Saturday, July 12, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pope Benedict Roundup!



April 16th marks Benedict XVI's 87th birthday -- the first he will celebrate as Pope Emeritus at the Vatican. Rome Reports has the story on Benedict's "unforgettable birthdays", past and present:


News

  • The “hidden” Pope’s first step towards normality, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 02/24/14. The scene where Benedict XVI entered St. Peter’s Basilica to attend the Consistory ceremony and the look of surprise on the cardinals’ faces will be remembered throughout history.

  • “Ratzinger removed his zucchetto and asked for a simple seat” Interview with Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, on the Pope Emeritus' appearance at the consistory:
    Your Eminence, what was it like seeing the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI among you? “It was a moving and emotional moment, also because he wanted a simple seat next to the cardinals and there was no way he was going to change his mind. The dean, Angelo Sodano told me he had “fought” to get Benedict XVI a suitable seat, as was only natural. But he lost the “battle”: Benedict XVI already had an understanding with Pope Francis that he was going to sit in a corner. And he did sit in a corner, at the front, but in a corner.”

    What was your reaction when you met him?

    “All cardinals immediately approached him to greet him and it was amusing to see them pushing each other like young boys to get to Benedict XVI. This was another expression of love towards the Pope Emeritus.”

    When Bergoglio went to greet him Ratzinger removed his zucchetto: what was the significance of this gesture?

    “It was a sign of respect and humility. In Spanish the “zucchetto” is called “solideo”, meaning “only to God”: it is therefore only taken off for God or his representative. This was also a very moving scene.”

    How was Ratzinger?

    “He was in good form, he looked rested, at peace and friendly and open as always: he asked everyone how they were, in the same gentle and simple way he always does.”

  • An Interview with Archbishop Georg Gaenswein (Part I) | Part II The Spanish magazine 'Palabra' carried an exclusive and extensive interview with Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, prefect of the Papal Household and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s personal secretary. With Palabra’s permission, Zenit republishes the interview in which he talks about his passions and his work, and his very “special” occupation. He recalls the moments of Benedict XVI’s resignation a year ago, and the fruits that have emerged from it for the whole Church.

  • Retired Pope Benedict Critiqued Pope Francis' Interview, Aide Says Associated Press:
    The man who serves two popes has revealed that retired Pope Benedict XVI wrote four pages of critique and commentary on Pope Francis's landmark interview in which he blasted the church's obsession with "small-minded" rules. ...

    Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, Benedict's personal secretary and head of Francis' papal household, told German broadcaster ZDF that Francis had solicited Benedict's input on the interview, which was published in September in 16 Jesuit journals around the globe and helped define Francis' agenda.

    Francis received a draft of the interview to vet before publication, but it's unclear whether Benedict saw that draft or the published text. As a result, it's unclear if any of Benedict's suggestions impacted the final version

  • Benedict XVI Pays Tribute to Blessed John Paul II in New Interview Zenit. 03/07/14. Zenit publishes extracts of a recent interview Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI gave to ZENIT’s Wlodzimierz Redzioch in which he pays tribute to soon-to-be-canonized Pope John Paul II.

    The complete interview appears in a book just published in Italian entitled Beside John Paul II - Friends and Collaborators Speak (Ares 2014). The interview, one of 21 with the late Pontiff’s close friends and associates, runs to 12 pages in total. It is entitled: “It Became Ever More Clear to Me that John Paul II Was a Saint”.

Pope Benedict Attends Canonization, Embraces Francis Pope Francis declared his two predecessors John XXIII and John Paul II saints on Sunday before hundreds of thousands of people in St. Peter's Square, an unprecedented ceremony made even more historic by the presence of retired Pope Benedict XVI. SOURCE: Associated Press 04/27/14.

Commentary

  • The “Green Pope” and a Human Ecology, by William L. Patenaude. Catholic World Report 04/22/14:
    It’s a joy to happen upon an old friend, to again hear his style of speaking and his way of engaging the world. When the old friend is Benedict XVI, however, things quickly move beyond the sentimental. So it goes with The Garden of God: Toward a Human Ecology (The Catholic University of America Press, 2014), a helpful compilation of Benedict XVI’s many, many statements about preserving life on earth.

    Given that discussions of ecology polarize a great many along worldly ideological fault lines, one of the benefits of The Garden of God lies in remembering how Benedict XVI, like his predecessor, normalized the topic and maintained it within Catholic orthodoxy. Like no other, he taught us how the Christian creed speaks to an array of social and physical sciences that are concerned with relationships, life, and shared futures. ...

  • The Pope's Third Embodiment, by Sandro Magister. Chiesa. 04/07/14:
    ROME, April 7, 2014 – The more the months go by, the more Benedict XVI's resignation of the papacy manifests its exceptional novelty.

    Other popes before him had resigned: the last was Gregory XII, in 1415. But Joseph Ratzinger was the first to want to be called "pope emeritus" and to continue to wear the white robe "within the precincts of Saint Peter," bewildering the canonists and bringing fears of the installation of a diarchy of two popes at the summit of the Church:

    Of course, Ratzinger no longer has the powers of pontiff of the universal Church: he stripped himself of them by exercising for the last time and in the highest degree precisely his powers as "vicarius Christi." But neither did he return to being what he was before he was pope. After these two "embodiments" he now has a third that has no precedent in the history of the Church. It is the new "embodiment," the new state of life that he sees as connected to the commitment "forever" taken on with the acceptance of his election as successor of Peter. ...

  • Ratzinger, Habermas and Pera on Public Reason and Religion, by Peter J. Colosi. Lecture at University of Navarre, Pamplona, Spain on June 4, 2013 to the Institute for Culture and Society, Religion and Civil Society Project.

  • The “Basic Structure“ (Grundgestalt) of the Eucharistic Celebration According to Joseph Ratzinger, by Dr. Manfred Hauke. The New Liturgical Movement.

  • Benedict XVI Remembered: "There is much to be thankful for" Zenit. 02/13/14. While his successor Pope Francis, elected less than two weeks after the resignation took effect, has become the center of the media’s attention, Pope Emeritus Benedict and his legacy has not been forgotten, even though he continues to be regularly misunderstood by the secular press.

  • The Pope in the Attic: Benedict in the Time of Francis , by Paul Elie. The Atlantic April 16, 2014:
    It’s odd enough that there are two living popes. It’s odder still that they live in such proximity. But what’s most odd is that the two popes are these two popes, and that the one who spent a third of a century erecting a Catholic edifice of firm doctrine and strict prohibition now must look on at close range as the other cheerfully dismantles it in the service of a more open, flexible Church."
    (A note here -- that while the author, perhaps somewhat too cheerfully, indulges in the external variances and emphases between the two pontificates, Kasper's gloating criticism of the Pope Emeritus ("The red slippers: ridiculous, ridiculous! Now all of the cardinals are wearing simple crosses. These changes are irreversible"), the lamentations of Cardinal Burke ("These are difficult times for all of us in the Church right now"), culminating in the willful speculation that Francis' "who am I to judge?" will extend into a repeal of doctrine -- the moral prohibitions against homosexuality or women's ordination -- this has not happened under Francis' pontificate. Nor will it.

