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6/8/2009 10:11 PM
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Earlier posts for today, June 8, on preceding page.

Pope encourages Venezuelan bishops
to promote evangelization even
amid the current economic crisis

The Holy Father met today at the Consistory Hall of the Apostolic Palace with the bishops of Venezuela who are completing their ad limina visit, their first with Benedict XVI. They were led by the Archbishop of Caracas, Cardinal Jorge Urosa.

Here is a translation of his address, delivered to them in Spanish:


Your Eminence,
Dear brothers in the Episcopate:

1. I extend a heartfelt welcome to you, pastors of the Church of Venezuela, at this meeting in the course of your ad-limina visit, and ,as the Successor of Peter, I thank the Lord for this opportunity to confirm my brothers in the faith (cfr Lk 22,32) and to share your joys and concerns, your plans and problems.

First of all, I thank Mons. Ubaldo Ramón Santana Sequera, Archbishop of Maracaibo and president of the Venezuelan bishops' conference, for his words expressing your communion with the Bishop of Rome and the head of the Episcopal College, as well as the challenges and hopes in your pastoral ministry.

2. Indeed, the stakes you must confront in your pastoral work are only becoming more abundant and difficult, aggravated at this time by the grave worldwide economic crisis.

Nevertheless, the present also offers numerous genuine hopes for hope, that hope that is able to fill the hearts of all men, and "which can only be God, the God who loves us and will continue to love us to the very end" (Spe salvi, 27).

As he did with the disciples at Emmaus (cf Lk 24,13-35), the risen Lord also walks by our side, instilling us with the spirit of love and with strength so that that we can open our hearts to a future of hope and the eternal life.

3. Dear brothers, you face an exciting mission of evangelization. and you have initiated a 'Mission for Venezuela' along the lines of the Continental Mission proposed by the Fifth General Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops in Aparecida.

This, too, is a time of grace for those who are completely dedicated to the cause of the Gospel. Trust in the Lord. He will make your commitment and your sacrifices bear fruit.

Therefore, I encourage you to increase your initiatives in making known - in its entirety and beauty - the figure of Jesus Christ and his message.

In addition to good doctrinal formation for all the People of God, it is equally important to promote a life of deep faith and prayer. In the liturgy and in the intimate dialog of personal and communal prayer, the Risen Lord comes to meet us, transforming our heart with his loving presence.

Ando so, I wish to recall the importance of the spiritual life of bishops. Fully configured to Christ the Head through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, bishops are, in some way - for the Church and those entrusted to them - a visible sign of the Lord Jesus
(cf. Lumen gentium 21).

That is why, the pastoral ministry must be a consistent reflection of Jesus, Servant of God, showing to all the capital importance of faith, as well as the need to give priority to vocation and holiness (cf. John Paul II Exhor. ap. Pastores gregis, 12).

4. In order to accomplish fruitful pastoral action, a close affective and effective communion is indispensable among the Pastors of the People of God, who "must always be conscious that they are united among themselves and must show their concern for all the Churches" (Christus Dominus, 6).

This unity, which now and always, must be promoted and expressed visibly, will be a source of comfort and apostolic efficacy in the ministry that has been entrusted to you.

5. The spirit of communion must call special attention to your priests. They, who are your immediate collaborators in the episcopal ministry, must be the first beneficiaries of your pastoral care, and must be treated with closeness and fraternal friendship.

They help you to carry out your received ministry with abnegation, and they will welcome in a filial spirit, if needed, your admonitions on aspects which must be improved or corrected.

That is why I encourage you to redouble your efforts in order to inspire pastoral zeal among your priests, particularly during the forthcoming Year of the Priest which I have declared.

In addition, you must also have greater interest in the Diocesan Seminary, encouraging painstaking and competent selection and formation of those who are called to be pastors of the people of God, without sparing the human and material means to do so.

6. The lay faithful, on the other hand, must participate according to their specific way in the salvific mission of the Church (cf. Lumen gentium, 33).

As disciples and missionaries of Christ, they are called on to illuminate and give order to temporal realities so that these may correspond to the loving plan of God (ibid. 31).

Therefore, we need a mature laity which gives worthy testimony of its faith and feels the joy of belonging to the Body of Christ, to which they owe, among other things, adequate knowledge of the social doctrine of the Church.

In this sense, I appreciate your commitment to shine the light of the Gospel on events that are most relevant to your country [The Venezuelan bishops have been very vocal in opposing the dictatorial actions of President Hugo Chavez], with no interest other than to disseminate the most genuine Christian values, with a view to favoring the quest for the common good, for living together harmoniously, and for social stability.

I entrust yo you, most especially, those who are in need. Continue promoting the multiple initiatives for charity of the Church in Venezuela, so that our more indigent brothers can experience among themselves the presence of He who gave his life on the Cross for all men.

7. I conclude with a word of hope and encouragement for your task: you can always count on my support, my concern and my spiritual closeness.

I ask you to extend my affectionate greeting to all the members of your local churches: to the retired bishops, to the priests, religious and lay faithful, particularly to married couples, to the youth, to the aged, and to those who suffer.

With these sentiments, and invoking the protection of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Coromoto, who is so beloved in all of Venezuela, I impart on all from my heart the Apostolic Blessing.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/8/2009 10:15 PM]
6/8/2009 11:52 PM
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Thanks to FLO at the PRF for this rare photograph of Cardinal Ratzinger at the La Cambe
German military cemetery in Normandy, in June 2004. She shared it on the PRF, and I've also
inserted it in my D-Day post in the preceding page.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/9/2009 5:14 AM]
6/9/2009 3:04 AM
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I have deliberately kept the commentaries on L'Osservatore Romano's Obamadulation syndrome to the CHURCH&VATICAN thread, and in the PRF, I posted various commentaries on Obama's Cairo speech in the REFLECTIONS ON ISLAM thread. mainly because I felt that's where the discussion belongs - despite and because of the amazing number of facts he got wrong about Islam.

Even more, I have studiously eschewed the facile paeans in the Obamanic press - John Allen makes a great example - who immediately jumped in to proclaim Obama's Cairo speech as 'congruent' to the Pope's statements when he was in the Holy Land. Yet another salvo in the offensive aided and abetted by L'Osservatore Romano, intended to show that despite Obama's extreme views on abortion, he is the Vatican's fair-haired boy. {And I cannot think of anything that justifies such unprincipled capitulation by the OR and its editors - and their masters in the Secretariat of State.

All that does not apply to David Goldman's Spengler blog entry today in First Things, which considers Obama's Cairo panegyric from the Jewish historical and religious perspective, for a change. Besides, how can I resist his title?

Obama vs. the Pope
by David Goldman

Monday, June 8, 2009

Obama’s failure to mention the historic tie of the Jewish people to the land of Israel elicited outraged comment from Jewish sources, for example this one from this morning’s editorial in the Jerusalem Post:In his Cairo address the day before to the Muslim and Arab worlds, the president had justified Israel’s right to exist on the basis of the Holocaust: “The aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted,” he said, “in a tragic history” that culminated in the Shoah.

At Buchenwald, he said: “The nation of Israel [arose] out of the destruction of the Holocaust.” That rationale, standing alone, set the stage for Obama to assert: “On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinians… have suffered in pursuit of a homeland.”

What the Holocaust proved is that the world is too dangerous a place for Jews to be stateless and defenseless. But we Zionists were making that argument long before Hitler came to power.

The same point was made by some prominent American rabbis in Shabbat sermons, and it is absolutely correct. As the cited editorial said,

SO YOU see, Mr. President, long before Christianity and Islam appeared on the world stage, the covenant between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel was entrenched and unwavering. Every day we prayed in our ancient tongue for our return to Zion. Everyday, Mr. President. For 2,000 years.

