"A young professor at the Legionaries of Christ's university in Rome, Fr Mauro Gagliardi, gave a clue of what to expect.
The Fraternity of St Pius X can offer the Church an important contribution in applying the 'hermeneutic of continuity' that must be applied to the documents of Vatican II," he said.
This apparent reference to Pope Bendict's hermeneutic for interpreting the Council is imprecise -- as Fr Joseph Komonchak and others have clearly pointed out -- but it is not altogether mistaken. And Fr Gagliardi is not just any professor in Rome. He was recently named as consultant to the papal liturgical ceremonies office and mixes in the circles that are currently in favour in the Vatican. He said, "The 'Lefebvrists' have a spirituality and charism that can be a richness for the life of the entire Church." This certainly is the view of Cardinal Castrillon and probably reflects, at least in some measure, the Pope's thinking, too.
There is no question that Pope Benedict wants the SSPX back in the Church. Up to now he has done everything to accommodate them on their terms. He will do so on the interpretation of the Council, as well. The two CDF documents in 2007 (on the nature of the Church on 29 June and on evangelisation on 3 December ) have already begun paving the way for this. The Lefebvrists will argue, and the Pope will agree, that, in substance, we have the same doctrine after Vatican II has we had before. All "changes" were merely stylistic or operational, but not theogical -- i.e. none of the changes were essential, so none have to be adopted. The Vatican and the SSPX will also say, together, that much of the Council was badly misinterpreted by theologians and bishops in the post-conciliar period, and they will even cite the long list of theologians the CDF condemned to prove that Rome never caved in. Despite everything to the contrary (i.e. the fact that the SSPX does not really buy or live Vatican II), they will find a way together to finagle a formula that helps them profess "true fidelity and true recognition" of the Council (in light of the constant Tradition) but allows them to continue living as if Vatican II never existed. There are already a number of "Ecclesia Dei" communities in communion in Rome (off-shoots of the SSPX like the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter) that currently do this.
The formula that is produced will be just as disingenuous as the invented nonsense of "two forms of the one Roman Rite".
Saturday, January 31, 2009
John Allen has a very insightful piece that is well worth reading:
What recent events make clear is that there are two camps in the small universe that rotates around the Society of St. Pius X. The first, represented by Fellay, is composed of traditionalists whose concerns are solely liturgical and doctrinal, and who see the future of their movement as a leaven within the formal structures of the church; the second, represented by Williamson and Abrahamowicz, includes people for whom theological traditionalism bleeds off into far-right politics, xenophobia, and conspiracy theories, and who are far more suspicious of any "deal" with the post-conciliar church.
Benedict XVI’s calculation seems to be that the former represent the majority, and that the best way to isolate them from the latter is to open the door wide enough that only the real intransigents will refuse to walk through it.The risk, of course, is that the outside world won’t see the pope trying to steer the traditionalists toward moderation; it will instead see the pope rolling out the red carpet for a group that includes Holocaust deniers and hate-mongers.
Friday, January 30, 2009
To His Eminence Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos
Amidst this tremendous media storm stirred up by imprudent remarks of mine on Swedish television, I beg of you to accept, only as is properly respectful, my sincere regrets for having caused to yourself and to the Holy Father so much unnecessary distress and problems.
For me, all that matters is the Truth Incarnate, and the interests of His one true Church, through which alone we can save our souls and give eternal glory, in our little way, to Almighty God. So I have only one comment, from the prophet Jonas, I, 12:
"Take me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you."
Please also accept, and convey to the Holy Father, my sincere personal thanks for the document signed last Wednesday and made public on Saturday. Most humbly I will offer a Mass for both of you.
Sincerely yours in Christ
Father Zed is running a story which says that the SSPX could be reconciled by Monday, as their reconcilliation has been one of Benedict's main concerns fopr the last 30 years, presumably some legal/theological package is on a desk somewhere.
Last year Bishop Fellay suggested that the SSPX's relationship with Rome could be like that of the Chinese Patriotic Church, which is interesting, and presumably indicates a degree of autonomy, we will see.
I was speaking to a priest the other day, who was quite angry about the likely reconciliation, which was quite sad, especially as he had been heavily involved with ARCIC on a local level. I think he fails, like many people, to understand the Pope's priorities.
