Friday, January 30, 2009

SSPX latest & TAC: Benedict's 'Grand Plan'?

Just a few quick remarks. I shouldn't be surprised if His Holiness and Bp Fellay have already had preliminary consultations on points of concern about the interpretation and implementation of the Council Documents. I said as much somewhere else yesterday. Can't remember where, possibly on Fr Z. As Cardinal Ratzinger was know to be cautious, thorough and possessed of an almost superhuman memory . It would be against character for him to have gone this far with SSPX without being fairly certain of support from its Head. As for his not knowing about Bp. W's attitudes, that suggestions is ridiculous, (see my earlier post 'Trust his Holiness! Pt. 2)

I'm convinced now that Pope Benedict is revealing the next stages of his master plan for the Reform of the Reform. SP was the most important among the earlier ones. The Pope needs traditional priests of sound doctrine, theology and liturgical practice to help him take the plan forward. Membership of both SSPX and TAC are divided. IBP was formed from 5 priests who left it for whatever reason. Bp F sees that it must reunite with the HF or eventully sail into oblivion. Let us pray that TAC will take a leaf out of the good bishop's book.

Members of both SSPX and TAC will self select and some will be lost. Even if only half came home the influx will be huge and our dear Pope will have gained his increased fighting force. Not one, but two equivalents of the Society of Jesus at the first Counter-Reformation. One must also consider the large body of independent Anglo-Catholic clergy and laity in the Anglican Communion, many of whom will be encouraged to cross the Tiber if the TAC rumour proves true and is successful. Many of this group have beeen waiting since SP for a signal like this.

Please forgive any mistakes and typos. In a hurry.

In Christo pro Papa

Thursday, January 29, 2009

For Pope Benedict and the Anglo-Catholics: A Hymn for January 2009: 'Lord of our Life, and God of our Salvation'

Original German by M.A. Lowenstern (1644)
English by P. Pusey (1840)
Tune: 'Cloisters'
(Reached through link near top of side-bar)

NB. Verse 4. J Mossendew 2009 (Apologies to Pusey for other slight changes.)
Optional for Anglo-Catholics. I pray that today's rumour is true and they will soon come home and enjoy singing it with us in full gusto. It should be familiar from its inclusion in traditional Anglican hymnals e.g. 'Hymns Ancient and Modern' 1868).

1.Lord of our life, and God of our salvation,
Star of our night, and Hope of every nation,
Hear and receive Thy Church's supplication,
Lord God Almighty.

2. See round Thy Barque the hungry billows curling,.
See how her foes their banners are unfurling.
Lord, while their darts envenom'd they are hurling,
Thou canst preserve her.

3. Lord, Thou canst help when earthly armour faileth;
Lord, Thou canst save when sin itself assaileth;
Lord, o'er Thy Rock nor death nor hell prevaileth;
Grant it Thy peace, Lord.

4. Uphold your 'Rock', in Peter's shoes, withstanding,
Give him thy peace that passes understanding;
Health, strength and love, through years of great longstanding.
Shield our dear Pope, Lord.

5. Peace in our hearts, our evil thoughts assuaging,
Peace in Thy Church, where brothers are engaging,
Peace, as the world, its cruel wars is waging;
Calm the sea's raging.

6 Grant us Thy help till foes are backward driven;
Grant them Thy Truth, that they may be be-shriven;
Grant peace on earth, and after we have striven,
Home in Thy Heaven.

Altogether now......! Well you know what an optimist I am.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bishop Fellay silences Williamson: Let joy NOW be unconfined!

I will now go to bed happy. See Rorate Caeli.

Thank God and Our Lady for Pope BXVI and Bishop Fellay.

"Trust his Holiness!" Pt. 2: Some Positives

No damage last night but the weather alert remains in place for later today. If I suddenly stop, you will know why.

Follows, part of a letter I wrote last night to a beloved friend in Our Lord. I know my friend will not mind my sharing it with you all here. (Anything in brackets added during the re-type here.)

