Thursday, December 30, 2010

January Intentions

VATICAN CITY, 30 DEC 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for January 2011 is: "That young people may learn to use modern means of social communication for their personal growth and to better prepare themselves to serve society".

His mission intention is: "That every believer in Christ may be conscious that unity among all Christians is a condition for more effective proclamation of the Gospel".

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas

I will be away from my computer until after the holiday begins. God bless.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December Intentions

VATICAN CITY, 30 NOV 2010 (VIS) - Benedict XVI's general prayer intention for December is: "That our personal experience of suffering may be an occasion for better understanding the situation of unease and pain which is the lot of many people who are alone, sick or aged, and stir us all to give them generous help".

His mission intention is: "That the peoples of the earth may open their doors to Christ and to His Gospel of peace, brotherhood and justice".

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Korean War 2.0

Technically it's the same war. In 1953, an armistice was signed, ending hostilities. Over time, there were incidents, but the armistice held. A few years ago, North Korea (Norks) unilaterally pulled out of the armistice. Several months ago, a South Korean (ROK) ship was sunk, most likely by a Nork submarine. Today, if you haven't seen the news, the Norks fired about 200 artillery shells at an ROK island close to the maritime border and the ROK retaliated with 80 shells of its own. Two ROK marines died and others were wounded. The ROK has stated that any further provocation would be met with retaliation. Japan is on alert.

Let us pray for those who've died and for those still alive on the front lines. Let us ask that the leaders on both sides be given wisdom that they may avoid a deadly and costly confrontation.

The Condom Drama is in the past. Welcome to the real world.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Pope's Position On Condoms

For a summary up until now of what this latest bit of media hype is all about, I recommend Damian Thompson here, here, and here. I don't agree with all of it, but the three posts together are good for catching up.

In his third post, Mr. Thompson quotes with his bolding the relevant paasages of the new book coming out, Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times, based on 20 hours of interviews conducted by German journalist Peter Seewald:

There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralisation, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants …

And then:

[Question:] Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?

[Answer by the Pope:] She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.

Father Z is still jet-lagged from travel, but he has a post up on this. It doesn't say much, but I recommend reading through the comments for an 'on the ground' response to this, especially Prof. Basto here, here, and here. He has some excellent points and analysis in the three comments I have linked to here that deserve to be read for a better understanding of the context here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baghdad Massacre

Rorate Caeli has the full text by Father Raymond J. de Souza. Or if you prefer, Father Z is it as well with his own interspersed commentary.

It's a race against time and we're probably going to lose the Middle East before we reach the finish line.

Eventually though, Globalization is going to neuter the Muslim countries as it has the West with its tools of abortion and contraception to the point where their own populations will start falling. Iran with its huge population of young people born since the Revolution of 1979 who have collectively chosen to not procreate is the prime example of this demographic trend (check out the graph at the right).

The battlefield now truly is Europe where the question is if the European states (for example, Germany and Merkel's recent statement that multiculturalism has failed) will be able to rouse themselves soon enough to hold off the tide or if the Muslims will take control of a decayed secular Europe just in time for their own implosion.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Not So Classy

I was watching EWTN's rerun of the Pope consecrating Sagrada Família today (it happened live early this morning when I was assleep). Off to the side were seated a man and a woman whom I assumed were the king and queen of Spain (the lady had on white). The king didn't receive communion from the Pope, but the queen did.

1. A kneeler was right in front of her, but she chose to awkwardly bend her knees and bend forward since she was on this step up from the Pope.
2. Then she stuck out her hand.

Not the way to do it with Benedict XVI.

Friday, October 29, 2010

November Intentions

VATICAN CITY, 29 OCT 2010 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for November is: "That victims of drugs or of other dependence may, thanks to the support of the Christian community, find in the power of our saving God strength for a radical life-change".

His mission intention is: "That the Churches of Latin America may move ahead with the continent-wide mission proposed by their bishops, making it part of the universal missionary task of the People of God".

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blog Template Changed

1. I got tired of the old template.
2. If you still have trouble posting comments, let me know. My email is in my profile.

The Middle Eastern Synod's Finale

This blog post at Hot Air quotes a Melkite Greek bishop from Lebanon, Cyril Salim Bustros:

The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands… We Christians cannot speak of the ‘promised land’ as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people – all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people… Even if the head of the Israeli state is Jewish, the future is based on democracy… The Palestinian refugees will eventually come back and this problem will have to be solved.

The blogger, a protestant, then goes on to discuss the uproar over the quote and talk about about the Catholic Church's position. Go read it all. But this is an interesting paragraph where the blogger puts together some information on the Melkite Church:

Readers may remember that the Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church was the individual issuing blessings for the “all-woman” flotilla planned throughout the summer to depart from Lebanon for a bout of anti-Israel blockade-busting. The Patriarch himself is located in Antioch, but there has been a very troubling trend of anti-Israel politicization in the recent appointments in Beirut and Galilee as well. Bustros’ selection for the metropolitan position in Beirut this year followed the selection in 2006 of Archbishop Elias Chacour for the diocesan seat in Galilee. As this French writer recounts (I apologize that this is only available in French), the 2006 choice amounted to a referendum within the Melkite Greek Catholic episcopate on the question of whether to promote clerics who take political stands against Israel, or to affirm that the church’s future lies with less politicized leaders who are more devoted to ministry, reconciliation, and service. The ultimate choice of Chacour produced a tireless campaigner for the active and urgent repudiation of Israel’s state policies by American and European churches.

Links are all from the original. In the very next paragraph, the blogger, Mr. Dyer, throws out this admonishment:

The Catholic Church’s high profile in much of the Middle East, and its organized connections with Middle Eastern Christians, give its policies a unique significance in defining the posture and role of Christianity there. The Church, of all entities, should be the first and most insistent in affirming that – at the very least – political opposition to Israel is not a condition of loving our neighbors as ourselves. No nation on earth is a principal in such a repellent contingency; singling out Israel in this regard is awful darn particular and obviously motivated by obsession.

The apostolic exhortation will most likely as the blogger hopes avoid any hostile statements toward Israel. The Williamson affair will ensure that (we hope). But it should always be remembered the... dislike the Secretariat of State has for Israel on the Palestinian issue. The Melkite hierarchy isn't alone in its thinking in Rome.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Legionary Stalling

The delegate overseeing the Legion of Christ has sent a letter. Magister in his piece recounts the stalling of Garza Medina, one of the senior superiors who is refusing to step down.

Magister (emphasis mine):

It will be difficult, if not impossible, for the superiors of the Legion to overturn these guidelines. But not to impede them. And in the absence of rapid steps forward in the journey of renewal, other priests will leave, not "hotheads" as their superiors say, but some of the best, in addition to those who have already left and been incardinated into the diocesan clergy. The new vocations will disappear, and are already drying up more or less everywhere, for example in Italy, where only one novice entered this year.

