Monday, February 26, 2007

The Mass in Baltimore

Feria in both calendars

The Baltimore Sun has an interesting article on the 'Tridentine Mass' and the indult parish where it is celebrated in Baltimore.

It starts off with a little context on the general indult situation and then goes on to explain the differences between the Mass of St. Pius V and the Mass of Paul VI.

"Identifying with the Tridentine Mass is a kind of a mild form of protest," says Mathew N. Schmalz, a professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross. "A lot of it has to do with a more aggressive assertion of Catholic identity and a feeling that that has been lost."

There is this gem on the balkanization of parishes (at least as far as Mass goes):

Bastress says the church almost operates like three separate parishes: the English-speaking community, those who come to Lithuanian services at 8:30 a.m., and the Tridentine followers at 11:30 a.m. The latter is the largest service with up to 175 attendees each Sunday, many of whom travel from as far away as Virginia or Pennsylvania to attend.

Nothing new at all here, but an interesting article from a mainstream newspaper.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

Father Z. has pictures up. I hope he won't mind if I borrow one to stick up here.

According to Zadok the Roman, the statue of St. Peter once again wore its triple tiara today after an absence of several years.

Here are details of the feast at New Advent.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

On the missal front

A few posts down, I was lamenting my internet shopping experience. I received an email from Baronius Press in reply to my inquiry stating that my order had been received and that they were having issues with shipping.

No problem on this end as long as they have the order. :)

Ruini's successor

Rorate Caeli is quoting Italian media sources saying that Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, has been tipped to succeed Cardinal Ruini.

Marco Tosatti in La Stampa and the publishers of Il Foglio affirm that the successor of Cardinal Ruini at the helm of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) will be (probably for Tosatti, certainly for Il Foglio) the new Archbishop of Genoa, Angelo Bagnasco, former Archbishop of the Italian Military Ordinariate and a "Bertonian". Il Foglio states that the change will probably be made public on March 7.

Union by wallpapering

Sunshine Coast Daily:

"Any idea of unity would have to be an arrangement where the Anglican Church exists with its particular theology and practice side by side. It would be a unity of diversity. But sadly it is a long way off."

Father Gowty said the main divide between the two churches was "a question of authority".

Just come right out, there's no reason to be afraid. Just string your two thoughts together so that everyone can understand.

It's a question of authority to keep our own theology (even it is totally different from Catholic theology).

That wasn't so hard.

The big things have been the Anglican primatial meeting in Tanzania and the alleged report (that didn't say what it was reported to say) that the Anglican-Catholic commission was to boldly call for union.

To summarize:
1. The Anglican primates gave the US church until September.
2. The report said no such thing.

Nothing to see here, move along.

What will those secularists say next?

national secular society (which does not capitalize its name at its website, so why should I?):

Italians Give The Pope A Kick In The Pants

First paragraph:
Pope Ratzinger spent most of last week hysterically berating the Italian government for bringing forward a new partnership law that gives legal rights to unmarried cohabiting heterosexual couples and to homosexual couples. Italy’s most senior cardinal, Camillo Ruini, then announced that he would issue an ‘official note’ to Catholics, asking them to make “a personal commitment to defend marriage and oppose de facto couples”. That was seen as a direct call on Catholic lawmakers to vote against the bill.

Second paragraph:
But a new poll shows that the Vatican is out of step with public opinion in Italy. [...]

Kick in the pants, hysterically berating... A good smile is needed before going into Lent. ;)

The Maltese situation


At a time when the Italian Episcopal Council was already at loggerheads with Italy’s centre-left over a proposed law on civil unions, Archbishop Pawlu Cremona’s recent declaration during Georg Sapiano’s discussion programme Doksa came as a genuine surprise to many.
In apparent dissonance with Rome, Archbishop Cremona replied with a resounding “yes” to Sapiano’s question concerning the necessity or desirability for the party in government to continue working to deliver on an electoral promise, made in 1998, to legislate on the rights and obligations of cohabiting couples.
Mgr Cremona said that the Church has already made it clear that the state must legislate to safeguard the rights and interests of those who live together, including, for example, brothers and sisters who share the same house.

Perhaps wary of treading on the Church’s traditional monopoly on family affairs – unaltered by 160 years of British rule, and only remotely tampered with by Dom Mintoff – the Maltese State has left cohabiting couples in a legal vacuum. Relegated to the status of second class citizens, they have no right of inheritance if their partner dies without leaving a will, no rights to the common home if abandoned by their partner, no say in any decisions affecting their partner’s health and not even a legal right to organise their partner’s funeral.

The first few paragraphs explain the basic situation along with the archbishop's interesting position on the issue. What I find most interesting though is the line that I bolded that gives away in my mind the true intent of the legislation. If all it takes is a will to make sure that person A cohabitating with person B have clear rights of inheritance to each other's property, that's easily remedied. But instead, more rights are demanded in the slippery slope down into the abyss.

