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8/27/2007 4:08 PM
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Rocco Palmo on his blog today
has an exclusive translation of an interview excerpt with the Archbishop of Brussels, Cardinal Godfreed Danneels, from "Big Boys Don't Cry" - a book-length interview of Danneels by the Belgian journalist Peter-Jan Bogaert. The English translation by friends of Rocco is based on an excerpt published last weekend by the Flemish-language newspaper De Morgen.

Here is what Cardinal Danneels, an outspoken liberal, has to say about the Pope - the Pope in general, and Benedict XVI in particular.


Are you faithful to the pope or to Jesus Christ?

I am in the first instance faithful to Christ, because the pope is 'only' a representative of Christ. If I am faithful to the pope, it is because he asks that which Christ says in the gospel. Faithfulness to Christ and the church is not only a human accomplishment. It is not only effort and austerity, you get a lot in return. Much more than you are giving. We call that grace, it is given to us to be faithful. That is often difficult to explain to people who do not believe. If we give something, it is because we also receive much. Strength and insight, among other things. We see things more clearly, and so we are getting captivated, and that gives us more vitality to follow our faith.

Could you think of circumstances in which you could not remain faithful to the pope?

The obedience to the pope implicates also the frankness to say what you are thinking. And he is happy with that. Inside the church there is room for dialogue, more than you would think. I feel confident in that, and that is the reason I confide in him from time too time. Or ask: is that really necessary?

Especially this pope, Benedict XVI, will respond to that. It is easy to have a conversation with him, man to man. But when he, after thinking it over, says that he wants to do things a certain way, than I accept that. Often I realize afterwards that he is right, that he has made me see things in a different way. It is therefore certainly not blind obedience.

Have you ever had to defend something that, in your innermost heart, you didn’t agree with?

Not really. At times I have been disturbed by the way in which a certain text or directive was being communicated. When the pope could have said the same thing in a more accessible or sympathetic way. But then we’re talking about form, really. Even if that (form) does say something about the content too. In some encyclical letters – Humanae Vitae, for instance - the same things could have been said, but in a less abrupt and frigid tone.

I have told Pope John Paul II that there was a need for a warmer, and more open tone. And he agreed - only that was our task, he said. In Rome the general rule is drawn up. The bishops have to make the texts clearer, warmer, and explain the practical applications.


The rest of the interview is equally interesting and eye-opening, including his views about priestly celibacy (he's in favor of it), given his reputation as a liberal. Also, what he said about Pope Benedict was something of a surprise, since right after the 2005 Conclave, many Anglophone news reports made it appear he was so displeased at the outcome that he left Rome as soon as he could.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/27/2007 4:57 PM]
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8/27/2007 5:14 PM
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The Vatican Press Office today released the texts of telegrams sent by the Holy Father to the Archbishop of Montreal and to the Superior-General of the Order of St. Sulpice, on the death early Sunday morning of Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, P.S.S., emeritus President of the Pontifical Council for the Family and of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses. Here are translations from the French:











P.S. The AP story has some additional info about Cardinal Gagnon.

Canadian cardinal, 89,
dies in Montreal;
Pope sends condolences

VATICAN CITY, Aug. 27 (AP): Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, a Canadian-born former Vatican official who tried decades ago to resolve the case of a renegade archbishop, has died in Montreal, the Holy See said Monday. He was 89.

Pope Benedict XVI sent his condolences in a telegram to Montreal Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte. Gagnon died sometime in the night between Saturday and Sunday, the Vatican said. No cause of death was given.

Gagnon had been appointed by Pope Paul VI in 1973 to lead the Vatican's office dealing with family matters, a post he held for many years.

Pope John Paul II made Gagnon a cardinal in 1985.

Three years later, John Paul gave Gagnon a delicate task — try to resolve the case of rebel Archbishop Marcel Lefebrve, a French-born prelate who split with the Vatican over modernizing reforms and who was excommunicated in 1988 after he consecrated four bishops without Rome's consent.

The current pope, Benedict, has indicated he wants to normalize relations with the followers of Lefebrve, who died in 1991.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/28/2007 10:20 PM]
8/28/2007 1:43 AM
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Bruno Volpe caught John Allen at the Vatican recently for this brief interview posted on PETRUS today, translated here:

VATICAN CITY - The dean of American Vatican correspondents [I'm not sure Allen really is, in the sense of being the longest on the Vatican watch among the current crop], who follows in the footsteps of his father as a distinguished religion reporter, an edtiro at National Catholic Reporter and author of the best-selling Opus Dei, gladly spoke to PETRUS about Pope Benedict XVI.

What do you think about the Pope?

To do that, I would need a book, a good book. He's a Pope who knows how to teach, and I think that first of al, he wants to teach us to acknowledge a strong Catholic identity. His wager is that the future of Christianity in Europe is that of a minority, but it will be a creative minority, more clear about its identity, more evangelical, and therefore more influential.

As a human being, how do you judge him? Since he has been wrongly characterized as a cold and detached theologian...

Joseph Ratzinger is a fascinating figure, one who has great interior freedom.

In Italy there's a heated debate over taxes. As an American and a Vatican correspondent, how do you see this issue?

The Italian debate over taxes is something that is very topical everywhere else, particularly in the developing countries where the battle against corruption - which includes tax evasion, is a fundamental commitment for the Church.

Meanwhile, the Pope will be in Austria shortly. What significance does this trip have?

Austria is home to Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the most Ratzingerian of all Ratzinger followers. So it can be a definitive bench test for how much the Pope can attract crowds. On the other hand, Catholics now represent a minority in Austria, where the Church has possibilities for growth and expansion.

8/28/2007 6:46 PM
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Let me take the easy way for now and just lift this from
posted by New Catholic today. I will provide a full translation of both articles referenced later:


Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Fellay speaks:
"Turmoil" in the Church

The most respectable daily in Argentina, La Nación, published this Monday two articles based on interviews granted to its reporters by the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), Bishop Bernard Fellay.

The most relevant excerpts of the first article, including Fellay's actual words:

"We have never moved away from the Church. We have always been and are Catholics, and we have always worked with the intent of remaining so. There are difficulties with the authority, but that does not mean that we deny it [the authority]."

"There are men in the Vatican Curia who do not work for the Pope."
"The only problem which remains now is [of a] political [nature]. There is a part of the Church which does not love us, which considers us as dinosaurs, and Rome does not know how to manage this dialectic between the conservatives, as we are, and the progressives who do not want [to follow on] the same path. If [they] give us too much, the others would react."
He [Fellay] explained that, "until things improve", the links to the Catholic bishops and priests are very scarse. They do not maintain a dialogue, for instance, with Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio [S.J.], Archbishop of Buenos Aires and president of the Argentinian Episcopate. "Father Bouchacourt [head of the Latin American District of the FSSPX, whose headquarters are in Martínez, in the Greater Buenos Aires area] sent two letters to Cardinal Bergoglio, and did not receive an answer. That is, the silence comes more from him than from us," said Fellay.
"We have never intended to build a parallel Church or authority"..."The official Church has put us aside. We have been marginalized. That is true. Yet, they cannot say or prove that we are on the outside. It is interesting that in the motu proprio which rehabilitated the ancient Mass of the Tridentine Rite [Summorum Pontificum], the Pope says that the reason for his action is to work towards internal reconciliation in the Church. He is speaking about us. We have thus here the declaration of the Pope himself that we are not schismatics," he affirmed.
[On the current situation of the Church:]
"It is very complex," he answers. And he adds: "There are many currents which produce turmoils when they meet, and the authority has lost control over some of these currents. One example is the situation of a de facto schism which is noticed in North America, even though Rome wishes to prevent it from becoming a formal schism".

