Benedetto XVI Forum


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16/02/2012 10.15
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Possible papal trip in 2013 to Slovakia -
a post-Communist country with a flourishing Church

Translated from the Italian service of
by Giacomo Galeazzi
February 15, 2012

VATICAN CITY - Slovakian political consultations Are underway preparatory to a possible visit by Benedict XVI in July 2013. This is one of the countries where during the Cold War, the Church was reduced to semi-clandestinity, but is now flourishing, she is 'reviewing' candidates running for the Presidency in an unprecedented initiative.

The president of the Slovakian bishops' conference, Stanislav Zvolensky, has been meeting successively with the leaders of the major political parties before parliamentary elections in March to ask each of them to respect 'traditional Christian values'.

It is an attempt to make the presence of the Church in Slovakia felt decisively in preparation for 2013 when the country marks the 1550th anniversary of the arrival of Saints Cyril and Metodius to evangelize what was then the Kingdom of Moravia. The Slovakian bishops have invited Benedict XVI to help celebrate the jubilee in July 2013.

Slovakia is predominantly Christian, with Roman Catholics representing about 70% of the population, and another 4% who are Orthodox Christians. Since the end of the Communist era, the Church in Slovakia has taken an 'interventionist' line to underscore the role of religion in public life, which is also being demonstrated by Catholic activism in Slovakian mass media.

In fact, under an agreement with the Slovakian bishops, the Salesian order and Lux Communications set up TV LUX, the country's leading Catholic broadcaster. But the Church has been pushing its goal to uphold traditional Chrfistian values in Slovakian society in a much more direct and incisive manner.

That is why Mons. Zlovensky has been meeting with the presidents of the major political parties before elections to be held on March 10, when more than 4 million voters will choose the members of the National Council.

Vatican Radio says the Velvet Revolution has brought the Catholic Church in Slovakia 'freedom with ample breadth'. She has been able to name bishops in all the vacant sees, and has reopened all diocesan seminaries. (Under the communists, only one seminary remained open in all of Slovakia).

Confiscated assets from the Greek-Catholic Church have been restituted, and the ancient religious roots of the people are coming back to light. All this has flowered since Slovakia became an independent state in 1993, before which it had been part of the now non-existent post World-War-II Czechoslovakia.

With the Apostolic Constitution Pastorali quidem permoti, John Paul II set up a second ecclesiastical province in Slovakia with Kozice as the metropolitan archdiocese, with two suffragan dioceses.

In early 2008, Benedict XVI reorganized the ecclesiastical circumscriptions. The Eparchy of Presov became a metropolitan archdiocese, the apostolic eparchate of Kosice Nei primi mesi del was raised to an eparchy, And the eparchy of Bratislava was established.

On February 14, the latter was divided into the Archdioceses of Bratislava and of Trnava, with the metropolitan see in Bratislava. Another new diocese, Zilina, was established, while diocesan boundaries were reset in two other dioceses.

The Zlovakian bishops conference also established a Catholic university at Rozomberok, with faculties in medicine, education, philosophy and theology.

When the Concorat between Slovakia and the Holy See was signed last January, a military ordinariate was established.

Since 1990, Slovakia has also known a flowering of vocations for the priesthood and consecrated life.

Benedict XVI praised the continuing health of the Church in Slovakia. At the last ad limina visit of the Slovakian bishops, he noted: "Five new seminaries have been established in the past several years, and almost all the parishes now have a parish priest. The qualitative and quantitative increase in vocations has much to do with the spiritual life of families, and ample support of families is certainly a way to inspire and consolidate vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life".

An official news release from the Slovakian bishops says the meetings with the country's political leaders concern "the direction of the country in the next four years (and) the impulses necessary to maintain traditional Christian values."

"On our part, this has to do primarily with support for the family and the defense of life from conception to its natural end," it says. Mon Zvolensky adds that the talks also concern the Church's charitable activities, the role of the Church in the country's educational system. the development of reforms in health care with a special emphasis on children and the aged.
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16/02/2012 14.34
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The elements of the logo for the visit are the Cristo Rey (Christ the King) statue of Cubilete in Guajanato province, and the image of our Lady of Guadalupe. The motto reads, :"Our hope rings out in Mexico".

The official site for the Holy Father's visit to Mexico is now up and running, but only in Spanish so far.

Mexican archbishop calls drug lords
to conversion as papal visit nears


Leon, Mexico, Feb 15, 2012 (CNA) - As Pope Benedict's visit to Mexico approaches, Archbishop Jose Guadalupe Martin Rabago of Leon urged members of organized crime and drug trafficking to repent and work for peace in the country.

“Once more we call on these people to realize that their behavior is destructive to peaceful coexistence and prevents any possible development and progress,” the archbishop said.

Archbishop Rabago, who will host the Pope during his upcoming visit to Leon on March 23, underscored that he was not asking for a temporary truce, “which would be like telling those who do evil to stop doing so for three days and then continue on. Obviously this is not what we mean.”

According to estimates by local media, from 2006 – when violence sharply increased in the country – to December of 2011, more than 70,000 people have been killed in Mexico’s drug war.

Over 10,000 people are missing and more than 1.5 million have been displaced from their homes in regions where the drug violence is most severe.

Archbishops Rabago emphasized that the Church seeks to “disarm” hearts in order to foster peace in anticipation of the arrival of Benedict XVI.

“God is always willing to forgive us. I only ask you to acknowledge your mistakes, repent of them and stop offending and harming others,” he said, urging organized crime members to “repair the harm done and abandon their activities of death.”

Some 200 Mexicam bishops and 3000 priests
to celebrate Mass with the Pope


Leon, Mexico, Feb 16, 2012 (CNA) - A priest overseeing Pope Benedict's March 23-25 visit to Mexico said that nearly 200 bishops and 3000 priests are expected to concelebrate Mass with the Pontiff in the city of Leon.

“All of the country’s bishops as well as representatives of the bishops' conferences of all the countries of North and South America have been invited to the Mass,” Father Jorge Raul Villegas, director of logistics for the trip, told CNA.

Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderon, as well as other civil authorities and diplomats, have also received an invitation to the Mass which will take place near Cubilete Hill outside the city of Leon, the priest said.

The Papal Mass will be celebrated at the Bicentennial Park at the foot of Cubilete surmounted by Mexico's iconic statue of Cristo Rey (Christ the King).

Fr. Villegas said the chalice to be used during the Mass will be brought by the Pope from Rome. “This is the custom when he visits a country, and he leaves the chalice there as a memento. The altar and all the furnishings are especially for this celebration.”

The Archdiocese of Leon School of Music and the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music of the Diocese of Zelaya will provide the music for the Mass and all “together there will be an orchestra of 260 musicians participating in the Mass,” he said.

Fr. Villegas added the orchestra is rehearsing the official song for the visit, which it will perform to welcome the Holy Father before Mass.

“The song is about welcoming him, about his presence in Mexico and on our continent as a sign of hope, about how we are welcoming him with affection, love and as a pilgrim of hope who is coming to speak to us in God’s name,” he explained.

Some 75,000 young people from across Mexico will volunteer to help with security and “will be dressed in white and yellow, the official Vatican colors,” Fr. Villegas said.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 16/02/2012 23.18]
16/02/2012 15.14
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Wednesday, February 16, Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
ST. GILBERT OF SEMPRINGHAM (England, 1083-1190)
Priest, Founder of the Gilbertines
Son of a Norman noble, Gilbert was sent to Paris where he studied theology and returned
to be a clerk with the local bishop. He started a school of children and soon attracted
a small community of men and women aspiring to be religious. Gilbert was personally very
ascetic. When he came into his inheritance, he used it to expand the community and its
work with schools, orphanages and hospitals. In 1130, with the help of St. Bernard of
Clairvaux, he set up the Gilbertine orders, with an eclectic constitution, in which the priests
(canons regular) followed the Augustinian rule, and the nuns and lay brothers and sisters
followed the Cistercian (reformed Benedictine) rule. This was the only English medieval
congregation but it came to an end with the dissolution of monasteries that followed Henry
VII's break from the Catholic Church. The Gilbertines had 26 monasteries at the time. When
he was 80, he was imprisoned on suspicion of having helped Thomas Becket escape to France.
Although Becket did stay in Sempringham and escaped in the guise of a Gilbertine lay brother,
Gilbert did not deny the charges. In his 90s, he was denounced by some of his lay brothers
for being too strict with his Rule, but he was upheld by Alexander III. He died at age 108,
giving rise to an immediate cultus. Many miracles were attributed at his tomb and he was
canonized in 1201, just 12 years after he died.
Readings for today's Mass:


The Holy Father met with

Two new ambassadors who presented their credentials:
- H.E. Budiarman Bahar, Ambassador of Indonesia

- H.E. Daniel Edgardo Ramada Piendibene, Ambassador of Uruguay

- Mons. Emil Paul Tscherrig, Apostolic Nuncio to Argentina

- Mons. Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, Bishop of Limburg (Germany)

- Participants in the Symposium on evangelization with the bishops
of Europe and Africa. Address in Italian.

The Vatican Press Office released a note on the two-day annual meeting held February 14-15
by the international Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organisational and Economic
Problems of the Holy See, with Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone presiding, during
which they reviewed the 2012 consolidated budget of the Holy See and of the Governatorate.


February 22
Ash Wednesday

The Holy Father officially begins the Lenten observance with the traditional 'stazione Romana'
at the Basilica of Santa Sabina on the Aventine Hill. It will start with a procession from the nearby
Benedictine Church of Sant'Anselmo to Santa Sabina, where the Holy Father will celebrate Mass
and preside at the imposition of ashes.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 16/02/2013 18.45]
16/02/2012 21.34
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'Bad news' about the Vatican
obscures the good, and worse,
the luminosity of this Pontificate

Document leaks, conspiracy theories, internal power struggles:
Vatican coverage has focused on these, neglecting the good
that is also happening - the good as the Pope wants it.


ROME, February 16, 2012 – Tomorrow, on the eve of the fourth consistory of his pontificate, Benedict XVI will be meeting with the College of Cardinals for a day of reflection and prayer on "The proclamation of the Gospel today."

Among the cardinals present will be Darío Castrillon Hoyos of Colombia,and and Paolo Romeo, Archbishop of Palermo, who figured in last week's 'big news' that was anything but lofty - the anonymous account of alleged conversations between Romeo and some Chinese officials on a trip to Beijing last November who are said to have concluded, from some of Romeo's statements, that there is a plot to assassinate Benedict XVI.

This anonymous account, replete with speculation about power wars in the Roman Curia and the succession to Benedict XVI, was apparently sent to Cardinal Castrillon by a German friend. Castrillon sent it on to the Secretary of State 'FYI" on December 30, 2011. On February 8, the memo was published in full by the newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano playing it up misleadingly as 'A PLOT TO KILL THE POPE'. [Actually, the most reprehensibly dishonest thing about IFQ is that it chose to take the memorandum seriously at all, even though it consists of hearsay many times removed and of absurdly risible speculations about what goes on behind the scenes at the Vatican! In may ways, it is the commedia buffo analogy to the tragic farce that the New York Times perpetrated in March 2010 with their patently false allegations against Cardinal Ratzinger on the case of alleged pedophile priest Lawrence Murphy, in which the story published by the Times is not supported, if not directly contradicted, by the wealth of documents about the case that it posted online. In a textbook example of what Carl Jung calls 'synchronicity', as opposed to 'coincidence', a US court last week dismissed a suit against the Pope and Cardinals Bertone and Sodano in connection with the Murphy case, a suit filed by the same lawyer, Jeff Anderson, who furnished the Times with all the documents on the case!]

It is highly unlikely that the bad publicity about the Vatican in the past weeks (starting with the Vigano case and continuing with further publication of leaked documents by IFQ] - all intended to cast a sinister light on the Church - will not resonate in the Pope's meeting with the cardinals tomorrow.

In addition to the consistory to create the new cardinals on Saturday, the Eucharistic concelebration with them the following day at St. peter's, and his audience with the new cardinals and their families on Monday, Benedict XVI will also be imposing ashes on cardinals present in Rome when he formally marks the start of Lent next Wednesday at the Basilica of Santa Sabina.

And the following Sunday, Feb. 26, he will begin attending the weeklong Lenten spiritual exercises for the Roman Curia to be preached this year by the Archbishop of Kinshasa(Democratic Republic of the Congo), Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya.

However, even these pious events are not likely to dissipate the new media-generated cloud of unwholesomeness over the Vatican.

Ironically, last January 28, Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone had convened all the heads of the Curial dicasteries (congregations and councils) to arrive at firm and fast rules that would regulate the publication of documents by the individual offices to avoid giving an inconsistent or false picture of the Vatican to the public, and how to better protect the confidentiality of internal documents.

Less than two weeks later, and less than a month since the Vigano letters were leaked to the media, a second spate of leaks began. And there is no telling how long this can go on [especially since IFQ hints openly there is more of that where it came from!]

Commenting on these document leaks and the discredit they cast on the Vatican and on the Church, American vaticanista John L. Allen called attention to two considerations.

The first has to do with Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the nuncio in the United States, whose private letters to the Pope and Cardinal Bertone have been exposed, full of accusations against various Curia officials that have since been declared unfounded in a formal statement from the Governatorate of Vatican City:

Allen writes that many cardinals are understandably concerned over these reports. "Timothy Dolan of New York, for instance, is currently involved in a high-stakes tug of war with the Obama administration over insurance mandates [which would require Catholic institutions to provide employee coverage for contraceptives and abortion]. It would be nice if a powerful and well-connected papal ambassador were on the scene in Washington to help navigate these tensions, but that's obviously not the situation." [That's certainly a change from when Allen eulogized Vigano not three weeks ago as a 'brilliant example' of a whistle-blower that the bishops of the United States could look to and be proud of![

Allen's second consideration is that media attention has been focused on these intrigues {which have been, after all, a staple of Vatican reporting since the 1950s] instead of the much more significant Church events taking place at the same time:

"Perceptions of intrigue have overshadowed what ought to be a couple of good news stories for the Vatican. Last week, the Vatican co-sponsored a summit on the sexual abuse crisis, calling for a proactive global response and committing itself to reforms. Right now, Vatican personnel are moving heaven and earth to bring the institution into compliance with international standards of financial transparency. Probably at no other point in its history has the Vatican been so thoroughly committed to cooperation with external, secular regulatory bodies. In a normal news cycle, those storylines might recalibrate impressions of the Vatican and the church in a positive key. At the moment, they’re competing with, and basically losing to, narratives of scandal."

A third event could be added to the "good news" cited by Allen: the international symposium on "Jesus our contemporary" held
February 9-11 in Rome, under the auspices of the Italian bishops' conference and its Cultural Project under Cardinal Camillo Ruini.