Publications

THe Garden of God: Toward a Human Ecology The Garden of God: Toward a Human Ecology

Genesis, the first book of the Bible, tells of the creation of the world and our dominion over it. But is this the whole storyfi The planet on which we live is ecologically fragile, and all people of good will have a respon- sibility to take care of this most precious gift. During his papacy, Pope Benedict XVI repeatedly drew attention to the environment, whether in terms of preserving it -- such as his address concerning Amazonia and his letter regarding the Arctic -- or distributing its vital resources -- such as water -- more equitably. What is more, during Benedict’s papacy, the Vatican became the first, and remains the only, carbon-neutral country in the world. This book gathers together the audiences, addresses, letters, and homilies of Benedict on a wide-ranging set of topics that deal with the world about us. The major themes and connections he explores are creation and the natural world; the environment, science, and technology; and hunger, poverty, and the earth’s resources. In these pages, Benedict insists that if we truly desire peace, we must be increasingly conscious of and nurture all of creation. Furthermore, he argues convincingly that as our love of God should cause us to protect the environment, so should our heightened sense of appreciation of the natural world draw us closer to God. Benedict speaks out against the spread of nuclear weapons, threats to biodiversity, and in favor of alternative energy. He urges sustainable development, equita- ble distribution of food and water, and an end to hunger. This book is a valuable resource for all those who seek to understand more fully the relationships among the environment, Catholic social teaching, and theology. Whether speaking to a vast crowd, meeting with a small group of scientists, or writing letters to world leaders, Benedict has shown a clear path towards a theologically cogent concern for the planet on which we live.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pope Benedict Roundup!

News

  • Benedict's brother says former Pope does not regret resigning Catholic News Agency. 02/12/14. In a recent interview, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger said his brother, retired Pope Benedict XVI, believes he made the right decision in stepping down from the papacy last year due to a lack of physical strength.
  • "Relativist” Ratzinger, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider". A secular, non fideistic approach that is light years away from any kind of fundamentalism. A sign of clear appreciation for liberal democratic tradition and a celebration of reason and of a healthy relativism in terms of worldly choices. This and much more is contained in the speeches of the theologian Joseph Ratzinger-turned Pope Benedict XVI, as emerges in the book “La legge di Re Salomone” (“The Law of King Solomon”) published by Italian publishing house BUR and edited by Marta Cartabia (a constitutional court judge) and Andrea Simoncini.
  • Ratzinger visits his brother at the Agostino Gemelli hospital in Rome La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 01/04/14. Yesterday the Pope Emeritus left his residence in the Vatican, where he has been living in seclusion since May 2013, to visit his brother Georg at the Roman polyclinic.
  • AP: Over two years, Pope Benedict removed nearly 400 priests from ministry for sex abuse (as relayed by) Deacon Greg Kandra. Deacons Bench 01/17/14.
  • Middle Eastern Patriarchs Visit Benedict XVI Zenit News. 11/29/13:
    Several Patriarchs who were in Rome for last week’s Plenary Assembly for the Congregation of the Oriental Churches met with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI ...

    The former pontiff assured the prelates of his prayers for the Middle East.

    Chaldean Patriarch Raphael Louis I Sako of Baghdad confirmed the meeting with the Pontiff Emeritus in an interview with AsiaNews.

    "We had a friendly meeting, we asked him about his health and he asked us about the Middle East and the situation of the Eastern Christians."

Commentary

Forthcoming Publications

Joseph Ratzinger-Collected Works: Theology of the Liturgy

Publisher: Ignatius Press (May 5, 2014). 700 pgs.

This major volume is a collection of the writings of Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) on the theology of the Liturgy of the Church, a subject of preeminence to him as a theologian, professor and spiritual writer. It brings together all his writings on the subject, short and long, giving his views on liturgical matters and questions over many years and from various perspectives.

He chose to have his writings on the Liturgy for the first volume published of his collected works (though listed as vol. 11) because, as he says in the Introduction: "The liturgy of the Church has been for me since my childhood the central reality of my life, and it became the center of my theological efforts. I chose fundamental theology as my field because I wanted first and foremost to examine thoroughly the question: Why do we believe? But also included from the beginning in this question was the other question of the right response to God and, thus, the question of the liturgy."

By starting with the theme of liturgy in this volume, Ratzinger wants to highlight God's primacy, the absolute precedence of the theme of God. Beginning with a focus on the liturgy, he said, tells us that "God is first". He quotes from the Rule of St. Benedict, "Nothing is to be preferred to the liturgy", as a way of ordering priorities for the life of the Church and of every individual. He says that the fundamental question of the man who begins to understand himself correctly is: How must I encounter God? Thus learning the right way of worshipping is the gift par excellence that is given to us by the faith.

The essential purpose of his writings on the liturgy is to place the liturgy in its larger context, which he presents in three concentric circles. First, the intrinsic interrelationship of Old and New Testament; without the connection to the Old Testament heritage, the Christian liturgy is incomprehensible. The second circle is the relationship to the religions of the world. The third circle is the cosmic character of the liturgy, which is more than the coming together of a circle of people: the liturgy is celebrated in the expanse of the cosmos, encompassing creation and history at the same time.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pope Benedict Roundup!

  • Pope Francis thanks his predecessor for his Jesus of Nazareth Trilogy, and awards the Ratzinger Prize for Theology Vatican Information Service. 10/27/13:
    “I thank you, and am happy to meet with you, especially as a sign of our recognition and of our great affection for Pope emeritus Benedict XVI. I would like to share with you a reflection, which comes to me spontaneously when I think of the truly unique gift that he has given the Church in his books on Jesus of Nazareth”.

    “I recall that when the first volume came out, some people said: what is this? A Pope doesn't write books on theology, he writes encyclicals! … Certainly, Pope Benedict had considered this problem, but also in this case, as always, he followed the voice of the Lord in his enlightened conscience. With these books, he did not offer teaching in the strict sense of the word, and he did not produce an academic study. He gave a gift to the Church, and to all humanity, of what was most precious to him: his knowledge of Jesus, the fruit of years and years of study, of prayer, of theological investigation, and he made it available in the most accessible form”.

    He continued, “No one can measure the good he has done by means of this gift; only the Lord knows! But we all have a certain perception of this, having listened to so many people who, thanks to these books on Jesus of Nazareth, have nurtured and deepened their faith, or have indeed drawn close to Christ for the first time, as adults, bringing the demands of reason alongside their search for the face of God”.

    “At the same time, the work of Benedict XVI has stimulated a new era of study of the Gospels, between history and Christology, and our Symposium, for which I congratulate the organisers and speakers, forms a part of this”.

    The Ratzinger Prize, granted by the Vatican Foundation, was awarded to Rev. Richard Burridge, Anglican minister and deacon of King's College, London, and to the German theologian Christian Schaller, layperson, lecturer in dogmatic theology and vice director of the Benedict XVI Institute in Regensburg, Germany, which is publishing critical editions of Joseph Ratzinger's full works.

  • New Book Details Benedict XVI’s Love for Nature, Ecology National Catholic Register 10/25/13:
    For an Ecology of Man, a new book collecting Benedict XVI’s speeches on ecology and humanity’s relationship with nature, reveals his love and concern for nature and animals, according to the emeritus pope’s once-private secretary.

    “In the book, Benedict writes that man, if he is to have a heart for peace, must have an awareness of the connection between natural ecology and human ecology,” Msgr. Alfred Xuereb, who is now Pope Francis’ private secretary, told Vatican Radio in an Oct. 19 interview.

    “There emerges an inseparable link between peace for creation and peace among men,” he added.

    Msgr. Xuereb presented For an Ecology of Man,” newly published in Italian by the Vatican Publishing House, at the seventh annual meeting of the publisher’s cultural association in the northern Italian city of Pordenone.

  • Archbishop Ganswein talks about serving two popes Catholic News Service 10/22/13:
    The Italian newspaper reporter also asked Archbishop Ganswein, who lives with retired Pope Benedict and has been his personal secretary since 2003, what it is like to continue in that role while also serving the reigning pope as head of the papal household, organizing the pope's daily meetings and audiences.

    "It's a challenge," he replied. "Every once in a while I'd like to ask advice from my predecessor, but I don't have one because no one has ever held this double position."

    "Nevertheless, with a bit of common sense, I do my best. I put into practice Pope Francis' words: Never close yourself off and don't be afraid," he said. In the end, whether he is helping Pope Francis or retired Pope Benedict, "my service is for the Lord and the church," he said.

    The 86-year-old retired pope "is well," Archbishop Ganswein said. "He prays, reads, listens to music, dedicates himself to his correspondence, which is a lot, and receives visitors. Every day we walk together in the woods behind the monastery (where they live), reciting the rosary."