Part of the actual interview was published in the second article, whose questions and answers are available below:

To the question on whether a real opening [towards the FSSPX] or a state of confusion prevails in Rome, Bishop Bernard Fellay states that "it may be both".

"The Pope - he explains - wishes that all the body of the Church be in peace and he thus pursues the true union of all her members. The Church desires unity with all those who are outside her. But to effect this ecumenical movement without pursuing the internal union would undermine her credibility. There is a task [needed in order] to reorder things, and this takes time. It is very hard to reintroduce discipline. There is a fear of punishing. The Pope wants discipline with order, but I ask myself if he can accomplish it"

-[La Nación] Why would he not be able to do it if he wanted to?

-"Because there are men in the Vatican Curia who do not work for the Pope, but for others."

-[La Nación] For instance?

-"[They work] For groups. One of them is the mafia looking for money in dealings with the Church. There are terrible scandals in this area. Another group, more dangerous, are the Freemasons; there are three of four lodges specific for Vatican Bishops and priests which seek to use the Church to reach the union of all peoples and religions. The current Pope is against this [the current state of affairs] and works to clean it. He has done a part of this work in silence up to now, charging small faithful groups with studying a theme, as, for instance, the motu proprio on the Latin Mass."

-[La Nación] On what other theme?

-"The recently released review of the manner of electing a Pope. This corrects a rule by John Paul II which [had been] done under the direction of the Secretariat of State."

-[La Nación] Do you foresee the future extinction of the current Mass?

-"The Latin Mass appears now [to be] an extraneous body because it was said to be forbidden for 50 years. But one will take the place of the other. This motu proprio which rehabilitates the ancient rite will generate a movement which, at first, will be slow. It will demand time, but it will grow slowly. I am certain [of this]."

-[La Nación] But if so few understand Latin...

-"It is not necessary to know Latin to take part in the Traditional Mass. What is important is that the readings and the sermon be understood by the faithful."

-[La Nación] Is the new Mass valid?

-"It can be. But this is not important. What is important is that we see in it a danger which may lead to an erroneous thought. We say that this Mass has a Protestant flavor. Benedict XVI said that he regrets the excesses in the liturgy, but while we attack it, he defends it. The definition of the Mass which was given had three errors which are heresies. But it was so grave that they changed this definition." [Rorate note: Reference to the first version (1969) of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, number 7, altered in the official text of the 1970 Roman Missal.]

8/28/2007 7:06 PM
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I originally planned to post this in NEWS ABOUT THE CHURCH, but Magister devotes a great part of his commentary to comparing the ideas of Fr. Barsotti and Pope Benedict that I have decided to post it here.

Divo Barsotti, a Prophet for Today's Church

He was decades ahead in anticipating the main features of the current pontificate.
And now his greatness is being discovered, thanks in part to an exhibit dedicated to him.
He lived in Florence, right in the thick of the turmoil of the Council and the period following it.
A critical comment from the theologian Paolo Giannoni.

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, August 28, 2007 – At this year's international meeting held in Rimini, as it is each August, Communion and Liberation dedicated an exhibit to a Christian personality of great significance who is far too little known: "Divo Barsotti, the last mystic of the twentieth century."

Divo Barsotti – who died at the age of 92 on February 15, 2006, at his hermitage of Saint Sergius in Settignano, north of Florence – was a priest, a theologian, the founder of the Community of the Children of God, and an extraordinary mystic and spiritual master.

One year before his death, the founder of Communion and Liberation, Fr. Luigi Giussani, died in Milan. The two never met in person, but they had great respect for each other.

This year, Communion and Liberation chose this theme for the Rimini Meeting: "The truth is the destiny for which we were made."

And it was precisely on the primacy of the truth that Fr. Barsotti founded all of his life and teaching, in prophetic harmony with the major outlines of the current pontificate. One more reason to rediscover and accentuate his legacy.

In life, Divo Barsotti often found himself alone and misunderstood. When he was a young priest, isolated in his diocese of San Miniato. When he arrived in Florence, understood and supported by few. He again remained alone, for years, in his hermitage in Settignano, abandoned by his first followers. And so also later, ignored and undervalued until the end of his life by much of the Catholic media and intelligentsia.

He was self-taught, with no theology degree. He wrote a great deal: 160 books and countless articles and scattered papers, but no systematic work. And yet his written and oral production bears witness to a depth, a consistency, a foresightedness, a critical acumen, a freedom of spirit that stand out today as absolutely out of the ordinary.

When almost no one in Italy was familiar with Russian spirituality, he was the first to introduce it, with the first of his books, in 1946, and then to spread it. He named his hermitage in Settignano, on the hills of Florence, after the great Russian saint Sergius of Radonezh.

But when orientalism became fashionable, and more for aesthetic than for spiritual reasons, he leveled withering criticism against it: "We Florentines have Blessed Angelico, Masaccio, Giotto, Cimabue. Are they, perhaps, unable to compete with the Russian icons? But of course they compete, and they win, too."

While the manuals of moral theology held a weary dominance in Italy and in the Roman theological faculties during the 1940's and '50's, Barsotti didn't miss a single book by the great French promoters of ressourcement, the return to biblical, patristic, and liturgical sources: Jean Daniélou, Louis Bouyer, Henri De Lubac.

In 1951, when he published his masterpiece entitled Il mistero cristiano nell'anno liturgico[The Christian Mystery in the Liturgical Year], he was the first in Italy to develop and elaborate theses similar to those of Odo Casel – the German Benedictine who upheld the objective efficacy of the liturgy in representing the Christian narrative – even before he had read his writings.

But he never remained silent about an author's weak points, no matter how much he respected him. With Hans Urs von Balthasar – who, before dying in 1988, was his spiritual director for six months – Barsotti did not spare his criticisms of his questionable theories about hell: "If there were no hell, I could not accept paradise."

He was no less critical of those who entrusted themselves to him as their spiritual master. Giuseppe Dossetti was his spiritual son beginning in 1951 – beginning, that is, when he abandoned politics to become a monk and priest and to dedicate himself to renewing the Church in his own way, until his death in 1996.

But Barsotti by no means approved of all of his political and theological ideas. One day he wrote in his diary: "It seems it would be better if Fr. Giuseppe would retire to some abandoned little island in Hong Kong."

Above all, Barsotti did not accept the fact that Dossetti was so closely connected to Giuseppe Alberigo and his interpretation of Vatican Council II and of the postconciliar period as a "new beginning" in Church history. He saw the close company of the two as a "danger." He came to the point of presenting Dossetti with an either-or: either breaking with Alberigo, or the end of Barsotti's spiritual direction.