The event included lectures by many leading cardinal-theologians, including Cardinals Ruini himself, Bagnasco, Scola, Ravasi and Zen. The closing lecture on the Resurrection of Jesus by Anglican theologian and Bishop Nicholas Thomas Wright was powerful and memorable. [Unfortunately, L'Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio, CNA or CNS failed to provide daily coverage of the symposium, nor does the usually conscientious Allen, for that matter; though he is in Rome, he has not referred to it at all in his multiple daily postings. The OR published Cardinal Ruini's introductory article on the symposium, which I translated and posted on this thread, but nothing else after that. The same Catholic media 'silence' marked the first symposium of the Cultural Project in 2010, about "God today - his presence or absence changes everything".]

It just so happens the new leaks that sprung forth in those days, and neutralized the impact of the conference on the media. [What impact? Even if there had been no gossip to overshadow Jesus, the symposium would not have been reported at all, as the symposium on God was not. To the media, Jesus and God are not considered newsworthy at all, any more than Rama, Buddha, Mohammed or Zarathustra, who are either mythical or merely historical.]

www.chiesa reported amply to the symposium on child abuse at the Pontifical Gregorian University. With the participation of high Vatican authorities and representatives of 110 episcopal conferences and of more than 30 religious orders, it was the first major initiative convened by the Church to confront the sexual abuse of minors by priests, on a global scale and in coordinated fashion, with absolute priority given to the care of victims.

A positive event taken not as a reaction to denunciations in the media but as part of the Vatican's strategy to institutionalize this open integrated approach to the problem at every level of the universal Church.

For this purpose, symposium organizers inaugurated an e-learning center based in Munich for the formation of persons who will lead the crusade against child abuse.

All of this is taking place at the urging of Benedict XVI from the very start of his pontificate. And it is making the Catholic Church – in spite of its recognized faults and omissions, past and present – the most active institution in the world against sexual abuse of minors, in "healing" both victims and offenders, and in "renewing" institutional attitudes as well as procedures for dealing with the problem. Far more than international organisms, governments, and judicial actions have done. Far more than just the severe denunciations that the media has indulged in.

Another major news item overshadowed by the gossip out of Rome: On February 10, the day after the Gregoriana conference ended, lawyer Jeffrey Anderson withdrew his much-ballyhooexd lawsuit filed in 2010 [following the New York Times article] against Pope Benedict XVI and Cardinals Bertone and Sodano, in behalf of a man who claims to have been one of Fr. Murphy's sex-abuse victims at a school of the deaf in the 1970s. [

[Anderson withdrew the suit because was unable to respond to the Vatican's motion to dismiss, arguing that Vatican officials have nothing to do with the individual actions of diocesan priests, and questioning that the three defendants were involved in any way in the sexual abuse of the plaintiff nor of the failure to prosecute Fr. Murphy for it. Magister theorizes that an unfavorable ruling from the Wisconsin court would compromise the outcome of a similar legal action filed in Oregon - in which, howver, the principal argument is that a priest is an employee of the Vatican, therefore the Vatican is liable for any crime committed by the priest.]

About the second 'good news' cited by Allen: Since January 26, bulletin boards in the Secretariat of State and around the Vatican have carried a decree of 'highest priority' introducing modifications to Law 127 of Vatican City-State.

Law 127, promulgated by Benedict XVI on December 30, 2010, and in effect as of April 1, 2011, concerns preventive and punitive measures against money laundering and funding of terrorist activities through any Vatican financial institution.

It constitutes the principal law required for Vatican City State to be included in the European Union's 'white list' of states with the highest standards of financial transparency. An EU inspection team was at the Vatican recently to investigate its compliance with the 'white list' requirements.

The recent modifications to law 127 resulted from that five-day inspection and will be made public when the priority decree becomes law, within ninety days of its posting (so,some time in late April).

Laws 127 also created the Autorità di Informazione Finanziaria (AIF), and Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Attilio Nicora as its president. Nicora is already president of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, which oversees all the material assets of the Vatican.

The AIF – an unprecedented novelty – has powers of supervision over every single financial operation of the dicasteries of the Roman curia and of all the organisms and dependent agencies of the Holy See, including the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), the Governatorate, and the secretariat of state. The AIF can punish each individual financial irregularity in a Vatican organism with fines of up to two million euro.

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Vatican foreign minister, said recently to L'Osservatore Romano: "Other modifications aimed at making Vatican laws even more rigorous and stringent have been previewed in the replies from the Vatican to accusations made in recent days by the media on the basis of documents that have come into their possession."

Two letters from Cardinal Nicora and another ranking Vatican prelate in charge of financial administration were published by IFQ yesterday branding them as an intended 'Vatican whitewash of money-laundering and activities' an a circumvention of anti-laundering measures required by law.

Except that most of the questions raised in those letters - apparently opinions expressed before the modificaitions to Law 127 were made - were rendered moot by the decree modifying that law.

[The points were, in fact, addressed in the two Vatican notes issued after a TV broadcast and another IFQ 'expose' last week, and Magister summarizes those the Vatican response.]

In short, Allen is correct that in financial matters "probably at no other point in its history has the Vatican been so thoroughly committed to cooperation with external, secular regulatory bodies."

In an interview with Gian Guido Vecchi, published February 11 in Corriere della Sera, Cardinal Walter Kasper said about the loose lips and malice inside Vatican walls: "It is a problem of a lack of ecclesiality. Those who lend themselves to these things lack loyalty with regard to the Church. They provoke confusion in the Christian people. And this precisely when there is a Pope who is working for the renewal of the Church: he who, when he saw abuses, wanted to bring order."

And all these bad news has been not just obscuring the good news at the Vatican but worse, the very luminosity of this pontificate.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 17/02/2012 00.57]
16/02/2012 22.12
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Cardinals see Vatican
progressing on finances

by John L Allen Jr
February 16, 2012

ROME -- Facing a series of highly public leaks concerning alleged corruption in Vatican finances, a body of cardinals from around the world who advise the Vatican on economic matters today said they believe the place is moving in the right direction.

In a statement released following a meeting of the Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See, the cardinals said they recognize “an ongoing commitment to improve the administration of the goods and resources of the Holy See.”

The council met Monday and Tuesday in the Vatican, along with the Secretary of State, Italian Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

The council includes cardinals from ten different countries, including Germany, France, Australia, South Africa and Venezuela. No American cardinal was in attendance.

In recent days, a mushrooming leaks scandal has featured seemingly damaging revelations about the Vatican’s financial administration, and also raised questions about whether the Vatican is truly committed to a policy of transparency and collaboration with external regulatory bodies.

In each case, the Vatican has issued unusually detailed point-by-point explanations or rebuttals, insisting that it is fully committed to reform. It has also reiterated its desire for compliance with transparency benchmarks such as those established by the Financial Action Task Force, a secular [European] inter-governmental body.

Aside from Bertone, the council of cardinals heard from Italian Archbishop Giuseppe Versaldi, head of the Vatican’s Prefecture for Economic Affairs, and new Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the government of the Vatican City State.

The statement said the cardinals reviewed a draft of the Vatican’s consolidated budget for 2012, expressing “pleasure at the forecast results,” but also concern for the impact of the global economic crisis, “which has not spared even the general economic system of the Vatican.”

The cardinals also expressed gratitude for contributions from individual Catholics around the world, and urged them to continue.

Here is the statement published today by the Vatican Press Officein Italian and English:


The Council of Cardinals for the Study of the Organisational and Economic Problems of the Holy See met in the Vatican on Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 February under the presidency of His Holiness's Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B.

The meeting was attended by the following cardinals: Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany; Antonio María Rouco Varela, archbishop of Madrid, Spain; Norberto Rivera Carrasco, archbishop of Mexico, Mexico; Wilfrid Fox Napier O.F.M., archbishop of Durban, South Africa; Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne, archbishop of Lima, Peru; Angelo Scola, archbishop of Milan, Italy; George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia; Agostino Vallini, His Holiness's vicar general for the diocese of Rome; Jorge Liberato Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela; Jean-Pierre Ricard, archbishop of Bordeaux, France, and Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See was represented by its president, secretary and accountant general, respectively: Archbishop Giuseppe Versaldi, Msgr. Lucio Ángel Vallejo Balda, and Stefano Fralleoni.

The Governatorate of Vatican City State and the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA) were represented as follows: Archbishop Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Commission of Cardinals for Vatican City State; Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, secretary general of the Governatorate of Vatican City State; Archbishop Domenico Calcagno, president of APSA, and Msgr. Luigi Misto, secretary of APSA.

At the invitation of the Cardinal Secretary of State, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. and Alberto Gasbarri, respectively director general and administrative director of Vatican Radio, also participated in the meeting for issues concerning their sphere of competency.

Archbishop Versaldi, having outlined the renewed role which the Prefecture for Economic Affairs, in accordance with its new Regulations, has assumed vis-a-vis the Administrations of the Holy See and the Governatorate of Vatican City State, gave the floor to the accountant general.

He read out the report on the consolidated budget of the Holy See for 2012, followed by the report on that of the Governatorate of Vatican City State. On both occasions, his contribution was followed by further reflections and observations by Msgr. Vallejo Balda.

As is well known, the area of consolidation concerns entities which are part of the Roman Curia, the Apostolic Camera and the "media" institutions of the Holy See, i.e.: Vatican Radio, the Vatican Printing Press - "Osservatore Romano" Publishing House, the Vatican Television Centre and the Vatican Publishing House.

The administration of the Governatorate is independent from the Holy See. Through its various offices, it supervises requirements related to the territorial administration of the State.

The cardinals present then intervened, expressing their pleasure at the forecast results but not failing to make known their concern at the prevailing general crises, which has not spared even the general economic system of the Vatican.

This is evident above all as regards the Holy See, which receives indispensable subsidisation from the offerings of the faithful. The members of the Council expressed their profound gratitude for the support the faithful give, often anonymously, to the universal ministry of the Holy Father, and exhorted them to continue this good work. Moreover, it was recognised that there is an ongoing commitment to improve the administration of the goods and resources of the Holy See.

In her report for CNS, Cindy Wooden adds the following information for 2010 but not for 2011:

Despite declining donations, the budget of the Holy See ended 2010 with a surplus of about $13.1 million. And the budget of Vatican City State ended 2010 with a surplus of about $28 million, according to figures released last July.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 16/02/2012 23.00]
16/02/2012 22.36
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Unlike a regular ambassador, the Papal Nuncio is not just the personal representative of the Pope to the host government but also with the bishops of the host country.

Papal nuncio to Ireland
presents his credentials

Political Correspondent
February 16, 2012

The new papal nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles John Brown, has pledged to do “everything in my power to solidify and strengthen the relations between the Holy See and Ireland”.


This was the message he gave to President Michael D Higgins when presenting his credentials at Áras an Uachtaráin today.

Mr Higgins asked the nuncio to convey to Pope Benedict “my best wishes and the best wishes of the people of Ireland”.

He added that there were “many areas of international policy” such as development, poverty and disarmament in which Ireland and the Holy See had “a shared view”.

Pointing out that “fruitful and uninterrupted” diplomatic relations between Ireland and the Vatican went back to 1929, the nuncio promised to devote “my wholehearted efforts to confirm and deepen this mutually beneficial and historic relationship”.

The President wished Archbishop Brown “every happiness and success” in his joint roles as representative of the Holy See and dean of the diplomatic corps in Ireland.

The Manhattan-born former monsignor has worked at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1994 and was ordained as titular Archbishop of Aquileia by Pope Benedict XVI on January 6th.

Since its decision last November to close the Irish embassy to the Vatican, the Government has nominated the secretary general of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, David Cooney, as non-resident ambassador.

The new papal nuncio inspects a guard of honour after presenting his credentials today.

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 17/02/2012 18.05]
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Benedict XVI addresses European
and African bishops on new evangelization
and bi-continental pastoral collaboration

February 16, 2012


Over seventy bishops representing African and European Episcopal Conferences are attending a Symposium in Rome that focuses on New Evangelization, communion and pastoral collaboration between the two continents.

Participants were received on Thursday morning by Pope Benedict XVI after a Eucharistic concelebration in St. Peter’s Basilica. They wrap up their weeklong program Friday with a pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello.

The Symposium, organized by the European Council of Episcopal Conferences (CCEE) and the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) is the second such event and stems from the need of the African and European bishops to join forces and capabilities to better proclaim the Gospel to the men and women of our day, in all countries and continents.

The Archbishop of Johannesburg, Buti Thlagale, told Vatican Radio that the symposium is an opportunity to strengthen the communion between the Churches of Europe and Africa, to reinforce friendly relations, and to jointly analyze a common pastoral and evangelizing mission.

Archbishop Thlagale says “there was a time when we expected everything to come from Europe. But now we are saying: Africa is an adult... We’ve reached a stage where we can develop a very strong partnership”.

As regards new evangelization, he says, “Africa should be in the position when called upon by Europe to come to Europe’s assistance, in the sense that Europe no longer has as many vocations as it used to have, and if you are going to achieve anything of this new evangelization, you need new missionaries, those missionaries are going to come from Africa or from other parts of the world”.

One of the other focuses on the Symposium, the archbishop said, is the issue of cultural diversity of different nations. He says Africa must be “more in dialogue with Rome on these issues, so we are not advocating uniformity all the time, but we also recognise that catholicity means different spiritualities, different liturgical forms, different devotions": that’s part of its richness…


Here is a translation of the Holy Father's address:

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate
Dear brothers and sisters:

I am happy to welcome you at the end of the Symposium of Bishops from Europe and Africa , and I greet you all with great affection, especially Cardinal Peter Erdo, president of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences, and Cardinal Polycarp Pengo, president of the Symposium of the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar.

I thank them for their kind words when they introduced this meeting of ours. I express my sincere appreciation to all who promtoed these days of study, during which you considered the subject of evangelization today in your respective lands, in the light of reciprocal communion and pastoral collaboration that was established at your first symposium in 2004.

With you I give thanks to God for the spiritual fruits that have come from the relationships of friendship and cooperation among the ecclesial communities of your continents during recent years.

Starting from different cultural, social and economic environments, you have been able to appreciate the common apostolic tension in announcing Jesus Christ and his Gospel to your peoples as an 'exchange of gifts'.

Continue along this fruitful journey of industrious brotherhood and unity of intentions, increasingly widening the horizons for evangelization. For the Church in Europe, in fact, the encounter with the Church in Africa is always a moment of grace because of the hope and joy with which the African ecclesial communities live and communicate the faith, as I could observe during my apostolic visits there. On the other hand, it's beautiful to see how the Church in Africa, although living amid so many difficulties and in need of peace and reconciliation, is so eager to share her faith.

In the relationships between the Church in Africa and the Church in Europe, may all your pastoral attention keep in mind the fundamental link between faith and charity., which illuminate each other in their truth. Charity favors openness and encounter with men today, in their concrete reality, on order to bring Christ and his love to every person and every family, especially those who are most poor and alone.

«Caritas Christi urget nos»
(2 Cor 5,14) - The love of Christ urges us. It is indeed the love of Christ that urges us to evangelize. The divine teacher, today as yesterday, sends his disciples through the roads of the world to proclaim his message pf sa;vation to all the peoples of the earth (Apost. Lett. Porta fidei, 7).