  • “Benedict XVI was very surprised by Gotti Tedeschi’s ousting”, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 10/22/13:
    Pope Benedict XVI was clearly in the dark about the clamorous ousting of the former president of the Vatican bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. The circumstances surround his dismissal and the way this took place were a first in the history of the Holy See. Attempts were made to besmirch his personal and professional reputation, as mentioned in the list of reasons the Vatican bank’s (IOR) board gave for Gotti Tedeschi’s dismissal. The document was signed by Carl Anderson, chairman of the board of the Knights of Columbus.

    Georg Gänswein, Prefect of the Papal Household and Benedict XVI’s secretary, confirmed this in an interview with Italian newspaper Il Messaggero, published in today’s issue. “I remember that moment well. It was 24 May. It was the same day Benedict XVI’s former butler, Paolo Gabriele, was arrested. Contrary to what many people think, there is no link between the two events. It was just an unfortunate and diabolical coincidence.”

  • Evangelical theologian lauds "Christocentric legacy" of Benedict XVI, by Carl Olson. Catholic World Report 10/14/13:
    Although he might not be well known outside of certain theological circles, Dr. Hans Boersma is one of the finer young Evangelical theologians writing today. He is the J.I. Packer Professor of Theology at Regent College, one of the best Evangelical schools in Canada, and he is the author of some books that engage deeply and thoughtfully with Catholic theology, notably Nouvelle Théologie and Sacramental Ontology: A Return to Mystery. As his bio on the Regent website states, Boersma's "main theological interests are Catholic thought, the church fathers, and spiritual interpretation of Scripture." (And in the words of a snide Amazon.com reviewer, he is "A Roman Catholic in evangelical clothing".)

    In the September/October 2013 edition of Books & Culture: A Christian Review, in an article titled, "The Real Presence of Hope & Love" (subscription required for full article), Boersma praises the "Christocentric legacy" of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and touches on how it should help fruitful ecumenical conversation between Catholics and Evangelicals. He notes that far too many discussions of theology begin with premises about "conversative" and "liberal," which often derail matters before anything of substance is actually discussed. "With regard to Benedict," writes Boersma, "what stands out is not his alleged 'conservatism' but his focus on Christ in matters both theological and moral. That is what will render him relevant for many years to come." ... [Read more]

  • Pope Benedict challenges atheist, says he never hid abuse cases, by Carol Glatz. Catholic News Service. In a letter to an atheist Italian mathematician, retired Pope Benedict XVI defended his own handling of allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy and politely criticized the logician's total reliance on scientific facts for meaning. [See also: Pope-emeritus exchanges letters with noted atheist philosopher Vatican Radio 9/24/13].

  • Married priests: Ratzinger makes an exception, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 9/14/13. It was Benedict XVI who opened up the possibility for Anglo-Catholic Ordinariates to admit married men to the priesthood in the future.

  • New light is shed on Pope Benedict’s 9/11 memorial prayer, by Carol Glatz:
    VATICAN CITY — When Pope Benedict XVI visited ground zero in 2008, he knelt alone and prayed inside the cement-walled crater where the World Trade Center Towers once stood.

    As a sign of bringing light and hope to the dark memory of 9/11, the pope was going to light a large beeswax candle adorned with his papal coat of arms.

    That simple symbolic act, however, required lots of preparation and a few excruciating seconds of uncertainty.

    (Via Deacon Greg Kandra).

  • Benedict XVI, Francis’ asset La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 9/2/13. Jorge Bergoglio sees the Pope Emeritus as an asset. “It’s like having your grandfather in the house, a wise grandfather,” Francis had said on the flight back from Rio de Janeiro last 29 July.

  • Pope Emeritus's Unexpected Homily on Humility, by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 9/4/13. Although the full text has yet to appear, Benedict XVI’s homily during Mass for his former students on Sunday is one of wisdom and truth. Essentially a treatise on humility, his words come as a welcome surprise, especially as the world wasn’t expecting to see or hear from the Pope Emeritus after his retirement.

  • “Benedict XVI cured my cancer" La Stampa 9/3/13. 19 year old American, Peter Srisch, claims he was cured from a tumour after meeting Ratzinger and receiving his blessing a year ago.

Books About Pope Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI and the Politics of Modernity Pope Benedict XVI and the Politics of Modernity by Marc D. Guerra.
Routledge, October 2013.

In Benedict XVI and the Politics of Modernity, distinguished scholars from North America and Europe examine Pope Benedict XVI’s searching reflections on the challenges and prospects facing modern Western society. For more than five decades, Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI has made the subject of the continued health and vitality of Western civilization a focal point of his reflections. From his early (1968) Introduction to Christianity to his later (2005) Values in a Time of Upheaval, the Pope has argued that the preservation of the social, political, scientific, and spiritual way of life that characterizes modern Western societies hinges upon our rediscovery of the unique roots and distinctive nature of Western civilization.

Focusing on Pope Benedict XVI’s nuanced account as to why the modern West cannot currently afford to forget or neglect its premodern Hellenic and Christian roots, this book will interest religious and nonreligious people who are concerned about the future of democracy and religion in contemporary Western societies.

This book was based on a special issue of Perspectives on Political Science.

Marc D. Guerra is associate professor and director of graduate programs in theology at Ave Maria University. He is the author of Christians as Political Animals (ISI Books, 2010) and editor of Reason, Revelation, and Human Affairs; Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome; and The Science of Modern Virtue: Essays on Descartes, Darwin, and Locke.

And on a humorous note

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pope Benedict Roundup!

News
  • Vatican Diary / Pope Benedict's Parting Shot. Sandro Magister relays how Pope Benedict ordered changes to baptism rite before he resigned (Chiesa. 08/28/13):
    The Sunday after the Epiphany is the Sunday of the baptism of Jesus. And on each of these Sundays, year after year, Benedict XVI administered the first sacrament of Christian initiation to a certain number of children, in the Sistine Chapel.

    Each time, therefore, he had occasion to pronounce the formulas supplied by the rite of baptism in effect since 1969. But two of the words in this rite never entirely convinced him.

    And so, before renouncing the chair of Peter, he ordered that they should be changed in the original Latin, and as a result in the modern languages as well ...

    From now on, at the end of the rite of reception, before signing with the cross the forehead of the child or of the children, the priest will longer say: “Magno gaudio communitas christiana te (vos) excipit,” but instead: “Magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei te (vos) excipit”.

    In practice pope Joseph Ratzinger, as a sophisticated theologian, wanted that in the baptismal rite it should be clearly said that it is the Church of God – which subsists fully in the Catholic Church – that receives those who are being baptized, and not generically the “Christian community,” a term that also signifies the individual local communities or non-Catholic confessions, like the Protestants.

  • Myth Busted: Benedict XVI 'Mystical Experience' Story Not True, Catholic News Agency / EWTN. 08/28/13:
    The retired pope's personal secretary came forward and said the recent and widely circulated news story claiming that Benedict XVI stepped down after having a “mystical experience” is completely false.

    “It was invented, from the alpha to the omega,” Archbishop Georg Gänswein said. ...

    Zenit, a Rome-based Catholic news outlet, had reported Aug. 19 that Benedict XVI resigned after having a mystical experience in which God told him to do so.

    The agency said that the former pope told a visitor to Mater Ecclesiae, the monastery in the Vatican where he currently resides, that God “did not speak to him in a vision, but in a mystical experience.”

  • Ratzinger’s former students to meet in Castel Gandolfo without him, by Maria Teresa Pontara Pederiva. (La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 8/21/13:
    Unless there are any last minute surprises, this year for the first time ever, Ratzinger’s former students will be meeting in Castel Gandolfo without their old teacher, the theologian-turned-Pope, Joseph Ratzinger.

    The Circle’s coordinator, Fr. Stephan Otto Horn (Ratzinger’s assistant at Regensburg University between 1971 and 1977 and currently Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at the University of Passau) will lead this year’s meeting taking over from the Pope Emeritus who will be staying in the Vatican. The meeting runs from 29 August to 2 September.