The same thing happened with other eminent Florentine Catholics like Giorgio La Pira, Gianpaolo Meucci, and Mario Gozzini, when he did not approve of their political and ecclesial positions.

Fr. Barsotti even directed criticisms at the popes, which to him was an act of justice "willed by the Lord."

In 1971, he was called to the Vatican to preach to Pope Paul VI and the Roman curia at the spiritual retreat for the beginning of Lent. In his preaching, he dealt with the topic of the power of Peter and said – as he later recorded in his diaries – that "the Church has coercive power because God entrusted this to it, and so it must use it. During those years, in fact, anarchy was spreading through the Church, and the Churches of Northern Europe were taunting the Holy Father."

By "coercive power," Barsotti means the assertion of truth and the condemnation of error, exactly what Vatican Council II and a great part of the Catholic hierarchy after it declined to do, as he said and wrote a number of times: it was a refusal "that practically negated the very essence of the Church."

Barsotti was a convinced admirer of John Paul II, for the same reason that the Catholic intelligentsia undervalued him: "What has shown us most of all that Christ is present in this pope is the exercise of a magisterium that, more than the latest council, has affirmed the truth and condemned error." A pope "who has always taught the exclusive nature of the Christian faith: it is Christ alone who saves."

But Barsotti did not silence his criticisms even of pope Wojtyla, the "pillar of the Church," for example in regard to the 1986 interreligious meeting in Assisi. In this, he wrote, "the pope's intentions were perfectly clear."

But the same was not true of the deductions made by many churchmen, who "asserted that the event in Assisi [was] the first step along a journey that should lead to the unity, in peace, of every dogmatic faith."

In two letters, Barsotti wrote to John Paul II that his papal magisterium was "more important than, or at least just as important as, the magisterium of the most recent Council," which "had made only slight modifications to the unbroken testimony of tradition," and so "it is inexplicable why the latest Council is cited almost exclusively."

Barsotti enjoyed the silent respect even of the progressive Catholics, but not because he expressed the same expectations. On the contrary.

In the life of the Church in Italy and the world, he represented the resistance to postconciliar tendencies, in the name of the "fundamentals" of the Christian faith. He saw few prominent churchmen who were equally decisive in "placing the emphasis on the essential, on the newness of Christ, which is what the Church needs most today."

In 1990 he indicated two such churchmen, Joseph Ratzinger and Giacomo Biffi, who later became his two favorite candidates for the papacy.

And when the first of the two really did become pope, in 2005, what took place was a sort of passing of the torch. While Barsotti, now over ninety years old, gradually stopped writing and speaking, the pontificate of Benedict XVI affirmed "urbi et orbi" – with the authority of the successor of Peter – precisely those theses that the Tuscan priest had maintained throughout his entire life.

There is a very strong resemblance between the diagnosis of the Council and the period following it formulated by Barsotti and the one made by Ratzinger both before and after his election as pope, most recently in the conversation he held last July 24 with the priests of Cadore.

There is a noteworthy affinity between the two in their seeking out nourishment in the Church's great tradition and breaking this bread among the great numbers of ordinary Christians.

In the case of Benedict XVI, it should be enough to think of his two cycles of Wednesday catecheses: the first, dedicated to the apostolic Church, with individual profiles of the apostles and the other main characters of the New Testament; the second, dedicated to the Greek and Latin fathers of the first centuries of the Church, which has now arrived at the depiction of the great bishops and theologians of Cappadocia – Basil, Gregory Nazianzen, Gregory of Nissa.

There is perfect agreement between Barsotti and Pope Ratzinger on the manner of reading the Sacred Scriptures and penetrating their profound meaning: not solely with the tools of the historical and philological sciences, but also in the light of their ultimate Author, the Holy Spirit, recognizable in the Church's tradition.

The two also share similar views on politics and history. Both are extremely opposed to the idea that in earthly history there is the progressive construction, almost by natural evolution, of a kingdom of peace and justice. Both are absolutely certain that the "eschaton," the ultimate and definitive act of salvation for man and for the world, is already present here and now, and is nothing other than the crucified and risen Jesus.

The "Christian mystery" is him, Jesus crucified and risen, who is seated at the right hand of the Father but at the same time becomes bread for man in the Eucharist. The events of the mystery are made real in the Mass. Here, too, there is extraordinary agreement between Barsotti's book The Christian Mystery in the Liturgical Year and the later reflections and homilies of Benedict XVI in the pontifical Masses.

From the book Jesus of Nazareth, the chief work of this pontificate, to the centrality of the Eucharist, to the encyclical Deus Caritas Est, the magisterium of Benedict XVI presents a dazzling cohesion.

It is the same cohesion that appeared in the life and works of Barsotti. In a footnote of his 1951 book The Christian Mystery in the Liturgical Year, there is a reflection on eros and agape that is stunning for how it anticipates the heart of pope Ratzinger's encyclical.

In both of these, there is the awareness that the Church lives on the foundation of truth, and that it is only from "veritas" that "caritas" arises, just as the Spirit proceeds "ex Patre Filioque": from the Father and from the Son who is the Logos, the Word of God.

In what may have been his last public writing, a commentary on a book published in 2006 on the Christian philosopher Romano Amerio, Divo Barsotti left just this bequest:

"I see the Church's progress beginning from here, from the return of holy Truth as the basis of every action. The peace promised by Christ, freedom, love are the goals that every man must attain, but he may reach them only after constructing the foundation of truth and the pillars of faith."


And his disciple Paolo Giannoni reopens the dispute "Florence against Rome".

The rediscovery of Fr. Divo Barsotti – with the opening of the cause for his beatification not far off – also brings to the center of attention the situation of the Church of Florence to which he belonged, a situation analyzed by an article from www.chiesa on June 25, 2007:
>Florence Against Rome: A Catholicism in a State of Unease

A reply has come to the analysis proposed in that article – mainly by professor Pietro De Marco, also from Florence – from another prominent exponent of Florentine Catholicism: Fr. Paolo Giannoni, 72, for almost half a century a teacher at the Theological Faculty of Florence and Central Italy, today a Camaldolese Benedictine monk and hermit at the Church of Sant'Andrea in Mosciano.

The reply from Fr. Giannoni – which is very extensive and well elaborated, with acute criticism of the doctrinal "refocusing" and the revival of the sense of Christian identity as promoted by the two most recent popes – is presented in its entirety, in Italian, on this other page of www.chiesa:
> Identità cristiana o progetto di potere? Una riflessione sulla Chiesa di Wojtyla e Ratzinger
Giannoni cites Barsotti twice in his 6300-word reply.

The first time, he recalls that like other representatives of the Florentine Church, Barsotti, too, was sometimes misunderstood and opposed by the ecclesiastical hierarchy:

"The current 'canonization' of Fr. Barsotti cannot ignore the suffering he endured on account of the opposition against his books during the 1950's, while he was living out and bringing a unique richness to the theological and spiritual life of Europe at that time."