Whatever Archbishop Cremona's thoughts are on 'pastoral statements' and the like, he ought to look over the cliff at what lies below before he takes the plunge. The Church's primary goal ought to be protecting the family, not facilitating the ease in which cohabitating couples can simulate family life with all the legal bells and whistles.

Close encounters

Ash Wednesday

Catholic News Service:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- One of Sunni Islam's leading clerics has accepted Pope Benedict XVI's invitation to meet for talks in Rome, the Vatican said.

Grand Sheik Mohammed Sayyid Tantawi of Cairo's al-Azhar University, a world-renowned center of Islamic scholarship, agreed to the encounter "with satisfaction," the Vatican said Feb. 20. No date was announced for the meeting.

It would be the pope's highest-profile encounter with an Islamic leader since his September speech in Regensburg, Germany, that sparked controversy and criticism throughout the Muslim world.

Pretty straightforward. The charm offensive visiting lecturer series continues on, which is good.

I find it interesting though that the word 'encounter' is used. It brings to mind aliens meeting humans and divers encoutering whales in clear blue water...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday morning

I find that if I do not get up early enough to start working at a certain time, I am just not in the mood to sort through stuff and blog. I got later than I normally would today and thus I have this excuse for a post rather than the news snippets and commentary we're all used to here.

So tomorrow!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

One of those moments

Ss Faustinus and Jovita

On January 29, I ordered a 1962 Missal from Baronius Press. After I completed my order, I was taken to a page with my order number. Now for some bizarre reason, I clicked past that to check something out thinking I'll go back. At the same time, I was telling myself, 'the page will expire!!!' But I clicked past and lost the number. Well, I consoled myself with the idea that the confirmation email will contain the info on my order and all will be well.

No email. :(

So now over two weeks later, I'm waiting anxiously. I filled out the web form to make inquiries, but without my order number, I doubt I'll get any information back.


Bertone: A subtle Sodano?

Sandro Magister has this morning an article on the maneuverings around the appointment of the next president of the Italian bishops conference (CEI). The prime figure in the maneuverings is Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State.

Magister starts out by recounting the major failure of Bertone's tenure thus far.

The winning candidate, Stanislaw Wielgus, was clouded over with the suspicion of having collaborated with the secret services of the communist regime. But neither the Vatican nuncio in Poland, Józef Kowalczyk, nor his direct superior in Rome, Bertone, had made any effort to investigate his past thoroughly and inform the pope of the matter. It was enough for them that Wielgus had sworn in secret before the nuncio, on December 2, that he had never done anything against the Church, although he had acted as a spy for years.

Four days later, Benedict XVI made the appointment official. On December 21, he solemnly reconfirmed it – only to see later the documents that had come to light, and to realize that Wielgus had lied even to him, the pope.

Benedict XVI, left alone by a negligent curia, had no choice but to resolve the matter himself by applying the ax of dismissal to Wielgus on January 6. It was an appointment that had begun poorly and ended even worse.

Following this is a brief recounting of the Sodano affair of last year where the former Secretary of State attempted to do an end-run around the Pope in the appointment of a successor of Cardinal Ruini as president of the CEI at the end of his term. At that time, Benedict himself had to step in to set things according to his wishes.

One year ago, when cardinal Angelo Sodano was in office and Ruini was about to finish his third five-year term as president of the CEI, the Vatican nuncio to Italy at the time, Paolo Romeo, in agreement with Sodano, sent a letter to the 226 Italian bishops to ask them, under a pontifical seal of secrecy, to indicate who they wanted as the successor.

The trouble was that Benedict XVI, who as pope and primate of Italy has the right to appoint the president of the CEI, did not at all intend to proceed immediately with the replacement.

And so, when on February 14 of last year the letter from Romeo appeared in the press, the pope, highly annoyed, immediately ordered Ruini’s reconfirmation in office “donec aliter provideatur,” until other arrangements are made. And the schedule for Sodano’s retirement was moved forward.

Magister describes how at the beginning of last autumn, there was agreement between the Holy Father and Cardinal Ruini on the succession and the personnel involved.

The new president of the CEI was supposed to be cardinal Angelo Scola, the patriarch of Venice and a friend of Ratzinger’s since the early 1970’s, when they were among the founders of the international theological journal “Communio.”

Scola was supposed to be joined as the new president of the CEI by the current secretary, bishop Giuseppe Betori, a staunch follower of Ruini, who was confirmed by the pope last spring for another five-year term.

Furthermore, his ascent was supposed to be followed by that of the real emerging star of the Italian episcopate, Cataldo Naro, the bishop-theologian of Monreale, on the verge of being promoted as bishop of Palermo within a few years, likely to become the future leader of the CEI.

But disaster struck...

If not for the fact that at the end of September, during those same days, Naro died of heart failure, and Betori had to be operated on for a cerebral aneurysm. The transition at the top of the CEI was postponed, and, moreover, everything came back into question.

At this point, Magister describes Cardinal Bertone's plans for a restructuring of the CEI as well as his choices to carry out his plans, including many men from his home region and home diocese.