Given this situation, if there is the intention to bring trust and courage to the healthy portion of the Legion of Christ, only one urgent signal of transformation can be given: the removal of those leaders, at least the highest ranking, all of whom owe their power to the man who both founded and capsized it. And they still continue to keep it in prison.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Twenty-Four: A Breakdown

Magister has analysis from Gianni Cardinale, a noted Italian analyst of the Vatican. Mostly it's a breakdown of where the twenty-four cardinal-designates are from and how their appointments are more due to curial precedent than anything else. Little is given in way of describing the soon-to-be cardinals' character, positions or personality.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Consistory of 2010

Roman Curia:

Angelo Amato (Saints), Fortunato Baldelli (Apostolic Penitentiary), Raymond Leo Burke (Signatura), Velasio de Paolis (Economic Affairs), Francesco Monterisi (Archpriest of Saint Paul), Kurt Koch (Christian Unity), Gianfranco Ravasi (Culture), Paolo Sardi, Robert Sarah (Cor Unum), Mauro Piacenza (Clergy).

Residential Archbishops:

Antonios Naguib, Alexandria (Egypt); Paolo Romeo, Palermo (Italy); Reinhrad Marx, Munich and Freising (Germany); Kazimierz Nycz, Warsaw (Poland); Donald William Wuerl, Washington (USA); Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Kinshasa (Congo): Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, Lusaka (Zambia); Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patanbendige Don, Colombo (Sri Lanka); Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, Quito (Ecuador); Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Aparecida (Brazil).

Over 80 (without voting rights):

Elio Sgreccia (Italy), José Manuel Estepa Llaurens (Spain), Walter Brandmuller (Germany), Domenico Bartolucci (Italy).

Formatting from Rorate.

  • The consistory is set for November 20, the Feast of Christ the King. On that day, barring any deaths, cardinal-electors will still number 101. Twenty new cardinal-electors will be one too many, but only until December 3 when Etsou-Nzabi-Bamungwabi turns 80.
  • Amato was the last secretary under Ratzinger at CDF before Ratzinger was elected. He follows in the footsteps of former Ratzinger secretary Bertone.
  • Wuerl will be getting a red hat, but not Nichols of Westminster; the difference, Wuerl's predecessor turned 80 earlier this year and Nichols' won't until 2012.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Consistory Announced?

The word out there on various blogs (Father Z, Rocco, etc.) is that tomorrow at noon Rome time, the Pope is going to announce the names of those who will be made cardinals at the next consistory. The thinking is that if a consistory is announced, it will take place on the Feast of Christ the King in November.

I won't throw out any names because a list would just be a rehash of everyone else's.

Monday, October 11, 2010

More on the Orthodox synod

The following is a comment left at TitusOneNine in reply to a query left by me for more information, as I know that the commenter, John-Ad Orientem is well informed on Orthodox matters:

Re #5
Vatican Watcher
We are (finally) taking steps to resolve the jurisdictional chaos within the Orthodox Church here in N. America. I expect that the forthcoming Great and Holy Pan-Orthodox Synod (which some are suggesting could be received as an OEcumenical Council) will take steps to end the scandalous situation here. That said I do not see autocephaly in the cards.

Too many of the old country churches have too much at stake here (money), especially the Ecumenical Patriarchate which presides over a church of no more than a few thousand believers in Turkey thanks to the aggressive ethnic cleaning by that country over the last century. At a recent meeting to prepare the agenda of the Great Synod, guidelines were agreed to for the granting of autocephaly to new churches, which require the EP’s blessing. This was likely in part a response to the situation with the Orthodox Church in America (the former Metropolia of the Russian Orthodox Church), which was granted autocephaly by Moscow in 1970. At present the Russian Church is really the only one who has recognized that claim. Most of the other Orthodox churches view the OCA as an essentially ultra-autonomous church but maintain communion with her.

For the EP the churches in the “diaspora” (a term I really dislike) also represent a cash cow and a means to claim some relevance beyond the canonical primacy of honor which the First Throne holds in the Orthodox Church. He has been vigorously pressing claims to canonical jurisdiction over all of the churches in the “barbarian” lands (canon 28 of the Fourth OEcumenical Council).

If I had to take a guess at what the future holds, it would be a somewhat more unified American Orthodox church that would maintain its current quasi ethnic jurisdictional arrangements within the broader framework of the newly established Episcopal Assembly, chaired by a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate that would function as a sort of super synod.

All of this however is purely speculative and at most an educated guess.

Beyond that; the forthcoming council will be tackling a number of issues that have been a bit thorny over the last century or so. Among those would be the calendar, the fasting rules in the modern world (they haven’t changed in about 1500 years and are often fudged or simply ignored by the laity), the manner of receiving converts and relations with the non-Orthodox in general. It is possible the Synod may also issue some decrees dealing with contemporary issues of a moral nature such as birth control (there is some diversity of opinion on that subject), the sanctity of marriage and reaffirming the Church’s stand that abortion is murder. Given the EP’s personal attachment to environmental issues I would be mildly surprised if some sort of general “take care of the Earth” statement was not also issued.

The EP and some of the other churches have made strenuous efforts to keep this thing tightly scripted. However there are no guarantees as to what will happen once you get all of the world’s Orthodox bishops (or at least most of them) gathered in the same place for the first time in probably a thousand years or more. We don’t have a Pope (the EP’s occasional pretensions notwithstanding) to impose an agenda so things could get very interesting.

The one thing I do NOT expect are any major doctrinal pronouncements. There are at present no serious theological or doctrinally based issues dividing The Church. Church doctrine is largely settled and any attempt to add to or meddle with it would be foolish and almost certainly end badly.


Friday, October 08, 2010

Universal Church

Papal Primacy. Russia Heads the Resistance Against Rome

Jacob already linked to this here. I return to it because I find the idea of Catholic and Orthodox reuniting to be a fascinating subject.

Since then, the discussion on controversial points has advanced at an accelerated pace. And it has started to examine, above all, how the Churches of East and West interpreted the role of the bishop of Rome during the first millennium, when they were still united.

I wonder if the great thinkers who apart of the dialogue have already informally teased out among themselves an ideal relationship between Catholic and Orthodox. How will it work? What will the relationships be? Will the laypeople on either side know a difference when it does happen?

The Middle East

VIS has a post at its blog with the standard announcement of Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops beginning on Sunday. It's mostly just who's going to be there and what areas will be represented along with bits of demographic data. The second-to-last paragraph:

"The aims of the Special Assembly for the Middle East are mainly of a pastoral nature" and can be divided into two main points: "reviving communion between the venerable 'sui iuris' Eastern Catholic Churches that they may offer an authentic, joyful and attractive witness of Christian life", and "strengthening Christian identity through the Word of God and the celebration of the Sacraments".