I see them as being twofold:
The Reconciliation of East and West, in a sense the bringing into communion of the SSPX and other traditional groups, as well as the Anglican group TAC is both a model for the East and an "experiment" in plurality for the West.
The Reconciliation of the Catholic Church with its history, a substantial part of this is the great battle with "relativism" and overthrowing the notion of the "Spirit of Council". John Paul II in Et Unum Sint said the role of the Pope is the great obstacle to unity. In his writings the Pope Benedict sees the bishops as being the "faithful bearers of the Tradition" they are supposed to be overseers and regulators of the Church. It is only when bishops are unable to do this that there is a need for a strong Papacy.
Benedict realises that he will die before either of these are achieved but what he seems to be doing is laying a foundation to a renewed and authentic Catholic ecclessiology that a successor will find impossible to undo.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Creative Minority has another account of a Papal netcast:
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decided to recommend the Traditional Anglican Communion be accorded a personal prelature akin to Opus Dei, if talks between the TAC and the Vatican aimed at unity succeed, it is understood.
The TAC is a growing global community of approximately 400,000 members that took the historic step in 2007 of seeking full corporate and sacramental communion with the Catholic Church – a move that, if fulfilled, will be the biggest development in Catholic-Anglican relations since the English Reformation under King Henry VIII.
TAC members split from the Canterbury-based Anglican Communion headed by Archbishop Rowan Williams over issues such as its ordination of women priests and episcopal consecrations of women and practising homosexuals.
The TAC’s case appeared to take a significant step forwards in October 2008 when it is understood that the CDF decided not to recommend the creation of a distinct Anglican rite within the Roman Catholic Church – as is the case with the Eastern Catholic Churches - but a personal prelature, a semi-autonomous group with its own clergy and laity.
Opus Dei was the first organisation in the Catholic Church to be recognised as a personal prelature, a new juridical form in the life of the Church. A personal prelature is something like a global diocese without boundaries, headed by its own bishop and with its own membership and clergy.
Because no such juridical form of life in the Church had existed before, the development and recognition of a personal prelature took Opus Dei and Church officials decades to achieve.
An announcement could be made soon after Easter this year. It is understood that Pope Benedict XVI, who has taken a personal interest in the matter, has linked the issue to the year of St Paul, the greatest missionary in the history of the Church.
The Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls could feature prominently in such an announcement for its traditional and historical links to Anglicanism. Prior to the English Reformation it was the official Church of the Knights of the Garter.
The TAC’s Primate, Adelaide-based Archbishop John Hepworth, told The Record he has also informed the Holy See he wants to bring all the TAC’s bishops to Rome for the beatification of Cardinal Henry Newman, also an Anglican convert to the Catholic Church, as a celebration of Anglican-Catholic unity.
The Pope's ecumenical strategy, most especially for those who have been at the cutting edge of ecumenical dialogue over the last forty years, seems strange, almost incomprehensible. It is liberal, in the sense of being generous. It is based on a clear statement of Catholic doctrine, it is almost triumphalistic in that sense. It is almost the antithesis of what has been understood in ecumenism.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
My reading of history is that with half the world communist, with the recent defeat of fascism in WWII, with the genocide of the late 19th and 20th centuries, with scientific developments it was necessary.
Over the past few days, some blinkeredly optimistic souls have been trying - without much real hope - to persuade Catholics to "celebrate" the 50th anniversary of the announcement of the Second Vatican Council. This was the great "renewal", when the Holy Ghost inspired the Church to aggiornamento, or modernisation. What form has that Renewal taken?
In England and Wales in 1964, at the end of the Council, there were 137,673 Catholic baptisms; in 2003 the figure was 56,180. In 1964 there were 45,592 Catholic marriages, in 2003 there were 11,013. Mass attendance has fallen by 40 per cent. In "Holy" Ireland, only 48 per cent of so-called Catholics go to Mass. In France, there were 35,000 priests in 1980; today there are fewer than 19,000. Renewal?
In the United States, in 1965, there were 1,575 priestly ordinations; in 2002 there were 450 - a 350 per cent decline. In 1965 there were 49,000 seminarians, in 2002 just 4,700. Today 15 per cent of US parishes are without priests. Only 25 per cent of America's nominal Catholics attend Mass. Worse still is the erosion of faith among those who ludicrously describe themselves as Catholics. Among US Catholics aged 18-44 (the children of Vatican II) as many as 70 per cent say they believe the Eucharist is merely a "symbolic reminder" of Christ.