The challenges today that you face, dear brothers, are demanding. I am thinking, first of all, of religious indifference which is leading many people to live as if God did not exist, and to be content with some vague religiosity, unable to measure themselves against the question of truth and the duty to be consistent.

Today, especially in Europe, but also some parts of Africa, one can feels the weight of the secularized environment that is often hostile to the Christian faith.

Another challenge to the announcement of the Gospel is hedonism. which has contributed to making the crisis in values penetrate into daily life, in the structure of the family, in the way of interpreting the meaning of life itself.

Also symptomatic of a situation of serious social malaise is the widespread phenomenon of pornography and prostitution. You are well aware of these challenges which provoke your pastoral consciousness and your sense of responsibility.

They should not discourage you, but provide an occasion to renew your commitment and hope - hope that is born from the awareness that the night is advanced, and day is at hand (cfr Rm 13,12), because the risen Christ is always with us.

Not a few good forces are present in the societies of Africa and Europe, many of whom are leaders in the parishes and are distinguished by their commitment to personal sanctification and apostolate. I hope that with your help, they may become living and vital cells for the new evangelization.

let the family be the center of your attentions as Pastors, This domestic church is also the most so9lid guarantee for the renewal of our society. The family, which safeguards practices, traditions, customs, rites that are impregnated with faith, is the ground on which vocations flourish.

Today's consumer mentality can have negative repercussions on the emergence and nurturing of vocations. That is why it is necessary to pay particular attention to the promotion of vocations to the priesthood and the consecrated life.

The family is also the formative fulcrum for young people. Europe and African both need generous youth who know how to take charge responsibly of their own . Al institutions should bear in mind that the future is in these young people,and that everything must be done so that their road may not be marked by uncertainty and darkness.

Dear friends, follow their human and special growth with special solicitude , encouraging them in initiatives of volunteer work that can have educational value.

In the formation of the new generations, the cultural dimension takes on an important role. You know that the Church esteems and promotes every authentic cultural form, to whom she offers the richness of the Word of God and of the grace that comes from the Paschal mystery of Christ.

The Church respects every discovery of the truth, because all truths come from God, but she also knows that the outlook of a faith focused on Christ opens the heart and mind to the Prime Truth, God. Thus, the culture nourished by faith leads to true humanization, while false cultures end up by leading to dehumanization. We have had sad examples of those in Europe and Africa.

Culture must therefore involve constant concern which should find its place in your pastoral activities, always bearing in mind that the light of the Gospel finds its place in the cultural fabric. elevating it and making its riches bear even more fruit.

Dear friends, your Symposium has offered you an opportunity to reflect on the problems of the Church in the two continents. Certainly, there is no lack of problems, and they are often relevant. On the other hand,, they also constitute proof that the Church is alive, that she is growing, and that she is not afraid to carry out her evangelizing mission.

That is why she needs the prayers and the commitment of all the faithful. Indeed, evangelization is an integral part of the vocation of all who have been baptized, which is a vocation for holiness. Christians who have a living faith and who are open to the action of the Holy Spirit become witnesses to the Gospel of Christ in word and through their lives.

Pastors, however, are entrusted with a special responsibility, Therefore, "your personal holiness must shine for the benefit of those who have been entrusted to your pastoral care and whom you must serve. Your life of prayer will irrigate your apostolate from within. A bishop must be enamored of Christ. The moral authority and authoritativeness that sustain the exercise of your juridical power can only come from the holiness of your own life"
(Post-Syn. Apost. Exhort. Africae munus, 100).

I entrust your spiritual propositions and your pastoral plans to the intercession of Mary, Star of Evangelization, as I impart to you from the heart a special Apostolic Blessing, to you, to the episcopal conferences of Africa and Europe, and all your priests and faithful.


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This is out of chronology because the transcript was only made available today and I could not translate it right away....

With the seminarians of Rome

February 15, 2012


On Wednesday evening, at 6:15, the Holy Father Benedict XVI paid his annual visit to Rome's major diocesan seminary,anticipating the Feast of Our Lady of Trust, patroness of the seminary, which falls on Saturday, Feb. 17.

He was welcomed to the seminary by his Vicar General in Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, and by the rector of the seminary, Fr. Concetto Occhipinti.

At 6:30, in the Major Chapel of the Seminary, after a greeting by the rector, the Holy Father held a lectio divina on Romans 12, 1-2, for the seminarians of the Major and Minor Seminaries of Rome, the Almo Collegio Capranica, the Collegio Diocesano Redemptoris Mater, and the Seminary of the Madonna of Divino Amore.


Here is a translation of the Holy Father's words, which were spoken without a prepared text:

The passage for meditation:
*I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect". (Rm 12,1-2)

Your Eminence,
Dear Brothers in the Episcopate and Priesthood,
Dear Seminarians,
Dear brothers and sisters:

It is always my great joy to meet, on the feast day of Our Lady of Trust, my seminarians, the seminarians of Rome, on the way to priesthood, and thus see the Church of tomorrow, the Church that is always alive.

Today we heard a text - we listened to it and we shall meditate on it - of the Letter to the Romans. Paul speaks to all Romans, and so he speaks to us, too, because he speaks to Romans of all time.

This letter is not just the greatest from St. Paul -it is extraordinary for its doctrinal and spiritual weight. It is also extraordinary as a letter written to a community that he had not founded nor had visited yet.

He wrote to announce his coming visit, his desire to visit Rome, and he pre-announces the essential contents of his kerygma
{preaching), in order to prepare the city for his visit.

He writes to this community about which he has no personal knowledge, because he is the Apostle of the Gentiles, the pagans - of the transition from the teaching the Jews to teaching pagans - and
Roma was the capital of pagans, therefore, ultimately the center for his message. His message had to get to Rome for it to truly reach the pagan world.

And he would get there, but in a way very different from what he had thought. He would arrive in Rome chained for Christ; and in chains, he felt free to announce the Gospel.

In the first chapter of the Letter to the Romans, he says to them, the world talks about your faith, the faith of the Church of Rome
(cfr 1,8). So the memorable thing about the faith of that Church was that it was 'heralded throughout the world', and we could reflect on how it is today.

Even today, there is much talk about the Church of Rome, of many things about it, and we can only hope that they also talk about our faith, of the exemplary faith of this Church - and let us pray to the Lord that we can act in such a way that they will not be talking about other things, but of the faith of the Church of Rome.

The text read
(Rm 12,1-2) is the start of the fourth and last part of the Letter to the Romans and begins with the words, "I urge (exhort) you..." (v 1). Normally, it would be the moralistic part of the letter, that follows the dogmatic part, but the thinking of St. Paul, and even his language, cannot be divided in this way.

The word 'exhort' - parakalo in Greek - carries in itself the word paraklesis, parakletos, which has a profundity that goes far beyond moralizing. It is a word that certainly implies admonition, but it also connotes consolation, mercy, attention for the other, a paternal tenderness, or rather a maternal one. The word for 'mercy' - oiktirmon in Greek, rachamim in Hebrew - means the maternal womb, which expresses mercy, goodness, the tenderness of a mother.

And when Paul 'exhorts', all this is implicit. He speaks with his heart, with the tenderness of a a father's love, and it is not Paul alone who speaks. Paul says "by the mercies of God" - he makes himself an instrument of God who speaks to man, an instrument of Christ.

Christ speaks to us with this tenderness, with this paternal love, with this attention towards us. And so, he is not addressing only our morality and our will, but also the Grace that we have within us - so that we may allow this Grace to work in us.

It is almost an act through which the grace given to us at Baptism becomes operative in us, must be operative in us. Thus grace, God's gift, comes with our cooperation.

And what is Paul urging the Romans in this sense? "Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God".

"Offer your bodies". He is speaking of liturgy, of God, of the priority of God. But not of liturgy as ceremony. Rather, he speaks of liturgy as life. We ourselves, in our bodies - we in our bodies and as bodies must be liturgy. And this is the novelty of the New Testament, as we shall see later - when Christ offers his own self thus replacing all other sacrifices. And he wants to 'draw' us all into communion with his Body. Our body along with his become the glory of God, therefore liturgy.

The word 'to offer' - in Greek, parestesai - is not just an allegory, because allegorically, our life should be a liturgy. But the real liturgy is that of our body itself, of our being in the Body of Christ, as Christ himself created the liturgy of the world, the cosmic liturgy, which tends to draw all things to him.

"To offer the body in your body" indicates man in his totality of body and soul, which are ultimately indivisible. In our body, we are ourselves, and this body animated by the soul must make up the material reality of our adoration.

So we can say - and I must say each of us can reflect further on this - our daily living in our body, even in the small things, must be inspired, perfused and immersed in divine reality: Everything must become an activity done with God.

This doesn't mean we must always be thinking of God, but that we must be truly penetrated by the reality of God, so that our whole life, not just some thoughts, is liturgy, is adoration.

Paul says, "Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice". The Greek word is logike latreia and it turns up in the Roman Canon, in the First Eucharistic Prayer as rationale obsequium. It is a new definition of worship, but already prepared for in the Old Testament as well as in Greek philosophy.

They are two rivers, so to speak, leading towards this point, uniting in the new liturgy of Christians and of Christ. In the Old Testament, from the start, it was understood that God does not bulls or rams, things like that.

In Psalm 50[49], God says: Do you think I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of he-goats? I do not need these things. I do not eat and drink these things. They re not a sacrifice for me. Praise is your sacrifice to God. Offer praise as your sacrifice to God, and I will come to you.
(cfr vv 13-15,23).

Thus the Old Testament leads to a point when these external things, symbols, surrogates, all disappear, and man himself becomes praise of God.

The same thing happened in the world of Greek philosophy. They too had always understood that one cannot glorify God through animals or other offerings. But that only the logos of man is an offering - his reason which becomes the glory of God is really adoration.

But something is missing there: Man, according to Greek philosophy, should leave his body, so to speak, to spiritualize himself, because only the spirit can be adoration. The idea was that man must step out of himself and unite with the Logos, the great Reason of the world, in order to become true adoration.

On the other hand, Christianity is not simply spiritualization or moralization. It is Incarnation - Christ is the Logos, he is the Word Incarnate, and he gathers us all, in him and with him, to his Body. And as members of this Body we truly become the glorification of God.

Let us keep this in mind: On the one hand, yes, to step out of material things for a more spiritual concept of the adoration of God, but at the same time, to achieve an incarnation of the spirit, the point at which our body is taken into the Body of Christ, and our praise of God is no longer just words or even pure activity, but the reality of our whole life.

I think we should reflect on this and pray to God to help us so that the spirit becomes flesh even in us, and our flesh becomes filled with the Spirit of God.

We find the same reality in Chapter 4 of St. John's Gospel, where the Lord says to the Samaritan woman: In the future, you will not worship on this mountain or another, with this or that rite. But you will adore in spirit and truth
(cfr Jn 4,21-23).

Of course, it is spiritualization to leave aside these carnal rites, but this spirit, this truth, is not just any abstract spirit: The Spirit is the Holy Spirit, and the truth is Christ.

To adore in spirit and truth truly means entering the Body of Christ through the Holy Spirit. That is how we become truth, we become the glorification of God. To become truth in Christ demands our total involvement. So Verse 1 continues: "Holy and pleasing to God - (this is) your spiritual worship"
(Rm 12,1).

In the second verse, after that fundamental definition of our life as a liturgy of God, the incarnation of God's Word in us, to be everyday with Christ, the Word Incarnate, St. Paul continues: "Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind" (v. 2).

"Do not conform to this age". There is a certain non-conformism in the Christian, who does not allow himself to conform. This does not mean that we want to escape from the world, that the world does not interest us. On the contrary, we want to transform ourselves, to allow ourselves to be transformed, and in so doing, transform the world.

We must bear in mind as well that in the New Testament, especially in the Gospel of St. John, the word 'world' has two meanings, indicating the problem and the reality of what it is all about.

On the one hand, the 'world' created by God, loved by God, to the point that he gave himself, his Son, for this world. The world is God's creation, God loves the world and wished to give himself so that the world could truly be a creation that responds to his love.

But there is the other concept of 'the world, kosmos houtos: the world of evil, the world under the power of evil, which reflects original sin.

We see this power of evil today, for example, in two great forces, which in themselves are useful and good, but which can easily be abused: the power of finance and the power of the media. Both are necessary, because they can be useful, but they are so capable of being abused to the point that they often become the contrary of their true intentions.

We see how the world of finance can dominate man, that possession and image dominate and enslave the world. The world of finance no longer represents an instrument that favors wellbeing, that favors human life, but it has become a power that oppresses, that must also be adored - Mammon, the true false divinity that dominates our world.

Against conformism to such submission to power, we must be non-conformists. It is not 'having' that matters but 'being'. Let us not be subject to such a power. Let us use it as a means, but with the freedom of God's children.

Then there's the power of public opinion. Of course, we need information, knowledge of the realities of the world, but this can soon become the power of image: In the end, whatever is said counts more than reality itself: Image is superimposed on reality, and becomes more important - man no longer follows the truth of his being, he only wants to have an image that conforms to what the world expects.

Against this, too, there is Christian non-conformism. It is not realistic to be always 'conformed', therefore praised. We want, not appearance, but the truth, and this gives us the freedom, the real freedom of the Christian to liberate himself from this need to please, to speak like everyone else.

He must have the freedom of the truth, so he can recreate the world, without being oppressed by the opinion of others, by appearances that no longer allow reality itself to emerge. The virtual world becomes more real, more powerful, so that one no longer sees the world created by God.

Christian non-conformism redeems us, it restitutes us to the truth. Let us pray the Lord that he may make us free in our non-conformism which is not against the world but is true love for the world.

St. Paul goes on: "Be transformed by the renewal of your mind". Two very important words: 'to transform' - in Greek, metamorphon; and 'to renew' - in Greek, anakainosis.

To transform ourselves, to allow ourselves to be transformed by the Lord into the true image of God, and to transform ourselves daily anew, through the world's reality, into the truth of our being.

This is renewal. This is the true novelty: that we do not subject ourselves to opinions, to appearances, but rather to the grace of God, to his revelation. Let us allow ourselves to be thus shaped so that in man, the image of God truly appears.

'Renewal of the mind', Paul says, in a way that is surprising to me. Therefore, this renewal, this transformation, starts with the renewal of the mind. St. Paul specifies 'o nous' - meaning our entire way of using reason, and reason itself, must be renewed. Renewed not according to the habitual categories. Renewal means to allow ourselves to be enlightened by the Truth that the Word of God conveys to us.

That is how, finally, we learn a new way of thinking, which is a way that does not obey power or possession or image, etc. Rather it obeys the truth of our being that resides profoundly in us, which was given back to us at Baptism.