But Bertone had something completely different in mind. In the meantime, step by step, he was building his own team of highly faithful associates, all from Canavese like him, and from the little diocese of Ivrea.

As the new nuncio to Italy, in the place of Romeo, who had been promoted as bishop of Palermo, he would install Giuseppe Bertello. And as secretary of the CEI, in the place of the convalescent Betori (who in reality had recovered very well) there was a great buzz about the appointment of the current bishop of Ivrea, Arrigo Miglio.

For the presidency, as a geographical counterbalance, he proposed a man from southern Italy, the Capuchin Benigno Papa, archbishop of Taranto and vice-president of the CEI for the south.

In mid-January, Bertone was sure he had convinced the pope of the value of the appointments he had proposed. And, in effect, it hadn’t been difficult for him to find an opening. As cardinal, Ratzinger had often expressed himself in critical terms toward the bishops’ conferences.

But alas for Cardinal Bertone, Magister describes Cardinal Ruini's reaction and efforts upon seeing the plans of the Secretary of State.

So on February 2, when cardinal Ruini came to visit the pope two days before flying to Turkey to say Mass in the church where Fr. Andrea Santoro had been martyred one year ago, he discovered that the rumors were true and that the plan was very close to being carried out.

In brief: Benigno Papa as president, Miglio as secretary, Betori removed, and Scola out of the game.

Benedict XVI had received a letter opposing Scola from cardinal Severino Poletto, archbishop of Turin and a pupil of cardinal Sodano. The appointment of Scola as president, Poletto cautioned in the name of the other bishops of the Piedmont region, would divide the CEI rather than unite it.

Naturally, Benedict XVI took note of Ruini’s counterarguments, against what he maintained would appear as a public disowning of his presidency and a decapitation of the CEI at a crucial moment, and he returned to meet him again after he came back from Turkey.

But in the following days, the national media presented Bertone’s operation as a fait accompli. More than that, in the jubilation of the anti-Ruini camp there began to circulate the idea of a political agreement between the Vatican secretary of state and the head of the leftist government in Italy, the Catholic Romano Prodi: with the offer of a less interventionist CEI presidency, in exchange for a taming of the laws on de facto unions proposed by the government.

But it’s enough to follow, day by day, the insistent rhythm of the statements from Benedict XVI and Ruini in defense of the “irreplaceable uniqueness” of the family to understand how the story will end.

Scola is once again in the running for the presidency of the CEI, or at least the leader of some cardinal archbishopric is. Betori will stay on as secretary.

As for Bertone and the other prelates of the curia, the spiritual exercises for the entire first week of Lent will be preached to them by the super-combative cardinal Giacomo Biffi. He’s been called in by Benedict XVI.

Really, having seen Ruini in action over the years, did Bertone think that his plans would succeed against Cardinal Ruini?

One would think that in just one appointment, Benedict could pick a total Ratzinger loyalist, someone who, regardless of seniority or ecclesiastical rank, was completely and totally in line with Ratzinger's thought AND had no other agenda besides carrying out the Pope's will while serving as a watchdog on the Curia. Isn't that what the Secretary of State ought to be for?

The little mini-biography presented by Magister of Cardinal Scola is interesting.

Scola doesn’t have the crystalline clarity of a Ratzinger or the inexorable argumentation of a Ruini, but these limitations are actually advantages for him. The opaque formula “hybrid of civilizations” that he loves to offer against the phrase “clash of civilizations” has brought support for him from the progressive camp. Likewise the multilingual magazine “Oasis” that he has created in Venice, and which he went to present last January in Washington and New York, has won him a name as a multicultualist “liberal,” in spite of the fact that he comes from the group Communion and Liberation.

I need to subscribe to Oasis.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Orthodox news

From Interfax Religion:

Ukrainian Uniats urge to join NATO now - daily

Moscow, February 14, Interfax - Ukrainian political processes are being intertwined with the nation’s church life deeper and deeper.

Some Greek Catholics urge to join the NATO as soon as possible even from the preaching pulpit, the Trud daily said on Wednesday.

The February meeting of Volhynian Regional Interior Department Board held earlier this week started with a supplication service. From now on all important police events in Western Ukraine will start with a church service, the daily added.

It was also decided to make the staff of Interior Department’s regional boards and district offices regularly participate in the cervices. ‘Only those may fight the crime who have God in their hearts,’ the Volhynian Interior Department Board head Ivan Proshkovsky.

Meanwhile police officers from Khmelnitsky Region had their personal guns blessed. The like spiritual empowerment in Galichina’ police has its specific feature: the officers are led to churches marching in formations.

The above story is really bizarre in the way it goes from NATO to church-police relations with absolutely no transition. It's like two different stories put together to give the article some length. But hey, whatever floats their boat at Interfax.

Vatican’s representative in Russia urges Catholics to respect Orthodox traditions

Moscow, February 14, Interfax - Representative of the Holy See in Russia, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, has pointed out that it is important for the Catholics to respect the Orthodox church tradition for a success of the ecumenical dialogue.

