Saturday, June 30, 2007

More on the letter

"Love and courtesy of this kind should not, of course, make us indifferent to truth and goodness."
-Second Vatican Council, as quoted in the Holy Father's letter to the Chinese

I read through most of the Holy Father's letter. I am quite pleased with its substance. Father Z made the point that, "A recurring theme in the first part of the letter is suffering." I myself am pleased that my hope that the message would be, "gut it out and stay true to the Church, your reward will be in the Kingdom of Heaven" proved true.

Terror attacks

The British people remain in our prayers in the run-up to July 7th. May Our Lady watch over that land and its people.

The letter




Or it should be, "The Government of the People's Republic of China and whoever can get this illegally".

I skimmed it. I don't see anything about moving the nunciature. Bravo!

Friday, June 29, 2007


It gets discussed by the blogging community that concerns itself with the upcoming Motu proprio, but it is never mentioned that there is an actual phrase and acronym for it: Fear, uncertainty and doubt or FUD.

The Independent:

Church split feared as Pope backs return of 'anti-Semitic' Latin Mass

By Ian Herbert
Published: 30 June 2007

A plan by the Pope to authorise the widespread return of the controversial Latin Mass, despite concerns that parts of it are anti-Semitic, has provoked a backlash among senior clergy in Britain and threatens to divide the Catholic Church worldwide. The 16th-century Tridentine Mass - which includes references to "perfidious" Jews - was abandoned in 1969 and replaced with liturgy in local languages, to make worship more accessible to the bulk of churchgoers. But the Pope announced on Thursday that a long-awaited document liberalising the use of the Mass, which some clergy fear will also limit the Church's dialogue with Jews and Muslims, will be released next week.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, has written to the Pope to say that no changes are needed.


Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) is a sales or marketing strategy of disseminating negative (and vague) information on a competitor's product. The term originated to describe disinformation tactics in the computer hardware industry and has since been used more broadly. FUD is a manifestation of the appeal to fear.

Letter to the Chinese: Tomorrow

Catholic World News:

The Pope's letter, believed to be about 30 pages long, will retrace the recent history of Catholicism in China, including the persecution of the Church under the Maoist regime and the recent conflicts between the "underground" Catholics loyal to the Holy See and the "official" Church sanctioned by the Beijing regime. The Holy Father will emphasize that the Church is indivisible, and explain the Vatican's insistence on independence from government control.

The Pope's letter is addressed to "the bishops, the priests, the religious, and the lay faithful" of China, the Vatican said. The notice alerting journalists to the publication of the papal message was issued on June 29 although the Vatican press office was closed for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

My favorite topic and I'm sure one readers out there get tired of me harping about. The article doesn't say what if anything the letter will have on relations with the ChiComs versus relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan). I point out yet again that cutting ties with Taipei in order to better relations with the PRC is pointless. The PRC wants a photo op, that's all it wants. If we look at Sino-US relations since human rights was delinked from trade status, we see that improving trade relations has done nothing to help the poor souls in the bamboo gulag. Now that Sodano is gone, hopefully we'll see some realism in the Vatican along the lines that moving the nunciature will do nothing to help in the long term.

What the letter should say is simple: gut it out and stay true to the Church, your reward will be in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Waiting for other things

Sandro Magister takes a look at curial reform (and the lack thereof):

Appointments made at a snail's pace. Documents that are useless or continually delayed. Offices drifting aimlessly. Why the renewal of the Vatican bureaucracy is not a priority for Benedict XVI

Along the way, I made a little outline because at first Magister is questioning stuff, but then he seemingly accepts Benedict XVI's strategy...

1. Unification of the councils which hasn't helped anything
The Pope unified councils, etc. But nothing came of it and now the councils are separating again. What was the point?

2. Bertone and Nicora: organizers?
The secretary of state and the head of the patrimony are great administrators and organizers and much of the onus has fallen to them with their appointments. Yet neither has offered much in the way of reform.

Here we have the turn in Magister's piece:

3. B16's priorities: preaching, celebrations, 'Jesus of Nazareth'
The Pope is all about convincing people through his preaching, through the liturgical celebrations (though Magister oddly forgets to mention the papal master of ceremonies whom Benedict has left in place and whom Magister quite dislikes).

4. Biding time equals waiting out his enemies
The issues Benedict waited on while things settled:
a. deputy secretary of state
b. Chinese Catholics letter
c. the Motu proprio

5. His trusted men, those from outside
Bertone for example as well as the secretary at Divine Worship as well as Hummes from South America, etc. Friends close, enemies closer...

6. The (careful) appointment of bishops
Magister mentions that the Holy Father ponders long and hard over extensive dossiers (no mention of the Warsaw debacle though).

