Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A great new initiative on Pro Papa I

CONFITEOR: AM REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO YOUR FUTURE POSTS ON THE THEOLOGY OF SACRIFICE and in the following profession of intent have absolutely no wish to steal your thunder!!

As to Fr Kirby's article, listed in your seminal reading, when I first read it three months ago, it was profoundly influential on my understanding of the Sacred Heart Devotion (a favourite of mine for half a century) as it bears on Apostolic Action in Pope Benedict's theology. It is a connection which I had long wanted to see clarified in my own theological understanding, and contemplative and active Christian life. Encountering the article just when I did, and Fr Kirby's own especially Eucharistic ministry, came as an answer to two years of continual prayer for just such a clarification as to where God wants me to go, what he wants me to do, and how he wants me to do it. I had always intended to describe this personal experience in some detail on my own blog and will do so eventually. I am sure it will not conflict with your intentions for Pro Papa I.

I also intend to write more about Fr Kirby's new ministry in Tulsa, which through Bishop Slattery is an answer to a call from the Congregation for the Clergy, for priests who will devote themselves to fostering a return to, and increase in, Eucharistic Adoration. I very much suspect that it was the Holy Father himself who encouraged Cardinal Hummes to make this request. Together with the appeal to priests Cardinal Hummes, and as a result Bishop Slattery, called for generous lay women to come forward and offer themselves through prayer and penance as spiritual mothers of priests and deacons. There is no such initiative in England or France so far as I know and so for the time being I have made a private vow to answer this call interiorly. (To this vow I have added Seminarians and aspirants to the religious life and priesthood, my focus always being particularly on those priests etc. who for whatever reason have lost the spiritual support of their own natural mothers.) A second and equally important emphasis is on sick and wounded priests. I will explain all this in greater detail later on.

So whereas until three months ago, I was still searching and floundering, now my life is centred on, and completely full to overflowing with these two things: Prayer for our Beloved Holy Father, who of course comes into the second thing as well, that is, my vow of spiritual motherhood. In Papa's case since he is 16 years older than I am, it should more properly be called spiritual cousin or aunt or niecehood!

In Christo pro Papa,



Confiteor said...


I'm looking forward to writing posts on the theology of sacrifice as reflected in the writings of Pope Benedict XVI. The problem is how to get started. I have quite a bit of background reading to do (finishing up Fr. Mark's essay is priority #1), although I might lead off soon by confronting head-on Bishop Tissier de Mallerais' outrageous attack upon Pope Benedict in a 2006 interview with Stephen Heiner. In the course of that interview, His Lordship goes so far as to assert that Pope Benedict denies the doctrine of Christ's atonement for our sins.

Regarding spiritual motherhood for priests, are you familiar with the very similar mission of St. Therese Lisieux and her Carmelite sisters? I read a book once containing the collected correspondence of St. Therese and a young priest. Very profound and moving!

Jane said...


I'd be very interested in the Tissier and the purported proofs he brings. Where and when did he make this accusation? Where and when did Papa lay himself open to this charge? As Cardinal Ratzinger or as Pope?

Yes I have the book of collected correspondence between St Therese and the priest and read it before I retired. It is indeed profound and moving. Must fish it out and read it again.

Also on my shelves is a book of collected conferences given to a group of newly ordained priests when he was still a Cardinal. It might be 'God is with Us'. I'll have to check. But there may be something in there that would be useful to you.

Another very busy day ahead but will try and get back to you on this. In the meantime someone else may come up with recommended reading.

God bless,

In Christo Pro Papa,