‘We will seek to show more gestures of sympathy and respect for the Russian Orthodox Church, putting distrust and prejudice away, as we work only for the sake of Jesus. We must try to understand with love, and understanding takes learning’, Archbishop Mennini writes in an address to the readers of Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism which have been republished in Russian.

[A whole lot of talk on the book]

The Catholic clergy are strongly recommended ‘to pay attention to the norms existing in Eastern Churches for their faithful and to avoid any, even seeming proselytism’ and ‘to show sincere respect for the liturgical tradition of other Churches and church communities, which are asked, in their turn, to show reciprocal respect for the Catholic tradition’.

Good ideas all around.

Finally, back to Ukraine: Ukrainian Orthodox demand air time for the canonical Church radio and TV

Moscow, February 13, Interfax - Ukrainian Orthodox believers fear Roman Catholic proselytism and urge authorities to give them some air time for broadcasting.

‘We demand that the canonical Orthodox Church, which has formed spirituality, morals, and civilization image of our nation for centuries, be suitably represented at Ukrainian state TV and radio in accordance with its authority and number of believers,’ the Fraternity of St. Alexander Nevsky’s appeal to the Ukrainian government, the text of which Interfax received on Tuesday, said.

The appeal of the representatives of Ukraine’s Orthodox community was an answer to the association agreement between the president of Ukraine’s national broadcasting Viktor Nabrusko and the director of programming at Vatican Radio Federico Lombardi.

The Catholics would have seven casts a week at the state radio, ‘while the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in fact has no air time at the national radio,’ the Fraternity’s representatives noted.

That is really weird. They have /no/ air time at all? Huh.

Anyway, the news round-up out of Ukraine and Russia is complete for another day.

The Oriental Orthodox


The fourth meeting of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches took place in Rome from Jan. 28 to Feb. 3, 2007, under the co-chairmanship of His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette, secretary-general of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Addressing the group, Pope Benedict said, "Your meeting concerning the constitution and mission of the Church is of great importance for our common journey toward the restoration of full communion. The Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches share an ecclesial patrimony stemming from apostolic times and the first centuries of Christianity. This 'heritage of experience' should shape our future 'guiding our common path toward the re-establishment of full communion' (cf. "Ut Unum Sint," 56)." The Pope also expressed his concern for the situation of Christians in the Middle East, calling upon them to be "courageous and steadfast in the power of the Spirit of Christ."

Following the plan for the dialogue that was adopted at the Preparatory Meeting in 2003, the following papers were presented during the course of the meeting:

-- "Mission, Witness, Service and the Problem of Proselytism," by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian
-- "The Mission of the Church," by Bishop Paul-Werner Scheele

-- "The Salvation of Nonbelievers in the Patristic Period," by Father Mark Sheridan, O.S.B.
-- "The Church and the Salvation of Non-Christians in the Second Vatican Council and Afterward," by Monsignor Johan Bonny

-- "The Salvation of Nonbelievers," by Metropolitan Bishoy
-- "Marriage Between Catholics and Muslims: A Catholic Perspective," by Archbishop Peter Marayati
-- "Mixed Marriages With Non-Christians," by Metropolitan Bishoy.

Bolding is mine as well as the link to the encyclical. The full commission is scheduled to meet again in 2008 in Syria. The Eastern Orthodox tend to get all the hoopla, but the Chalcedonian-schism churches and Rome have been making steady progress over the years.

Going to Korea?

The Korea Times:

VATICAN CITY _ Could Pope Benedict XVI be the first head of the Roman Catholic Church to make a visit to South and North Korea? Chances are being heightened after a breakthrough was made in the North Korean nuclear standoff on Tuesday.

President Roh Moo-hyun is scheduled to pay a visit to Pope Benedict XVI with first lady Kwon Yang-suk on Thursday and talk about the agreement made during the six-party talks in Beijing on Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament.

It is the second time for a South Korean president to visit Vatican City. South Korea has two cardinals _ Stephen Cardinal Kim Sou-hwan and Nicholas Cardinal Cheong Jin-suk _ and some 5.1 million Catholics.

The late Pope John Paul II visited South Korea in 1984 to mark the 200th anniversary of Catholicism in the country and then in 1989 to attend the 44th foreign pastoral visit.

Pope Benedict XVI has not yet made a visit to either of the two Koreas.

That's all well and good. Not much to talk about.

North Korea agreed to shut down its main nuclear reactor and eventually disable its nuclear weapons program in exchange for energy assistance, just four months after the Stalinist state conducted its first nuclear test.

Trusting the Norks to follow through at this point in time is nuts. If in a year spent dismantling under constant supervision with verifiable results, the Norks have made definite progress, then East Asia can relax.

