptive fashion enter the world as a Man to cure the evils of Melkor (Satan) and free Men from their original sin. Thus Elvish thought and foresight predict the coming of Christ.

The analysis of the published works The Silmarillion and The Lord of the Rings is important for the study of the influences of Tolkien's faith upon his works. But with the publication of The History of Middle-earth series, we can see first-hand the creative process of Tolkien's works. We can see the secondary fictional works ('Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth') and philosophical essays that set out definitively Tolkien's attempts to bring his legendarium into a Christian historial framework. Most importantly, we see Tolkien's personal debate over the worth of writing an 'alternate-history' Bible and his ultimate positive answer.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

More Orthodox-Catholic discussion

Zenit has part two of the interview with the Orthodox Bishop of Vienna and Austria. A quote that stood out for me:

At this level I can predict many years of exhaustive and difficult work, especially when we come to the issue of universal primacy. Complications will arise not only because of the very different understanding of primacy between the Catholic and Orthodox traditions, but also from the fact that there is no unanimous understanding of universal primacy among the Orthodox themselves.

This fact already became evident during the recent session of the Commission in Belgrade, and the internal disagreement within the family of the Orthodox Churches on this particular issue will be manifested in ways more acute and striking in the future. Thus, a long and thorny path lies ahead.

There is, however, another level to which we should set our sights, and here I mean not so much what divides as what unites us. To be specific, this is the level of cooperation in the field of Christian mission.

Personally, I believe that it is quite premature and unrealistic to expect restoration of full Eucharistic communion between East and West in the foreseeable future. Nothing, however, prevents us, both Catholics and Orthodox, from witnessing Christ and his Gospel together to the modern world. We may not be united administratively or ecclesiastically, but we must learn to be partners and allies in the face of common challenges: militant secularism, relativism, atheism, or a militant Islam.

It is for this reason that, since the election of Pope Benedict XVI, I have repeatedly called for the fostering of ties between the Catholics and the Orthodox Churches through the creation of a strategic alliance for the defense of Christian values in Europe. Neither the word "strategic" nor "alliance" has so far been commonly accepted to describe a collaboration such as this.

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev makes a good point in that while Benedict may be working steadily towards greater unity with the Orthodox Churches, it's going to be hard to get all of them on board with greater relations with Rome.

Pray hard, brethren.

EDIT: I'll tack this on here since it goes along with it. NCRegister has an interesting article on a meeting between Neocatechumenal Way and Russian Orthodox officials on the possible training of Orthodox priests on more effective ways of evangelization.

The editorial of surrender

At www.chiesa, Sandro Magister breaks down the latest editorial from La Civiltà Cattolica, the magazine of the Rome Jesuits that 'by statute should reflect the pope’s thought and argue on its behalf'. Its content is approved by the Secretariat of State before publication. Here is one example of the editorial's content and tone as quoted by Magister [bolding is by me]:

“From this arises the necessity, for fundamentalist Islam, of the ‘armed struggle’ (al-jihad bi-l-saif) against those who attack an Islamic state with the pretext of turning it into a ‘democratic’ state. An Islamic state, according to radical interpretation, is ‘theocratic’ by nature; that is, it is ruled only according to the Qur’an and the Sunna, and thus, according to the extremists, it cannot be ’democratic’, much less ’secular’, nor can it fail to declare Islam the ‘state religion’. The Universal Islamic Declaration, approved in 1980 by the Islamic Council of Europe, says: ‘The subjection of Muslim peoples and the occupation of their lands in some parts of the world is for us a matter of grave concern. The most painful of these is the usurpation and occupation of the holy city of Jerusalem (al-Quds). It is the sacred right of the umma to mobilize all its forces and to fight ceaselessly to free Jerusalem and all the other Muslim lands. The Muslim countries consider aggression against one of them as aggression against the entire Muslim world’.

Spain, Sicily, the Balkans and a whole lot of other places had better watch out.