"Should anyone ask me now, to express what has happened about the lifting of the excommunications, as opposed to what I have felt over the past few days, I would say, 'Williamson thought he had dug the pit into which the Holy Father would fall. Instead Williamson has fallen into it himself.' I'm convinced it's true. Until the man came out on Swedish TV with these views, many Catholics would not have known who he is, never mind the wider public and media who are largely ignorant of the SSPX. Now, everyone knows who Richard Williamson is and what he thinks. Even though they don't understand the complications (or know the history) surrounding the situation of the SSPX, and even though, certainly, British society is largely atheist (or non-Christian, and its (secular) media largely motivated by less than noble aims, the outrage (it foments)will be genuine at core. There is a shred of morality left in my poor dear country. The Holy Father has in effect FLUSHED WILLIAMSON OUT. Much better from Pope Benedict's point of view that all should know now what the man is, rather than later, when he could really be an abominable (and continual PR liability, and an obstacle in the discussion which the Holy Father wants to promote (with the SSPX). Bp Fellay's interview with the Swiss newspaper, see Rorate C. is considered and sound. (i was impressed at its outset by his refusal to be led by the interviewer into the use of the word, 'condemn'.) The thing has the flavour of, 'Well now he's taken himself out of the way, we can get on.'

"Even for people who should know better, (including myself!)it is easy to forget that Benedict knows all the players. None of them, in living memory, prelate, dissident, 'integriste' alike, has ever had to deal with the phenomenon of a Pope who knows who and what they are. From all accounts, never did a man spend 24 years in a job he did not really want, bear the brunt of unjustified media vilification, and yet shoulder it all. And continued to do so after three attempts to resign it (partly because of his own poor health). And all out of obedience. Interesting, that three. Never did a man for all his gifts and brains, not understand why God was doing this to him, and yet unfailingly said 'Yes'. In humility, I think this is why he accepted the Papacy with happiness. He had never sought it, but the fact that God laid it upon him that April day, at last explained to him what his whole life had been about up to that point. (I think as I write this now, that This is possibly the reason why he speaks and behaves as Pope, with such confidence, determination and firmness, not to mention gentleness, humility and love.)

"During the conclave that elected him, he must have seen the possible, then probable moment approaching when Jesus might say to him, 'even in your old age I have formed you to carry the Cross until the end of your life, that the world may believe.' He says this to every Pope of course and each case is different. However, with Joseph Ratzinger, the difference is that so much was publicly exant about his spiritual and theological journey, for many years before it was thinkable that he may one day be Pope. In the story of Benedict's (whole life and vocation), Our Lord has given the West (an unmerited) glimpse as to how He forms a Pope. (May the world, and Catholics particularly, learn from that glimpse. May we accept and follow with joy the precious gift that He has given us in Pope Benedict XVI.)"

We cannot always understand, but we should trust him, just as he himself has trusted the Lord, these long years, and trusts Him even more now. The election to the Papacy, deepened even further, an already profound faith.

Trust his Holiness, in two senses of that expression.

In Christo pro Papa

"Trust His Holiness!" by a 'Benedictine' Mediaphobe: Pt.1

My devotion to Benedict XVI is unassailable; my admiration of him, both as Pope and as a man, is fervent. Why then for the last six days have I suffered the worst attack of mediaphobia that I can remember since his Pontificate began? Why did I allow it to threaten in the slightest, my trust is his wisdom? I do not believe it is paranoid to state that vast sections of the secular media are predisposed, to leap on anything which they see as having the potential to discredit him and the Church. There is an atmosphere of crafty malice made even more unpleasant by obdurate ignorance. This seems particularly bad in the UK where metropolitan atheism is the new orthodoxy. The media are not Benedict's only enemy but they are the most powerful and grasp with particular glee any criticism of him which comes from within the Church.

I give two quotes from a particularly biased bag of acid drops on 'Finding Dulcinea -Librarian of the Internet' of yesterday 10.59 am. Headline:'Pope's Reinstatement of Holocaust-Denying Bishop Sparks Outrage.

'Cardinal Walter Kasper (writer gives his title and job description)said the pope did not consult him about the reinstatement. "It was a decision of the pope", the Cardinal told the New York Times.'

'Catholic priest Hans Kung said that Benedict "does not see that he is alienating himself from the larger part of the Catholic Church and Christianity". According to Kung, "He doesn't see the real world. He only sees the Vatican world."

What a pair of charmers! I readily accept that Kasper's remarks may have been extrapolated to suit the bias, but I'm afraid Kung is Kung is Kung. Nowhere on two pages is there any reference to the L'Osservatore front page distancing of yesterday.