7. Against careerism
Magister ends with a quote from the Pope:

“It is through Him that one must enter the service of shepherd. Jesus highlights very clearly this basic condition by saying: 'he who climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber" (Jn 10: 1). This word 'climbs' – 'anabainei' in Greek – conjures up the image of someone climbing over a fence to get somewhere out of bounds to him. 'To climb' – here too we can also see the image of careerism, the attempt to "get ahead", to gain a position through the Church: to make use of and not to serve. It is the image of a man who wants to make himself important, to become a person of note through the priesthood; the image of someone who has as his aim his own exaltation and not the humble service of Jesus Christ. But the only legitimate ascent towards the shepherd's ministry is the Cross. This is the true way to rise; this is the true door."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

July 7th





More information: has the scoop; Gerald and Father have translations and comments: | Gerald | Father Z

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Voting rules

VATICAN CITY, JUN 26, 2007 (VIS) - Made public today was a "Motu Proprio," written in Latin, with which the Holy Father Benedict XVI restores the traditional norm concerning the majority required for the election of the Supreme Pontiff. According to this norm, in order for the election of a new Pope to be considered valid it is always necessary to reach a majority of two thirds of the cardinals present.

With this document, Benedict XVI substitutes the norm established by John Paul II who, in his 1996 Apostolic Constitution "Universi Dominici gregis," laid down that the valid quorum for electing a new Pope was initially two thirds but that, after three days of voting without an election, there would be a day dedicated to reflection and prayer, without voting. Thereafter, voting would resume for seven additional ballots, another pause for reflection, another seven ballots, another pause and yet another seven ballots. After which an absolute majority was to decide how to proceed, either for a vote by absolute majority or with balloting between two candidates. This was to happen only in the event that the cardinals arrived at the 33rd or 34th ballot without a positive result.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Baseball has marked the time

During the last few weeks I've watched the college baseball postseason as I have the last few years since it's been on ESPN. I like the College World Series because the camera is placed overlooking home plate in such a way that the TV viewer can judge balls and strikes (horizontally better than vertically, but one can still judge pretty well). Also as well I've watched the University of Iowa baseball team play at home. College baseball is a lot of fun to go and see.

A few years ago, I read an article about the format of the tournament and how the regionals ought to be based on geography and such. The argument went along the lines that northern teams are always underrepresented in the postseason because teams are chosen and those teams almost always come from the south. For instance, Iowa played fifty-four games this season. In contrast, Louisville (a team playing in the World Series) has won fifty games. The lack of competitiveness of the north is usually blamed on shorter seasons caused by winter and wet springs that cause games to be cancelled and teams to be out on the road losing instead of playing at home and winning.

Allowing teams from the north into regionals based on geography might be nice, but I would think that they'd still get shelacked once they met teams from the south that have been playing months longer in some instances. Thus the daydream today has been Iowa and a field with a retractable roof for more home games and parity with the south. This is not an idle dream either as baseball has come under threat in the state of Iowa. A few years ago, Iowa State dropped baseball as a varsity sport because it didn't have the money. Lately as well, there have been rumors that baseball could be cut at Iowa, though thankfully they've proven not to be true. A competitive Iowa team would help to solidify support within the athletic department and the fan base at large.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Coming soon?

The BIG THREE have information on the release of the Motu proprio. According to an Italian news report cited by Rorate Caeli, Father Z and NLM, the Motu proprio and its accompanying letter is slated to be released before Benedict XVI goes away for the summer. Rorate Caeli states that the Pope's vacation starts on 9 July.

The Motu proprio is for the freeing up of the Mass of St. Pius V as edited and set out in the 1962 Missal. It is speculated that it will allow priests to say Mass according to the previous form without needing authorization from their ordinaries who might otherwise object.

Keep reading the three linked-to blogs for more info and interesting comments.

Words to live by?

Better rashness than inertia; better a mistake than hesitation.

During the 1930s, Ludwig Beck, German general and eventual chief of the General Staff, wrote in one of the German army training manuals the above quote. The quote was the product of many years of Prussian and then German military experience. The sad part was that General Beck got involved in the July 20, 1944 coup attempt and displayed both inertia and hesitation.

While Count von Stauffenberg flew back to Berlin after having planted a bomb to blow up Hitler, the conspirators at Army Headquarters were fumbling around while valuable time slipped away (Hitler survived the bomb, as we all know). Realizing that Hitler was still alive, one of the generals saw the writing on the wall and arrested Beck and his fellows and Beck was ordered to commit suicide (in that he hesitated too and had to be helped along).

As we wait for certain events in the Church to take place, it might be wise to remember the above quote from the traditions of his countrymen...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A growing shelf

It's amazing just how books collect over time and suddenly you realize you have a shelf full of Catholic literature. I put up a shelf in my room the other week and the piles of books on my floor suddenly came together. Despite the Ratzinger books and other tomes of theology, I think the most imformative has been the book on the lives of the Popes. Always entertaining to leaf through that...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Thirty thousands?

It is said that B16 does not travel like JPII did and that he rests a lot while he is out and about. It might be wise though to stop and consider something else. Reports also focus on how more and more people have been coming to see B16 at what once were sleepy audiences during the week.

When a pope has something to say that is interesting and he actually stays in Rome, that means that people are likely to come to him. Are we not yet convinced that this pope is certain that Rome is the center of the Church? Are we at all surprised that he shows this by STAYING there as well as TALKING about it?

On this weekend of processions and pilgrimages, let us all look to the Eternal City and its bishop the Vicar of Christ on earth.