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8/2/2007 2:11 PM
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Conclave: Tradition Makes a Comeback

Benedict XVI has restored the ancient rule of the two-thirds majority vote,
which John Paul II had breached for the first time in centuries.
The progressives are applauding. And a great canonist, Ladislas Örsy, explains why

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, August 2, 2007 – Last June, Benedict XVI released a “motu proprio” that fixes the rules for electing a pope.

The “motu proprio” got little coverage from the media. And yet it impacts a key aspect of the Church’s life. This much is clear from the extraordinary interest that surrounds every conclave.

Last July 18, at a press conference with cardinal secretary of state Tarcisio Bertone, there was a question about the conclave that elected Joseph Ratzinger as pope on April 19, 2005.

Bertone replied: “I know that the numbers reported by the press are not exact, and I want to restate that.”

To the following question of whether the votes for Ratzinger had been more or fewer than the figures circulated, he added: “I don’t remember anything anymore; we burned the ballots.”

Curiously, the most widely accepted leaks about the last conclave come from two reporters on the Vatican who are highly trusted by cardinal Bertone himself: Andrea Tornielli of the newspaper “il Giornale” – who this year published an acclaimed biography of Pius XII – and Lucio Brunelli of the second Italian state television channel, who also writes for the geopolitical magazine “Limes.”

According to the leaks, Ratzinger obtained 47 votes in the first round of voting, 65 in the second, 72 in the third, and 84 in the fourth, out of a total of 115 electors. The votes of his opponents are thought to have gone mainly to Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, with 10 in the first round, 35 in the second, 40 in the third, and 26 in the fourth.

In the 2005 conclave, the majority needed for the election of a pope was initially two thirds, equal to 77 votes. But after 34 unsuccessful voting rounds, only 58 votes would have been necessary, one half plus one: this was established by the rules for conclaves promulgated in 1996 by John Paul II.

Last June 11, the date of his “motu proprio,” Benedict XVI eliminated this possibility of lowering the majority requirement. Now, once again, two thirds of the votes will be needed to elect a pope, always.

The experts immediately grasped the importance of this decision. But the commentaries on it have been sporadic. The most interesting of these has just been released in the latest issue of the magazine “il Regno,” published in Bologna by the Sacred Heart fathers. The author is an internationally famous scholar, Jesuit father Ladislas M. Örsy, a professor of canon law and philosophy of law at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Örsy belongs to the progressive camp, and has been from the beginning one of the more prominent writers for the international theology review “Concilium,” a rival to the opposing review “Communio,” whose founders include Ratzinger. But Örsy expresses warm appreciation for Benedict XVI’s “motu proprio” on conclaves. And this precisely because he restores the ancient rule of the two-thirds majority for electing a pope.

That the progressive camp should applaud the current pope for having restored tradition is paradoxical. But the matter becomes more understandable if one looks at the potential effects of the innovation introduced by John Paul II.

Örsy advances an hypothesis: if the 1978 conclave had been carried out under the rules established by John Paul II, the election would not have gone to Karol Wojtyla, but to the ultraconservative cardinal Giuseppe Siri.

And in the conclave of 2005, at which those rules were in effect, what effect did they have?

Örsy doesn’t address this. But another prominent exponent of the Catholic progressive camp, the historian of Christianity Alberto Melloni, wrote about it in the June 27 edition of “Corriere della Sera”: the 40 votes for Bergoglio in the third round of voting “in other times would have scrapped Ratzinger’s candidacy”; if this did not happen, it was precisely because the cardinals knew that “even with a simple majority Ratzinger would ascend to the throne of Peter.”

Melloni does not entirely adhere to this interpretation of events. He says that it would be more important to know “how, by what, and by whom another bundle of votes was shifted to Ratzinger” on the afternoon of April 19, 2005, pushing him over the two-thirds majority. Melloni's implication is that this was done by the progressive cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, in order to prevent “an even more terrible, politically motivated solution”: read the election of cardinal Camillo Ruini.

In any case, Melloni maintains, “a shadow” looms over Ratzinger’s election as pope.

“It is clear from the current reform that Benedict XVI wants to free his successor – and, in a certain way, himself – from this shadow.”

While the “motu proprio” of June 11 restores the tradition of the two-thirds majority, in another way it is innovative. After 34 unsuccessful voting rounds, only the two candidates who have received the greatest number of votes in the previous round are eligible from that point on, until one of the two reaches the necessary two thirds.

In the traditional system, the cardinals would have been free to abandon both candidates and look for a new one.

Instead, by introducing the runoff vote, Benedict XVI’s intention is that of preventing an excessive prolongation of conclaves. And in the final head-to-head, the two candidates must abstain from voting – to remove the suspicion that the winner voted for himself.

Here is the commentary published by Örsy in the July 15, 2007 issue of “il Regno”....


I feel very strongly I must interpose this objection at this point. Orsy's article is posted after this comment.

I understand that Magister brings up this topic because a progressive canonist has written an article praising Pope Benedict XVI for restoring the two-thirds vote majority required for electing a new Pope. A progressive speaking up for Pope Benedict is certainly news.

But what I don't understand is why he also ties this to repeating what he now calls 'the most widely accepted leaks' about the votes cast in the 2005 Conclave, particularly the one alleged by the supposed cardinal who broke sacred oath to publish a so-called secret diary of the Conclave. To use the word 'leak', to begin with, attributes plausibility, if not objective fact, to an allegation.

And yet, Magister himself, when first reporting the 'secret diary' allegation in October 2005, wrote

]But this all just a matter of conjecture. And the more recent the conclave, the more the reconstructions of it correspond to the expectations and calculations of those who diffuse them.

On the eve of the last conclave, most of the forecasts released through the media were made of wishful thinking far from reality... But even after the conclave, the reconstructions gradually being released must be read with great caution. The obligation of secrecy requires that the cardinals remain silent...As for anonymous diaries, the greatest caution must be exercised here – and even more so when these are currents of opposition directed against the present pontiff.

Earlier, in the same article, he writes:

The anonymous diarist of “Limes” is not the first to indicate that, after Ratzinger, Bergoglio was the cardinal who received the most votes in the last conclave.

But other sources have indicated that the counterbalance was cardinal Martini... Among others, one firm supporter of this version is historian Alberto Melloni, the famous author of books on John XXIII and Vatican Council II.

But still other sources invalidate both of these reconstructions. In his book “The rise of Benedict XVI”, the American Vatican commentator John L. Allen Jr., linking the testimony of eight cardinals, has maintained that the progressive increase in the votes for Ratzinger never met any real opposition. A certain number of the votes did cluster around Bergoglio, but without constituting any sort of alternative. Moreover, from the beginning of the conclave Bergoglio was a decisive supporter of Ratzinger’s election. The votes for him went against his own wishes, and he received a label as a “progressive” which did not correspond at all to his convictions."

When he next writes about the Conclave votes, on 1/19/06, in an article called "Vatican storylines: Those who are resisting Benedict XVI", he says:

This is, in fact, what the most widespread reconstructions of the conclave say.

The first of these, in chronological order – it was made public by “Corriere della Sera” and by the historian Alberto Melloni – points to cardinal Carlo Maria Martini as both the antagonist and the deus ex machina of Ratzinger’s election....

The second reconstruction – initially circulated by Tornielli in “il Giornale” and by Lucio Brunelli in the geopolitics monthly “Limes,” then again by Gerson Camarotti of Brazil in “O Globo,” and finally, a few days ago, by Paul Elie in the United States in the January-February edition of “The Atlantic Monthly” (7) – builds upon the previous one by placing beside Martini, as the other prominent antagonist, Argentine cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio...."