To describe this unprecedented collapse of the Church as "renewal" is insane; to attribute it to the operation of the Holy Ghost is blasphemous. The Catholic Church is in the same position as an alcoholic: until it admits to the problem, no cure is possible. The problem is Vatican II.
The normal response by most liberal commentators to these kind of statistics is, "it is sociological trend that affected all churches", well maybe it is, maybe the consequence of Modernism or child abuse etc. etc. but the Council was supposed to be about renewal, evangelisation and mission, something has gone seriously wrong. As a loyal son of the Church and the Council, we have to, at least, answer Mr Warner's accusation, and indeed, as the Council was the most significant event in the Church since the fall of the Papal States it is time to ask what effect it had on the Church's decline: would it have been worse without the Council?
Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad was elected Patriarch in the Church’s first leadership election since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Kirill, 62, had been the favourite to succeed the late Aleksiy II and was made acting head of the Church after the Patriarch’s death in December.
He defeated Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk by 508 votes to 169 in a secret ballot of priests, monks and lay people at a Church council in Moscow. A third candidate, Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, withdrew before the vote and urged his supporters to back Kirill.
Kirill becomes the 16th Patriarch and head of a Church that has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance in Russia since the Soviet collapse. Like his predecessor, however, he has been tainted by allegations that he was a KGB agent, codenamed Mikhailov, under the Communist regime.
He became known as the “Tobacco Metropolitan” in the mid1990s when he was embroiled in a scandal over the import and sale of billions of duty-free cigarettes to raise funds for humanitarian aid.
Kirill is a charismatic and popular figure in Russia, with a wide following as the presenter of a weekly television programme on religious affairs. He is regarded as a moderniser and the Church’s most able diplomat, having led its powerful department for external relations since 1989.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Rorate Caeli reports:
Communiqué of the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X,
Bishop Bernard Fellay
It has come to our attention that Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our Society, granted an interview to a Swedish network. In this interview, he also commented on historical issues, especially on the genocide of Jews by the National-Socialist regime. It is obvious that a bishop speaks with religious authority solely on matters of faith and morals. Our Society claims no authority over historical or other secular matters.
The mission of the Society is the offering and restoration of authentic Catholic teaching, as reflected in the traditional dogmas. We are known, accepted and appreciated worldwide for this.
We view this matter with great concern, as this exorbitance has caused severe damage to our religious mission. We apologize to the Holy Father and to all people of good will for the trouble it has caused.
It must remain clear that those comments do not reflect in any way the attitude of our community. That is why I have forbidden Bishop Williamson to issue any public opinion on any political or historical matter until further notice.
The constantly accusations against the Society have also apparently served the purpose of discrediting our mission. We will not allow this, but will continue to preach Catholic doctrine and to offer the Sacraments in the ancient rite.
Menzingen, January 27, 2009
+ Bishop Bernard Fellay
The words of Pope Benedict at Auschwitz:
"The rulers of the Third Reich," he said in a paragraph that deserves to be read at least a thousand times, "wanted to crush the entire Jewish people, to cancel it from the register of the peoples of the earth. … Deep down, those vicious criminals, by wiping out this people, wanted to kill the God who called Abraham, who spoke on Sinai and laid down principles to serve as a guide for mankind, principles that are eternally valid. If this people, by its very existence, was a witness to the God who spoke to humanity and took us to himself, then that God finally had to die and power had to belong to man alone — to those men, who thought that by force they had made themselves masters of the world. By destroying Israel, by the Shoah, they ultimately wanted to tear up the taproot of the Christian faith and to replace it with a faith of their own invention: faith in the rule of man, the rule of the powerful."
And Kaddesh for those who died:
The 711 electors, which include prominent businessmen and political figures as well as monks and priests, have until Thursday to pick a successor to Alexy II, who died Dec. 5 at age 79. Alexy II had served since 1990 as spiritual leader of the world's largest and richest Orthodox patriarchate.
The new patriarch will be crowned next Sunday in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral and will wield enormous spiritual power. But he will also preside over the patriarchate's vast business empire, built with the aid of tax breaks and other government concessions since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.
The church insists it is not appropriate to compare the selection process to a secular election because a new patriarch has already been chosen by God.
