Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Beatification of the Venerable John Paul II

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday. It's still Saturday here in the central United States, but over in Rome, it's dark and the ceremonies will be getting underway in a few hours. In checking Wikipedia to make sure I am spelling 'beatification' right, I see that the Holy Father's article has already been updated, granting him the title of 'blessed'!

Tomorrow the Holy Father will be beatified and will be only one step away from sainthood. The cause for the canonization of the Holy Father has been a contentious one and especially so now that the penultimate step is here. The five-year waiting period before any cause could begin was waived in his case, this beginning early what was already a shortened process due to the reforms instituted by John Paul himself.

Stipulating John Paul's personal holiness, the question boils down to what is the vocation of the supreme pontiff? Is it to be a teacher? An administrator? A combination of the two? This blog is of course about the Vatican and the business of governing the Church, right or wrong. With that viewpoint in mind, it's hard to ignore John Paul's deficiencies as an administrator. I do agree with those who say that electing bishops can be a crap shoot and that the Holy Father did as well as he could in promoting better men over time to help right the Church. At the same time though, his choices for his personal assistants in Rome cannot be ignored. First and foremost, there was Ratzinger. Much can be forgiven thanks to the astute choice of the German as prefect of CDF. On the other hand, there is Cardinal Sodano at the Secretariat of State and others like him who are not so easy wave off as outliers.

The wide acclamation following John Paul's death is not to be ignored, but at the same time, would five years of waiting have hurt his cause if it was truly meant to be? There is much out there waiting to see a final resolution that bears heavily upon John Paul II's legacy as the vicar of Christ. I don't doubt that John Paul II walks with the angels, but for us men and women on earth, prudence is a virtue.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Mass is in three hours here (or four if you want to go to the EF). Happy Easter to both East and West!

Monday, April 04, 2011

A New Voice in the Holy See's China Policy

Sandro Magister's latest piece talks about the recent events in the People's Republic of China and the new secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, Archbishop Savio Hon Taifai. Magister includes a translated interview of the archbishop with Avvenire.

The two sides are manned principally by Father Jerome Heyndrickx and Cardinal Zen. The former takes a compromising approach and the later not so much. Magister sees Hon as occupying a position that is much closer to that of the cardinal's than Heyndricks, though Archbishop Hon is not in lockstep with Zen. Reading the interview provided, Archbishop Hon's answers are on the whole prudent and level-headed.

More to come, I'm sure.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Flashpoint: Azerbaijan

This is an interesting blog post by David Goldman, also known as Spengler of Asia Times Online.

He has a quote from Bloomberg News on how Iran is beaming Azeri-language programming to its neighbor in a bid to destabilize the pro-western government. Goldman mentions as well the fault lines of Azeri society and how they reflect the larger lines in the Middle East. Two-thirds of Azeris are Shi'ites, like Iran, and Azerbaijan has historically been known as northern Persia. But Azeris are ethnically Turkic and are viewed by Sunni Turkey as its own ancestral backyard.

At the political current events blog I read, Hot Air, a lot has been made lately of Turkey's drift towards Islamism and Iran. But in his blog post, Goldman sees rather that Azerbaijan is the wedge between the two and Turkey is moving into alignment with the likes of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states in a bid to counter Iranian ambitions.

Goldman's conclusion is rather pessimistic:

But it is not surprising that the oil price should keep rising. The United States government is in the hands of a clique of amateurs like Samantha Power and Susan Rice, human-rights romantics without a clue about the real power relationships, while the ground has shifted under the regimes of the Middle East. Iran’s ambitions are the main concern in Riyadh and Ankara, and the weakness of the Assad regime in Syria–Iran’s main regional ally–make the situation very tippy indeed.

Friday, April 01, 2011

RIP: Father Dietzen

Aside from the usual local stories, the pastoral columns, and the national and international news (along with the opinion page that I hardly ever read), my diocesan newspaper carries the question and answer column by Father John Dietzen.

I got my newspaper today in the mail today and saw on the back page the CNS obituary of Father Dietzen, who passed away on March 27.

I like to pretend I'm up on the Catholic faith, but even when I don't agree with points of his answers, he always has interesting and educational points and his column is one of the principal features of the paper I look forward to each week. Hopefully CNS has a few more to run and hopefully Father's replacement will be as informative.

"Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his souls and the souls of all the Faithful departed rest in peace. Amen."

April Intentions

VATICAN CITY, 31 MAR 2011 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for April is: "That through its compelling preaching of the Gospel, the Church may give young people new reasons for life and hope".

His mission intention is: "That by proclamation of the Gospel and the witness of their lives, missionaries may bring Christ to those who do not yet know Him".