In effect, in 1960 the Vatican congregation of the Holy Office censored his book Commento all'Esodo [A Commentary on Exodus], which was published in France with an imprimatur, but was banned in Italy. Barsotti was called to Rome and required to issue a retraction. The book was in the clear after Vatican Council II, and is now in its sixth edition in Italy, under the title Meditazioni sull'Esodo [Meditations on Exodus]."

The second time he cites Barsotti, Giannoni writes:

"Fr. Barsotti's voice was problematic but precious, even if by this time he had taken a stance of hardline criticism toward contemporary culture. Unfortunately he established a self-sufficiency that was certainly always fruitful but was closed off and bitter in a soul that otherwise held things of the most tender sweetness; and this is said with grateful love toward a father in the Spirit."

These words contain both criticism and admiration. Although he can be numbered among the sophisticated progressive Catholics, Fr. Giannoni recognizes that he, too, was a spiritual son of Barsotti.

And in effect, the edition currently available in Italy of Barsotti's masterpiece, The Christian Mystery in the Liturgical Year, opens with a preface by Fr. Giannoni, from his hermitage in Mosciano.

On the website of the Communion and Liberation meeting in Rimini, the page dedicated to the exhibit on Divo Barsotti:
> "Divo Barsotti. A 20th-century’s mystical man"

The earlier articles about Barsotti from www.chiesa:

> The End of a Taboo: Even Romano Amerio Is "A True Christian" (6.2.2006)

> A Philosopher, a Mystic, and a Theologian Sound an Alarm for the Church (7.2.2005)

8/29/2007 1:01 PM
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A translation of the Holy Father's catecheses and principal messages today has been posted in AUDIENCE AND ANGELUS TEXTS. Here is a translation of various brief news agency items reported by PETRUS shortly after the audience:

Too many faithful
and too much sun:
The Pope back in the Piazza
wearing the 'galero'

Left, arriving for the GA; right, leaving the GA (without the galero).

VATICAN CITY - Benedict XVI today resumed holding the General Audience in St. Peter's Square instead of Aula Paolo VI to accommodate some 12,000 faithful, twice the capacity of the indoor auditorium used in the summer months to escape from the outdoor heat.

Most represented in today's audience were Germans, Spaniards, Polish, Greeks, as well as Turks and a delegation from El Salvador.

As the Pope went through the crowd in the Popemobile before the audience began, he wore a red straw galero, the wide-brimmed papal hat, against the sun. He arrived in the Vatican earlier by helicopter from Castel Gandolfo.

He devoted the catechesis today to St. Gregory of Nyssa, brother of St. Basil and friend like him of St. Gregory Nazianzene - the two Father of the Church to whom the Pope had dedicated his four previous catecheses (two each for each one).

The Pope said St. Gregory of Nyssa's teachings invited man "to recognize in himself the reflection of divine light."

"Man's ultimate purpose is the contemplation of God," he said. "Only thus can he find his satisfaction. To anticipate this goal in some measure during life, he should progress incessantly towards a spiritual life that is increasingly more perfect."

He said "the most important lesson St. Gregory of Nyssa left us is that 'man finds his full realization in sainthood."

he called him 'the father of mysticism', one who was "gifted with a meditative character, with a great capacity for reflection, and a lively intelligence which was open to the culture of this time."

After the death of St. Basil, the Pope said, St. Gregory of Nyssa virtually "took up his spiritual legacy and cooperated in the triumph of (Catholic) orthodoxy."

St. Gregory "recognized in himself the reflection of divine light." Speaking beyond his prepared text, the Pope added, "By purifying his heart, he returned to being - as man was before - a limpid image of God, exemplary beauty. Thus man can see God, as do the pure of heart, only by washing out the terrible things deposited in our hearts, can one find the light of God."

At the end of the general audience, the Pope extended a special greeting to a delegation from San Marino "who have gathered here today for the 25th anniversary of the visit made by my beloved predecessor John Paul II to that country."

"Dear friends," the Pope said to the 24-man delegation, "may the memory of that significant event inspire you to a renewed adherence to God, fountain of light, hope and peace."

The delegation was accompanied by the Bishop of San Marino-Montefeltro, Mons. Luigi Negri.

Finally, Benedict XVI invited the faithful to pray for the victims of the floods in Asia as well as the disastrous summer fires in Greece and other parts of Europe.

"In these days," he said, "some geographic regions are devastated by great calamities. I refer to the floods in some Asian countries, as well as the disastrous fires in Greece, Italy and other European nations."

To the appreciative applause of the audience, he said, "Before such tragic emergencies which have created so many victims and enormous material damage. we cannot be unconcerned about the irresponsible behavior of those who place the safety of persons at risk and destroy the ecological patrimony which is a precious asset for all of humanity."

He concluded, "I join those who rightly condemn such criminal actions and I invite everyone to pray for the victims of these tragedies."

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/29/2007 9:35 PM]
8/29/2007 11:02 PM
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Here is a news update translated from PETRUS today about the Holy Father's pastoral visit to Naples on October 21, a Sunday:

Pope Benedict VXI will meet other religious leaders, including Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I and Metropolitan Kirill from the patriarchate of Moscow, when he goes to Naples on October 21.

Cardinal Sepe with the Pope in a recent visit.

Cardinal Cresencio Sepe, Archbishop of Naples, confirmed this today in an interview with Vatican Radio.

The Pope's pastoral visit to southern Italy's largest city coincides with the annual Inter-Religious Prayer Meeting for Peace sponsored by the Sant'Egidio community in a different city every year. It begins on Sunday, October 21, and will go on for two more days.

The meeting is patterned after the first Assisi inter-religious prayer meeting in 1987, but without the participation of the Pope. (Pope John Paul, whose original idea it was, took part in 1987 and 2000, which was also held in Assisi.]

Cardinal Sepe said the Pope would meet with the leaders of Christian churches and other religions after the Mass at the city's Piazza del Plebiscito.

"The Holy Father will arrive in Naples around 9:30 a.m., and after being greeted at the port by civil and religious authorities, he will proceed directly to the Piazza for the 10 o'clock Mass, which will be concelebrated with the cardinals and bishops of the region as well as visiting prelates. After the Mass, the pope will also lead the recital of the Angelus. He will then proceed to the Major Seminary at Capodimonte for a meeting and lunch with the heads of all the delegations to the Inter-Religious Meeting," Sepe said.

Other ranking Christian leaders expected, according to the Cardinal, are the Archbishop of Cyprus, the Patriarch of the Armenian Church and other ranking Orthodox Patriarchs.

After a brief rest, the Pope will venerate the remains of San Gennaro (St. Januarius), patron saint of Naples, at the Cathedral of Naples, then return to Rome at 5 p.m.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 9/1/2007 3:51 AM]
8/30/2007 2:50 AM
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I filed this item earlier in NEWS ABOUT THE CHURCH as a Reuters photo with a provocative caption story, but no accompanying Reuters news report. Subsequently, I came upon Andrea Tornielli's story in Il Giornale which substantiates the Reuters caption story but the sense if the entire interview makes this the more appropriate place.