It is not splitting hairs to point out that the second reconstruction he refers to is one and the same thing - the so-called 'secret diary' allegations. But the way he phrases it here, it would seem like Tornielli, Brunelli, Camarotti and Elie each independently arrived at the same reconstruction. Whereas Tornielli only reported in Il Giornale that Brunelli had written this article in the specialized journal LIMES about claims made by an 'anonymous cardinal' [probably the reason why Magister himself does not even mention Tornielli at all in his first article about the 'secret diary'], and Camarotti and Elie were likewise simply citing the 'secret diary' allegations, because it suits their agenda to cast a 'shadow', as Melloni puts it, over the election of Ratzinger.

And now in this article, Magister has 'progressed' to stating that "the most widely accepted leaks about the last conclave come from two reporters on the Vatican who are highly trusted by Cardinal Bertone himself" - Tornielli and Brunelli - in reply to Bertone's recent statement that all published accounts of the Conclave vote are wrong. [What happened to the "other sources (that) invalidate both of these reconstructions" which he wrote about in OCtober 2005? Why does he not at least refer to them now?]

First, attributing the 'leak' to Tornielli is clearly wrong, but worse, Magister is hereby validating what he first - and correctly - called conjecture in October 2005 - into something 'widely accepted' which he himself now appears to accept because he uses it to counter Bertone's statement.

I find this completely unacceptable and very irresponsible of a journalist like Magister, who is falling into the usual trap of journalists - when the sheer repetition of something 'consolidates' it into 'fact'.

Unless he writes another article in which he straightens out his personal opinion about these allegations, it is this article of Magister's, not the previous two, that will always be referred to henceforth when some other journalist writes about the 2005 Conclave - with the qualification that Magister is a known supporter of Benedict, implying thereby that if a Benedict supporter says this, then it must be so....

Now, here's the Orsy article - and let me add what irony it is that the 'progressives' have been so virulently denunciatory about anything in the Church dated before December 8, 1965 - arguing that Vatican-II threw all of it out - and yet, when it suits their purposes, they will gladly invoke 'TRADITION!' (I can almost hear the chorus from 'Fiddler on the Roof' harmonizing behind them - even if that was all about Jewish tradition, of course!). Guys, what happened to one of your favorite shibboleths, CO-E-REN-ZA (coherence, consistency)?


The reasons for a return to tradition
by Ladislas Örsy

On 11 June, 2007, pope Benedict XVI surprised the Church with an apostolic letter issued "motu proprio", i.e. on his own initiative, concerning the votes required at a conclave for the valid election of the pope. The document is brief, its language is terse, and its content is simple and clear: in all circumstances two thirds of the votes of the cardinals is required for the valid election of a pope. Why was this new order needed?

It was needed because John Paul II had broken with an ancient tradition. On 22 February 1996, he issued an Apostolic Constitution entitled Universi Dominici Gregis, "The Lord‘s Whole Flock." In it he decreed that in the event of a threatening impasse at the conclave, the cardinals may decide by absolute majority (half of the votes plus one) to abrogate the traditional requirement of two thirds, and then they may proceed to the election of the new pope by the same absolute majority.

More precisely, if after about two weeks and some thirty-four rounds of balloting no candidate had obtained the required two-thirds majority, then – in John Paul’s own words – "the cardinal electors shall be invited by the Camerlengo to express an opinion about the manner of proceeding. The election will then proceed in accordance with whatever the absolute majority of the electors shall decide. Nevertheless there can be no waiving of the requirement that a valid election takes place only by an absolute majority of the votes" (n. 75).

This was an innovation, and a breach with an ancient tradition; no one could deny it. No wonder that it caused dissatisfaction among competent persons. Benedict XVI in his "motu proprio" refers to them: he states that "numerous petitions of eminent authority" reached the then reigning pope asking him to undo what he did.

Yet, the significance of the new order was not obvious for the public at large; the press usually avid for sensation, hardly mentioned it. After all, in recent elections, just how many times has the conclave come to an impasse? It seemed that John Paul did no more than to provide for an unlikely event; otherwise the change had no significance.

The purpose of this article is to show that the change introduced by John Paul was a momentous deed of his pontificate and that it had the potential to set the church in a new (and perhaps perilous) course.

Benedict XVI restored the even flow of history. To understand all that, let us recall the tradition.


From the early centuries, we have evidence that when the people and clergy of Rome gathered to elect their bishop, they looked for a candidate who could command consensus. They wanted someone who had the confidence of the whole community; anything less would have made its governance difficult and could have done disservice to the unity of the Church.

By the end of the first millennium, the informal ways of the election degenerated into chaotic disorders that opened the door for secular potentates to intervene and try to impose their candidate. To put an end to the abuses, popes Nicholas II in 1059, and then Alexander III in 1179, decided and so ordered that only the cardinals of the holy Roman Church (technically the clergy of the diocese) would have the exclusive right to elect the pope. To honor, and to preserve in a legal environment, the traditional value of consensus, the popes ruled that a majority of two-thirds of the votes be necessary for a valid election.

In the second millennium still more crises followed (the cardinals themselves needed to be better regulated) but among all the vicissitudes of history, the two-thirds requirement remained a constant. It was a device to keep the elections fair and just; it was a way to safeguard the unity of the church. Clearly, the popes who enacted the rules understood that the bishop of Rome, the principle of unity for the entire church, needs a broad support. A conclave split in the middle may harbor the seeds of a schism.


John Paul overturned a settled tradition. But, as I already noted briefly, the hidden potential of his innovation was not immediately evident. After all, his Constitution retained the requirement of two-thirds for some thirty-four rounds of voting that is likely to take two weeks. Now, in modern times, no conclave has lasted that long. Nor is it likely that it will, since the whole world is waiting and watching impatiently for the white smoke.

Such an expectation is bound to put a psychological pressure on the cardinals; not even the sacred walls of the Sistine chapel can protect them from it. The awareness that entire world is waiting impatiently compels the electors to make haste; it may speed up the conclave more effectively than the threat of a diet of bread and water ever did. Precisely because a long conclave is improbable, the new legislation was seen as a provision for an unlikely emergency.

Yet, we know that "numerous petitions of eminent authority" were submitted to John Paul asking him to change his mind. Why?

We shall never know the mind of the petitioners, but we can do some explorations on our own.


Let us assume, as a "thought experiment, " that a good part of the electors have a candidate, and right at the first round, he obtains half of the votes plus one.

His supporters realize with no delay that – provided they stand by him – he will be elected. If that takes two weeks, so be it. Let us assume also that these electors already in absolute majority discreetly convey to the others that they are not going to change their mind. No rule excludes delicate communication at a conclave.

In the case of such an event, the minority (large as they may be) is put into an awkward position. They can, of course, hold out, but for what purpose? If the absolute majority perseveres, the defeat of the minority is assured.

What can the minority do then? Well, their options are limited.

They can stand firm and force the majority to go through a futile marathon of balloting for two weeks - but if they do so, they will risk alienating the winning majority and the future pope, and all for nothing, because at the end they are bound to lose; they might be even blamed for prolonging the conclave.

Or, they can surrender right then and there by bending their will to the desire of the majority and thus speed up the election by helping to produce the required two-thirds.

In the practical order what would a sensible minority do? In all probability they would admit defeat and vote for the candidate of the majority. It may be a sad gesture for them but they could justify it by the need for unity. They would be also lending support to the future pope.