"Renewal of the mind". Every day, this is a task that is part of the course of study in theology, in preparing for the priesthood. Study theology well, spiritually; think it through to its depths, meditate on the Scriptures every day. This way of studying theology by listening to God himself as he talks to us is the way to renew our mind, to transform our own being and the world.

Therefore, Paul says, let us do everything "to discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect"
(cfr v.2 ). To discern the will of God: We can learn this only by being obedient, humble - with the Word of God, with the Church, with the Sacraments, with meditating on Sacred Scriptures. To know and discern the will of God, how good he is: this is fundamental in our life.

On the feast day of Our Lady of Trust, we see in the Madonna all of this - she is the person who is truly new, who was really transformed, who is truly a living sacrifice.

Our Lady sees the will of God, she lives in the will of God, she says Yes to him. Our Lady's Yes expresses all her being, and that is how she shows us the way, this is how she helps us.

Therefore, on this day, let us pray to Our Lady, who is the living icon of the new man. May she help us to transform, to allow ourselves to transform our being, to be truly new men, and to be, God willing, Pastors of his Church. Thank you.

After the lectio divina, the Pope stayed for dinner, before returning to the Vatican.
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Friday, February 17, Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Friday, February 17, Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
They were rich young men in Florence at the height of the Cathari heresy and widespread political and moral breakdown. They belonged to a group of Marian devotees called the Laudesi (Praisers). It is said that in 1240, they had a vision of Mary who urged them to retire in prayer. They did, to a hilltop near Florence, where four years later, they would have another vision which prompted them to establish the order called Friar Servants of Mary (OSM, from the Latin name) - who follow the Augustinian rule, wear the Dominican habit and live like mendicant friars. Their goals are sanctification of each member, preaching the Gospel and spreading devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows. The Servites, as they are commonly known, now have a worldwide family that includes monasteries, religious and secular orders for both men and women, diaconates and secular institutes like the Pontifical Marianum, the leading institute on Mariology. The Seven Founders were canonized in 1888.
Readings for today's Mass:

P.S. I pologize: I mixedup my 'sanits of the day' and had posted Fra Angelico earlier - his feast day is February 18, not 17.


The Holy Father presided at a Day of Reflection and Prayer with 133 members of the College of Cardinals
and the 22 cardinals-designate who will be formally named in a public consistory tomorrow. Cardinal-Designate
Timothy Dolan of New York gave the keynote address. There was to be an evening session following Vespers.

A telegram of condolence in the name of Benedict XVI was sent by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone
to the Bishop of Comayagua in Honduras, for a prison fire that claimed hundreds of victims.

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Before tomorrow's consistory,
Pope prays and reflects with
133 cardinals and 22 incoming

February 17, 2012


This morning, Friday 17 February, in preparation for tomorrow's consistory, the members of the College of Cardinals and the new cardinals-elect met in the Vatican's New Synod Hall for a day of reflection and prayer called by the Holy Father.

The Day began with the celebration of Lauds, followed by an introductory address by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.

The main theme of the day - "the announcement of the Gospel today, between 'missio ad gentes' and new evangelisation" - was introduced with a long talk by one of the cardinals-designate: Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York. He was followed by Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation, who delivered a report on the forthcoming Year of Faith, and its significance in the light of the Apostolic Letter 'Porta fidei'. He also outlined a series of initiatives for that Year, currently being studied by various dicasteries.

The participants in the day of reflection and prayer then rose to speak. There was time for seven addresses on various themes, before the praying of the Angelus guided by the Holy Father.

This afternoon, following the celebration of Vespers at 5 p.m., the participants will continue to make their contributions.

Of the total of 213 members of the College of Cardinals, including the twenty-two new cardinals, 133 were present. The absentees presented their excuses for reasons of age, health or earlier appointments.


Pope Benedict XVI meets cardinals
to battle growing secularism


VATICAN CITY, Fe. 17 (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI on Friday met with 133 current and future cardinals to ponder how to counter growing secularism in Western societies with a "new evangelization" - a key priority for his papacy.

The German Pope's closed-door meeting with international Catholic leaders included 22 cardinal-designates who will be officially elevated to the status of "princes of the Church" at a lavish Vatican ceremony on Saturday. [Strange and unwarranted adjective to use for any ceremony at the Vatican, where every papal ceremony has been celebrated 'uniformly' for decades, according to established rites and rubrics that are not more 'lavish' or less according to the occasion. Paul VI did away with the last vestiges of pomp and circumstance associated with the papal court (which he also abolished) such as the ostrich plumes, liveried attendants and the sedia gestatoria, and without them, papal ceremonies are fairly subdued compared to the inherent Byzantine features of Orthodox and Eastern rites.].]

The consistory on Saturday comes after high-profile leaks revealed deep tensions in the administration of the Holy See, including allegations of corruption and even a rumoured plot to assassinate the pope.

At Friday's meeting, Rino Fisichella, the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation, was set to outline the Vatican's plans for a Year of Faith decreed by the Pope that will start in October.

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, an influential figure in the U.S. Catholic Church {Doesn't AFP think it relevant to say he is the current president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops???], also gave a speech on how to promote a Christian message in secularized societies.

In a message to a meeting of European and African bishops on Thursday the p\Pope condemned "the weight of secularism" and "a deep social malaise that is favouring phenomena like pornography and prostitution."

Following Saturday's consistory, the Roman Catholic Church will have a total of 213 cardinals including 125 under the age of 80 who can therefore take part in the conclave to elect a new Pope.

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New York's next cardinal
brought his characteristic humor
to his keynote address today

by Carol Glatz

Three snapshots of Mons. Dolan taken today; no photos yet delivering the keynote address at the Pre-Consistory meeting.

VATICAN CITY, Feb. 17 (CNS) — Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan has a great sense of humor so it came as no surprise to see his talk to Pope Benedict and the College of Cardinals this morning peppered with witticism and funny anecdotes.

His charm was so contagious he even made Pope Benedict laugh.

One cardinal told us the bit that tickled the Pope the most was at the end when the archbishop of New York apologized for having to give his talk in Italian:

“Thank you, Holy Father and brethren, for your patience with my primitive Italian. When Cardinal Bertone asked me to give this address in Italian, I worried, because I speak Italian like a child.

"But, then I recalled, that, as a newly-ordained parish priest, my first pastor said to me as I went over to school to teach the six-year old children their catechism, 'Now we’ll see if all your theology sunk in, and if you can speak of the faith like a child.' And maybe that’s a fitting place to conclude: we need to speak again as a child the eternal truth, beauty, and simplicity of Jesus and His Church.”

[Actually, Mons. Dolan was rector of the Pontifical North American College (seminary) in Rome from 1994-2001, so he certainly must have picked up much more than Italian for toddlers in that time!]

Here's the full text of Archbishop Dolan's keynote address in the English version:

The announcement of the Gospel today,
between 'missio ad gentes '
and the New Evangelization

Holy Father, Cardinal Sodano,
my brothers in Christ:

Sia lodato Gesu Cristo! [Praised be Jesus Christ!]

It is as old as the final mandate of Jesus, “Go, teach all nations!,” yet as fresh as God’s Holy Word proclaimed at our own Mass this morning.

I speak of the sacred duty of evangelization. It is “ever ancient, ever new.” The how of it, the when of it, the where of it, may change, but the charge remains constant, as does the message and inspiration, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”

We gather in the caput mundi, evangelized by Peter and Paul themselves, in the city from where the successors of St. Peter “sent out” evangelizers to present the saving Person, message, and invitation that is at the heart of evangelization: throughout Europe, to the “new world” in the “era of discovery,” to Africa and Asia in recent centuries.

We gather near the basilica where the evangelical fervor of the Church was expanded during the Second Vatican Council, and near the tomb of the Blessed Pontiff who made the New Evangelization a household word.

We gather grateful for the fraternal company of a pastor who has made the challenge of the new evangelization almost a daily message.

Yes, we gather as missionaries, as evangelizers.

We hail the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, especially found in Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes, and Ad Gentes, that refines the Church’s understanding of her evangelical duty, defining the entire Church as missionary, that all Christians, by reason of baptism, confirmation, and Eucharist, are evangelizers.

Yes, the Council reaffirmed, especially in Ad Gentes, there are explicit missionaries, sent to lands and peoples who have never heard the very Name by which all are saved, but also that no Christian is exempt from the duty of witnessing to Jesus and offering His invitation to others in his own day-to-day life.

Thus, mission became central to the life of every local Church, to every believer. The context of mission shifted not only in a geographical sense, but in a theological sense, as mission applied not only to unbelievers but to believers, and some thoughtful people began to wonder if such a providential expansion of the concept of evangelization unintentionally diluted the emphasis of mission ad gentes.

Blessed John Paul II developed this fresh understanding, speaking of evangelizing cultures, since the engagement between faith and culture supplanted the relationship between Church and state dominant prior to the Council, and included in this task the re-evangelizing of cultures that had once been the very engine of Cospel values.

The New Evangelization became the dare to apply the invitation of Jesus to conversion of heart not only ad extra but ad intra, to believers and cultures where the salt of the gospel had lost its tang. Thus, the missio is not only to New Guinea but to New York.

In Redemptoris Missio, #33, he elaborated upon this, noting primary evangelization -- the preaching of Jesus to lands and people unaware of His saving message -- the New Evangelization -- the rekindling of faith in persons and cultures where it has grown lackluster -- and the pastoral care of those daily living as believers.

We of course acknowledge that there can be no opposition between the missio ad gentes and the New Evangelization. It is not an “either-or” but a “both-and” proposition. The New Evangelization generates enthusiastic missionaries; those in the apostolate of the missio ad gentes require themselves to be constantly evangelized anew.

Even in the New Testament, to the very generation who had the missio ad gentes given by the Master at His ascension still ringing in their ears, Paul had to remind them to “stir into flame” the gift of faith given them, certainly an early instance of the New Evangelization.

And, just recently, in the inspirational Synod in Africa, we heard our brothers from the very lands radiant with the fruits of the missio ad gentes report that those now in the second and third generation after the initial missionary zeal already stand in need of the New Evangelization.

The acclaimed American missionary and TV evangelist, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, commented, “Our Lord’s first word to His disciples was ‘come!’ His last word was ‘go!’ You can’t ‘go’ unless you’ve first ‘come’ to Him.”

A towering challenge to both the missio ad gentes and the New Evangalization today is what we call secularism. Listen to how our Pope describes it:

Secularization, which presents itself in cultures by imposing a world and humanity without reference to Transcendence, is invading every aspect of daily life and developing a mentality in which God is effectively absent, wholly or partially, from human life and awareness.

This secularization is not only an external threat to believers, but has been manifest for some time in the heart of the Church herself. It profoundly distorts the Christian faith from within, and consequently, the lifestyle and daily behavior of believers.

They live in the world and are often marked, if not conditioned, by the cultural imagery that impresses contradictory and impelling models regarding the practical denial of God: there is no longer any need for God, to think of him or to return to him.

Furthermore, the prevalent hedonistic and consumeristic mindset fosters in the faithful and in Pastors a tendency to superficiality and selfishness that is harmful to ecclesial life.
(Benedict XVI, Address to Pontifical Council for Culture, 8.III.2008)

This secularization calls for a creative strategy of evangelization, and I want to detail seven planks of this strategy.

1. Actually, in graciously inviting me to speak on this topic, “The Announcement of the Gospel Today, between missio ad gentes and the new evangelization,” my new-brother-cardinal, His Eminence, the Secretary of State, asked me to put in into the context of secularism, hinting that my home archdiocese of New York might be the “capital of a secular culture.”

As I trust my friend and new-brother-cardinal, Edwin O’Brien -- who grew up in New York -- will agree, New York -- without denying its dramatic evidence of graphic secularism -- is also a very religious city.

There one finds, even among groups usually identified as materialistic -- the media, entertainment, business, politics, artists, writers -- an undeniable openness to the divine!

The cardinals who serve Jesus and His Church universal on the Roman Curia may recall the address Pope Benedict gave them at Christmas two years ago when he celebrated this innate openness to the divine obvious even in those who boast of their secularism:

We as believers, must have at heart even those people who consider themselves agnostics or atheists. When we speak of a new evangelization these people are perhaps taken aback. They do not want to see themselves as an object of mission or to give up their freedom of thought and will. Yet the question of God remains present even for them. As the first step of evangelization we must seek to keep this quest alive; we must be concerned that human beings do not set aside the question of God, but rather see it as an essential question for their lives. We must make sure that they are open to this question and to the yearning concealed within. I think that today too the Church should open a sort of “Court of the Gentiles” in which people might in some way latch on to God, without knowing him and before gaining access to his mystery, at whose service the inner life of the Church stands.

This is my first point: we believe with the philosophers and poets of old, who never had the benefit of revelation, that even a person who brags about being secular and is dismissive of religion, has within an undeniable spark of interest in the beyond, and recognizes that humanity and creation is a dismal riddle without the concept of some kind of creator.

A movie popular at home now is The Way, starring a popular actor, Martin Sheen.

Perhaps you have seen it. He plays a grieving father whose estranged son dies while walking the Camino de Santiago de Campostela in Spain. The father decides, in his grief, to complete the pilgrimage in place of his dead son. He is an icon of a secular man: self-satisfied, dismissive of God and religion, calling himself a “former Catholic,” cynical about faith . . . but yet unable to deny within him an irrepressible interest in the transcendent, a thirst for something -- no, Someone -- more, which grows on the way.

Yes, to borrow the report of the apostles to Jesus from last Sunday’s gospel, “All the people are looking for you!”

They still are . . .

2. . . . and, my second point, this fact gives us immense confidence and courage in the sacred task of mission and New Evangelization.

“Be not afraid,” we’re told, is the most repeated exhortation in the Bible.

After the Council, the good news was that triumphalism in the Church was dead.

The bad news was that, so was confidence!

We are convinced, confident, and courageous in the New Evangelization because of the power of the Person sending us on mission -- who happens to be the second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity – because of the truth of the message, and the deep down openness in even the most secularized of people to the divine.

Confident, yes! Triumphant, never!

What keeps us from the swagger and arrogance of triumphalism is a recognition of what Pope Paul VI taught in Evangelii Nuntiandi: the Church herself needs evangelization!

This gives us humility as we confess that Nemo dat quod not habet, that the Church has a deep need for the interior conversion that is at the marrow of the call to evangelization.

3. A third necessary ingredient in the recipe of effective mission is that God does not satisfy the thirst of the human heart with a proposition, but with a Person, whose name is Jesus.

The invitation implicit in the Missio ad gentes and the New Evangelization is not to a doctrine but to know, love, and serve -- not a something, but a Someone.

When you began your ministry as successor of St. Peter, Holy Father, you invited us to friendship with Jesus, which is the way you defined sanctity.

There it is . . . love of a Person, a relationship at the root of out faith.