At every Jewish wedding down through the centuries, the bridegroom has crushed a glass beneath his foot while declaring: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem…”

My memory is not perfect, and I do not read every Jerusalem Post editorial, but this is the first time I recall the newspaper citing Jewish prayer as the basis for a political position. That is encouraging.

In the June-July issue of First Things, I argue that Jewish holiness, rather than the Holocaust, must be the foundation of our claim for support from the Christian world.

Of course, I had no inkling of Obama’s coming offense when I wrote “Jewish Survival in a Gentile World,” but the President’s speech in Cairo exemplified the point.

If all the Jews want is for the rest of the world to abhor the Holocaust, Obama said in effect, I’ll do that all day and all night. What a rotten thing the Holocaust was! And what stinkers are they who deny it happened! Now, you got what you paid for. Get over the barrel.

Pope Benedict XVI also had occasion to irritate the Jews during his trip to Israel and Jordan last month, particularly by complaining about the security barrier that separates Israel from the West Bank and has helped keep Palestinian terrorists away from Israeli targets.

The Pope has a Christian Arab constituency on the West Bank who suffer from the same security restrictions that Israel has imposed upon the territories as a matter of sad necessity. It is quite in character for him to deplore the human effects of such measures.

Nonetheless, what should be kept in mind is that the Pope went to Israel precisely because of its Biblical significance, and visited the Jewish people in their divinely-appointed homeland precisely because he believes that the Jews were elected by God to comunicate to all humanity knowledge of the true and unique God.

In a May 6 Newsweek column, George Weigel called attention to

the most salient personal fact about the pope’s journey—that it’s a pilgrimage by a man of the Bible to the land of the Bible. While pundits and partisans will interpret Benedict’s comments and actions according to the varying political winds and their own agendas, a real understanding of his pilgrimage must start at the true source of Benedict’s own thinking: Scripture.

Weigel added,

Ratzinger’s intense encounter with the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament over more than half a century has given him both a deep reverence for the Bible and a theologically grounded reverence for living Judaism—which is the most solid basis possible for genuine friendship and mutual regard. Benedict knows that the Hebrew Bible is integral to Christianity.

Benedict believes that the Jews should be in Eretz Yisrael for the same reason that the Jerusalem Post does: because it is divinely mandated.

Obama reinforces the Arab claim that Israel is the product of European guilt over the Holocaust. Who is the friend of the Jews, and who is the enemy?

In the cited article in the June-July issue, I argued that Jews should make common cause with the Pope. It won’t be available online for another two months, so if you want to read it now, you will have to subscribe. I suppose I could make it available for free, but sorry — as the conductor Otto Klemperer said to the Israel Philharmonic, I’m too Jewish for that.


Goldman wrote a couple of other blog entries on the Cairo speech but on its secular aspects, so I will post those in the ISLAM thread of the PRF.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/9/2009 3:54 AM]
6/9/2009 4:16 PM
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June 9

St. Ephrem (Syria, ca. 306-373)
Deacon, Confessor, Doctor of the Church

OR for 6/8-6/9:

Illustration: Andrei Rublev's 'The Trinity'
At last Sunday's Angelus, the Pope recalls the meaning of the Holy Trinity:
'Man carries the profound imprint of God-Love in his genome'
Other Page 1 stories: The Holy Father meets the Bishops of Venezuela on ad-limina visit; and in international news - Elections for
the European Parliament in 27 nations brings significant gains for conservatives and anti-integration candidates; and in Lebanon,
pro-West coalition winners outnumber Hezbollah in parliamentary elections.

No events scheduled for the Holy Father today.


On Friday, June 19, Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
the Holy Father will preside at Second Vespers in St. Peter's
Basilica to open the Year of the Priest, coniciding with
the 150th jubilee year of the death of St. John Vianney,
the Cure d'Ars, whom the Pope will proclaim Patron Saint of all priests.

6/10/2009 1:46 AM
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The Pope confronts priestly
sins of child abuse -
and not just for show

by Bruno Mastroianni
Translated from

June 9, 2009

There is a subject about which no one can fault Benedict XVI in any way: his resolute and transparent battle against the cases of sexual abuse of minors by priests.

[We should be so lucky! Is the writer forgetting a couple of suits against priests in the United States which are trying to involve both the Vatican and the Pope - in his present position as well as in his earlier capacity as Cardinal Ratzinger? Or the vicious BBC documentary and related cabals accusing the Church of having ordered bishops in a 19060s decree to 'cover up' sexual offenses by priests?]

This Pope has never avoided the direct approach to a difficult problem. In the United States and in Australia, he took time to meet with some victims.

And as for the Irish cases, in 2006, when he addressed the Irish bishops who had come for their ad-limina visit, he called on them "to establish the truth over what has been happening". "to take all the appropriate measures to avoid that they may be repeated in the future", and above all, to take care of the victims.

And so the bishops of England, Wales and Ireland did just that: to get a clear picture of what has transpired, tend to the victims and roll up their sleeves to remedy the evil. Of course, there have been among the clergy those who hide from the truth, who defend themselves, or who try to parry charges.

But the Church of Benedict XVI does not shirk from showing its wounds. This Pope has a disarming confidence in the virtues of confronting the truth.

He expects that only good cam come out of it: because bringing the injuries to light will mean being able to start healing them. This explains his fearless serenity in facing sin - no matter how terrible and within his own 'house. He is aware of the universal need felt by each sinner for redemption.

It is not justicialism, nor a thirst to punish the culpable. It is to act, having in mind the salvation of souls - of those who sinned and those who were sinned against.

It is a beautiful lesson for today's society for which, after having set aside the concepts of sin and redemption, the only possible salvation seems to be that of keeping up appearances.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/10/2009 1:47 AM]
6/10/2009 12:59 PM
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A Pope who uses
the vocabulary of science
to explain the Creative Spirit

by Salvatore Mazza
Translated from

June 9, 2009

That by itself - using metaphors from science - tends to catch his listeners unprepared.

Last Sunday, Benedict XVI used 'an analogy suggested by biology' to say that "the human being carries in his genome the deep imprint of the Trinity, of God-Love".

In his post-synodal exhortation Sacramentum caritatis, he used the image of 'nculear fission' to explain how "the substantial transformation of bread and wine to the Body and Blood of Christ introduces into creation the principle of radical transformation, that is, a nuclear fission takes place in our most intimate being, a change destined to set off a transformation of reality whose ulltimate form would be the transfiguration of the entire world, to that condition in which God will be everything in all".

This application of scientific terminology to spiritual language is evidently not, for Papa Ratzinger, mere rhetorical srtifice. Rather, it expresses his conviction - affirmed many times and at various levels - that the two spheres, science and faith, not only are not destined to conflict, but on the contrary, to integrate together.

As in the case of the star that led the three Wise Men, whom, as the Pope said last Epiphany, "were most likely astronomers" who followed the comet necause they were capable of looking at the starry skies and understanding that beyond all this, there could not be just 'a cold and anonymous mover'.

"Mathematics as such," he told the delegates to the Italian Church convention in Verona in October 2006, "is a creation of our intelligence: the correspondence between its structures and the real structures of the universe inspires our admiration and poses a great question. In fact, it implies that the universe itself is structured intelligently, in a way that there is a profound correspondence between our subjective reason and the rational objectivity of nature.

"It then becomes inevitable to ask ourselves if there must not be a single original intelligence which is the common source of one and the other."