Magister doesn't take a stab at how this editorial that basically declares any resistance to fundamental Islam as foolhardy and counterproductive was approved. But I am going to take a guess and suggest that perhaps it was approved by the former Secretary, Cardinal Sodano, in a sort of Roman equivalent to the Midnight Judges... That's the only way I can imagine it happening. I have no idea how long before publication pieces are approved by State, but I find it hard to believe that Bertone and company would have let something like that pass, even in the name of frank discussion. If the editorial had been instead a regular article on the basic motivations of fundamentalist Islam and had left out the 'surrender' suggestions, I can see it in that light, but as an editorial...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Russians' opinion of the Romans

Zenit has an interview with Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev on the Orthodox view of the Pope. Most of it is pretty standard stuff, but the title-by-title remarks on the Pope's titles are a good recap of the Eastern view.

[After explaining Constantinople's position in Eastern Orthodoxy] I believe that, alongside with contacts with the Patriarchate of Constantinople, it is equally important for the Roman Catholic Church to develop bilateral relations with other Orthodox Churches, notably with the Russian Orthodox Church. The latter, being the second largest Christian Church in the world -- its membership comprises some 160 million believers worldwide -- is eager to develop such relations, especially in the field of common Christian witness to secularized society.
[...]

Q: The Pope did away with the title "Patriarch of the Occident." What does this gesture mean? Is there any ecumenical meaning to it?

Bishop Alfeyev: Well, I was the first Orthodox hierarch that happened to comment on this gesture. Several weeks later, official comments were also made by the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

In my remarks I argued that repudiation of the title "Patriarch of the Occident" is likely to be considered by the Orthodox as confirming the claim, reflected in the pope's other titles, to universal Church jurisdiction.

Among the many designations of the Pontiff, that of "Bishop of Rome" remains the most acceptable for the Orthodox Churches, since it points to the Pope's role as diocesan bishop of the city of Rome.

A title such as "Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province" shows that the Pope's jurisdiction includes not only the city of Rome, but also the province.

"Primate of Italy" indicates that the Bishop of Rome is "first among equals" among the bishops of Italy, i.e., using Orthodox language, primate of a local Church. Following this understanding, none of the three titles would pose a problem for the Orthodox in the event of a re-establishment of Eucharistic communion between East and West.

The main obstacle to ecclesial unity between East and West, according to many Orthodox theologians, is the teaching on the universal jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome. Within this context -- unacceptable and even scandalous, from the Orthodox point of view -- are precisely those titles that remain in the list, such as Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church.

According to Orthodox teaching, Christ has no "vicar" to govern the universal Church in his name.

The title "Successor of the Prince of the Apostles" refers to the Roman Catholic doctrine on the primacy of Peter which, when passed on to the Bishop of Rome, secured for him governance over the universal Church. This teaching has been criticized in Orthodox polemical literature from Byzantine time onward.

The title "Supreme Pontiff" -- "Pontifex Maximus" -- originally belonged to the pagan emperors of ancient Rome. It was not rejected by the Emperor Constantine when he converted to Christianity.

With respect to the Pope of Rome, "Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church" is a designation that points to the Pope's universal jurisdiction -- a level of authority which is not recognized by the Orthodox Churches. It is precisely this title that should have been dropped first, had the move been motivated by the quest for "ecumenical progress" and desire for the amelioration of Catholic-Orthodox relations.

The bishop's see is that of Vienna and Austria. He is considered to be the chief example of the Russian Orthodox hypocrisy when it comes to condemning Catholic inroads in Orthodox lands while at the same time appointing bishops for traditional Catholic lands.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Impressions of the swirl

There's a lot going on out there lately with the Tridentine Mass. The French are upset while it is suggested that the whole indult Motu Proprio is the project of the Colombian cardinal. The Apostolic Exhortation with the results from the Synod still waits to see the light of day. Curial appointments have been made and much hay has been made in discussing them.

That's only the half of it. But to what does it all point?

Other more informed sources believe that the indult Motu Proprio is just waiting for the right moment to come out once Benedict gets everything set up the way he wants. Bishops must be included, parameters for usage must be delineated, etc. At this juncture, I think that the whole rationale for this move with be completely explored in the Apostolic Exhortation from the Synod with the purely legislative actions coming in the Motu Proprio. The actual date of the signing and/or promulgation of either document remains to be seen. The possible contents are my own pure bits of speculation, but it would make sense to separate the pastoral arguments from the purely canonical provisions for the use of the Tridentine Mass.