My bolding. I read awhile ago in a post I cannot find now a quote by a Middle Eastern bishop on how the sacraments could use modernizing. The poster and comments to the post voiced concerns at such language, concerns that hopefully will not be proven true.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Curial Appointments

VATICAN CITY, 7 OCT 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, as prefect of the same congregation. He succeeds Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum". He succeeds Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, whose resignation from the same office the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit.

Of course, replacing the two due to the age limit was expected, so no news there. But I am wondering about Archbishop Piacenza taking over Clergy for Hummes.

Those familiar with the Curia may remember that Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith was in a lot of circles the favorite to take over the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments due to his orthodoxy and friendliness to tradition snd the present Pope's program of reform, but was not seen as realistic for many reasons including the fact he was already the secretary of CDW and secretaries are not normally directly promoted from secretary to prefect of their dicasteries.

But here we see Piacenza moving straight up to take over for Hummes.

Rorate Caeli and Father Finigan have links to a few of Archbishop Piacenza's articles and letters for those interested in his views.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

An Orthodox Council Soon?

In the last post, I linked to Magister's latest in which he mentioned a 'great and holy' council in the future for the Orthodox.

I found this tonight when searching for more info: Voices From Russia takes a decidedly negative view of the Patriarch of Constantinople's motives.

Yes… the neocons and globalists do their best to sow disunity and discord amongst us. Don’t forget that Bart has been their willing tool for years.

Ouch. Read it all if you're interested. The context of the post is the ecumenical patriarch's visit to Russia earlier this year.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Kicking the Can and the Great and Holy Council

Magister on the Catholic Orthodox talks in Vienna:

As a result, the Russian delegation asked and obtained that the text from Crete [historical examples of the Bishop of Rome exercising his office in the first millennium] not be included among the official documents of the commission, not bear the signature of any of its members, and be used simply as working material for a new rewriting of the working outline. A rewriting more attentive to the theological dimensions of the question.

In effect, at the end of the talks in Vienna, the participants agreed to set up "a sub-commission to begin consideration of the theological and ecclesiological aspects of primacy in its relation to synodality."

Next year the sub-commission will present the new text to the coordinating committee of the commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. So that the following year, 2012, the commission will be able to revisit and continue – on the basis of the new outline – the discussion begun in Cyprus and Vienna.

But as can be seen, the question is certainly a thorny one, with no solution in sight.

So yeah. Actually, I found the first paragraph after the lead to be the most interesting.

While the Eastern Churches are slowly approaching the convocation of the pan-Orthodox "Great and Holy Council" that should finally unite them in a single assembly after centuries of incomplete "synodality," the other journey of reconciliation, which sees the East in dialogue with the Church of Rome, is also taking small steps forward.

Like I said, interesting. First link at Google for "Great and Holy Council" is this: Reaction of the Orthodox-Roman Catholic Dialogue to the Agenda of the Great and Holy Council of the Orthodox Church - U.S. Theological Consultation, 1977. The title is confusing, but it is an agenda formulated in 1976 by the Pre-Synodal Pan-Orthodox Conference.

A second link goes to a thread discussing possible dates. The first post of the thread suggests 2013. Another suggests 2011.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Papal Intentions

Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for October [2010] is: "That Catholic universities may more and more be places where, in the light of the Gospel, it is possible to experience the harmonious unity existing between faith and reason".

His mission intention is: "That World Mission Day may afford an occasion for understanding that the task of proclaiming Christ is an absolutely necessary service to which the Church is called for the benefit of humanity".

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Passing This Along

Announcement: Rorate Caeli to begin New Purgatorial Society

Last week, my aunt lost her battle with cancer, and went to her eternal reward. When I received the sudden news, I prayed to Our Lady that her reward be Heaven, and then I quickly took to Twitter and Facebook to ask friends and family to pray for the repose of her soul.

When I was finished, I thought about how difficult it is to get people to pray for deceased loved ones, especially in today's society when even most Catholics wrongly believe everyone outside of murderers and rapists are automatically going to Heaven and thus are not in need of prayers. And I thought how wonderful it would be if there was a Purgatorial Society to turn to -- a free one as well.

I am now happy to announce the official launch of the Rorate Caeli Purgatorial Society!

Details on how to submit deceased loved ones and who is being accepted for inclusion follow in the rest of the post.

We applaud Mr. Paulitz's efforts and will be taking part.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Heartening To See

My parish puts out a pamphlet to its members now and then in addition to the usual Sunday bulletins. The pamphlet I received in August had the following that I was surprised to read due to its clarity. It's probably not new at all and has been in previous pamphlets, but I don't remember it.

Which church would you most like to see your children choose for their adult life?

Methodist? Lutheran? Presbyterian? Baptist? Pentecostal? Mormon?

Or do you feel that that they should have no real worries about religion until they're settling perhaps into their second marriage?

In our increasingly secular and even anti-religious culture, we and our children are being persuaded that all religions are at best equally valid, and at worst, of no real value at all. Our culture disregards the guidance of the Church in favor of an ever changing set of secular values.

Are you able to tell your children why the Catholic church is The Church, the only church that Christ founded? Can you help your children to resist being drawn into another faith or living with no faith? Or have you been persuaded that Christ founded thousands of churches that are equally good and that it's okay to choose whatever feels best from among this myriad of options?

The choice of religion or the absence of religion in your life determines how you live your life and most likely how your children will live theirs.

You need to know how the roots of your Catholic faith began with Adam and Eve, grew with Moses and the Jewish people, has been completed in Christ and will be carried on through you and your family. Scripture from Old Testament to New Testament, The Church and Catholic Tradition are your history. This history from ancient times to the Catholic Church today offers a foundation and guidance to your life that no other faith and no secular institution can provide.

You need to know your history.
You need to teach your children.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Magister writes today about Vietnam. The Vatican got to appoint a representative to the country, but it seems the quid pro quo required entailed the archbishop of Hanoi resigning for some fake reason, but really because he wasn't docile enough for the Vietnamese government. There are eight million Catholics in Vietnam out of a population of 84 million and they are growing. They are also politically active with peaceful demonstrations and marches. But of course, the secretary of state is playing a role; from Magister: "In 2008, cardinal secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone wrote to the bishop of Hanoi to keep his faithful in check, in order to avoid harming "the dialogue with the authorities.""

Included is an essay by Lorenzo Fazzini entitled, "Rome and Hanoi Closer to Each Other? The Steps of Patience" which goes into more depth.

For those interested, Southeast Asia is once again getting hot. The Spratly Islands claimed by just about everyone along the South China Sea have come up again in the contest of maritime rights and of late the Vietnamese have been purchasing submarines from Russia. Into such a mire the Vatican wades with its new representative...

Friday, July 30, 2010


I'm testing something, don't be alarmed.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Return to Ukraine

Last night on EWTN, I watched the last half of a program called Holy Roman Spies. The title sensationalized the subject-matter, as the 'spies' of the program were rather missionaries to the Soviet Union by way of Ukraine during World War II. They were all trained at the Collegium Russicum in Rome. The program also included accounts of the college's possible infiltration by the Soviet KGB, though most of the the interviewees from the college couldn't figure out why the Soviets would have been interested in such an institution. Right...