But in practice, the patriarch's electors will include some of Russia's politically connected elite: a tobacco-company owner, a governor's wife and the son of the president of Trans-Dniester, a Russia-dominated breakaway province of Moldova.
The presence of political figures among the electors only reinforces the impression that politics will play a major role in the naming of the new church leader.
Interim leader Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad is the favored contender, but he faces at least two challengers and electors can also propose their own candidates.
Kirill, 62, received the most votes — 97 — in a secret ballot by church leaders Sunday. The two other candidates chosen by the Bishops Council were Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk, who received 32 votes, and Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, with 16.
Kirill is seen as more likely to assert independence from the Kremlin and to work for improved relations with the Vatican. He faces opposition from a strong fundamentalist movement within the church that sees him as too modern and too eager for a rapprochement with Roman Catholics.
The Kremlin is not openly backing any of the contenders. But President Dmitry Medvedev is said to be close to Metropolitan Kliment, 59, who is supported by church fundamentalists.
Filaret, 72, is the top cleric in Belarus and maintains good relations with Alexander Lukashenko, that country's authoritarian president.
Church and state are officially separate under Russia's post-Soviet constitution, but the Russian Orthodox Church has served the state for much of its 1,000-year history and ties have tightened since Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000.
Some nonreligious Russians complain that the church has tailored its doctrine to suit the current government, which has justified Russia's retreat from Western-style democracy by saying the country has a unique history and culture.
Underlining the close ties, state television broadcast the council session live.
In lengthy opening remarks, Kirill elaborately thanked Medvedev's administration for "warm and very benevolent greetings."
The Russian Orthodox Church counts its flock as more than 100 million in Russia, though polls show that only about 5 percent of Russians — mostly low-income rural dwellers and urban intellectuals — are observant believers.
Two-thirds of the electors are clerics, but the other third are laymen. Dioceses across the fomer Soviet Union sent businessmen, government officials and their relatives to vote for the new patriarch — an unprecedented move the church calls an "award" to supporters and sponsors.
The decision to open the voting to powerful lay people has drawn some sharp criticism. "This is a vanity fair," theologian Andrei Kurayev was quoted as saying in the daily Kommersant.
But church leadership has shrugged off the criticism. "What are we to do if these people are part of our society and our church?" Father Vsevolod Chaplin, a church spokesman, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.
Carlo Di Cicco, author of the article and subdirector of L'Osservatore Romano, affirmed: "The reform of the council has not been totally applied, but it is already so consolidated in the Catholic Church that it cannot go into crisis with a magnanimous gesture of mercy -- inspired, moreover, in the new style of Church promoted by the council that prefers the medicine of mercy to that of condemnation.
"The revocation that has provoked so much alarm does not conclude a sorrowful situation like that of the Lefebvrist schism.
"With it, the Pope removes pretexts for infinite polemics, directly confronting the authentic problem: the full acceptance of the magisterium, obviously including Vatican II."
The author went on to affirm that the Church "renewed by the council is not a different Church, but the same Church of Christ, founded on the apostles, guaranteed by the successor of Peter and therefore, living part of tradition."
L'Osservatore Romano further denounced any accusations that the Pope "is not convinced of the path of ecumenism and dialogue with the Jews." It recalled that the Church's most authoritative document on this dialogue, "Nostra Aetate," deplores any type of anti-Semitism.
And, Di Cicco observed, "The revocation of the excommunication does not yet mean full communion. The path of reconciliation with the traditionalists is a collegial option already known by the Church of Rome and not a sudden, improvised gesture from Benedict XVI.
Monday, January 26, 2009
LMS Residential Training Conference for Priests Wishing to Learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Ushaw College, Durham.
The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales (LMS) is organising a residential training conference for priests wishing to learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Ushaw College, Durham, one of England’s most prestigious seminaries.
The conference will run from Monday 20 April to Thursday 23 April 2009 (i.e. Low Week) and will feature Traditional liturgies in Ushaw’s magnificent neo-Gothic St Cuthbert’s Chapel together with a Gregorian Chant schola and polyphonic choir.
Expert tuition in the celebration of Mass in the Usus Antiquior will be provided on a small group basis. There will be guest lecturers and all participants will receive 1962 Missals and altar cards.
Daily devotions will include Lauds, Vespers, Benediction and Rosary.
The subsidised fee to participants is only £85.00 which includes full board and accommodation. Priests are asked to register by Monday 2 March.
