Friday, June 30, 2006

Regarding the statue below

I just realized something... I'm kind of a nitwit. :)

I'm sitting here looking at that image and it suddenly dawned on me that St. Peter is wearing a mini-version of the triple tiara...

From Fr. Selvester:

One sad nod to the present state of things is the lack of the tiara on the statue of St. Peter in the basilica. On this feast the statue is vested in papal vestments that used to include the tiara as well. Since the Popes no longer wear the tiara it is missing on the statue too. The custom was maintained during the previous pontificate but it is another Marini innovation. Oddly, though, the statue was bare-headed. If they're going to continue to vest the statue one would think they'd use a mitre as the Popes do now. Some would argue that St. Peter would have worn nothing on his head. True enough, but then again he wouldn't have worn a renaissance cope either, or a ring, or a pectoral cross, or a morse or had a visible halo. Since all those are used then a mitre to replace the tiara would make the most sense. Otherwise, why vest the statue at all?

The delegation

A few days ago, the big thing was the delegation of two who were visiting Beijing. The PRC was trumpeting the fact that the ordinations earlier were pushed forward by mid-level officials at the Catholic Patriotic Association and that the PRC wanted to better relations with the Catholic Church.

Since the story came out, there hasn't been much else in the press about what's going on. It will no doubt have to wait until the two find their way back to Rome and the result of their mission is made public.

In the meantime, there's no reason why we can't speculate on what they're doing there. Just what do I think they're doing there?

1. Face-to-face negotiations:
If they're there for some kind of face-to-face negotiations as far as moving the nunciature and working out a compromise on the appointment of bishops, I just can't accept that. It is just too beyond the realm of possibility that Zen would be made a cardinal and the de facto point on relations with the PRC and then he would be suddenly bypassed. I think we can discount this.

2. Showing the flag:
I could see this happening. This visit to the PRC is nothing more than a trip to show the flag so to speak and to reiterate to the ChiComs in no uncertain terms that approving bishops without even the tacit consent of the Holy See is not going to help matters at all, nevermind all the religious persecution that continues unabated. Fly the flag, lay down the law, etc. I could see this happening, but again, why is Zen out of the loop?

3. Secret mission:
This is like number one, except... The mission is far different than mere appearances. Perhaps they're there to secure the release of a major bishop and have gold in their suitcases? Something totally outlandish that no one would ever consider? I highly doubt it, but it would be cool.

Those are three possible reasons behind the mission. We'll just have to wait and see how things go and maybe they'll have a press conference when they return to the free world.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ss. Peter and Paul (one of them)

Just because I really like the statue. :)

You ever feel like...

Like the day only starts when you wake up? I was up until 4:30 this morning, so it's odd thinking that it is the 'day after' rather than simply later on in the day.

In any case!

Last night, I watched 'The Shoes of the Fisherman'. Interesting movie. The actors were all good, though the plot was rather slow in places. The entire Oskar Werner subplot was rather contrived. Isn't it interesting that the Vatican sent off to fetch a just-released-from-the-gulag archbishop from the Kremlin a priest who was not only on the verge of being declared a heretic but also dying?

Yeah, I thought that was interesting too. :)

The end was... 'You ARE Peter! We support your decision to do this!' I won't spoil the final decision, but it was like liberation theology in white clothing. Bread, dignity and work... I guess Sir Olivier ended up breaking Kiril in the gulag after all. :)

Live blogging

The altar has been censed and the opening prayer delivered.

The opening remarks are completed and they're about to process up to get their palliums.

Some of the archbishops are taking their time. A few of them are really perfunctory as if they've got someplace to be. ;) I especially like the ones who kiss the papal hand over and over again. Genuine sincerity is cool.

Love the tiger-stripes vestments. :D

The handing-out is over. Now it's time for the main event.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Saint Josemaria

Greetings on this special day (after) to all our Opus Dei readers out there.

(I'm a day late, sorry.)

Spin the music scene

Silence modern music in church, says Pope |

The Pope has demanded an end to electric guitars and modern music in church and a return to traditional choirs.

The Catholic Church has been experimenting with new ways of holding Mass to try to attract more people. The recital of Mass set to guitars has grown in popularity in Italy; in Spain it has been set to flamenco music; and in the United States the Electric Prunes produced a "psychedelic" album called Mass in F Minor.

However, the use of guitars and tambourines has irritated the Pope, who loves classical music. "It is possible to modernise holy music," the Pope said, at a concert conducted by Domenico Bartolucci the director of music at the Sistine Chapel. "But it should not happen outside the traditional path of Gregorian chants or sacred polyphonic choral music."

