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11/26/2014 2:40 AM
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I am re-posting this here, since I was unable to promptly post them when I said I would (although I have posted it on the previous page in the slot I had reserved for it). But more than 24 hours and a number of newer posts have elapsed since then. So best to re-post them here.

These are lookbacks to what Benedict XVI said when he was Pope about the problem of remarried divorcees who want to receive Communion. They are necessary references to my post on Riccardo Riccardo Cascioli's denunciation of the synchronous events late last week in the German and Italian media that purported to show that Benedict XVI - as a theology professor and later as Pope - actually expressed himself open to allowing communion for remarried divorcees as the Pope and his chief associates have been promoting.

I have not so far found a copy online, in any of the languages I can read, of the 1972 article by Prof. Ratzinger, which he rewrote specifically and appended to Volume 4 of the COLLECTED WRITINGS OF JOSEPH RATZINGER, the latest of the 16-part opera omnia[/c} which has been published in Germany.

Meanwhile, here is what Pope Benedict said on the two occasions cited by Vaticanista Ignazio Ingrao in a new book on the recent family synod, to 'show' that Benedict XVI was on the Bergoglio-Kasper side of the current debate, even if a reading of what Benedict XVI actually said does not support that preposterous claim at all! (I ought to check what Ingrao actually quoted of these passages.)

On the efforts to enlist Benedict XVI
in the Bergoglio-Kasper proposal to relax
Church discipline on remarried divorcees

Because Benedict XVI is retired and does not have a Press Office or a spokesman to ward off those who would find some pretext to disturb his peace, he has been open game for the media and other parties interested in using him for their own ends.

In the post to which this is an appendix, Riccardo Cascioli recounts how Vaticanista Ignazio Ingrao, in a new book, and Andrea Tornielli, in his review of Ingrao's book, concur that Benedict XVI was as open to conceding communion to remarried divorcees as Cardinal Kasper and his supreme patron, Pope Francis, are. And that therefore, Cardinal Burke and all those bishops who opposed the Bergoglio-Kasper leniency on sacramental discipline ought to reconsider their opposition "because even Benedict XVI is is not on their side".

Here are the two interventions made by Benedict XVI on the subject, which Ingrao cites as 'proof' of his unfounded hypothesis. Benedict clearly says he would not 'dare' propose an answer, but on both occasions, seven years apart, he underscores the idea that remarried divorcees who suffer because they cannot receive communion must learn to accept that suffering is part of life, and they can offer their suffering to the Church as their participation in the Cross of Christ -- as does everyone else who suffers for a variety of other reasons.. That they are not excluded from the Church because of this and should seek to be in permanent contact with s priest or spiritual director.

Benedict XVI: Meeting with
the diocesan clergy of Aosta

Introd, July 15, 2005

...A priest raised the question of communion for Catholics who had divorced and then remarried. This was the Holy Father's reply:

We all know that this is a particularly painful problem for those who live in situations where they are excluded from Eucharistic Communion, and of course, for the priests who wish to help these persons to love the Church, to love Christ. It poses a problem.

None of us has a ready-made prescription, if only because the situations are always quite diverse. I would say that the situation is particularly painful for those who were married in church, but wre not truly believers and simply did so out of tradition. Then, they find themselves in a new marriage that is not valid in the Church but they have converted, find the faith and feel excluded from the Sacrament. This can really be a great suffering, and when I was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I oinvited various episcopal conferences and experts to study the problem of a sacrament that was celebrated without faith.

Whether a case could really be made for the invalidity of such a marriage, because a fundamental dimension for the sacrament was lacking, I cannot dare say. Personally, I thought there might be, but in the discussions that we had, I came to understand that the problem is very difficult, and that it still had to be studied in depth. But given the suffering of those in such a situation, such a study should be made.

Therefore I would not dare give an answer. In any case, I think two aspects are very important.

The first: Even if such couples cannot receive sacramental communion, they are not excluded from the love of the Church and from the love of Christ. A Eucharist without sacramental communion is certainly incomplete, it lacks an essential part.

But it is also true that to take part in the Eucharistic sacrifice without communion does not mean nothing at all. It always means being involved in the mystery of the Cross and of the resurrection of Christ. It is always a participation in the Sacrament in its spiritual and pneumatic [pertaining to the Holy Spirit] dimension, but also in the ecclesial dimension, even if not strictly sacramental.

Since the Mass is the Sacrament of the Passi0n of Christ, then the suffering Christ embraces these persons in a special way and communicates with them in a different way, so therefore, they can feel that they are being embraced by our suffering Lord, he who falls down and suffered and died for them, with them.

Therefore, it is important to make these couples understand that even if, unfortunately, they cannot avail of a fundamental dimension of the sacrament, they are not at all excluded from the great mystery of the Eucharist, and from the love of Christ who is present in the Eucharist.

I think this is very important. Just as it is important for the parish priest and the parish community to make them understand that on the one hand, we must respect the indissolubility of the Sacrament of marriage, but there are persons who suffer because they cnanot receive communion. And we must suffer with them, because they also bear witness to something important, because we know that from the momen that they yielded for love, they also violated the sacrament of marriage, thereby weakening the idea of its indissolubility.

We know this problem not only from the Protestant communities but also in the Orthodox Churches who are often presented as a model for the possibility of a second marriage. But even for them, only the first marriage is sacramental - the second marriage is matrimony in a reduced sense, re-dimensioned as a penitential situation. In a way, they may go to communion but this is conceded in oikonomia, as they say, out of mercy which nonetheless does not alter the fact that the second marriage is not sacramental.

The other point for the oriental churches is that for these marriages, the possibility of divorce has been conceded very easily, and that therefore the principle of indissolubility, which is the true sacramentality in matrimony, is severely wounded.

On the one hand, therefore, we must consider the good of the community and the good of the sacrament that we must respect, and on the other hand, the suffering of those persons whom we have a duty to help.

The second point that we must teach and that we must make credible by living it in our own lives is that suffering, in various forms, is necessarily part of life. I would call it a noble suffering. Once again, we must make the faithful understand that pleasure is not everything. That Christianity does give us joy, as love gives us joy.