When the news began to break on Thursday through Friday, I was filled with dread at the possible outcome. Some commenter on another blog said, 'Jane, let it go!'
I retorted that I would let nothing go that had the potential to harm Benedict or his Pontificate. Had it not been for the Williamson factor I would have been unreservedly in favour of the lifting of the excommunications. I simply could not understand why Benedict would take the media risk of making the announcement against the backdrop of W.'s pernicious statements. Surely the Holy See would distance itself from them at the same time, or immediately following the announcement. (There was already much ignorance, among Catholics and non-Catholics as to exactly what the lifting of the excommunications constituted in regard to the position of the SSPX vis a vis the Church.) It was not accompanied or swiftly followed by a distancing. We now know that Benedict had a plan which he would not allow to be derailed by the recalcitrant and odious W.

This plan was deeply spiritual, full of desire to heal one of the Church's most painful wounds, full of pastoral love and a will to unity, in obedience to Christ. It is horrible to have to admit that it is far too spiritual, loving and healing, far too Christian for the media to even want to understand. It is however devastating to suspect the same of a Cardinal, and admit the same of a dissident priest.

We now see that the Holy Father had prayed and thought this through lengthily and carefully. He knew there would be flak and had decided to take it until after Vespers of Sunday. As for media reaction, if anyone in the Vatican knows ill-treatment and unfairness from that quarter, it's Joseph Ratzinger.

During the Vespers I began to perceive the plan and also, at the end, that the strain was beginning to tell, even in this great man of holy discipline, and especially at the liturgy. His near-omission and quick recovery of the invocation before the final blessing said it all. (I must look at it again but I'm sure he almost smiled at himself, as if to say, 'There you all are, I'm not made of steel!). I remarked to my husband that he looked as if he couldn't get out of there fast enough and to his red telephone. Judging from the Vatican's statement of yesterday, perhaps I was not too far from the truth.

I believe there is an excellent chance of the 'larger part of the Catholic Church and Christianity', coming to understand what Benedict has just done. I think we should start a campaign for a million Rosaries for that intention. It should be announced on all our blogs and Facebook pages, to begin now, with a deadline of Easter morning. We said our first last night.

But you know, there are already other positives to be noted. I will put themt in my next post. The break will give you all time to stop chewing the carpet over Kasper and Kung!

btw, Prima asked why Kasper was still talking. Possibly his stint ends with the Week of prayer for Unity, and it was felt that this was something he should deal with, rather than a new man just finding his feet.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another orange weather alert for St. Romain.

Thanks for all the comments so far on the Williamson 'affair'. I hope to respond here, later in the evening. If I don't it will be because of another violent storm which the meteo has just predicts for us.
Please pray for us. There were 9 dead in the region during the last alert. In St. Romain we were preserved, but a couple of shed roofs were blown away.

Cardinal Kasper: Rome, Agence France Presse: Pope/Israel: 'Trip conditional on Gaza, not on a holocaust-denying bishop.'

HE's actual words appear between single inverted commas in this translation.

"The lifting of the excommunication from a holocaust-denying (actual word used-'negationiste') bishop does not have bearing on the projected visit of the Pope to Israel, which on the other hand is complicated by the events in Gaza, according to a high Vatican prelate quoted Monday in la Repubblica.

Cardinal Kasper, who is responsible for Vaticanthe relations with Judaisme, estimated that 'the Pope's trip does not depend' on the shadow cast over the relations between judaisme and the Vatican by the lifting of excommunication of four bishops, of whom one denies the existence of the gas chambers.

The declarations of this bishop are 'inacceptable' and 'stupid' and 'in no way reflect the views of the Catholic Church', assured the prelate.

'I understand that Williamson's declarations could throw a shadow over relations with judaisme but I am convinced that the dialogue will continue,' he added.

The Pope's projected visit to Israel, 'does not depend on that', clarified cardinal Kasper, adding that 'the organisation of the visit is essentially connected with political questions', 'complicated' by 'the events in Gaza.'

'In any case, no decision has yet been made and the itinerary has not yet been settled. It depends on how the situation develops "on the ground" ', he explained.

He added that for the voyage to become a reality, 'the situation must be calm' and the Pope must be able 'to visit his people' at Bethlehem.

Many Jewish organisations, amongst them, the memorial Israelien de la Shoah, Yad Vashem, are indignant at the Pope's lifting excommunication from the 'negationist bishop.