Reuters - Wed Aug 29. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Alexiy II leads a service at Tatiana Day
in Moscow January 25, 2007. Alexiy II told an Italian paper that a first meeting with Pope Benedict would only make
sense if the Vatican gave up any missionary ambition to spread Catholicism in his country. (A.Natruskin/Reuters)

Vatican correspondent Andrea Tornielli of Il Giornale was in Moscow recently and Alexei II repeated the same sentiments in an interview, although he talked about other things, as well. Here is a translation:

Interview with Alexei II
By Andrea Tornielli

Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio that liberalizes the use of the traditional Mass rite is "a fact we greet positively', says Alexei II, Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias.

The spiritual leader of the largest and most powerful church in the Orthodox world just finished celebrating the solemn liturgy for the feast of Mary's Dormition [Assumption in the Catholic world] in the
Cathedral of the same name inside the Kremlin, the city's oldest cathedral which the Communist regime had made a museum but did not tear down.

It was a very evocative liturgy, with much stupendous chanting. Seated in the first row were the four bishops of the Friuli region (northwastern Italy), who had come to invite the patriarch to Aquileia.

The Patriarch earlier received them fraternally, gave each one a pectoral cross, and received a reproduction on an Aquileia fresco and a relic of St. Justus, martyr.

He then agreed to answer some questions from Il Giornale. He expressed appreciation for the restoration of the traditional Mass and confirmed that, despite criticism of the Motu Proprio from certain progressivist circles, Benedict XVI's decision was something that promotes ecumenism with the Oriental churches.

The Pope published a document which restores the possibilities for using the old Roman missal for the eucharistic celebration. How do you judge that decision?

The recovery and appreciation of the ancient liturgical tradition is a fact that we greet positively.

We set great store by tradition. Without faithful custody of liturgical tradition, the Russian Orthodox Church would never have been able to resist during the epoch of persecutions in the 1920s and 1930s. At that time, we had so many new martyrs, in numbers matching those of the early Christian martyrs.

Holiness, how do you judge relationships between Rome and Moscow at this time?

I think Pope Benedict XVI has said many times that he is committed to favoring dialog and collaboration with the Orthodox churches. That is positive. [This takes the prize for the least enthusiastic statement ever made on this issue!]

For years, there has been talk about a possible encounter between you and the Pope. Do you think it is possible? And when?

A meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch of Moscow should be very well prepared and should absolutely not be reduced to a photo opportunity and appearing together on television. It should be a meeting that truly serves to consolidate relationships between the two Churches.

You make it sound like a remote hypothesis. Why?

Because unfortunately, today, some bishops and Catholic missionaries still consider Russia as a mission land. But Russia, Holy Russia, is already illuminated by a faith that has lasted several centuries, which thank God, has been conserved and transmitted through the Orthodox Church. It is not mission territory for the Catholic Church.

This is the first point that must be clarified and cleared before any meeting with the Pope. The other problem is Uniatism.

And why are the Uniates - who maintain the Eastern rite and tradition but have entered into full Communion with Rome - a problem?
Uniatism concerns us deeply, because we see this tendency even in regions where it was never present, for example, in eastern Ukraine, in Byelorussia, in Kazakhstan, and even in Russia itself.

When these problems are faced and resolved, then the meeting between the Pope and the patriarch of Moscow can take place. Only then can it have some genuine significance.

Il Giornale, 29 agosto 2007


In other words, forget or ignore any optimistic reports or speculation about such a meeting! Alexei will always have his pet obsessions - proselytism and Uniatism - to trot out as a pretext. Every time he talks about these two issues, he presents them in a worse light than before.

One had thought the question of proselytism had been resolved. He first raised this in the time of John Paul II because the Orthodox resented all the Polish missionaries sent to Russia [it's the age-old Pole-Russian enmity]. The Polish priests and John Paul have gone, and now he's citing 'bishops and Catholic missionaries'. But what exactly does he mean by proselytism? He can always claim that the simplest homily by a Catholic priest or a catechism lesson for Catholics is 'proselytizing'. What are Catholics supposed to do? Not preach the Catholic faith because they happen to be in Russia?

As for Uniatism, he's now claiming that the 'threat' has spread to other nations of the former Soviet Union, not just the Ukraine. He fails to mention that his Patriarchate's problem with the Ukrainian Uniates is that the Ukrainian government has allowed them to keep their traditional Church properties, and Moscow claims those properties belong to the Orthodox Church. It's a bitter pill enough for Moscow that the Uniates have chosen to enter full communion with Rome, but for them to 'take away' Church property as well is adding insult to injury!

Alexei, of course, has other 'points of pride' to dispute. One being the status of Bartholomew I in the Orthodox world as 'first among equals'. Alexei does not think that is right because Bartholomew's little flock in Constantinople is literally a token compared to the huge Russian Orthodox membership.

And more importantly, the primacy of Peter, howsoever the Orthodox will eventually agree to define it. If the Roman Church is ready to maintain it among other Christian churches as a primacy of honor, why does the Orthodox establishment fear the Pope would interfere in their episcopal jurisdictions and functions?

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/30/2007 2:55 AM]
8/30/2007 2:58 PM
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From Il Foglio today, thanks to Lella's blog, the following information - I don't have time to translate the full article, but most of it is fluff, anyway.

Pope Benedict XVI will consecrate new bishops for the first time as Pope on September 29 when, in addition to consecrating his second personal secretary, Mons. Miecyslaw (Mietek) Mokryczky, as Coadjutor Archbishop of Lviv (Ukraine), he may also consecrate four other new bishops, all Italians.

Benedict had failed to follow John Paul II's annual consecration of bishops on the Feast of the Epiphany, because as in the case of beatifications, he prefers that these take place in the diocese itself of the new bishop of the new blessed.

Correspondent Paolo Rodari of Il Riformista first broke the news about Mietek's consecration by the Pope at St. Peter's Basilica shortly after the nomination as announced last month.

It is now speculated that four other new bishops will be consecrated with him: Barnabite Mons. Sergio Pagano, Prefect of the Secret Vatican Archives, whom the Pope named a bishop earlier this month; Mons. Tommaso Caputo, recently named Apostolic Nuncio to Malta and LIbya, who was chief of protocol at the Secretariat of State; Mons. Francesco Giovanni Brugnaro, former Holy See observer to the International Tourism Council of the UN, expected to be named Bishop of Camerino replacing the current bishop who has been ill for some time; and Mons. Gianfranco Ravasi, prefect of the Ambrosian Library, whom the Pope reportedly will name President of the Pontifical Council for Culture to succeed the retiring Cardinal Paul Poupard.

Speculation about the nomination of Ravasi, a renowned Biblical scholar and a multimedia personality in Italy, is divided, as he has as many admirers as critics. He was previously considered to be named Bishop of Naples (Cardinal Sepe was named instead) and then Assisi (Mons. Sorrentino was named). But both times, he was turned down by the Curia - despite support from Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Congregation for Bishops, and by Cardinal Camillo Ruini - because in a March 2002 article for the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, he had written that Christ "did not resurrect; he was raised from the dead"['Cristo non e risorto; si e innalzato' - there may be a more precise translation to English, because the distinction appears subtle - was the Resurrection an active or a passive event, on the part of Christ himself?],an article some theologians claimed raised questions about the historicity of the resurrection.