In the old system, a group that could master absolute majority but not the two thirds of the votes had to be ready for a compromise. Not any more. And there is the hidden force of the new rule: in theory, the requirement of two thirds remains in effect for some two weeks; in practice the sufficiency of an absolute majority can become (it is likely to become) effective as soon as a candidate has more than half of the votes, or is very close to having them.

It would be interesting and instructive to examine some past conclaves with a few hypothetical questions in mind: had the law of John Paul II existed when they were held, what would have been the outcome of the conclave? Would the cardinals have elected another person? Would the history of the church have taken a direction different from the one that it actually followed?

Such questions may sound silly, since there is no way of verifying the answers. Yet, playing with such questions and answers (knowing well what they are) we can learn a good deal. We can learn to be wise and to exercise caution.


For an example, I turn to the conclave that elected John Paul II in 1978. I grant that we have no absolute certainty of its inner history, but we can still refer to some probabilities due to reported revelations (not to say indiscretions) by persons who were in the position to know, which is enough for our purposes.

The number of electors was 111. The required two-thirds (plus one) of the votes was 75. For an absolute majority no more was needed than 57. One of the outstanding candidates – "papabile" – was cardinal Giuseppe Siri, well known for his forceful conservative stances at the Council. Gaining gradually, on the fourth ballot he reportedly received 70 votes.

After that, however, it became clear that he could not get more support. His supporters had no choice, the "two-thirds rule" compelled them to look for another candidate, a person more acceptable to the minority. As the story goes, they found him in the person of the Polish cardinal from Krakow, Karol Woytila. He, initially, had no more than a handful of votes, but soon began to attract votes in view of a consensus. On the eighth ballot he was elected pope, and he chose the name John Paul II.

Here is the intriguing question: would Wojtyla have become pope if his own new rule had been operative in 1978? Or, perhaps, would Siri have been elected?

We do not know. But what we can be reasonably certain of is that had Siri been elected, the history of the Catholic Church for the last decades or so would have been different.

It is well known that Siri openly called Vatican Council II a "disaster," and later published a book under the title "Gethsemane: Reflection on the Contemporary Theological Movement" – where he heaped condemnations on many respected theologians who helped the work of Vatican Council II and supported the implementation of its "determinations." No more needs to be said.


From all such explorations or "thought experiments", an inevitable conclusion emerges: the issue of the number of votes required for the election of a pope touches the very core of the internal workings of the Church.

The rule introduced by John Paul II was not favoring unity in the practical order. It allowed a bare majority (what in truth an absolute majority is) to overpower a significant minority. It did not favor legitimate diversity; in a subtle way it opened the door for the imposition of a one-sided direction on the Church universal. Had it been operative over several conclaves, the rule had the potential to shape and reshape the history of the Church for centuries to come by regularly excluding significant diversity.

Benedict XVI through his "motu proprio" did no more and no less than to preserve "a rule sanctioned by tradition," a rule that worked well for some twenty centuries.

It certainly helped to protect the unity of the community. It bore much good fruit. It has the mark of a gift of the Spirit.


I must acknowledge that Magister simplified my 'research' into what he had previously written - which I remember well - by posting links to those articles in his post today:

> Vatican Storylines: Those Who Are Resisting Benedict XVI (9.1.2006)

> The Vatican Codes: This Is How I Rewrite My Conclave (7.10.2005)

He also adds a third one, whose title is a misnomer and quite misleading:
> What Really Happened at the Conclave (2.5.2005)

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/2/2007 11:10 PM]
TW vs WOWAnkie & Friends - L&#...62 pt.9/19/2019 12:57 PM by Inklings
Valentina BistiTELEGIORNALISTE FANS FORU...37 pt.9/18/2019 10:41 PM by docangelo
Lecco vs Monzablog191235 pt.9/19/2019 2:01 PM by m.totaro
8/2/2007 3:33 PM
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Just a brief summary here, as I do not have time right now to translate the whole article from Il Foglio today, carried on Lella's blog:

In the Sacri Palazzi [Holy Palaces], they are saying it is a certainity that Mons. Ginafranco Ravasi will be named Presidnet of the Pontifical Council for Culture, to succeed Cardinal Paul Poupard when he retires due to age.

It would be a vindication for Ravasi, prefect of the Ambrosian Library, who had been a candidate for Bishop of Assisi before Poe Benedict XVI named Mons. Domenico Sorrentino in 2005.

Ravasi, who has been accused of being too liberal and even sometimes unorthodox, was asked by Pope Benedict to write the meditations and prayers for this year's Via Crucis at the Colosseum.


It appears that to put his seal on any opposition in the Curia to Ravasi's appointment, the Pope himself will consecrate Ravasi a bishop on Saturday, September 29, along with Mons. Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki - the Pope's second private secretary - who was named July 16 as Bishop Coadjutor of Lviv (Ukraine).

[So we have confirmation of Mietek's episcopal consecration by the Pope on Sept. 29 as well!]

8/2/2007 3:35 PM
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The way I heard some of the accounts, before this supposedly "normative" account surfaced, Papa Ratzinger got nearly 110 votes on the fourth ballot. And now there's a "shadow" over his pontificate? Please!
8/2/2007 3:37 PM
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I think the trouble we would have been in with a Martini pontificate speaks for itself, but Bergoglio is no prize, either. People who know say that he's quite superficial theologically and not all that orthodox.


And thank God once again the Conclave did right! I don't know what 'version' of the 2005 Conclave will be in the history textbooks say, 20 years from now, and farther on, but it is obvious there will always be poor sports like Melloni et al, who have the execrable taste as well - in the name of ideology - of treating a Papal election as though it were a secular political exercise.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/2/2007 6:20 PM]
8/2/2007 6:46 PM
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If what I am about to say does not start off or provoke any discussion, I don't know what will!

I realize not everyone on this Forum may look kindly on Georg Gaenswein,
but seeing this delightful photo by Paoly12 from last Sunday's Angelus

reminded me I had not really commented on the interview that Gaenswein gave Peter Seewald for Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Which I thought very valuable for what it shows the reader about GG himself and, more importantly, how he perceives this Pontificate from his intrinsically privileged point of view.

Since then, there has been criticism - some, but not the typical reaction - that GG spoke out of place, to say the least, and that it is not his business to talk to the press, that maybe he did this without the Pope's knowledge or clearance.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, obviously. But I want to comment on the last point because it encompasses the other two.

I find it inconceivable that a person as conscientious as this priest - as 'dutybound' or 'dutiful' is one of the adjectives Peter Seewald cited as most often used by people who know Gaenswein - would not have told the Holy Father about this interview before he even did it. Not the least because the interviewer would be Seewald and that the piece would be the cover story, no less, in Sueddeutsche Zeitung!

And having told the Pope, he obviously got his blessing - most likely, too, he would have asked the Pope what general guidelines he should flow about which questions to answer (or not to answer) and how to answer them. Precisely because a cover story for SD would not simply be fluff! I know these are all my personal conjectures, too, but I believe they are plausible.

Just two days before the SD interview came out, Andrea Tornielli had also published an interview with GG about the Pope's vacation in general, but at which Tornielli also asked him what the reaction in the Apostolic Palace was to the reactions to the Mass MP.

GG would have had to take time off to do the interview, and, out of simple courtesy, he would have had to account for the time off (even if he did it after hours) since he lived in the same villa as the Holy Father. In short, I think he would have cleared the Tornielli interview before he did it...And it is unthinkable that twice in succession, he would have gone and done something on his own - being interviewed by two of the most reputable Papal chroniclers - without the Pope's knowledge or permission!