Sorry, Cyril and Methodius

Saint Valentine
Saints Cyril and Methodius

It really is too bad that the Church had to dump St. Valentine from February 14th in favor of St. Cyril and his brother St. Methodius. It's true, Cyril did die on the 14th, but still. On a day that is known as 'Valentine's Day' throughout the West and even portions of the Muslim world, the brother-apostles to the Slavs seem destined to be relegated to weekday memorial Masses while the rest of the world is busy giving and receiving chocolate and flowers (and lingerie and sex in the hypersexualized-media culture, but we don't need to go there).

Divorcing the Saints Valentine from their day can only lead to the further spiral downward away from the Christian origin to the day into commercial hell. The Holy Father's letter for Lent dealing with love is well-times to have been released the day before Saint Valentine's Day.

So say a prayer for all three Valentines and Cyril and Methodius.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Waiting for peace


Rome (AsiaNews) - The 12 February issue of the influential weekly America, published by US Jesuits, carries an article (its cover article) titled "A New Treaty for the Holy Land?", written by Arieh Cohen, a frequent contributor to AsiaNews from Tel Aviv.

The article calls for consideration of the possibility of achieving legal security for the Church in the Holy Land through a multilateral treaty that would include a mechanism for "monitoring and enforcement," and which would apply to both Jerusalem and the two national States, Israel and the future Palestinian State.

The need to consider this, the article says, arises from the observation that, while the "question of Jerusalem" remains unresolved, the pioneering attempts to secure the freedoms and rights of the Church in the two national States through bilateral Agreements have not yet given practical results. The Palestinian State is not yet in existence, and the Holy See's 1993 Fundamental Agreement with Israel has not yet been written into that State's laws, making it in practice unenforceable in Israel.

But a proposal for a multilateral treaty for Jerusalem does exist, and was discussed in the late 1990's by diplomats of several countries, and it could be enlarged to cover religious freedom and respect for the Church's historic rights in the two national States as well. This does not mean that the ongoing efforts to perfect the bilateral Agreements should or could be given up, the writer observes, but that it might be useful to study a multilateral alternative.

This suggestion is an interesting one. If it is meant as a final completion of the process going on now, it would certainly be worth pursuing.

The birthday party


VATICAN CITY, FEB. 11, 2007 ( Benedict XVI will preside over a Mass in St. Peter's Square to mark his 80th birthday.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Holy Father's vicar for Rome, sent a letter Friday to invite all the faithful to the celebration on April 15, the eve of the German Pontiff's birthday.

"We pray with the Pope and for the Pope, praying for an abundance of divine blessings for him," wrote Cardinal Ruini, president of the Italian episcopal conference.

The Mass will be celebrated on Divine Mercy Sunday, a liturgical solemnity introduced by Pope John Paul II.

The cardinal also asked the faithful to pray for Benedict XVI on April 19, the second anniversary of his election as Supreme Pontiff.

On April 2, Benedict XVI will preside over a Mass for the eternal repose of John Paul II.

Bolding is all mine.

No legislation can change the law of the Creator

The Seven Founders of the Servite Order


[...] Pope Benedict XVI on Monday slammed the planned legislation as weakening the family and harming society. "No legislation can change the law of the Creator without making the future of society precarious with laws which are in stark contrast with natural law," the pontiff said.

"A very concrete application of this principle can be found in relation to the family, which is the intimate communion of life as founded by the Creator, with its own rules," Benedict also said. The family "has its stability under divine laws. The good fortune of spouses and society does not depend on arbitrary acts."

The bill was approved last week for consideration in the parliament. It has proven to be highly divisive, even in Mr. Prodi's ruling coalition; if it fails, it could lead to the fall of the coalition and Mr. Prodi's government.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Indult Watch

Father Z. has lately mentioned February 22, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, as the latest rumored date for the issuance of the motu proprio. Father Z. noted that he had heard nothing himself from his usual sources and that it was merely the rumor, though 2/22 was as good a date as any.

What I said last April (yes, we've been waiting oh so long!):

Anyone who is in the know on what Benedict's plans are is not going to say anything worth reporting. Those who are talking are outside the inner circle and are just talking for the sake of striking it rich should his particular prognostication prove to be right.

Happy Heart Day!

I was casually browsing through Valentine's Day cards even though I don't have a young lady to whom to send one (ladies take note). I noticed a trend.

Happy Heart Day in place of Happy Valentine's Day.

Obviously, the word 'Valentine' was all over the place, but there was some advertising for this 'Heart Day' along with one of the cards that I looked at saying on the inside, "Happy Heart Day."

Is this some kind of move away from the Christian origin of the day (even though the day of love has little to do with the three Roman martyrs who were honored on February 14 before they were liquidated from the General Roman Calendar)? Are we seeing another Christmas-secularization?

To where did I disappear?

I was sick on Wednesday. On Thursday I was tired. On Friday, I got up late after having slept all evening on Wednesday and having gotten up at 5:30 on Thursday. So there you have it.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Pope denounced something!

UConn's (that is the University of Connecticut) newspaper, The Daily Campus, has a commentary from the editorial board on the Pope's recent statements on euthanasia.

