- 06-26-12. Pope Benedict named U.S. Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia to fill a newly created post of vice president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei.":
The appointment of a high-ranking prelate to this position is a sign of the Holy Father’s pastoral solicitude for traditionalist Catholics in communion with the Holy See and his strong desire for the reconciliation of those traditionalist communities not in union with the See of Peter. ...Related
As a respected Dominican theologian, Archbishop Di Noia has devoted much attention to these doctrinal issues, as well as to the priority of the hermeneutic of continuity and reform in the right interpretation of Vatican Council II - a critically important area in the dialogue between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity. Under the guidance of Cardinal Levada, with the assistance of Msgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission, this dialogue has been ongoing over the past three years.
- In an interview with the National Catholic Register, the native New Yorker, secretary for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, discusses his new role and the challenges he expects.
- "A new chapter in the Society of St. Pius X saga" Interview with La Stampa ("The Vatican Insider") 7/20/12.
- 06-28-12. The Vatican approved the heroic virtues of a number of Catholics, among them Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the first step in the advancement of the cause to declare him a saint. Among those Catholics likewise honored with decrees were "the first prelate of Opus Dei, the Canadian and Irish-American founders of two orders of religious women, a priest murdered by the Sicilian Mafia, and 154 martyrs killed during the Spanish Civil War."
Archbishop Fulton Sheen was a universally popular evangelist, radio/TV personality, writer and missionary. He is most known for his television series, “Life is Worth Living” which had a viewing audience of over 30 million people. To learn more about his cause for canonization, visit The Archbishop Fulton John Sheen Foundation.
- 07-02-12. Pope Benedict has appointed (and elevated to the dignity of Archbishop) Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller of Regensberg, Germany, successor to Cardinal William Levada (whose resignation for reason of age was accepted by the Holy Father).
Salt + Light introduces us to the new Prefect:
Archishop Mueller is, like Pope Benedict, a scholar. He received his doctorate in theology from Freiburg University. His thesis was directed by now-Cardinal Karl Lehmann. After his ordination to the priesthood he spent four years working in parish and teaching high school.Also, from National Catholic Reporter's John Allen Jr:
He returned to University for post-doctoral studies, also directed by Cardinal Lehmann. According to the Diocese of Regensburg, his academic research focuses on ecumenism, modern age theology, the Christian understanding of revelation, theological hermeneutics, and ecclesiology. He taught the Ludwig –MaximilianUniversityinMunichuntil his appointment as bishop of Regensburgin 2002. Archbishop Mueller has authored more than 400 works. Perhaps the best known is “Catholic Dogmatics: for the Study and Practice of Theology” He also co-authored a book called “On the Side of the Poor” with Dominican Father Gustavo Gutierrez.
His ties to Pope Benedict go back to 1998 when he began serving on the International Theological Commission, which was led by then-Cardinal Ratzinger. In 2008 Mueller helped establish the Pope Benedict XVI institute, which is publishing a complete collection of words by Joseph Ratzinger/ Pope Benedict XVI, at the pope’s request.
The pope’s new doctrinal czar has a profile in Germany as a staunch defender of Catholic orthodoxy, yet not an ideologue. Among other things, Müller has a strong friendship with Peruvian liberation theologian Gustavo Guttierez.
Müller clearly enjoys the pope’s confidence.
Aside from the fact that Müller is the bishop of the pope’s home diocese, where Benedict’s brother Geörg still resides, he’s also the editor of Benedict’s “Opera Omnia,” a comprehensive collection of all the pope’s theological writings.
- On July 25th, L'Osservatore Romano published an interview with Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller (via Zenit, with the English translation).
- A roundup of varied German reactions to Müller's appointment (Hans Kung isn't happy -- which, if you think about it, may be a positive indication).
- 07-05-12. Pope Benedict reaffirmed his trust in the Vatican's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and defended him against a barrage of "unjust criticism" in the Italian media. According to Catholic News Service:
... The Vatican has had to face a number of challenges recently, including leaks of confidential correspondence to the pope and the Secretariat of State; the arrest of the pope's personal assistant in connection to the leaks; and the ouster of the Vatican bank's president, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, for neglecting his duties amid worsening management problems.
- 07-09-12. Pope Benedict made a private visit to the "Ad Gentes Centre" of the Missionaries of the Divine Word, located in the village of Nemi, close to his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo.