Papa Ratzinger is media-savvy enough to know the publicity value of an interview given by people close to him, who will not mis-use the interview to obscure his, the Pope's, central messages. And GG does not.

In the SD interview, as in the only other substantial interview he has given before this, he in fact summarizes the message very well:

What do you think the impact of this Pontificate can be?
Strengthening the faith and encouraging it - and the consciousness that Catholic belief is something great, a gift of God, that is not imposed but must be freely taken on. That's where the challenges are for the Church.

A few months back, Mietek was interviewed by BILD, the most-circulated German newspaper (sleazy as it is), about a typical 'day in the life' at the Apostolic Palace. And he gave a description that anticipated the TV version of it shot by RAI for the birthday documentary. Surely, Mietek asked the Pope - and he allowed it. The fact alone that the Pope allowed the RAI shoot speaks volumes!

I think the Pope, a thoroughly 'with-it' man of the moment even as he remains, above all, a man of God - understands the natural curiosity - a hunger, I might even call it - of the faithful to find out little details about him as a person, not because he is Joseph Ratzinger but because he is the Pope.

That would be why he has allowed the Vatican press office to distribute pictures taken exclusively by his official photographers during his vacations - in Les Combes as in Lorenzago. It's his way of saying 'Even if the Pope is on vacation, he is with you'.

And what do these private pictures show? A priest saying the rosary as he walks in the woods, visiting litte churches, stopping at roadside shrines, interacting with 'ordinary' folk and local priests. Not Joseph Ratzinger playing pingpong or cards, or stretched out on a lounger in the garden, taking the sun!

In the case of Joseph Ratzinger, the man himself is his message, or embodies his message, as he should: as a Christian who lives his life as a relationship with Christ and with his fellowmen as hisbrothers in the family of God.

In fairness to Georg Gaenswein, I don't think he has betrayed, obscured or misrepresented that message at all.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/2/2007 10:58 PM]
8/2/2007 8:02 PM
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Sandro Magister replies to Joseph Komonchak
8/3/07 Note by Teresa:
As I am now going to translate Magister's blog of 8/2/07 on
posted here in Italian yesterday by Janice, I am eliminating the Italian original. Anyone who wants to read it in Italian may use the link.

The judgments about the post-Conciliar period expressed by Benedict XVI to the priests of the Cadore, which was translated into English right away on www.chiesa, have started a high-level discussion in the United States among theologians and Church historians. [How can he make this sweeping statement on the basis of one blog in Commonweal, and the comments posted by Komonchak's readers, who are part of his claque, as well as eternal Ratzinger-haters like the nut Joseph O'Leary? But see for yourself:

The discussion is precisely on the issue of the interpretation of Vatican-II. It was started by Christian historian Joseph A. Komonchak, diocesan priest of New York and lecturer at the Catholic University of America, as well as editor of the American edition of the 5-volume History of the Vatican Council II produced by the 'school of Bologna' founded by Giuseppe Dossetti and Giuseppe Alberigo.

Taking off from the words said by Benedict XVI to the priests of the Cadore, Komonchak reviews and analyzes that which he considers - rightly - to the the Pope's most important intervention on the issue: his address to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005. He did this with a long entry on the blog of Commonweal,the United States magazine which is the mouthpiece of well-educated Catholic progressives.

With his analysis, posted online on July 30, Komonchak thus finally broke the long silence from the 'school of Bologna' - to which he belongs - about the criticisms formulated by Benedict XVI to their interpretation of Vatican II.

But Komonchak is careful not to oppose the Pope himself. On the contrary, he brings him to their side, among the supporters of the 'hermeneutics of dicontinuity'.

To annex Joseph Ratzinger to the 'school of Bologna' is a rather impudent operation. But Komonchak does it with subtlety, separating Ratzinger from so-called Ratzingerians. He maintains that, with the speech to the Curia on December 22, 2005, Benedict XVI 'disappointed those who expected a criticisim of the 5-volume history edited by Alberigo? [But how could they be disappointed, Mr K, when everyone was taken by surprise that he chose to speak on the Council at all, and that extensively, on that occasion? I know it's natural for someone involved in a project to think that the world revolves around that project, but realistically, why would a Pope, delivering a Christmas message 3 days before Christmas, need to single out anything for attack?]

And who would have been among those 'disappointed'? Komonchak identifies three: Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Bishop Agostino Marchetto [who Magister identifies below]... and Sandro Magister.

But these three do not even agree with each other. Komonchak announces that the next issue of Cristianesimo nella historia (Christianity in history), the magazine of the 'Bologna school', will have an essay by Giuseppe Ruggieri who will argue that the www.chiesa account of June 22, 2005, which reported Ruini's criticism of the 'Bologna' interpretation of Vatican-II, was not faithful to what the Cardinal actually said based on an audio recording.

On that occasion, Ruini made a public presentation of a book which puts together Marchetto's critical reviews of the History published by Alberigo and company. And www.chiesa reported, among others, these words of the Cardinal:

"The interpretation of the Council as a rupture and new beginning is coming to an end. It is an interpretation that is very weakl today and without a real hold on the body of the Church. It is time that historiography produces a new reconstruction of Vatican-II which will also, at last, tell the truth."

On the Commonweal blog, Komonchak's intervention - which will itself appear in complete form in the next issue of Cristianesimo...., raised several qualified comments and even discord. Among these last, that of Father Robert Imbelli, professor of theology at Boston College, and Cathleen Kaveny, a lawyer who treaches theology and law at the University of Notre Dame.



Sorry I don't have time to do a full translation now. But for now, let me pick out what I thought the significant part of Magister's commentary.

Con questa sua analisi, messa in rete il 30 luglio, Komonchak ha così finalmente rotto il lungo silenzio con il quale la “scuola di Bologna” – alla quale egli aderisce – ha reagito alle critiche formulate da Benedetto XVI contro la sua interpretazione del Vaticano II. Ma si guarda bene, Komonchak, dal contrapporsi a sua volta al papa. Al contrario, lo porta dalla propria parte, tra i sostenitori della “ermeneutica della discontinuità”.Annettere Joseph Ratzinger alla “scuola di Bologna” è un’operazione ardita.


With his analysis, posted online on July 30, Komonchak thus finally broke the long silence from the 'school of Bologna' - to which he belongs - about the criticisms formulated by Benedict XVI to their interpretation of Vatican II. But Komonchak is careful not to oppose the Pope himself. On the contrary, he brings him to their side, among the supporters of the 'hermeneutics of dicontinuity'. To annex Joseph Ratzinger to the 'school of Bolgona' is a rather impudent operation...

What's wrong with Magister, really? What 'long silence'? Alberto Melloni has never kept silent about this!

I am glad, at least, that Magister also articulates the same indignation I did - THE CHEEK OF KOMONCHAK! - when I first posted Komonchak's article, about him trying to use Benedict's words as a supposed agreement with the 'discontinuity' school. These were my comments in my 8/1/07 post:

... Komonchak is clearly using the Pope's spontaneous 'summation' to an audience of parish priests as a defense-cum-justification of the 'spirit of Vatican II' school's version of Vatican-II, making much of the fact that he "had surprisingly little to say about the hermeneutics of discontinuity." What did he need to say about it in the context of what he was saying as a whole and to whom he was saying it? Because he did not mention that phrase at all does not mean he thought any less of it or had reconsidered what he set out to show in his historic speech to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005, about which the rest of Komonchak's article really is about.
Komonchak's conclusion [In any case, I see no reason to fear that he is about to go back on the great conciliar texts on the Church’s relationship to the modern world, and no reason to doubt that he continues to consider them a necessary "counter-Syllabus."] is, of course, a dramatic contrast to his colleague Alberto Melloni, directly of the Bologna school, who has been screaming every chance he gets that Pope Benedict is turning his back on Vatican-II and bringing the church back to pre-Vatican II, even if, when it suits him, he also says that Joseph Ratzinger really was 'sympathetic' to the Bologna school because he had promised to bequeath his own personal papers from his Vatican-II years to Alberigo's institute in Bologna! These guys want to have their cake and eat it too....