This year, however, Pope Benedict XVI chose Mons. Ravasi to write the Good Friday Meditation and Prayers for the Via Crucis at the Colosseum.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/30/2007 2:59 PM]
8/30/2007 4:27 PM
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I posted this earlier in POPE-POURRI as a follow-up to a small announcement from the Vatican about the release of the Spanish edition of JESUS OF NAARETH in Spain on Monday.

P.S. Thanks to a reader of Lella's blog, here's part of an item about the Pope in the Spanish newspaper El Pais today, translated here.

The general audience yesterday coincided with the great success of the Pope's book JESUS DE NAZARET, whose Spanish edition sold out within hours of going on sale Monday.

I was going to ask why the Spanish publishers only decided to print 50,000 copies for a book that has sold about half a million copies at least in both Italy and Germany!

Now, Vatican Radio has this interview with former Vatican press director Joaquin Navarro-Valls, a Spaniard, translated here:


JESUS OF NAZARETH is a work which fits within Benedict XVI's ministry of intelligence, according to Joaquin Navarro-Valls who spoke to Vatican Radio after the release of the Spanish edition in Spain, published by La Esfera de Los Libros.

NAVARRO-VALLS: I must say, in all sincerity, that this initial success of the book in Spain, which will certainly be a long-term phenomenon as well, does not surprise me in the least. Int he months since the book came out in Italy, so many people wrote requesting me to buy them a copy of the Italian edition, since it had not come out in Spain. So there was already an audience waiting to read it.

The book confirms what the Holy Father has said from the start of his Pontificate - the primacy of the Word of God, this personal encounter with Christ - as we read in Deus caritas est - and it is this encounter that the Pope writes about in his book...

Of course, the whole theme is very rich. And it is necessarily a personal vision. To me, the center, the fulcrum, of this Pontificate is that which I have called 'the ministry of intelligence'.

At a time when there is great confusion at all levels about ideas, the Pope is conducting an amazing ministry of intelligence, with an extraordinary conceptual richness, and the people are very responsive to this. They are taking notice of the value of the Word which the Pope is offering to mankind.

This book was written in this context. Of course, there are many beautiful pages, and some that are very ascetic. It is as if he is saying: For Catholics, it is not enough to accept the divinity of Jesus but they also have to think about what the historical Jesus means.

The Pope has been going to the heart of the faith, to the apostolic tradition, and all the way to Jesus himself....

There is a need for a clarificatory effort, a rational effort - the Pope uses this in the book again. This Pontificate is also about the rationality of faith, something already implicit in the enormous body of written work by Cardinal Ratzinger, which he is, of course, reaffirming in his Pontificate.

This type of message is very relevant today. It is like a great catechesis at a high level, which the people understand, which they follow, which they feel they understand. And this book confirms what we are saying. I think that is what the readers appreciate about it.

8/30/2007 6:13 PM
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A few more details about the Naples visit today from the Naples newspaper Il Mattino) which also published a locational diagram of the Pope's 8-hour stay in Naples:

Pope will pay homage
to Naples's patron saint


Benedict XVI will say private prayers at the Chapel of the Treasury of San Gennaro in the Cathedral of Naples in the last event of his 8-hour visit to Naples on October 21.

In 1990, on a similar pastoral visit to Naples, John XXII also paid a similar private homage to the patron saint of Naples. And it is expected that, as with his predecessor, the vials containing the saint's miraculous blood will certainly be shown to Benedict.

When the Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus visited Naples earlier this year, the blood - which normally 'liquefies' twice a year on the saint's feast days - reportedly liquefied.

[About the miracle of San Gennaro's blood, read stories, with pictures, posted in REFLECTIONS ON OUR FAITH... a few months back.]

[The story reiterates the program described by Cardinal Sepe yesterday, then adds more information about who will be at the noonday meeting and lunch with the Pope at the Major Seminary of Naples:

Some 200,000 people are expected to be at the Papal Mass to be concelebrated at the Piazza del Plebiscito at mid-morning.

At least three foreign heads of state will be present, as participants in the Sant'Egidio-sponsored annual Inter-Religious Meeting for Peace: Rafael Correa Delgado, president of Ecuador; Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, president of Tanzania, and Michaëlle Jean, the Canadian governor-general; along with Italian president Giorgio Napolitano, who is a Neapolitan.

Cardinal Cresencio Sepe, archbishop of Naples, was asked 'which Naples' would the Pope see?

He said: "I will present to His Holiness Naples as it is and as we life it daily, made of so many beautiful things, such potential and a marvelo0us will to improve, but also the Naples of the problems that are evident to all."

Sepe calls on his flock that "Today, there is a categorical imperative for everyone and for the Church to renew oneself to assure a better quality of life."

He recalls the words of John Paul II to Naples 17 years ago: "The true danger for Naples is resignation, pessimism, closing your eyes and just letting things go on as they are. We should adopt Papa Wojtyla's words as our own: 'Let us rebuild our hopes.'"

Three hundred leaders of various confessions (Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist) will be taking part in Sant'Egidio's three-day inter-religious meeting, which marks its 21st year and has been held in different cities around the world every year.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I will be conferred an honorary degree by the Oriental University of Naples and will be visiting nearby Amalfi to pray at the tomb of St. Andrew, patron saint of the Orthodox Church.

Metropolitan Kyrill of the Patriarchate of Moscow will be assigned a church where he can celebrate the Russian Orthodox rite for his flock.

Two more leading personalities added to the list of visiting religious eladers are the Grand Mufti of Lebanon, Raschid Kobbani, and the chief Ashknezai rabbi of Israel, Yona Metzger.

Il Mattino, 30 agosto 2007

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 9/1/2007 3:52 AM]
8/31/2007 9:46 PM
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What the.....???

Schwarzenegger more trustworthy than the pope, Austrians say

Aug 31, 2007, 15:27 GMT

Vienna - Austrian-born California 'Gubernator' Arnold Schwarzenegger inspires more trust among Austrians than Pope Benedict XVI, a survey presented on Friday said.

Five hundred Austrians were interviewed about whether they 'trusted, distrusted or did not know' international personalities and the answers were combined to generate a 'trust index.'

The pope's index on the trust study compiled by the Austrian press agency and the polling institute OGM was 33, Schwarzenegger's 34. Both were beaten hands down by the Dalai Lama, who leads the ranking with an index of 49, followed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel (35).

The Tibetan spiritual leader's position comes as no surprise to OGM head Wolfgang Bachmayer, who said: 'The Dalai Lama is regarded as a cheerful promoter of peace.'

Schwarzenegger, Austria's only world-famous celebrity, inspires less criticism than the head of the Catholic Church, Bachmayer said.

Still barely in the positive range were Microsoft founder Bill Gates (14) and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (11). European Comission President Jose Manuel Barroso inspires more distrust than trust (-7).

The negative end of the scale is shared by two other world leaders: Russian President Vladimir Putin (-60) and his counterpart in the United States George W Bush (-78).