This morning, I was directed by an email to this article by Sandro Magister discussing the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and its relationship with the Orthodox of Russia. Long time readers will remember that when we last left the two sides, there was much hostility, not only between the Catholics and the Orthodox, but between various Orthodox factions fighting for legitimacy.

Magister's article today discusses the thawing of relations between Rome and the East and how this has affected things in Ukraine. The primary reason is that Benedict himself is German and not Polish, the ethnicity of John Paul II being one of the major wedge issues of the past due to the historic tension between Russia and Poland with Ukraine in the middle. One of the secondary reasons is that Benedict has dropped all efforts to establish the Ukrainian Greek Catholic patriarchate and has focused instead on cooperation with the Orthodox in evangelizing the larger segment of the Ukrainian population that is outside the Christian Church.

Though tensions in one sphere have eased, Magister points to another where the Greek Catholics have come under attack through pressure by the pro-Russian Ukrainian government through subtle oppression by the security services and lack of formal legal recognition or state monies, which instead go to the Orthodox Church.

To be continued.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More on Bishop Padovese

Before getting started, a note on the honorific of monsignor. Since in Italy it's used as a courtesy, I am leaving it out, though most news sources use it for Bishop Padovese. No disrespect is intended.

First, from Asia News: Archbishop of Smyrna: The martyrdom of bishop Padovese want the truth and not "pious lies" by Bernardo Cervellera

This article is badly translated into English, so I won't quote from it extensively. But from what I gather, the Latin archbishop of Smyrna/Izmir is familiar with the murder Murat Altun and thinks that the murder was one of political motivation rather than religious. The Islamic elements of the crime are mere red herrings to throw off the investigation and confuse the public. Archbishop Franceschini completely discounts in the interview what he sees as the lies regarding Murat Altun's alleged depressed state. I'll throw this out there from the summary at the beginning of the article:

Mgr Franceschini hypothesizes that the assassination was planned with precision, the killer for well trained, and the authors aim to destabilize the country and distance Turkey from Europe.

That would seem to go with what I have read about Murat Altun's alleged involvement with the organization known as the "deep state". Al Jazeera has a timeline.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Holy Father in Cyprus

UPDATE (10:01): Father Z posted on this story as well this morning and has this quote from a news article from EWTN/CNA:

Analyst Fr. Fillippo di Giacomo, who writes for publications such as L’Unitá and La Stampa, revealed that “hours before Padovese was killed, the Turkish Government called him to say that his driver, who they themselves had put in his service four years before, had gotten out of hand. That is to say, he had embraced the fundamentalist cause.”

Because of this, Padovese canceled his trip to prevent his driver from having access to the Holy Father. Also be sure to read the comments on Father Z's post for info on the expulsion of Christian missionaries from Morocco.

Original post:

From Asia News is this summary and following story from the day before yesterday on the brutal murder that occurred just before the Holy Father's trip to Cyprus.

The summary:

The bishop was stabbed in the house and beheaded outside. He cried help before he died. The murderer shouted "Allah Akbar!". The alleged insanity of the murderer is now to be excluded. There is no medical certificate to prove it. Murat Altun accuses the dead bishop of being a homosexual. Turkish minister of justice condemns the murder and promises to shed light on the incident.

The concluding paragraph of the story with my bolding:

But according to experts of the Turkish world, the killing of Mgr. Padovese shows an evolution of organizations of the "Deep State" being the first time they aim so high. So far they had targeted ordinary priests, but now they have attacked the head of the Turkish Church (Mgr Padovese was president of the Episcopal Conference of Turkey). At the same time, their actions are becoming more sophisticated, less crude than before. There not only limit their defence to claims of “insanity”, already used for the murder of Father Santoro [covered here in 2006], but offer more explanation to confuse public opinion nationally and internationally.

Just as the developing story of Murat Altun's murder of the bishop gained steam, the Pope traveled to Cyprus and Sandro Magister has his usual report on the journey and its results. After recounting the ecumenical nature of Benedict's visit to the island, Magister recounts this meeting between the Pope and a Muslim which I give here in full:

On Saturday, June 5, on his way to the Mass at the Catholic church of the Holy Cross in Nicosia – right on the border of the part of the island occupied by the Turks – Benedict XVI came across an elderly Sufi sheikh, Mohammed Nazim Abil Al-Haqqani. They greeted one another, and promised to pray for each other. They exchanged little gifts: Muslim prayer beads, a plaque with words of peace in Arabic, a pontifical medallion.

So instead of the expected meeting with the mufti of Cyprus, Yusuf Suicmez, the highest Muslim authority on the island, there was the encounter of the pope with a Sufi master, an exponent of a mystical form of Islam, a form of Islam that "presumably through Christian influence stresses the love of God for man and of man for God," instead of an inaccessible God "among whose 99 names that of Father is missing."

The words just quoted are from Bishop Luigi Padovese, apostolic vicar for Anatolia and president of the Catholic episcopal conference of Turkey, killed in Iskenderun on June 3, the eve of the pope's trip to Cyprus, in which he was supposed to have participated.

Magister then goes on to condemn the official Vatican response Padovese's murder, which he characterizes as "submissive and counterproductive".

Despite this, Benedict addressed the situation in Cyprus with two steps, decrying the situation of the division of Cyprus and the forcing out of Christians from the Turk occupied areas, and calling upon Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics, because "for them, and for the great Islamic and Christian philosophers who followed in their footsteps, the practice of virtue consisted in acting in accordance with right reason, in the pursuit of all that is true, good and beautiful," starting with that "natural law proper to our common humanity."

Before departing for Rome, the Pope offered these words while visiting a church dedicated to the Cross:

[It] offers them hope that God can transform their suffering into joy, their death into life. [...] And if, in accordance with what we have deserved, we should have some share in Christ’s sufferings, let us rejoice because we will enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed.

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Prayers are asked for my grandfather who died yesterday evening. He was eighty-seven.

Anima eius et animae omnium fidelium defunctorum per Dei misericordiam requiescant in pace.

Today, my brother and I drove home and after meeting up with our dad, we went to see our grandmother. While there visiting, we saw various old family pictures. My grandmother had two women religious in her family besides the one I already knew about, I think. I will have to investigate that more.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Regarding the Feast of the Sacred Heart

This feast and devotion emphasizes divine mercy and the infinite love of Christ over a distorted version of Christianity which stresses divine judgment and punishment.

My bolding. I read the above in a PDF posted at my diocese's website while searching for info on the Ascension (it's moved to Sunday in my province).