In this way, "the tendency to give primacy to the irrational, to chance and to necessity, is turned on its head, leading back our own intelligence and freedom to that original source"; and "on this basis, it even becomes possible once again to widen the spaces of our rationality, to reopen it to the great questions about the true and the good, conjugating together theology, philosophy and the sciences, in full respect of their respective methods and their reciprocal autonomy, and in full awareness of the intrinsic unity that holds them together."

The Pope's point of view has multiple aspects: "The fact that the earth, the cosmos, mirror the creative Spirit," he told the Roman Curiq last December 22 , "means that their rational structures, which are almost pallpable beyond mere mathematical order and experiment, also carry within an ethical orientation."


My own favorite discourse on science by Benedict XVI was an answer he gave during his Q&A with the youth of Rome in St. Peter's Square, when he spoke spontaneously about how mathematics and science reflect the unimaginable order of the universe. It was breathtaking! As soon as I can dig it up, I will post that quotation here.

6/10/2009 2:04 PM
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June 10

Blessed Joaquima Vedrano de Mas (Catalonia, 1783-1854)
Founder, Carmelite Sister of Charity

OR today.

The papal news in today's issue is about John Paul II, on the 30th anniversary
of the end of his first apostolic visit to his native country Poland, with a front-page
editorial on 'The roots of the new Europe' and an inside-page interview
with Cardinal Stanislaw Dsiwisz of what that trip meant to John Paul II. The other
Page 1 banner headline is about the 4% increase in military spending worldwide
in 2008, "No crisis in the arms trade'.

General Audience today - The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis to
Blessed John Duns Scotus.

The Vatican has released the official program for the Holy Father's pastoral visit
to San Giovanni Rotondo, where he will venerate the remains of St. Padre Pio of
Pietrelcina on Sunday, June 24.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/10/2009 3:09 PM]
6/10/2009 3:04 PM
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The Holy Father dedicated his catechesis today to John Scotus Erigena in his teachign cycle on great Christian writers of the Middle Ages.

Here is how he synthesized the lesson in English:

Today we consider the figure of John Scotus Eriugena, an influential Christian thinker of the Carolingian period.

Eriugena’s interest in Eastern patristic theology, especially that of Dionysius, led him to study the latter’s works thoroughly and to translate them into Latin.

According to Eriugena, a believer is to seek the truth until he or she reaches a silent adoration of God in whose nature we participate by theosis, or "divinization".

Since this experience can never be expressed fully in words, his theology proceeds by apophasis – that is, by asserting primarily what God is not. Yet he also holds that reason is indispensable in the human quest for God.

Sacred Scripture, in fact, allows man to recall the truth which was impressed upon his soul at the beginning of time, but which had been forgotten through original sin.

By reading the Bible, we can uncover the secrets of a pure, authentic contemplation of God. Let us therefore pursue the path of continual conversion in order to mine the riches of God’s word in our daily prayer and meditation.

Here is a translation of today's catechesis:


Dear brothers and sisters,

Today I wish to speak about a remarkable thinker of the Christian West: John Scotus Eriugena*, whose origins are oBscure.

He certainly came from Ireland, where he was born at the start of the 9th century, but we do not know when he left the island to cross the English Channel and fully become part of that cultural world which was being reborn around the Carolingians, and in particular, around Charles the Bald, in ninth-century France.

Just as we do not know the date of his birth, we likewise do not know when he died, but according to the scolars, it would have been around 870.

John Scotus Eriugena had a Patristic culture, both Greek and Latin, at first hand: in fact, he had direct knowledge of the writings of the Greek and Latin fathers.

He was very familiar with, among others, the works of Augustine, Ambrose, Gregory the Great - the great fathers of the Christian West, but he was equally familiar with Origen, Gregory of Nissa, John Chrysostom, and other no less great Fathers of Oriental Christianity.

He was an exceptional man, who even at that time, had mastery of the Greek language. He showed a very special attention to St. Maximus the Confssor, but above all, for Dionysius the Areopagite [also known as pseudo-Dionysius].

Dionysius was the pseudonym used by an ecclesiastical writer of the fifth century from Syria, but in the Middle Ages, it was the widespread belief - even by John Scotus Erigena - that the author was a direct disciple of St. Paul who is referred to in the Acts of the Apostles (17,34).

Scotus Eriugena, convinced of the apostolicity in the writings of this Dionysius, described him as the 'divine author' par excellence: thus, his writings were an eminent source of his own thinking.

John Scotus translated his works to Latin. The great medieval theologians, like St. Bonaventure, became acquainted with the works of Pseudo-Dionysius through his translation.

He dedicated his whole life to deepen and develop his thinking, drawing from Dionysius's writings, to the point that even today, it can be difficult to distinguish whether we are dealing with John Scotus's own thought or with hia re-proposal of the Pseudo-Dionysius.

Actually, the theological work of John Scotus did not have much good fortune. It was not just the end of the Carolingian era that brought his work to oblivion. The censure of part of the eecclesiastical authority also cast a shadow on his person.

The fact is that John Scotus represents a radical Platonism, which at times seems to approach a pantheistic vision, even if his personal subjective intentions were always orthodox.

But some works of John Scotus Eriugena have come down to us, among which two, in particular, deserve to be remembered: the tract "On divisions in nature" and "Expositions on the celestial hierarchy by St. Dionysius".

I refer, for instance, to what he wrote on the duty to exercise appropriate discernment to whatever is presented as auctoritas vera, that is, the commitment to continue searching for the truth until one reaches some [mystical] experience in silent adoration of the Lord.

Our author says: "Salus nostra ex fide inchoat" - Our salvation begins with the faith. That is, we cannot speak of God taking off from our own inventions, but only from what God says of himself in the Sacred Scriptures.

And since God only says the truth, Scotus Eriugena was convinced that authority and reason can never be at odds with each other: he was convinced that true religion and true philosophy alco coincide.

With this perspective, he writes: "Any type of authority that is not confirmed by true reason must be considered weak...Indeed, there is no true authority which does not coincide with the truth discovered through the power of reason, even if one is dealing with an authority recommended and transmitted by those who came after the holy Father" (I, PL 122, col 513BC).

Consequently, he warns: "Let no authority intimidate or distract you from what makes you understand your conviction with the aid of correct rational contemplation. Indeed, authentic authority never contradicts correct reason, nor can the latter ever contradict true authority. One and the other come, without a doubt, from the same source, which is divine wisdom" (I, PL 122, col 511B).

We see here a courageous affirmation of the value of reason, based on the certainty that true authority is rseaonable, because God is Creative Reason.

Scripture itself is not exempt, according to Eriugena, from the need to be approached utilizing the same criterion of discernment. Scripture, in fact - the Irish theologian maintains, re-proposing a reflection by St. John Chrysostom - though it comes from God, would not have been necessary if man had not sinned.

One must thus deduce that Scripture was given by God with a pedagogical intention and out of condescension, ao that man may remember everything that was imprinted on his heart from the moment of his creation "in the image and likeness of God" (cfr Gn 1,26) and which the original Fall from grace had made him forget.

Eriugena writes in Expositiones: "It is not man who was created for Scripture, of which he would have no need if he had not sinned, but rather, it is Scripture, interweaving doctrine and symbols, which was given to man. Thanks to it, in fact, our rational nature can be introduced to the secrets of authentically pure contemplation of God" (II, PL 122, col 146C).

The words of Sacred Scripture purify our reason which is rather blind and helps us to recover a memory of that which we, as images of God, carry in our hearts, that have unfortunately been made vulnerable by sin.

This has some hermeneutic consequences about the way of interpreting Scripture, which can still show us today the right way for a correct reading of Sacred Scripture.