In connection with what I see as this attempt by Komonchak to use the Pope as an unwitting prop for the Bologna school of thought, read the article by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf in the preceding page of this thread called "The School of Bologna's Council of Discontinuity"...

I rest my case.


Now that I have posted the full translation, I don;t think I need to comment any further. Magister's interest was personal - because he was cited in the main blog itself as well as in a subsequent answer by Komonchak to one of the comments .

The Kathy Caveny referred to is one of those unregenerate liberals who wrote a very condescending piece
at the time Ratzinger was elected Pope - she had met him in 1991 (during Ratzi's visit to New York when he spoke about Biblical exegesis and was booed by gays). And if you read her first comment to Komonchak's piece, you will be shocked that a professor at Notre Dame who is a lawyer has such undisciplined and sloppy language.

Imbelli is definitely on the side of the progressives. It is not easy to Google him, but the first full article I came across was an editorial he wrote in 1976 for Theology Today, which is a pretty good summation of the presumed 'spirit of Vatican-II' and whose concluding paragraph clearly tells us where his sympathies lie:

"Vatican II revealed the inadequacies and inconsistencies of the older paradigm which had prevailed in Catholic theology for centuries. It ushered in the time of transition and upheaval. The task of post Vatican II theology is to work toward the formulation of a new paradigm and thus facilitate the full aggiornamento which was the desire, the challenge, and the risk of the Council."

Older paradigm-new paradigm = discontinuity???

One other thing: Komonchak makes much in the comments that supplement his blog about the fact that he is not aware that Ratzinger has ever ever criticized the Alberigo 'History...'; and he takes that as another sign that Ratzinger actually favors the interpretation of the Bologna school.

Which is a questionable argument because 1) I'm not aware that Joseph Ratzinger has ever mentioned any book or author by name that he did not personally approve of, for the simple reason that as an author himself he owes other authors respect for their opinions - however opposed they may be to his own, and 2) by a more specific application of that courtesy, the fact that he himself wrote his own commentary and accounts of the Vatican-II sessions - so he himself was a historian, or at least, a primary historical source, for Vatican-II.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/3/2007 9:21 PM]
8/2/2007 8:20 PM
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Georg Gaenswaen, Papal Secretary or Papal Spokesman?

Teresa,I don't think most of us would find your remarks about Georg Gaenswein controversial at all. We would agree with them. However, the media did do its best to make Georg's remarks controversial. They seized on his comments about Islam* and featured those quotes in articles around the world. It seemed to me, in reading those quotes, that they were trying to restart the Regensburg controversy, trying to make it look like Georg, Benedict, and the whole church were anti-Islam. I suspect that any flack that arouse from Georg's interview might have occurred as a result of that. Church figures would have been upset with him for saying anything at all that brought that whole ugly mess up again or for saying things that the media could twist to look like Georg was airing Benedict's thoughts.

However, I do think Georg would not only have informed Benedict about the interviews but would have asked his permission to participate in them. And Benedict, being the scholar he is and open to a free discussion of ideas, would have encouraged Georg to say what he thought best, especially to a journalist like Seewald whom Benedict has worked very closely with several times in the past and whom he trusts just as he trusts Georg.

*Here is part of a sample of the media reports on Georg's interview:

Europe faces Islamic threat

28 Jul, 2007, 0157 hrs IST, AFP
BERLIN: Pope Benedict XVI’s personal secretary has warned against the spread of Islam in the West in an interview with a German newspaper published on Friday.

“We cannot deny the attempts to spread Islam in the West. And we should not be too understanding and let this blind us to the threat to Europe’s identity,” Georg Gaenswein told the weekly magazine of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.


Benefan, I agree completely that the media were trying somehow to ignite a Regensburg fire all over, seizing on Gaenswein as a scapegoat in loco Ratzinger. Fortunately, they appear not to have succeeded so far - knock on wood! And what will the Muslims say, that they are not trying to spread Islam in the West? Deny that Europe's identity is threatened? (Even if it's not their place to make any denial, since they are the threat!)

As for GG giving the interview and what he said in it not being 'controversial' at all, I obviously agree, but there's always some dissenter out there - even if they may be only viewers and not participants in this Forum.

Also, GG said quite a lot in that interview, and I would have thought there were many points about which some of our members might like to comment.


[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/2/2007 8:50 PM]
8/3/2007 12:42 PM
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The Vatican today released the official program for the Holy Father's visit to Austria.


September 7-9, 2007


Friday, September 7

Ciampino (Rome))
09.30 Departure from Rome/Ciampino for Vienna/Schwechat.


Schwechat (Vienna)

11.15 Arrival at the international airport.
- Address by the Holy Father,

12.00 Transfer by car from the airport to Am Hof Square in Vienna.
Change to the Popemobile once within inner city.


12.45 Arrival at Am Hof Square.
-Greeting from the Holy Father.

13.30 Travel by Popemobile to the Juden Platz (Jewish Square).

13.35 Visit to the Monument for Austrian victims of the Shoah at Juden Platz.

13.40 Travel by Popemobile to the Apostolic Nunciature.

13.50 Arrival at Apostolic Nunciature.

17.15 Travel by car to the Hofburg.

17.30 Arrival at the Hofburg.
at the Great Reception Hall of the Hofburg.
- Address by the Holy Father.

18.45 Travel by car from the Hofburg back to Apostolic Nunciature.

19.00 Arrival at Apostolic Nunciature.

Saturday, September 8

08.00 Travel by car from Nunciature to the Heidenplatz.

08.15 Depart Vienna by helicopter from Heidenplatz to Mariazell.

09.15 Arrival at Mariazell heliport.

09.25 Travel by Popemobile to the Sanctuary of Mariazell.

09.45 Arrival at the Sacristy of the Basilica to prepare for Mass.

10.30 HOLY MASS for the 850th anniversary of the foundation of Mariazell,
in front of the Basilica.
- Homily of the Holy Father.

12.30 Return to Sacristy of Mariazell.

13.30 Lunch with Austrian Bishops and with the Papal delegation
at the Pontifical Residence in Mariazell.

16.40 Walk from Residence to the Basilica of Mariazell.

16.45 MARIAN VESPERS with priests, religious, deacons and seminarians.
- Address of the Holy Father.

18.00 Travel by Popemobile from the Basilica to the heliport.

18.20 Arrival at the Mariazell heliport.

18.30 Departure by helicopter for Vienna.

19.30 Arrival at the Heidenplatz heliport and
travel by car to the Apostolic Nunciature.

19.50 Arrival at the Nunciature.

Sunday, September 9

09.15 Travel by car from the Nunciature to the Archbishop's Palace.

09.30 Arrival at the Archbishop's Palace.

09.45 Procession from the Archbishop's Palace to the Cathedral of St. Stephen.

10.00 HOLY MASS at St. Stephen's.
- Homily by the Holy Father.

12.00 RECITAL OF THE ANGELUS, St. Stephen's Plaza.
- Message by the Holy Father.

12.15 Walk to the Archbishop's Palace.

14.00 Travel by car from the Archbishop's Palace to the Nunciature.

16.00 Travel by car from the Nunciature to the Abbey of Heiligenkreuz.


- Address by the Holy Father.