Further details and registration forms can be obtained from the LMS office (Tel: 020 7404 7284) or downloaded from the LMS website, http://www.latin-mass-society.org/
Paul Waddington, one of the organisers, said, “This is the first time the LMS has organised such a training conference in the north of England. I hope the laity will tell their priests about this wonderful opportunity to learn the Usus Antiquior in the setting of one of England’s finest Catholic seminaries.”
The LMS hopes to make a further announcement about a training conference in the south of England in the near future.
Latin Mass Society, 11-13 Macklin Street, London WC2B 5NH
Tel: 020 7404 7284
E mail: email@example.com
A convert friend of mine used to irritate his Evangelical parents, who's moral code was based on on "What would Jesus do?", by saying his was based on "What would Pius XI do?"
I can't help but think that Pope Benedict is giving a sign of Vatican II at its very best. Like the Good Shepherd, without judging the cost to himself and his reputation he goes in search of the lost sheep. He carries them on his shoulder, making it easy for them to return to the True Fold. He calms their kicking, their struggle. He is willing to endure being gored by their horns. He willingly endures the scorn of onlookers who regard these estranged sheep as the carriers of disease, as not of the Flock, as morally tainted.
The irony is that before the Declaration on Religious Liberty a Pope would have handed the whole affair over to the Inquisition. The leaders of the SSPX would have been excommunicated, if that didn't work their excommunication would have been followed by that of their priests and finally of the laity who supported them. The Secretariate of State would have demanded States to coerce conformity, because "error has no rights", this coersion could rightly take on the most extreme form.
In the meantime the Pope would have waited for the return of dissidents on their knees.
What would Pius XI have done?
I think I should have something witty to say about small dead animals, birettas and keeping pensioners warm. I think Mgsr Georg would, you have ago.
Tridentinum is planning a replica of the original chasuble of St. Charles Borromeo, donated by the Saint Archbishop of Milan to the Senate.of Bologna This relic, made white silk lampas brocaded in gold with gold orphreys, was donated by Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna Giacomo Della Chiesa - elected Pope with the name of Benedict XV - to the church of Santa Maria della Pietà de'Mendicanti. We want to make a copy of fabrics and gallons and realise ten numbered copies, the first of which will be donated to the Holy Father, the second to the Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna, the third to the church of Santa Maria della Pietà; the other seven may be booked right now by our customers at the price of 5,000 euros. Each copy of the St. Charles chasuble is accompanied by a certificate bearing the name of the buyer. The seven customers who buy a chasuble will also participate in the financing of chasubles donate to the Sovereign Pontiff and the Archbishop of Bologna, and will be mentioned at the time of delivery of the vestment. The chasuble will be ready within next Corpus Christi 2009.
Please reserve as soon as possible your chasuble, because no other copies will be made and it will become a unique and unrepeatable artwork. To buy just go to the vestment sheet
However it would be useful to have in the sacristy, if a kind reader had 5,000 euros to hand.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Tonight I went to the first Latin Mass I've attended at St Mary Magdalen's Church. It is the first Mass at which I have not uttered a word...and that is why it is beautiful. It is the first Mass at which I have not responded to what the Priest is saying...and that is why it is beautiful. I came away thinking, yes, that is how it was always meant to be. It is almost as if everyone suddenly knows his place.
The Priest is allowed to be the Priest, mediating and interceding on the behalf of his congregation, with vocal and inaudible prayer and entreaty. His assistant, the altar server assists in the responses during the liturgy.
The Laity are allowed to be the Laity, allowed to be still in the Presence of God, to acknowledge our unworthiness before the Lord and to be able to actually pray without distraction, without having to make responses, even 'Amen', without having to vocalise the pattern of the Mass and to simply be before God. The vocalised responses to the Mass have been taken away, the responsibility to speak has been removed and in comparison to the New Rite, are suddenly left feeling, 'But isn't there something we have to do? Isn't there something we have to say? What am I meant to do?' Yet, now we can be! We don't have to do anything! Now we can pray in the silence of our hearts and seek Him!
And, of course, most importantly, Amighty God is allowed to be Almighty God, without being assailed by the noise of the Laity, without men and women profaning Him by receiving the Blessed Host in the hand, without men and women profaning or demeaning Him by not kneeling to receive, without them uttering the sacred words of the Santcus carelessly or without thought or devotion, knowing that in the Priest He has someone who is worthy by virtue of his Office, to mediate for His people.