It has to do with discovering the hidden sense of the sacred text, and this presupposes a particular interior exercise that can open reason towards the sure way to truth. This exercise consists in cultivating a constant readiness to conversion.

Indeed, to reach a profound vision of the text, it is necessary to progress simulatneously in the conversion of the heart and in the conceptual analysis of the Biblical pages, whether they are cosmic, historical or dotrinal in nature.

And indeed it is thanks to constant purification of the eyes of the heart as well as the eyes of the mind that one can conquer exact understanding.

This path which is impervious, demanding and exciting - in the continuous conquests and relativizations of human knowledge - brings the intelligent creature right up to the threshold of Divine Mystery, where all ideas are seen in their inherent weakness and incapacity, thus urging us - with the simple free and gentle power of truth - to keep going beyond all the knowledge that is continually being acquired.

The adoring and silent recognition of Mystery, which is expressed in unifying communion, is thus revealed as the only way to a relationship with truth, which is, at the same time, the most intimate and most scrupulously respectful relationhip with Otherness.

John Ecotus - utilizing a vocabulary which was dear to the Christian tradition in the Greek language - called this expereience towards which we tend 'theosis', divinization, with daring statements to the point that it was possible to suspect him of heterodox pantheism.

Nonetheless, the emotion is powerful when confronting texts like the following where - using the ancient metaphor of melting iron - he writes: "Therefore, just as red-hot iron liquefies to the point where it seems to be nothing but fire, although one substance continues to be distinct from the other, thus we should accept that at the end of this world, all nature, corporeal and incorporeal, will manifest God only, and still remain integral - in such a way that God can in some way be comprehended although he remains incomprehensible, and the created being himself is transformed, in ineffable wonder, to God". (V, PL 122, col 451B).

In fact, the entire theological thinking of John Scotus is the clearest demonstration of the attempt to express what can be said of the unutterable God, based only on the mystery of the Word made flesh in Jesus of Nazareth.

The many metaphors that he used to idicate this ineffable reality show how much he was aware of the absolute inadequacy of the words with which we speak about these matters.

Nonetheless, there remains the enchantment and atmosphere of authentic mystical experience that one can touch with the hands from time to time in his texts.

It suffices to cite as proof a page from De divisione naturae which profoundly touches the soul even of us believers in the 21st century:

"Nothing else should be desired," he writes, "than the joy of truth which is Christ, and nothing else must be avoided as the absence of God. The greatest torment of a rational creature is His absence" (V, PL 122, col 989a).

These are words that we can make ours, translating them into prayer to Him who constitutes the desire of our heart

*'Scotus' was a medieval appellation which means "irish or Gaelic' in Latin, but John referred to himself more specifically as 'Eriugena' which means "Irish-born'.

Though there is no story that comes with the picture, lower left, it looks to me like a carpet of flowers designed for 'Corpus Domini' from the town of Bolsena, north of Rome, where one of the most famous Eucharistic miracles took place in the 13th century: A German priest travelling to Rome who doubted the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, was celebrating Mass when blood dripped from the Host he was consecrating. The event was ordered investigated by Pope Urban IV who then asked that the Host and the linen corporal onto which it had dripped blood be brought to him in nearby Orvieto, where the corporal remains enshrined in the city's cathedral (one of the most magnificent in Italy!).

I find today's catechesis particularly powerful - one of those during which I found myself shivering with ineffable thrill while I was translating and reviewing the translation.

In many ways, the Holy Father succeeds in a discourse like this one to bring us himself to that threshold of divine Mystery - towards a near-encounter with the unsayable Essence, even as I prosaically sit in front of a PC in a hospital office.

For the many who will never have the cnance to read the mystical writings of the great saints, moments like this serve the very same purpose. And Benedict XVI succeeds in conveying the mystic experience in a few sentences even to sinful souls like mine because, I am convinced, he speaks from personal experiential knowledge. Thank you, Holiness!

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/11/2009 1:20 AM]
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A special year to get
priests back in shape

Benedict XVI has proclaimed the Year of the Priest in order to strengthen the spiritual identity
of the clergy, and to purify it from 'filth'.
The Legionaries of Christ are in the eye of the hurricane.
On seminaries, an unflinching look from the Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education.

ROME, June 10, 2009 - On Friday the 19th, the Geast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the special Year of the Priest decreed by Benedict XVI will begin.

Papa Ratzinger explained the reasons for it to the cardinals and bishops of the Congregation for the Clergy, when he met them after their plenary assembly last march.

Until 1967, the Congregation was called the Congregation "of the Council" It had been set up, in fact, after the Council of Trent, in order to oversee the application of the Council guidelines by the clergy in their pastoral care of souls.

The profile of the priest outlined by the Council of Trent characterized the life of the Catholic Church until the second half of the 20th century. It was exemplified by the sainted Curé d'Ars, Jean-Marie Vianney, the 150th anniversary of whose death falls this year.

Over the past few decades, however, the identity of the Catholic priest has, in varying degrees, been transformed, obscured, and fragmented under the blows of secularization, outside of and within the Church.

The intention of the Year of the Priest is precisely to rebuild a strong spiritual identity in priests, faithful to the priest's original mission.

This also involves an energetic effort to eliminate the "filth" that has polluted part of the clergy, which though limited in numbers, has but disastrous for the worldwide image of priests [and of teh Church!].

But the occurrence of another event must be noted in this regard.

The beginning of the Year of the Priest will also mark the start of the apostolic visitation that the Vatican authorities have ordered to be conducted in the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.

This congregation has distinguished itself by its abundance of vocations and its large number of new priests. At the same time, however, it risks collapsing in the same way that the figure of its charismatic founder, the priest Marcial Maciel, has collapsed.

The definitive revelation of Maciel's gravely immoral double life has now become a terrible scandal, above all for those who were his most fervent disciples.

Rebuilding the spiritual identity of the clergy also implies special attention to their formation. Just as the seminaries were one of the milestones of the reform of the Church advocated by the Council of Trent, so also today it is in the seminaries that the identity of the new priests is being forged.

The Congregation for the Clergy does not oversee the seminaries. They are supervised by the Congregation for Catholic Education.

Therefore, this congregation must also make an effort to ensure that the Year of the Priest bears fruit.

It has taken the first steps, to judge from the speech given by its secretary, Jean-Louis Bruguès, to the rectors of pontifical seminaries who met in Rome in recent days.

Archbishop Bruguès, 66, a Dominican, was Bishop of Angers (France) until 2007. In addition to being secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, he is vice president of the Pontifical Work for Ecclesiastical Cocations and a member of the commission for the formation of candidates for the priesthood. He is also an academic at the St. Thomas Aquinas pontifical academy.

His speech to seminary rectors doesn't use any curial language at all. It is unusually frank. In no uncertain terms, it describes and denounces the failures following the Second Vatican Council, in Europe in particular - including the astonishing ignorance on elementary points of doctrine that is found today among young men entering the seminary.

This ignorance is so significant that one of the remedies recommended by Archbishop Bruguès is the dedication of an entire year at the seminary to the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The Catechism "ad parochos" was another of the milestones of the Tridentine reform. Four centuries later, we're there again.

[I will post the text of Cardinal Brugues's address in the CHURCH&VATICAN thread.]

As an unabashed devotee of Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratzinger as priest, first and foremost, and nursing great admiration for everything he has said and written about priests and bishops - and how they should be men of God devoted to their spiritual life, first of all, so that they can properly devote themselves to the spiritual care of the People of God - I was not surprised when he declared a Year for the Priest. and could only surmise he must have thought of doing this all along but waited for the nearest appropriate occasion for its observance,

And what could be more appropriate than a jubilee year that commemorates St. Jean Vianney, the model priest for our time!