Then are qhoted some of Williamson's assertions:

"I believe there were no gas chambers..... I believe that between 200,000 and 300,000
Jews perished in the concentration camps, but not a single one in the gas chambers," Richard Williamson has said.

These remarks were broadcast on Swedish television on Thursday, two days before the announcement of the lifting of the excommunications pronounced in 1988 against him and the three other bishops." ENDS

Comments Please!!!!!!!

Jan 26th Cardinal Kasper statement ref. bp Williamson

This is reported in the French daily La Croix this morning. HE said that W's declarations are inacceptable, stupid and do not reflect the views of the Church in any way. He understands that W's attitudes could cast a shadow over Church relations with Judaisme but is 'convinced' that the dialogue will continue.

Mmmmmm. My initial reaction is that it does not represent a strong enough distancing to reach and quieten the wider media. I can't find it reported in English anywhere yet but will continue looking throughout the day. Why isn't it on the Vat. Youtube channel. At least it wasn't before I found the La Croix item. No point in having the channel if you don't use it when really necessary.

Have emailed Fr Tim and Fr Ray and messaged DT on Facebook.

Will now do precis in English and put up here asap

In Christo pro Papa

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pope Benedict speaks after the Mozart concert. (Momentary relief from the SSPX matter)

Yes, I suppose I must comment about the SSPX matter, so that my position is on record, but I am determined to do something that has been pushed out of priority all week. Leutgeb and Clare A, sorry this was delayed.

After the concert in the Sistine Chapel Benedict gave a little speech. From it we learned that he and his brother first heard the Mozart Mass in C Minor together when he was fourteen years old. "I understood that we experienced something other than a simple concert, that it was music at prayer, the divine office, in which we almost could touch something of the magnificence and beauty of God himself, and WE were touched." After the War the brothers often heard the Mass together, "and for this reason it is deeply inscribed in our interior biography."

Benedict continued that this music "is not a superficial gratitude given lightly" to God by Mozart, but shows forth the composer's "interior struggle, his search for forgiveness, the mercy of God and, then, from these depths, his joy in God shines more brightly than ever."

In front of the small assembly (which according to Vatican Radio included about 25 friends from Germany) the Pope addressed his brother: "The 85 years of your life were not always easy," he said to him, before revealing that their parents lost all their saved money in the 1930s. "Hope and joy" had returned for both Georg and Joseph when they returned to the seminary and were eventually ordained together. In the face of everything that has happened since then, "we always perceived the goodness of God who called us and guided us." Then Pope Benedict recalled that Georg had discerned almost from the outset that the exercise of his calling as a priest would include the use of his musical gift. He concluded his address with a prayer:

that God "would give you, dear Georg, more good years to continue to live in the joy of God and the joy of music and to continue serving people as a priest. ......And we pray that he will allow all of us one day to enter the heavenly concert to experience completely the joy of God."

Sources: CNS; Joan Lewis Vatican Radio

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Conversion of St. Paul

Although there are many other things I want to post about, this must take priority, so as to be here in time for tomorrow's Feast. Not only because I promised the Facebook Catholic Writer's Society I would, but because together with another Dom Gueranger post for 'In the Sight of Angels', it will help me to re-focus on essentials and prepare myself spiritually for tomorrow.

Follows an another extract from 'Gardening with God' (Burns and Oates Continuum International 2002)

"I begin today by looking again at Albrecht Durer's painting of Saint Paul with Saint Mark. The great apostle stands in front of the evangelist. He is side-on to our view and conceals all but the head and shoulders of the much shorter Mark. His face is half turned to us so that we see the piercing gleam in his left eye. The zeal it expresses is startling and forbidding, and I found it quite frightening when I first saw it. But now I have come to think that Durer is showing the fierceness of Paul's love for Christ and his young Church, and his willingness to endure anything and everything on their behalf. He stands in impregnable defence of the written Gospel in the person of Mark, who is looking at him in what seems a mixture of awe and confidence. Indeed no one would attack him with Durer's Paul in the way. It is a work of tremendous power, and my intitial fear has evaporated with repeated viewing. Paul is not repulsing me: rather I can get behing him and, with St. Mark, feel the security of his protection against a hostile world.