Yes, suddenly in the Latin Mass, everybody knows their place, harmony is restored and nobody is seeking to usurp another's role. The Priest as Alter Christo takes upon himself the mediatory role between man and God and is allowed to be the Priest and we the Laity are allowed to be, allowed to pray in the silent majesty of Presence of God.
Lawrence, thank you.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009
During this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity rather than joining the local CofE or Sally Army for unknown hymns and a few long rabbling prayers and rock cakes, Rorate Caeli suggest the today the Holy Father is to lift the excommunications of the four Bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988. They have 700-plus chapels and six seminaries are spread across the globe. The Society counts close to 500 priests and 200 seminarians in over 60 countries.
I am not quite sure what this is going to mean, there are still doctrinal and legal complexities to be dealt with. I doubt somehow my Bishop will be invited to offer Pontifical Mass at the Throne in the SSPX chapel in the neighbouring parish, or that the times of Mass will be in our next diocesan directory. It does not mean instant reconciliation.
What concerns me is the occasionally brilliant but often loony Bishop Williamson. He is an Englishman, received into the Church in 1971, immediately sought to join the London Oratory, after a few days he was asked to leave. He then went to the SSPX seminary at Econe, was ordained priest in 1976 and has spent the rest of his life denying the holocaust and denouncing the Sound of Music, inventing conspiracy theories, slagging off the Pope and appearing on Youtube. I suspect this man, who has increasingly been pedalling a sede vacantist position, will end up leading the rump of the SSPX into a complete break with Rome.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
If the Mass was in the Ordinary Form, in our diverse and multi-cultural parish I could have chosen
the languageThen there is the major question of what kind of style to adopt, London Oratory or Charismatic Meeting, either are acceptable.
the orientation of the Mass -ad populum or ad apsidum
how to dress the altar: Bendictine arrangement or a couple of candles at one end
whether to substitute hymns for the entrance and communion antiphons
which hymns for these parts
whether to substitute hymns for the procession, indeed whether to have a procession what parts of the Mass to have the congregation to sing
what parts of the Mass I should sing: Collects Gospel, Preface, Eucharistic Prayer, Pater, Ita.
which Eucharistic Prayer
which acclamation after the consecration
whether to have the Sign of Peace
whether to have Holy Communion under both kinds or not
then of course there are decisions to be made about how to introduce bits and bobs, little bits of ad lib here and there
Monsignor Roberto Luckert, vice president of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, told Caracas-based Union Radio that at least five tear gas canisters were thrown at the Vatican's mission in Caracas around dawn on Monday.
Separate attacks also targeted a gathering of students at the Central University of Venezuela and the home of Marcel Granier, director of a television channel noted for its criticism of Chavez.
Luckert said nobody was hurt in the attack on the mission, which he blamed on a pro-Chavez group calling itself "La Piedrita," which has claimed responsibility for past tear gas attacks against Chavez foes.
"They are trying to scare anyone who dissents," he said.
Chavez has sharply criticized representatives of Venezuela's Catholic Church for opposing proposed constitutional changes that would lift term limits for all elected officials, including Chavez.
Nobody was hurt in the attack at the university, but the gas scattered the students.
Students later gathered outside the Attorney General's Office, where they condemned the attack and urged authorities to investigate the attack and guarantee their safety during upcoming protests against the proposal to lift term limits.
"These are the things that cannot continue occurring in Venezuela," said student leader Ricardo Sanchez. "The student movement cannot fall into the game of violence."
Police could not be immediately reached for comment.
Chavez, who was first elected in 1998, is currently barred under the constitution from seeking re-election in 2012. A referendum on lifting that limit goes to voters on Feb. 15.
Marcel Granier, director of privately owned Radio Caracas Television, said unidentified assailants tossed tear gas at him home in eastern Caracas early Monday.
Chavez decided in 2007 not to renew RCTV's broadcast license and replaced it with a state-run channel. RCTV now airs only on cable.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Some things never change in the old world (or in this broken world).
Yesterday Italian newspapers noted that the oldest Facebook group (fan club) for the Pope has only 45 members. Maintained by a Croatian, the name of the group is "Viva il papa Benedetto XVI." The news outlets boasted that this was proof that the "approval rating" for the Pope is now at its lowest.