    The topic Ratzinger chose for the meeting is: “The question of God in the context of secularisation”. He apparently also chose the meeting’s speaker, the French historian and philosopher, Rémi Brague, formerly a professor at the Sorbonne University in Paris and at the Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität in Munich.

    “Faith in modern society” is the topic chosen to start off the Circle’s discussion.

  • Benedict XVI Makes Brief Trip to Castel Gandolfo, by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 08/20/13:
    Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI briefly returned to the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo on Sunday, where he spent time in prayer and attended a small concert in his honor.

    He was accompanied by four 'memores domini', consecrated women belonging to the Communion and Liberation movement. When he was Pope, they looked after him in the apostolic palace, and continue to do so now as Pope Emeritus, in his new residence in the Vatican Gardens.

    During his three hour visit, Benedict XVI recited the Rosary while taking a stroll in the villa gardens, just as he used to do when he was Roman Pontiff. He also attended a short piano recital of classical music performed in his honor before returning to the Vatican in the evening.

  • Francis (with Benedict) dedicates the Vatican to St Michael, by Gianni Valenti. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 07/05/13. The Bishop of Rome – in the presence of his predecessor – unveils a statue of St Michael in the Vatican gardens. And places the Vatican city under the protection of the Archangel St Joseph.

Commentary

  • Benedict and Francis: A Lesson in Apostolic Continuity, by William L. Patenaude. Catholic World Report 05/06/13. The differences between the two men give witness to the different gifts of the same Holy Spirit.
  • Benedict XVI and the End of the “Virtual Council”, by Tracey Rowland. Catholic World Report. 04/19/13. Up to the final days of his pontificate, Benedict XVI emphasized the importance of interpreting the Council in continuity with what came before it.
  • Benedict and Francis: How Much Difference Is There? by Alessandro Speciale Religion News Service | 06/20/13. 100 days into his pontificate, a debate is brewing in Rome over whether Francis has set a distinctly different course from his predecessor, or whether the visible differences in style and personality between Francis and Benedict XVI mask a deeper theological and ideological continuity.
  • Benedict Wanted a "Poor" Church, Too, by Sandro Magister. (Chiesa, 06/17/13). The encyclical of Francis conceived and written by his predecessor is not the only sign of continuity between the two most recent popes. On the "poverty" of the Church as well there is harmony. It is enough to reread what Ratzinger said in Freiburg in 2011, in one of the capital discourses of his pontificate.
  • Ratzinger the reformer returns to his roots, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 05/03/13. Those who criticise Francis for the supposed discontinuity he has shown with Benedict XVI’s papacy, forget the historic importance of his resignation.
  • In the Winter 2011 issue of Communio>, David S. Crawford explicates the controversy around Pope Benedict’s comments (in the 2010 interview Light of the World) on condom use: Benedict XVI and the Structure of the Moral Act: On the Condoms Controversy (pdf).

Friday, July 05, 2013

Pope Francis' Lumen Fidei - "In The Light of Faith"


This is an ongoing compilation of news and commentary relating to Pope Francis' first encyclical, Lumen Fidei ("In the Light of Faith") -- the content of which was initially composed by Pope Benedict XVI, and subsequently embraced and completed by his successor.

News and Commentary

  • In first encyclical, pope celebrates faith as the light of human life, by Francis X. Rocca. (Catholic News Service). 07/05/13.
  • Encyclical illustrates continuity of two papacies, officials say, by Cindy Wooden (Catholic News Service) 07/05/13.
    Presenting Pope Francis' new encyclical and acknowledging how much of it was prepared by retired Pope Benedict XVI, top Vatican officials hailed it as a unique expression of the development of papal teaching and unity in faith.

    "It is a fortunate coincidence that this text was written, so to speak, by the hands of two popes," said Archbishop Gerhard Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at a news conference July 5 marking the release of "Lumen Fidei" ("The Light of Faith").

    "Notwithstanding the differences of style, sensibility and accent, anyone who reads this encyclical will immediately note the substantial continuity of the message of Pope Francis with the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI," the archbishop said. ...

    Cardinal Ouellet told reporters, "A pillar was lacking in Benedict XVI's trilogy on the theological virtues" begun with his encyclicals on love and on hope. "Providence willed that this missing pillar should be both a gift from the pope emeritus to his successor and a symbol of unity."

    Pope Francis' decision to take up the work begun by Pope Benedict and add some of his own reflections, which he states explicitly in the encyclical, witnesses to their unity in faith, the Canadian cardinal said. "The light of faith is passed from one pontiff to another like a baton in a relay, thanks to 'the gift of the apostolic succession.'"

    For Cardinal Ouellet, the encyclical's "shared mode of transmission illustrates in an extraordinary way the most fundamental and original aspect of the encyclical: its development of the dimension of communion in faith," of the importance of believing in and with the church and of living one's faith in solidarity with others.

    The text of the finished encyclical, he said, reflects "much of Pope Benedict and all of Pope Francis."

  • The Light of Faith" by Four Hands, by Fr. Thomas Rosica. Salt and Light 07/05/13. In order to begin to understand the magnitude of Pope Francis’ first Encyclical, “Lumen Fidei,” we must take into consideration a scene in the Vatican Gardens early this morning which preceded the unveiling of this great papal teaching prepared by “four hands.” ...
  • Francis on the "Light of Faith" First responses to 'Lumen Fidei' by Drew Christiansen, Robert P. Imbelli, James Martin, SJ, Peter Folan, S.J., Christiana Z. Peppard. America Magazine. 07/05/13.
  • 14 things you need to know about Pope Francis’s new encyclical, by Jimmy Akin. National Catholic Register 07/05/13.
  • In first encyclical, Francis reaches out to seekers, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 07/05/13.
  • Lumen Fidei and Taking the Right Stand, by David Cloutier. dotCommonweal 07/05/13:
    If you do not take a stand, you will not understand. Understanding requires standing. These are the culminating themes of the account of the concept of faith in Joseph Ratzinger’s 1968 Introduction to Christianity, in which faith is named as “taking up a position” and “to take one’s stand on something.” Ratzinger is trying to identify faith with a certain type of stance toward reality, rather than with any formulae, claiming that faith is the prerequisite of all real human understanding. Without faith, he suggests, all understanding eventually is reduced to “making” – that is, not to standing somewhere, but to remaking the world in one’s own image. (By “faith” here, I hasten to add that Ratzinger is speaking more broadly that about “the Faith” – he’s showing that understanding is really only possible if there is acknowledgment of meaning in the world that is PRIOR TO my own definitions, and to acknowledge such meaning is to trust, have faith.

    Chapter 2 of Lumen Fidei quotes Isaiah 7:9, “Unless you believe, you will not understand,” the very verse on which Ratzinger bases his reflection in his 1968. The hand of Benedict is very much present here, weaving a complex reflection on how love, the senses, and reason all work together in fruitful concert when grounded in faith, a faith that itself must be embodied in the community of the Church (chapter 3) and in service to the common good (chapter 4). ...

  • The Encyclical on Faith, by James V. Schall, SJ. Catholic World Report July 7, 2003:
    ... What struck me about this latest encyclical was how little it addressed itself to current events. It does say that marriage is between one man and one woman for their good and that of the child, but that is nothing new. One would think that a Church that wanted to be “relevant,” with a new Pope, some greater effort would be made to speak of economics and foreign affairs. I can imagine the editorial writers in the world press and media scratching their collective heads trying to figure out how to deal with this obviously important document. They are not used to being told that they cannot explain the condition of their own souls without the faith that addresses itself to the whole of human existence.