Note the set up to the quote by Pope Benedict and then what Benedict actually said. He DEMANDS using words like 'should not'... But hey, it's the Telegraph!

But Cardinal Carlo Furno, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, said it was "better to have guitars on the altar and rock and roll Masses than empty churches". The use of modern music was a "sign of the vitality of the faith".

And you have evidence that this is the case, Eminence? You have statistics and survey data that show without a doubt that young people go to Mass not for Christ or anything like that but simply to listen to guitars and rock and roll? You have spreadsheets and a PowerPoint presentation ready?

Didn't think so. :)

The argument is part of a wider debate about the Latin Mass, restricted in the Vatican II reforms of the 1960s because it was seen to be putting worshippers off going to Church.

The Pope believes that if Latin Masses are reintroduced, more Catholics will learn the words to the Gregorian chants that he advocates.

Is there really such a restriction? I'm not talking about the old Mass, I'm talking about the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin. Is there some directive in the GIRM about how often and in what circumstances Latin can be used for saying Mass?

Marching to the beat of a different drum

That really doesn't apply beyond a cursory musical analogy... :)

A Change of Tune in the Vatican – And Not Only in the Secretariat of State

Bertone takes Sodano’s place. But an important shift is also taking place in liturgical music. The way was pointed out by a concert with the pope in the Sistine Chapel, conducted by maestro Bartolucci

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, June 27, 2006 – Step by step, Benedict XVI is impressing a new form and a new style on the governance of the universal Church.

Recent days were marked by the announcement of a change in the secretary of state: from Angelo Sodano to Tarcisio Bertone.

But another event orchestrated by pope Joseph Ratzinger is of no less importance: the concert conducted in the Sistine Chapel, on Saturday, June 24, by maestro monsignor Domenico Bartolucci.

With this concert, Benedict XVI has symbolically restored the Sistine Chapel to its true maestro. Because the famous chapel is not only the sacred place decorated with the frescoes of Michelangelo, it also gives the name to the choir that for centuries has accompanied the pontifical liturgies.

Maestro Bartolucci was named the “perpetual” director, the director for life, of the Sistine Chapel by Pius XII in 1959. Under this and later popes, he was an outstanding interpreter of the liturgical music founded upon Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony. But after a long period of opposition, in 1997 he was dismissed and replaced by a choirmaster thought to be more fitting for the “popular” music dear to John Paul II.

Magister tells the story of Maestro Bartolucci's removal and then return by Supreme Admirer-Pope Benedict. The Holy Father spoke after the maestro's concert:

“All of the selections we have listened to – and especially in their entirety, where the 16th and 20th centuries stand parallel – agree in confirming the conviction that sacred polyphony, in particular that of what is called the ‘Roman school’, constitutes a heritage that should be preserved with care, kept alive, and made better known, for the benefit not only of the scholars and specialists, but of the ecclesial community as a whole. [...] An authentic updating of sacred music can take place only in the lineage of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.”

Among the prelates of the Roman curia present at the concert were Marini and Liberto. But Benedict XVI’s attention was entirely dedicated to maestro Bartolucci – a vigorous 89 years old, – his choir, and the superb quality of their performances.

Marini is the master of pontifical ceremonies and Liberto was the guy who replaced Bartolucci. Yes, make them come and sit through a concert.

As I pointed out last time around, Benedict's moves are reshuffling of personnel. The big moves have yet to show themselves and as they get pushed back, they become ephemeral. The 'tsunami' of reform is like a grey squall on the horizon that looms over the curial ship but never drifts far enough to cause more than a few gusts of wind and a stray band of rain.

As far as the music scene, I'm beyond that anyway. A major shift back to chant would be meaningless for me. Now if there was a major push for the priest to face back towards the altar, that would be significant. But long-time readers will remember why music holds no place upon my faith at this time.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Those Episcopals...

So I'm getting cleaned up in the morning and one of my latest little thoughts is how cool it would be if the Archbishop of Canterbury were to show up for a meeting with the Supreme Pontiff wearing sackcloth or whatever penitents wear. Rather than a procession across St. Peter's Square, the archbishop would crawl on his knees the whole way and upon reaching the steps, he would beg forgiveness or whatever and ask to be accepted back into the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church...

While all this is going on, CNN, the BBC, etc. are all watching, as the procession was planned in advance; thus millions will have just witnessed live and in color this act of repentance.