Pope Mistaken On Euthanasia

First line:
Pope Benedict XVI denounced euthanasia over the weekend, once again proclaiming life a gift from God and asserting that it could not be terminated under "the guise of human compassion."

[Yes, a 78-year-old man who has various academic degrees denounces euthanasia, a mistaken position. At the same time, Cardinal Martini's arguments are nuanced (more on that later in the essay).]

Thesis statement:
While it is indeed the pope's prerogative to take a stance on such divisive issues, the purportedly infallible Benedict is undoubtedly mistaken on the issue of euthanasia. Without question, euthanazing a pain-wrought patient who is not going to recover is an act of genuine human compassion that should not be prohibited.

[It is his prerogative, thanks for the boon. Ohhhh, mention how the Pope is purportedly infallible as a counterpoint to calling his misguided views mistaken, that is just so clever! Everyone should go to UConn!]

Second paragraph, first line:
Many terminal illnesses can be extremely painful to endure.

[Oh really! Thanks for sharing that gem, who knew!?]

Third paragraph:
The pope ought to heed the words of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, who contradicted the pontiff last month when he said that terminally ill patients deserve the right to refuse "unreasonably obstinate" treatment that will merely stave off inevitable death. While Martini does not support active euthanasia, i.e. administering a lethal injection to a dying patient, his nuanced perspective on the subject is appreciated, given the generally unyielding nature of the Vatican. Perhaps, in the future, a pope may come to realize, like Martini, that allowing a consenting party to die is not tantamount to murder.

[This Martini guy is smart and nuanced. Why isn't he Pope? He's a man of the 21st century.]

Societies proscribe murder because killing another human being entails violating his or her rights. In the case of an individual who wants to die, however, preserving life does not mean preserving one's rights - it means violating them. While the pope is right to believe that life deserves respect, he is wrong to maintain that all life must be continued. As evidenced by the will of some patients to die, some lives simply are not worth continuing. In these cases, euthanasia is the most rational and compassionate course of action.

[The wise, rational, compassionate and purportly infallible student editorial board of The Daily Campus of the University of Connecticut, USA has spoken!]

Enemies of the Church (both real and imagined?)

Saint Romuald, Camaldolese Abbot

Vatican clamps down on controversial bishops

That is the headline from CathNews. The article reports that Call to Action and Voice of the Faithful activists are alleging that Bishop Gumbleton is not allowed to speak without permission of the local ordinary, which he was denied in Arizona.

Which makes absolutely no sense since if Bishop Gumbleton really had something he felt strongly about, he could stand on any street corner in this country and shout to the heavens his message. The Bishops of Phoenix and of Tucson stated that it was due to Call to Action's positions that they asked Bishop Gumbleton not to address the local chapter.

But of course, Bishop Gumbleton and his friends obey, but then proclaim how they are oppressed when if they were really serious about their positions, they ought to have disobeyed and paid the consequences. Thoreau, where art thou?

The other bishop being clamped down upon is the one in Paraguay who wants to run for president, Fernando Armindo Lugo Mendez. In reply to his request to be laicized, he was suspended for his continued political activities.

The request was not accepted because being a bishop is considered by the Church, something that is "accepted freely forever."

The Paraguayan Constitution also does not allow ministers of any religion to hold the post of president.

The Pope "can either accept my decision or punish me. But I am in politics already," the bishop was quoted as saying.

Known for his work among the poor, Mr Lugo was appointed bishop of San Pedro by Pope John Paul II in 1994. He retired as bishop 10 years later.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Those blog awards

Since they are being mentioned today, everyone out to go nominate his or her favorite blog at the Catholic Blog Awards site.

Go check it out. ;)

Paging Dr. Peters

Dr. Peters sounds off on the excommunication case in Salzburg where an auxiliary bishop has allegedly excommunicated a mall owner for renting space for an abortion clinic.

Finally, as I've said many times, canon law imposes excommunication only for a very narrow range of actions; renting space to an abortion clinic isn't among them. Maybe it ought to be, and maybe there's some other way to visit penal consequences on what is obviously an objectively gravely immoral action; but as of now, even if the right diocesan officers were citing the most relevant canons, there is no excommunication in canon law for the act described.

Schedule in Brazil

From Zenit, with rearranging:

May 9, Wednesday
Arrival in São Paulo in the afternoon.

May 10, Thursday
Meeting with young people at Pacaembu Stadium in the afternoon.

May 11, Friday
In the morning, the Pope will preside over Mass with the country's bishops in Campo de Marte.

In the afternoon he will meet with the prelates in the cathedral of São Paulo.

The Pontiff will then travel to the southeastern city of Aparecida.

May 12, Saturday
In the morning, he will visit a "Fazenda da Esperanca" (Farm of Hope) in Guaratingueta. These "fazendas" are centers for the rehabilitation of drug addicts and are present in several countries. The initiative began in the Brazilian state of São Paulo.

At 6 p.m. on the same day, Benedict XVI will pray the rosary with the faithful in the Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida.