After the painting, the reading of Acts 9:1-22 and Acts 22: 1-21. The first is a third-person description of Paul's conversion; the second, Paul's own account of the event that changed his life and, because of God's purpose for him, that of every Gentile who has since embraced the Christian faith. Tne Church celebrates this today and invites us to enjoy its dramatic, faith-strengthening elements, but she also wants to draw us more deeply into knowledge of Paul's missionary activity and into his theology. If we have time it would be good to start a systematic reading of his letters. This would fit well with suggestions made for an approach to Lent outlined in Part One of this book.

Selected Bible Readings (for today)

1 Thess. 4:13 - 5:11; 2 Thess: 1-12 The Second Coming of Christ
Rom. 1:18 - 8:39; Galatians 1:6-24 Paul's gospel preaching
1 Corinth Paul sorts out disorder of various kinds
2 Corinth. 1:8-14; 3:1 - 6:10 Paul's love and endurance in ministry
Eph. 1 - 3 The Divine Plan
Col. 1:15 - 2:5 Christ and Paul's task
Phil. 1:12-26; 4:1-20 Imprisonment and living in Christ
Philem: A private letter to a convert and friends
1 Tim. 1: 12-16 'I acted in ignorance and unbelief.'
1 Corinth. 15:9 'I persecuted God's Church; I am the least of the apostles.'
Acts 26:16b-18 You must tell others what you have seen
Gal 1:11-24 God made Christ known to Paul so that he could preach his gospel

Mark 16: 15-18 Proclaim the good news to the world.
John 15:16 I have chosen you. Go out and bear fruit that will last.

(And bearing in mind what the Holy Father said this last Wednesday about conversion of the heart:
"Place of Spiritual Retreat: On the road to Damascus with Paul and his companions as in Acts 22."

copyright Jane Mossendew 2002

Bordeaux: Red weather alert, airport closed; storms over St. Romain

Intermittent electricity supply:all posts planned for this weekend will be delayed.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Vatican Youtube up and running

Flick of the Matilla to Fr Blake who was the first to alert me via his blog.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

General Audience January 21st: 'I will make of them one nation upon the earth.'

Again, to a well-filled hall, the Holy Father spoke in response to the text from Ezekiel in which the prophet is told by God to take two pieces of wood and join them together, the one representative of Judah, and the other of Joseph. (If I heard correctly, the text had been specially chosen for the Week of prayer for Christian Unity, by an ecumenical group under the auspices of the appropriate Pontifical Commission.)

By referring us to Christ's prayer on the Eve of His Passion, his Holiness drew us immediately into the heart and meaning of this week, which he called a 'precious spiritual initiative'. He spoke of the unity between the Father and the Son. Each Christian has the urgent responsibility to strive in every way possible towards the fulfilment of Christ's prayer, 'That they may be one, even as I and the Father are one'. In this sense, in seeking Christian unity, we are praying for a gift from the essence of God.(The last phrase is mine and not the Holy Father's but it is what I understood him to mean.)

Turning to the Ezekiel text, Pope Benedict saw in its reference to the dispersal of the people throughout the nations, the necessity that they should re-unite, should return from their idolatries and purify their hearts from all rebellion. He counselled patience in the face of obvious difficulties on the road to unity and reminded us that only Christ can fulfil the Divine promise made at the end of the text. This is why we must pray and work for unity; it is why, in answer to the call of Vatican II, every Christian should abnegate self and undergo an interior conversion of the heart; it is why we should be humble before the Word of God.

The Holy Father then gave thanks to God for the opportunities he himself had been given during the past year, to intensify dialogue, both in the Vatican and during his Apostolic journeys. He mentioned several Churches and ecclesial communities in the West. From the East he mentioned in particular Bartholomew who had presided at Vespers with him at the close of the Synod of Bishops. And he noted that although difficulties had not been ignored, there was a will to spiritual convergence and an increase in brotherly warmth. He offered condolences to the Russian Orthodox in their grief for the loss of Alexei II and prayed for those who will elect the new Patriarch.

Before concluding Pope Benedict urged us yet again to profit from this week and left us with the vision of St. Paul: that we should be of one heart, one spirit, one hope: 'One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism'.