In any case, that has little to do with the Episcopal Church in the USA, since I'm sure they wouldn't care one way or another. This has actually little to do with the modernist folks of the ECUSA (or whatever they're called). This is an indictment of the conservatives.

Let's look at a statement from Jay Ambrose found here:

First, the Episcopal Church is a thing of beauty. Its liturgy as found in the Book of Common Prayer includes some of the most wondrous prose you will encounter in the English language. While this is a creedal faith - meaning you accept certain broad propositions when you are confirmed - there is mystery, subtlety, nuance and room for much disagreement. But the controversy the church is now experiencing seems to me to stem less from theological dispute than from leftist politics that, however well-intentioned, are also superficial and temporally based.

Look at the bolded text. Conservatives in the ECUSA and in general in the wider Anglican Communion keep telling themselves that over and over and then go on to the 'but' statement. That's all they have, 'but'. The entire fate of the soul of their church hangs on 'but'.

The mass exodus that was expected has not come to pass yet. It has only been a few days since their convention concluded. The usual statements have been made (see above) and are circulating around. Now is the time for action. And it is incumbent on upon us to welcome them to something better if they approach us.

In these times we live in, they're probably not going to come to us on their knees out of some medieval play. Instead, we as Catholics will have to reach out. The challenge is ours.

Back in black

Mrs. Arroyo and Benedict XVI

Mrs. Arroyo, Benedict XVI and
Benedict's private secretary ;)


VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2006 (VIS) - This morning, Holy See Press Office Director Joaquin Navarro-Valls released the following declaration concerning the audience granted today by Benedict XVI to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, president of the Republic of the Philippines, in the company of her family and an entourage:

"In the course of the cordial meeting," the text reads, "the president explained to the Holy Father the new law banning the death penalty, which was signed last Saturday, Feast of St. John the Baptist.

"Mrs. Macapagal Arroyo also showed the Pope a plan for reforming the Constitution, which aims at a more harmonious development of the country, reserving greater attention to the poorer sectors of the population.

"During the meeting, reference was also made to the favorable prospects for dialogue with the Muslim inhabitants of the country and to the hope for national pacification.

"Finally the president noted how Christian values, in which the majority of Filipinos identify themselves, also find expression and support in the legislation of the State."

The parking guru

Although his main job will end, U.S. cardinal to remain at Vatican

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- When U.S. Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka retires as president of the commission governing Vatican City State in September, he will be moving out of his apartment at the Vatican governor's palace -- but to another apartment inside the 109-acre city state.

Under his governorship, a new entrance to the Vatican Museums was completed and two underground parking garages were opened.

"Vatican City had become a big parking lot," he said, not just with employees' cars, but with all sorts of people who live or work nearby finagling parking permits.

"I put a stop to that," he said. "Now it looks beautiful" without cars clogging up every street and square in the small state.

Cardinal Szoka just became my new hero! As a former employee of the UI Department of Parking and Transportation, I can attest to the horrors of disorganized parking and all the hard work that goes into making sure people don't park just wherever they feel like it.

So from one parking person to another, I salute His Eminence!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

An amusing headline

From our good friends at the Reverend Moon's personal news agency, UPI, comes this intriguing title for an article about the Indiana nun headed for sainthood:

Catholic saint to be canonized

Pray tell, brethren, why a saint needs canonization again? Or in this case, how one can be named a saint before being canonized? I daresay, it is most vexing.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Off to Rome for a pallium

DiNardo to receive symbol of leadership

With pallium, archbishop will formalize his bond with pope and archdiocese

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

The Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston's second archbishop, Daniel N. DiNardo, will leave Sunday for Rome to receive the garment that symbolizes his bond to the pope and the area's 1.3 million Roman Catholics.

In a Mass Thursday morning at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI will place the white woolen band, a pallium, around the archbishop's neck.

"The pallium sits on you somewhat like a yoke," DiNardo said. "It shouldn't be a heavy yoke; Christ's yoke is easy. But it is a sense of responsibility you owe to the unity of the church and your own archdiocese."

The pallium is made of sheep's wool blessed by the pope and is adorned with six black crosses. It is bestowed on archbishops who lead regional Catholic communities. The pope wears a pallium of a different design.

The ceremony, traditionally held during the Catholic feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, will include archbishops from around the globe and two other Americans: George Niederauer of San Francisco and Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, D.C., who was bishop in Pittsburgh when DiNardo was a priest there.

DiNardo, a native of Ohio, said he had often attended pallium Masses when he worked in Rome from 1984 to 1991. But he said he expected this ceremony to be an important personal experience.