The same German press agency, DPA, also published 2-3 months ago a poll done in Germany which showed that Germans marginally trusted both the Dalai Lama and Buddhism more than they do the Pope and Catholicism, respectively. This new poll published by them matches the one I posted last night on the APOSTOLIC VOYAGE TO AUSTRIA thread, as follows:

Apparently, all the publicity campaign by the organizing committee for the papal visit has not done much, if we are to go with this survey:

Low poll numbers
for Pope's visit

The Austrian magazine News published results of a survey by Market research institute that shows only 3% of Austrians polled expressed a desire to see the Pope personally, 39% intended to watch the visit on TV and 43% prefer to read about it.

It also said only 27% of those polled considered Benedict's Pontificate 'good' or 'very good', compared to 64% for John Paul II.

The sample size was not specified.

It's a dismal state of affairs, but we can be the Holy Father himself is acutely aware of this, and will do what he can as only he can, to strengthen the faith of those who are still in the Church and with it. In the process, let us pray he can do something to counteract this widespread 'renunciation' of Catholicism in Austria, once the most Catholic of countries.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 8/31/2007 10:07 PM]
9/1/2007 12:43 AM
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Years ago, I heard that Austria lost 50,000 Catholics a year. Part was due to the clerical sexual abuse scandal there. Remember Cardinal Groer? There was also a Bishop Kurt Krenn, former rector of the Sankt Polten Seminary where they found 40,000 images of child pornography. All that has taken a toll. Joseph Ratzinger had to fight hard to keep Krenn from being named a cardinal. Back in the day, Krenn was a good friend of Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz.
9/1/2007 1:50 PM
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Very sad
I find it very disturbing and sad that people would leave the Church because of one paedophile priest. It's a very slim "excuse" for leaving and I think these people cannot have had a deep faith in the first place.

It is not by any means only Catholic priests who download images of children, who abuse children. There are millions of other men, many of them well-known television personalities [those are the ones we hear about, of course] and pop "stars" who are caught with computers full of child pornography images. And there are also ministers of protestant denominations - Anglicans etc - but WHY is such a fuss made about the Catholic priests? Just another way of getting a dig at the Catholic Church!

Mary x [SM=g27826]

9/1/2007 8:54 PM
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Mother Teresa Felt "God's Silence" Says Pope

Published: September 1, 2007
Filed at 2:31 p.m. ET

LORETO, Italy (Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Saturday that even the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta "suffered from the silence of God" despite her immense charity and faith.

The Pope, addressing a youth rally in central Italy, referred to a new book that reveals that the Roman Catholic nun was deeply tormented about her faith and suffered periods of doubt about God.

It is significant that the Pope mentioned Mother Teresa's torment about God's silence as not being unusual because there was some speculation that the letters could hurt the procedure to make her a saint.

"All believers know about the silence of God," he said in unprepared remarks. "Even Mother Teresa, with all her charity and force of faith, suffered from the silence of God," he said.

He said believers sometimes had to withstand the silence of God in order to understand the situation of people who do not believe.

Due out on September 4, the book, "Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light" is a collection of letters written to colleagues and superiors over 66 years.

The ethnic Albanian nun, who dedicated her life to poor, sick and dying in India, died in 1997 aged 87.

Mother Teresa had wanted all her letters destroyed, but the Vatican ordered they be preserved as potential relics of a saint, according to a spokeswoman for Doubleday, the U.S. publisher of the book.

Mother Teresa has been beatified but has not yet been made a saint.

Time magazine, which has first serial rights, published excerpts on its Web site last month.

When the German-born pontiff visited the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz last year, he publicly asked why God was silent when 1.5 million victims, mostly Jews, died there.

9/2/2007 2:21 AM
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Cardinal Schönborn: “The Pope’s message to us will be captivating”

Vienna, Aug 31, 2007 / 03:42 pm (CNA).- Commenting on the upcoming visit to Austria by Pope Benedict XVI, the archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn said he expected to hear strong and forceful statements from the Pontiff about the reality of Europe and Austria’s responsibility in the region.

“What he has to tell us will be captivating. They won’t be empty words about unimportant matters,” the cardinal told the magazine News. He said that at Hofburg in Vienna, the Pope would surely remind the country of “its place and responsibility in Europe.”

He noted that as a cardinal, Pope Benedict “was never afraid to be precise and sharp in his diagnosis, in the same way as a doctor.” The Pope is not “bombastic” in his manner of speaking, he went on, but rather he speaks “with clear precision and with the dedication of a doctor who really wants to help and point out the path to a cure.”

Cardinal Schönborn pointed out that the Holy Father has the “uncommon gift of being able to speak with both the emotions and with reason,” expressing the “rational together with the existential dimension of life enlightened by the faith.” “This has always been the fascination of Pope Ratzinger, who captivated hundreds of students who attended his classes at Tübingen and Ratisbona.”

The young Joseph Ratzinger, he continued, was considered one of the bright young lights of Vatican II. He always defended the ecumenical nature of the council, but even by 1964, before it was concluded, he was warning about the dangers of misinterpreting the council.
Thus, he explained, in the post-conciliar controversy, Ratzinger always recalled that the Council was not meant to be a break with the past but rather a “renewal in continuity.” Cardinal Schönborn said the Pope’s reputation as “an inquisitor” was due to his 24 years as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith, during which he was responsible for rejecting any deviation from the Church teaching.

The cardinal said the Pope’s discourse in Ratisbona, the recent CDF document on the Church and salvation, and the permission to celebrate the Mass according to the 1962 missal, show that the Holy Father is unafraid. “He says things as he sees them and he wants to inspire reflection,” the cardinal said, adding that the Pope has been the one responsible for generating a new discussion about the liturgy.

Cardinal Schönborn also said he hoped the Pope’s visit would encourage people to express their faith in public, as there is a tendency to treat religion as a private affair in Austria. He also warned that those who are expecting the visit to lead to changes in the fundamental structure of the Church are misguided. “The fundamental structure of the Church, which Christ himself established, was clearly fixed and determined from the end of the first century and has remained thus throughout the centuries, and it is non-negotiable.”
9/3/2007 1:24 AM
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Andrea Tornielli of Il Giornale has gone out on a limb today to predict it for tomorrow, so chances are he is on to a sure thing. He predicts two nominations to be announced by the Vatican tomorrow. I am summarizing his two articles here instead of doing a full trnaslation:

Two important nominations from the Pope tomorrow.

One has been bruited about for the past few weeks - Biblical scholar Gianfranco Ravasi, currently prefect of the Ambrosian Library in Milan, to be named President of the Pontifical Council for Culture to succeed retiring Cardinal Paul Poupard.

Ravasi will reportedly be one of five prelates to be consecrated as bishops by Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter's Basilica on September 29, a first in his Pontificate, along with Mons. Mietek Mocryczky, who will be consecrated Archbishop Coadjutor of Lviv of the Latins (Ukraine).

The other has been long speculated and now there's even a replacement - the master of papal liturgical ceremonies Archbishop Marini will be replaced by another Marini, Archbishop Guido Marini, 46, who is currently ceremonial master for Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco in Genoa, as has been secretary to Cardinals Canestri, Tettamanzi and Bertone.