But love is also always renouncing oneself. The Lord himself gave us the formulation of what love is: whoever loses himself, finds himself, and whoever gains or keeps himself, loses himself.
Love is always an exodus, and therefore, also suffering.

True joy is something distinct from pleasure. Joy grows, and always matures when we suffer in communion with the Cross of Christ. Only from this arises the joy of faith, from which persons in their situation are not excluded, provided they learn to accept their suffering in communion with that of Christ.

So how could Ingrao and Tornielli read into that little treatise on suffering that Benedict XVI favored pastoral leniency for [unqualified] remarried divorcees? He was plainly saying to them: "You know you sinned against the sacrament of marriage. That is why you are suffering exclusion from communion. Suffering is part of lfie. This happens to be your particular suffering. Others have their own. Accept your suffering in the spirit of suffering with Christ, and you will experience the joy of faith".

He's not giving anyone an easy pass. The Way of the Cross is not easy, and each of us must take it. No exemptions from this, as there are no exemptions from sin, and no exclusions from the joy of the faith.

Seven years later, in Milan, he was asked the same question but this time by a couple of psychotherapists from Brazil. His answer was the same: The plight of remarried divorcees who are unable to receive communion is a suffering "in the name of the great values of the faith" (the indissolubility of marriage and the sacramental inviolability of the Eucharist), a suffering to be considered as a gift to the Church. Nowhere does he indicate in any way that he thinks they should have an easy pass. "This is your suffering. You have brought it upon yourself. Now accept it, and suffer in good faith, as everyone else must bear their kind of suffering".

BENEDICT XVI: World Meeting of Families
Milan, June 1, 2012

The fifth question directed to the Holy Father by represetnatives attending the meeting came from the Araujos of Porto Alegre, Brazil:

MARIA MARTA: Holiness, as in the rest of the world, marital failures continue to grow in Brazil. I am Maria Marta, he is Manoel Angelo. We have been married for 34 years and we are grandparents. As a doctor and familial psychotherapist, we meet so many troubled families, noting in the conflicts between couples an increasingly marked difficulty to forgive and to accept forgiveness. But in other cases, we find the desire and the will to construct a new union, something that will last, for the children who will be born from this new union.
MANOEL ANGELO: Some of these remarried divorcees wish to be nearer to the Church but their disappointment is great when they are refused the sacraments. They feel excluded, branded with a judgment that is unappealable. These sufferings deeply hurt those who are concerned, and these are also our wounds. Holy Father, we know that these situations and these persons are very much in the heart of the Church - but what words and what signs of hope can we give them?
Dear friends, thank you for the work that you do as family psychotherapists, which is very necessary these days. Thank you for all that you do to help those who suffer as you say.

Indeed, this problem of remarried divorcees is one of the great sufferings for the Church herself. We do not have a simple prescription. The suffering is great, and we can only help through the parishes, so they may help these people to bear the consequences of divorce.

But I would say that it would naturally be very important to begin with prevention, namely, to help couples so that from the time they fall in love, they are able to proceed to a mature and profound decision about marriage. And later on, when they are married, to accompany these couples along the way, so that they do not feel alone or isolated.

As for those you speak about, we must say, as you did, that the Church loves them, but they should be able to see and feel this love. I think it is a great task for the parish, for a Christian community, to do what is possible to make them feel loved and accepted, that they are not cast out because they cannot receive absolution and the Eucharist. They must see that, even so, they still live fully within the Church.

Even if the absolution of confession is not possible, they can still have permanent contact with a priest, with a spiritual guide, which is important so that they can see they are truly being helped along.

And they must feel that the Eucharist is true, that they participate in the Eucharistic sacrifice if they truly enter into communion with Christ. Because even without physically receiving the Sacrament, we can be spiritually united to Christ in his Body [the Church].

To make them understand this is important - so that they may truly find the possibility of living a life of faith, with the Word of God, in the communion of the Church, seeing their suffering as a gift to the Church, serving to help everyone defend the stability of love in marriage; and that this suffering is not just a physical and psychological torment, but a suffering in the community of the Church in the name of the great values of our faith.

I think that their suffering, if accepted interiorly by themselves, is a gift to the Church. And they should know that in their way, they serve the Church, they are in the heart of the Church. Thank you for your commitment.

[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/26/2014 2:41 AM]
11/26/2014 3:18 AM
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In looking up Benedict XVI's address to the diocesan clergy of Val d'Aosta in July 2005 - I had not been in any Forums at the time - the best discovery of all was that the Vatican site does carry a full English translation of that address, which actually segued into his answers to some questions raised by the priests.

It is classic Benedict XVI in its beauty and power - and I realized that, not having yet developed into a Web habitue in July 2005, I had not previously read the whole discourse at all! I hope you share the emotions that moved me when I read it through and that piercing delight one feels when reading Benedict XVI's texts.

In this case, although he had a prepared text, it becomes clear as he goes on, that he is speaking extemporaneously, responding to the greeting made by the bishop and the questions he may have raised in his greeting. Much of what he says expresses his awareness of pastoral dfficulties on the local level and his answers to somw of these problems reflect a practical realism grounded in the proper teaching of the faith.

Parish Church of Introd (Val d'Aosta))
Monday, 25 July 2005

Your Excellency,
Dear Brothers,

I would first like to express my joy and gratitude for this opportunity to meet you. As Pope, one risks being somewhat distant from real, everyday life and especially from the priests who work on the front line in so many parishes in this very Valley, and now, as His Excellency said, with the lack of vocations, also in particularly demanding conditions of physical commitment.

It is therefore a grace for me to be able to meet the priests and presbyterate of this Valley in this beautiful church. And I would like to say "thank you" for coming; for you too, it is the vacation period.

To see you gathered together and thus to see myself united with you, being close to the priests who work day after day for the Lord as sowers of the Word, is a comfort and joy to me.

Last week, two or three times, it seems to me, we heard this Parable of the Sower, which was formerly a parable of consolation in a situation different from ours but in a certain sense also similar.