"It is quite different when you are the one receiving it," he said. "You walk down the aisle and then you kneel before the Holy Father, and he places it on you. There is a sense of communion with Peter all the way through Benedict XVI."

In a news conference Friday, DiNardo outlined some of the changes he has made since taking over the archdiocese.

In recognition of the area's growing Hispanic Catholic community, he moved Auxiliary Bishop Joe S. Vasquez to the central job of chancellor. He also named Christina Deajon, a lay lawyer for the archdiocese, vice chancellor. She is the first woman, first layperson and first African-American to hold the title.

Friday, June 23, 2006

So it happened

I was talking to my friend last night on AIM about curial reform and the tendencies of the Holy Father in his appointments so far. The friend noted that for good or bad, Benedict was making choices based on personal holiness, etc. and not much else.

Bertone will be the Secretary of State and there is a new governor of the Vatican City State as well. The former is a long-time collaborator of the Grand Inquisitor and the latter is a long-time curialist who previously headed up the foreign ministry. From foreign affairs to the interior...

Looking at this, what can be inferred? Answer: not much.

At the most basic level, Benedict is merely changing out old officials with younger ones. In the two key posts so far, he has installed close associates, Levada at CDF and now Bertone as SecState. The massive curial reform project still has yet to truly materialize aside from those councils being switched around in the spring.

In the period of the late Roman Republic, Cicero the great orator and statesman was of the belief that the constitutional footing of the Roman Republic was just fine and that the only problem was that the Republic's officials were simply not virtuous enough. Thus Cicero spent all his time trying to get the 'right' men into office while not conceiving the basic structural flaws of the Republican system. It took Caesar and then Augustus to realize that it wasn't people, it was the system that needed fixing.

I bring up this arcane piece of history only to serve as an example of what Benedict might be thinking... Is there really going to be any curial reform or does Benedict think that if he can put the right men in the right places, everything will be just grand? We'll have to find out.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The World Cup

In case you all aren't paying attention...

Holy See 1-0 Monaco

A young priest celebrates a goal. (AP)

Team Holy See, participating in its first World Cup, has played its first match in Group I. The Catholic side managed to hang out to its one-goal lead despite the late surge from Monaco. The manager of Team Holy See, Swiss Guards Major Dieter Schultze, noted that his men performed well.

"We have men from all over the earth playing for the Holy See. It is an incredible multi-national effort. We have drilled for many weeks and it is shown upon the pitch."

Football watchers noted the extreme skill of the Swiss-coached side. Said JP Manolo of ESPN, "Their set-piece attacks from corner and free kicks work like clockwork, Swiss clockwork."

In Group I play, Holy See will next meet San Marino, which lost its first match in group play 2-0 to Swaziland.

Holy See 3pts
Swaziland 3pts
San Marino 0pts
Monaco 0pts

Subscribing to 'Totus Tuus', etc.

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The trip to Spain is coming up fast. As we will all no doubt remember, the socialist government of Zapatero has made repeated attacks on the institution of the family and the sacred sacrament of matrimony. Benedict will be meeting with Zapatero and in private I'm thinking Zapatero might see a little of the old Inquisitor. The masses of pro-family people making the pilgrimage to see the Holy Father should be impressive. If the turn out for the massive protests from when the Spanish Cortes was legalizing all that gay stuff is any indication, the crowds will be huge.

The rally in Madrid, June 18, 2005. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Spain's ties with the church have been strained since the Socialists took office in 2004, with an agenda that has included legalizing gay marriage and making it easier for Spaniards to divorce. Zapatero's Socialists have also scrapped plans by the previous conservative government to make religion classes obligatory in schools.

The Vatican released a program of Benedict's July 8-9 visit to Valencia to attend the Roman Catholic Church's World Meeting of Families. It said the talks with Zapatero would take place July 9, in the late afternoon, after a meeting with the Spanish royals.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Good morning, everyone

Tony Blair visited the Pope I believe it was yesterday. Aside from all the geopolitical things, in their 35 minutes of audience, I hope Mr. Blair and the Holy Father got to discuss the prime minister's personal faith. There have been rumors out there that Tony was seriously considering converting to the One True Faith.

Where I've been:
The week before last, I was contacted by this company about possible employment. After IMing with several different really nice people for interviews and having a really nice HR person lead me through an online application with a government agency which which the company places its employees, I am waiting for things to be processed and to shake out.

As far as the blog:
I suppose I am on something of a hiatus. Pentecost is tomorrow. Perhaps when Ordinary Time rolls around again, things will get back to normal...