Later his Holiness exhorted the Englsih speaking pilgrims to pay attention to the Word, deepen prayer and intensify dialogue. Yet again, there were no groups present from Britain to hear him, unless I missed the first group being named because the French commentator spoke over the Holy Father's English. I do wish they wouldn't do that!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Family Weekend for Pope Benedict: Saturday: Mozart in the Sistine Chapel

Janurary 17th, 2009 -

Mozart's C minor Mass is performed in the Sistine Chapel, by two sopranos, a tenor, and a male choir and orchestra from Regensburg. Listening, and seated side by side, are the two most famous Catholic priest brothers of our times. Ordained on the same day in 1951, they have given over a century's service to Christ in His Church. The soul is mean and parched that would begrudge this gift of the younger to the elder, now almost blind: that brother who directed the choir at the Mass before he left Munich for Rome; and now he has told us, that brother who helps him to accept old age with courage. Georg can no longer see the Michelangelo ceiling and frescoes. And so his brother gives him music as an 85th birthday present, in the very place where nearly four years ago, his own plans for retirement were irrevocably shattered by the will of God.

It's my experience that on musical occasions of high emotion, as this must have been, one remembers one's beginnings, one's formative years, and the frightening bits. Any of us who have read the biography of these brothers will have no difficulty in guessing at least some of what may have run through their minds as they listened to their beloved Mozart. Did Georg remember the war-wound that nearly cost him a limb; did Joseph remember fearing almost certain death as he faced German Officers on the road home towards the end of Hitler's war? Must they not think, as we do, that it could only have been the Providence of God that preserved them both, when the worldly odds seemed so implacably stacked against their survival? The answers to these questions are not our busness. Our business is to thank Almighty God that His will was against their destruction; to thank Him for the mystery of the Ratzinger brothers and their place in His plan.

I rejoice that the cameras were not there to intrude on the intimacy of this family occasion. I exult for both the brothers that they were allowed that precious interlude of privacy. The knowledge that it happened fills me with joy.

Main story -Associated Press;
Details of the Ratzinger war experience - 'Benedict XVI: An Intimate Portrait, Peter Seewald)

In Christo pro Papa

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Angelus from Rome: Today Sunday January 18th, 2009

His Holiness had already begun to speak when the kto broadcast began, so in case I missed anything will check the video repeat later.

As we came in, so to speak, Pope Benedict was referring to St. Paul as Apostle to the nations, saying that his mentality was cross-cultural and cosmic. Christ is for all. All are called to be part of His family. Modern globalisation gives us all the more reason and opportunity as Christians, to be concerned for every person, every family. I don't think he used the word responsibility, but that sense conveyed itself in the gentleness of his actual expressions.

Our Holy Father went on to pray specifically for mariners and fishermen, particularly those facing piracy on the high seas; for the Meeting of Families in Mexico; for the Week for Christian Unity which opens today, exhorting us all to commit ourselves to its intentions. As usual he invoked the aid of our Holy Virgin Mother in all our prayer.

After the Angelus and blessing, he spoke passionately and with profound compassion of the dead, wounded and dispossessed of the Gaza conflict. He prayed for them all, particularly the children, and for the aid effort*. And yet again he pleaded with the combatants for an end to violence and a determined search for a duarable peace.

During the customary messages in different languages he drew our attention to dispersed Catholics across the world, and once more to the week of Christian Unity, reminding us that he would be celebrating Vespers at St. Paul-outside-the-Walls next Sunday at the week's end.

There was a contingent of pilgrims from the Catholic schools in Rome and in greeting them he was able to stress yet again, the importance of Catholic Education. To the Anglophone group he appealed for generosity in welcoming the dispossessed.

At parting, he twice wished us all a good Sunday, and then a good week, no doubt still thinking of Unity. Then a final cheerful wave and a kindly smile, and he was gone, at least until later this afternoon when kto will show the final MASS FROM MEXICO during which he will address the multitude via live video link from the Vatican. Will try to post a brief report later this evening or tomorrow morning.

*The Holy Father has already sent aid to the Christians of Gaza, although naturally, he did not mention this. (Source: Google Alerts)

In Christo pro Papa

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pontifical Commission for Internet Communication?

With thanks yet again to Fr Blake, who has reported on the Vatican's latest Communications initiative.

Scene: The Vatican gardens; time shortly after the closure of the Synod of Bishops.

Discovered, Pope Benedict and his Secretary Mgr G.G. enjoying a post-prandial stroll.
Both appear to be deep in thought, if not prayer.

B16 (suddenly breaking the silence) I've decided after all against our idea of a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Blog. How far advanced are the plans for it?

G.G. (his crest visibly fallen) Not very far your Holiness. As you know the business plan showed that it would be very expensive, I mean particularly on the pay-roll side, and in the current economic climate.....Well perhaps we should....