The Lord's work had begun with great enthusiasm. The sick were visibly cured, everyone listened joyfully to the statement: "The Kingdom of God is at hand".

It really seemed that the changing of the world and the coming of the Kingdom of God would be approaching; that at last, the sorrow of the People of God would be changed into joy.

People were expecting a messenger of God whom they supposed would take the helm of history in his hand. But they then saw that the sick were indeed cured, devils were expelled, the Gospel was proclaimed, but the world stayed as it was. Nothing changed.

The Romans still dominated it. Life was difficult every day, despite these signs, these beautiful words. Thus, their enthusiasm was extinguished, and in the end, as we know from the sixth chapter of John, disciples also abandoned this Preacher who was preaching but did not change the world.

"What is this message? What does this Prophet of God bring?", everyone finally wondered. The Lord talks of the sower who sowed in the field of the world and the seed seemed like his Word, like those healings, a really tiny thing in comparison with historical and political reality. Just as the seed is tiny and can be ignored, so can the Word.

Yet, he says, the future is present in the seed because the seed carries within it the bread of the future, the life of the future. The seed appears to be almost nothing, yet the seed is the presence of the future, it is a promise already present today.

And so, with this parable, he is saying: "We are living in the period of the sowing, the Word of God seems but a word, almost nothing. But take heart, this Word carries life within it! And it bears fruit!".

The Parable also says that much of the seed did not bear fruit because it fell on the path, on patches of rock and so forth. But the part that fell on the rich soil bore a yield of thirty- or sixty- or a hundredfold.

This enables us to understand that we too must be courageous, even if the Word of God, the Kingdom of God, seems to have no historical or political importance.

In the end, on Palm Sunday Jesus summed up, as it were, all of these teachings on the seed of the word: If the grain of wheat does not fall into the ground and die it remains single, if it falls into the earth and dies it produces an abundance of fruit. In this way he made people realize that he himself was the grain of wheat that fell into the earth and died.

In the Crucifixion, everything seems to have failed, but precisely in this way, falling into the earth and dying, on the Way of the Cross, it bore fruit for each epoch, for every epoch.

Here we have both the Christological interpretation, according to which Christ himself is the seed, he is the Kingdom present, and the Eucharistic dimension: this grain of wheat falls into the earth and thus the new Bread grows, the Bread of future life, the Blessed Eucharist that nourishes us and is open to the divine mysteries for new life.

It seems to me that in the Church's history, these questions that truly torment us are constantly cropping up in various forms: what should we do? People seem to have no need of us, everything we do seems pointless. Yet we learn from the Word of the Lord that this seed alone transforms the earth ever anew and opens it to true life.

I would like, as far as I can, to respond briefly to your words, Your Excellency; but I would also like to say that the Pope is not an oracle, he is infallible on the rarest of occasions, as we know. I therefore share with you these questions, these queries.

I also suffer. However, let us, on the one hand, suffer all together for these problems, and let us also suffer in transforming the problems; for suffering itself is the way to transformation, and without suffering nothing is transformed.

This is also what the Parable of the Grain of Wheat that fell into the earth means: only in a process of undergoing transformation does the fruit mature and the solution become clear. And if we did not suffer, the apparent ineffectiveness of our preaching would be a sign of the lack of faith, of true commitment.

We must take these difficulties of our time to heart and transform them, suffering with Christ, and thereby transform ourselves. And to the extent to which we ourselves are transformed, we will also be able to respond to the question asked above, we will also be able to see the presence of the Kingdom of God and to make others see it.

The first point [made by the bishop] is a problem that exists throughout the Western world: the lack of vocations. In these past few weeks I have received ad limina visits from the Bishops of Sri Lanka and from the southern part of Africa. Vocations there are increasing; indeed, they are so numerous that it is proving impossible to build enough seminaries to accommodate all these young men who want to be priests.

Of course, this joy also carries with it a certain sadness, since at least some of them come in the hope of social advancement. By becoming priests, they become like tribal chiefs, they are naturally privileged, they have a different lifestyle, etc.

Therefore, weeds and wheat grow together in this beautiful crop of vocations and the Bishops must be very careful in their discernment; they must not merely be content with having many future priests but must see which really are the true vocations, discerning between the weeds and the good wheat.

However, there is a certain enthusiasm of faith because they are in a specific period of history, that is, in the period in which it is clear that the traditional religions are no longer adequate. People are realizing, they are seeing that these traditional religions contain a promise within them but are waiting for something. They are awaiting a new response that purifies and, let us say, takes on all that is beautiful, setting it free from these inadequate and negative aspects.

In this time of transition, in which their culture is truly reaching out to a new time in history, the two offerings - Christianity and Islam - are the possible historical responses.

Consequently, in a certain sense there is a springtime of the faith in those countries but, of course, in the context of rivalry between these two responses, and also especially in the context of suffering because of the evangelical sects, who present themselves, as it were, as a Christian response that is better, easier and more accommodating.

So it is that even in the history of a promise, in a springtime moment, the commitment of the one who must sow the Word with Christ and, as we say, build the Church, continues to be difficult.

The situation is different in the Western world, which is a world weary of its own culture. It is a world that has reached a time when there is no longer any evidence of the need for God, let alone Christ, and when it therefore seems that humans can build themselves on their own.

In this atmosphere of a rationalism closing in on itself and that regards the model of the sciences as the only model of knowledge, everything else is subjective. Christian life too, of course, becomes a choice that is subjective, hence, arbitrary, and no longer the path of life. It therefore naturally becomes difficult to believe, and if it is difficult to believe, it is even more difficult to offer one's life to the Lord to be his servant.

This is certainly a form of suffering which, I would say, fits into our time in history, and in which we generally see that the so-called "great" Churches seem to be dying. This is true particularly in Europe and in Australia, but not so much in the United States.

On the other hand, the sects that present themselves with the certainty of a minimum of faith are growing, because the human being seeks certainty. Thus, the great Churches, especially the great traditional Protestant Churches, are truly finding themselves in a very deep crisis. The sects have the upper hand because they appear with a few simple certainties and say: "This suffices".

