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.