- Speaking after a concert given at the Sistine Chapel on Saturday, June 24, Pope Benedict XVI called for an authentic updating of sacred music that takes into account the tradition of the Church (Zenit News):
"Sacred polyphony," the Holy Father said Saturday after a concert held in his honor by the Domenico Bartolucci Foundation, "especially the so-called 'Roman school,' is a legacy that must be carefully conserved, maintained alive and made known."The members of the Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas will no doubt be overjoyed at the news.
It will be of "benefit not only to scholars and enthusiasts, but to the ecclesial community as a whole, for which it represents an inestimable spiritual, artistic and cultural heritage," the Pope said, after the concert in the Sistine Chapel.
"An authentic updating of sacred music cannot occur except in line with the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian Chant, and of sacred polyphony," the Pontiff added.
For detailed background on the concert and the significance of its conductor, maestro monsignor Domenico Bartolucci, see A Change of Tune in the Vatican – And Not Only in the Secretariat of State, by Sandro Magister. www.chiesa June 27, 2006, while Get Religion examines the usual disconnect between what was said and what's being reported by the mainstream press (Pope demands end to crappy church music June 30, 2006):
Pope Benedict XVI has harshed on guitars in Mass, according to various media reports. I don’t see why you need the Pope to tell you that if you walk into a sanctuary and see a drum riser where the altar should be that you may want to get the heck out of dodge, but I guess some of us do need a bit of guidance. . . .For more on Pope Benedict's views on music, see Music and Liturgy: Excerpts from The Spirit of the Liturgy by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, courtesy of Ignatius Press, and Pope Benedict XVI on Sacred Music, additional excerpts compiled by St. Michael's Catholic Church in Auburn, Alabama.
- Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, a member of the International Theological Commission, recently presented 8 Keys to Reading Joseph Ratzinger's Work at the closing the first course of Specialization in Religious Information, organized by the University of the Holy Cross (Zenit News, June 25, 2006).
- On June 23, 2006, Pope Benedict explained to the archdiocese of Genoa, Italy, reasons for appointing Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. as secretary of State (Catholic News Agency, June 23, 2006):
During the three years Cardinal Bertone has led the diocese, the Holy Father tells the faithful in his letter, "you have learned to appreciate those gifts and qualities that make him a faithful pastor, especially capable of combining pastoral care and doctrinal wisdom.Meanwhile, Richard Owen of the London Times notes some lamentation of the appointment: "Critics said that putting a Ratzinger-Bertone alliance at the top of the Vatican hierarchy meant that the Church would be in the hands of "arch-conservatives" at a time when many Catholics, especially in the Third World, are calling for reform." (Pope promotes 'hardliner' in reshuffle of his top team June 22, 2006).
"It is precisely these characteristics, together with the mutual understanding and trust we developed over our years of shared service at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that have induced me to choose him for this exalted and delicate task in the service of the Universal Church at the Holy See.
"I know that I have asked a great sacrifice of Cardinal Bertone; and I know that the sacrifice of the faithful entrusted to his care in Genoa is no less, but I am certain that his affection and his prayers for your community will be brought 'ad Petri sedem.' The history of your diocese demonstrates your generous fidelity to the Vicar of Christ, to which I appeal also by virtue of the name I chose for my own Petrine ministry: the name of the last Genovese Pope, so devoted to the 'Madonna della Guardia.' To her I entrust you all in this moment of change, delicate but full of grace, because 'in everything God works for good with those who love Him.'
- On June 21, 2006, Pope Benedict was made "honorary citizen" of Regensburg, Germany (Source: Zenit News).
- Pope Benedict will travel to Valencia, Spain next month for the World Meeting of Families. Zenit News Service interviewed Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City on Benedict's concern for the renewal of the family (Zenit News. June 11, 2006):
His decision to attend the World Meeting of Families is a public affirmation of the invaluable worth he places on the family. We have already seen in just the year since his election that renewing the family is a priority of his pontificate.
His first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, gives much attention to the love between a man and a woman, how human love, especially eros, must be connected to divine love and the good of children, and the important role of love in the public life.
And since the family is the first school of love, we can infer that a healthy family is essential to a healthy society.
- In late May 2006, Pope Benedict devoted his weekly audience to the topic of the primacy of St. Peter. Teresa Polk (Blog by the Sea) provides us with a roundup of links to B16's addresses and commentary.
Elsewhere . . .
- It came as no suprise that, with the death of Pope John Paul II, vociferous critics of the traditionalist right turned their sights on Pope Benedict, with groups like the comical Novus Ordo Watch predicting the worst. Pope or Heretic? An Evaluation of Benedict XVI and "trueCatholic.org" touting the alleged Heresies of Anti-Pope Benedict XVI.