I must be distorted then as I take the Four Last Things seriously. Oh well.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Illegal Aliens

For reference:

2241 The more prosperous nations are obliged, to the extent they are able, to welcome the foreigner in search of the security and the means of livelihood which he cannot find in his country of origin. Public authorities should see to it that the natural right is respected that places a guest under the protection of those who receive him.

Political authorities, for the sake of the common good for which they are responsible, may make the exercise of the right to immigrate subject to various juridical conditions, especially with regard to the immigrants' duties toward their country of adoption. Immigrants are obliged to respect with gratitude the material and spiritual heritage of the country that receives them, to obey its laws and to assist in carrying civic burdens.


Father Z has in a post today a Catholic World News article on Cardinal Mahoney's criticism of the Arizona bill that would require state and local law enforcement to check immigration status. I have my own thoughts on Cardinal Mahoney's stance, but regardless of one's thoughts, the article is more about His Eminence's comparison of the bill to Nazism and communism and the reaction to such a comparison.

I only glanced through the article and Father Z's personal comments. He was evenhanded in his dissection of the article. What was more interesting were the comments after the post. As of this writing, there are seventy of them, so I'm not going to attempt to sum up the different threads of argument beyond the fact that they largely focus around the interpretation of the quoted paragraph above from the Catechism. What are the rights of illegal aliens and what are the rights of citizens of the receiving country in light of the Catechism?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Have You Kissed Your Bishop's Ring Lately?

I have. First time too. I didn't go down on one knee though. I have poor balance and would probably end up falling over.

This is the first time I've ever been face to face with my current bishop. Tonight at Mass was Confirmation for the kids in our parish, the neighboring parish and the local Newman Center.

After His Excellency, three priests and one deacon filed out with a troupe of altar servers surrounding them, the congregation kept on singing. My row had already emptied out at Communion and singing isn't for me anymore, so I ducked out and on my way by the bishop, I reached out to shake his hand and gave his ring a quick kiss.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

For My Own Reference

“Priestly abuse of children is nowadays taken to mean sexual abuse, and I feel obliged, at the outset, to get the whole matter of sexual abuse into proportion and out of the way. Others have noted that we live in a time of hysteria about paedophilia, a mob psychology that calls to mind the Salem witch-hunts of 1692… All three of the boarding schools I attended employed teachers whose affections for small boys overstepped the bounds of propriety. That was indeed reprehensible. Nevertheless, if, fifty years on, they had been hounded by vigilantes or lawyers as no better than child murderers, I should have felt obliged to come to their defence, even as the victim of one of them (an embarrassing but otherwise harmless experience).

The Roman Catholic Church has borne a heavy share of such retrospective opprobrium. For all sorts of reasons I dislike the Roman Catholic Church. But I dislike unfairness even more, and I can’t help wondering whether this one institution has been unfairly demonized over the issue, especially in Ireland and America… We should be aware of the remarkable power of the mind to concoct false memories, especially when abetted by unscrupulous therapists and mercenary lawyers. The psychologist Elizabeth Loftus has shown great courage, in the face of spiteful vested interests, in demonstrating how easy it is for people to concoct memories that are entirely false but which seem, to the victim, every bit as real as true memories. This is so counter-intuitive that juries are easily swayed by sincere but false testimony from witnesses.”

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, pp. 315-16

A New Opportunity

Damian Thompson is as interested and expectant as I in wanting to see curial changes sooner rather than later:

Some of Pope Benedict’s supporters in Rome will be hoping that the accident-prone Bertone moves on to a job for which he’s better suited. He spends too much time on Italian politics, has a tendency to shoot off at the mouth, and isn’t much of an improvement of his predecessor, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, whose reputation is in tatters following the Legionaries scandal.

Factor in a better replacement for Cardinal William Levada of the CDF, one of Benedict’s less inspired appointments, who is rumoured to be heading for early retirement, and a fascinating possibility emerges: a Vatican that actually supports, rather than undermines or simply fails to understand, Benedict XVI’s ambition to “purify” the worship and ministry of the Church.

Do I actually think such a possibility is going to happen? I pray for it, but I don't think it's likely. The Holy Father is brave in some things, but rocking the curial boat instead of just waiting for retirements doesn't seem to be his policy.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sodano's In Trouble

Damian Thompson recounts here the story from NCReporter on how Cardinal Sodano took the money of the Legion of Christ. According to Mr. Thompson's recap, Mgr. Dziwisz, formerly JPII's personal secretary and now Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow doesn't come out well either. As the known gatekeeper of the late Pope, especially as he got older and sicker, Dziwisz is alleged to have accepted sizable amounts of money from those wishing to gain admittance to the Holy Father's private Masses (including of course Father Maciel and his Legion colleagues).

Some details of the above come from Father Finigan who has his own thoughts and recollections at his blog.

Cardinal Ratzinger according to accounts refused gifts from the Legion, God bless him.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


St. John Neumann, Farragut, Tennessee:

Go check out the post at NLM for pictures of how it turned out. Two parishes where I live have recently constructed new buildings. They don't quite measure up...

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Actor Replaced For Refusing Sex Scenes

From Deadline | Hollywood, Nikki Finke reported this morning that actor Neal McDonough was replaced by former JAG star David James Elliott as the husband of an upcoming TV show's matriarch played by Virginia Madsen.

But, in fact, McDonough was sacked because of his refusal to do some heated love scenes with babelicious star (and Botox pitchwoman) Virginia Madsen. The reason? He's a family man and a Catholic, and he's always made it clear that he won't do sex scenes.

Good for him. Though if I were some TV actor, I wouldn't have gotten involved in the project in the first place.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Uh, right...

Davenport, the city where my bishop has his cathedra, had a bit of a controversy this last weekend. It seems that on the advice of the city civil rights commission, the city manager, without consulting the city council, issued a memo that Good Friday would henceforth be known as Spring Holiday.

Outrage ensued... Aside from the outcry from Christians, a lot of it came from city employees whose contracts stipulate that Good Friday (NOT Spring Holiday) is a city holiday where they are paid time and a half.

Apparently order has been restored thanks to the city quickly backtracking and noting the city manager was out of order.

Hat tip to ABC News and Drudge.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The "Nomenklatura" That Must Disappear

The title given to Magister's latest piece on the Legion of Christ, a naming of names of men who need to go and sooner rather than later.

It is likely that the Vatican authorities will put the Legion under the command of an external commissioner endowed with full powers.

And he will have to be obeyed by the current heads of the congregation, who are the real obstacle to any movement toward renewal, no matter how slight.

But this leadership group is anything but resigned to giving way.

Freed from the annoyance of the visitors, and not yet subjected to the command of the commissioner, during this interim period which they are hoping will last for "several months" they are doing everything they can to consolidate their power and win the support of the majority of the 800 priests of the Legion, and of the other religious and lay members.

This is an excellent point. There needs to be a rooting out immediately. The Church cannot afford more cover-ups.

After giving the list, Magister details the relationships the men currently in place have with the deceased founder of the Legion and then gives a brief account of their actions.