B16: Exactly! And those salaries would represent an ongoing outlay. I've already stretched the budget with those solar panels on the roof, but at least they'll pay for themselves eventually. And all those euros just to manage a blog, not to mention the problem of comments. No! (then humbly) I am the successor of Peter and I do not want to go off at half-rock.' (chuckles innocently) Agreed?

G.G.: Well, yes but.......

B16: (reading his mind) Look, if we have to spend on this technocomm. thingy. Let's make it what they call in English a 'a one-off done deal'. (A gleam has come into the Papal eyes.) A real schtonker eh? In time for World Communications Day. Cheer up GG, I think I have the answer.

G.G.: (really nervous now. After all these years recognising the signs that something big is up the Ratzinger sleeve.) (Weakly) Yes Holy Father (Almost inaudibly) What is it?

B16: (with his most charming and broadest grin) WE BUY YOUTUBE!

G.G. AAARRgggh! (his sigh tails away into silence. There is a thump.)

B16: (muttering) Mein Jesu! Sancta Maria! What have I done!?
(deftly draws a white and yellow cellphone from his robe and dials a favourite. Waits, almost in tears.) Oh schnell, schnell!......(then at last)
Ah! Tarcisio, my brother, come quickly and bring smelling salts. Georg minor seems to have fainted. I think I've been over-working him, God forgive me. (disconnects the call) (grabs the cushion that GG always carries in case he himself needs it; and kneels next to the prone body.

G.G. (opening his eyes, smiles like a cherub; hoarsely, as B16 gazes paternally down at him) Anything you tube,(corrects himself)- sorry, - anything you choose, dear, dear Holy Father.

The curtain falls swiftly as Cardinal Bertone rushes onto the scene.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Vatican recent news snippets: Accentuate the positive: I.

An item from January 5th, reported by Fr Blake on his Saint Mary Magdalen blog:

BISHOP O'DONOHUE of Lancaster, England, or POD as he affectionaly known, has received another letter from Rome in appreciation of his 'FIT FOR MISSION' document. The first if I remember correctly came from the Ecclesia Dei Commission. This latest 'accolade' is from Ennio CARDINAL ANTONELLI, President of the Pontificum Concilium pro Familia. For non-UK readers, it may be necessary to state that POD's document has been widely seen in 'orthodox' Catholic circles as a refreshingly honest and brave statement of distancing from his largely 'liberal' brother bishops of the English and Welsh Conference, who seem determined to perpetuate the notion that the Faith in England and Wales, both in practice and evangelisation is in good health. POD's appraisal of the status quo faces issues head-on, and is constructive in its criticism. Clearly the Holy See agrees with him and, by that token, not with the apparent consensus of his Conference.

Cardinal Antonelli concludes his letter by assuring Bishop O'Donohue of his 'highest consideration'. I wish I could believe that his phrase is more than the literal translation of a Latin or Italian standard letter-ending. Until the Westminster appointment is finally announced, any bishop known to have done something positively pleasing to the Holy See, becomes the subject of speculation! Unfortunately, however Bishop O'Donohue is nearly at retirement age and is reportedly unwell. Please pray for him.

January 15th Fr Blake reported strong rumours coming from Rome that the AP may not renew indult for Communion in the hand. The Penitentiary is concerned about DESECRATION of the Blessed Sacrament and revealed that it is a sin from which only the Pope can loose. Fr Z, also covered the story with a detailed examination of the Penitentiary's statements about INFREQUENT CONFESSION among the faithful. One wonders what sort of letter +CONRY(Arundel and Brighton) may have received after speaking in a recent interview about the inadvisability of frequent recouse to that Sacrament!

This story increased my hope that the His Holiness has decided to tackle things from the centre, using the various Dicasteries, instead of making gentle and trusting appeals to the bishops, as in the 'Summorum Pontificum' and its accompanying letter.

FR. Z., with characteristic lucidity and incisiveness, has today picked the bones of the DAILY TELEGRAPH (UK)treatment of the AP story. Well worth a read. I made the comment that the media, not only have it in for the Church, but particularly for our present beloved Holy Father. I was therefore most gratified to read LUKE COPPEN of the CATHOLIC HERALD (UK) in DEFENCE OF POPE BENEDICT. Read that too. It will do you good. (see Catholic Herald on line, the Editor's blog) Wish he'd put it in the main body of his paper.