    I suggest that the encyclical’s purposeful indifference to such things is precisely its point. In the long run, these worldly things are not particularly important if they are not also taken up with the great drama of faith that constitutes salvation history. We cannot explain ourselves by ourselves to ourselves. "Idols exist, we begin to see, as a pretext for setting ourselves at the center of reality and worshiping the work of our own hands. Once man has lost the fundamental orientation that unifies his existence, he breaks down into the multiplicity of his desires…". This encyclical spells out the alternative to the self-centered man. We are not the center of our own reality; yet, we really exist and there is a center.

  • You've got to love an encyclical that name-checks Wittgenstein - Peter Bradley. Lex Communis 07/05/13.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pope Benedict Roundup!

News

  • Ratzinger to return to the Vatican the second of May, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 04/26/13:
    Benedict XVI returns to the Vatican. He left the Holy See on 28 February, the last day of his pontificate, which ended officially on the evening of that same day, following his resignation. Unless there is last minute change of plan, the Pope Emeritus is expected to return to the Vatican the second of May. The former cloistered monastery where the former Pope will be living, is now ready for him to move in. ...
  • Author Charles Coulombe was inspired to write The Legacy of Pope Benedict XVI because he considered Benedict to have been ‘the best pope I’ve lived under' National Catholic Register 04/26/13.
  • Pope Emeritus Benedict 'relieved' he is no longer pontiff Pope Emeritus Benedict's older brother has said the former pontiff is "relieved" to be free of the responsibility of running the Catholic Church, as he insisted that while he is growing weaker with old age, he is not suffering from illness. The Telegraph 04/23/13.
  • Ratzinger celebrates first birthday as Pope Emeritus La Stampa 04/16/13
    Benedict XVI turned 86 today, celebrating his first birthday as Pope Emeritus in the solitude of Cstel Gandolfo, surrounded by his small “family”, made up of his secretary Georg Gänswein, the four Memores Domini sisters, the secretary Sister Birgit and his brother, Georg Ratzinger.

    Pope Francis made a cordial telephone call to him, repeating the wishes he sent him during mass. He also sent his wishes to Georg Ratzinger for his name day on 23 April (the two share the same name, the Pope's own name being Jorge).

Commentary

  • Pope Benedict XVI’s “First Convert”, by Roger Dubin. The Catholic World Report 04/16/13. The story of how a New York Jew wrestled with Christ and became Catholic.
  • From the Archives: Neuhaus and Ratzinger, by Matthew Schmitz. First Things "First Thoughts" Recalling Cardinal Ratzinger's 1988 Erasmus Lecture, "Biblical Interpretation in Crisis, presented in New York City and hosted by the Institute on Religion and Public Life.
  • Pope Benedict XVI’s Legacy: Faith and Future Fr. Angelo Mary Geiger on "Six essential and enduring themes of the pontificate of the Pope Emeritus." Catholic World Report 04/23/13.
  • Benjamin Wiker has written a seven part reflection on Pope Benedict's pontificate (and his battle with secularism) for the National Catholic Register. Wiker's latest book is Worshipping the State: How Liberalism Became Our State Religion.
  • Benedict XVI and the End of the “Virtual Council”, by Tracey Rowland. The Catholic World Report 04/19/13. Up to the final days of his pontificate, Benedict XVI emphasized the importance of interpreting the Council in continuity with what came before it.
  • Pope Francis wishes Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI a Happy Birthday 04/16/13:
    [Tuesday] morning, on the occasion of the birthday of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, the Holy Father Francis began the celebration of Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, inviting all those present to pray with these words: “Today is Benedict XVI's birthday. We offer the Mass for him, so that the Lord be with him, comfort him, and give him much consolation.”

    During the morning, Pope Francis then made friendly a phone call to Benedict XVI to wish him a happy birthday as well as to extend his greetings and best wishes to his brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, who has been at Castel Gandolfo for several days, staying precisely to celebrate in a familial and fraternal way, today's occasion and who will in turn celebrate his saint's day, St. George, this coming 23 April, just as Pope Francis will.

  • Pope's sister: Francis 'plenty tough enough' to lead John Allen Jr. interviews Maria Elena Bergoglio, sister of Pope Francis. National Catholic Reporter 04/03/13:
    There’s only one other person on earth who can really understand what your brother’s going through, and that’s Benedict XVI. They’ve already spoken several times. In the same way, there’s probably only one other person who can appreciate what you’re going through, and that’s Benedict’s brother Georg. Have you thought about calling him for advice?

    You know, no one’s asked me that before. It’s true, probably no one knows what my brother is feeling as much as Benedict. I’ve never thought about calling his brother, but I’m sure it would be a very interesting phone call.

    If you did have that phone call, what would you want to ask him?

    It’s not so much that I have anything I’d want to ask, but I would like to congratulate him for the brother he has. Benedict XVI is an extremely humble man and an extremely honest man, and it takes a lot of guts to renounce power like he did. Also, I’d like to express how grateful I am to Benedict XVI, because he did all the hard work. First of all, he had to follow John Paul II, which was almost impossible, especially because Benedict was more introverted and shy, more intellectual. I also feel sorry for Benedict because in many ways he had to do the dirty work in the church, such as starting to talk about the bad things in the church, the rotten tomatoes, such as the abuse cases.

    You mention the abuse cases. How do you think your brother will respond to them?

    I have no idea what he’ll actually do, but I know that he’ll do what needs to be done.

    Are you glad that your brother is following Benedict and not John Paul II? Do you feel like that will make things easier for him?

    Probably, yes, because John Paul II was so much in the hearts of the people. It was an extremely difficult job for anyone to follow him. I don’t think my brother will be exactly like John Paul II or Benedict XVI … in some ways, at least in terms of personality, he’s a good mix of both of them.

  • Benedict XVI’s Theology of Holy Saturday, by Tania M. Geist. First Things "On The Square" 03/30/13.
  • The Archiving of Benedict, or a Defense of Pope Benedict XVI (Dyspeptic Mutterings 03/28/13). A stern (and warranted) essay by Dale Price on those who would use the pontificate of Pope Francis as a means to criticize -- or otherwise dismiss -- his predecessor.
  • Love, Hope, and Truth: Benedict XVI’s Three Encyclicals, by Carl Olson. CatholicPulse.com. 03/25/13.

Publications

Reason: Open to God The Word Made Love: The Dialogical Theology of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI
by Christopher S. Collins.

Liturgical Press, February 2013.

In The Word Made Love, Christopher Collins identifies in the structure of Ratzinger s thought the presentation of God as one who speaks and who ultimately speaks Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Humanity s posture before God is one of hearing and responding. For Ratzinger, then, dialogue is the basic structure of all reality, and the Christian vision articulates the radical transformation that happens when we enter into this divine dialogue. Collins argues that this dialogical, communicative structure is a distinctive aspect of Ratzinger s thought and a unique contribution to the renewal of theology in our day.

Christopher S. Collins, SJ, is assistant professor of theology at Saint Louis University. He is a former parish priest on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, as well as a high school instructor at both Brophy College Prep in Phoenix, Arizona, and Jesuit College Preparatory in Dallas, Texas.

Reason: Open to God Joseph Ratzinger in Communio, Vol. 2: Anthropology and Culture (Ressourcement: Retrieval and Renewal in Catholic Thought)
by Pope Benedict XVI. Edited by David Schindler and Nicholas J. Healy.

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (January 2013)

In this second volume of Joseph Ratzinger in Communio, Pope Benedict XVI speaks to various issues relating to humanity today -- conscience, technological security, the origin of human life, the meaning of Sunday, Christian hope, and more.

As editor David L. Schindler notes, "Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) rarely writes on any churchly matter that does not manifest its implications for man and culture, and vice versa. Indeed, this indissoluble linking is one of the main distinguishing features of his theology." This is the second of three volumes; the first deals with themes relating to the Church, and the third volume is to focus on theological renewal.

Reason: Open to God
By Mariusz Biliniewicz.
The Liturgical Vision of Pope Benedict XVI: A Theological Inquiry Available in the UK only - order overseas from Amazon.co.uk.