According to some of the testimonies given to the apostolic visitors in recent months, some in this group knew about the founder's double life, about the carnal acts he performed with many of his seminarians over the span of decades, about his lovers, his children, his drug use. But in spite of that, a fortress was built around Maciel in defense of his virtues, devotion to him was fostered among his followers, all of them unaware of the truth, his talents were emphasized, even among the upper hierarchy of the Church. This exaltation of the figure of the founder was so effective that even today it inspires the sense of belonging to the Legion among many of its priests and religious.

Finally is a brief breakdown of where these men come from.

Both are Mexican, like most of the upper echelon of the Legionaries. The second most privileged nationality is Spanish.

The Italians, on the other hand, have always been kept away from the important posts. They are seen as less trustworthy, in addition to having too many connections in the Vatican curia, where the Legionaries have friends but also enemies, and more of them enemies now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Women in the Sanctuary

Over at TitusOneNine, the Reverend Canon Doctor Harmon has a post with an excerpt from the Detroit Free Press on churches getting creative in adding men to their congregations.

But today, the head of Greater Grace Temple [Charles Ellis III] in Detroit looks out over his flock on Sunday mornings and gazes at a scene where women outnumber men about 2-1. The demographic shift worries him and other Christians looking for ways to draw men back to church.

To bridge the gap, churches are developing nontraditional programs to reach out to men — from sponsoring hunting trips and car clubs to holding annual men’s conferences. Some have toughened their messages to emphasize power, using masculine imagery in their services.

Longtime readers of Father Z's blog know that Father frequently blogs about how over time a correlation can be drawn between things like Mass attendance and vocations for the priesthood and the entry of women into what were traditionally male roles.

For instance, this is a comment of mine at T19 where I summed up one of Father's points:

Despite all the ballyhoo attempting to prove some kind of causation between priestly celibacy and the decline in vocations, the number of vocations in the Catholic Church started falling off just when women were being introduced into the sanctuaries as readers and music leaders and communion ministers.

The most obvious and visible expression of this trend can be seen in the altar servers (/altar boys being now out of fashion/). As dioceses across the US one by one started allowing girls to join the ranks of servers, the boys who had always enthusiastically sought the job started coming out less and less. The raw material of the Catholic priesthood has been cut off at the source.

Most of the comments at T19 come from Protestants in churches that may or may not have a female clergy, so the comments on the post covering the Detroit story reflect that outlook. One in particular had this to say:

I strongly disagree with the idea that men follow men because they’re men. I think that men generally don’t choose to follow women pastors because women pastors tend to focus on a damp, huggy, indistinct, kumbaya unitarian Christ who accepts you as you are, so there’s nothing to do. Men would rather focus on the rules and how to “win,” thereby.

While the Catholic Church does not have a female clergy and I wouldn't be so bold as to offer such an all-encompassing generalization, the Church has been undergoing since Vatican II a fight between traditional elements of the faith and what the above describes as a "focus on a damp, huggy, indistinct, kumbaya unitarian Christ who accepts you as you are, so there’s nothing to do." At the same time as noted above, women have taken a greater role, not least of which is the catechizing of Catholic youth. When I was in CCD, I was taught mostly by women. Most of them were pious and devout, but in a few classes, the "touchy-feelly" was pronounced.

Coupled with Father Z's points, an explanation arises for the following given in another comment:

OK, I was able to track down the data and found a nerd’s dream site:

Denomination Percent of parishes with 56% or more female

To have a lot of geeky fun, do the following steps:

# Go to the National Congregations home page.
# Clicked “explore the survey data”
# Under “Create Cross-tabulations of Two Variables”Wave 2: 2006-2007 data
# Clicked under the first Variable. “Denomination.” For the second variable choose “Percent of regular adult attendees are Female”

May mix it up. Caution: data junkies can spend a lot of time with this site.
# Clicked: “I want my tables to reflect the number of persons in congregations”
# Clicked: Create Frequency Table.

Bolding my own. Let's rearrange those from greatest to least:


The Catholic Church isn't at the top of that list, but it can certainly do better that three-fourths.

On this Fifth Sunday of Lent

An important message from Father Z:

You are all going to die.

I am going to die. You are going to die.

There is no way around it.

When we die, and we will, we will be judged.

Heaven and Hell are the only alternatives.

Both of them are never going to end.

Heaven or Hell are not like going on a really good or really bad cruise.

So, get ready.

You could die before you click away from this page.

Or it could be in a few more years.

But it is going to happen.

You might have some warning and lead time.

You might not.

One day that funeral procession that blocks traffic and keeps you sitting an [sic] waiting at the light is going to be about you.

Get ready.

You will have to account for what you have done with your life.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Father Coyle

by Sharon Davies

Remembering the 1921 slaying of Father James E. Coyle
[From Columbia, the magazine of the Knights of Columbus.]

Father James E. Coyle, an extraordinary priest and Knight of Columbus in the early 20th century, courageously stood up against widely-held anti-Catholic views at the risk, and then cost, of his life.

The Irish-born priest was scarcely in his 20s when, after his ordination in Rome, he was dispatched to Alabama to begin his priesthood. The Catholic population in Alabama had exploded with a promise of jobs, especially in and around Birmingham’s network of coal mines, steel mills and iron foundries. Father Coyle arrived in the city shortly before a wave of anti-Catholicism flooded the country, and the revived Ku Klux Klan (KKK) rebranded itself as a “patriotic” fraternity, targeting blacks, Catholics, Jews and foreigners.

[Read it all.]

Curial Reform, Where Art Thou?

From Damian Thompson:

I wrote: “Unfortunately for the Pope, his enemies inside the Church, who include members of the College of Cardinals, are happy for him to take the rap. Ratzinger was never ‘one of the boys’, the ‘magic circle’ of bishops who covered for each other, and now he is paying for it.”

The world’s cardinals (”they” – CMOC) may have elected Joseph Ratzinger pope by a large majority, but the Vatican is stuffed with curial officials, some of high rank, who resent the fact that Benedict has always been his own man. He has an inner circle, of course, but it’s small – and it’s not made up of canapé-chomping ecumenical back-slappers. Also, even some “conservative” curial officials from the JPII era are horribly snooty about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, and resent its liberation by this great pontiff.

So when the media stitched up the Pope over these Munich allegations, there wasn’t too much support from Vatican II-obsessed Roman Monsignori. Or their grey-shirted English muckers.

To the Irish


(Click above to read the full text)

Prayer for the Church in Ireland

God of our fathers,
renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus Christ,
may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness, holiness and generous service to society.

Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
for the Church in Ireland.

May our sorrow and our tears,
our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
and our firm purpose of amendment
bear an abundant harvest of grace
for the deepening of the faith
in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
within the whole human family.

