Saturday, March 14, 2009

Petition in Support of Pope Benedict: Update, a crumb of comfort, together with an antidote to the way his recent letter is being interpreted.

In the early days of the petition signatures were coming in at around 1.000 a day. By the time Pope Benedict issued his recent letter to the universal episcopote, they had slowed to a steady average of about 100 a day. In the 24 hours AFTER the letter was made public, 731 signatures were added. I find it hard to believe that the two are unconnected.

I have said this several times before and I'll say it again now. I consider that one of the most important aspects of this petition is that those signing are asked to say how many children they have. These children are the future of the Catholic Church, and in signing the petition their parents are entrusting them to our Holy Father Benedict. In other words they place themselves AND their children under his care. When you add the daily figures of the children a truer picture emerges of how many souls are involeved here.

The current figures are:

Signatories: 51,629
Children: 95,540

Total souls: 147,169

At this rate the children's figure will be nudging 100,000 by the beginning of next week.

In a situation as serious as this, I have to plead with all Catholics who have not already done so, to read the Holy Father's letter for themselves, in full. The same goes for Fr. Lombardi's comment on the letter. (For both these texts see Vatican Radio website, easily accessed via the Vatican's You Tube link at bottom of bloglist on the sidebar here.)

I beg you NOT to be influenced by garbled slanted comment in the secular media; do not be satisfied with the incomplete, and I'm afraid rather misleading, summary of the Holy Father's letter given on the website of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales. It really isn't enough for a full understanding of what the Pope has said. Further, please do not, for the same reason, be satisfied with the Vatican's You Tube soundbyte video of the Lombardi interview. Here follows a summary of the impression you will get from the three sources I have mentioned, and in which I draw attention to what they have left out.

1)The Pope has apologised for himself in almost grovelling terms, and admitted that he and the Vatican made mistakes; fair enough, except that he most certainly does not grovel. From some quarters you would get the impression that he has said that the lifting of the excommunications was one of those mistakes. Such an implication is blatant misrepresentation. Further, you will have no idea of the Pope's pain and disappointment in the reaction of some Catholics, who he clearly says 'should have known better'.

2)You will understand that the Pope is keen on 'ecumenism' and 'unity'

3) You will think that he hasn't expressed a view that seeks to examine the implementation of Vatican II, and that he hasn't said clearly that we will ignore at our peril, the traditions of the Church that had developed during the 1,960 years that preceded it.

4) You will imagine, as is true, that he has lots of Jewish friends to whom he is deeply grateful for helping him to calm matters down, but that he has not acknowlegesd with gratitude, the comfort he has received through the prayers and support of his loyal faithful.

5) You will go away without any idea at all that the letter enshrines a wake-up call to Catholics to stop hating and tearing at each other within the Church, and that instead they should love.

6) You would think that he is only concerned about the personal hurt inflicted upon him, instead of being more deeply wounded and shaken by the demonstrated lack of respect for the Petrine Office and obedience to the teaching Magisterium of the Church.

We Catholics have arrived at a terrible state of affairs, if we allow our most Holy Father to suffer and be misinterpreted in these ways without raising a storm of public protest in his defence and support. And yes, apart from all his other gifts and attributes, he is most worthy to be addressed as 'Your Holiness'.


Father Mark said...

Dear Jane, Thank you for this very fine entry. You sum things up perfectly. When I preached today in our cathedral, quoting from the Holy Father's letter, the response was most gratifying and warm.

Jane said...

Father Mark:

Thank you. Deo gratisas for the warm respnse in the Cathedral.