In a rage, I joined the group after reading the article. This afternoon, membership is at 580.
If you're on Facebook then join this group and stick it in the face of the media pundits who then pointed out that an anti-Pope Italian group on Facebook had 4,835 members.
Monday, January 19, 2009
According to the L’Osservatore Romano, the event which took place January 13 and 14 was, in the words of the head of the Apostolic Penitentary, Cardinal Francis Stafford, an occasion “to offer to the men and women of today, immersed in a post-modern culture, the opportunity to reflect profoundly on their interior life and ask God for forgiveness for the ‘abuse of power’ that is in their hands.”
“Our objective,” he said, “is to reflect deeply on the pastoral meaning of our Tribunal and why the Church, in her wisdom, created this tribunal of mercy. My hope is that the answer has been clear in these two days of meeting and conversation.”
The Vatican newspaper also quoted Manlio Sodi of the Salesian Pontifical University, who led a round-table discussing during the Symposium and said the issue of penitential services and general confessions, which are more common in North America, are “rites that fundamentally alter the very foundations of the personal act of Confession.”
“It is a practice that poses enormous problems. If the rite of Penance were observed and taught instead, the faithful would not be misguided,” Sodi explained.
L’Osservatore Romano also pointed out that the “traditional rite of Confession underscores the aspect of liberation which divine mercy freely offers to the penitent who wishes to be reconciled with God.”
Sunday, January 18, 2009
The pope then called for prayers for all of those trying "to stop the tragedy."
"In this sense," he continued, "I renew my encouragement to those who, on both sides, believe that there is room for everyone in the Holy Land, so that they may help their people to rise again from the rubble and from the terror, and, courageously, return to dialogue in justice and truth. This is the only path that can truly reveal a future of peace for the children of this beloved region!"
The graceful voices of two sopranos and a tenor soared through the chapel where pontiffs are elected, and an orchestra and male choir from Regensburg, Germany, performed for Benedict and his brother on Saturday.
The two guests sat side by side listening to Mozart's C Minor Mass with Michelangelo's fresco "Last Judgment" looming on the wall behind the choir platform.
Georg Ratzinger is a former choirmaster who is now almost blind. The pope likes to play Mozart on the piano.
Benedict, 81, has said his brother helps him accept old age with courage.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
- First, the most powerful movement in the internal life of the Catholic church today is what I've defined as "evangelical Catholicism," meaning a reassertion of traditional Catholic beliefs and practices, coupled with robust public proclamation of Catholic identity. Part of that identity is the conviction that Christ is the lone and unique savior of the world. If "respect," from the Jewish point of view, requires the church to renounce the claim that all salvation comes from Christ -- which Richetti's essay could be read to suggest -- then it's probably not in the cards.
- Second, there's a generational shift underway. The pioneers of Catholic/Jewish relations, for whom the living memory of the Holocaust is a powerful motivating force, are passing from the scene. The new cohort remains committed to the cause, but its leaders may not feel the same sense of personal moral obligation.
- Third, the demographic shift in Catholicism away from Europe and, to a lesser extent, North America, towards Africa, Asia and Latin America, means that increasingly leadership will be coming from regions where Catholic/Jewish relations yield pride of place to dialogue with other traditions, especially Islam and the religions of Asia. In the Catholicism of the future, Judaism will no longer be the paradigmatic religious "other," but rather one relationship among many, and in some respects not the highest priority.
- Fourth, Benedict XVI's preference for "inter-cultural" rather than "inter-religious" dialogue, placing the accent on social and political cooperation rather than strictly theological encounter, may also drive Catholic/Jewish ties down the list of concerns. Theologically, Christianity's root relationship is with Judaism. In terms of geo-politics, however, relations with Islam, or Hinduism, or for that matter Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity, often pack a greater punch. (There are roughly 13 million Jews in the world and 1.6 billion Muslims; you do the math.) Even in Europe, the rising Muslim population means that when Catholicism is looking for partners to influence social life, Islam is steadily replacing Judaism as the most obvious "live option."
Rorate also makes its own analysis tracing some of the problems to uber-liberal Milan and the Jesuits.
Friday, January 16, 2009
The Visitation of course followed the sex scandals which did much damage to the Church in the US but the scope of the visitation was much broader than that. On the whole the report is very favourable, at least about diocesan seminaries, those of religious orders seem to be less satisfactory, though few details are given in this public report, presumably there are also detailed reports on individual institutions.