The older Marini will be appointed President of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, to succeed retiring Cardinal Jozef Tomko. He reportedly declined taking charge of an Italian diocese, preferring to remain in Rome as part of the Curia, where he has always worked, having started as an assistant to Cardinal Annibale Bugnini, architect of the liturgical reforms put into force by Pope Paul VI.



For anyone who does not follow the Forum regularly, all news about the Pope's pilgrimage to Loreto September 1-2 is in the thread PAPAL VISITS IN ITALY.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 9/4/2007 1:47 AM]
9/4/2007 1:56 AM
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In the absence of any Benedict items today that are not related to the Loreto visit,
here for the record are the Papal activities described in Vatican bulletins today:

The Holy Father today received bishops of Laos and Cambodia on ad limina visit.

A number of nominations were announced:
- The Holy Father accepted the resignation of Cardinal Paul Poupard, having reached the age limit,
as President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and named Mons. Gianfranco Ravasi,
prefect of the Ambrosian Library, to succeed him. Ravasi was also named President of the
Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Assets of the Church and Sacred Archeology
, and
has been assiged the titular Seat of Villamagna with the rank of Archbishop.

- The Holy Father also accepted the resignation of Mons. Franco Croci, having reached the age limit,
as Secretary of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and named Mons. Vincenzo Di Mauro,
who has been in the Admninistration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, elevating him to bishop, with
titular seat in Arpi.

- Mons. Tommaso Caputo, until now chief of protocol at the Secretariat of State, as Apostolic Nuncio
to Malta and Libya.

- Mons. Edward Joseph Adams, until now Apostolic Nuncio to Zimbabwe, as Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines.

Not among the nominations is the new appointment for Archishop Piero Marini, predicted yesterday by
journalist Andrea Tornielli.

The Pope sent a message of condolence today to the family of Alessandro Benedetti, 26-year-old
trainee of the Gendarmerie (Police Force) of Vatican City, who shot himself in a bathroom of the police
barracks. He was rushed to the hospital but he died one and a half hours later. (Full story in ODDS AND ENDS).


Episcopal Ordinations
Set for This Month

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 4, 2007 ( Benedict XVI will perform his first episcopal ordinations as Pontiff, ordaining later this month a former assistant private secretary of Pope John Paul II and other members of the Roman Curia.

According to reports today in the Italian Catholic daily Avvenire, the Pope will ordain Polish Monsignor Mieczyslaw Mokrzycki, recently appointed as the Latin-rite coadjutor bishop of Lviv, Ukraine. The ordination will take place Sept. 29, feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Rafael.

Monsignor Mokrzycki, 46, served from 1996 to 2005 as assistant private secretary to John Paul II, and was present at the Pontiff's death. The secretary returned to his post after the election of Benedict XVI.

Also to be ordained by Benedict XVI will be Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi, recently appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Culture and president of the Pontifical Commissions for the Cultural Heritage of the Church and Sacred Archaeology.

Others to be ordained include Monsignor Vincenzo Di Mauro, new secretary of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See; Monsignor Francesco Giovanni Brugnaro, appointed archbishop of Camerino-San Severino Marche; Monsignor Tommaso Caputo, appointed apostolic nuncio to Malta and Libya; and Father Sergio Pagano, prefect of the Vatican Secret Archives.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 9/6/2007 9:34 AM]
9/4/2007 7:03 PM
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Rabbi praises Pope Benedict for his clear teaching

New York, Sep 4, 2007 / 09:33 am (CNA).- A rabbi from Monsey, New York, has lauded Pope Benedict XVI for reinstating the Latin Mass and affirming that only Catholic Church qualifies as the one, true Church.

In an article titled The Pope’s Got A Point and published in the July 18 issue of The Jewish Press, Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz says he is “not at all put off by the fact that the leader of another religion sees that religion as primary.”

“I’ve always found it curious that people of different religions get together in a spirit of harmony to share their common faiths,” he writes. “By definition, these people should have strong opposition to the beliefs of their ‘colleagues’ at the table. The mode of prayer of one group should be an affront to the other group.

“What the pope is saying – and I agree 100 percent – is that there are irreconcilable differences, and we can’t pretend those differences don’t exist,” he states. “I can respect the pope for making an unambiguous statement of what he believes.”

While all people, created in God’s image, and their beliefs are worthy of respect, “we don’t need to play games of ‘I’m okay, you're okay’ with beliefs we find unacceptable,” he writes.

Rabbi Seplowitz notes that the original form of the Latin Mass included a prayer for the conversion of the Jews. When the Latin Mass was reinstated, the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations wrote to the Vatican, requesting that the conversion prayer not be reintroduced.

“I ask you, does this make sense? Where do we Jews get off making demands of Catholics that they only say prayers that meet with our approval?” he asks. “The audacity of Jews dictating to Christians how they should pray is simply mind-boggling.”

“Should we allow the Vatican to dictate what we say in our prayers? Or should we, perhaps, do a line-by-line analysis of the Talmud to make sure there is nothing there that people may find offensive?” he writes.

The rabbi says he is not suggesting Jewish leaders should not talk with Catholic leaders. “The pope needs to know, for example, that it is good to encourage his millions of followers to support Israel and that it is bad to hate Jews,” he writes.

But the dialogue need not be theological, he suggests. “There needs to be careful dialogue, but it needs to be a secular, common, needs-based dialogue. We should not be studying Talmud together and we should not be discussing prayer.”

9/4/2007 10:19 PM
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I love Rabbi Seplowitz. He's exactly right. And Pope Benedict actually said something close to this at Verona in 2006. That's when he called on, not only convinced Catholics, but also secularists and atheists (like Juergen Habermas and Marcello Pera) who can also support the renewal of the foundations of civilization.

Ecumenism has gotten very "fuzzy" and imprecise over the last twenty years and many of its proponents act as though belief or doctrine does not matter. The Rabbi was exactly on target.


The last point made by the Rabbi is just as important. I have never understood why even supposedly intelligent people - including theologians - always imply, if not say outright, that inter-religious dialog should also involve questions of theology. No!

By definition and of necessity, inter-religious dialog can only involve secular matters, because religions are different, and the purpose of inter-religious dialog is not to convert anyone from his faith - or to arrive at common religious practices - but to promote a practical modus vivendi in secular matters among practitioners of different faiths.

Where theology can be and is discUssed is in ecumenical dialog, i.E., inter-Christian, because the basic belief is the same among them - Jesus Christ as the Son of God. But God knows - no pun intended - when, if ever, such discussions will end. I think, so far, there have only been isolated agreements like about the role of Mary - agreed to with some, but not all, of the Christian daughter churches. And obviously, the Protestants are very touchy, to say the least, about the ecclesiology of Vatican-II as explained by the last CDF statement.

So, if among Christians, theology is already a tough (and to me, seemingly impossible) row to hoe, why are these liberals who are all for religious pluralism or syncretism even bandying 'inter-religious theological dicussion'?


P.S. What do you suppose the current ecumenical theological reunion going on in Sibiu, Rumania, will end up with? Yet another statement 'agreeing to discuss such-and-such at such-and-such a place"?

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 9/5/2007 3:29 AM]
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