Last Memorial Day, thinking on the many occasions during the year that the United States remembers and honors its war dead as well as all its men and women in uniform, it occurred to me that the Church, too, should have similar occasions often enough to remember and honor its own 'men of the cloth', a largely unsung army of spiritual troops - the quiet, loving defenders of Christ and the faith, whom we value all the more because we do not have enough of them, and who have been unjustly tarnished with the shame that some of their fellow priests have brought to the Church.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/10/2009 7:46 PM]
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From the ever-reliable Andrea Tornielli whose 'pre-announcements' have so far proven correct each time, and who prudently does so first on his blog:

'Ecclesia Dei' to be absorbed
into the CDF

Translated from

In tHE next few weeks, a Motu proprio from Benedict XVI will be published which will convert the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei - created by Papa Wojtyla to facilitate the re-entry of the Lefebvrians into full communion with the Church of Rome - into an organism within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Papa Ratzinger anticipated this last March in the letter to the bishops around the world to explain why he revoked the excommunication of the four FSSPX bishops [saying that the next phase of the rapprochement would be discussions to resolve the doctrinal questions raised by the Lefbevrians on ambiguities in the Vatican-II Magisterium, and that these talks would be under the auspices of the CDF].

On July 4, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who has headed Ecclesia Dei since its creation in 1988, turns 80 and will be retiring.

Thus, the commission will henceforth be presided by Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the CDF.

The commission vice-president, Mons. Camille Perl, will remain in place, and a new secretary will be named to replace Mons. Mario Marini who passed away recently.

The French agency I-Media reported today that the cardinal members of teh CDF in their regular weekly meeting finalized a draft platform for the start of doctrinal dialog with the FSSPX....

Meanwhile, as anticipated by Il Giornale [the newspaper Tornielli writes for], the nomination of Mons. Malcom Ranjith as the new Archbishop of Colombo (Sri Lanka) will be announced Saturday, along with that of his replacement as secretary of teh Congregation for Divine Worship, the Dominican priest, Fr. Augustine Di Noia, an American, who has been #3 at the CDF since 2003 [and therefore worked closely with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger].

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/10/2009 11:18 PM]
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Another Vaticanista picked up on the Holy Father's use of the word 'genome' in his beautiful mini-homily on the Trinity last Sunday. I translated Salvatore Mazza's commentary from Avvenire yesterday. It turns out Lugi Accattoli had written something similar for his old paper, Corriere della Sera, last Monday.

The creative Pope:
'The Trinity in our DNA'

by Luigi Accattoli
Translated from

July 8, 2009

In the human genome - that is, our DNA - we bear 'the profound imprint of the Trinity, of God-Love'.

The Pope said this yesterday at the Angelus using a term from biology, just as another time (August 21 2005), he had evoked 'nuclear fission' in speaking of the 'eucharistic mystery', and on a third occasion (Easter Vigil, 2006), he called the resurrection of Christ 'the greates mutation' that had ever happened 'in the history of life'.

Yesterday was the Feast of the Trinity, whom the theologian Pope presented as "Three Persons who are one God only, because the Father is love, the Son is love, and the Spirit is love. God is all love and only love, the purest love, infinite and eternal".

God does not "live in splendid solitude" but is the "inexhaustible source of life" that 'gives unceasingly". By communicating this 'creative Love' he transmits "to all that exists" his own 'likeness'.

And here the Pope gets to the human genome: "The strongest proof that we are made in the image of the Trinity is this: only love makes us happy, because we live in relationship: we live to love and be loved. Using an analogy suggested by biology, we can say that the human being carries in his own genome the profound imprint of the Trinity, of God-Love".

Never has the Trinity been associated with the human genome. But to speak of mystery, Benedict XVI invents his own language. He is as creative with words as Papa Wojtyla was with gestures.

When I posted Salvatore Mazza's piece from Avvenire yesterday, I referred to my own favorite 'scientific' discourse by Benedict XVI. It was this very spontaneous response to a young college student at an encounter in St. Peter's Square on April 6, 2006, with the youth of the Diocese of Rome and privince of Lazio. Here is a translation:

Question: I am asking you to help us understand better how Biblical revelation and scientific theories can converge in the search for truth. Often we are led to believe that science and faith are enemies; that science and technology are one and the same; that mathematical logic has discovered everything; that the world is a product of chance, and that if mathematics has not discovered God, the theorem 'God is because he is God', simply does not exist.

In short, especially when we are “studying” (for school), it is not always easy to attribute everything to a divine plan inscribed in nature and in the story of man. So, at times, faith wavers or is reduced to a simple act of sentiment. I, too, Holy Father, like all young people, am hungry for Truth, but what can I do to harmonize science and faith?

The great Galileo said that God wrote the book of nature in the language of mathematics. He was convinced that God had given us two books: that of Sacred Scripture and that of nature. And that the language of nature - he was convinced of this – was mathematics, which is therefore a language of God, of the Creator.

Now let us reflect on what mathematics is: of itself, it is an abstract system, an invention of the human mind, and as such, it does not exist as pure essence. It is always realized approximatively, but as an intellectual system, it is an invention of genius by the human mind.

The surprising thing is that this invention of our mind is truly the key to understanding nature, that nature is really structured mathematically, and that our mathematics, invented by the human spirit, is really the instrument with which we can work with nature, place it at our service, make it an instrument through technology.

It seems to me almost incredible that an invention of the human intellect and the structure of the universe should coincide, that the mathematics invented by us truly gives us access to the nature of the universe and makes this nature useful to us. And so the intellectual structure of the human subject and the objective structure of reality coincide: subjective reason and reason objectified in nature are identical.

I think that this coincidence between how we think and how nature came to be and how it behaves is a great enigma and challenge, because we see that in the end, there is “one” reason (primary cause) that connects both. Our own reasoning could not have discovered the other if there had not been a reason common to both.

In this sense, it seems to me that mathematics – in which God cannot appear as such – shows us the intelligent structure of the universe. Now, we even have theories of chaos, but they are limited, because if chaos had the upper hand, then all technology would be impossible.

Technology is reliable only because our mathematics is reliable. Our science, which finally makes it possible for us to work with the energies of nature, assumes that matter has a reliable and intelligent structure.

So we see that there is a subjective rationality as well as a rationality objectified in matter which coincide.

Of course, no one can now prove – as one does through experiment or technical readings – that both systems of reason really originated from one single “intelligence”, but it seems to me that this single intelligence behind the two systems of reason we have is truly manifest in our world. And that the more we are able to instrumentalize the world with our intelligence, the more the design of creation becomes apparent.

At the end, to come to the definitive question, I would say: Either there is a God, or there is none. Only two options exist. One either recognizes the priority of reason, of the creative Reason that is at the origin of everything and is the principle of everything – the priority of reason is also the priority of freedom; or one advocates the priority of the irrational, in which everything that works on earth and in our lives would simply be occasional, marginal, an irrational product, in which case reason would be the product of irrationality!

Ultimately one cannot “prove” one or the other, but the great option of Christianity is to choose rationality and the priority of reason. This seems to me the optimal option which shows us how behind everything there is a great Intelligence, to whom we can entrust ourselves.

However, the true problem against faith today, it seems to me, is evil in this world. How is it compatible with the rationality of the Creator? It is here we really need the God who was made flesh and who shows us that he is not only mathematical reason, but that he, the original Reason, is also Love.

If we look at the major options, the Christian option even today is the most rational and the most human. Because of this, we can elaborate with confidence a philosophy, a vision of the world, that is based on this priority of reason, on our faith that the creative Reason is love, and that this love is God.