May 13, Sunday
At 10 a.m. the Pontiff will preside at Mass and at 4 p.m. will open the working sessions of the 5th General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America.

That night, he will travel to Guarulhos International Airport for his return trip to Rome.

Bioethics and natural law

Saint Agatha

Sandro Magister talks about two documents that are coming out soon, one on bioethics and another on natural law, both from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. My excerpts below have gotten rather long, but do read through them all. The bit about the 'Ratzinger style' is interesting. The link to the CDF document is mine.

ROMA, February 5, 2007 – Unborn life and the natural law: these are the themes of two new documents being prepared by the Vatican congregation for the doctrine of the faith. They were announced in the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, “Avvenire,” in an interview with the secretary of the congregation, archbishop Angelo Amato.

The first document:

The first of the two new documents, the one on unborn life, will follow in the footsteps of the instruction “Donum Vitae,” published in 1987 by the then-prefect of the congregation, cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Amato says in this regard:

“This Donum Vitae II is not intended to abolish the previous one, but to confront the various questions of bioethics and biotechnology that are posed today, and that were still unthinkable back then. Donum Vitae still retains all of its value, and in certain regards it is prophetic.

Regarding those clerics who have spoken out lately:

Amato further clarifies:

"The study of such delicate topics is the competency of our congregation, which then submits its work to the pope. And therefore the opinions on these topics that come from other ecclesiastical institutions or personalities – as respectable as these may be – cannot have the authoritativeness that the mass media sometimes seem to want to attribute to them."

The opinions of ecclesiastical persons to which Amato refers include, in particular, those expressed by cardinal Carlo Maria Martini in the “Dialogue on life” he published in the weekly “L’espresso” in April of 2006, a discussion that dealt with the very same topics found in “Donum Vitae.” They also include the opinions formulated by the same cardinal on the matter of euthanasia last January 21, in the newspaper “Il Sole 24 Ore,” one week before this interview with Amato in “Avvenire.” Both of cardinal Martini’s contributions diverge on a number of points from the Church’s official teaching.

The second document:

But the second new document, the one on natural law, will be the very first of its kind. On a number of occasions Benedict XVI has indicated as the foundation of shared existence among all men the moral principles inscribed upon the heart of every man, and “spoken in an unmistakable way by the quiet but clear voice of conscience.” But even as prefect of the congregation of the doctrine of the faith, he never dedicated a specific document to this.

Amato explains:

“A Catholic, for example, cannot consent to legislation that introduces marriage between two persons of the same sex; this is contrary to biblical revelation and to the natural law itself. [...] The pope often cites natural law in his catecheses. Our congregation is preparing something on this topic, and to that end has already consulted all of the Catholic universities. Everyone’s responses are very encouraging, even those from the professors considered the most ‘difficult’. The natural law is very important, in part because it alone provides the foundation for productive interreligious dialogue.”

The volume of the documents of the CDF was also discussed by Archbishop Amato in his interview with the Italian Bishops Conference's newspaper.

The first 200 pages of the volume collect the documents released by the congregation when its prefects were the cardinals Alfredo Ottaviani and Franjo Seper. The next 400 pages collect the much more extensive and numerous texts from when Ratzinger was prefect. In Amato’s view, it is possible to speak of a “Ratzinger style” in the congregation.

“With him, there was an effort to extend and articulate the arguments in defense of contested truths of the faith, and also a desire to present reliable guidelines on the many challenges of contemporary culture.”

At the Vatican site, the CDF page has listings of doctrinal and disciplinary documents.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Scandal prevented

Amy reports:

...from a source with, er...knowledge. Terry McAuliffe's application for the Knights of Malta was "withdrawn." The Knights office in DC was flooded with emails and calls - and, I'd expect, many of them from the good Knights and Dames themselves.


Papal appearances

VATICAN CITY, FEB 2, 2007 (VIS) - Below is the calendar of liturgical celebrations due to be presided over by the Holy Father between the months of February and April.


- Wednesday 21, Ash Wednesday. In the basilica of Santa Sabina at 5 p.m., blessing and imposition of the ashes.

- Sunday 25, first Sunday of Lent At 6 p.m. in the Apostolic Palace's "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel, beginning of the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia.


- Saturday 3. At 9 a.m. in the Apostolic Palace's "Redemptoris Mater" Chapel, conclusion of the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia.

- Sunday, 25, fifth Sunday of Lent. Pastoral visit to the Roman parish of St. Felicity and her martyr children. At 9.30 a.m., celebration of the Eucharist.

- Thursday 29. At 5.30 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, penitential celebration with young people from the diocese of Rome.


- Sunday 1, Palm Sunday and the Passion of the Lord. At 9.30 a.m. in St. Peter's Square, blessing of palms, procession and Mass.

- Monday 2. In the Vatican Basilica at 5.30 p.m., Mass for Pope John Paul II.

- Thursday 5, Holy Thursday. In the Vatican Basilica at 9.30 a.m., Chrism Mass. In the Basilica of St. John Lateran at 5.30 p.m., the beginning of the Easter Triduum with the Mass of the Last Supper.