In Christo pro Papa

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pope Benedict: Police Work can be Mission, Service, Holiness

Today Pope Benedict addressed the General Inspectorate for Public Security in the Vatican. (See Zenit for full story). It is impossible to imagine that he delivered his speech without his own Policeman father being present in his heart. The young Joseph Ratzinger learned at close hand, something of what that vocation demanded at one of the worst junctures in human history. One expects that most, if not all, of his audience knew of it. Peter Seewald's book 'Benedict XVI: An Intimate Portrait' (Ignatius Press 2007)includes the best exposition that I've ever read, of what actually happened to the Ratzinger family both in the build up to Hitler's war, and during it. The knowledge brought this news item vividly to life. The Pope was not mouthing empty platitudes. He was speaking from memory.

In Christo pro Papa

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

January 14th 2009: Today's General Audience 'In Him all things hold together.'

You will recall that at last week's General Audience, the Holy Father apologised for having hardly any voice and hoped he would be able to make himself understood. This opening remark met with warm, encouraging and extended applause from a half-filled Audience chamber, which included some forty newly ordained Legionaries of Christ and their families. In spite of having to imbibe a glass of ochre-hued liquid* towards the end of the Audience, Pope Benedict gave his catechesis clearly and beautifully, and I totally forgot the hoarseness of his voice.

Today, he entered to a much greater assembly than last week, looking cheerfully determined and in much better health, than he has seemed, at least to me, since Christmas Eve. I managed to make the following very basic notes from his original Italian and the simultaneously spoken French translation.

Speaking on today's text from Colossians, (see title of this post) and one from Ephesians, he first of all related the texts to the Church and then moved outwards from that to the entire cosmos, showing us the grandeur and universality of Christ as the 'Chef du Cosmos', the 'Pantocrator'. His power is superior to all other forms of power, earthly and otherwise. Recognisable here was the golden thread connecting today's catechesis to Pope Benedict's recent luminous utterances on the cosmic elements in the Epiphany of the Lord. (At one point he had spoken of other universes, not just our solar system.)

By way of conclusion the Holy Father drew us back to earth to consider that marriage between man and woman is a human reflection of the reciprocal love in the marriage between Christ and His Church. This, he said, 'is representative of a great catechesis'.

Later, speaking to the French contingent, he reiterated that Christ the Head, gives power and life to the rest of his members. And to the English-speaking pilgrims he emphasised the 'beauty and value of the Family as the centre of Society and the Church'. (Clearly he has not been fazed by the recent media-inspired outrage about his pre-Christmas 'ecology of man' remarks to the Curia.)

General Comment: I was yet again saddened that there were no groups from Britain at the Audience. The last time there were any, or at the Sunday Angelus for that matter) was well before Christmas. Perhaps the recession is responsible, but I'm afraid there may be other influences and factors.

*Both Fr. Ray Blake and Fr Z made quips on their blogs about Papa B.'s alleged Fanta drinking habits but although the good Fathers amused me, I prefer to think that the glass contained a much more healthy medicine to ease that precious papal larynx.

(In the unlikely event of anyone not knowing, the full texts of all the Holy Father's homilies and speeches appear in English on the Vatican website a couple of days after each event.)

In Christo pro Papa

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Vatican Law

Zenit has today confirmed the information in my last post.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Vatican a law unto itself. It's official.

Official according to

Apparently Papa B. has signed a document giving the Holy See more legal autonomy. As a result,for example, from the beginning of this year, the current Italian law which allows euthanasia will not be applicable in Vatican City State.

Zenit are not back in service until Epiphany. I didn't spot anything about this before the holiday. Will have another look.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pope Benedict: Spiritual Bouquet for Epiphany

On December 21, I posted details of changed plans for the sending of future Spiritual Bouquets to our Holy Father. Accordingly I'm assembling a composite of all our offerings so far and would appreciate your contributions for the period since the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. They will be included as long as I receive them by 1am (GMT) Saturday January 3rd.

The letter will be handed to our postman later that morning. I assure you that when he sees THAT particular addressee on one of my outgoing envelopes, he treats it with great care and respect and smiles as if accepting an honourable mission.

May God grant to us all, the blessings of His peace, joy and hope, this New Year's day and always,

In Christo pro Papa Benedict,