Over at Father Z, rumors of the signing date include any day from the 7th inclusive.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

It's a cold, grey morning out there

At my parish, the only Mass on Saturday is in the evening for the Sunday obligation. Last month it was announced that every first Saturday of the month, there would be Mass at 9AM.

And what is today?

So I thought I'd go. There is also a plenary indulgence for All Saints and All Souls.

-SOULS IN PURGATORY-
November 1st-8th

A plenary indulgence can be gained on each day.
Requirements:
1. Mass and Communion- Pray for the Pope's intentions (1 Our Father, 1 Hail Mary)
2. Visit a cemetery- Say a prayer for the departed
3. Confession- Two weeks before or after the date.
This would be a loving gift for a departed loved one.

Indulgence @ New Advent/Catholic Encyclopedia
Indulgence @ Wikipedia

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Latin American crisis

In the wake of the appointment of Cardinal Hummes [CathHier-CardRating] as the Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy, Sandro Magister today looks at the growth of the Pentecostals and Charismatics as measured by a new Pew Forum report. The numbers for Latin America do not look good. The Catholic Church's numbers have declined from over 90% to around 67% in Brazil alone.

[After citing the heavy losses the Brazilian Church has taken:]

The Brazilian Catholic Church has, therefore, experienced severe losses and significant internal changes over the past few decades. The “base ecclesial communities,” which the hierarchy emphasized at first, have restricted the ranks of the faithful instead of expanding them. Liberation theology, which has its origins in Western Europe, has sparked an even more restricted and self-referential élite, the polar opposite of the Charismatic currents that are running wild among the poular classes as well. In recent years, there have been signs of reconsideration in the Catholic hierarchy, as exemplified by the personal evolution of Hummes himself, a member of the Franciscan order of friars minor who was initially of social-progressive leanings, but later drew closer to the Charismatic movement.

In a time when communists were running around the jungles of Latin America doing their thing, liberation theology had its heyday. However, I think that liberation theology was essentially an anomoly that came and went. As the above illustrates, the poor, impoverished masses are drawn to Jesus's message and the piety engendered by that message, be it in the form of the Catholic Church or the Pentecostal groups.

The very next paragraph:

In any case, the perception that the advance of the Pentecostals and Charismatics is the most significant overall new development in Christianity over the last century is far from being shared by the hierarchy as a whole and by the élites that influence public opinion the most.

Luke from Star Wars once said, "I, I don't believe it!" His master Yoda replied in a dark, disappointed way, "That is why you fail."

[Giorgio] Bouchard writes: “The Pentecostals, and with them other evangelicals, are absolutely the religious movement spreading most rapidly throughout the world: more than the historical Protestant and Catholic Churches, more than the Muslims who also find themselves in a phase of vigorous expansion. [...] In an age infested by the worst kind of moral relativism and by a suffocating materialism, the Pentecostals represent a new and legitimate interpretation of Christian piety, founded on a great certainty: the presence of the Spirit, the greatly overlooked third person of the Trinity.”

Yes yes yes! Tell it like it is! Bouchard is quoted further:

Why is it that lung cancer is almost completely nonexistent among them, and AIDS almost unknown? Why is it that their young people abstain from drugs and alcohol? It could be that these same much-despised fundamentalists constitute the last manifestation of the puritan spirit that has had such a great importance in the history of modern democracy.”

Magister then goes on to look at the survey data. The Pentecostals and Charismatics go to church more, read the Bible more often, etc. The full Pew report can be found here.

People want the Bible, they want requirements, they want to know Jesus and serve God. They are like children who need rules and boundaries. I just don't understand why it's so hard to cater to these needs, since they're so fundamentally Christian. I am not a big believer in 'speaking in tongues' and the like. The Catholic Church has its own popular pieties and traditions to attract the masses and show them the way. They must be popularized and promoted once more! We'll see if the Latin American hierarchies can figure it out before it's too late.