I do not think there is any living intellectual, philosopher, scientist or theologian today who can deliver such a cogent, literally amazing statement - off the cuff, yet! - on science, reason and faith as Benedict XVI did above.

Those benighted bigoted physicists at la Sapienza would probably not stand a chance if they chose to debate him on, say, chaos theory. I daresay one of these days the Holy Father is bound to make a reference to string theory, man's latest effort to find a 'unified theory' that explains the universe from the micro- to the macro-cosmos. We believers call that 'unified theory' God.

And by the way, those physicists completely ignored the fact that the man they accused in January 2008 of dissing Galileo had referred positively to Galileo at least three times in the early months of his Papacy. Before this meeting with the youth, he cited Galileo in his mini-encyclical address to the national convention of the Italian Church held in Verona in October 2005, and not long after that, when he opened the academic year at the Pontifical Lateran University.

The entire transcript of the Pope's Q&A with the youth of Rome andf Lazio can be found on

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/11/2009 1:23 AM]
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Sunday, June 21, 2009


08.00 Departure by helicopter from the Vatican

09.15 Arrival at the Antonio Massi sport field

09.35 Private visit to the Shrine of Santa Maria delle Grazie
and veneration of the remains of St. Pio of Pietrelcina in the Crypt.

10.30 EUCHARISTIC CONCELEBRATION in front of the Church of St. Pio
Homily by the Holy Father
Words from the Holy Father

16.45 Encounter with patients, medical staff and officials
at the Monumental Entrance to the Casa Sollievo di Sofferenza
(House of Relief from Suffering)
Address by the Holy Father

17.30 Encounter with priests, religious, and young people
Church of San Pio
Address by the Holy Father

18.15 Departure for the Vatican

19.30 Arrival at the Vatican

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/11/2009 2:03 AM]
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June 11

St. Barnabas
(Cyprus, d. 981), Apostle to Antioch and Cyprus

OR today.

Illustration: John Scotus Eriugena, Painting from Pontifical Irish College, Rome.
At the General Audience, the Pope on medieval Irish theologian John Scotus Eriugena:
'True authority is reasonable because God is creative Reason'

Other Page 1 stories: Terrorist bomb destroys Pakistan hotel and kills 18; and an editorial commentary on the coming G8 foreign ministers meeting on development, 'War on poverty is a necessity'.


Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ
19:00 Basilica of St John Lateran
- Holy Mass
- Procession to Santa Maria Maggiore
and Eucharistic Blessing

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/11/2009 5:17 PM]
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At the Lateran Basilica:

Here is a full translation of the Holy Fahter's homily tonight:


"This is my body, this is my blood".

Dear brothers and sisters,

These words which Jesus pronounced at the Last Supper are repeated every time that the Eucharistic Sacrifice is renewed.

We heard it just now in the Gospel of Mark and they resound with singular evocative power today, the Solemnity of Corpus Domini. They lead us ideally to the Cenacle - they make us relive the spiritual atmosphere of that night when, celebrating Passover with his own people, the Lord anticipated in the mystery the sacrifice which would be consummated the following day on the Cross.

The institution of the Eucharist thUs seems to us like the anticipation and acceptance of his death on the part of Jesus. St. Ephrem the Syrian writes about this: "During the supper, Jesus immolated himself; on the Cross he was immolated by others" (cfr Hymn ON n the Crucifixion 3,1).

"This is my blood".

The reference to the sacrificial language of Israel is clear here. Jesus presents himself as the true and definitive sacrifice in which is realized the expiation of sins, which in the rites of the Old Testament, was never totally fulfilled.

Above all, Jesus says that his blood is "shed for many", with an understandable reference to the songs of the Servant which are found in the book of Isaiah (cfr Chap. 53).

By adding the words 'blood of the covenant', Jesus moreover manifests that, thanks to his death, the prophecy of the new alliance, founded on the faithfulness and the infinite love of the Son who became man, is realized - an alliance that is stronger than all the sins of mankind.

The old covenant was sanctioned on Sinai by a sacrificial rite of animals, as we heard in the First Reading, and the chosen people, freed from slavery in Egypt, had promised to follow all the commandments given by the Lord (cfr Ex 24,3).

In fact, Israel almost immediately - with the construction of the calf of gold - showed itself incapable of being faithful to this promise and therefore to the covenant, which instead it subsequently transgressed often, adapting to its heart of stone the Law which should have taught it the way of life.

But the Lord never fell short of his promise and through the prophets, he set about to recover the interior dimension of the alliance, and announced that he had written a new one in the hearts of the faithful (cfr Jer 31,33), transforming them with the gift of the Spirit (cfr Ez 36,25-27).

It was at the Last Supper that he sealed this new alliance with his disciples and with mankind, confirming it, not with the sacrifice of animals as in the past, but rather with his blood that had become the "blood of the new covenant'. Thus, the basis, as I said earlier, of the expiation of all our sins.

This is very evident in the second Reading, taken from the Letter to teh Hebrews, where the sacred author declares that Jesus is the 'mediator of a new covenant' (9,15).

He became so, thanks to his blood, or more exactly, thanks to his gift of himself, which gives full value to the shedding of his blood.

On the Cross, Jesus is at the same time victim and priest: a victim worthy of God because he is spotless, and the high priest who offers himself, under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, and intercedes for all mankind.

Thus, the Cross is a mystery of love and salvation that purifies us - as the Letter to the Hebrews says - of 'dead works', namely, of sins, and sanctifies us by sculpting the new alliance in our heart.

The Eucharist, which renders the sacrifice of the Cross actual, makes us capable of living faithfully our communion with God.

Dear brothers and sisters - whom I greet with affection, starting with the Cardinal Vicar and the other cardinals and bishops present - like the Chosen People gathered together in Sinai, tonight we, too, wish to reaffirm our fidelity to the Lord.

A few days ago, in opening the annual diocesan convention, I recalled the importance of remaining, as a Church, in attentive listening to the Word of God in prayer and reading Scripture, especially with the practice of lectio divina, the meditated and worshipful reading of the Bible.

I know that in this regard, so many initiatives have been promoted in the parishes, in seminaries, in the religious communities, and within confraternities, associations and apostolic movements which enrich our diocesan community. To the members of these multiple ecclesial organisms, I address my fraternal greeting.

Your presence in large numbers at this celebration, dear friends, highlights that our community, characterized by a plurality of cultures and different experiences, is formed by God as 'his' people, as the one Body of Christ, thanks to our participation in the double meal of the Word and the Eucharist.

Nourished by Christ, we, his disciples, receive the mission of being 'the soul' of this city ( cfr Letter to Diogneto, 6: ed. Funk, I, p. 400; see also Lumen gentium, 38), a ferment for renewal, bread 'broken' for all - above all for those who are in situations of need, poverty and physical and spiritual suffering. We become witnesses of his love.

I address myself particularly to you, dear priests, whom Christ has chosen, so that, together with him, you may live your life as a praiseworthy sacrifice for the salvation of the world. Only from union with Jesus Christ will you be able to draw that spiritual fecundity which generates hope in your pastoral ministry.

St. Leo the Great reminds us that "our participation in the body and blood of Christ does not aim at anything other than to become that whom we receive" (Sermo 12, De Passione 3,7, PL 54). If this is true for every Christian, it is all the more true for us priests.

To be, to become the Eucharist! May this be precisely our constant desire and effort, so that our offering of the Body and Blood of the Lord that we make on the altar may be accompanied by the sacrifice of our own existence.

Every day, we draw from the Body and Blood of Christ that free and pure love which makes us worthy to be ministers of Christ and witnesses to his joy. This is what the faithful expect of priests: the example of authentic devotion for the Eucharist.