Peter Lang AG, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften (20 Feb 2013)

This book presents and evaluates the liturgical vision of Pope Benedict XVI and the theological background underlying that vision. It describes the main features of Joseph Ratzinger's theology of the liturgy and analyses them within the context of his theology as a whole. Ratzinger's evaluation of the contemporary Roman Catholic liturgy is explored in relation to his overall assessment of the post-Vatican II era in the Church, alongside an examination of his project of liturgical renewal ('reform of the reform') and its practical implementation during his pontificate. The author discusses the various critical voices which have been raised against the Pope's liturgical agenda and against certain aspects of his general theology. Overall, the book offers an assessment of the importance of Ratzinger's vision for the Church at the threshold of the third millennium.


Additional Reference Resources

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pope Francis to Benedict XVI: "We are Brothers"

Castel Gandolfo: Pope Francis visits Benedict XVI. Two popes meet. AsiaNews.it 03/23/13:
... Despite the fact that most media seem to enjoy placing the current pope and his predecessor in stark opposition to each other, the reality is that the two share a deeply fraternal relationship. Since the night of his election, on March 13 last year, Francis has always spoken with kindness and cited his "venerable predecessor." His very first gesture, looking out from St Peter's central loggia was to ask everyone to pray for Pope Benedict XVI. The next day he celebrated Mass with cardinals carrying the German pope's processional cross in his hands, in his encounter with the College of Cardinals he quoted him directly with words of sincere praise for his pontificate with which "he enriched and strengthened the Church with his teaching, his kindness, his guidance, his faith, his humility and gentleness that will remain a spiritual heritage for everyone. "

He mentioned him again with great friendliness and devotion during his meeting with the media, at the Mass in the parish of St. Anne, at the first Mass of his pontificate, meeting with Christian and religious leaders and in his meeting with the diplomatic corps.

Francis and Benedict’s historic meeting: “We are brothers” La Stampa "The Vatican Insider":

After briefly greeting the other people present (the Bishop of Albano and the director of the Pontifical Villas, Petrillo), they got into the car Benedict XVI had arrived in. Francis got in on the right hand side, the side the Pope always sits on and Benedict sat on the left. The Prefect of the Papal Household, Mgr. Georg Gänswein, also took the same car which took them to the lifts which took them up to the apartment. They then went to the chapel to pray.

“In the chapel, the Pope Emeritus offered Francis the seat of honour but the latter replied: “We are brothers,” and asked Ratzinger to kneel down with him at the same pew,” Fr. Lombardi said.

After a brief moment of prayer, they went to the private Library where the private meeting started at 12:30. This is the library where the Pope usually receives important guests when he is at Castel Gandolfo. Francis gave the Pope Emeritus a beautiful icon as a gift, after which their conversation began. It lasted 45 minutes and ended at 13:15.

“It should be noted that the Pope Emeritus wears a simple white cassock without a fascia (sash) or shoulder cape: it is these two garments that distinguish him from Francis who does wear a fascia and shoulder cape,” the Vatican spokesman stressed.

The two secretaries, Fr. Georg and Fr. Xuereb attended the lunch as well and the private and confidential meeting concluded with a conversation in the Library.

Pope Francis (L) embraces Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as he arrives at the Castel Gandolfo summer residence March 23, 2013. Pope Francis travelled by helicopter from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo for a private meeting with former Pope Benedict XVI. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano

Vatican Radio also reports:

The Holy Father also brought a gift for his predecessor, an icon of Our Lady of Humility, as a gift for Benedict XVI's great humility. The two men then spent an estimated 45 minutes in private conversation in the Library before emerging to lunch with two secretaries.

The intensely reserved nature of the encounter confirms what Benedict XVI had confided to the priests of Rome in his last meeting with them as Pope on February 14th when he said: “Although I am retiring now, I will always be close in prayer, and you will be close to me, even if I remain hidden away from the world".

Pope Francis, left, and the former pope Benedict XVI prayed together at Castel Gandolfo. AFP/Osservatore Romano

Related

  • Ratzinger-Bergoglio lunch:"A constructive meeting. It would be wrong to draw comparisons" Antonio Spadaro, the director of the Company of Jesus’ journal Civilta Cattolica gives an account of today’s face-to-face meeting between Francis and Benedict XVI. La Stampa 03/23/13.
  • Unprecedented image in two thousand years of Catholic history, by Andrea Tornielli. La Stampa "The Vatican Insider" 03/24/13:
    Gossip over continuity and break based on mozzettas, ermine furs and red shoes is threatening to overshadow the reality of true continuity between Benedict XVI and Francis. Theirs is a continuity that finds proof in several passages, in small deeds and stresses that were seen and heard during the first few days of this pontificate: the humility shown by both, their shared knowledge that the Church is ultimately led by God, their sense of non protagonism. After the election Benedict XVI said that “ everywhere the pope goes he shines the light of Christ, not his own”, Francis too, when talking to journalists, remarked that the protagonist is Christ not the pope.

    Another element that the two popes have in common is their awareness of the need to safeguard the environment and all creation, of which mankind is the apex; in fact Benedict XVI had earned the nickname of “Green pope”; not to mention the concern over career-ambition and the “ spiritual worldliness” within the Church. Only people who have forgotten Benedict XVI’s profound homilies on these matters during consistories and during the ceremonies to appoint bishops might think that there is no harmony between the two popes. Only people who do not know Ratzinger’s writings on liturgy might believe that his philosophy would centre around lace, ermine fur and evermore sophisticated parameters rather than the simple encounter with the mystery of Christ. Some time ago, during a TV show, Bergoglio said that mass is not “ a gathering of friends who come to pray and eat bread and wine… To what great extent a priest needs to prepare to celebrate the holy communion !”

    The exceptional footage shot yesterday at Castel Gandolfo shows the pope Emeritus pointing out to his successor the papal kneeling stool and then trying to stand aside, but being prevented from doing so by Francis who took him by the hand to pray side by side because in his eyes they are “brothers”. Those who saw the footage perfectly understand the mutual consideration and harmony that exists between these two men. Those who heard Francis’ voice as he gave his predecessor the picture of Our Lady of Humility and said “I thought of you because during your pontificate -- you gave us many examples of tenderness and humility" will not hesitate in recognizing humility as one of the common denominators between the two popes.

  • Dr. Robert Moynihan comments further on the significance of Pope Francis' gift to Benedict of the icon of the Madonna of Humility:
    ... a few minutes ago I received an unexpected email from Metropolitan Hilarion, 46, an old friend who is also the “Foreign Minister” (the term isn’t quite accurate, but it suggests the importance of his work and position) of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Moscow Patriarchate, so, the right-hand of Patriarch Kirill. He wrote:

    “Pope Francis presented to Pope emeritus Benedict the icon which had been presented to Pope Francis by Metropolitan Hilarion on behalf of Patriarch Kirill [the head of the Russian Orthodox Church] after the private audience [with the new Pope] on 20 March. Отправлено с iPhone [Sent from iPhone]“

    So the icon was the Russian icon Hilarion gave to Francis three days ago!

    I wrote back: “Amazing. Are you pleased, or upset?”

    I added: “It is reported here: ‘They spent 45 minutes talking alone. Pope Francis gave Pope Benedict an icon of Our Lady of Humility, saying that when he received it, he immediately thought of giving it to Pope Benedict.’”

    Hilarion wrote back: “Very pleased and touched.”


    ... at the moment Pope Francis and Pope Benedict first met, at the first meeting ever of the “two Popes” of the Roman Catholic Church, there was a “Russian connection” and an “Orthodox connection” which was present, which was between them, joining them: an image of the Virgin Mary, the Madonna of Humility, brought from Russia and given to Pope Francis in Rome on March 20, an image which immediately struck Pope Francis when he received it as reminding him of Benedict, an image which he decided to bring with him today, to give to Emeritus Pope Benedict, on the occasion of the unprecedented, historic occasion, of their first meeting.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Surprise! -- Pope takes a walk through Rome!