The plight of the Catholic Church is not as bad as that of the historical Protestant Churches, but of course, she shares the problem of our historical period. I do not think that there is any system for rapid change. We must go on, we must go through this tunnel, this underpass, patiently, in the certainty that Christ is the answer and that in the end, his light will shine as before.

Thus, the first answer is patience, in the certainty that the world cannot live without God, the God of Revelation - and not just any God: we see how dangerous a cruel God, an untrue God can be - but the God who showed us his Face in Jesus Christ. It is the Face of the One who suffered for us, this loving Face of the One who transforms the world in the manner of the grain of wheat that fell into the earth.

Therefore, we ourselves have this very deep certainty that Christ is the answer and that without the concrete God, the God with the Face of Christ, the world destroys itself.

There is growing evidence that a closed rationalism, which thinks that human beings can rebuild the world better on their own, is false. On the contrary, without the restraint of the true God, human beings destroy themselves. We see this with our own eyes.

We ourselves must have a renewed certainty: he is the Truth; only by walking in his footsteps do we go in the right direction, and it is in this direction that we must walk and lead others.

In all this suffering, not only should we keep our certainty that Christ really is the Face of God, but we should also deepen this certainty and the joy of knowing it, and thus truly be ministers of the future of the world, of the future of every person.

We should deepen this certainty in a personal relationship with the Lord because certainty can also grow with rational considerations. A sincere reflection that is also rationally convincing but becomes personal, strong and demanding by virtue of a friendship lived personally, every day, with Christ - this truly seems to me to be very important.

Certainty, consequently, demands this personalization of our faith, of our friendship with the Lord, and thus, new vocations also grow. We see it in the new generations after the great crisis of this cultural struggle unleashed in 1968, when the historical epoch of Christianity truly seemed to be over.

We see that the 'promises' of 1968 have not been kept and, let us say, the awareness that another way exists which is more complex because it requires this transformation of our hearts but is truer. Thus new vocations are also born.

And we ourselves must also find the creativity to help young people to discover this way in the future, too. This was also evident in the dialogue with the African Bishops. Despite the number of priests, many are condemned to a terrible loneliness and many do not survive morally.

And it is therefore important to live in the reality of the presbyterate, of the community of priests who help one another, who are journeying on together with solidarity in their common faith.

This seems to me to be important, for if young people see priests who seem very lonely, sad and tired, they will think: "If this is my future, then it is not for me". A real communion of life that shows young people: "Yes, this can be a future for me too, it is possible to live like this", must be created.

I have gone on too long. It seems to me that I have already said something on the second point. It is true: to the public, and especially world leaders, the Church appears as something antiquated, and our proposals seem unwanted. People behave as though they can to live without our words, they want to live without our words. They have no need for us and do not want our words.

This is true and causes us pain, but it is also part of this historical situation arising from an anthropological vision which claims that the human being must act as Karl Marx said, when he remarked, "The Church has had 1,800 years to show that it could change the world and has not done anything; we will now do it on our own".

This has become a very widespread idea supported by many contemporary philosophers. Thus, we understand the impression of so many that it is possible to live without the Church, which appears as a vestige of the past. But it is becoming ever clearer that only moral values, strong convictions, and sacrifices, make it possible to live and to build the world. It is impossible to construct it in a mechanical way, as Karl Marx proposed, the theories concerning capital and ownership, etc.

If there is no moral force in souls, if there is no readiness to suffer for these values, a better world cannot be built; indeed, on the contrary, the world deteriorates every day, selfishness dominates and destroys all.

In perceiving this the question arises anew: Where does the strength come from that enables us to suffer, to suffer for a good that hurts me first, which has no immediate usefulness? Where are the resources, the source? From where does the strength come to preserve these values?

It can be seen that morality as such does not survive and is not effective unless it is deeply rooted in convictions that truly provide certainty, and the strength to suffer - suffering is part of love - and love grows in suffering. In the end, in fact, love alone enables us to live, and love is always also suffering: it matures in suffering and provides the strength to suffer for good without taking oneself into account when doing so. The strength that comes from a love that is the substance of my life gives me the power to carry on the struggle for good. Here too, we need the patience to make people understand this.

Even those who do not convert straightaway can at least draw closer to those in the Church who possess this inner strength, the strenght of faith, which binds people together to move ahead;

I am thinking of the Lord's Parable of the Mustard Seed which was so small and then became a tree so great that the birds of the sky build their nests in it. I would say that these birds are those who are not yet converted but who at least perch on the tree of the Church.

In the time of the Enlightenment, when faith in the Western world was divided between Catholics and Protestants, people believed it was necessary to preserve the common moral values by giving them a firm foundation. They thought, "We must make the moral values independent of the religious denominations so that they can prevail etsi Deus non daretur - as if God did not exist.

Today, we are in the opposite situation. There is no longer any need for moral values, which become evident only if God exists. I have therefore suggested that lay people, the so-called seculars, should think about whether the contrary might not be true for them today: that they must live quasi Deus daretur - as if God exists.

If we are not strong enough to believe, we must live on this hypothesis, otherwise the world will not function. This, it seems to me, would be a first step to approaching faith - even as I see, from so many contacts, that, thanks be to God, dialogue with part of the secular world is increasing.

The third point: the plight of priests at atime of priest shortage, when they must work in as many as three, four and at times even five parishes, and are exhausted. I think that the Bishop, together with his priests, is trying to discover what the best solution might be for your diocese.

When I was Archbishop of Munich, [some parishes] created a type of service consisting only of the Liturgy of the Word. without a priest, as a way tpo keep the community in its own church. And they said: "Every community should stay put, and when there is no priest let us celebrate this Liturgy of the Word".

The French had a word for these Sunday assemblies "in the absence of a priest", but after a while, those who practised this realized thatsuch a practice would lead to losing the meaning of the sacrament - a 'protestantization' occurs, and ultimately, the Churchgoer thinks that "if the service is merely going to be the litrugy of the Word, then I can just as well celebrate it myself at home".