They want to see him spend long moments of silence and adoration before Jesus as did the holy Curate of Ars, whom we will remember particularly during the imminent Year of the Priest.

St. Jean Marie Vianney liked to tell his parishioners: "Come to communion... It is true that you are not worthy, but you have need of it" (Bernard Nodet, Le curé d’Ars. Sa pensée – Son coeur, éd. Xavier Mappus, Paris 1995, p. 119).

With the consciousness that we are inadequate because of sin, but needful of nourishing ourselves from the love that the Lord offers us in the Eucharistic sacrament, let us renew our faith tonight in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. We cannot take this faith for granted.

Today, there is the risk of creeping secularization even within the Church, which can translate itself to formal and empty Eucharistic worship, in celebrations devoid of that participation of the heart that is expressed in veneration and respect for the liturgy.

The temptation is always strong to reduce prayer to superficial and hurried moments, allowing oneself to be overwhelmed by earthly activities and concerns.

When shortly we shall recite the Our Father, the prayer par excellence, we will say: "Give us today our daily bread", thinking naturally of the everyday bread for us and for all men.

But this request contains something more profound. The Greek term epioúsios, which is translated as 'daily', can also refer to the bread that is 'supra-substantial', to the bread of 'the world to come'.

Some Fathers of the Church saw in it a reference to the Eucharist, the bread of eternal life, of the new world, which is given to us in the Holy Mass, so that from this moment on, the future world can begin in us.

With the Eucharist, then, heaven comes down to earth, God's tomorrow comes into the present, and it is as though time is embraced by divine eternity.

Dear brothers and sisters, as it is every year, the end of this Holy Mass will lead into the traditional Eucharistic procession, and we will raise, with prayers and songs, a choral imploration to the Lord who is present in the consecrated Host.

We will say in the name of the entire city: "Stay with us, Jesus, make us a gift of yourself, and give us the bread that will nourish us for eternal life! Free this world from the poison of evil, of violence and hate which pollutes consciences, purify it with the power of your merciful love. And you, Mary, who were the 'eucharistic' lady all your life, help us to walk united towards the heavenly goal, nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ, bread of eternal life and the elixir of divine immortality". Amen!

The procession to Santa Maria Maggiore:

At Santa Maria Maggiore:

NB: The Holy Fahter today wore a Roman chasuble that belonged to Paul VI and which he first wore at the Feast of the Epiphany last January. The papal chair used at the Lateran was Pius V's.

The cope he wore for the Procession and Benediction appears to be new. It has a very elegant orphrey (ornamental bands along the vertical edges) that bears his coat of arms.

The photos used here are from Gregor Kollmorgen's video-caps at

Caterina's videocap montages in this Forum's Photogallery,
the thumbnails from the Vatican Radio site,
and the Yahoo newsphoto service today which only had photographs of the procession and none of the Mass.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/12/2009 5:35 PM]
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June 12

Blessed Jolenta [Yolanda] of Poland (1235-1298)
Widow and Poor Clare nun
(Sister of St. Margaret of Hungary and St.Cunegunde)

No OR today (since yesterday was a religious holiday).


The Holy Father met today with

- Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (weekly meeting0
- Bishops of Venezuela (Group 5) on ad-limina visit
- Mons. Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, SJ, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The Holy Father has named a new Archbishop of New Orleans in Mons. Gregory Aymond, until now Archbishop of Austin.
He succeeds Mons. Alfred Hughes, who has reached canonical retirement.

6/12/2009 4:16 PM
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A late addition to the Yahoo newsphoto pool from last night:

I have posted a full translation of the Holy Father's Corpus Domni homily two posts above. Yet another treasure in the Holy Father's Magisterial texts.

More photos of the Corpus Domini procession:

The following 2 photos are an odd juxtaposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the Pope with shop signs along Rome's Via Merulana,
the processional road from the Lateran to Santa Maria Maggiore:

As the Vatican Radio commentator noted yesterday, Corpus Domini is the one solemnity that the Holy Father leads primarily as the Bishop of Rome, pastor of this diocese, not as the Pope. A distinctly Roman feast in which even the liturgy at the Lateran Basilica (the Cathedral of Rome) last night was predominantly in Italian. (If you watched the telecast, you may have enjoyed - as I did - the exuberant Italian flavor of the entire Mass, particularly the hymns and the singing.)

Indeed, the Corpus Domini procession in Rome - with its army of followers and devotees who turn out faithfully every year - is one of the remaining grand manifestations of popular devotion in the modern world.

It is a rare glimpse - not always sufficiently shown by the TV coverage - into that still-existing world of religious confraternities and sodalities, with their distinctive and colorful standards and uniforms, that hark back to the Middle Ages.

The Vatican commentator was right about one thing. Anyone visiting Rome would do well to schedule it around Corpus Domini, because it is the one occasion when you have the best chance of seeing the Pope from fairly near without having to worry about getting any tickets.

From the huge square in front of the Lateran Basilica where the Corpus Domini Mass is celebrated to the mile-long procession route and around Santa Maria Maggiore, a devoted tourist/pilgrim could theoretically have his/her fill of a Eucharistic experience that is also a prime papal event.

Finally, I could not resist cropping and enlarging this image:

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/12/2009 5:46 PM]
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Capuchins hope Pope's trip
will be a teaching moment:
The faithful should look more
to emulating Padre Pio
than to hoping for miracles

SAN GIOVANNI ROTONDO, Italy, June 12 (Translated from ASCA) - "The principal expectation we have from the Magisterium of this theologian Pope is certainly that he will give the faithful guidance on authentic devotion, less dependent on expecting supernatural events and more oriented to emulating this man (Padre Pio o Pietrelcina) who succeeded in leading a life of holiness in the past century even while relativism and the culture of nonsense had taken hold".

This according to Stefano Campanella, deputy spokesman for the Capuchin Fathers of San Giovanni Rotondo, who are in charge of the churches and sites associated with the saint.

"The fact that Benedict XVI - first as cardinal, then as Pope - has cited padre Pio a number of times, gives us to understand that for this Pope, the Capuchin saint could represent a 'lived' catechism for man in the Third Millennium , at the start of which Padre Pio was presented to the universal Church as a saint [he was canonized in 2002] and a model to follow," he said.

Benedict XVI will arrive in San Giovanni Rotondo around 9:15 on Sunday, June 21, and will first proceed to the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie to venerate the remains of the saint, exhumed in April last year, and which will remain for public exposition till September this year.

He will the celebrate a Mass in teh piazza in front of the modern church of st. Pio. In the afternoon, he will visit the Casa Sollievo di Sofferenza [House of Relief from Suffering], established by Padre Pio, which has since become one of Europe's best tertiary-care health facilities.

The Italian service of

has once again produced a dossier - which is really a briefing book - about the Holy Father's coming visit to San Giovanni Rotondo.

It did the same thing previously with the Pope's visits to Cagliari, Cameroon and Angola, and to the Holy Land, but not for Montecassino.

It's the sort of briefing book that I used to prepare for announcers doing any important news coverage for radio and TV back in the days when I was a journalist. It provides background information, both historical as well as current, on all aspects of the visit, including the place and the people, previous visits by other Popes and by Benedict himself before he became Pope, the specific places and events to be attended by the Pope, and in this case, excellent background material and pictures of Padre Pio.

It's a shame that the other language services of Vatican Radio, particularly the English one, do not make the effort to translate these dossiers. The San Giovanni Rotondo dossier only comes to 80 printed pages (the one for the Holy Land came about 180 pages in two volumes).