It was in the building (then called the International Centre of the Society of the Divine Word) that young Joseph Ratzinger, a periti (theological advisor) to the Council, took up residence with other theologians, collaborating in a re-drafting of the Council's decree on missionary activity. Describing his time there as "a wonderful memory, perhaps my fondest memory of the entire council," the Pope reflected on the past (Vatican Information Service):
Benedict XVI's meeting with the 150 participants of the Society of the Divine Word's general chapter as well as members of the community's mother house in Rome was very warm. The Holy Father recalled that the order's superior general at the time was Fr. Johannes Schutte. "He had suffered greatly in China where he was convicted and expelled from the country. He was full of missionary zeal, of the need to bring a new impetus to the missionary spirit and I was alongside him. I was a very young and not very important theologian;I didn't know why they had invited me but, for me, it was a great gift".
"Fulton Sheen was also there, fascinating us with his afternoon speeches, and Father Congar, and the great missionaries of Leuven. It was a spiritual enrichment for me, a great gift. The decree was not very controversial. There was this controversy, which I have never really understood, between the schools of Leuven and Munster: was the main scope of the mission the 'implantatio Ecclesiae' or the 'Evangelii' announcement? But everything converged in the one spirit of the need to bring the light of the Word of God, the light of God's love, to the world and to give new joy to this proclamation".
"Thus in those days was born a good and beautiful decree that was accepted almost unanimously by all the Council Fathers. It was complemented very well for me by 'Lumen Gentium' because in it we find a Trinitarian ecclesiology that begins, above all, from the classical idea of the 'bonum diffusivum sui', the good that carries with it the need to communicate, to give itself, a good that cannot be locked within itself. The good, this same good, is essentially 'communicatio'. This is already apparent in the Trinitarian mystery, as God is in Himself, and is spread throughout salvation history and in our need to give others the good that we have received".
- 07-16-12. On July 16th, Benedict XVI sent a message to Bishop Jesús Garcia Burillo of Avila, Spain, to mark the 450th anniversary of the beginning of the Carmelite Reform and the founding of the Carmelite convent of St. Joseph in Avila. The full text of the Pope's message can be read here. (Zenit)
- 07-27-12. Following the retirement (due to age) of Archbishop George Niederauer, Pope Benedict has appointed Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland as the archbishop of San Francisco. Rocco Palmo (Whispers in the Loggia) describes it as the most courageously bold -- or stunningly brazen -- American appointment in the seven-year reign of Pope Benedict XVI:
After a half-century of occupants accused by conservatives of soft-pedaling church teaching in favor of a more conciliatory approach toward constituencies ranging from gays and lesbians to Nancy Pelosi -- a group of prelates among which even the recently-retired lead guardian of church doctrine, Cardinal William Levada, was not exempt from stinging criticism -- the move delivers the long-desired "Holy Grail" of the American Catholic Right firmly into the faction's hands, in the form of a prelate already known widely both for his forcefulness and a stringent doctrinal cred almost unequaled among his confreres on the national bench.
For liberal Catholics, meanwhile, the appointment is likely to be received as something akin to the city's Great Earthquake of 1906, or even more apocalyptic events.
- 07-27-12. Benedict XVI received in audience the Commission of Cardinals investigating the leak of Vatican documents (popularly referred to as the "Vatileaks" scandal):
"Yesterday morning 26 July, the Holy Father received in audience the Commission of Cardinals which is undertaking the administrative investigation into the leaking of reserved information: Cardinal Julian Herranz, Cardinal Jozef Tomko and Cardinal Salvatore De Giorgi. The cardinals were accompanied by Fr. Luigi Martignani O.F.M. Cap., secretary of the Commission; Examining Magistrate Piero Antonio Bonnet, and Promoter of Justice Nicola Picardi of the Tribunal of Vatican City State", according to a communique released this morning by the Holy See Press Office.In related news:
"The Holy Father was informed about the conclusions reached by the Commission of Cardinals, and about the progress of the criminal procedures currently underway. He thanked them for the information he had received and invited the Vatican magistrates to proceed expeditiously.
- Paolo Gabriele -- the Pope's butler, accused of leaking private documents, claims he did so "for love of the Church and the Pope"; and Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, described the spate of leaks of confidential Vatican documents as "most grave crimes" and warned that those responsible must be discovered and "appropriately sanctioned."
- The Ratzinger Prize in Theology -- referred to as the "Nobel of Theology" -- will be conferred for the second time Oct. 20, 2012, during the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization. (Zenit)
- The Pope will travel to Lebanon from Sept. 14-16, visiting Beirut/Harissa, Baabda, Bzommar, Bkerké and Charfet. See www.lbpapalvisit.com/ for details; Zenit news posts the intinerary for the September Lebanon trip.
- Ratzinger narrates Jesus’ infancy It’s a working holiday for the Pope this summer as he puts the finishing touches to his third book on Jesus. (La Stampa's "Vatican Insider").
- As pope's vacation begins, taking stock of his work year - Francis X. Rocca (Catholic News Service) asks: "what can the 2011-12 papal "term" tell us about where Pope Benedict XVI is leading the church?"