17.00 Travel by car from Heiligenkreuz to the Vienna Konzerthaus.


17.30 Arrive at the Wiener Konzerthaus.
- Address by the Holy Father.

18.45 Travel by car from Konzerthaus to Wien/Schwechat airport.


19.15 Arrival at the international airport.
- Message by the Holy Father.

19.45 Departure for Rome.


Ciampino (Rome)

21.30 Arrive at Rome-Ciampino airport.

Italy and Austria are in the same time zone.

All subsequent stories about the Austria visit will be posted on the thread APOSTOLIC VOYAGE TO AUSTRIA.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/4/2007 12:43 AM]
8/4/2007 4:24 PM
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Scouts called to continue
offering invaluable service

In addition to citing the Scouts at his last Wednesday audience, Pope Benedict also sent a special message to their centenary Jamboree.

Vatican City, Aug 3 (CNA)- Pope Benedict XVI sent a telegram to the Scouts gathered in Chelmsford, England, for their Jamboree celebrating 100 years of Scouting, reminding them they are “called to continue offering their invaluable service.”

In the telegram signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State, the Pontiff underscored that, “In a time in which young people are confused and misguided,” the Scouts “are called to continue offering their invaluable service.”

The Holy Father noted that Scouting has allowed “millions of youngsters to become adults who are free, generous and responsible, making use of their talents given by God and putting them at the service of their brothers and sisters.”

The Pope also expressed gratitude for the great benefits of Scouting and pointed out its contribution to the development of the human person.

The telegram was read at the end of a Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, who thanked the Scouts for their effort to create a better world. “The Church needs your generosity, your faith and your love for the future,” the cardinal said.

The Jamboree in Chelmsford will run through August 8, with more than 40,000 Scouts from around the world participating in the celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of the first Scout camp that took place in August of 1907 on the British island of Brownsea.

8/5/2007 2:00 PM
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8/5/2007 2:09 PM
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A translation of the Holy Father's words at Angelus today has been posted in AUDIENCE AND ANGELUS TEXTS.

Pope recalls Paul VI and the Church
“in difficult years”

Castel Gandolfo, Aug. 5 (AsiaNews) – Twenty-nine years after the deaht of Pope Paul VI, Benedict XVI recalled today the figure of his predecessor who died on August 6, 1978, in Castel Gandolfo, on the feast of the transfiguration.

“The solemnity of the Transfiguration," said the pontiff "remains linked to the memory of my venerated predecessor, the Servant of God Paul VI, who in 1978 here in Castel Gandalfo, completed his earthly mission and was called into the heavenly house of the Father. His memory invites us to raise our eyes to Heaven and to faithfully serve the Lord and the Church, as he did in the difficult years of the last century”.

Benedict XVI‘s Angelus address highlighted the Sunday Gospel and liturgy. Today he sought to underline Christ’s warning “to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, everything passes, everything can end suddenly” and that “although wealth in itself is an accumulation of goods, it must not be considered as the absolute good”.

“The real treasure for which we Christians must tirelessly seek," explained the Pope, "lies in the things ‘from above, there where Christ can be found at the right hand of the Father’. Saint Paul in his letter to the Colossians reminds us of this today when he says that our life ‘is hidden with Christ in God’ (3, 1-3)”.

At the end of the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI also recalled a contemporary protagonist in dialogue between the Churches, the Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Teoctist, who died earlier this week.

“At the solemn funeral which took place last Friday in the cathedral in Bucharest," he said, "I was represented by Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Vatican Council for the promotion of Christian Unity, with a special delegation. I warmly remember this noble Pastor who loved his Church and gave a great and positive contribution to relations between Catholics and Orthodox..."

PETRUS adds this interesting detail, which, of course, was not part of any coverage that was broadcast:


VATICAN CITY - For the benefit of pilgrims who were unable to be accommodated within the internal courtyard of Castel Gandolfo for the Angelus today, the Pope appeared at the window of the Apostolic Residence overlooking the town piazza afterwards.

He said, "Dear friends, I also wish all of you a Good Sunday and a week of peace and joy."

He then imparted his apostolic blessing.

Sorry, this picture obviously shows the Pope addressing the people
in the town piazza, not in the courtyard! I thoughtlessly used it
earlier with the interior courtyard pictures.

Additional photos besides the small-format Yahoo news-service photos used earlier are from Paparatzifan's selection.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/6/2007 5:07 AM]
8/5/2007 3:08 PM
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From PETRUS today, an interview with Luigi Accattoli, senior Vatican correspondent for Corriere della Sera, translated here:

Pope grants greater freedom
with the Mass Motu Proprio

by Bruno Volpe

VATICAN CITY - Luigi Accattoli, one of the most prestigious names in Italian journalism and author of several books on religion and the papacy, spoke exclusively to PETRUS about Benedict XVI.

Dott. Accattoli, how do you evaluate the Pope's Motu Proprio on the traditional Mass. There are those who say the Pope has thereby aligned himself with the 'nostalgists' after Vatican-II.

The Pope is holding out a hand to those nostalgists to help them against consolidating their 'half-rupture' with the Catholic Church, but that doesn't make him one of them nor in alliance with them.

What one can say is that the nostalgists - like the Lefebvrians - are not even the ones primarily addressed by the initiative, but rather those 'not a few Catholics', as the Pope said, who simply wish free use of the older Missal.

I am personally in favor of the new Missal because it is richer in Biblical citations and prayers to choose from, but I appreciate the Pope's decision which I interpret as a sign of granting greater freedom.

What do you think of the fact that no minimum figure has been given for the number of persons who may request the older rite?

I think that also reflects the rule of greater freedom, or liberalization. The text says that a 'stable group' of persons must request it. If it had said "at least 30 persons" - as earlier speculation had it - then that would have been imposing a restriction.

What about the Pope's position on Vatican-II?

The theologian Ratzinger took part in the Council as the theological consultant for Cardinal Frings of Cologne who belonged to the reform-minded majority, and it was in this context that Ratzinger worked during the Council years. [NB: Frings also had Ratzinger accredited from the first year as a theologian expert in the Council itself, not just as his own personal consultant.]

It was after the Council and with the interpretation of the Council that he distanced himself from the progressive wing and assumed a critical position. But that is what happened even with other great theological figures of Vatican-II - first of all, Hans Urs von Balthasar - and with Paul VI's own pontificate.

Ratzinger, as Cardinal and as Pope, is heir to the re-thinking about the Conciliar legacy that so many theologians and bishops undertook during the second half of the 1960s. [Vatican-II ended in December 1965.]

With Von Balthasar and other illustrious theologians, he founded the journal Communio which was critical of the journal Concilium, to which they had both originally belonged. And let us not forget it was Paul VI who named him a Cardinal in 1977 [specifically for his outstanding achievements in theology]."

How has Benedict XVI changed, compared to Cardinal Ratzinger, with respect to liberation theology?

Today, he is not only the guardian of Catholic doctrine - he is also father of all, therefore his attitude is more open and encouraging.

In his address at Aparecida on May 13, there was an important statement in which the theologian-Pope adopted the central motto of liberation theology, translating it to his own terms: "The preferential option for the poor is implicit in the Christological faith that God made himself poor for us in order to enrich us with his poverty."

Two days earlier, speaking to the bishops of Brazil, he had urged them to realize a significant 'closeness to the poor' in all the levels of life - that was his translation into practical pastoral terms of the theological concept."