Pope Benedict XVI made his first public appearance on the streets of Rome on Wednesday afternoon, April 20, as he visited his old apartment near Vatican City to transfer some belongings to his new home in the apostolic palace.

The newly elected Pope, clothed completely in the distinctive white vestments of the papacy, caught onlookers by surprise when he chose to travel on foot, walking the few hundred yards to the apartment in the Citta Leonina where he had lived for years. When the news spread that the Pontiff was walking through the city, hundreds of people quickly gathered, and he spent some time in front of the apartment building, greeting the people and blessing young children. Italian police and Vatican security officials did their best to control the crowd, preserving some breathing room for the Pontiff.

After a short stay in his old apartment, the Pontiff reappeared, entering a black car that was waiting for him at the entrance of the building. He paused again to wave to the crowd, turning slowly from one direction to another so that he could greet as many as possible. The crowd burst into cheers of "Long live the Pope!" and the chant that has already become familiar: "Benedetto!" Pope Benedict later commented that he was "very moved" as he resumed direct contact with the faithful.

As reported on April 20, 2005. Hat tip to Wheat and Weeds, providing a welcome reminder that -- contrary to the attempt of some to drive a wedge between the new pontiff and his predecessor -- "As with Vatican II, so with these papacies: we preach a hermeneutic of continuity, not one of rupture."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pope Benedict Roundup!

News

Some news and trivia that might have been missed on the final days of Pope Benedict's Pontificate.

  • Benedict’s Finale with Beethoven: A “Heroic” Moment, by Msgr. Daniel B. Gallagher. Pope Benedict’s pontificate comes to a fitting musical conclusion with a performance of Beethoven’s magnificent Eroica Symphony. Catholic World Report 02/19/13.

  • The last appointments before the departure, by Sandro Magister (Chiesa, 2/26/13). From Gänswein to Balestrero, passing through the IOR. An analysis of the appointments decided by Benedict XVI in the final phase of his pontificate. Not all of them were obligatory. Will they be a hindrance or a help to the future pope?

  • Notice of Danger: A Church with Two Popes, by Sandro Magister. (Chiesa 03/09/13). The imminent conclave will elect the new pontiff. But it will not dismiss the uncertainties about the role of the so-called "pope emeritus." A great canonist reveals the risks of this title. And of other ambiguities that surround it.

  • When Pope Benedict XVI officially stepped down from office Feb. 28, his wardrobe changed -- right down to the ring on his finger.

  • Twilight of a Pontificate: An Eyewitness Report The Rev. Dr. Athanasius McVay relays his eyewitness report of Benedict's final audiences and last days.

  • Benedict XVI Honored by Eastern Orthodox Hierarchs, by Christopher B. Warner. Catholic World Report 03/04/13. Another look at the Constantinople-Rome schism and a way forward for reconciliation.

  • Old pope, new pope have a chat, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 03/19/13:
    Pope Francis today made a phone call to his predecessor, Benedict XVI, after his inaugural Mass to wish him well on his saint's name day -- the feast of St. Joseph. The given name of Pope Benedict XVI, of course, is Joseph Ratzinger. (In addition, Ratzinger's parents were named Joseph and Mary.)

    A brief Vatican statement on the phone call appears below.

    "This afternoon, shortly after 5:00 pm, Pope Francis called the pope emeritus Benedict XVI by phone to give him warm wishes on the occasion of his saint’s name day, St. Joseph, and to once again express his gratitude and that of the church for his service. The conversation was ample and cordial. The pope emeritus has followed with intense participation the events of these days, in particular this morning’s celebration, and assured his successor of his continued closeness in prayer."


Pope Benedict is the first pope ever to watch coverage of the election of his successor.


Commentary

  • Winter 2010 Issue of Communio: International Catholic Review features a symposium on Caritas in Veritate, the third encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI, with a number of articles generously made available online.

  • The “Martyrdom” of Pope Benedict XVI, by Alberto Carosa. Catholic World Report Don Nicola Bux, one of Benedict’s close collaborators, on the deeper meaning of the papal resignation. 03/10/13.

  • The Ratzinger Legacy, by Ross Douthat. New York Times 03/3/13:
    It was the work of Ratzinger’s subsequent career, first as John Paul II’s doctrinal policeman and then as his successor, to re-establish where Catholicism actually stood. This was mostly a project of reassertion: yes, the church still believes in the Resurrection, the Trinity and the Virgin birth. Yes, the church still opposes abortion, divorce, sex outside of marriage. Yes, the church still considers itself the one true faith. And yes — this above all, for a man whose chief gifts were intellectual — the church believes that its doctrines are compatible with reason, scholarship and science.

    It was understandable that this project made Ratzinger many enemies. It turned him into a traitor to his class, since it involved disciplining theologians who had been colleagues, peers and rivals. It disappointed or wounded the many Catholics who couldn’t reconcile the church’s teachings with their post-sexual-revolution lives. And it obviously did not solve the broad cultural challenges facing institutional Christianity in the West.

    But it did stabilize Catholicism, especially in America, to an extent that was far from inevitable 40 years ago.

  • Benedict XVI Put Liturgy Front and Center, by Trent Beattie. National Catholic Register 03/20/13. The pope emeritus’ words and deeds regarding the Mass led the faithful closer to God.

  • David Schütz, (Sentire Cum Ecclesia) on why Lutherans can thank God for the Papacy of Benedict XVI:
    From my point of view, as a “Lutheran in communion with the Bishop of Rome”, Benedict XVI will always stand out as unique among all the popes of history as the only one who really read, knew, and understood Martin Luther.

  • Benedict Face to Face with Islam, Andrew Doran revisits the Pope's Regensburg address and the implications of "dehellenization". First Things "On the Square" 04/20/13.

  • Amy Welborn: "a short reflection on the explosion of reactions to Pope Francis" Charlotte Was Both 03/18/13:
    I’m startled by the number of people who are under the impression that Pope Benedict neglected to mention Jesus Christ, mercy or the poor during his pontificate. Who don’t understand the substantial reforms Pope Benedict undertook over the past few years. So for example: Pope Francis mentioned the danger of the Church becoming seen as just another NGO, to wide acclaim – from some of the same quarters who have looked askance at Pope Benedict making exactly the same points – and putting them into action ...

    For me, it comes down to this. Both of these Popes were and are pastors. Both have given their lives for us, for Christ. We can – and should be open to being – taught by both. All I’m saying is that – as Pope Francis himself has acknowledged in his own words these past few days – Pope Benedict was all about Christ. He spent 8 years as your Pope, “proposing Jesus Christ” through his words and actions – even his red shoes. If Pope Francis’ actions so far preach Christ more clearly to you then so be it. Christ is who is important, and we are a Church of great diversity for a reason. But what has been so bizarre and even saddening over the past few days is a tone and implication that Benedict was somehow about something else besides Jesus Christ.


Further reflections on the pontificate and legacy of Pope Benedict XVI.



Forthcoming Books

Reason: Open to God A Reason Open to God: On Universities, Education, and Culture Catholic University of America Press (July 2013)

With clarity and wisdom, Pope Benedict XVI sets out his vision for Catholic higher education in this first and only collection of his major addresses on the topic.
  • What is the mission and identity of a Catholic university?
  • What are the responsibilities of administrators, teachers, and students in Catholic institutes of higher learning?
  • Where does the central theme of "love of God and others" fit into academia?

The pope's most important statements on the nature of the university and its cultural and educative tasks are brought together in this volume. Featured are the various speeches he has given to university audiences since his pontificate began. Also included are select addresses on education and culture, themes that go to the heart of the mission of the university, and that possess a value for society as a whole. Throughout these addresses, the pope presents 2,000 years of lived tradition with a striking freshness. His response to the contemporary challenges in Catholic higher education will have an enduring historical impact.