I remember when I was a professor at Tuebingen, there was the great exegete Kelemann - I do not know if you are familiar with his name - he was a pupil of Bultmann, who was a great theologian. Although he was a convinced Protestant, he never went to church. He used to say: "I can also meditate at home on the Sacred Scriptures".

I would say that the Liturgy of the Word should not be a susbtitute for Sunday Mass, when the Lord comes to us corporally. So such Sunday ssemblies are not a solution.

Sunday was created because the Lord was raised and entered the community of the Apostles to be with them on a Sunday. And thus, they understood that Saturday (the Jewish Sabbath) was no longer the liturgical day, but Sunday, the day when the Lord wants to be with us physically, again and again, when he nourishes us with his Body, so that we ourselves may become his Body in the world.

We should find a way to offer many people of good will this possibility: for now I do not presume to give formulas. I referredto a situation in Munich, but I am unacquainted with the situation here which is bound to be a little different.

But that our people are incredibly mobile and flexible. The young travel 50 kilometrers or more to go to a discothèque, why can they not travel 50 kilometers to go to a church? Yet, this is something very positive and practical, even if I do not dare to offer formulas. But we must make an effort to let our faithful feel this: "You meed to be with the Church, you need to be with the Lord in a living Church".

However, an effort should be made to give people this sentiment: "I need to be with the Church, to be with the living Church and with the Lord!". This is important enough, and its impo0rtance cretes the premise for its solution. I leave the question open for your diocese and priests, Your Excellency.

Several priests then spoke. The Holy Father answered their questions on the topics of the education of youth, the role of Catholic schools, and the consecrated life as follows:

These questions are very practical, and it is far from easy to come up with equally practical answers.

First of all, I should like to thank you for having called our attention to the need to attract young people to the Church; they are easily attracted instead by other things, by a way of life that is rather remote from our convictions.

The ancient Church chose the way of creating alternative living communities. I would say, therefore, that it is important that young people discover the beauty of faith, that it is beautiful to have a direction, that it is beautiful to have God as a friend who can truly tell us the essential things of life.

This intellectual factor must then be accompanied by an emotional and social factor, that is, by socialization in faith; because faith can only be fulfilled if it also has a body, and this involves human beings and their way of life. In the past, therefore, when faith was crucial to community life, catechism alone, which continues to be important today, would have sufficed.

However, given that social life has drifted away from faith - since all too often even families do not offer a sharing of faith - we must offer ways for 'socializing faith' in faith-based associations that ofger vital spaces for interaction and convince its members and others through a Christian way of thought, with affection and lively friendship. These various dimensions should go together, because the human person is a social being.

In this sense, for example, it is wonderful to see so many parish priests who spend their holidays with groups of young people. In this way, the young people experience not just the joy of their holiday but they cam live it close to the Church in th eperson of their parish priest or vicar.

In Italy, it seems to me that the Church offers many alternatives and possibilities for socialization that allow young people to 'walk together' in Christ and help build the Church. That is why they need intelligent answers to their questions. is there sitll a need for God? is christ merely a figure in the history of religion or is he truly the Face of God, the God we all need? Can we live to the fullest if we do not know Christ?

But it is also necessary to make them understand that buikding their life, building their future, requires patience and suffering, that the Cross is part of our life, and that the way of the Cross is far frome asy. A mountaineer knows, for example, that he must face difficulties if climbing is to be a beautiful experience - so too, young people must understand that sacrifice is an essential exercise of our internal life in our 'ascent' towards the future.

With regard to Catholic schools, I can say that many Bishops who have come on their ad limina visit have frequently stressed their importance. The Catholic school, in situations such as in Africa, becomes an indispensable means of cultural advancement, for the first steps to literacy even, and for setting the standards in which a new culture is formed. Thanks to the Catholic school, it is also possible to confront the challenges of technology in a pro-technology culture that would otherwise destroy ancient forms of tribal life and their moral content.

Where we live the situation is different, but what I feel important is a general mental discipline that Christianity is not cut off from reality today, either.

As we said earlier, in the wake of the Enlightenment and of the supposed "Second Enlightenment" in 1968, many thought that the historical time of the Church and faith was over, and that the world had entered a new epoch, when Church and faith would be no more than objects of study as we now study classical mythology.

On the contrary, it is vital to make people understand that faith is permanently up-to-date and perfectly reasonable. Hence, an intellectual assertion is called for that makes the beauty and organic structure of the faith comprehensible.

This was one of the fundamental intentions of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which has now been condensed in the Compendium. We must not think of faith as a pack of rules to be shouldered like a heavy backpack on our journey through life.

In the end, our faith is simple and rich: we believe that God exists, that God counts. But which God? A God with a face, a human face, a God who reconciles, who overcomes hatred and gives us the power of peace that no one else can give us. We must make people understand that Christianity is actually very simple, but also very rich.

School is a cultural institution for intellectual and professional training. In Catholic schools, it is also necessary to make the organic and logical dimensions of the faith understood,its essetial elements. What the Eucharist is, what happens in Sundya Mass, what is Christian marriage.

It is necessary, of course, to make the faithful understand that the discipline of religion is not purely intellectual, like for example, mathematics. The discipline of religion is practical and must be applied to life.

Faith creates assembly and unites. So it liberates us from isolation and unites us in a great community . a very complete one. In our Sunday gatherings, in the parishes. A universal community in which I become related to everyone in the faith. It is necessary to understand this Catholic dimension of the community that gathers in the parish church every Sunday.

Knowing the faith is one objective. Socializing in the Church or "ecclesializing" means being introduced into the great community of the Church, a living milieu, where I know that even in the important moments of my life - especially in suffering and in death - I am not alone.

Your Excellency said that many people do not seem to need us, but that the sick and the suffering do. And this should be understood from the outset: I will never again be lonely as long as I live. Faith redeems me from loneliness. I will always be supported by a community, but at the same time, I must support the community and, from the first, teach responsibility for the sick, the lonely, the suffering - and thereby the gift is reciprocal.