Do you think the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was right to pay $660 million in order to avoid dozens of lawsuits connected with the scandal of priests accused of sexual offenses against minors?

I am not an expert on the case, but I think they did right, even if one certainly does not pay out that much money with a light heart.

Perhaps the tribulations brought about by those scandals will bear evangelical fruit - in that a Catholic community with great prestige and wealth emerges from it poorer but humbler.

What about the Vatican's continuing communications problems?

They're nothing new and nothing different. I would say that now that the tryout period for the new Pope and his co-workers is over, we can see that the problems with communications and the media remain exactly as they were before.

The general interest in what a Pope says has always been problematic, but I must say that Father Lombardi is the ideal spokesman for the theologian Pope as Navarro-Valls was for the world-missionary Pope.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/6/2007 2:06 AM]
8/5/2007 5:15 PM
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On her blog today, Lella posted this article from yesterday's Il Messaggero, which is really an appreciation of the 'new Germany'. I have decided to post it here because one of the determinants of this new Germany is Benedict XVI, even if the article makes only one direct reference to him. Here is a translation:

Germany: The year of rebirth
A near-irresistible lady Chancellor
and a Pope to look to constantly

Beautiful films that challenge Hollywood.
From research to the arts, from science to religion,
a magic time for the 'laboratory' of Europe


When did it all start? When did we [Italians] start to love the Germans again? Or at least not to hate them, not to fear them anymore?

Was it on December 7, 1970? When Willy Brandt knelt spontaneously at the monument to the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto? That was when we understood that the Germans had 'changed'. We acknowledged the symbolic force of that admission of guilt, which is the first step of expiation, towards redemption.

Then further on, on November 9, 1989, when an entire nation was reunited - with joy, without violence, to embraces, singing and dancing on the shambles of the Berlin Wall.

But perhaps it has been this year, 2007, the German year, during which Germany has further aroused our growing interest and sympathy.

A lot of it may have to do with three excellent films: 'The lives of others', 'Four minutes', and 'Desire'.

Of course, judging a nation cannot depend on a few good films, but they are emblematic of a Germany that is changing because it is transforming its relationship with its dark past.

Shame no longer keeps it from being talked about, to admit faults and responsibility, as when Guenter Grass, the living icon of German literature and democratic conscience, had the courage to confess he volunteered to serve in the SS.

Acceptance of their past by the Germans is the theme of current informed historiography, as in the most recent study by Georg Fulberth entitled Finis Germaniae. It is a story of Germany since 1945 which, for the first time, tries to draw a dispassionate balance - neither demonizing nor absolving - but solely to try and understand this immense and vital zone at the center of Europe.

The Germans are always reflecting on this geopolitical reality. In the past several days, Berlin hosted a mega-conference called "European Prospects" with the participation of leading economists, politicians, and intellectuals.

The opening lecture was by 2002 Nobel Prize winner for literature, Imre Kertesz [a Hungarian Jew who survived concentration camp, now lives in Germany but continues to write in Hungarian]: it is yet another sign of conciliation between that land and the Jewish community which Kertesz represents.

Germany, compared to Italy, has been investing increasingly more into research at the international level. Consider the Russian scholar Olga Holtz who is in Berlin on a one-million-euro grant for four years of research on the revolutionary value of matrix multiplication, whose results could further accelerate mathematical calculations by computers.

It is also investing heavily in molecular biology research, which interests theologians greatly because discoveries in this field have completely transformed the terms of the debate between evolutionists and creationists.

And these are investment decisions not easily made in a country which intends to become great again not in industrial production, financial clout and sports, but also in culture, with the appearance of new original thinkers like Peter Sloterdijk [Born in 1947, his book Critique of Cynical Reason published in 1983, became 'the best-selling philosophical work in the German language' since World War II].

Research and art, science and religion: that seems to be the German formula.

In the past several years, Berlin has been one huge construction site, with thousands of cranes diligently in service to repair a city that had been split for decades.

And now, all Germany is like a happy, bustling intellectual and scientific workshop which constantly looks to Rome, to 'its' Pope.

The qualitative impulse came in politics with Angela Merkel, the chubby Chancellor from East Germany, who holds a doctorate in physics [her doctoral dissertation was on quantum chemistry], who has shown great character, intelligence and even irony (rarely to be found among politicians, especially the northern Europeans).

So, is everything serene under the blue skies of Germany today?

Perhaps. But certainly, to have a lady (Germany's first female chancellor) and a trained scientist at the helm of state is a sign that the sun has set on German militarism, even as Germany is rediscovering the roots of the culture that had made it great in the past.

Il Messaggero, 4 agosto 2007


Enlightening as his commentary is, I do fault Mr. Freschi for two important and glaring omissions: 1) one important date in his review of the milestones for the German 'transformation' - April 19, 2005, which in words that have been said by more than one German, "means that the new Germany has finally been accepted by the world"; and 2) the trans-national, almost incomparable influence of a Pope who is also an original thinker and genuine intellectual, and who expresses himself almost daily to the world.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/5/2007 5:18 PM]
8/5/2007 8:54 PM
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The progressives insist on a rhetoric of 'two Churches' because they cannot accept that this Pope - as did the Popes before him - see Vatican-II as growth in continuity, not a discontinuity with everything that came before it. Here is the translation of a commentary picked up by Lella from the online opinion journal of Forza Italia, Silvio Berlusconi's party:

What's behind all the opposition
to Benedict's Motu Proprio on the Mass

By Gianteo Bordero

There are those who choose to interpret ideologically - and therefore to fight ideologically - the Pope's Motu Proprio on the use of the pre-1970 Mass in order to 'derail' the line being laid down by Benedict XVI's Pontificate.

A harsh battle has been launched by the ideologues who read Vatican-II as a rupture with the past and a new beginning altogether for the Catholic Church - a harshness that is barely masked by the tone of the arguments employed so far and by some lingering respect for the figure of the Pope - against Papa Ratzinger's initiatives to show that Vatican-II is very much within the bimillenial tradition of the Catholic Church, a continuity accompanied by growth.

One only has to read, for instance, recent statements and writings by people like Enzo Bianchi, prior of Bose, and some Italian bishops to realize this.

Bianchi [a lay monk who founded the ecumenical monastic community of Bose near Milan as a post-Vatican-II 'rediscovery of Christian life based on listening to the Gospel'] wrote in La Repubblica: "Is not the Missal of St. Pius V for many a mark of identification, by preferring it to the Mass celebrated by other Catholics, as if the liturgy of Paul VI lacked elements essential to the faith?"

[First, one must object to the pointed - and patently wrong - use of the term 'Mass of Pius V' which refers to the pre-1965 form, when the form specified by the Motu Proprio is the 1965 form, the John XXIII Mass. But Bianchi and his fellow ideologues insist on referring to the Pius V Mass, because that is the Mass associated with the Lefebvrians, whom the progressives consider totally beneath consideration, and to give some credence to their accusation of backwardness against Benedict.]

Well, let's turn that around: Does not the Prior of Bose think that the Missal of Paul VI has become in the past few decades, for even a far greater number of progressives, the battlecry for defending an ecclesiastical and social situation that no longer exists, namely the roaring 60s and 70s of the progressives' post-conciliar heyday?

Isn't it equally valid that many progressive ideologues are flaunting Paul VI's Mass as their own mark of identification, as if the traditional Mass used by the Council itself "lacked elements essential to the faith"?

The truth is that this ideological reading does not get us very far, because it was precisely to stem such ideological dichotomy latent in the two Masses that Benedict XVI issued his Motu Proprio, underscoring that "these two expressions of the Church's lex orandi do not lead in any way to a division in its lex credendi; they are, in fact, two forms of a single Roman rite."