As St. Augustine writes, “Ex una sane doctrina impressam fidem credentium cordibus singulorum qui hoc idem credunt verissime dicimus, sed aliud sunt ea quae creduntur, aliud fides qua creduntur(De Trinitate, XIII, 2.5)

4. Yes, and here’s my fourth point, but this Person, Jesus, tells us He is the truth.

So, our mission has a substance, a content, and this twentieth anniversary of the Catechism, the approaching fiftieth anniversary of the Council, and the upcoming Year of Faith charge us to combat catechetical illiteracy.

True enough, the New Evangalization is urgent because secularism has often choked the seed of faith; but that choking was sadly made easy because so many believers really had no adequate knowledge or grasp of the wisdom, beauty, and coherence of the Truth.

Cardinal George Pell has observed that “it’s not so much that our people have lost their faith, but that they barely had it to begin with; and, if they did, it was so vapid that it was easily taken away.”

So did Cardinal Avery Dulles call for neo-apologetics, rooted not in dull polemics but in the Truth that has a name, Jesus.

So did Blessed John Newman, upon reception of his own biglietto nominating him a cardinal warn again of what he constantly called a dangerous liberalism in religion: “. . . the belief that there is no objective truth in religion, that one creed is as good as another . . . Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment, a taste . . . ”

And, just as Jesus tells us “I am the Truth,” He also describes Himself as “the Way, and the Life.”

The Way of Jesus is in and through His Church, a holy mother who imparts to us His Life.

“For what would I ever know of Him without her?” asks De Lubac, referring to the intimate identification of Jesus and His Church.

Thus, our mission, the New Evangelization, has essential catechetical and ecclesial dimensions.

This impels us to think about Church in a fresh way: to think of the Church as a mission. As John Paul II taught in Redemptoris Missio, the Church does not “have a mission,” as if “mission” were one of many things the Church does. No, the Church is a mission, and each of us who names Jesus as Lord and Savior should measure ourselves by our mission-effectiveness.

Over the fifty years since the convocation of the Council, we have seen the Church pass through the last stages of the Counter-Reformation and rediscover itself as a missionary enterprise.

In some venues, this has meant a new discovery of the Gospel. In once-catechized lands, it has meant a re-evangelization that sets out from the shallow waters of institutional maintenance, and as John Paul II instructed us in Novo Millennio Ineunte, puts out “into the deep” for a catch.

In many of the countries represented in this college, the ambient public culture once transmitted the Gospel, but does so no more. In those circumstances, the proclamation of the Gospel -- the deliberate invitation to enter into friendship with the Lord Jesus -- must be at the very center of the Catholic life of all of our people.

But in all circumstances, the Second Vatican Council and the two great Popes who have given it an authoritative interpretation are urging us to call our people to think of themselves as missionaries and evangelists.

5. When I was a new seminarian at the North American College here in Rome, all the first-year men from all the Roman theological universities were invited to a Mass at St. Peter’s with the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal John Wright, as celebrant and homilist.

We thought he would give us a cerebral homily. But he began by asking, “Seminarians: do me and the Church a big favor. When you walk the streets of Rome, smile!”

So, point five: the missionary, the evangelist, must be a person of joy.

“Joy is the infallible sign of God’s presence,” claims Leon Bloy.

When I became Archbishop of New York, a priest old me, “You better stop smiling when you walk the streets of Manhattan, or you’ll be arrested!”

A man dying of AIDS at the Gift of Peace Hospice, administered by the Missionaries of Charity in Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s Archdiocese of Washington, asked for baptism. When the priest asked for an expression of faith, the dying man whispered, “All I know is that I’m unhappy, and these sisters are very happy, even when I curse them and spit on them. Yesterday I finally asked them why they were so happy. They replied ‘Jesus.’ I want this Jesus so I can finally be happy.

A genuine act of faith, right?

The New Evangelization is accomplished with a smile, not a frown.

The missio ad gentes is all about a yes to everything decent, good, true, beautiful and noble in the human person.

The Church is about a yes!, not a no!

6. And, next-to-last point, the New Evangelization is about love.

Recently, our brother John Thomas Kattrukudiyil, the Bishop of Itanagar, in the northeast corner of India, was asked to explain the tremendous growth of the Church in his diocese, registering over 10,000 adult converts a year.

“Because we present God as a loving father, and because people see the Church loving them.” he replied.

Not a nebulous love, he went on, but a love incarnate in wonderful schools for all children, clinics for the sick, homes for the elderly, centers for orphans, food for the hungry.

In New York, the heart of the most hardened secularist softens when visiting one of our inner-city Catholic schools. When one of our benefactors, who described himself as an agnostic, asked Sister Michelle why, at her age, with painful arthritic knees, she continued to serve at one of these struggling but excellent poor schools, she answered, “Because God loves me, and I love Him, and I want these children to discover this love.”

7. Joy, love . . . and, last point . . . sorry to bring it up, . . . but blood.

Tomorrow, twenty-two of us will hear what most of you have heard before:

“To the praise of God, and the honor of the Apostolic See
receive the red biretta, the sign of the cardinal’s dignity;
and know that you must be willing to conduct yourselves with fortitude
even to the shedding of your blood:
for the growth of the Christian faith,
the peace and tranquility of the People of God,
and the freedom and spread of the Holy Roman Church.”

Holy Father,can you omit “to the shedding of your blood” when you present me with the biretta?

Of course not! We are but “scarlet audio-visual aids” for all of our brothers and sisters also called to be ready to suffer and die for Jesus.

It was Pope Paul VI who noted wisely that people today learn more from “witness than from words,” and the supreme witness is martyrdom.

Sadly, today we have martyrs in abundance.

Thank you, Holy Father, for so often reminding us of those today suffering persecution for their faith throughout the world.

Thank you, Cardinal Koch, for calling the Church to an annual “day of solidarity” with those persecuted for the sake of the gospel, and for inviting our ecumenical and inter-religious partners to an “ecumenism of martyrdom.”

While we cry for today’s martyrs; while we love them, pray with and for them; while we vigorously advocate on their behalf; we are also very proud of them, brag about them, and trumpet their supreme witness to the world.

They spark the missio ad gentes and New Evangelization.

A young man in New York tells me he returned to the Catholic faith of his childhood, which he had jettisoned as a teenager, because he read The Monks of Tibhirine, about Trappists martyred in Algeria fifteen years ago, and after viewing the drama about them, the French film, Of Gods and Men.

Tertullian would not be surprised.

Thank you, Holy Father and brethren, for your patience with my primitive Italian. When Cardinal Bertone asked me to give this address in Italian, I worried, because I speak Italian like a child.

But, then I recalled, that, as a newly-ordained parish priest, my first pastor said to me as I went over to school to teach the six-year old children their catechism, “Now we’ll see if all your theology sunk in, and if you can speak of the faith like a child.”

And maybe that’s a fitting place to conclude: we need to speak again as a child the eternal truth, beauty, and simplicity of Jesus and His Church.

What a great address! Mons. Dolan brings 'simple and catchy' to the language of preaching - simple, basic words; short pithy sentences; all put together with snap and sparkle that do not detract from the essential substance of the Christian message but present it compellingly. I was going to use the adjective 'very American', as well, but I stopped myself. No American leader has spoken essence and substance in the same inspiring, joyful way as Mons. Dolan since Ronald Reagan! Beside them, Obama's pseudo-oratory sounds even phonier than it already is! (How even some intelligent commentators can call him 'eloquent' I will never understand, since the demagoguery he practices to a distasteful degree can never be eloquent/ The adjective they want is 'grandiloquent' as in pompus and bombastic!)

P.S. If you have not already seen it, John Allen today has a lengthy article on soon-to-be Cardinal Dolan which is informative and gossipy.

I'm not posting it - after all, Allen's columns are preserved for eternity in NCRep's online archives, so they can be consulted any time without fear of their vanishing into cyberspace... Call it a silly objection but I really think the 'rock star' metaphor, especially when applied to prelates and Popes, ought to be banned in sempiternum! I always thought it was an insult to John Paul II when Time magazine first called him that in 1979, and then everybody else after them. The best they can compare the Vicar of Christ to is 'a rock star' (generic)???

Even as a literal simile, let alone as a metaphor, it's not valid at all, and completely inappropriate. What rock star has ever had or can hope to have the following that any Pope has, or his drawing power, for his sheer presence. No one expects Popes to put on a song and dance for their entertainment. To most Catholics, just to be able to say 'I was there' for a papal event is blessing enough. If John Allen can invent a serviceable phrase like 'positive orthodoxy', why does he insist on using a cliche that has been flogged to death that its widespread abuse alone makes it even more offensive than it already is?

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Finally!... Fr. Maciel's principal lieutenant has been 'purged' from the top leadership of the Legion of Christ. As long as he was there, something was dubious about how Cardinal De Paolis was carrying out the Pope's mandate to clean out the LC and see how it could best continue to do the good work it does, without the 'see-hear-speak-no-evil' policy of the men Maciel left behind. This follows a sort of situation report by the AP's Nicole Winfield last November (see Page 262 of this thread), in which De Paolis justified why he had not dismissed Maciel's men one year since he took control of the LC at the Pope's orders......

I am surprised that only the Spanish media appear to have picked up the announcement made on the site of the LC yesterday. Not even Sandro Magister who has been very gung-ho against the Maciel team all these years. I myself come one day late to the news, after seeing a Mexican-TV link posted on Lella's blog today....Could it be that the Italian media, for starters, simply do not want to record yet another 'good news' point for the Vatican to spoil their current narrative of a do-nothing, corruption-ridden, power-mad careerists?

Vatican names new superiors
for Legionaries of Christ


Rome, February 16 - The pontifical delegate for the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, C.S., with the consent of his council, named Fr. Sylvester Heereman, L.C., vicar general of the Legion of Christ, and named Fr. Deomar De Guedes, L.C. the second general councilor for the congregation.

The two replace Fr. Luis Garza Medina, L.C. and Fr. Francisco Mateos Gil, L.C., respectively, both of whom presented their resignation in recent months.

Fr. Sylvester Heereman, L.C. was born September 10, 1974 in Bad Neustadt an der Saale, Germany. He entered the novitiate of the Legion of Christ in Germany in 1994, and made his first profession in 1996. He made his perpetual profession in 1999.

From 2001 to 2003 he served as the territorial secretary for Italy, and from 2004 to 2006 he was part of the formation team in the Center for Higher Studies in Rome, where he also completed his studies in philosophy and theology.

He was ordained a priest on December 23rd, 2006. On February 6, 2007 he was named territorial director of Germany, and after the territories of Germany and France were joined, he became territorial director of Western and Central Europe on June 10, 2011.

Fr. Deomar De Guedes Vaz, L.C. comes from Santo Ângelo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. He was born on November 13, 1961 and entered the novitiate of the Legion of Christ in 1992. He made his first profession on March 20,1994 and his perpetual profession in 1997.

He has collaborated in the formation of diocesan seminarians in the International Pontifical College Maria Mater Ecclesiae of Rome and for some time he served as rector in the formation center for Regnum Christi consecrated men in Mexico City.

After his priestly ordination on January 1, 2000 he has worked as a vocational promoter (2001-2002), territorial director of Spain (2002-2005), superior for the community and local coordinator of apostolate in Buenos Aires (2005-2008), and rector of the Brazilian seminary Maria Mater Ecclesiae (since 2008).

Fr. Sylvester and Fr. Deomar will continue their current duties until their replacements are named.

One imagines both Heereman and Gues Vaz were never in the circle of Maciel confidants who carried on at LC after Maciel's conclusive disgrace and subsequent death. Still in place, however, is Fr. Alvaro Corcuera who succeecdd Maciel in2005 as Director General. A Mexican news outlet gives further background information which I will post as an addendum after I have translated.

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Note on the afternoon session
of the pre-Consistory meeting

Translated and adapted from
February 17, 2012

The Vatican Press Office issued a second wrap-up communique on the closed-door assembly of cardinals in a pre-Consistory meeting called by the Holy Father. The Note presented the afternoon events in rough chronological order, leaving the account of the Holy Father's intervention in the bottom of the story. I have brought it up to the beginning where it would belong in a proper news report.

Benedict XVI on the reciprocal role of
charity and truth in the Year of Faith

After celebrating Vespers, the assembly of cardinals under the Holy Father's leadership resumed listening to interventions by various cardinals in a late afternoon session.

Before the evening Angelus which closed the Day of Reflection and Prayer, the Holy Father concluded the assembly with a brief intervention.

He thanked the various speakers for their contributions and praised the keynote address of Cardinal-Designate Dolan as "enthusiastic, joyous and profound", and that of Mons. Rino Fisichella, the other main speaker of the day, as "a rich contribution of in terms of ideas and initiatives' for the coming Year of Faith.He said the various interventions represented "an ample mosaic" of views and proposals.

He underscored the importance of Vatican II in 'rediscovering the contemporaneity of Jesus and the faith',

He urged a true renewal of catechesis in order to highlight the content of the faith and address the needs of those who have been called 'religious illiterates'.

He reiterated strongly the need to establish the firm conviction in the truth of God's revelation incarnated by his Son Jesus Christ.

"Without truth", he said, "we have no compass. Life can be rich and beautiful only with the truth, and without this conviction, we cannot re-evangelize men today".

Since God is love, he said, truth is expressed in charity, and charity in turn demonstrates truth. He said that the slogan of the Year of Faith could be expressed as "to live truth in charity'.

Twenty-seven cardinals presented interventions during the morning and afternoon sessions, touching on a wide range of reflections on the topic of the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith.

The focus of the assembly was on problems of evangelization in various areas of the world and in different cultures. The topics included the growth of Christianity in China despite the inherent difficulties for religions in that country; inter-religious dialog and the fight against poverty in India; the growing ordeal of Christians in the Middle East; the importance of populist religiosity in the re-evangelizing Latin America; and the continuing confrontation with Western secularism which would marginalize religion from the public life.

But positive developments and encouraging prospects for the faith were also noted such as the continuing liveliness of the new ecclesial movements; the World Youth Days; and the International Eucharistic Congresses.

In this respect, there were discussions on the educational emergency in most countries, a needed renewal of catechesis, transmitting the faith to the younger generations, the formation of evangelizers (priests, religious and laity), and the promotion of a mature faith that is capable of giving witness as well as judging wisely the facts of life today.

Suggestions were made for activities during the Year of Faith, such as an itinerary of learning that goes hand in hand with the liturgical season; new forms of lay missionary work by regular parishioners, and encouraging pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to Rome.

The cardinals emphasized ecumenical commitment in announcing the common faith in Christ, the relevance of Vatican-II documents as a compass for the Church's journey in our day, the value of continuing witness to Christan joy and of holiness, and the continuing fascination about the lives of the saints.

Benedict XVI has not been given enough credit for pioneering and instituting this pre-consistory convocation that enables him to hear the specific concerns of the local Churches while promoting discussion on the priorities of the Church. It is yet another way for him to listen to his bishops and to exercise collegiality beyond the activities of the Bishops' Synod, the bishops' ad-limina visits, and his meetings with local bishops whenever he makes an apostolic trip.