It is necessary to reawaken an awareness of this great gift in every person, in whom is hidden the readiness to love and to give himself. A guarantee that I, each one of us, has brothers and sisters to support me in difficult situations, when I am in need of a community that does not leave me stranded.

Regarding the importance of religious life, we know that the monastic and contemplative life becomes attractive in the face of the stress of this world. It appears like an oasis in which we can truly live. This may be a romantic view, and discernment of vocation is essential. But at this time, the historical situation makes the contemplative rather than the active religious life more attractice.

Vocations today seem to be more evident among males, in which priests and religious are seen to be carrying out their apostolate in working with young people, ministering to the sick and to those who live alone, etc.

It is unfortunately less visible for female vocations, in which the work of professional educators, doctors and nurses seems to make the religious vocation superfluous. There are qualified lay nurses and qualified lay school teachers, so that it no longer appears to be a religious vocation, and that specific activity will be difficult to resume once the chain of vocations is broken.

But we see more and more that professionalism alone is not enough. . The heart must be put into it - love for the suffering person, for the persono one helps, is necessary. This is true in teaching, as well.

We now have new forms such as secular institutes, whose communities show by their lives that their way of life is good for the person but also for the community. I therefore think that by changing the form of female religious communities - many of our active female communities today began in the 19th century with the specific social challenges of that period and today the challenges are a little different - the Church today makes it clearer that service to the suffering and the defence of life are vocations with a deep religious dimension, and that there are forms [of religious life in which to live such vocations. So many new forms are springing up which make us hope that the Lord will grant the necessary vocations for the life of the Church and the world today.

Pope Benedict XVI then answered the chaplain of the local District Prison, which has 260 inmates of more than 30 different nationalities""
Thank you for your very important and moving words. Shortly before my departure, I had the opportunity to talk to Cardinal Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, who is working on a document on the problem of detainees.

These brothers and sisters suffer and at times feel that their human rights are barely respected; they also feel despised and live in circumstances where Christ's presence is truly necessary. And Jesus, in Matthew's Gospel, anticipating the Last Judgment, speaks explicitly of their plight: "I was... in prison and you did not come to comfort me", "I was... in prison and you came to visit me" (Mt 25: 43; 36).

I am grateful to you, therefore, for having mentioned the threats to human dignity in these circumstances. As priests we must also be brothers to the "least" and see in them the Lord who is waiting for us. and is of the greatest importance. It is my intention, together with Cardinal Martino, to say a word in public on these particular situations that are a mandate for the Church to act, for the faith and for her love.

Lastly, I am grateful that you said that it is not so much what you do that is so important but what you are in your priestly commitment. Of course, we must do many things and not be lazy, but all our work will only bear fruit if it is an expression of what we are. If what we do shows that we are deeply united to Christ, that we are instruments of Christ, a mouthpiece through which Christ speaks, a hand through which Christ acts: we should be convinced. and act with conviction that is truly the result and expression of what we are.[

The next question was about communion for remarried divorcees, [which is the part excerpted in the post above]. Then, a priest asked him for clarification concerning the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism to adults, and about the Compendium of the Catechism. The Pope replied as follows:
The first question on Baptism is very difficult, and I have already had an opportunity to work on it when I was Archbishop of Munich, because we had such cases.

Each individual case should first be clarified: is the obstacle to Baptism such that it is impossible to administer it without 'wasting' the Sacrament, or should the situation make it possible to say, even in a problematic context, "this person has truly converted, has a complete faith, wants to live the faith of the Church, desires to be baptized"?

I think that a general formula would not correspond with the diversity of the real situations: we naturally endeavour to do our utmost to give Baptism to a person who asks for it with full faith, but the details must be examined in each individual case.

If a person is converted [by himself, and not through an ctive effort by the Church] and desires access to Baptism, the Church's desire must be to allow this person to be incorporated into the communion of Christ and of the Church, and to support him or her. The Church must be open as long as there are no obstacles that actually contradict Baptism.

The second point: We all know that in the cultural and intellectual situation of which we spoke at the start, catechesis has become far more difficult. It needs new contexts to be understood and contextualized, so that it may be evident that what we teach concerns the present and the future, and so, a necessary contextualization has been made in the catecheses carried out by the various Bishops' Conferences.

Clear answers are necessary to make it possible to perceive what faith is, a simple way of making people understand. This has sparked a "polemic" in the world of catechists over catechism in the classic sense and the new instruments of catechesis. It is true - I am now speaking only of my German experience - that many of the catechisms used did not achieve their goal: they always prepared the ground but were so concerned with preparing the ground along which the person was to advance that they failed to give the simple answers required. At the same time, classic catechisms no longer appeared to touch the mind of the contemporary catechumen.

So, the Church at last took on this multidimensional commitment: we compiled the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It provides, on the one hand, the necessary cultural contextualizations, but it also gives precise answers.

We wrote it in the awareness that the journey from this Catechism to concrete catechesis would not be an easy one. But we understood that the linguistic, cultural and social situations are very different in the various countries, and even within the same country in different social classes.

Hence, it is the task of the Bishop or of the Bishops' Conference and of the catechists themselves, to undertake this final stage in the task of catechesis. Our position, therefore, was: [This is the reference point for everyone; what the Church believes can be seen here".

Therefore, the Bishops' Conferences should create instruments that apply to the cultural situation and cover the ground that has yet to be covered. Ultimately, the catechist himself or herself must take the last steps, and perhaps the suitable means for these last steps too must be offered to him or her in training.

After several years, we had a meeting in which catechists from across the world told us that the Catechism was going well, that it was a necessary book which helped by conveying the beauty, organic approach and fullness of the faith, but that it needed to be summarized.

The Holy Father John Paul II, having taken note of the consensus at that meeting, charged a Commission to compile this Compendium, that is, a synthesis of the big Catechism to which it refers, extracting the essential.

In the first draft of the Compendium, we wanted to be very concise, bbut in the end we realized that truly to convey what is essential, especially for our time, the necessary material that every catechist needs was what we put into the Compendium. We also added prayers. And I think that it really is a very useful book that "sums up" everything contained in the big Catechism; in this regard, it seems to me that it corresponds in our day to the Catechism of Pius X.