In Pope or Heretic? An Evaluation of Benedict XVI, Jacob Michael of LumenGentleman Apologetics, examines some of the quotations from Benedict (whether Pope or Cardinal Ratzinger) which are cited as "proof" of heresy, and finds them wanting. According to Jacob:
. . . the problem lies in the "hermeneutic of suspicion" that so many well-intentioned Catholics fall into; a kind of cynicism that takes a defensive approach to any Church document issued after the reign of Pope Pius XII. Heresy hunting is easy; words by their very nature require interpretation, and most words can be bent, twisted, and taken to conclusions that the speaker or author never intended. As a former Protestant, I am more than well-acquainted with this fact; this "hermeneutic of suspicion" is the grid through which I learned to read the Catholic Church's teachings. The worst possible motive is always assumed; if something can be interpreted in either a good sense or a bad sense, the bad sense is presumed to be the sense intended, and false conclusions are drawn. . . . It is not difficult to see this principle at work in the way some choose to receive and deal with the council, and especially with papal teachings and actions. . . .Concludes Jacob: "I have yet to see a quote that wasn't ripped from its context, squeezed through the filter of deep suspicion, interpreted in the worst possible light, and isolated from other statements within the body of Benedict XVI's work." As it was for John Paul II, so it is for Benedict XVI. Pray for the Pope, and his enemies as well. (Article via Rorate Caeli).
In Benedict XVI and the "Real Presence", the blog Hallowed Ground diffuses a charge that Benedict "once taught against the practice of eucharistic adoration and has even promoted heresy with respect to the Real Presence" with further citation from his writings.
- Series of Reflections on Deus Caritas Est Since early May, L'Osservatore Romano has been running a series of reflections on Benedict XVI's first encyclical, with contributions by Cardinal Renato Martino, Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, Bishop Rino Fisichella, Cardinal Angelo Scola and Archbishop Paul Cordes. Zenit News Service has a roundup of commentary with the highlights.
- Orthodoxy and Islam: Benedict XVI Prepares for His Trip to Turkey, by Sandro Magister. www.chiesa June 16, 2006.
- A new volume published in Italian by Libreria Editrice Vaticana gathers key phrases pronounced by Benedict XVI in the first year of his papacy. Pensieri Spirituali (Spiritual Thoughts) gathers phrases chosen from his encyclical, homilies, meetings and audiences, and from moments when he spoke without notes. [Source: Zenit News. June 13, 2006].
- From the Vol 9:2 -- Spring 2006 edition of LOGOS: Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture: The Church and the Secular Establishment: A Philosophical Dialog between Joseph Ratzinger and Jürgen Habermas, by Virgil Nemoianu. [.pdf format]
- Lajolo and Kasper, Two New Additions to Team Ratzinger www.Chiesa June 7, 2006. Sandro Magister profiles archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Secretary for Relations with States (or the Vatican's foreign minister) and Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, discussing how their thought has developed in relation to "new course charted by pope Ratzinger."
Those familiar with the RatzingerFanClub's archive will remember the frequent intellectual disputes between Ratzinger and Kasper on ecumenism (provoked by the publication of Dominus Iesus) and ecclesiology (see our special compilation on The Ratzinger-Kasper Debate). Consequently, to hear Magister speak of "the new “ratzingerian” course" charted by Kasper and a convergence of thought, particularly on ecumenism, is indeed an occasion for hope. Magister covered this same issue back in March 2005, in which he described an address by Kasper as "a cold shower for the Church's left wing." (Kasper and Kolvenbach, Converts to the Neocon Way www.Chiesa March 8, 2005).
Incidentally, the Ratzinger Fan Club, was inspired by the outcry over Dominus Iesus, rallying in defense of the Cardinal against the vehement criticism of Cardinal Ratzinger which followed. Earlier this month, Gerald Augustinus (Closed Cafeteria) reminds us just what was so important about that document).
- Even the Pope has Rights: The Vatican and Copyright Privileges, by Philip F. Lawler. Ignatius Insight May 2006. The editor of the Catholic World Report provides much-needed clarification on a topic about which there was much confusion and misinformation:
In January a Vatican correspondent for La Stampa, Marco Tosatti, had received a bill from LEV, demanding payment of 15,000 pounds (at the time, about $18,400) for the use of material by Pope Benedict. Not coincidentally, it was Tosatti who led the editorial charge when La Stampa criticized the Vatican for asserting control of the Pope's intellectual-property rights.Lawler clarifies the nature and demands of the copyright policy of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana (LEV) and its affect on papal press and journalism.