It is inconceivable that anyone could accuse him of isolating himself from reality and being 'unwilling to govern'. His detractors seem to forget - but how could they - that he has been an almost lifelong student of Augustine and Bonaventure, two great minds and holy men who also had to face significant responsibilities in governing. And that Benedict XVI has more than once cited Bonaventure about governing. As he put it in his catechesis on that great Franciscan:

"For Bonaventure, to govern was not simply a task but was above all to think and to pray. At the base of his government we always find prayer and thought; all his decisions resulted from reflection, from thought illumined by prayer."
How consistently Benedict XVI has lived up to such a holy standard!

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Sounding off on Vatileaks

Of course, you can't stop the MSM from imposing their chosen narrative - i.e., the herd thought of the day - about current events. In this case, on what's happening in the Vatican, and by extension, the entire Church. So they have decided on this line of reporting about the consistory:


In search of the next great scandal to visit upon the Vatican - after recent developments showed the Vatican is going ahead with its remedial and penitential obligations on the issue of sex-offender priests, so for now, that has ceased to be a red-meat issue - MSM was handed 'Vatileaks' on a silver platter. The media have now taken some relatively minor exposes of alleged untoward activities behind Vatican walls - stories that originated from one Italian TV program and one Italian newspaper - and fashioned these trivia into something just short of a Watergate-size scandal.

And their whole case rests on how they choose to report and interpret the few actual facts available, immediately inventing myths that inflate facts completely out of proportion to suit their purpose. Just as the New York Times's spin on the Fr. Murphy case to seek to incriminate Joseph Ratzinger was patently wrong from perusing the welter of documentation presented by the newspaper itself, the 'documentation' in this case of accusations against the Vatican (through the specific scapegoats Cardinal Bertone and an amorphous ill-defined 'Roman Curia') are found in a few letters and memoranda Even at first reading, a serious person would quickly conclude about these documents, "But there's no there there!" And nothing to cover up either, about bureaucratic infighting and farcical intrigue - the Vatican is right to let the flakes fall where they may!

In another world, the real issue for the Vatican in this round of the secular war against the Church would simply be the lack of discipline, institutional loyalty and a fundamental sense of decency that led some employee(s) at the Secretariat of State to feed rat-bait to the media vultures. The traitors may have their personal and ideological motivations for being vipers, they may be moving as their puppet matters pull their strings, or they may live for the endorphin rush and ego trip that a Mighty Mouse might get who thinks he can make the Pope and all the cardinals jump with its every squeak and leak.

But in this world, media shapes public opinion - too many people would rather have someone else (the media) think for them, and in this way, they can also conform to the dominant 'popular' mentality (they join the herd). That public includes Catholics whose faith cannot withstand the slightest shake, let alone one tempest after another. And that's where and how the secular world undermines Catholicism and religion in general, unfortunately.

About the only positive thing one can say about this current media tempest is that no one has been shameless enough to make Benedict XVI the villain. Oh, maybe Marco Politi types have tried, on the grounds that leaving actual administrative work to Bertone et al means the Pope has no interest in governing at all, and can therefore be blamed for the apparent disciplinary chaos in the Secretariat of State [not necessarily the entire Curia, as the MSM have tried to make it appear].

The late Mons. Fulton Sheen liked to say, "The truth is the truth even if no one believes it, and error is error even if everyone believes it". That's a very useful thing to keep in mind for those of us in whom the flame of faith may occasionally waver.

As for Vatileaks, the sooner the Vatican can identify the culprits and dismiss them for barefaced treachery, the more salutary it will be for the SecState itself. Until the next scandal, manufactured or not.
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Unusually fast transition from the original German edition to an English translation of a book that was published in Germany last September in time for Benedict XVI's third trip to his homeland as Pope. And it may find a wider audience in the US where the general public really knows very little of the Pope's background...

'An honest and very
illuminating memoir'


The first thing many people want to know when talk turns to the Pope — any Pope — is “What is he really like?” That curiosity is a natural reaction not only to the power and prestige of the Roman pontiff but also to the aura of mystery that seems to make him so remote as a person.

So who better to provide insight into the life of the current Pope, Benedict XVI, than his own brother? Georg Ratzinger is no Billy Carter, but rather a lifelong priest, like his brother Joseph, and he provides a warm but also honest and very illuminating memoir of their life together, from their childhood in Bavaria to Georg’s insider view of his brother’s life as Pope.

This volume is as revealing about Benedict as any other analysis of his beliefs and policies, because it provides a first-person account of the familial and religious dynamics that shaped, and continue to direct, Benedict’s approach to the Catholic Church today.

And if this isn’t a celebrity tell-all, there are plenty of entertaining details, such as the real story about Benedict’s cats and his complete lack of any kitchen skills.

And the full blurb from Ignatius Prsss, the US publisher of the book:

My Brother, the Pope
by Georg Ratzinger,
with Michael Hesemann

t wasn't always the case that Msgr. Georg Ratzinger lived in the shadow of his younger brother, Joseph. Georg was an accomplished musician, who for over 30 years directed the Regensburger Domspatzchor, the world-famous boys choir of the Regensburg cathedral. Brother Joseph was a brilliant young professor, but mostly known only in German academic circles.

Now Georg writes about the close friendship that has united these two brothers for more than 80 years. This book is a unique window on an extraordinary family that lived through the difficult period of National Socialism in Germany.

Those interested in knowing more about the early life of Benedict XVI will not be disappointed. They will also learn of the admirable character and inspiring example of the parents, and see how the Catholic faith can shape not just a family, but an entire culture-in this case, that of Bavaria.

Georg's reminiscences are detailed, intimate, and warm. And while they begin with the earliest years of the Ratzinger family, they continue right up to the present day.

This is not simply a book to satisfy curiosity about a "celebrity", though it certainly does that. It's a beautiful portrait of Catholic family life and, in the most literal sense, of enduring fraternal charity.

Georg has a talent for telling a story, and the co-author fills in some of the larger historical background. The many photographs, both in black and white and in color, round out a thoroughly enjoyable and inspirational book. Illustrated with 47 photographs.

About the authors:
Georg Ratzinger (born 1924) is a Catholic priest and musician. From 1964 to 1994, he was the conductor of the Regensburger Domspatzen, the world-famous cathedral choir of Regensburg, Germany. He is the elder brother of Pope Benedict XVI.

Michael Hesemann, (born 1964) is a German historian, journalist and internationally published bestselling author, specializing in Church history.

"Msgr. Georg Ratzinger's evocative portrait of the Bavarian Catholicism in which he and his brother, the future pope, were raised, offers 21st century readers an intimate glimpse of a lost world that clearly lives on in the minds and hearts of a great musician and a great theologian. The scenes sketched so ably by Msgr. Ratzinger also shed new light on the experiences that shaped some of the thinking of Benedict XVI about the reform of the Church and the future of Europe."
- George Weigel
Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

"I have no hesitation in saying that My Brother the Pope is not just a fascinating book but a unique one, as well. In its pages we are shown not just a Pope, a Cardinal, or even a great theologian; we are granted an intimate look at the life of one beloved brother through the eyes of another. Here we come to know the world that formed Pope Benedict XVI, from the gentle love of his deeply Catholic Bavarian family to his struggles with the brutal Nazi regime that ruled his country during his youth. Anyone who reads this book from beginning to end will truly come to know and admire the man who is now Pope Benedict XVI."
- Fr. Benedict Groeschel,
Author, 'Arise from Darkness'
EWTN Program host

"In My Brother, the Pope, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, brother of Pope Benedict XVI, gives remarkable testimony to the inestimable role of parents and family in the life of a young man called to the priesthood. The careful and rich account of the life of the family of Joseph and Maria Peitner Ratzinger, provided by their second child and eldest son Georg, permits the reader to see directly how God works through the family in calling a young man to the priesthood. The family assists him in responding to the priestly vocation and accompanies him, as both priest and son or brother, throughout a lifetime. Georg Ratzinger has, in a most special way, provided the world with a treasured means to understand more deeply God's great gift of its universal shepherd, Pope Benedict XVI, who remains always his brother."
- Cardinal Raymond Burke
Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

"Nobody knows the Holy Father better than his brother, as is evident in this heartwarming and engaging memoir. On the one hand, Monsignor Ratzinger offers an intimate portrait of the Pope's family life, granting us privileged access to the inner sanctum of Pope Benedict's childhood and youth; on the other hand, the chilling accounts of life in Germany during the rise and fall of the Nazis are nothing short of startling. Pope Benedict is not likely to write his autobiography; in its absence, this is the next best thing."
- Joseph Pearce
Author, 'Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile'

And another recent Ignatius release about a subject I find most fascinating because I believe in these two icons myself, without having seen them:


The True Icon:
From the Shroud of Turin
to the Veil of Manopello

by Paul Badde

The Shroud of Turin is one of the most famous relics in the world. Scrutinized by scientists and studied by debunkers, it is also honored by countless faithful devoted to the mysterious image of a crucified man that appears on the cloth.

In this lavishly illustrated book, best-selling author Paul Badde sets out on a journey through Europe and the Holy Land as he traces the rich history of the Shroud. With the investigative skills of a seasoned journalist, Paul Badde uncovers many of the mysteries surrounding the Shroud and also researches another relic honored as a burial cloth of Christ-the Veil of Manoppello, which bears the image of the Holy Face.

Drawing upon his years in Jerusalem and his many visits to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Badde gives a riveting account of the discovery of Christ's countenance by Peter and John in the dawn of the first Easter. Badde powerfully presents the case that their awe and wonder at the sight of the True Icon needs to be rediscovered in our own time.

When the image on the Veil of Manoppello is laid over the image of the face on the Shroud of Turin, the two images match perfectly. It is the same face.

"The Veil of Manoppello is the sudarium of Christ. This is the mysterious second cloth from the tomb of the crucified Christ that John the Evangelist discovered about 40 hours after the death of Jesus-together with another linen sheet, which is today preserved in Turin."
- Paul Badde

"The Shroud is an Icon written in blood; the blood of a man who was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified and whose right side was pierced. The Image impressed upon the Shroud is that of a dead man, but the blood speaks of his life. Every trace of blood speaks of love and of life."
- Pope Benedict XVI

Paul Badde is a historian and a journalist. After years with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, he became a foreign news correspondent for Die Welt, reporting first from Jerusalem and now from Rome and the Vatican. Among his books published in English are Maria of Guadalupe: Shaper of History, Shaper of Hearts and The Face of God.

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In moving against Catholics,
US administration is moving towards
democratic totalitarianism

By James V. Schall, S.J.
February 17, 2012

In 1956, in his book, The Political and Social Ideas of St. Augustine, Professor Herbert Deane at Columbia University wrote: “Only with the rise of totalitarian societies in the twentieth century has a new general effort been made to bring all aspects of human life under the guidance and control of the state or the totalitarian party”.

When these lines were written, we assumed that they applied only to Nazi or Communist societies. But in the fifty some years since Deane wrote these words, the re-absorption of all spheres of life once separated by the division of society, religion, and polity has increasingly taken place under “democratic” auspices, under the relativist doctrine that no truth exists, that the state is free to define whatever it judges to be fit for human living.

This all-powerful state was something that had not been seen in the West since the Fall of the Roman Empire. The causes of this change are both metaphysical and moral.

We have been taught to think that “democracy” is automatically “the best regime,” the only alternative to any totalitarian state power. Though it has been coming for some time, within these past couple of weeks, we are seeing clearly that the desire, force, and will to subsume all subsidiary social institutions, especially religion and family, under the control of the state is also endemic in current democratic societies.

Religion is seen to be, not the “first right,” that Popes speak of, but the principal opposition to the utopian move to provide everything for everybody under the benevolence of the all-caring state.

Perhaps no organization has been more reluctant to grasp and acknowledge the operative logic of this total control ideology than the Catholic Church. It has prided itself in its subtle accommodation in recent times to what were thought to be reasonable principles for understanding of the political order, the nature, limits, and place of revelation within it.

Catholics have striven to show that its beliefs and organizations are able to accept a limited state, a state that understands its own nature and does not claim competence over all spheres of human life.

On the surface, we might be tempted to look on the move to extend what is called “health care” to everyone, including religious institutions, to be something wholly neutral and well-meant.

The fact is, however, that it is but one aspect of a world-wide logic, by no means limited to this country. It demands, under the name of the universal common good, the complete control of the state over all aspects of human well-being, especially those having to do with matters of life, death, human reproduction, and efforts to prevent or control the same.

That an American President should cast himself as the main advocate of this massive extension of unlimited state power should, in fact, surprise no one. The essential premises of such expansion have been taught in most American universities for years with little effective criticism. The position that the President employs to justify his actions has been in the books for a long time.

Catholicism, much to its surprise, suddenly finds itself in the eye-sight of the absolute state because it is now the remaining body of reasoning that articulately opposes this power extension into all aspects of human life.

No one should be fooled into thinking that a democratic totalitarianism is not possible. It is in fact happening before our very eyes. It will be very smooth and enticing. It will reward those who assist it along the way.

What is thus of particular interest is the way that administration spokesmen use dissident Catholics to play off Catholics against the hierarchy.

The U.S. bishops have become remarkably alert to the threat against its public institutions in a way that many self-announced Catholic politicians, universities, hospitals, and publicists have not. The fact is that those Catholic sources that support the administration’s move can anticipate reward on the condition that they serve to justify doctrinally what is going on in the name of “democratizing” Catholicism.

But what is behind all of this current turmoil is the demise of religious freedom itself. The tradition of religious freedom as classically understood is no longer accepted as limiting the state. The state now argues that its concept of “human dignity” now controls what religion can hold in the public order.

Anyone who disagrees with state definition will no longer be allowed to join government programs or institutions. A new ideological test of citizenship is in place. And that test maintains that what Catholicism holds about marriage, contraception, human life, abortion, human experimentation, and euthanasia is contrary to the US government’s definition of human life.

In effect, arguments of reason are delegitimized to be replaced by what the government will do whether we like it or not. What the government proposes to do is, by that very fact, what “ought” to be done. No higher authority exists but itself.

Understanding that this claim is essentially what is motivating the policies of the administration in recent weeks, the bishops have understood that what is at stake is not just “health care.” Rather it is the very possibility of taking seriously what reason and revelation stand for concerning human life, its meaning and ultimate destiny.

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Saturday, February 18, Sixth Week in Ordinary Time
BLESSED GIOVANNI (John) DA FIESOLE (b Fiesole 1395, d Rome 1455), Dominican brother, Renaissance painter, Patron of Christian artists
The world knows him best as Fra Angelico, one of the most prolific and universally admired of painters. He was born in the picturesque town of Fiesole that overlooks Florence and took up painting as a boy. He joined the Dominicans when he was 20, taking the name Fra Giovanni, then came to be known as Fra Angelico, perhaps a tribute to both his own personal qualities and the devotional quality of his works. Michelangelo once said of him, “One has to believe that this good monk has visited paradise and been allowed to choose his models there.” He also served in leadership positions within the Dominican Order. At one point Pope Eugenius approached him about serving as archbishop of Florence. Fra Angelico declined, preferring a simpler life. In formally beatifying him in 1982, Pope John Paul II also declared him the Patron of Catholic Artists, saying: "Fra Angelico was reported to say 'He who does Christ's work must stay with Christ always'. This motto earned him the epithet 'Beato Angelico', because of the perfect integrity of his life and the almost divine beauty of the images he painted, to a superlative extent those of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Fra Angelico is buried in the Dominican Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome.
Readings for today's Mass:

NB: I apologize that I mistakenly posted Fra Angelico as saint of the day for Feb. 17 earlier; I have corrected the mistake.