The individual Bishops and Bishops' Conferences remain committed to helping priests and all catechists in their work with this book, as well as to acting as a bridge to specific groups, for the ways of speaking, thinking and understanding differ widely not only between Italy, France, Germany and Africa, but also within the same country, catechesis is received very differently. The Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium, containing the essence of the Catechism, therefore continue to be instruments for the universal Church.

Moreover, we are always in need of the work of the Bishops who, in contact with the priests and catechists, help find all the necessary instruments to facilitate this sowing of the Word.

Lastly, the Holy Father said to everyone present:
I would like to thank you for your questions that help m to consider the future, and especially for this experience of communion with a great presbyterate of a most beautiful Diocese. Thank you.

The delay in posting the two 'lookback's in the preceding post was mostly because I had nothing 'pre-posted' on on the event in Val d'Aosta in July 2005. I did not join the forums (PAPA RATZINGER FORUM first, and then THE RATZINGER FAN CLUB several days later, till late Augut 2005 - after WYD in Cologne, and I was a complete neophyte on the Internet. I didn't begin posting anything (and only comments at the time) until a few weeks later, when I found I could be most useful translating items from Italian, French, Spanish or German that would not otherwise be immediately reported, if at all, in the Anglophone media.

And I did not really begin attempting a daily chronicle of Benedict XVI's Pontificate until late November 2005 when the PAPA RATZINGER FORUM opened an English section to accommodate those of us who were more or less forced out of the RFC - me for 'posting too much', I was explicitly reprimanded online - because of a sudden ban by the forum on posting copyrighted photos. Of course, everyone has always posted copyrighted photos on forums and blogs which are by nature non-commercial (and even the RFC soon resumed posting copyrighted photos), and I have yet to read of anyone sued by the photo agencies for using their photos on non-commercial sites....But soon enough, none of that mattered at all.

I took the shortest way out of my dilemma on 'nothing to re-post' -because I never had an original post on the event - by simply translating the excerpt on Benedict XVI's answer regarding remarried divorcees which was provided in Italian by Cascioli. A Google search of images of 'Benedict XVI with the clergy of Aosta, July 2005' did not get me anything, so I first posted the Aosta excerpt without a photo.

Tonight I decided to search the PRF for photos - that Forum started in May 2005, so it would have photos from July 2005, since its FOTA DAPAPA gallery was the most popular B16 site during the first few months of the Pontificate. Except, of course, that in those early months, everyone simply posted the photos from their original source - before we all discovered the necessity of using ImageShack or Photobucket to store the photos we chose so that they would not disappear when the originak photo sources took them offline - which is what happened, alack and aolas!, to most of the photos lovingly posted during the first few months of B16's Pontificate.

To my great surprise, quite a few of the photos from B16's first summer vacation as Pope - to Les Combes in Val d'Aosta, which is why he addressed the diocesan clergy there in July 2005 - survived the offline blitz somehow, and that is how I have the few photos I am reproducing here.

11/26/2014 3:50 AM
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New major Curial changes imminent?
by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

November 23, 2014

I have of late not been very happy with Andrea Tornielli, who seems to have jettisoned objectivity. [He has turned himself into Pope Francis's unofficial spokesman, and the VATICAN INSIDER which he edits, into a virtual IL MIO PAPA site]. However, at La Stampa/VATICAN INSIDER, he posts that there are perhaps some big changes coming to the Roman Curia.

On Monday the Pope will sit down with heads of curial dicasteries before he meets with the Gang of 8+1 (1=SecState). It is rumored that the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for Culture may be combined. Card. Ravasi, now at Culture, might wind up head of the new dicastery. The head of Education, Zenon Card. Grocholewski [the last Curial dicastery head remaining of John Paul II's appointees], recently turned 75.

Another move might fuse together the Pontifical Councils of Justice and Peace, Migrants, Cor Unum, and the Academy for Life with Card. Maradiaga as head.

I have been hypothesizing that the Pope wants to pare down the number of curial Cardinals (and the Archbishop Secretaries that go with them). This would weaken the Curia’s influence overall and would concentrate power in the hands of a very few who would be especially close to this Pope.

Also, I see the demotion of Card. Burke not just as a way of sending a chill through a whole sector of the Church, but also a preparatory move to smash together the three Curial tribunals, which would reduce the number of their cardinals from two to one. It is possible that there could also be created a “Moderator of the Curia” position.

Actually, the bigger and very significant Curial news today is this - for which many Catholics are surely grateful, Deo gratias, first of all, and to Pope Francis. We are immensely relieved that he did not appoint Mons. Piero Marini as had been widely rumored in the liberal media. A definite "GO, FRANCIS!" heads-up for JMB/PF, this one. How I pray there will be more such occasions.

The most important implication I read in the Pope’s decision is that he did not, after all, publicly administer a slap in the face to Benedict XVI by appointing anyone whose views on the liturgy are contrary to those of the emeritus Pope. Also, in naming Cardinal Sarah, he has named a ‘Ratzingerian’ and a known ‘conservative’ to offset the earlier demotions of Cardinals Piacenza, Canizares and Burke. (Collaterally, it also means keeping Cardinal Sarah,an African, in the Curia since it looks as if Cor Unum will be merged with two other dicasteries. How would it look for the Pope to deprive an African cardinal of Curial leadership?) [P.S. Oh no! If Tornielli has it right about one coming dicasterial merger, and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace will be one of the dicasteries in the merger, and if the merged dicasteries will be headed by Cardinal Maradiaga, that would deprive Ghana's Cardinal Turkson of his leadership position! Would Pope Francis really do that to the one African papabile in the last Conclave?]