What struck me, from a qick read through of the twenty page document, were the following:
The document speaks of seminarians having "a strict Rule of Life".
The realization that many seminarians come from backgrounds which are far from Catholic, therefore the need to screen seminary candidates for irregularities and impediments at the beginning of formation.
An “incomplete grasp” of the difference between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of the laity.
The teaching of Moral Theology is often defficient, and at times is not within the mind of the Church. Faculty who subvert the Church’s teachings.
The need to clarify the meaning of the "internal forum".
The report questions whether monthly confession is sufficient.
The need to encourage, rather than discourage, traditional spirituality.
The importance of direction and supervision over long summer vocations and free time.
The importance of the involvement of the local bishop in the selection and formation of candidates.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
A book, Dominus Est: by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, about the history of the reception of Holy Communion was endorsed very stronglyby Cardinal Francis Arinze and was reviewed very favourably by in in L'Osservatore Romanum. Schneider comes down very heavily in favour of receiving Communion on the tongue.
Interestly one of the first interviews with Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Worship, dealt with Communion on the Tongue
"No, it is not just a matter of form. What does it mean to receive communion in the mouth? What does it mean to kneel before the Most Holy Sacrament? What dies it mean to kneel during the consecration at Mass? It means adoration, it means recognizing the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist; it means respect and an attitude of faith of a man who prostrates before God because he knows that everything comes from Him, and we feel speechless, dumbfounded, before the wondrousness, his goodness, and his mercy. That is why it is not the same to place the hand, and to receive communion in any fashion, than doing it in a respectful way; it is not the same to receive communion kneeling or standing up, because all these signs indicate a profound meaning. What we have to grasp is that profound attitude of the man who prostrates himself before God, and that is what the Pope wants."
This week Cardinal Stafford, Prefect of the Apostolic Penitentiary speaking of sins reserved to the Holy See, spoke recently of desecration of the Holy Eucharist, said,
"this offense is occurring with more and more frequency, not just in satanic rites but by ordinary faithful who receive Communion and then remove the host from their mouths and spit it out or otherwise desecrate it."
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
It would be wonderful to have a Solemn High Mass but there isn't really room on the sanctuary.
Servers: With our own servers, plus a MC and thurifer from East Grinstead we should be able cope.
Choir: We have 6 people confirmed for the choir, which is enough but if any chant aficionados want to come and join us we will be practising the propers this Friday at 7.30pm.
Introit and Communion will be to the correct tone. The rest will be sung to Psalm tones.
Priest, that is me: he can sing the things in the Missal that have notes, he is not quite sure about the Epistle and Gospel tones and would like some suggestions for help. Does anyone know of the lections with neums online? The priest is having a bit of difficulty memorising the prayer for the incensation.
The bishops, having set up a commission of psychiatrists, psychologists, theologians and educators, should impose silence on the pseudo-visionaries. This will be a first test: history teaches, from Lourdes to Fatima, from Guadalupe in La Salette, that those who really have the gift of being in direct contact with the Madonna, follow the directives of the local Church, even in the face of enormous sufferings. Therefore, one who will not remain silent but causes the news of these alleged apparitions to circulate freely, attracting around themselves the presence of the curious, journalists and the faithful in search of a particular grace will have already given a sign that shows the falseness of their mysticism. Mary herself, in fact, would never validate an act of disobedience against a bishop, even if they were in error.
I find it surprising that good faithful priests and people, who would never dream of disobeying the Church normally, flock to the latest site of an apparition, despite the instructions of the local bishop. It is often their first introduction to liberalism or pick n mix Catholicism.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Henry, who occassional comments on this blog sent me this link to a study by Miami University.
Religious rituals such as prayer and meditation affect the parts of the human brain that are most important for self-regulation and self-control;
When people view their goals as "sacred," they put more energy and effort into pursuing those goals, and therefore, are probably more effective at attaining them;
Religious lifestyles may contribute to self-control by providing people with clear standards for their behavior, by causing people to monitor their own behavior more closely, and by giving people the sense that God is watching their behavior;
The fact that religious people tend to be higher in self-control helps explain why religious people are less likely to misuse drugs and alcohol and experience problems with crime and delinquency.
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