The Holy Father presided at a double consistory in St. Peter's Basilica for

- The creation of 22 new cardinals, to each of whom he consigned the biretta, the ring, and the title
to the church or diaconate in Rome of which they are now the titular bishops.

- Ratifying the canonization for seven Blesseds for whom the Congregation for the Causes of Sainthood
earlier certified a second miracle required for canonization. The Pope also set Oct. 21 as the date
for the canonization rites at St. Peter's Square.

In the afternoon, the new cardinals received their well-wishers and guests in various rooms of the Apostolic
Palace and Aula Paolo VI.

The Pope's allocution delivered before the actual rites formalizing the nomination of the new cardinals
was truly memorable - as a response not just to all the unseemly talk in the media about internal Vatican
affairs but as an admonition to all men of the Church who have seemed to lose sight of the faith and Christ's
message in striving for 'power and glory'. Plus his memorable last line:
"Pray also for me, that I may continually offer to the People of God the witness
of sound doctrine and guide holy Church with a firm and humble hand".

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Those who watched the consistory today may have appreciated as I did the streamlining of the rites so that all the steps of the ritual formally creating the new cardinals took place together at the same rite. The changes instituted for the first time today were outlined by the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations in the OR last month, and it bears re-posting here, with the addition of the English translation of new prayers in the rite which were only given in Latin in the OR story. The /=English translations come from the libretto for today's liturgy.

Pope to introduce ritual changes
in the February consistory

Translated from the 1/7-1/8/12 issue of

The rites that have been used till now for the creation of new cardinals have been revised and simplified with the approval of the Holy Father Benedict XVI.

These changes are:

- The three steps of imposing the beretta, consigning the cardinal's ring and assignment of each cardinal's titular or diaconal church, will now take place at one rite - namely, the so-called public consistory.

- The Collect and concluding prayers for this public consistory will be changed.

- The proclamation of the Word of God at the public consistory will take a briefer form.

"It must be noted," says the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, "that reforms carried out after the Second Vatican Council also covered the consistorial rites of imposing the beretta and assigning the church titles to the new cardinals, and that the reformed consistorial rite is found in Notitiae 5, 1969, pp. 289-291, and used for the first time by Paul VI in April 1969 [It happens to be the consistory at which Archbishop Karol Wojtyla of Cracow became a cardinal. The two rites mentioned were covered by the liturgical reform because they took place during Mass the day after the public consistory].

The principal criterion for the revision was to include the actual rite of creating new cardinals (the public consistory) into the liturgy, of which it was not properly a part.

It is now thought that the naming of new cardinals should take place in a prayer context without, however, giving it the character of a 'sacrament' for the cardinalate, as Holy Orders are.

Historically, the public consistory was never considered a liturgical rite, but a meeting between the Pope with the cardinals in relation to their role in the governance of the Church, and therefore, an expression of the munus regendi (task of governance) rather than of the munus sanctificandi (task of sanctifying).

The new revisions take into consideration aspects of the consistories in the historic and recent past, and in continuity with the present form of the consistory and its principal elements.

The Collect and concluding prayer of the 1969 ritual for the public consistory are rich in content and come from the great Roman eucologic or prayer tradition [eucology is the study of prayers].

The two prayers speak explicitly of the powers entrusted to the Princes of the Church, particularly the powers of Peter. The Pontiff prays directly for himself that he may carry out his office well.

The Collect prayer that comes from the Veronense - also called the Sacramentrium leonianum, which is one of the oldest sources of Roman eucology - is the Collect for the anniversary of the episcopal ordination of the Bishop of Rome (Mense Septembris, in natale episcoporum, v alia missa. nn. 989 e 993; Corpus Orationum, n. 2301)

The Holy Father says:

Oremus. Domine Deus, Pater gloriae fons honorum, qui licet Ecclesiam tuam toto orbe diffusam largitate munerum ditare non desinis, sedem tamen beati Apostoli tui Petri tanto propensius intueris, quanto sublimius esse voluisti: da mihi famulo tuo providentiae tuae dispositionibus exhibere congruenter officium; certus te universis Ecclesiis collaturum quidquid illi praestiteris, quam cuncta respiciunt. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

(Let us pray. Lord God, Father of glory, source of all that is good, who unceasingly enrich your Church throughout the world with an abundance of gifts, yet with still greater benevolence watch over the See of Blessed Peter the Apostle, which you have set above all others: in your providence grant that I, your servant, may carry out wisely the office entrusted to me, in the certain knowledge that you
will bestow upon the universal Church all those things you have promised her to whose benefit all is directed. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.)

The concluding prayer, also taken from the Veronense, is from another Collect for the anniversary of the episcopla ordination of the Bishop of Rome (Mense septembris, in natale episcoporum, v alia missa, «alia collecta», nn. 992; Corpus Orationum, n. 1198). The Pope prays thus:

Deus cuius universae viae misericordia est semper et veritas, operis tui dona prosequere; et quod possibilitas non habet fragilitatis humanae, tuis beneficiis miseratus impende; ut hi famuli tui, Ecclesiae tuae iugiter servientes et fidei integritate fundati, et mentis luceant puritate conspicui. Per Christum Dominum nostrum».

(O God, who always walk in the paths of mercy and truth, renew the gifts that you have bestowed and mercifully grant by your grace what human weakness cannot attain, namely that these servants of yours, by constantly building up your Church, may shine forth with integrity
of faith and purity of mind. Through Christ our Lord

The proclamation of the Word of God will take on the brief form from 1969, with a single Gospel passage - that from Mark 10, 12-45.

Finally, the consignment of the cardinal's ring will take place at the same time as the imposition of the beretta. Before this, the berettas were given out at the public (non-liturgical) consistory, while the rings and assignment of titular churches was done at the Mass (once considered the secret consistory) the day after.

But there is no longer any distinction between the public and 'secret' consistories, therefore it seems logical for all three steps in the creation of new cardinals to take place in one ceremony.

Nonetheless, the Mass concelebrated by the new cardinals with the Pope (during which the consignment of the cardinal's ring and assignment of titular chuirches and diaconates had taken place) will still be held the day after the public consistory. The Mass will start with a greeting to the Pope by a representative of the new cardinals in the name of the others.

The webpage of the Office for Papal Liturgical Celebrations also carries the transcript of an interview with Mons. Guido Marini about the changes:

The next consistory:
Change and clarifications

Interview with Mons. Guido Marini

Until the present day the ceremony of creating new cardinals has been regulated by liturgical norms established by Paul VI in 1969. What did these norms prescribe?
Under Paul VI, consistorial rites took on a simpler and more austere form than they had had under previous pontificates, though retaining their essential features. In fact, the consistory had preserved the oath, the imposition of the berretta, instead of the hat, and the assignation of the titular church or deaconship even though the distinction between public and secret consistory had disappeared. The consignment of the ring, on the other hand, took place during the Mass celebrated by the Pope along with the new cardinals the day after the consistory.

Benedict XVI thought it proper to make some changes. What are these changes about and what is their meaning?
The present changes have been introduced on the assumption that throughout the history of the Church, the consistory has never been regarded as a liturgical ceremony, but as the assemblage of the cardinals around the Pope to deal with the government of the Church: it is therefore entrusted with munus regendi i.e. the office of government, not with munus sanctificandi i.e. the sanctifying function.

In this sense and in keeping with the present form of the consistory and its main elements, the Holy Father has approved changes in the rite of creating new cardinals, with the changes introduced by Paul VI in 1969 as his reference point.

After some changes in the accepted practice of the latest consistories, it is in fact prescribed that the Pope should wear his choir dress with a mozzetta and stole. For the two prayers at the beginning and end of the rite the 1969 texts, which are part of the Euchologion of the great Roman tradition, have been restored. These texts, which feature in the Codex Veronensis or Sacramentarium Leonianum i.e. Leonian Sacramentary, are read during the Mass celebrated on the anniversary of the Episcopal ordination of the bishop of Rome.

The prayers in these texts make explicit reference to the power given to the Church, to Peter’s successor in particular. Whilst in the opening prayer the Pope prays directly for himself that he may discharge his task properly as Peter’s successor, in the closing prayer he invokes God’s blessing on the new cardinals.

The announcement of God’s word will be restored to its shorter version, in conformity with the 1969 rite, with the evangelical pericope alone (Mark 10, 32 – 45). One reading and the responsorial psalm will be omitted. Finally, the cardinals will be given the ring along with the berretta and the titular church or deaconship during the consistory.

Another noteworthy change introduced at the beginning of the ceremony is the Holy Father’s moment of prayer on the Apostle Peter’s tomb below the Papal Altar.

Is it true that Benedict XVI has decided to give a new type of ring to the new cardinals?
The Holy Father will give a new type of ring to the new cardinals; it will bear the images of Saint Peter and Saint Paul with a star in the middle, standing for the Blessed Virgin. The new rings will be smaller than the old ones, hence easier to wear.

Are there any changes in the Mass celebrated by the Pope with the new cardinals the day after the consistory?
- As it does not contain any gesture relating to the consistory, the Mass officiated the following day is a celebration intended to thank the Lord for giving new cardinals to the Church. At the opening of the celebration the foremost of the newly appointed cardinals will address some words of gratitude to the Pope. In the previous rite this address featured at the beginning of the consistory.

From the Libretto for today's liturgy


The back part of the ring represents a stylized column like those found in Saint Peter’s Basilica, while the face is a bas-relief
in the shape of a cross.

On the face are the figures of Saints Peter and Paul, modeled after their statues located in front of the Basilica, to represent faith and missionary proclamation.

Between the two Saints, as if to illumine them, is placed an eight-pointed star, a clear reference to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Inside the ring, beneath the face, is the coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI in bas-relief.
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February 18, 2012

Libretto cover: The printed libretto features only the left side of the image, but I chose to reproduce the entire image, 'Feed my lambs', cartoon by Raphael (ca. 1516) for the analogous tapestry.



Benedict XVI creates 22 new cardinals
and sets Oct. 21 canonization of 7 Blesseds

February 18, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI held a double Public Consistory today, during which he created 22 new Cardinals and announced the date of the canonization of 7 Blesseds, including, most prominently, Mother Marianne Cope, the German-born US missionary who succeeded St. Damien as director of the leper colony in Molokai, and Kateri Tekakwitha, the young Mohawk laywoman who becomes the first native North American saint.

The Holy Father created 18 new Cardinal-electors, bringing the number of voting Cardinals to 125. Among them were: Edwin Frederick O’Brien, the Pro-Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem; Thomas Christopher Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, Canada; Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York; His Beatitude, George Alencherry, the Syro-Malabar Patriarch of India; John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong. [The English service of Vatican Radio chose to mention the English-speaking cardinals, as it chose to mention the two Anglophones among the new saints.]

In his allocution following a reading from the Gospel according to St. Mark, the Holy Father prayed that, “Christ’s total gift of self on the Cross,” might be for the new Cardinals, “the foundation, stimulus and strength of a faith operative in charity.”

He went on to express the hope that their mission in the Church and the world, “always be ‘in Christ’ alone, responding to his logic and not that of the world,” and that it may “be illumined by faith and animated by charity which comes to us from the glorious Cross of the Lord.”

Following the Creation of new Cardinals, Pope Benedict announced that seven new saints will be canonized on October 21 in St. Peter's Square.

Here is the full text of the Holy Father's allocution:


«Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam».

Venerable Brothers,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With these words the entrance hymn has led us into the solemn and evocative ritual of the ordinary public Consistory for the creation of new Cardinals, with the placing of the biretta, the handing over of the ring and the assigning of a titular church.

They are the efficacious words with which Jesus constituted Peter as the solid foundation of the Church. On such a foundation the faith represents the qualitative factor: Simon becomes Peter – the Rock – in as much as he professed his faith in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God.

In the proclamation of Christ, the Church is bound to Peter and Peter is placed in the Church as a rock; although it is Christ himself who builds up the Church, Peter must always be a constitutive element of that upbuilding. He will always be such through faithfulness to his confession made at Caesarea Philippi, in virtue of the affirmation, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”.

The words Jesus addressed to Peter highlight well the ecclesial character of today’s event. The new Cardinals, in receiving the title of a church in this city or of a suburban Diocese, are fully inserted in the Church of Rome led by the Successor of Peter, in order to cooperate closely with him in governing the universal Church.

These beloved Brothers, who in a few minutes’ time will enter and become part of the College of Cardinals, will be united with new and stronger bonds not only to the Roman Pontiff but also to the entire community of the faithful spread throughout the world.

In carrying out their particular service in support of the Petrine ministry, the new Cardinals will be called to consider and evaluate the events, the problems and the pastoral criteria which concern the mission of the entire Church.

In this delicate task, the life and the death of the Prince of the Apostles, who for love of Christ gave himself even unto the ultimate sacrifice, will be an example and a helpful witness of faith for the new Cardinals.

It is with this meaning that the placing of the red biretta is also to be understood. The new Cardinals are entrusted with the service of love: love for God, love for his Church, an absolute and unconditional love for his brothers and sisters, even unto shedding their blood, if necessary, as expressed in the words of placing the biretta and as indicated by the colour of their robes.

Furthermore, they are asked to serve the Church with love and vigour, with the transparency and wisdom of teachers, with the energy and strength of shepherds, with the fidelity and courage of martyrs. They are to be eminent servants of the Church that finds in Peter the visible foundation of unity.

In the Gospel we have just heard proclaimed, there is offered a model to imitate and to follow. Against the background of the third prediction of the Passion, death and resurrection of the Son of Man, and in profound contrast to it, is placed the scene of the two sons of Zebedee, James and John, who are still pursuing dreams of glory beside Jesus.

They ask him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory”
(Mk 10:37).

The response of Jesus is striking, and he asks an unexpected question: “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?” (Mk 10:38).

The allusion is crystal clear: the chalice is that of the Passion, which Jesus accepts as the will of God. Serving God and others, self-giving: this is the logic which authentic faith imparts and develops in our daily lives and which is not the type of power and glory which belongs to this world.

By their request, James and John demonstrate that they do not understand the logic of the life to which Jesus witnesses, that logic which – according to the Master – must characterize the disciple in his spirit and in his actions.