As for Cor Unum, Cardinal Sarah's idea of Catholic charity, as he expressed it most recently in addressing the leadership meeting of Caritas in Veritate International - "We must bring people God, not just food", reaffirming Benedict XVI's motu proprio on Catholic charities - is certainly not that of Cardinal Maradiaga (and by extension, neither that of JMB/PF), said to take over the soon-to-be-merged Pontifical Council for Migrants with Cor Unum and one other agency), Maradiaga's idea of Catholic charities, such as he has shaped Caritas International to be, is that of a giant secular NGO. (But I do appreciate that he appeared not to react publicly when Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio on Catholic charities back in 2012, which emphasized that Catholic charities should never underplay their Catholic identity because faith is inseparable from charity. However, under Pope Francis - of which Maradiaga has often acted as if he were his 'Vice-Pope', Caritas was subsequently taken away from the overall coordination of Cor Unum, which was one of the provisions of Benedict's motu proprio.

In practical consequences for the liturgy, Cardinal Sarah's appointment would seem to indicate that JMB/PF has no intentions of introducing any major liturgical changes, and that Summorum Pontificum, at least theoretically, remains in place. But since, in practice, the Novus Ordo – including some of its worst abuses – remains the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite and therefore remains by far the Mass attended by most Catholics, there seems to be no pressing need to tinker with it. [Was the Vatican crakcdown on the TLM-inclinded Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate just an aberrration then? It's been some mighty hard-hitting aberration very disproportionate to the so-far only alleged charge against them of being 'crypto-Lefebvrian'. And what about JMB/PF's sacking of the two 'conservative' undersecretaries at CDW just a few weeks back. to replace them with a Bugnini disciple? Thankfully, I don't think Mons. Maggioni is any match for Cardinal Sarah, unless, God forbid, he has ways to sabotage him if he has to.]

So, all in all, the rationale for Cardinal Sarah’s appointment – as disappointing as it must be to the progressivists - seems pretty well thought out.

Cardinal Sarah appointed head
of Vatican congregation for liturgy

by Mark Greaves

Monday, 24 Nov 2014

Pope Francis has named Cardinal Robert Sarah as the new prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Cardinal Sarah, 69, from Guinea, is currently president of the pontifical council “Cor Unum”. He will replace Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, nicknamed “Little Ratzinger”, who has been appointed Archbishop of Valencia in Spain.

Vatican-watcher Andrea Tornielli said: “The profile of Robert Sarah, a Curia member with a long experience serving as a pastor in Africa, is rather traditional… His arrival as head of the dicastery for worship is therefore unlikely to herald any innovations in the liturgical field.”

Last month Cardinal Sarah spoke at a meeting of priests and seminarians attending the Populus Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage in Rome. The annual pilgrimage brings together faithful from around the world devoted to the Extraordinary Form.

Benedict XVI named Sarah, then secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, to head Cor Unum, upon the retriement of German Cardinal Josef Cordes in 2009. Shortly thereafter, the Pope made Sarah cardinal. It must be noted that a longtime Prefect for Divine Worship was Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria, whom Cardinal Canizares suceeded after Arinze turned 80.

An interesting development for Cardinal Canizares, who was named by Pope Francis Archbishop of Valencia, instead of Archbishop of Madrid as had been widely expected: He has been 'overwhelmingly' elected president of the Spanish bishops' conference, in place of Cardinal Rouco Varela, who had been the Archbishop of Madrid.

An English-language blogsite has other interesting information about the 'politics' of Spain's bishops at the moment:
with the corollary news that the Spanish bishops elected three delegates to the next family synod who are all known 'conservatives' and that significantly, the 'liberal' bishop named by Pope Francis to be Archbishop of Madrid was defeated for one of those delegate posts after he failed to gain a majority vote in several ballotings. . One is mot hopeful for the bishops of Spain as currently constituted, but their composition is bound to change as time goes by under this Pontificate.

The Catholic Herald's Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith, who has spent time as a missionary in Africa, has a beautiful commentary on Cardinal Sarah's appointment:

From Cardinal Sarah, we can expect
clarity and leadership

He represents the best of the Church in Africa which
acutely understands the transcendent and sacred

by Fr. Alecander Lucie-Smith

November 24, 2013

Some good news from the Vatican! We have an African in charge of a major dicastery once more. He is Robert Cardinal Sarah, who comes from Guinea, and who takes over the Congregation for Divine Worship.

The Congregation for Divine Worship, which deals with the administration of the sacraments and regulates the liturgy has been headed up by an African before now. Cardinal Arinze, a Nigerian, often spoken of as papabile, ran the Congregation from 2002-2008.

I once met Cardinal Arinze, who was a down to earth and friendly man, and who, when occasion demanded it could speak clearly and directly to the Church’s critics as well as to those inside the Church who wished to abuse its liturgy.

All the indications are that Cardinal Sarah will be in the same mould as Cardinal Arinze; like his African predecessor, he has long experience of the Roman Curia. He will also bring his own African insights to the matter of the sacred liturgy.

The Church in Africa has a clear and sharp understanding of the division between immanent and transcendent, sacred and profane. Having been to many liturgies in Africa, I have never had the experience I have had in some European countries of attending a Mass that seemed more like a school assembly.

This sense of the transcendent and sacred, which permeates the whole of life in Africa, is also seen in an attention to ceremonial that never seems out of place. Recently the Cardinal received the “Summorum Pontificum” pilgrims to Rome, which is most encouraging.

Here is an extract of a sermon made by the Cardinal at an ordination in Candes, France, back in 2011. [Here is my translation of the French text]:

There are no more common moral reference points. We no longer know what is wrong and what is right . […] This is serious, it is not just to be mistaken - it is changing error into a rule of life...

If we are afraid to proclaim the truth of the gospel, if we are ashamed to denounce serious deviations in moral matters, if we accommodate ourselves to this world of moral laxity and religious and ethical relativism, if we are afraid to vigorously denounce the abominable laws of this new global ethic, concerning marriage, the family in all its forms, and abortion - laws in total opposition to the laws of nature and of God, and which nations and western culture promote and impose through the mass media and their economic power, then the prophetic words of Ezekiel will fall on us as a serious divine reproach.

These words indicate that we can expect clarity and leadership from Cardinal Sarah. As he enters into his new office, His Eminence will have the best wishes, and more importantly the prayers, of Catholics around the world. And he will give particular joy, one feels, to all who know the African Church.
[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 11/26/2014 3:52 AM]
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