To you, Triune God,
confident in the loving protection of Mary,
Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
do we entrust ourselves, our children,
and the needs of the Church in Ireland.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blasphemy in Italy Soccer: Blasphemy cards to be used 'with care'

(ANSA) - Rome, March 17 - Italian soccer's new crackdown on blasphemous comments by players and coaches should be applied "with common sense," the head of the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) said Wednesday.

Responding to protests from clubs, CONI President Gianni Petrucci recalled that blasphemy is a crime under Italian law and he was glad to have suggested the campaign to Italian Soccer Federation chief Giancarlo Abete.

Petrucci, whose organisation oversees all Italian sport, said the campaign to give offending players red cards would go ahead but "FIGC will apply it with common sense".

"Blasphemy is not at all a secondary thing," he insisted, "but we have to handle it with care".

The drive to stamp out irreligious oaths has claimed international headlines and spurred protests from coaches including Juventus's Alberto Zaccheroni who said "championships could be altered by this overzealous campaign".

In an amateur match, three red cards were handed out for sacrilegious language, leaving one team with ten men and the other with nine.

I'm impressed. When I first glanced at the headline on the main English page, I thought it would be an article about a Muslim majority country in the Developing World, but Italy! That surprised me. Yeah, I know Italy is fighting the crucifix ruling from the EU, but a crucifix in a classroom seems pretty tame compared to referees handing out red cards for blasphemy. True, it's not the state mandating this...

But if it's a law and the sport wants to regulate itself and its players, I'm all for it.

I am interested in what constitutes blasphemy under Italian law and if it is specific to the Judeo-Christian God.



VATICAN CITY, 17 MAR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy See Press Office today published the following communique:

"An international investigative commission on Medjugorje has been constituted, under the presidency of Cardinal Camillo Ruini and dependent upon the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Said commission - made up of cardinals, bishops, specialists and experts - will work privately, submitting the results of its work to the authority of the dicastery".

It begins.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Legionaries: A Conclusion?

Magister talks about the conclusion of the visitation to the Legion of Christ. Most of it is recounting the past, but a few snippets are new:

The apostolic visit began on July 15, 2009. And the five bishop visitors fulfilled their mandate halfway through this month of March, with the delivery of their report to the Vatican authorities. They were Ricardo Watti Urquidi, bishop of Tepic in Mexico; Charles J. Chaput, archbishop of Denver; Giuseppe Versaldi, bishop of Alessandria; Ricardo Ezzato Andrello, archbishop of Concepción in Chile; and Ricardo Blázquez Pérez, bishop of Bilbao.

It will be the Vatican authorities who decide what to do. The three cardinals charged with the case are Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of state, William J. Levada, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, and Franc Rodé, prefect of the congregation for institutes of consecrated life.

But the last word will belong to Benedict XVI, the most prescient of all. Even before he was elected pope and when Maciel still had very powerful protectors in the Vatican, Joseph Ratzinger ordered an extensive investigation of the accusations against the founder of the Legionaries. And as pope, on May 19, 2006, he sentenced him to "a retired life of prayer and penance."

But that the current leaders of the Legionaries should be left at the head of the congregation is entirely unlikely. The more probable decision is that the Holy See will appoint a fully empowered commissioner of its own, and will set the guidelines for a thorough reform, including the replacement of the current leaders.

But rebuilding from the ground up a congregation still deeply influenced by its disgraced founder will be an arduous enterprise. [Magister then describes the insidious influence of Father Maciel.]

Over the eight months of the apostolic visit, this control was relaxed only in part. Some priests told the visitors about the things they believed were wrong. Others have left the congregation and been incardinated into the diocesan clergy. Others have continued to defend Maciel's legacy. Others feel lost. Still others, finally, have faith in the rebuilding on new foundations of a religious congregation that is part of their lives and that they continue to love.

Others may have faith in a rebuilding, but I don't unless two things happen.

1. All the top and mid-level men in the LC need to be removed from office.

2. The statutes and all the other handbooks and rulebooks handed down by Maciel need to be revised completely. If the LC wants to do it itself, under the direct supervision of the incoming commissioner, then the revisers need to be men who were NOT Maciel's top lieutenants and managers.

If Cardinal Ruini weren't already tapped by Vatican watchers to lead the alleged commission to Medjugorje, he'd be a great no-nonsense prelate to tackle this task.

Time and prayer will tell.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Fisichella to Siena?

From Father Finigan:

The Italian blog of the great Magister (Settimo Cielo) [surprise, surprise!] has carried several related articles recently, including a spat over comments made by Fr Federico Lombardi, the Director of the Vatican Press Office. The most significant article is Accademia per la vita, addio. Fisichella fa le valigie per Siena. (Goodbye Academy for Life. Fisichella packs his bags for Siena.) The speculation is that Archbishop Fisichella recently refused the Diocese of Modena, had dreamed of being Cardinal Archbishop of Turin, but is in fact going to Siena.

Archbishop Fisichella seems to be taking the rap fair and square, and will probably be glad to get some fresh air away from Rome. Not for the first time, the Secretariat of State seems to come up smelling of roses while someone else takes the hit. I wonder just how long it can continue before a big enough gaffe brings about some changes there?

Bolding my own. Readers may remember Archbishop Fisichella from earlier postings about the Brazilian abortion fiasco and the discontent among members of the Pontifical Academy of Life regarding their president and the undercurrents leading back to the Secretariat of State and Cardinal Bertone.

Father Finigan's summary of the reporting of this situation is appreciated!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Merry del Val and the Modern Secretariat

This piece from Magister on Rafael Merry del Val is from a few days ago. Magister sets up the contrast between Merry del Val and the current occupant of the office he held, Cardinal Bertone and then reprints the profile of Merry del Val by Gianpaolo Romanato. The profile details the secretary's close collaboration with st. Pius X.

The most interesting part is not the profile, thought I found it quite informative. Rather it is Magister's set-up, especially this paragraph:

Because of this and other fiascos, the past year will be remembered as the "annus horribilis" of the Bertone secretariat, both inside the Vatican and outside, considering the friction between the secretariat of state and various national episcopacies among the strongest and most faithful to the pope, in Italy, the United States, and Brazil.

Bolding is mine.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Magister's Not Buying

Lent 2010. Pope Benedict's Ash Wednesday

His torment is the disappearance of faith. His program is to lead men to God. His preferred instrument is teaching. But the Vatican curia doesn't help him much. And sometimes it harms him

by Sandro Magister

[...] In this daring enterprise, however, it is astonishing that pope Ratzinger has not been given adequate support by his curia.

The statement from the secretariat of state last February 9 is the latest sign of this imbalance between the magisterium of the pope and the operation of the Vatican machine.