Reason: Open to God A School of Prayer: The Saints Show us How to Pray

Ignatius Press (March 2013)

Prayer is essential to the life of faith. In this superb book, based on Pope Benedict's weekly teaching, he examines the foundational principles of the life of prayer. Believers of various backgrounds and experience in prayer-from beginners to spiritually advanced-will be enriched by this spiritual masterpiece.

Benedict begins considering what we can learn from the examples of prayer found in a wide range of cultures and eras. Next, he turns to the Bible's teaching about prayer, beginning with Abraham and moving though Moses, the prophets, the Psalms to the example of Jesus. With Jesus Christ, Pope Benedict considers not only the Lord's teaching about prayer, but also his example of how to pray, including the Our Father, his prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane, and prayers on the Cross. The prayers of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and the early Church are also explored. Benedict also draws on insights from spiritual masters, the saints, and the Church's liturgy. He challenges readers to live their relationships with God "even more intensely, as it were, at a 'school of prayer'."

Although Benedict provides a sweeping survey of great figures of prayer, his discussion centers on Jesus Christ and even invokes him in the study of prayer. "It is in fact in Jesus," writes Benedict, "that man becomes able to approach God in the depth and intimacy of the relationship of fatherhood and sonship. Together with the first disciples, let us now turn with humble trust to the Teacher and ask him: 'Lord, teach us to pray' (Lk 11:1)."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam! - Pope Francis

Vatican City, 13 March 2013 (VIS) - Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., has been elected as Supreme Pontiff, the 265th successor of Peter, and has chosen the name Francis. He is the first Latin American Pope, the first Jesuit Pope, and the first “Francis” in the pontificate.

At 8:12pm—55 minutes after the appearance of the white “fumata” at 7:06pm—the Cardinal proto-deacon Jean-Louis Tauran made the solemn announcement to the people from the external Loggia of the Hall of Blessings of the Vatican Basilica.

Following are the words pronounced by Cardinal Tauran:

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum;
habemus Papam;
Eminentissium ac Reverendissium Dominum,
Dominum Georgium Marium
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio
Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum.

[I announce to you with great joy;
We have a Pope;
The most eminent and most reverend Lord
Lord Mario
Cardinal of Holy Roman Church Bergoglio
Who has taken the name Francis.]

Conclave Notes

The conclave that led to the election of Pope Francis began on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican Apostolic Palace, with the "Extra omnes" pronounced at 5:33pm by Msgr. Guido Marini, master of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, following the taking of the oath by the 115 cardinal electors.

The first black “fumata” took place at 7:42pm the same day.

On Wednesday, 13 March, there was black smoke at 11:40am.

On Wednesday, 13 March, there was white smoke at 7:06pm.

First “Urbi et Orbi” Blessing of the New Holy Father Francis

Before the new Pope appeared at the balcony, an honour guard of Swiss Guards in full military regalia and bearing the pontifical standard marched into the square and took their places under the Loggia followed by a representation of the various Italian armed forces that, since 1929, have paid homage to the Pope on important occasions as a sign of the reconciliation between the Holy See and the Italian State. The Holy See marching band accompanied the wait. As soon as they heard the name of the new pontiff, the crowd began to chant together: “Francesco, Francesco”.

At 8:24pm, the Holy Father Francis, preceded by the Cross, appeared at the Loggia of the brightly lit Vatican Basilica. Before imparting the “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world) apostolic blessing he greeted the enormous crowd that had been gathering all afternoon in cold and rainy St. Peter's Square saying:

“Dear brothers and sisters, Good evening. You know that the duty of the Conclave was to give Rome a bishop. It seems that my brother cardinals picked him from almost the ends of the earth. But here we are! I thank you for the warm welcome. The diocesan community of Rome has its bishop. Thank you! First and foremost I would like to say a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus Benedict XVI. Let us pray together for him, that the Lord bless him and the Virgin keep him.”

After leading the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Gloria, Pope Francis again addressed the crowd saying:

“And now let us begin this journey, bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which is the one that leads all the churches in charity. A journey of fraternity, of trust between us. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the world so that this might be a great brotherhood. I hope that this journey of the Church that we begin today, and in which my Cardinal Vicar here present will assist me, will be fruitful for the evangelization of this beautiful city.”

“Now I would like to impart the blessing, but first, first I ask a favor of you. Before the bishop blesses the people, I ask that you pray to the Lord that He bless me: the prayer of the people asking a blessing for their bishop. Let us pray in silence, this your prayer for me.”

“Now I will impart the blessing to you and all the world, to all men and women of good will.”

After imparting the apostolic blessing Pope Francis added: “Brothers and sisters, I take my leave. Thank you for your warm welcome. Tomorrow I'm going to pray to the Virgin, that she will safeguard all of Rome. Good night and rest well.”

SOURCE: CARDINAL BERGOGLIO ELECTED TO PONTIFICATE Vatican Information Service. 03/13/13.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Conclave 2013 - News, Resources, Commentary



This post will be updated regularly in the days and weeks to come as we compile news and information resources related to the upcoming 2013 Papal Conclave.


Covering the Conclave: Resources

Papabile of the Day John Allen Jr. (National Catholic Reporter profiles cardinals who are frequently touted as papabile, or men who could be pope. These are the names drawing the most buzz in the lead-up to the conclave.


News

Conclaves in Modern History: Fun facts, by Deacon Pedro. Salt + Light. 3/11/13. Provided by Dr. Donald Prudlo, Associate Professor of History at Jacksonville State University, Alabama.


Commentary

  • The key issue for the coming conclave is transparency. Catholic Culture. 3/7/13.
  • Who Will be Pope #266?, by Michael Severance. Catholic World Report After a long month to think, pray, and meet, the cardinals convene and the world waits.

  • Is an American Pope Possible, or Prudent?, by Edward Pentin. National Catholic Register 3/8/13. Cardinals and Vatican analysts are considering the matter, as speculation mounts that U.S. cardinals are serious candidates for the seat of St. Peter.

  • A Quick Course in Conclave 101, by John Allen Jr. National Catholic Reporter 2/15/13. Regarding the traditional Catholic conviction that a conclave unfolds under the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit, he opines:
    one shouldn't exaggerate the role of divine inspiration. As one cardinal put it to me after the election of Benedict XVI, "I was never whapped on the head by the Holy Spirit. I had to make the best choice I could based on the information available."

    Perhaps the classic expression of this idea belongs to none other than the outgoing pope, Benedict XVI, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was asked on Bavarian television in 1997 if the Holy Spirit is responsible for who gets elected. This was his response:

    I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. ... I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit's role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote. Probably the only assurance he offers is that the thing cannot be totally ruined.

    Then the clincher:

    There are too many contrary instances of popes the Holy Spirit obviously would not have picked!

  • According to Canon Lawyer Dr. Ed Peters, "There are presently 118 cardinals (a papally self-imposed limit of 120 electors is occasionally exceeded), some of them retired (emeritus) from their last posts, eligible to vote in the next papal conclave." He provides additional resources on the next papal conclave here.

  • McCarrick: We're ready for a Third World pope - The former archbishop of Washington at down for an interview with NCR on Feb. 14 at the North American College, the residence for American seminarians on Rome, to discuss Benedict's resignation and the dynamics of the looming papal election.

  • A critical tone among cardinals begins to emerge, by John Allen Jr. (National Catholic Reporter 2/15/13):
    Earlier this week, I suggested that because the end of Benedict XVI's papacy is not occurring in tandem with his death, it may create greater psychological space for cardinals to take a critical look at the pontificate, without fear of speaking ill of the late pontiff.

    A small confirmation of that theory has come in the form of an interview given to a German newspaper by Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne, one of Benedict's closest friends in the College of Cardinals.

  • On a comical note, Nicholas Farrell (Taki's Magazine) is praying for a black pope. "Think about it: Who better to tell white liberal lefties to [expletive] off than a black pope?" -- while sex-obsessed Hans Kung and a disillusioned Garry Wills give up hope that any newly-elected Pope would reflect their views on contraception and female clergy.

An interactive online tutorial from The Vatican Insider La Stampa)