If they assigned a team of 3 or 4 to translate a dossier for each language, they could easily do it on a weekend. I am only too sorry I do not have the time to do it myself, although in the past visits where a dossier was available, I did try to translate and use their material where appropriate (though the last time, I could not keep it up after the first two days in Jordan).

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/12/2009 7:50 PM]
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June 13

St. Anthony of Padua (Portuguese, 1175-1231)
Franciscan, Doctor of the Church
Professor of Miracles

OR for 6/12-6/13:

At the celebration of Corpus Domini, Benedict XVI calls
'For a world liberated from evil'
Says creeping secularization even in the Church has made the Eucharistic sacrifice 'empty'

Other Page 1 stories: North Korea prepares for another nuclear test; huge turnout in Iran's presidential elections;
a story on the 40th anniversary of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints introduces several inside-page articles
on this Vatican dicastery.


The Holy Father met today with:

- Mons. Nikola Eterović, Secretary-General of the Bishops' Synod

- Bishops of Venezuela (Group 5) on ad-limina visit

- Members of the 'Centesimus Annus - Pro Pontifice' Foundation. Address in Italian.


VATICAN CITY, June 13 (Translated from Apcom) - The Pope said today that "soon, my encyclical dedicated to the vast subject of economics and work will be published", in his address to the members of the Centesimus Annus Foundation today.

Barring any last-minute change of plans, the encyclical Caritas in veritate (Love in truth) is expected to come out on or around June 29, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, which is the date that the encyclical itself will bear.

Benedict XVI anticipated some of the points in the encyclical:

"It will highlight what we Christians consider the objectives to follow and the values to promote and defend tirelessly in order to realize human coexistence that is truly free and fraternal."

"The financial and economic crisis which has struck the industrialized nations, as well as emergent and developing nations, obviously shows that certain economic-financial paradigms that have been dominant in recent years must be rethought."

The Pope said attention should be focused on "the values and rules which the economic world must live by in order to set in place a new model of development that is more attentive to the demands of solidarity and more respectful of human dignity."

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/13/2009 2:46 PM]
6/13/2009 3:27 PM
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La Repubblica has a very interesting story today - apparently a 'scoop' since no other Italian paper has reported it - about Volume 2 of JESUS OF NAZARETH but the writer inexplicably chooses to make a duel between publishing houses his lead.

Pope says he worked on parts
during his Holy Land visit

by Orazio La Rocca
Translated from

June 13, 2009

VATICAN CITY - There appears to be an editorial battle over Benedict XVI's Volume 2 of JESUS OF NAZARETH which is expected to be published this year.

It is a much awaited event, after the great success of the first volume published by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI in 2007, through [the Italian publishing house] Rizzoli under an agreement with the Vatican publishing house LEV. The book has sold more than 3 million copies worldwide so far.

The volume is particularly dear to the Pope because it will deal with the episodes that represent the essence of Christian faith (the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ), to the point that the Pope recently revealed he had written some parts during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land last month.

But in anticipation of the inevitable publishing boom that the new book will represent, there has been a battle of publishers in and around the Vatican in recent months which threatens to be long and difficult.

On the one hand, there's Rizzoli which intends to conclude a similar deal with LEV on the second book as it had for Volume 1 [worldwide rights for marketing], reportedly for 20% of cover price.

On the other hand, the largest Catholic publishing house in Europe, Germany's Herder, intends to bid for the same rights, since it owns the rights to Joseph Ratzinger's complete works, from 1950 to 2005, which it is publishing in a 16-volume series. The first volume [dedicated to Ratzinger's writings on liturgy] came out in German last year and its Italian translation is set to come out in September.

The Pope met last week with Herder officials who asked him how the second book on Jesus was going.

"I am in fact finalizing it at this time, between one appointment and the other," the Pope reportedly said promptly. "In fact, I wrote some parts during my recent visit to the Holy Land."

In particular, the Pope reportedly said that he 'worked at night away from other eyes and ears' about 'the most emotional moments' that he felt while visiting the sites associated with Christ's life on earth - the Grotto of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Grotto of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and on his last day in Jerusalem, to Golgotha and the Holy Sepulchre.

He said he looked at everything with the eyes of a first-time pilgrim, observing the smallest details, and sought to immediately write down the most intimate sensations he felt in front of 'those stones that have spoken of Jesus for 2000 years".

All this has made Herder officials determined to get first rights to Volume 2, if it can get by Rizzoli.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/14/2009 7:13 AM]
6/14/2009 2:22 AM
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Senior User

Pope addresses 'Centesimus Annus' Foundation
Translated from

Here is a translation of the address delivered by the Holy Father at noon Saturday (June 13) at the Sala Clementina of the Apostolic Palace to the members of the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation - at which he confirmed the imminent publication of his third encyclical, the so-called 'social encyclical'.

Venerated brothers in the Episcopate and Priesthood,
Distinguished dear friends:

Than you for your visit on the occasion of your annual meeting. I greet everyone with affection and I am thankful for all you do, with proven generosity, in the service of the Church.

I greet and thank Count Lorenzo Rossi di Montelera, your President who interpreted your sentiments with great sensitivity, while describing the major lines of the Foundation's activities. And I thank those who, in various languages. presented me with their affirmations of common devotion.

Our meeting today has a meaning and special value in the light of the situation which all mankind is now living.

Indeed, the financial and economic crisis which has struck the industrialized nations, as well as emerging adn developing nations, obviously shows how certain economic-financial paradigms which have been dominant in recent years must be rethought.

Therefore your Foundation has done well to confront, in the international convention held yesterday, the subject of inquiring into and identifying the values and rules that the economic world must live by in order to set in place a new model of development that is more attentive to the demands of solidarity and more respectful of human dignity.

I am happy to learn that you examined, in particular, the interdependence of institutions, society and the market, starting from the reflection, according to the encyclical Centesimus Annus of my venerated predecessor John Paul II, that the market economy (capitalism) - understood as 'the economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector" (No, 42) - can be recognized as a way to economic and civilian progress only if it is oriented to the common good (cfr No. 41).

This vision, however, must also be accompanied by another reflection according to which freedom in the economic sector must be "circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it in the service of human freedom in its totality" - responsible freedom 'the core of which is ethical and religious" (No. 42).

Quite opportunely, the Encyclical says: "Just as the person fully realizes himself in the free gift of self, so too ownership morally justifies itself in the creation, at the proper time and in the proper way, of opportunities for work and human growth for all" (No. 43)

I hope that the inquiries developed through your work, inspired by the eternal principles of the Gospel, may elaborate a vision of modern economy that respects the needs and the rights of the weak.

As you know, my Encyclical dedicated precisely to the vast subject of the economy and labor will be published soon: it will highlight what we Christians consider to be those objectives to pursue and the values to promote and defend tirelessly, in order to realize human coexistence that is truly free and fraternal.

I similarly note with pleasure what you have been doing in behalf of PISAI (Pontificio Istituto di Studi Arabi e d’Islamistica), to whose ends, which you share, I attribute great value for an ever more fruitful inter-religious dialog.

Dear friends, thank you once again for your visit. I assure each of you remembrance in my prayers, while I bless you all from my heart.

The Holy Father with children of Foundation members.

Note on the Foundation:

Founded on June 5, 1993, Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice” (CAPP) is a lay-led, pontifical organization, characterized by a special
relationship with its founder, Pope John Paul II. It is made up of business people, academics, and professionals.

Pope Benedict XVI has continued the tradition of yearly meetings with them, as a vehicle for lay education and evangelization of Catholic social doctrine, as contained in John Paul II's 1991 social encyclical Centesimus Annus.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 6/15/2009 5:28 PM]
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