But Tosatti's use of Pope Benedict's written work was not a matter of a simple quotation or two. The Italian journalist had published a book entitled The Dictionary of Pope Ratzinger, composed almost entirely of the Pope's spoken and written words. In his preface to the book, Tosatti had assured readers: "Everything you will find here, beyond this introduction, comes from the pen or the voice of Joseph Ratzinger." In short, Tossati had tried to do precisely what he now charged Vatican officials with doing: make a profit by publishing the Pope's work.
- Benedict Contra Nietzsche: A Reflection on Deus Caritas Est, by Benjamin D. Wiker. Crisis May 9, 2006:
Deus Caritas Est is a declaration of war, and it is loaded with ammunition—much of it stealth in design, and of such power that the Church under Benedict XVI will certainly be the Church Militant. For while on the surface Benedict only seems to be offering a theological platitude, that “God is love,” hidden to the hasty eyes of the press, buried in the intricacies of his philosophical and theological analysis, obscured from all but those initiated into Benedict’s inner circle, he really is declaring that God is love.
It will become clear—as we dig into the encyclical—that a more dangerous and constructive idea for our culture could not be imagined. It’s a brilliant strategy on Benedict’s part to hide so explosive a truth under a simple truism.
- Meekness and courage of the Pope in Poland: Benedict XVI in the land of Karol Wojtyla, by Marco Tosatti. 30 Giorni [30 Days] May 2006. "Of Benedict XVI’s visit many different images remain in the memory: from the homage to his predecessor to the human warmth of the crowd. From the defense of Tradition to the solicitude of the visit to Auschwitz. An account by the Vatican expert of La Stampa."
Also on trip to Poland: Pope Benedict's Apostolic Journey to Poland (May 25-28, 2006) - Compilation of papal addresses and photo gallery from the Vatican website.
The American Papist of course offers a magnificent and extensive roundup in The Great Poland Post of 2006, while we took a concentrated look at Pope Benedict XVI, Auschwitz, and the Nature of Anti-Semitism Against The Grain May 30, 2006 (and will likely devote another post to follow-up discussion of the issue).
- The Story of Joseph Ratzinger: "The difficult years", by Gianni Valente (in collaboration with Pierluca Azzaro). 30 Giorni [30 Days] May 2006. "Former colleagues and students speak of Professor Ratzinger on the theological campus of Tübingen. Where his unrepentant adhesion to the reforms of the Council was put to the test by clerical triumphalism and middle-class foot-dragging."
- Pope to India; India to Pope - Interesting discussion on Amy Welborn's Open Book on Pope Benedict's May 18, 2006 address to Amitava Tripathi, India's new ambassador to the Holy See (in which he noted "the disturbing signs of religious intolerance which have troubled some regions [in India], including the reprehensible attempt to legislate clearly discriminatory restrictions on the fundamental right of religious freedom"); the indignant protest of the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP); and the papal appointment of Cardinal Ivan Dias, formerly the Archbishop of Bombay, to Prefect of Evangelization of Peoples.
If Cardinal Dias' personal opinion of Dominus Iesus is any indication, he is a man after Benedict's heart and the perfect guy for the job (Source: AmericanCatholic.Org:
. . . Speaking to reporters in Rome shortly after [Dominus Iesus] was released, the then-archbishop said, "It is a reaffirmation of what we believe and what we think," namely that "Jesus is the only savior of the world."Sandro Magister has more:
"We have a right to say who we are, and others can accept it or not," he said.
Giving strength to the suspicion that the document was prompted particularly by the interreligious efforts of Asian theologians, and especially those working in India, he said clarity was needed in countries where the vast majority of people are not Christian.
As the new prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the pope has called an Indian, cardinal Ivan Dias, 70, who has been archbishop of Bombay for ten years, but before that served at the secretariat of state and as a diplomat in many countries, including Albania (his last diplomatic post), and before that South Korea, Ghana, Indonesia, and Sweden, without counting the dozens of countries he followed as a Vatican observer, including Russia, China, Vietnam, and South Africa. He has learned many languages, speaking eighteen fluently having some familiarity with others.(The New Curia of Benedict XVI Looks toward Asia. www.Chiesa May 26, 2006; via Domenico Bettinelli, Jr.).
But even though this skill is very much adapted to his role, it is not the only reason why Benedict XVI chose him as the new prefect of “Propaganda Fide.” Much more influential was the fact that cardinal Dias, who has an excellent understanding of the Eastern religions, has never surrendered to that “relativism” of faiths that Ratzinger condemned in 2000 with the most important of his actions as the cardinal custodian of doctrine, the declaration “Dominus Iesus.”
As archbishop of Bombay, Dias has on a number of occasions complained of the fact that the Jesuits, excessively enthusiastic supporters of interreligious dialogue, play the master in the seminaries of India. His goal was to evangelize and convert, and each year he administered many baptisms. Before the last conclave he was listed among the candidates for the papacy, but in reality he was one of Ratzinger’s most resolute supporters.