We can raise analogous objections to points raised by some Italian bishops like the Bishop of Alba, Mons. Dho, in an article in Vita Pastorale, a magazine of the St. Paul publishing enterprise.

Dho, at the end of an an analysis that called the Motu Proprio 'restrictive' - quite against the spirit of liberalness that the Pope said should be shown to the faithful who want to celebrate the traditional Mass - writes: "It is difficult not to fear, with reason, that a practice of the type authorized by the Pope [that the parish priest must allow the use of the older rite for the Mass and other sacraments, provided there is a priest competent to do it] risks creating a parallel Church that will be hard to integrate with the entire parochial community."

As if to say that the Motu Proprio would 'legitimize' the presence, within the Church, of two Churches - a pre-conciliar and a post-conciliar - each with its own rules and rites. Two Churches that are opposed to each other and not in communion at all. And where, it goes without saying, the true Church would be the post-conciliar one and the true Mass, the reformed Mass.

This is to ignore what the Pope himself says in the Motu Proprio. Far from feeding conflict, he wants to put an end precisely to this rhetoric of "two Churches". In this, he is merely being consistent with what he has said for years, in various books, articles speeches, interviews.

In 1994, he told Vittorio Messori, in the book Rapporto sulla Fede [The Ratzinger Report, in its English edition]:

"One must definitely oppose this schematism of a before and after in the history of the Church, totally unjustified by the documents of Vatican II itself which consistently reaffirm the continuity of Catholicism. There is no pre- or post-Conciliar Church...There is only a single Church on a journey towards the Lord, with an increasingly more profound and better understanding of the deposit of faith that Christ himself entrusted to it. This is a history without gaps, without ruptures, without a dissolution of continuity."

Therefore, if overcoming the rhetoric of 'two Churches' is proving to be an imprint that characterizes the Ratzinger pontificate, then it is clear that the representatives of 'progressive' Catholicism, in all their various nuances, are really attacking the essence of the Ratzinger Papacy itself by attacking the Motu Proprio.

Between now and September 14 - when the Motu Proprio takes effect - it is very likely we are in for a crescendo of criticisms and contrary voices. And this only confirms implicitly the epochal significance of Summorum Pontificum.

Ragionpolitica, 2 agosto 2007

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/6/2007 7:57 AM]
8/5/2007 11:55 PM
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Perhaps the prior of Bose does not consider that the Mass of Blessed John XXIII will reinvigorate the Mass of Paul VI, by calling it to a more reverential standard.

By the way, the last photo of the Pope, on the right, can this be enlarged? It's very endearing.

Dear Janice -
Is this the photo you meant?

One of the Photo-wizes in the Section - Mary or Benevolens -
will have to help you out, as I have not managed to get
ImageShack resizing to work, and I have no graphics program
except a very inefficient Paint.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/6/2007 5:36 AM]
8/6/2007 7:47 AM
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Registered in: 11/24/2005
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Thanks for posting about the angelus & the last article is very interesting.
8/6/2007 12:27 PM
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Yes, Teresa, that's the photo. Thank you very much.
8/6/2007 3:31 PM
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Here is a translation of the Holy Father's telegram of condolence on the death of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, 80,
yesterday. [See stories in NOTABLES].

The telegram:


Having learned with great emotion about the death of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, Archbishop Emeritus of Paris,
I wish to express to you my profound union in prayer with the Archdiocese of Paris, with the relatives
and friends of the Cardinal, and with all who are affected by the passing away of this great figure of the
Church in France.

I entrust to God's mercy our dear Cardinal Lustiger who generously consecrated his life to the service of
the People of God in the Diocese of Orleans and in the Archdiocese of Paris.

I thank the Lord for his episcopal ministry, remembering well this pastor who was passionate in his quest
for God and in announcing the Gospel to the world.

Through his pastoral work with students, he always kept a concern for the youth. In the communities entrusted
to him, he contributed to develop missionary commitment among the faithful, and was particularly devoted to
the renewal of priestly as well as lay formation.

A man of faith and dialogue, he gave his all generously to promote ever more fraternal relations between
Christians and Jews.

A clear-sighted intellectual, he placed his gifts in the service of the faith in order to make the Gospel
always present in all the areas of social life.

As a token of consolation, I impart the Apostolic Blessing to you, Monseigneur, and to your co-workers,
to those near and dear to the Cardinal, to the priests, deacons, consecrated persons and the faithful
of the Archdiocese, as well as to all who will take part in at the funeral services.


[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/6/2007 3:35 PM]
8/7/2007 6:47 AM
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By Cindy Wooden
August 6, 2007
Catholic News Service (

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - Prayers for peace demonstrate a recognition that peace is a gift of God that requires human cooperation, Pope Benedict XVI said in a message to a summit of religious leaders meeting on Mount Hiei in Japan.

"Peace is both a gift from God and an obligation for every individual," the pope said in the message to the Aug. 3-4 summit organized by the leader of the Tendai Buddhist community.

Members of the community consider Mount Hiei to be the holiest site in Japan; the Tendai school of Buddhism was founded on the mountain in the 9th century.

When Pope John Paul II invited religious leaders from around the world to gather in Assisi, Italy, in 1986 to pray for peace, the leader of the Tendai Buddhists accepted the invitation. The next year, the community began hosting Japanese religious leaders for an annual prayer for peace service on Mount Hiei.

After the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the head of Tendai Buddhism began inviting international representatives of Christianity, Islam and Judaism to join Japanese religious leaders for the prayer service.

In his message to the 2007 summit, Pope Benedict said, "The world's cry for peace, echoed by families and communities throughout the globe, is at once both a prayer to God and an appeal to every brother and sister of our human family."

The pope expressed his hope that the religious leaders gathered for the summit would be filled with God's peace and strengthened in their resolve to give witness to the logic of peace, which surpasses "the irrationality of violence."



Dear Lori - Thanks for posting this. It finally explains why the Vatican released a message dated 6/23/07 on 8/4/07, which I posted on

The Vatican bulletin did not mention when the 'summit' was, nor give any other explanatory note.


[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/7/2007 3:11 PM]
8/7/2007 3:57 PM
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PETRUS today carries these two items:

Radio Maryja director
among Poles received in audience
by Pope at Castel Gandolfo

The report by PETRUS quotes AFP saying a Vatican source confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI met Sunday with Fr. Tadeusz Rydzyk, controversial founder-director of the extreme rightist Polish station Radio Maryka, as part of a Polish delegation he received in private audience at Castel Gandolfo.

"There are photographs of the occasion, so it's not necessary to confirm it," the source is quoted, adding it was one of several private meetings that the Pope has with private individuals which are not announced or made known unless the participants themselves choose to.

The report says the Polish press published pictures of the Pope meeting with a group of Poles, among which was Rydzyk, whose radio station has been increasingly and vociferously anti-Semitic in the past few months. Rydzyk is also apparently the publisher of a neo-Nazi magazine.

The Pope sends a golden quill
to Patriarch Alexei II

This second item is not attributed by PETRUS to any source:

A golden quill which Pope Benedict XVI has used to sign 'numerous documents' was personally presented to the patriarch of Msocow, Alexei II, as a gift from the Pope by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray.

The Cardinal is vice-dean of the College of Cardinals, emeritus President of the Pontifical Council on Justice and Peace and of teh Pontifical Council Cor Unum,

The report does not state when Etchegaray was in Moscow or for what purpose.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/7/2007 3:58 PM]
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