- Friday 6, Good Friday. In the Vatican Basilica at 5 p.m., celebration of the Lord's Passion. Way of the Cross at the Colosseum at 9.15 p.m.

- Saturday 7, Holy Saturday. Easter vigil at 10 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica.

- Sunday 8, Easter Sunday. Mass in St. Peter's Square at 10.30 a.m. At midday, from the central loggia of St. Peter's Basilica, "Urbi et Orbi" blessing.

- Sunday 15, second Sunday of Easter. At 10 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, Mass for the 80th birthday of Benedict XVI (born on April 16, 1927).

- Saturday 21 - Sunday 22, pastoral visit to Vigevano and Pavia, Italy.

- Sunday 29, fourth Sunday of Easter. At 9 a.m. in the Vatican Basilica, priestly ordination of deacons from the diocese of Rome.

General symptoms or just a few extremists?


Rome, 1 Feb. (AKI) - A television report to be aired in Italy on Thursday night shows that clerics in three Italian mosques are campaigning for Islamic sharia law in the country. The report by a Somali and an Iraqi journalist who attended services at the mosques of viale Jenner in Milan, at the center of several anti-terror investigations, Centocelle in Rome and Varese, in northern Italy, also shows how the imams promote poligamy, which is illegal in Italy, according to transcripts from the programme published by Italy's leading paper Corriere della Sera on Thursday.

Footage to be aired by 'A veil between us' on satellite television news channel Sky TG24, shows Abu Imad, an imam at the Viale Jenner mosque, saying that "their (Italy's) democracy is useful to us, as a community and as individuals. The truth is that in the land of Muslims, if we are Muslims, we must be governed by Sharia." The imam concludes his speech that the majority Catholic country "will become an Islamic state."

The cleric in Milan is also quoted as saying that "poligamy is a problem which can be solved." "Those in poligamous marriages are few and if someone wants to have two wives, it is possible to find a solution. For example, he could marry officially one in a civil ceremony and the second one only under Sharia. It's not a problem."

Bolding is of course mine. These guys are either really stupid or they know something we don't. Or maybe they're just hoping for general apathy.

1. There will be calls of 'they're just a few extremists, they don't represent Islam in Italy', and they'll disappear back under the radar again for five to ten years until they start putting together sizeable communities with electorial clout. Then the democratic system will be in trouble.


2. We've seen lately a subtle trend towards dealing with 'immigrants' and the like in Europe. Europe seems to be finally realizing that things are not great and with clerics like this speaking out more and more boldly than before, they ought to be getting the message loud and clear. Hopefully they'll remember the lesson of Mein Kampf and realize their enemies have publicly stated their intentions and are now only biding their time and waiting for general European apathy to grow and birthrates to fall even further.

The Vatican Game

Purification of the BVM
Presentation of the Lord

Chicago Sun-Times:

Nanko-Fernandez and four of her colleagues -- Melissa Maday, assistant to CTU's vice president; Gilberto Cavazos-Gonzalez, a professor of spirituality, director of Hispanic ministry and a Franciscan priest; Robin Ryan, a systematic theology professor and Passionist priest, and Thomas Nairn, a Franciscan priest and professor of Catholic ethics -- joined me this week to play a spirited (pun intended) round of Vatican: The Papal Election Board Game.

The Vatican game, released last week by the College of DuPage Press, is something of a hybrid of Monopoly, Risk and Clue -- with a bit of theological Chutes-and-Ladders thrown in for good measure.

Authored by Stephen Haliczer, a retired historian from Northern Illinois University who specializes in Catholic history (the Inquisition in particular), the game follows six cardinals through their early careers as they build their reputations, the death of a pope, and the conclave to elect his successor.

But then ... divine intervention brought the conclave proceedings and what had become a rather boisterous game, to an abrupt halt, when Nairn (who had been trailing with 63 votes) read his fifth conclave card:

"The Holy Spirit intervenes in your favor by appearing to certain cardinals who have been wavering in their support for you. +40 votes."

Habemus Papam!

With 103 votes, Nairn, as the Jesuit cardinal from Panama, became heir to the throne of St. Peter.

"I just want you all to know that the rightful pope was unseated by a pigeon!" would-be Pope Carmen shouted in faux disgust.

That's when she remembered her hat.

'Intervention of the Spirit'
The baseball cap Nanko-Fernandez brought to the table, the one with the P for "pope" on it, was a Team Panama hat from the World Baseball Classic.

Doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo.

"It's always the intervention of the Spirit," Cavazos-Gonzalez said.

They say God moves in mysterious ways. I suppose that includes baseball hats and board games, too.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Stuff to do today

Saint Ignatius, Bp of Antioch

Good morning, readers.

I have to take my car in for some work in an hour or so, so I won't be posting this morning. Perhaps when I return home this afternoon I will, but we'll see.

Be sure to hit the 'Daily Readings' blogs down on the left.