- Pope Benedict, the Holy Grail and El Cid, by Robert Duncan. Spero News July 6, 2006. "Truth is, Benedict has a tough row to how in Valencia. He doesn't only have to worry about just the Holy Grail, but the whole Cathedral for that matter is fraught with imagery . . ."
More from Robert on Pope Benedict's trip: Benedict in Spain: Church-State tensions heat up SperoForum.com [reprinted from National Catholic Register July 2-8, 2006]; while in Valencia, Benedict will be visiting the site of a tragic subway accident in Valencia, Spain that claimed the lives of 41 people.
On a Lighter Note . . .
- Fr. Andrew Greeley:"Give B16 A Break!" - Jimmy Akin wonders, "is it just me or does it seem to anyone else that Fr. Andrew Greeley -- priest, novelist, sociologist, Catholic progressive -- is mellowing in his old age? A few months ago, he was in the press defending Francis Cardinal George of Chicago against unfounded allegations of apathy on the priest abuse issue; now he's come out swinging for Pope Benedict XVI."
- Just another day at the square with some friends . . . San Peter's Square, that is, as Pope Benedict XVI leads a liturgy of Vespers on the eve of Pentecost Sunday. June 3, 2006. Argent by the Tiber has some great photographs, both of the Holy Father and the crowd's reaction.
- Shouts in the Piazza has a great photo and caption of the Holy Father Outside the Presidential Palace in Warsaw.
- Baby Benedict gets Letter from Pope "The personalised note on Vatican headed-notepaper arrived on baby Benedict's doorstep after officials in Rome learned the tot had been named after the Pope, with whom he also shares a birthday." Lancanshire Evening Post June 28, 2006.
- That's One Happy Pope - serene in the peace and love of Christ. Inspiring photos from Closed Cafeteria.
- Another Pope Forum - Amy Welborn, longtime follower of The Papa Ratzinger Forum, announces her discovery of The Ratzinger Forum -- not exactly "run" by yours truly, the forum took on a life of its own with the election of Pope Benedict XVI and pretty much runs itself. Forum participation requires a (free) EzBoard account registration and formal application to the RFC Forum -- requiring a bit of patience, but verification measures were instituted due to some extremely perverse attempts at sabotage by those irate over the new Pope.
Amy also points us to a darling photograph of the Pope's visit with the Polish president and a great video of the Pope with the Polish president's family and 3-year old granddaughter. Speaking of kids, Amy has another link to a photo and .mp3 of Jeremy Gabriel - the Canadian boy who sang for the Pope in May 2006.
- Rocco Palmo on the question of who does the Pope root for in the World Cup?:
. . . the Pope, together with his trusty secretary, Msgr Georg Ganswein, and the four laywomen of the Memores Domini who assist in the papal apartment, will be spending Tuesday night watching the World Cup semifinal pitting the German pontiff's native side against the Italians.
This news comes from no less a source than Ganswein, who told the ADNKronos news agency that, indeed, Germany-Italy "is at the center" of discussion and interest in the papal apartments. A big-screen television is being brought in just for the occasion, to boot.
But who's the Ratzi-Bear rooting for? While Ganswein readily admitted to waving the flag for Germany, and the MD contingent are hard-core Italy fans, he made it known that "The Pope is always impartial and will have as great a heart on Tuesday for Germany as for the team of blue," a reference to the Italian side.
- And now for the latest bit of sheer idiocy from the "Catholic" fringe: What does Pope Benedict XVI have in common with President George Bush, Prince William, Paul McCartney, Bill Clinton, Metallica, The Beatles, and Spiderman?!? (Source: PrisonPlanet.com)?
Pope Benedict XVI stands accused by the "Most Holy Family Monastery" of giving [the] El Diablo satanic sign [scroll down]:
Below we see Benedict XVI giving El Diablo (the devil) sign. This satanic gesture is popular among Satanists and satanic rock groups. Many give this satanic hand gesture without knowing it because they’re taken over by the evil spirit. Some point out that the devil sign is similar to the hand gesture for “I love you” in sign language. That’s true, but that’s probably because the inventor of the deaf signing system, Helen Keller, was herself an occultist . . . Some believe that she designed the “I love you” sign to correspond with the devil sign so that one making it would be saying that he or she loves Satan.Yeeeeeaaahhh.
Regardless, we believe that below Benedict XVI is giving the devil sign – the double devil sign, in fact – and that he knows what he’s doing.
That's all for this edition, folks. Be sure to check out regular coverage of Pope Benedict XVI by Michael Rose of the Papa Ratzi Post; coverage of Vatican affairs by Whispers in the Loggia and Shouts in the Piazza; John Allen Jr.'s Word from Rome and Sandro Magister (www.Chiesa).