The erroneous logic is not the sole preserve of the two sons of Zebedee because, as the evangelist narrates, it also spreads to “the other ten” apostles who “began to be indignant at James and John”
(Mk 10:41). They were indignant, because it is not easy to enter into the logic of the Gospel and to let go of power and glory.

Saint John Chrysostom affirms that all of the apostles were imperfect, whether it was the two who wished to lift themselves above the other ten, or whether it was the ten who were jealous of them
(“Commentary on Matthew”, 65, 4: PG 58, 619-622).

Commenting on the parallel passages in the Gospel of Luke, Saint Cyril of Alexandria adds, “The disciples had fallen into human weakness and were discussing among themselves which one would be the leader and superior to the others… This happened and is recounted for our advantage… What happened to the holy Apostles can be understood by us as an incentive to humility” (“Commentary on Luke”, 12, 5, 24: PG 72, 912).

This episode gives Jesus a way to address each of the disciples and “to call them to himself”, almost to pull them in, to form them into one indivisible body with him, and to indicate which is the path to real glory, that of God: “You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.But it shall not be so among you;whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all” (Mk 10:42-44).

Dominion and service, egoism and altruism, possession and gift, self-interest and gratuitousness: these profoundly contrasting approaches confront each other in every age and place. There is no doubt about the path chosen by Jesus: he does not merely indicate it with words to the disciples of then and of today, but he lives it in his own flesh.

He explains, in fact, “For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”
(Mk 10:45).

These words shed light upon today’s public Consistory with a particular intensity. They resound in the depths of the soul and represent an invitation and a reminder, a commission and an encouragement especially for you, dear and venerable Brothers who are about to be enrolled in the College of Cardinals.

According to biblical tradition, the Son of man is the one who receives power and dominion from God
(cf. Dan 7:13f). Jesus interprets his mission on earth by combining the figure of the Son of man with that of the suffering Servant, described in Isaiah (cf. 53:1-12).

He receives power and the glory only inasmuch as he is “servant”; but he is servant inasmuch as he welcomes within himself the fate of the suffering and the sin of all humanity. His service is realized in total faithfulness and complete responsibility towards mankind. In this way the free acceptance of his violent death becomes the price of freedom for many, it becomes the beginning and the foundation of the redemption of each person and of the entire human race.

Dear Brothers who are to be enrolled in the College of Cardinals, may Christ’s total gift of self on the Cross be for you the foundation, stimulus and strength of a faith operative in charity.

May your mission in the Church and the world always be “in Christ” alone, responding to his logic and not that of the world, and may it be illumined by faith and animated by charity which comes to us from the glorious Cross of the Lord.

On the ring which I will soon place on your finger, are represented Saints Peter and Paul, and in the middle a star which evokes the Mother of God. Wearing this ring, you are reminded each day to remember the witness which these two Apostles gave to Christ even unto martyrdom here in Rome, their blood making the Church fruitful.

The example of the Virgin Mother will always be for you an invitation to follow her who was strong in faith and a humble servant of the Lord.

As I bring these brief reflections to a close, I would like to extend warm greetings and thanks to all present, especially to the official Delegations from various countries and to the various diocesan groups.

The new Cardinals, in their service, are called to remain faithful to Christ at all times, letting themselves be guided only by his Gospel.

Dear brothers and sisters, pray that their lives will always reflect the Lord Jesus, our sole shepherd and teacher, source of every hope, who points out the path to everyone.

And pray also for me, that I may continually offer to the People of God the witness of sound doctrine and guide holy Church with a firm and humble hand.

The consistory ritual followed the Pope's allocution. First, the recitation of the Creed as a general Profession of Faith, then the individual oath that each cardinal makes, followed by the imposition of the biretta, ring and title parchment to each new cardinal's titular church or diaconate in Rome.
(As with the bishop's oath, unfortunately, too many cardinals and bishops seem to have completely forgotten the solemn oath they made to be in communion with Peter and the Church he leads...)

[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 18/02/2013 23.09]
19/02/2012 14.45
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I was pleasantly surprised with Philip Pulella's report on the consistory, which is a good overview, and with only a couple of questionable statements, for a change.

Benedict XVI leaves his stamp
on Church future with new cardinals

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY, Feb. 18 (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, putting his mark on his Church's future, Saturday inducted 22 men into the exclusive group of cardinals who will one day elect one of their own to succeed him as leader of the world's 1.3 billion Roman Catholics.

Among the most prominent in the group is New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is already being touted by some Vatican experts as a possible future candidate to become the first American Pope.

Benedict, who turns 85 in April and is showing signs of his age, elevated the men to the highest Church rank below him, at a ceremony in St. Peter's Basilica known as a consistory.

"Cardinals are entrusted with the service of love: love for God, love for his Church, an absolute and unconditional love for his brothers and sisters, even unto shedding their blood, if necessary (in defense of the faith)," the Pope told the new cardinals before giving them their rings and red birettas, or hats.

"Furthermore, they are asked to serve the Church with love and vigor, with the transparency and wisdom of teachers, with the energy and strength of shepherds, with the fidelity and courage of martyrs," he said.

The new cardinals are from the United States, Hong Kong, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, India, Canada, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Romania, Belgium, and Malta.

Eighteen of them are aged under 80 and thus will be eligible to enter a secret conclave to elect the next Pope from among their own ranks.

Twelve of those are Europeans, bringing the number of "cardinal electors" from the continent to 67 out of 125.

With the new appointments, Benedict, who was elected in a secret conclave in 2005, has now named more than half the cardinal electors. The others were named by his predecessor John Paul.

Compared to the 67 "cardinal electors" from Europe, Latin America now has 22, North America has 15, Africa has 11, Asia has nine and Oceania has one.

Cardinals are the Pope's closest collaborators in the Vatican and around the world. They lead major archdioceses and run key Vatican departments that help the Pope decide Church policy and doctrine that can affect the lives of Catholics worldwide.

Meeting reporters after the ceremony, Dolan tried to downplay suggestions he could one day become the first American Pope. "Non parlo inglese," (I don't speak English), he said in Italian in response to a question, prompting roars of laughter.

"It's a great day for all of New York," he said, holding up the red hat the Pope had given him hours earlier. "This is the hat I want to put on the Empire State Building, and home plate at Yankee Stadium and on the Statue of Liberty, because this is for all of New York. It's not for me."

At the ceremony, the Pope told the new cardinals that while they will cooperate closely with him in "the delicate task" of governing the worldwide Church, they must first and foremost be men of religion.

"May your mission in the Church and the world always be 'in Christ' alone, responding to his logic and not that of the world, and may it be illumined by faith and animated by charity which comes to us from the glorious Cross of the Lord," he said.

Benedict also asked for prayers so that he can guide the Church "with a firm and humble hand."

The consistory, usually a joyful event, is taking place under a cloud because it follows a spate of leaked letters alleging corruption in the Vatican. [And can Mr. Pulella cite any evidence that the ceremony today and everything connected with it was less than joyous? But that is, surprisingly, Pulella's only concession, surprisingly, to the herd opinion - and preferred news lead of the other agencies - that recent stories of Vatican intrigue have 'cast a pall' or 'overshadowed' the consistory!]

Numerically, at least, the Pope has increased the chances that the next pontiff will be a conservative European but there have been surprises in past conclaves.

The Pope is a conservative on matters of faith and sexual morals such as birth control, homosexuality and the ban on women priests. [A Pope has the duty to safeguard the deposit of faith that is handed down to him - he cannot be anything but 'conservative' in that he is dutybound to conserve what has endured in Catholic tradition for 2000 years. He would betray the faith and be derelict in his duty if he did otherwise.]]

Each time he names cardinals he puts his stamp on Roman Catholicism's future by choosing men who share his views.

Besides Dolan, other prominent new cardinals are John Tong Hon, archbishop of Hong Kong, and Rainer Maria Woelki, archbishop of Berlin in the Pope's native Germany.

Seven of new "cardinal electors" under the age of 80 are Italian - six of them members of the Vatican's central administration and the other the archbishop of Florence.

Popes usually reign for life but in a book last year, Benedict said he would not hesitate to become the first Pontiff to resign willingly in more than 700 years if he felt himself no longer able, "physically, psychologically and spiritually," to run the Catholic Church.

Several Popes in recent history, including the late Pope John Paul, considered resigning for health reasons, but none did so.

The last Pope to resign willingly was Celestine V in 1294 after reigning for only five months. Gregory XII reluctantly abdicated in 1415 to end a dispute with a rival claimant to the Holy See.

The Vatican says the Pope's health is good but he needs to conserve his strength. Last October he started using a mobile platform which aides use to wheel him up the central aisle of St Peter's Basilica. [And no age- or health-related snide remarks! Congratulations, Mr. Pulella. You wrote in some state of grace today!]

An excellent brief commentary from a French journalist:

In the storm, Benedict XVI
is very much the captain of the ship

by Antoine-Marie Izoard)
Translated from


ROME, Feb. 18 - "Is there a pilot on board?" - cardinals might well have asked among themselves privately in recent days.

Even as the Roman Curia continues to buzz with rumours and gossip of all kinds, and confidential documents appear to be disclosed day after day, Benedict XVI has responded - without ambiguity - that he intends, with humility and firmness, to keep the Church on keel.

To the new cardinals as well as those who have lived through more than one consistory, Benedict XVI on February 18 issued a call to "serve the Church... always faithful to Christ", to let themselves "be guided only by his Gospel", refusing "power and glory".

The Pope said that in order to follow Christ :in every age and in every place", men of the Church must always choose service over domination, altruism to selfishness, giving instead of possession, gratuitousness instead of self-interest. He could not have been more clear.

And to those who may think - within the Church as outside - that this Pope is about to throw in the towel, Benedict XVI left no doubt that he will continue to be the captain of a ship which he had warned, when he became Pope in April 2005, was in danger of going under, and whose many leaks [a metaphorical use of the term here, not having to do with the recent media leaks!] he has since sought to plug up.

"Pray also for me, that I may continually offer to the People of God the witness of sound doctrine and guide holy Church with a firm and humble hand", the Pope asked of the cardinals and of the faithful at large at the end of his allocution at the consistory.

An invitation in the form of a call to order, virtually on the eve of the very symbolic Feast of Peter's Chair.

"Everyone is talking about many things", he noted a few days ago to the seminarians of Rome, saying that he hoped they would talks instead "about the exemplary faith of the Church of Rome".

In a few months, he will launch a Year of Faith. And now one knows the way of the faith better than the former Prefect of the Faith.

Actually, John Allen has written the best English commentary I've seen so far on the consistory with his quick appreciation of Benedict XVI's extraordinary allocution (but strangely, not quoting its last and best line!

Pope to new cardinals:
‘Forget power and glory’

by John L Allen Jr
Feb. 18, 2012

ROME - Pope Benedict XVI legendarily thinks in centuries, so it’s almost always a category mistake to read his public oratory as a commentary on current events. Yet it was hard to listen to him this morning without at least flashing on the recent Vatican leaks scandal, which has created widespread impressions of power struggles and senior churchmen stabbing one another in the back.

In comments today to 22 new cardinals taking part in Benedict’s fourth consistory, with most of the Vatican’s senior leadership looking on, the Pope issued a strong plea for a spirit of service.

“Serving God and others, self-giving: this is the logic which authentic faith imparts and develops in our daily lives,” the pope said, “and which is not the type of power and glory which belongs to this world.”

Benedict noted that from the very beginning, not everyone in leadership positions among Christ’s followers has been up to that challenge.

Reflecting on the New Testament story of James and John, two disciples who requested positions of honor when Christ returns, Benedict said “it is not easy to enter into the logic of the Gospel and to let go of power and glory.”

The Pope quoted two Fathers of the Church along the same lines.

“Saint John Chrysostom affirms that all of the apostles were imperfect, whether it was the two who wished to lift themselves above the other ten, or whether it was the ten who were jealous of them,” the pope said.

He then quoted St. Cyril of Alexandria: “The disciples had fallen into human weakness and were discussing among themselves which one would be the leader and superior to the others… This happened and is recounted for our advantage… What happened to the holy Apostles can be understood by us as an incentive to humility.”

Benedict said the temptation to pursue self-interest and power is eternal.

“Dominion and service, egoism and altruism, possession and gift, self-interest and gratuitousness: these profoundly contrasting approaches confront each other in every age and place,” he said.

The Biblical reminders, the Pope said, “represent an invitation and a reminder, a commission and an encouragement especially for you, dear and venerable brothers who are about to be enrolled in the College of Cardinals.”

Benedict created 22 new cardinals this morning, including Timothy Dolan and Edwin O’Brien of the United States. This afternoon, the new cardinals were hold receptions in various rooms of the Apostolic Palace, one of the few times it's open to the general public, and in the Paul VI audience hall.

Yesterday, Benedict XVI presided over a “day of reflection and prayer” in which 133 cardinals took part, as well as the 22 new inductees in the Church’s most exclusive club.

The main act of the day was a speech on the new evangelization by Dolan, who delivered a vintage performance emphasizing the need to present the Christian message in a positive light, and to avoid demonizing the secular world.

At one point Dolan even allowed his sense to humor to surface, jokingly asking Benedict if he could be exempted from the part of the new cardinals’ oath in which they promise to defend the faith “up to the shedding of blood.”

Video feeds showed the Pope smiled at the quip. A Vatican statement issued later in the day said Benedict found the speech “exciting, joyous and profound.”

There was also more evidence of a boomlet around Dolan this morning in the Italian media. Il Messaggero’s Vatican writer, Franca Giansoldati, published a piece on the consistory under the headline, “Among the 22 new cardinals, a new papabile breaks out: the American Dolan.”

Papabile is the Italian word for a candidate to be Pope.

Back to the Pope's allocution, if I were a certain Nuncio to Washington, I would feel directly alluded to by the 'power and glory' line - his much-publicized private letters spoke quite directly of wanting to stay on at the Governatorate as its President (the power), and thereby become cardinal (the glory) as well.

Forgive me for this particular bee in my bonnet, but n fact, I continue to be surprised no one has commented on the naked ambition obvious in Vigano's letters to the Pope and Cardinal Bertone. Everyone has simply glommed onto his shotgun-style accusations of Vatican hanky-panky, to the exclusion of everything else. But no one has considered the sheer careerism that appears to have motivated all of his actions and statements, and his desperate tactics to shoot down perceived enemies at any cost!

It was a strategic mistake. IMHO, by Bertone or whoever who had the absurd idea of 'kicking Vigano upstairs' to the premier post in Vatican diplomacy, when he did not exactly shine as a Nuncio two decades ago, and perhaps that is why for the past 20 years, he was consigned to the byzantine maze of Vatican bureaucracy instead of being sent out to the field again. Being the Pope's personal representative to the government of the United States and to the bishops of the US is too important a position to be used as a 'consolation prize' for some disgruntled bureaucrat who was already clearly on the warpath, to begin with.

And I hardly think that his story is exactly whistle-blowing, because he did claim to have corrected the irregularities he discovered without being stopped - seems to me more like tooting his horn than blowing a whistle!

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