Using the pope as a shield to deny the sending of documents from the Vatican to a newspaper, using a pontifical gendarme as a courrier [sic], and the curial origin of an article with a fake signature, against the background of an affair that still remains intact in its substantial outlines of conflict between the secretariat of state and the Italian bishops' conference – a conflict which the pope has always remained above, implicated by no one – seemed to many an outrageous act. [Notice Magister's complete acceptance of all of this as fact regardless of the denial issued last week by the secretariat of State.] Not only disconnected from, but in strident contrast with the quality and content of the magisterium of Pope Benedict, in spite of his formal approval of the publication of the statement and his renewal of trust in his colleagues.

This affair was reported by www.chiesa a few days ago in this article:

> Italy, United States, Brazil. From the Vatican to the Conquest of the World

But to return to the "things that are above," the following is the message with which pope Ratzinger wanted to introduce Lent this year. [...]

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Beyond Boffo

Sandro Magister of Chiesa has more on the conflict between the secretary of State and his ally Vian of L'Osservatore Romano.

Magister looks at three instances where the secretary with the aid of Vian has been working counter to the episcopate.

The first is in Italy where Bertone worked to see Ruini removed from office in a bid to wrestle control of the Italian bishops for himself (read here and here for my past posts on this). The next is US with Obama, first with the L'Osservatore Romano's characterization of the president as working in favor of motherhood and then ignoring the bishops' protests when Obama was honored at Notre Dame and the bishops' position on withholding Communion to politicians. The third is Brazil when, "[l]ast March, an article in "L'Osservatore Romano" disowned the Brazilian bishop of Recife for condemning the authors of a double abortion on a child mother. But the Brazilian bishops saw this as a betrayal by Rome while they were fighting a tough battle with the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva over the full liberalization of abortion."

The desire to have peaceful institutional relations with the established powers, of whatever shade they may be, is typical of Bertone. In this, he is applying a classic canon of Vatican diplomacy, which is traditionally "realist," even at the cost of clashing with the national episcopates that are often critical of their respective governments.

[Then at the end, Magister sums up...]

In the Boffo case, Pope Benedict "knows." And he personally sees things more the way cardinals Bagnasco and Ruini do, rather than like his secretary of state.

But the pope's stride is that of the perennial Church. Long and patient.

Is that last sentence a reiteration of the VIS statement that the Pope gives his full support to Bertone and Vian? Time will tell.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Communique Regarding Boffo and Avvenire

VATICAN CITY, 9 FEB 2010 (VIS) - Given below is the complete text of a communique released today by the Secretariat of State:

"Since 23 January an increasing number of news items and reconstructions have been appearing, especially in many Italian news media, concerning the events surrounding the resignation of the editor of the Italian Catholic daily 'Avvenire', with the evident intention of demonstrating the involvement of the editor of the 'Osservatore Romano' in the affair, even going so far as to insinuate the responsibility of the Cardinal Secretary of State. These news items and reconstructions have no basis whatsoever in fact.

"Specifically, it is false that officers of the Vatican Gendarmerie or the editor of the 'Osservatore Romano' passed on the documents which lay behind the resignation of the editor of 'Avvenire' on 3 September last year; it is false that the editor of the 'Osservatore Romano' gave - or in any way transmitted or endorsed - information about these documents; and it is false that he wrote under a pseudonym, or inspired, articles in other publications.

"It seems clear from the proliferation of the most incredible assertions and hypotheses - repeated by the media with truly remarkable consonance - that everything rests on unfounded convictions, with the intention of gratuitously and calumniously attributing to the editor of 'Osservatore Romano' an unmotivated, unreasonable and malicious action. This is giving rise to a defamatory campaign against the Holy See, which even involves the Roman Pontiff.

"The Holy Father Benedict XVI, who has been kept constantly informed, deplores these unjust and injurious attacks, renews his complete faith in his collaborators, and prays that those who truly have the good of the Church to heart may work with all means to ensure that truth and justice triumph".

SS/COMMUNIQUE/... VIS 100209 (310)

Monday, February 08, 2010


I am going to be messing with the newfangled layout system. Links in the sidebar may disappear without notice. Dum dum DUM!

Bertone: The Worthy Successor of Sodano?

Rorate Caeli has a post on an ongoing conflict where certain powers in the Roman Curia have been attacking their perceived enemies in the Italian bishops' conference. Rorate has a lengthy excerpt from an Italian daily on the situation and the article sums up the situation well:

The rumors, never denied by the Vatican, specifically accuse the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's number two, and the director of L'Osservatore Romano [the Vatican's semi-official newspaper], Giovanni Maria Vian, of hatching a Machiavellian plan to hit Boffo [the former and allegedly driven out director of the Italian bishops' newspaper], in order to attack his mentor, powerful Cardinal Camillo Ruini, former president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and his successor, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, considered too independent. Everything in a dark and serious plot now under the observation of Benedict XVI [Rorate note: a report on the matter has been prepared for the Pope by his personal secretary, Mons. Gänswein, according to this Sunday's edition of La Repubblica]. A conspiracy that reflects the harsh internal struggles within the Italian Church.

According to the article excerpt, it was thought that the Boffo affair came about in the first place as a part of an ongoing conflict between the Church and the Italian PM, but the excerpt instead brings to light information that the dossier besmirching Boffo's reputation came from inside the Church.

That sums up the excerpt at Rorate, but it has more detail and the comments are always interesting and informative after some sifting.

As I stated in a comment at Rorate, the Holy Father missed his chance when Sodano stepped down to do it, but his chance is coming up again with the impending retirement of Cardinal Bertone (he's nearing/at the retirement age of 75): once the secretary of State is out of office, the Pope needs to exercise some serious authority and break up the secretariat once and for all.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Deafness in the Catholic Church

At his blog, Father Z posted this question he received and asked for answers since he didn't have one himself:

I have often wondered if there was any specially approved liturgy for profoundly/ severely deaf people prior to the liturgical reforms of the ‘60s? Surely, there must have been some adaptations of the Tridentine Mass to accomadate their needs? For instance, a Tridentine facing the people, or even it being said in sign langauge or something?

In the comments, there are no specific answers and the general consensus is that there were no provisions for the extraordinary form of the Mass prior to the introduction of the new Mass. The comments though focus more on the larger question of how best to accommodate the deaf in Mass. My comments throughout are from the perspective of an adult who has lost his hearing after already being fluent in English. The commenter Ana argues from the point of view of a congenitally deaf person (she is hearing, but her brother is deaf and she is a sign language interpreter).

I could summarize it all, but it would be time consuming. Just go check out the thread.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A World Apart

Last night I watched A World Apart with Barbara Hershey and Jodhi May. It takes place in South Africa during Apartheid. It came out in 1988 and was written for the screen by the real life daughter of the Barbara Hershey character who was played by May in the movie.

I enjoyed the movie, but I have mixed emotions regarding the Barbara Hershey character and the husband/father in the movie. They were both idealists fighting for the cause and were selfless in their efforts and the sacrifices they made and yet their selflessness was negated by their selfishness in having three daughters who suffered.

Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? Bentham would say so. On the other hand, I am reminded of this: "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire."