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TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, October 9, 2009 3:40 PM
UPDATE: US BISHOPS' STAND
ON HEALTH CARE REFORM



Here is the text of a letter from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops to each member of the US Congress stating their primary concerns regarding the health care legislation still being drafted by the legislators:





Just for the record, I will post these comments, even though they have nothing to do with the Church, except insofar as the bill would allow mandatory funding for abortion simply by not specifically prohibiting it.

The problem in all these discussions, so far, is that the public only gets to know selected items which the chattering classes choose to discuss. out of 4-5 versions pending in the House and the one version ready to be considered by the entire Senate, and that no one has seen a full version of any of these drafts [the Senate committee clearly says it does not have a draft bill, only a draft of the principal proposals to be made in the bill].

More importantly, although President Obama has talked endlessly and incessantly about his intended legislation, he himself has presented no draft of his own. In effect, all the discussion so far has been on hypotheticals - many of them plausible, possible and probable, of course, but the hypotheses have lacked clarity and specifics on key aspects, especially how it is to be financed.

The public debate over all the major legislation advocated by the Obama administration so far has revealed the shocking fact that few legislators really bother to read the bills that they vote upon, and even now, the Democrat-dominated House of Representatives has voted down every resolution asking for any draft bill to be posted on line at least 72 hours before a vote is taken.

Considering that the major working version of the House bill on health care reform is over 1,000 pages long, 72 hours is probably just enough for a major law firm with a hotshot team to do a preliminary screen of the bill for all the traps, loopholes and often unrelated insertions routinely worked into these bills.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, October 9, 2009 9:10 PM



EIGHTH GENERAL CONGREGATION
Friday morning, 10/9/09



Today at 9.00 a.m., in memory of Saint Dionysius and companions martyrs, and of Saint Giovanni Leonardi, priest, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the recital of the Hour of Terce, the Eighth General Congregation took place.

The President-Delegate on duty was Cardinal Théodore-Adrien SARR, Archbishop of Dakar (SENEGAL).

At the opening of the Eight General Congregation, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops named the members elected earlier in the week for the Commission for the Message,

During the break at 10:30 a.m., the Holy Father Benedict XVI received the French Working Group A and B in audience.

At this General Congregation that ended at 12.30 with the Prayer Angelus Domini, 219 Synod Fathers were present.


The following Synodal fathers presented their interventions at this session:
- Cardinal Tarcisio BERTONE, S.D.B., Secretary of State (VATICAN CITY)
- Mons. Jan OZGA, Bishop of Doumé-Abong' Mbang (CAMEROON)
- Mons. Albert VANBUEL, S.D.B., Bishop of Kaga-Bandoro (CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC)
- Mons. Jean-Baptiste TIAMA, Bishop of Sikasso, President of the Episcopal Conference (MALI)
- Fr. Edouard TSIMBA, C.I.C.M., Superior General of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Missionaries of Scheut) (UNION OF THE SUPERIOR GENERAL)
- Cardinal Christian Wiyghan TUMI, Archbishop of Douala (CAMEROON)
- Mons. Claudio Maria CELLI, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (VATICAN CITY)
- Mons. Joseph KUMUONDALA MBIMBA, Archbishop of Mbandaka-Bikoro (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
- Cardinal Renato Raffaele MARTINO, President of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace (VATICAN CITY)
- Fr. Gérard CHABANON, M. Afr., Superior General of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) (UNION OF SUPERIORS- GENERAL)
- Mons. Joachim NTAHONDEREYE, Bishop of Muyinga (BURUNDI)
- Mons. Jean-Claude BOUCHARD, O.M.I., Bishop of Pala, President of the Episcopal Conference (CHAD)
- Fr. Francesco BARTOLONI, C.PP.S., General Moderator of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood (UNION OF SUPERIORS-GENERAL)
- Mons. Robert Christopher NDLOVU, Archbishop of Harare, President of the Episcopal Conference (ZIMBABWE)
- Mons. Evaristus Thatho BITSOANE, Bishop of Qacha's Nek, President of the Episcopal Conference (LESOTHO)
- Mons. Franklyn NUBUASAH, S.V.D., Apostolic Vicar of Francistown (BOTSWANA)
- Fr. Jacob BEYA KADUMBU, C.I., Vicar General of the Belgian Josephites (UNION OF SUPERIORS-GENERAL)
- Mons. Cyprian Kizito LWANGA, Archbishop of Kampala (UGANDA)
- Mons. Jorge Enrique JIMÉNEZ CARVAJAL, C.I.M., Archbishop of Cartagena (COLOMBIA)
- Mons. Velasio DE PAOLIS, President of Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See (VATICAN CITY)
- Mons. Joseph Mukasa ZUZA, Bishop of Mzuzu (MALAWI)

Interventions were also heard from 1 fraternal delegate and 4 auditors.

- Fraternal delegate His Grace Bernhard NTAHOTURI, Archbishop of the Province of the Anglican Church of Burundi (BURUNDI),:
and the following auditors:

Furthermore, the following Auditors intervened:

- Rev. Sister Felicia HARRY, N.S.A. (O.L.A.), Superior General of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles (GHANA)
- Rev. F. Seán O’LEARY, M.Afr., Director of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute (SOUTH AFRICA)
- Rev. Sister Pauline ODIA BUKASA, F.M.S., Superior General of the Sisters “Ba-Maria”, Buta Uele (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
- Rev. Sister Geneviève UWAMARIYA, Sister of Saint Mary of Namur (RWANDA)


Summaries of their interventions may be read on
www.vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_23_ii_speciale-africa-2009/02_inglese/b14...



NINTH GENERAL CONGREGATION
Friday afternoon, 10/9/09


At the afternoon session, the following interventions wre heard:
From the Synodal Fathers -
- Cardinal Leonardo SANDRI, Prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches (VATICAN CITY)
- Mons. Jean-Pierre BASSÈNE, Bishop of Kolda (SENEGAL), President of the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel
- Mons. Henryk HOSER, S.A.C., Archbishop-Bishop of Warsaw-Prague (POLAND)
- CardINAL Bernard AGRÉ, Emeritus Archbishop of Abidjan (IVORY COAST)
- Fr. Pierre Noël NIAVA, National Military Chaplain (IVORY COAST)
- Mons. Denis Komivi AMUZU-DZAKPAH, Archbishop Lomé (TOGO)
- Mons. Ignatius CHAMA, Bishop of Mpika (ZAMBIA)
- Mons. Benedito Beni DOS SANTOS, Bishop of Lorena (BRAZIL)
- Mons. Peter J. KAIRO, Archbishop of Nyeri (KENYA)
- Mons. Boniface LELE, Archbishop of Mombasa (KENYA)

From a fraternal delegate -
- H.E. Barnaba EL SORYANY, Bishop of the Copt Orthodox Church in Italy

From auditors:
- Laurien NTEZIMANA, Licentiate in Theology, Diocese of Butare (RWANDA)
- Fr. Armand GARIN, Little Brothers of Jesus (FRANCE), Regional responsible for his order in North Africa (Algeria and Morocco)
- Prof. Raymond RANJEVA, former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice (The Hague) and Member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (MADAGASCAR)
- Dr. Elena GIACCHI, Gynecologist, Center for Study and Research on the Natural Regulation of Fertility, Catholic University Sacro Cuorem Rome; and president of WOOMB-Italy (National coordination of the Billings Ovulation Method)

And finally, from special guest
- H.E. Rodolhe Adada, former special representative of the joint commission of the UN and the African Union for the Sudan.

Summaries of these itnerventions may be found on
www.vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_23_ii_speciale-africa-2009/xx_plurilingue/b15_xx.html#AUDITIO_AUDITO...



TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, October 10, 2009 3:30 AM



It has taken them 2-1/2 years since the Pope visited Brazil to get around to it, but Brazil with its 120 million Catholics - and if the news is right, now the master of the largest oil reserves on earth (offshore Brazil) - has virtually approved a new Concordat with the Vatican that updates a legal restatement of Church and state relations on a well-defined basis. Something the Czech Parliament has refused to do so far, and that the Vatican has been trying to work out with Israel for the past 14 years.


Brazilian Senate approves
Concordat with Vatican




Brasilia, Oct. 9 (dpa) - The Brazilian Senate approved an agreement with the Vatican that sets up a new legal framework for the Brazilian Roman Catholic Church.

The deal approved by the Senate late Wednesday is spelled out over 20 articles and gives the Roman Catholic Church fiscal benefits and state help for the maintenance of cultural assets like buildings, museums and libraries.

It also sets ups a framework for religious education, and makes Roman Catholic marriages legally equivalent to civil marriages.

The deal, which had already been approved by the lower house of the Brazilian Congress, is still pending the approval of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. It is regarded as certain that he will sign the measure into law.



Lula finalized the agreement - which is set to replace a statute that dates back to 1980 - with Pope Benedict XVI in November 2008, in a visit to the Vatican.

According to the new rules, the Brazilian Roman Catholic Church is acknowledged as a legal entity. Critics see the deal as a way to grant the Church privileges over other religious communities, and are considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Despite dwindling numbers of faithful, Brazil is regarded as the country with the largest number of Roman Catholics in the world with between 125 million and 155 million adherents.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Monday, October 12, 2009 12:16 AM




TENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION
Saturday morning, 10/10/09


The Tenth General Congregation today saw the ontinuation of interventions by the Synod Fathers,

President Delegate on duty was Cardinal Wilfrid Fox NAPIER, O.F.M., Archbishop of Durban (SOUTH AFRICA).

the following Fathers intervened:

- Mons. Almachius Vincent RWEYONGEZA, Bishop of Kayanga (TANZANIA)
- Mons. Fridolin AMBONGO BESUNGU, O.F.M. Cap., Bishop of Bokungu-Ikela (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
- Mons. Zacchaeus OKOTH, Archbishop of Kisumu (KENYA)
- Mons. Telesphore George MPUNDU, Archbishop of Lusaka (ZAMBIA)
- Mons. Philip SULUMETI, Bishop of Kakamega (KENYA)
- Mons. Marcel MADILA BASANGUKA, Archbishop of Kananga (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
- Mons. Youssef Ibrahim SARRAF, Bishop of Cairo of Chaldean Rite (EGYPT)
- Mons. Gabriel MBILINGI, C.S.Sp., Archbishop Coadjutor Lubango, President of the "Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa" (I.M.B.I.S.A.) (ANGOLA)
- Mons. Robert Patrick ELLISON, C.S.Sp., Bishop of Banjul
- Mons. Lucio Andrice MUANDULA, Bishop of Xai-Xai, President of the Episcopal Conference (MOZAMBIQUE)
- Mons. Gabriel 'Leke ABEGUNRIN, Bishop of Osogbo (NIGERIA)
- Mons. Joseph Effiong EKUWEM, Bishop of Uyo (NIGERIA)
- Mons. Matthias SSEKAMANYA, Bishop of Lugazi, President of the Episcopal Conference (UGANDA)
- Mons. Peter William INGHAM, Bishop of Wollongong (AUSTRALIA), President of the Federation of Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Oceania (F.C.B.C.O.)
- Mons. Denis KIWANUKA LOTE, Archbishop of Tororo (UGANDA)
- Rev. F. Aquiléo FIORENTINI, I.M.C., Superior General of the Institute of Consolata Missionarios (UNION OF SUPERIORS-GENERAL)
- Cardinal Théodore-Adrien SARR, Archbishop of Dakar 9SENEGAL), First Vice-President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (S.C.E.A.M.)
- Mons. Valerian OKEKE, Archbishop of Onitsha (NIGERIA)
- Mons. Anthony John Valentine OBINNA, Archbishop of Owerri (NIGERIA)
- Cardinal Giovanni Battista RE, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops (VATICAN CITY)
- Mons. Obiora Francis IKE, Director of the Catholic Institute for Development, Justice and Peace (CIDJAP), Enugu, Nigeria (NIGERIA)
- Mons. Séraphin François ROUAMBA, Archbishop of Koupéla, President of the Episcopal Conference (BURKINA FASO)

The following Auditors intervened:

- Prof. Edem KODJO, Secretary General Emeritus of the Organization of African Union (O.U.A.), Prime Minister Emeritus, Professor of Patrology at the Institute St. Paul of Lomé (TOGO)
- Mme. Geneviève Amalia Mathilde SANZE, Responsible of the Work of Mary - Focolari Mouvement, Abidjan (IVORY COAST)
- Rev. Sister Jacqueline MANYI ATABONG, Assistant of the Superior General of the Sisters of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus in the Diocese of Buea; Coordinator for Africa of the International Catholic Commission for Prison Pastoral Care (I.C.C.P.P.C.), Douala (CAMEROON)
- Dr. Pierre TITI NWEL, Coordinator Emeritus of the National Service Justice and Peace of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (C.E.N.C.), Yaoundé (CAMEROON)


Summaries of these interventions are on
www.vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_23_ii_speciale-africa-2009/02_inglese/b16...


Saturday afternoon, 10/10/2009

In the afternoon, the Synodal Fathers joined university students of Rome at the Aula Paolo VI for a praying of the Rosary 'for Africa and with Africa' with the Holy Father and university students from eight African countries linked by satellite to the Vatican event.

The prayer meeting was organized by the General Secretary of the Synod of the Bishops and by the University Pastoral Office of the Vicar of Rome, on the occasion of the Synodal Assembly for
Africa.

It was to start at 5 p.m. with a prayer vigil, and the Holy Father was scheduled to join them at 6 p.m.

Performances of sacred music and accompaniment were provided by the National Orchestra of the Conservatory of Music and of the Choirs of Italian Conservatories and Universities.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Tuesday, October 13, 2009 12:50 AM




Catholic-Orthodox dialog resumes in Cyprus
on the role of the Bishop of Rome


Oct. 12, 2009


The International Joint Commission for theological dialogue between the Catholic and the Orthodox Church as a whole will meet again in Cyprus from Oct. 16-23.

The topic chosen for the plenary session will be the continuation and an exploration of the one ended in Ravenna in 2007: “The role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church in the first millennium”.

The Joint Commission is composed of 60 members: 30 Orthodox and 30 Catholic ones and is chaired by two co-presidents: Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Papal Council for the Unity of Christians, and the Metropolitan Bishop of Pergamus, Ioannis (Ecumenical Patriarchate).

The Commission has two secretaries as well: they are Mons. Eleuterio Fortino and the Metropolitan Bishop of Sassima, Gennadios.

During the last plenary meeting of the Joint Commission for Dialogue in Ravenna in 2007, the Russian Orthodox delegation left the meeting due to the presence of the Church of Estonia, invited by the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

This Church was declared independent by Constantinople, but it is not recognised as such by the Patriarchate of Moscow. This meeting in Cyprus, according to Mons. Fortino, will include the Russian members of the Joint Commission:

“There has been an explanation and an agreement between Constantinople and Moscow and the other Orthodox Churches”. Mons. Fortino said.

The rest of his statement:


The formal completeness of the representation of the Orthodox Churches is essential for the success of dialogue. Actually, for the first time in history since the split, this dialogue has taken place between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church as a whole. Sometimes, this complexity makes dialogue and its progress slower, but its purpose warrants the need for a clarification and an agreement that embrace everyone”.

Mons. Fortino goes on: “The most intensive fraternal relations between the Churches are essential for the true progress of dialogue. In the past, a lot has been rightly said about the dialogue of charity as a prerequisite of theological dialogue.

On one side, the dialogue of charity makes us see, in front of us, a brother, also inspired by faith and attentive to his own conscience, and on the other side it releases the doctrinal issues from any burden that is alien to faith.

Such an attitude is extremely necessary in the work that the Commission will carry out in Cyprus, where it will investigate the role of the Bishop of Rome in the life of the Church in the first millennium.

Over time, historical judgements and prejudices have been put into this topic, and now they must be examined with exactitude and peace of mind. And keeping an open mind on the future. It would be pointless to look for a full solution in the past.




TERESA BENEDETTA
00Tuesday, October 13, 2009 1:13 AM



ELEVENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION
Monday morning, Oct. 12, 2009



The Eleventh General Congregation took place this morning in the presence of the Holy Father, with more interventions by the Synod Fathers in the Hall.

Presiding was Cardinal Théodore-Adrien SARR, Archbishop of Dakar (SENEGAL).

During the pause at 10:30 a.m., the Holy Father Benedict XVI received the French Working Groups C and D in audience.

The following Fathers intervened:
- Mons. George Cosmas Zumaire LUNGU, Bishop of Chipata, President of the Episcopal Conference (ZAMBIA)
- Cardinal Wilfrid Fox NAPIER, O.F.M., Archbishop of Durban (SOUTH AFRICA)
- Mons. Jean-Pierre TAFUNGA, S.D.B., Archbishop Coadjutor Lubumbashi (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
- Mons. Louis NZALA KIANZA, Bishop of Popokabaka (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
- Mons. Antonio Maria VEGLIÒ, President of the Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (VATICAN CITY)
- Mons. Luigi BRESSAN, Archbishop of Trento, President of the Episcopal Commision for the Evangelization of Peoples and Cooperation between the Churches of the Italian Episcopal Conference (ITALY)
- Card. John NJUE, Archbishop of Nairobi, President of the Episcopal Conference (KENYA)
- Mons. Gianfranco RAVASI, President of the Pontifical Council of Culture (VATICAN CITY)
- Mons. Joseph Edra UKPO, Archbishop of Calabar (NIGERIA)
- Mons. Gervais BANSHIMIYUBUSA, Bishop of Ngozi (BURUNDI)
- Mons. Menghisteab TESFAMARIAM, M.C.C.J., Eparch of Asmara (ERITREA)
- Mons. Martin Igwemezie UZOUKWU, Bishop of Minna (NIGERIA)
- Mons. Timothée MODIBO-NZOCKENA, Bishop of Franceville (GABON), President of the Episcopal Conference, President of the Association to the Episcopal Conference of Central Africa (A.C.E.R.A.C.)
- Mons. Augustine Obiora AKUBEZE, Bishop of Uromi (NIGERIA)
- Mons. Jaime Pedro GONÇALVES, Archbishop of Beira (MOZAMBIQUE)
- Mons. Théophile KABOY RUBONEKA, Bishop Coadjutor of Goma (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
- Mons. Evariste NGOYAGOYE, Archbishop of Bujumbura, President of the Episcopal Conference (BURUNDI)
- Mons. Marcel Honorat Léon AGBOTON, Archbishop of Cotonou, Vice President of the Episcopal Conference (BENIN)
- Mons. Jean-Claude MAKAYA LOEMBA, Bishop of Pointe-Noire (REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
- Mons. George BIGUZZI, S.X., Bishop of Makeni, President of the Episcopal Conference (SIERRA LEONE)
- Mons. Egidio NKAIJANABWO, Bishop of Kasese (UGANDA)


Summaries of their interventions may be found on
www.vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_23_ii_speciale-africa-2009/02_inglese/b19...


The following auditors also intervened at this session:
- Rev. Sister Bernadette GUISSOU, S.I.C.O., Superior General of the Hearth of the Inmaculate Conception, Ouagadougou (BURKINA FASO)
- Mme. Marguerite BARANKITSE, Founder of Maison Shalom, Ruyigi (BURUNDI)
- Rev. F. Speratus KAMANZI, A.J., Superior General of the Apostles of Jesus, Nairobi (KENYA)
- Dr. Elard ALUMANDO, Country Director of the DREAM Program (MALAWI)
- Prof. Alöyse Raymond NDIAYE, President of the National Committee of the Order of the Knights of Malta in Senegal, Dakar (SENEGAL)
- Assandé Martial EBA, Member of the International Foundation Our Lady of Peace, Yamoussoukro (IVORY COAST)
- Bro. André SENE, O.H., Responsible of the Pastoral of the Health in the diocese of Thies (SENEGAL)
Auditors:
- Rev. Sister Bernadette GUISSOU, S.I.C.O., Superior General of the Hearth of the Inmaculate Conception, Ouagadougou (BURKINA FASO)
- Mrs. Marguerite BARANKITSE, Founder of Maison Shalom, Ruyigi (BURUNDI)
- Rev. F. Speratus KAMANZI, A.J., Superior General of the Apostles of Jesus, Nairobi (KENYA)
- Dr. Elard ALUMANDO, Country Director of the DREAM Program (MALAWI)
- Prof. Alöyse Raymond NDIAYE, President of the National Committee of the Order of the Knights of Malta in Senegal, Dakar (SENEGAL)
- Mr. Assandé Martial EBA, Member of the International Foundation Our Lady of Peace, Yamoussoukro (IVORY COAST)
- Bro. André SENE, O.H., Responsible of the Pastoral of the Health in the diocese of Thies (SENEGAL)


Summaries of their interventions are on
www.vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_23_ii_speciale-africa-2009/02_inglese/b20_02.html#ELEVENTH_GENERAL_CONGREGATION_(MONDAY,_12_OCTOBER_2009_-_AF...



TWELFTH GENERAL CONGREGATION
Monday afternoon, Oct. 12, 2009



At 16:30, with the prayer Pro felici Synodi, led by the Holy Father, the Twelfth General Congregation began, for the continuation of the interventions by the Synod Fathers.

Presiding was Cardinal Théodore-Adrien SARR, Archbishop of Dakar (SENEGAL).

The following Fathers intervened:
- Mons. Robert MUHIIRWA, Bishop of Fort Portal (UGANDA)
- Mons. Kyrillos WILLIAM, Bishop of Assiut of Copt Rite (EGYPT)
- Mons. Philippe RANAIVOMANANA, Bishop of Ihosy (MADAGASCAR)
- Mons. Laurent MONSENGWO PASINYA, Archbishop of Kinshasa (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)
- Mons. Raymond Leo BURKE, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature (VATICAN CITY)
- Mons. Tesfaselassie MEDHIN, Bishop of Adigrat (ETHIOPIA)
- Mons. Norbert Wendelin MTEGA, Archbishop of Songea (TANZANIA)
- Mons. Krikor-Okosdinos COUSSA, Bishop of Iskanderiya of the Armenians (EGYPT)
- Mons. Denis WIEHE, C.S.Sp., Bishop of Port Victoria, President of the Episcopal Conference (C.E.D.O.I.) (SEYCHELLES)
- Mons. Ludwig SCHICK, Archbishop of Bamberg, President of the Commission "Weltkirche" of the German Episcopal Conference (GERMANY)

At 18:00, the assembly president gave the floor to specially invited guest Jacques DIOUF, Director-General of FAO.

The General Congregation ended at 19.00 with the Prayer Angelus Domini.


English summaries of the afternoon interventions, including Mr. Diouf's, may be found on
www.vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_23_ii_speciale-africa-2009/02_inglese/b21_02.html#INTERVENTION_OF_THE_SPECIALLY_INVITED_GUEST_DR._JACQUES_DIOUF,_DIRECTOR-GENERA...


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Wednesday, October 14, 2009 1:38 AM




Vatican celebrates
the history of astronomy






VATICAN, Oct. 13 (AP) -- Rudimentary telescopes, celestial globes and original manuscripts by Galileo are going on view at the Vatican Museums as part of an exhibit marking the 400th anniversary of the astronomer's first celestial observations.



"Astrum 2009: Astronomy and Instruments" traces the history of astronomy through its tools, from a 3rd century A.D. globe of the zodiac to the increasingly complicated telescopes used in more recent times to gaze at the stars. The exhibit opens Friday and runs through Jan. 16.

At a briefing to launch the exhibit Tuesday, Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican's top culture official, declined to revisit the Church's 17th century condemnation of Galileo for his discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun.

Church teaching at the time placed the Earth at the center of the universe.

Rather, Ravasi said that, while it was necessary to have the courage to admit errors when they were made, "I continue to believe that it's necessary to look more to the future."

The church denounced Galileo's theory as dangerous to the faith. Tried as a heretic in 1633 and forced to recant, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, later changed to house arrest.

The ruling helped fuel accusations that the Church was hostile to science -- a reputation the Vatican has been trying to shed ever since.

In 1992, Pope John Paul II declared that the ruling against Galileo was an error resulting from "tragic mutual incomprehension."

The exhibit, and other Vatican initiatives to mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope and the U.N.-designated International Year of Astronomy, is part of the Vatican's continuing rehabilitation effort.

One of the highlights of the show is Galileo's original manuscript of "Sidereus Nuncius," the 1610 document in which he excitedly recorded his first discoveries after using his telescope.

Tommaso Maccacaro, president of Italy's National Institute of Astrophysics, said it was important to look at the instruments not just from a scientific view but from a cultural one as well, since astronomy has had such an impact on the way we perceive ourselves.

"It was astronomical observations that let us understand that Earth (and man) don't have a privileged position or role in the universe," he said in his prepared comments to the briefing. "I ask myself what tools will we use in the next 400 years, and I ask what revolutions of understanding they'll bring about, like resolving the mystery of our apparent cosmic solitude."






History of Italy's celestial studies
stars in Vatican Museums' exhibit

By Carol Glatz



VATICAN CITY, oCT. 13 (CNS) -- The Vatican and Italian observatories have teamed up to display for the first time numerous precious instruments and books documenting the birth and development of stargazing in Italy.

The Vatican Observatory, the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics and the Vatican Museums have pooled their collections of antique telescopes, astrolabes, celestial globes and manuscripts, such as Galileo Galilei's original handwritten notes detailing his observations of the moon. Many of the 130 items in the exhibit have never been displayed publicly.

The exhibit, called "Astrum 2009," runs at the Vatican Museums from Oct. 16 to Jan. 16, 2010, and commemorates the International Year of Astronomy.

The United Nations declared the special year to mark the 400th anniversary of Galileo's first use of the telescope to observe the cosmos.

The exhibit's curator, Ileana Chinnici, told journalists during a Vatican press conference Oct. 13 that Italy's unique patrimony of astronomical instruments is the richest in the world.

Popes and the divided Italian states all supported their own observatories and amassed a large number of historical instruments and valuable documentation, she said.

Some of the unique and valuable objects on display include Galileo's handwritten notes and his publication "Starry Messenger" from 1610, both of which detailed how he perfected the telescope to magnify distant objects 30 times the size they appear to the naked eye.

There is also a replica of one of Galileo's telescopes created by Massachusetts-based craftspeople Jim and Rhonda Morris. The original is in the Institute and Museum of the History of Science in Florence, Italy.

Also on display is the arithmometer, one of the first commercial calculating machines. Created in 1882, it helped scientists do complex additions, subtractions, multiplications and divisions as well as extract square roots.

A few sections of the 130-piece exhibit are dedicated to the Vatican's history of astronomical research, including its participation in the 19th-century international "Carte du Ciel" (Map of Heaven) project to catalog and make a map of the stars.

Between 1910 and 1921, the Vatican Observatory assigned three nuns to help with the map project. These Sisters of the Child Mary measured the coordinates of tens of thousands of stars reproduced on photographic glass plates.

Also on display for the first time are photographs of a papal expedition to Russia in 1887 to witness and document a total solar eclipse. Three Italian priests made the trip, which proved unsuccessful due to poor weather and viewing conditions.

Missing from the exhibit is any mention of the church's troubled history and dealings with Galileo.

The Italian scientist was condemned for suspected heresy in 1633 for maintaining that the earth revolved around the sun. He was "rehabilitated" in 1992 by a special Vatican commission established by Pope John Paul II.

The church has made significant overtures in recent decades to show that faith and science do not conflict.

Galileo opened up a brand new way of doing science, which wasn't accepted immediately, said Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the commission governing Vatican City in a written introduction to the exhibit's catalog.

These groundbreaking scientific discoveries help people better understand God's creation, he wrote, and the exhibit shows how science "is an inescapable part" of the human spirit and the whole human experience.





TERESA BENEDETTA
00Thursday, October 15, 2009 3:10 AM




THIRTEENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION
Tuesday, October 13, 2009



Today the Thirteenth General Congregation met for the continuation of the interventions by the Synod Fathers. Presiding was Cardinal Francis ARINZE, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (VATICAN CITY).

The following Fathers intervened:
- Mons. Ernesto MAGUENGUE, Bishop of Pemba (MOZAMBIQUE)
- Mons. Joachim KOURALEYO TAROUNGA, Bishop of Moundou (CHAD)
- Mons. Servilien NZAKAMWITA, Bishop of Byumba (RWANDA)
- Mons. Abraham DESTA, Apostolic Vicar of Meki (ETHIOPIA)
- Rev. F. Mamby Dominique BASSE, Sch. P., Superior Major of the Poor Clerks Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools in Senegal (Scolopi) (UNION OF SUPERIORS-GENERAL)
- Mons. Manuel António MENDES DOS SANTOS, C.M.F., Bishop of São Tomé e Príncipe (SÃO TOMÉ)
- Cardinal William Joseph LEVADA, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (VATICAN CITY)
- Mons. Matthias N'GARTÉRI MAYADI, Archbishop of N'Djaména (CHAD)
- Mons. Alick BANDA, Bishop of Solwezi (ZAMBIA)
- Mons. John Baptist ODAMA, Archbishop of Gulu (UGANDA)
- Mons. Martin MUSONDE KIVUVA, Bishop of Machakos (KENYA)
- Mons. Jean Claude RANDRIANARISOA, Bishop of Miarinarivo (MADAGASCAR)
- Mons. Edward Tamba CHARLES, Archbishop of Freetown and Bo (SIERRA LEONE)
- Mons. Zygmunt ZIMOWSKI, Archbishop-Bishop Emeritus of Radom, President of the Pontifical Council for Health Care (VATICAN CITY)
- Frr. Jan GEERITS, S.D.S., Apostolic Administrator of Apostolic Administration of Comoros
- Mons. Liborius Ndumbukuti NASHENDA, O.M.I., Archbishop of Windhoek, President of the Episcopal Conference (NAMIBIA)
- Mons. Filomeno DO NASCIMENTO VIEIRA DIAS, Bishop of Cabinda (ANGOLA)
- Mons. Joseph Shipandeni SHIKONGO, O.M.I., Apostolic Vicar of Rundu (NAMIBIA)
- Rev. F. Zeferino ZECA MARTINS, S.V.D., Provincial of Angola of Society of the Divine Word (ANGOLA)
- Mons. José Câmnate NA BISSIGN, Bishop of Bissau (GUINEA-BISSAU)
- Mons. Camillus Archibong ETOKUDOH, Bishop of Port Harcourt (NIGERIA)
- Mons. Germano GRACHANE, C.M., Bishop of Nacala (MOZAMBIQUE)
- Mons. Basile MVÉ ENGONE, S.D.B., Archbishop of Libreville (GABON)
- Mons. Odon Marie Arsène RAZANAKOLONA, Archbishop of Tananarive (MADAGASCAR)
- Mons. Daniel Marco Kur ADWOK, Auxiliary Bishop of Khartoum (SUDAN)
- Mons. Felix Alaba Adeosin JOB, Archbishop of Ibadan, President of the Episcopal Conference (NIGERIA)
- Mons. Gerard Tlali LEROTHOLI, O.MI., Archbishop of Maseru (LESOTHO)

English summaries of their interventions may be found on
www.vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_23_ii_speciale-africa-2009/02_inglese/b22...




FOURTEENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION
Tuesday, Oct, 13, 2009



At 16:30 today, with the prayer Adsumus, led by the Holy Father, the Fourteenth General Congregation met and listened to the Relatio post disceptationem (Report after the Discussion), with Cardinal Arinze presiding.

The General Relator, Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah TURKSON, Archbishop of Cape Coast (GHANA), read the Relatio at the conclusion of the general discussion.

He summarized the different interventions at the General Congregations so far and offered guidelines for orientation to facilitate the work of the working groups.

The full text of his Relatio in English may be read on
www.vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_23_ii_speciale-africa-2009/02_inglese/b23...

During the break, the Holy Father Benedict XVI received in audience the working groups Gallicus E and Lusitanus.

This General Congregation ended at 19:00 with the prayer of the Angelus Domini. 218 Fathers were present.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Thursday, October 15, 2009 5:29 PM



Jordanian bishop: God, not Obama,
will bring peace to the Middle East







Amman, Jordan, Oct 9, 2009 (CNA) - The Vicar of Jordan, Most Rev. Selim Sayegh, spoke to CNA in Amman last week about the tensions in the Middle East as well as the diminishing number of Christians in the area. He noted that Catholics can assist those struggling in the region by praying for peace because “true peace comes from the Lord,” not Obama, or Israeli/Palestinian leaders.

Sayegh, who has served Jordan as an auxiliary bishop for 27 years, addressed the plight of Christians in the Middle East, particularly the ones living in Iraq. He noted that the while the situation isn’t desperate, less Christians are living in the area than is considered ideal.

“Why,” the bishop asked, are not only Christians but also Muslims leaving the area? “All of them, they are looking for peace…they want peace for their children,” he answered.

“Once peace is established into these countries...no one would think about leaving.”

He zeroed in on Iraq asking why anyone would leave – it’s “one of the richest countries in the world,” however “there is no hope.”

When Iraqi Christians leave, they go to Jordan or Syria, the vicar explained. But, “for the most part, the Christians don’t intend to become established in Jordan,” but they only “stay until they can obtain a visa to the United States, Europe or Australia.”

“It’s a very sad situation,” the bishop lamented, explaining that many of the Iraqis were educated, economically well-off people in their country, but when they leave, all of a sudden, “poof, and they have nothing.”

Bishop Sayegh said that Catholics around the world can help improve the situation in the Middle East not only by being “good citizens,” but also by praying for peace.

“Pray for peace because true peace comes from the Lord, it doesn’t come from Obama or from Netanyahu or from Abu Mazen,” but rather from the “Lord of peace,” the bishop remarked.

Reflecting on Christians’ role in the peace process, Bishop Sayegh said that they have their place, but that they are called to play a role by living out the faith.

“That’s why every day in our churches we pray for peace,” since God is the only one who is “able to change the hearts” and to “arrive at peace” in the region.




TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, October 16, 2009 5:17 AM



Combatting racism, sxenophobia and discrimination.
also focusing on intolerance and discrimination
against Christians and members of other religions




Here is the address delivered by Mons. Anthony Frontiero for the Holy See on Oct. 5, to a working session of the OSCE/ODIHIR Human Dimension Implementation Meeting of the United Nations in Warsaw Sept. 28-Oct. 9.



Mr. Moderator,

The Delegation of the Holy See appreciates this opportunity to participate in this important discussion. Incidents of hate, discrimination, violence and intolerance against Christians and members of other religions continue to occur all too frequently in the OSCE region, and are symptomatic of the lack of peace in the world.

Pope Benedict XVI lamented this situation, saying "Speaking of Christians in particular, I must point out with pain that not only are they at times prevented from [publicly and freely professing their religious convictions]: in some States they are actually persecuted, and even recently tragic cases of ferocious violence have been recorded.

There are regimes that impose a single religion upon everyone, while secular regimes often lead not so much to violent persecution as to systematic cultural denigration of religious beliefs.

In both instances, a fundamental human right is not being respected, with serious repercussions for peaceful co-existence. This can only promote a mentality and culture that is not conducive to peace."

Authentic tolerance and respect is a civic discipline, not just a personal attitude. The objective of the OSCE commitment to combat intolerance and discrimination against Christians and members of the other religions is not to somehow "level the playing field", or indifference towards world views, but to genuinely the differences among us.

Indeed, neutrality toward world views cannot be truly tolerant and respectful. Likewise, an absence of convictions does not define tolerance; and in the absence of some compelling notion of the truth that requires us to be tolerant of those who have a different understanding of the truth of things, there is only scepticism and relativism.

An authentic notion of tolerance in pluralistic societies demands that in their dealings with unbelievers and those of different faiths, believers should grasp that they must reasonably expect that the dissent they encounter will go on existing.

At the same time, however, secular political cultures must encourage unbelievers to grasp the same point in their dealings with believers. When secularized citizens act in their role as citizens, they must to deny in principle that religious images of the world have the potential to express truth. Nor must they refuse their believing fellow citizens the right to make contributions in a religions language to public debates.

The Round Table Meeting on the theme "Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians", held in Vienna in March 2009, was a successful and hopeful event, and revealed the possibility of constructive dialogue toward mutual understanding and respect among Christians, members of other religions, and non-believers.

It is hoped that a follow-up to the Round Table will be forthcoming. In the face of ongoing incidents of intolerance, discrimination and violence against Christians and members of other religions, the Delegation of the Holy See proposes that this august body conceive of a new tolerance, not the indifferent tolerance that says, "We should be tolerant because it works better", but the true tolerance of differences engaged civilly.

In conclusion, I hold up such a notion described by Pope Benedict XVI, where he says: "Fruitful dialogue between faith and reason cannot but render the work of charity more effective within society, and it constitutes the most appropriate framework for promoting fraternal collaboration between believers and non-believers in their shared commitment to working for justice and the peace of the human family."

Respecting the order as an Other who is also a seeker of truth and goodness, enables the believer and the Other to enter into a conversation, a dialogue that leads to mutual enrichment rather than to a deeper scepticism about the very possibility of grasping the truth of things.

A listing of concrete recommendations on this Item will be furnished to the Secretariat along with the text of my remarks.

Thank you, Mr. Moderator
.



TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, October 17, 2009 12:59 PM


Message for Diwali:
'Hindus and Christians
committed to integral human development'



Below is the message sent this year by the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialog to Hindus around the world on the occasion of the five-day festival of Lights, Diwali or Deepavali, which means 'garland of lights' but also 'awareness of the inner light".



The Hindu world's most important holiday is celebrated at the start of the Lunar New Year and commemorates, on the religious and mythical levels, significant events representing triumphs by the Hindu gods. Over five millennia, it has accumulated traditions and customs akin to Christmas traditions and customs in the Christian world. Anyone who has ever been in India at Diwali finds it an awesome and unforgettable experience.







Dear Hindu Friends,

1. It is my joy to greet you all, once again, in the name of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue: a happy Deepavali! Religious Festivals enable us to revitalize our relationship with God and one another.

May this Festival of Lights, while elevating our minds and hearts towards God, the Supreme Light, strengthen fellowship among us and bless us all with happiness and peace.

2. Honouring the tradition of this Pontifical Council to share a thought on matters of common concern, I would like to propose this year that we reflect on the need to work together for integral human development.

3. Integral human development implies the advance towards the true good of every individual, community and society, in every single dimension of human life: social, economic, political, intellectual, spiritual and religious. Pope Paul VI described it as "development of the whole man and of all men" (Populorum Progressio, 1967, no.42) "from less human conditions to those which are more human" (Ibid., no.20). And Pope Benedict XVI wrote recently that "integral human development presupposes the responsible freedom of the individual and of peoples" (Caritas in veritate, no. 17).

4. Such authentic human development can be achieved only by assuming a shared responsibility for one another and by seriously engaging in collaborative action. This springs from our very nature as human beings and our belonging to one human family.

5. In the process of integral development, protection of human life and respect for the dignity and fundamental rights of the person, are a responsibility of everyone, both individually and collectively.

6. Respect for others therefore implies the recognition of their freedom: freedom of conscience, thought and religion. When persons feel respected in their primary choice as religious beings, only then are they able to encounter others and cooperate for the progress of humanity. This shapes a more peaceful social order conducive to development.

7. Integral human development also requires the political will to work towards ensuring greater protection of human rights and peaceful co-existence. Development, freedom and peace are inextricably linked together, and they complete one another. Lasting peace and harmonious relations emerge in an atmosphere of freedom; so also, integral human development is accomplished in an environment of peace.

Let us all, as people of good will, join together to dispel every darkness that hinders a true vision of co-existence, religious harmony and integral development for each and every person.

May Deepavali be an occasion to celebrate our friendship and boldly proclaim the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and work together to bring about an era of true freedom ‘for all’ and integral human development ‘of all’.

My best wishes, once again, for a splendid and joyous Deepavali.


Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran
President

Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata
Secretary





TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, October 17, 2009 4:15 PM
'POWER AND GRACE:
THE PATRON SAINTS OF EUROPE'



Exbibit in Rome from Oct. 8-Jan. 31. Left photo, St. Louis, King of France, El Greco, 1565, Louvre.


The saints who made Europe

A stunning exhibition has opened in Rome on the patron saints of the Old Continent.
Martyrs and confessors, monks and virgins, angels and kings, depicted by the greatest artists.
A 'counter-cultural' event, born from the vision of a humble mountain priest, and first proposed
to Pope Benedict XVI by Silvio Berlusconi in June 2008.





ROME, October 16, 2009 – Painted by El Greco in 1585, and kept in the Louvre in Paris, El Greco's Saint Louis, King of France, and a Page is on display until next January 31 in Rome, together with dozens of masterpieces by artists like Van Eyck, Memling, Mantegna, Caravaggio, Tiziano, Veronese, Van Dyck, Murillo, Tiepolo.

A slide show of the exhibit may be seen on
www.mondomostre.it/MEDIACENTER/FE/media/il-potere-e-la-grazia-i-santi-patroni-deuropa-r...


An exemplary king and Christian, Saint Louis wmbodies the encounter – sometimes happy, sometimes troublesome – between the civitas and ecclesia, State and Church, power and grace.

And this is precisely the title of the exhibition inaugurated on October 7 in Palazzo Venezia by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State.



Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had discussed the concept with Benedict XVI at a private audience in June 2008. The Pope liked the idea. The initiative went back to its creator, and now has become reality.

The architect of the exhibition is a young priest from a tiny village of three hundred souls, Illegio, in the Alps in Carnia. His name is Alessio Geretti. The exhibition on the patron saints of Europe is his latest creation, and follows other exhibitions that he designed on themes like Revelation, Genesis, the Apocrypha, stunning in the quality of the works of art displayed and in the richness of the message transmitted.

In this case, revisiting the holy patrons of the nations of Europe as depicted by its greatest artists does not mean only offering a "vision" of what Europe has been over two thousand years of history profoundly marked by the Christian faith.

It is also a message to a contemporary Europe that has forgotten its roots and is indifferent to religion. Fr. Alessio Geretti says:

"In the Europe of pluralism and democracy, holiness is the most convincing form that a religion can take. The lives of the saints persuade without constraining. I truly believe that in this age – which, as Paul VI said, does not so much need teachers as witnesses – the saints are still the face of a Church that has the ability to speak to the heart of the people and to bring the dominant culture into crisis, unmasking all of its inhumanity."

But the message of the exhibition is also addressed to the Church. "A Church" – Fr. Geretti further writes in the exquisite catalog published by Skira – "whose postconciliar renewal has been characterized by a poorly concealed iconoclasm, which has emptied churches, catechesis, preaching, and a few calendar dates of those references to the saints and of those sacred images which for centuries had nourished the Christian people's experience of faith."

With the pontificate of John Paul II, this tendency to "purify" Catholicism from devotion to the saints underwent a decisive about-face. He raised more saints and blesseds to the honors of the altar than all of his predecessors since the Council of Trent put together. And what saints! Two names stand out above all: Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

With Benedict XVI, the emphasis given to the saints has not been diminished. At the Vatican congregation in charge of them, more than 2,000 causes of beatification or canonization are under way.

Papa Ratzinger's last trip outside Italy culminated on September 28 in Stará Boleslav, on the anniversary and on the site of the martyrdom of Saint Wenceslas, patron saint of the Czech Republic. A nation in which the de-Christianization of Europe is at its most advanced stage, with two-thirds of the population no longer professing any religious faith.

It is in this same spirit that Benedict XVI has framed his Wednesday catecheses: explaining to the crowds the "who" of the Church through the profiles of its saints. He began with the apostles. He continued with the Fathers of East and West. And now, he is dedicating himself to the grand masters of medieval theology.

The following is the complete list of the holy patrons of Europe: the ones assigned to the entire continent by Paul VI and John Paul II, and those of each country.

The patron saints of Europe
declared by the Catholic Church



TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, October 17, 2009 5:58 PM




Over 20,000 Catholics, 'official' and underground,
attend funeral services for the bishop of Wenzhou






WENZHOU, China, Oct. 14 (UCAN) -- More than 20,000 Catholics from both the government-approved and "underground" Church communities bade farewell to Bishop James Lin Xili of Wenzhou on Oct. 10.

Bishop Lin, who had been clandestinely ordained as the first bishop of Wenzhou, died on Oct. 4. at Qiliang church in Yueqing after a long illness. He was 91.

The late prelate was held in high regard by both communities for his tireless work in the diocese.

Following his death, Wenzhou diocese's open and underground Church communities celebrated separate requiem Masses from Oct. 5-10 at Qiliang church.



On Oct. 10, both open and underground Catholics joined together in the five-kilometer-long funeral procession and the internment of his ashes at the Catholic cemetery on Panyang Hill.

The diocese estimated more than 20,000 Catholics attended the Oct. 10 funeral at the small Qiliang church, managed by the open Church community. Government officials, however, put the figure at between 5,000 and 8,000.

About 1,000 uniform and plainclothes police were stationed outside the church while the liturgy was in process, but otherwise did not intervene.

Diocesan sources told UCA news that the Wenzhou underground Catholics were able to conduct their funeral Mass on Oct. 9 with "the greatest freedom and largest number of attendees ever."

This was in sharp contrast to the funerals of other underground bishops in recent years that were held under strict government surveillance, they said.

The local government had designated Bishop Lin's funeral to be held at the Qiligang Church, which is managed by the open Church community and accommodates only 200 people. Officials helped to level and clean up a neighboring plot of land to allow the crowd to view the funeral proceedings via a TV screen.

Except for a few sick, elderly priests, most of the 19 open priests and 18 underground clergy of Wenzhou diocese attended the funeral Masses.

The sources also said local government officials forbade the use of the term zhujiao (bishop) on banners and wreaths, but a compromise was reached with the use of "Lin mu" (shepherd Lin). However, officials allowed the verbal use of "Lin zhujiao" during funeral Masses and other memorial services.

Authorities did not allow Bishop Lin's body to be clothed in bishop's garb, but his family members placed the zucchetto or bishop's skullcap on his head just before the cremation, sources said.

For the procession, a two-meter-high portrait of the late prelate in a claret cassock and zucchetto was placed on a vehicle which was decorated with flowers, while several laypersons carried his ashes. Government officials had disallowed the use of a photo of Bishop Lin wearing his miter and holding his crosier.

Many curious non-Catholic onlookers were attracted by the procession in which hundreds of wreaths, colorful flags and banners were carried to the sound of drums and pipes. The procession from the church to the cemetery lasted two and a half hours.

Bishop Lin was the fourth bishop in mainland China to die in 2009. The issue of his succession has aroused concern among local Catholics and government officials, say diocesan sources.

Wenzhou diocese has about 120,000 Catholics, including those who live and work in other parts of China.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, October 18, 2009 7:05 AM


A translation of pp. 266-272 of
Hubert Jedin's Lebensbericht
(Mainz: Matthias-Grünewald-Verlag, 1984).
Translation by Rev. Joseph W. Koterski, S.J.
Introduction by Rev. Brian Van Hove, S.J.


Many people have wondered in our day if the Catholic Church was becoming "Protestantized", but sometimes this has been only a vague feeling of unease or disgust after a Mass at their local parish on Sunday.

The following document is an astounding one because as early as 1968 one of the greatest Catholic Church historians sounded the alarm in no uncertain terms.

Monsignor Hubert Jedin was the author of many books on church history, most notably his definitive History of the Council of Trent in four volumes. He knew both Trent and the Reformation well from a lifetime of research and writing on the topic.

Mgsr. Jedin also published a general ten-volume History of the Church which was translated into English the year after his death in 1981.

The following version/translation of Jedin's Memorandum may strike Americans as more relevant than the day it was written and presented to the West German bishops.

The deep insight of Jedin into the contemporary situation of the Church confirms what many of us have suspected but have been unable to express as well as he did.

Perhaps the most outstanding Church historian of the Catholic world died July 16, 1980, in Bonn, then West Germany. He was born June 17, 1900, in Breslau [1], Silesia, and ordained a priest on March 2, 1924. Since his mother was a Jewish Catholic convert, the Gestapo arrested Father Jedin in 1938, but he later managed to get released.

He spent the next ten years, 1939-1949, in Rome researching history of the Council of Trent upon which he became the acknowledged expert. This exhaustive and original study of the primary source documents resulted in the publication of four large volumes of The History of the Council of Trent, only the first two of which have yet appeared in English.

Many smaller studies were also published such as his 1947 Papal Legate at the Council of Trent: Cardinal Seripando. He was a lifelong specialist on councils and on Trent in particular.

After the announcement by Pope John XXIII that an ecumenical council would be held, Jedin published in 1959 his Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church: An Historical Outline (English tr. 1960). Then somewhat later as Vatican II was in session, in 1964, he published Crisis and Closure of the Council of Trent (English tr. 1967).

These were prepared for seminarians and other interested students of ecclesiastical history who were looking for some perspective on just what an ecumenical council was supposed to be in the Catholic Church.

But Jedin was also a generalist. He launched the massive ten-volume series History of the Church under his own editorship. The series has been called "the Fliche-Martin of our time" [2], and is considered a standard reference. The tenth volume was at last translated into English in 1981, one year after his death.

Another of the projects which he supervised was the cartographic church history, Atlas zur Kirchengeschichte. Die christlichen Kirchen in Geschichte und Gegenwart, published in German in 1970.

Jedin had to suspend his research for four years, 1962-1965, in order to serve as peritus at the Second Vatican Council. Very few historians of councils actually get to participate in one as he did! This also explains the lengthy interval of time between the publication of his first two volumes on Trent (1949, 1957) and the second two (1970, 1975).

From 1949 to 1965 he was a professor in Bonn; before and after those years he received many honorary doctorates and other international awards and invitations. In 1970 Pope Paul VI had offered him the position of Prefect of the Vatican Library, though Jedin declined on the grounds of advancing age.

Poor health during the 1970s prevented him from making the kind of progress he wished, but in the end none of his projected works were left incomplete.

The autobiographical book, Lebensbericht, appeared posthumously in 1984. This work outlines his professional career and productivity rather than primarily providing us with any "journal of a soul". Nonetheless it received negative reviews in the United States from those who said Jedin had become too alarmed and saddened toward the end of his life because of his conviction that Vatican II had been either tragically misunderstood or, even worse, betrayed.

He communicated his frank opinion on the matter in 1968 to the West German bishops, and he drew upon his knowledge of Trent and the Reformation process to illustrate for them a similar process underway in the twentieth century. The translation of this Memorandum is presented here for the first time, perhaps belatedly, to benefit an American readership.





Memorandum to the German Bishops' Conference
Bonn, September 16, 1968

In the covering letter to Cardinal Döpfner as chairman of the Bishops' Conference we read:

"I take the liberty to offer you enclosed a few thoughts and opinions on the present situation in the Catholic Church, with the request to present them to the members of the German Bishops' Conference.

My thoughts have grown out of long years of scholarly concern with the history of the Church and were dictated by grave concern over her present development. I am aware that many invited and uninvited advisors are said to gain the ear of the bishops.

Mindful of the admonition of the Second Vatican Council about the co-responsibility of priests and laity, I feel obligated in conscience to offer my knowledge and understanding, so that evaluative categories will not be lacking to the venerable episcopate; for what life-experience is to individuals, the history of the Church is for the ecclesial community."

MEMORANDUM

At present the Catholic Church is passing through a difficult crisis. Germany, too, at least the region of the Federal Republic, is gripped by it. This crisis became broadly visible during the "Catholic Day" at Essen during which the encyclical Humanae vitae was regarded not as the starting-point but as an object of anxiety and as the flash-point.

To us as historians especially concerned with the history of the Reformation this crisis suggests parallels to those events which led in the 16th century to the schism of the Church in the West. It compels us to draw inferences from historical experience for the evaluation of the present moment in the Church.


I.

Through the research of recent decades it is evident that Martin Luther did not intend to split the Church when in the year 1517 he presented his theses on indulgences to the appropriate bishops and later published them. He renounced the authority of the Church in stages; in Leipzig (1519) he even rejected the binding force of decisions by valid ecumenical councils. And given the resulting resonance in the public sphere he himself did not expect, he was finally tempted to refuse obedience to the condemnation - far too long delayed in any case - of his 41 theses in the bull Exsurge Domine (1520).

In some German dioceses this papal decision was publicized inadequately, and in others not at all. The bishops considered the "Luther-conflict" as a quarrel among theologians and overlooked the fact that the foundations of the Catholic concept of the Church were not only being shaken but destroyed.

Apart from a few theologians, the faithful saw in Luther the re-discoverer of the true faith and the restorer of the Church, the liberator from the yoke which the Church had allegedly imposed upon them until then.

The most passionate and most powerful champions of the Lutheran movement were the "intellectuals" of that time, the humanists, in whose eyes the current theology, scholasticism, was a hindrance to progress.

Also included were numerous priests and clerics who, fascinated by the slogan "evangelical freedom", cast off the vows they had taken upon themselves.

Finally there were some from the classes threatened by social decline, such as the imperial knighthood and the well-to-do farmers, throughout a great part of Germany.

The almost complete success of the Lutheran movement in the years 1517-1525 was made possible by the control of that age's only means of mass communication, the press, whose significance for the Church was insufficiently understood.

People used to snatch the writings of Luther and the countless pamphlets stamped with his ideas right out of the hands of the book-sellers. They spoke the language of the people and were read, even devoured.

The few who issued warnings were, to be sure, more clear-sighted as theologians, but weaker as propagandists. They remained unread and were regarded as "reactionaries".

Those responsible for the Church's magisterium, the Pope and the bishops, were silent; the repeatedly requested and longed-for council never materialized. Uncertainty in regard to the faith persisted.

Without wishing in the least to explain away the mistakes and oversights committed by the Roman curia at that time and subsequently, the passivity of the German episcopate must be admitted.

They were not sufficiently trained theologically, and with few exceptions the prince took precedence over the bishop in leading the people. This state of affairs facilitated the nearly unchecked progress of the Lutheran movement, and in fact this is what made it possible in the first place. The German bishops thus missed their chance
.

Once the majority of imperial cities and the princes had made Luther's cause their own (after 1526), it was too late. By-passing the bishop, Lutheran rural churches were erected and the urban clergy numerically increased.

As the Lutheran movement became organized and consolidated, it conducted itself as a creed and bound itself together by a politico-military league. The schism in the Church was a fact.

We know today that the inner process of schism, the formation of a "Confession" (denomination), lasted not years but decades. Melanchthon and Calvin claimed to be "Catholic" until the end of their lives while the adherents of the old faith were calumniated as "Papists".

The faithful long clung to the Mass and to their saints, and the church regulations introduced by the Lutheran magistrates took over many Catholic customs - even processions and pilgrimages. The bulk of the simple faithful never understood that the "Reformation" was not a reform of the Church but the construction of a new church set up on a different basis.

In retrospect one must therefore maintain: the schism of the Church succeeded by nothing so much as by the illusion that it did not exist. It was widespread in Rome and in the German episcopate, among many theologians, among the majority of clergymen and among the people.

The parallels between then and now are obvious. But one essential difference exists: the schism in the Church in the 16th century, since the end of the 1520s, was increasingly an affair of "governments", and therefore of states.

Today [this was written in 1968] the state is indifferent toward ecclesiastical events except in Communist regimes which put the Church under heavy pressure. In those cases the signs of crisis discussed below are either not present at all or found just minimally. They can only be found in the Free World of the West where they profit from rebellion against the so-called "establishment".



II

The Church's present crisis in Germany is in its innermost essence, as in the 16th century, a matter of uncertainty and disorientation in the faith. Protestant biblical criticism has broken into Catholic theology on a broad front.

The problem is not so much those who hold chairs of exegesis with their rather nuanced statements as with their students and auditors who are often insufficiently prepared theologically and philosophically and who accept uncritically the views of radical Protestant theologians, e.g. Rudolph Bultmann.

They extend and coarsen the concepts to the point of polarization, simplify them in their institutes and propagate them in conferences and courses as well as in preaching.

Under the cloak of hermeneutics, the binding nature of dogmatic definitions by ecumenical councils is called into question (e.g. transubstantiation).

The bond of theology to the magisterium is loosened, if not altogether denied, and the magisterium itself depreciated and even ridiculed.

Today's hostility and contempt for authority which is so widespread among the younger generation and is supported by many parents and educators, abets this dissolution of the Catholic concept of the Church, and consequently the idea of religious obedience.

The question, "Is there anything still Catholic?" is not just something asked only by older and so-called "traditional" Catholics, but comes from the very core of sincere and genuine believers.

This too was brought about not just by the constant change of liturgical forms and the ever more encompassing capriciousness in liturgy, but is the result of real uncertainty and the need for knowledge.

Today's modern communications media are incomparably more powerful than those of the 16th century. Almost without exception they have become dominated by intellectuals who frequently, especially if they are Catholic, want the "new" for its own sake, as the supposedly "progressive" thing to do. They promote and propagate it regardless of the truth-content.

In their speech and style of expression they cater to the inclination of the younger generation for slogans ("democratizing the Church"), and they judge this agitation to be harmless to their religious formation, or they explain it away, and in general they comment upon Church events in a distorted way.

They make (or better, they manipulate) "public opinion" against which only a few among the many millions of television watchers are capable of validly forming their own opinion.

The constant saturation of the faithful by a communications media controlled by the ecclesiastical "Left" has the effect of altering their relation to the Church and has indeed already changed it. This disorientation makes progress month by month. The longer it lasts, the greater will be the danger of a schism in the Church, as in the 16th century.

Or, what could be even worse, a complete estrangement from the Church, just as individual raindrops disappear in the dry sand.

I do not believe that the founding and support of conservative, traditionalist groups and movements ("Una Voce", "Nunc et Semper" and the like) is the right way to prevent the schism or revolt threatening the Church.

To leave the fight against the abuses of the ecclesiastical "Left" to an ecclesiastical "Right" would be a fundamental abdication by the authorities.

In contrast to the Protestant church-communities, the Catholic Church possesses authority since her structure is based on divine law. The bishops must speak out clearly and act decisively, rising above public opinion. If they act, and act quickly, it will become evident that they still have the great mass of the Catholic faithful behind them.

Had the German bishops in the first years of the 16th century's schism from the faith joined together for common action before the Reformation became political, the schism in the Church, even if it were not totally prevented, could quite possibly have been reduced to a mere splintering.

The episcopate of today is no longer burdened and obstructed by defective theological education or by its social place and the resulting entanglements in politics. The constitution Lumen gentium has conferred on them thorough-going rights and opportunities, but also a higher responsibility for the integrity of the faith than ever before. They cannot wait for the intervention of higher authorities, but must act themselves.

Where the public communications media construct walls of silence or permit one to observe daily events only through distorted lenses, a word of clarification and corresponding action is doubly indispensable.

To every Catholic and non-Catholic it must be made clear that the bishops consider the unabridged truth and care for the good of the faithful their first and highest duty.


III

Some concrete examples may illustrate how one might imagine this "action".

1. The canonical mission of professors of higher education and teachers of religion, who plainly teach errors of faith, should be withdrawn. Conflicts arising from this with state officials and with the pressure-groups of the "Left" must be accepted.

Priests and chaplains who come into open opposition to Church discipline in their teaching or through their conduct (e.g. in regard to the Holy Eucharist) are to be suspended, even if there results from this a temporarily severe shortage in pastoral care.

One should not be afraid of making "martyrs" of them. It is necessary to set an example--but in so doing it will be important to take care that the transition to a secular occupation be facilitated by providing suitable help for those affected.

2. No candidate for priestly office should be ordained unless he explicitly and unconditionally acknowledges the duties of the priesthood and undertakes canonical obedience. Above all, the authors of declarations against celibacy, against papal and episcopal teaching on doctrine, the instigators of revolts and those who try to coerce unacceptable changes in monasteries and seminaries, are to be excluded from ordination.

It is better to have many fewer priests and to look after vacant parishes in a temporary and improvised fashion through ordination of older, married men as deacons, than for rebellious or demagogic priests to lead parishes astray.

3. The education of "lay-theologians" must be supervised with much greater vigilance, and the canonical mission must be bestowed more carefully. A portion of this group is inspiring the ecclesiastical "Left" and - knowingly or unknowingly - is promoting uncertainty and confusion about the faith.

4. It must be impressed on the entire clergy that liturgy is not a free-style composition by the parish assembly, but a divine service regulated by the Church. The chaotic changes in the liturgy have already gone so far that even the words of consecration are being changed by individual clerics without authorization.

The Latin Mass, the bond of unity of the universal Church, should not be allowed to perish now that the world is becoming so much smaller. In every church with several Sunday services, one Latin Mass should regularly remain. It will, as experience shows, be well attended. [3]

5. In teaching style, slogans like "democratizing the Church" or "critical Catholicism" and the like must be rejected because of the errors intermingled within them. The teaching of the Church from the basis of the constitution Lumen gentium must be inculcated.

The traditional principles of "subsidiarity" and "solidarity" fully suffice to guarantee the participation of the laity in the accomplishment of its apostolic mission. One should not be afraid to retain the concept "authority" and "obedience" in the vocabulary of the Church.

6. The movement which is tending not toward a correctly understood "aggiornamento" but (as in the 16th century) toward a Church-revolution, is presumably, at least for the moment, organized less than some might suppose or fear.

But we may not dismiss the well-founded impression that this revolutionary movement has a core-organization within Catholicism. In this regard it would be wise to examine without narrow-mindedness but also without illusion what function the Catholic student organizations have.

And quite likely it would be wise to intervene immediately: better the abolition of the student organizations and a return to the appointment of individual chaplains for the students, as four decades ago, than the spread of the destruction of church communities.

The same goes for the Union of German Catholic Youth and the choice of diocesan and deanery youth-ministers.

7. Finally, one cannot overlook the fact that the media - the radio and television establishment, including the church media - with very few exceptions, are oriented toward the "Left". Their control cannot be wrested from them overnight.

However, it is important to implement a well-conceived plan over the long run and above all not to be satisfied with a one-time politically motivated concession from them. Rather, ongoing contact must be maintained between, on the one hand, the publicists and journalists and, on the other, qualified ecclesiastical officials.

8. The demand for "democratizing" Church newspapers raised at the Essen Catholic Day should not be complied with, for thereby the last vestige of a press not controlled by the ecclesiastical "Left" would be lost. The only possibility still remaining for Church authorities to inform the faithful would fall outside the sphere of the Church.


IV

In the parallels pointed out above and the sample proposals derived from them, I have taken into consideration that in present-day Church developments there are at work strong religious forces not unlike those in the 16th century movement enkindled by Luther.

The saying of St. Augustine applies to both of them: "Nulla porro falsa doctrina est, quae non aliqua vera intermisceat." ("There is no false doctrine without some truth intermingled." Quaest. ev. II 40.)

I am convinced that the true and the good which has emerged from the new awakening of the Church at the Council and through the Council up to today can only be fruitful if it is separated from error.

The longer the painful operation is put off, the greater will be the danger that valuable sources of strength are going to be lost because they will be amalgamated with error. Then there will occur among us not only a separation from the Church, but a defection from Christianity itself.

The more clearly the bishops speak and the more decisively they act, the greater the chance to maintain the movement of awakening within the Church and thereby to uphold the Church.

Hubert Jedin
16 September 1968



This article was originally published, in a slightly different form, in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, vol. XCII, no. 2 (November 1991): 22-28. [The article was referred to in the December 1992 Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Newsletter, 19-20.]

ENDNOTES:

[1] After World War II this became Polish territory and today the city is called Wrocław.

[2] See Augustin Fliche and Victor Martin, Histoire de l'Église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours, Vols. I-XXI (Paris: Bloud & Gay, 1934-1952); English tr. A History of the Catholic Church (London-St. Louis, 2nd ed. 1956). This series was originally planned in twenty-six volumes, but never completed. Martin died in 1945 and Fliche in 1951. Between the appearance of the first volume in 1934 and the year of Fliche's death, only twenty volumes were published, of which Fliche personally edited fifteen. In 1952 Roger Aubert published vol. 21, and some years later an Italian team published a vol. 22 which is not available in French or English. Works of this scope are so ambitious as to be nearly impossible in our age of specialization. Nevertheless, as a general church history, Fliche-Martin is considered a classic.

[3] On this point see Annibale Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975 (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 1990) pp. 283-284. The somewhat naive view of the Prefect of the S.C.D.W. may well be contrasted with Jedin's historical sense.



It is truly remarkably how clearly Jedin saw the post-Conciliar problems that had emerged by 1968 - and continue to be the problems today. But he obviously sent the memorandum to the wrong people: By then, the German bishops, it seems, were already a lost cause, so, all of Jedin's excellent advice was simply ignored. Look where the German bishops are today! Are there other dependably Orthodox German bishops today besides Meisner of Cologne, Marx of Munich, and maybe, Mueller of Regensburg (although he's paranoid about the Lefebvrians)?

One of the more obvious questions the 'progressivists' have never asked is: How could they have presumed to speak for or channel the 'spirit of Vatican-II', completely ignoring that the only Spirit of Vatican-II that matters is spelled with a capital S? That's the ultimate arrogance.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, October 18, 2009 6:16 PM


Over a million Spanish Catholic
demonstrate against Zapatero
abortion policies in Madrid





Demonstrators gather in Medrid's central Puerta del Sol before the massive march and rally today.


MADRID, Oct. 18 (AFP) - Moer than one million people have taken part in a demonstration in Madrid against the socialist government's plans to liberalise the abortion law, one of the organisers said.

"There are more than one million people," Victor Gago, a spokesman for the anti-abortion organisation HazteOir (Make Yourself Heard), told AFP.

Minutes later, Mr Gago said he put the number of people at 1.5 million. He said an official estimate would be released later in the evening.

The Madrid regional government meanwhile estimated the crowd at 1.2 million, the TeleMadrid television channel reported.

Another anti-abortion protest in the Spanish capital last March attracted 500,000 people, according to the organisers.

The proposed new abortion law, approved by the Cabinet last month, would allow the procedure on demand for women of 16 and over up to the 14th week of pregnancy, and up to 22 weeks if there was a risk to the mother's health or if the foetus was deformed.

The existing law introduced in 1985, a decade after the death of right-wing dictator Francisco Franco, only allows abortion under more limited conditions.



In warm autumnal sunshine, protesters staged an early evening march across the city behind a huge banner reading "Every Life Matters" to protest the plan, which would allow girls of 16 to undergo abortions without their parents' consent.

The crowd, which included many families and people of all ages, rallied in the central Plaza de Independencia, where pop music blared over loudspeakers and 300 white helium balloons were released.

"The presence of each of you here today in this demonstration is a commitment to the fight for life," Benigno Blanco, the head of the Forum for the Family, one of the chief organisers, told the crowd.

"Those of you who govern us must listen to the voice from the streets," he said.

A spokesman for another of the organisers, HazteOir (Make Yourself Heard), said 1.5 million people attended the march and rally, while the Madrid regional government estimated the crowd at 1.2 million.



Organisers said 600 buses and several planes were used to bring the supporters of 42 Spanish anti-abortion and Catholic associations to the capital for the protest, which is also backed by the conservative opposition Popular Party (PP) and the Roman Catholic Church.

The protesters, who included former PP prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, carried red and white banners or flags saying "For Life, Women and Motherhood", "Women Against Abortion" and "Madrid 2009, Capital of Life".

"This new law is a barbarity. In this country, they protect animals more than human beings," said Jose Carlos Felicidad, 67, a retired naval technician who came to the capital from the southern town of Algeciras with his wife and three grown-up children.

"The government takes no notice of public opinion," said Alberto, a 17-year-old student who came to Madrid for the rally by bus from the northern city of Santander.

"It must justify laws that are against human life."

Equality Minister Bibiana Aido, who was behind the reforms, voiced her "total respect" for the protesters but said "nobody has a monopoly on morality".

"No woman can be penalised for taking such a difficult decision as that of abortion," she said.

The proposed abortion law, approved by the cabinet last month, would allow the procedure on demand for women of 16 and over up to the 14th week of pregnancy, and up to 22 weeks if there was a risk to the mother's health or if the foetus was deformed.

Women could also undergo the procedure after 22 weeks if the foetus had a serious or incurable illness.

Spain decriminalised abortion in 1985, a decade after the death of right-wing dictator Francisco Franco, but only for certain cases: up to 12 weeks of pregnancy after a rape; up to 22 weeks in the case of malformation of the foetus; and at any point if the pregnancy represents a threat to the physical or mental health of the woman.

The proposed new legislation, which is based on laws in place in most other EU countries, is to be debated in parliament in November.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Sunday, October 18, 2009 10:11 PM



A historic occasion, reported with understandable joy by all the blogs that support Summorum Pontificum.


Archbishop Burke says first
traditional Pontifical High Mass
at St. Peter's in 40 years

adapted from various posts on



As part of the Summorum Pontificum conference taking place in Rome and organized by Giovani e Tradizione, Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, celebrated a Solemn Pontifical Mass at the altar of the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Peter's Basilica this morning.

It was the first time the traditional Mass was said in St. Peter's Basilica since Paul VI's liturgical reform took effect in 1970. the Mass was authorized by Cardinal Angelo Comastri, Arch-Priest of St. Peter's Basilica.

[The Mass was actually the conclusion of the SP conference. See program below.]


Here are some pictures made available by messainlatino.it:








Some background on the Summorum Pontificum conference presented by two Rome-based organizations:


Giovani e Tradizione is a youth group whose objectives are to promote the spiritual life of young Christians and the traditional Catholic faith.
giovanietradizione.org/default.asp

The Amicizia Sacerdotale is a sodality of priests, religious and seminarians in support of the Holy Father for the renewal of the traditional Latin rites. It was constituted in September 2008 after the first Giovani e Tradizione conference held on the occasion of the first aniversary of the enforcement of Summorum Pontificum.


A look at the program of this year's pre-conference gices us an idea of the scope of their interest.


PRE-CONFERENCE
of the “Amicizia sacerdotale Summorum Pontificum”
Priests Day – 2009-2010 Sacerdotal Year
(only for priests, deacons, religious, seminarians)
Friday, October 16th, 2009

4:00 pm: Welcome
4:15 pm: Veni Creator hymn
Introduction: “The sacerdotal/liturgical year desired by the Holy Father:
A gift for priests and the Church”

Father Vincenzo M. Nuara, O.P.
4:30 pm: Spiritual Conference:
“Christ, the priest’s ideal”
Mons. Athanasius Schneider, C.R.S.C.
5:30 pm: break
6:00 pm: Discussion
7:00 pm: Eucharistic Adoration- Vespers - Benediction
8:00 pm: Dinner
9:00 pm: Holy Rosary
9:30 pm: “Amicizia Sacerdotale Summorum Pontificum” Encounter –
Father Vincenzo M. Nuara, O.P. and Don Camillo Magarotto
10:30 pm: Compline


CONFERENCE
Saturday, October 17th, 2009

8:00 am: Holy Mass
Celebrant: H.E. Mons. Athanasius Schneider, C.R.S.C.
(Franciscans of the Immacolata Choir)

9:00 am: Welcome and Registration
9:30 am: Veni Creator hymn

Introduction:
Father Vincenzo M. Nuara, O.P.
Founder of the “Amicizia Sacerdotale Summorum Pontificum”

10:00 am: 1st Lecture:
“The sacredness and beauty of the Liturgy in the Holy Fathers”
– H.E. Mons. Athanasius Schneider, C.R.S.C.
Auxiliary Bishop of Karaganda

11:00 am: 2nd Lecture:
“Catholicity and Roman tradition of the Church at present”
– Prof. Roberto de Mattei
Professor of Church History and Christianity
European University of Rome

11:30 am 1st Communication:
“Sacred art in the service of Catholic liturgy”
– Dom Michael John Zielinski, O.S.B. Oliv., Abbot
Vice President, Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church
and Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archeology

12:00 pm: Angelus

12:15 pm: 2nd Communication:
"Sacred music in the service of the Catholic Liturgy”
– Mons. Valentino Miserachs Grau
Provost, Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music

Lunch Break

3:30 pm: Holy Rosary

4:00 pm: 3rd Lecture:
“The Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum for the growth of religious life”
– M.R.P. Stefano M. Manelli, F.I.
Founder and General Minister
Franciscans of the Immacolata

5:00 pm: 4th Lecture:
“The Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum the hermeneutics of continuity”
– Mons. Prof. Brunero Gherardini
Eemeritus Professor of Ecclesiology and
Emeritus Dean, Faculty of Theology,Lateran Pontifical University Vatican Canon

6:30 pm: Conclusions

7:00 pm: Te Deum hymn and Eucharistic Blessing
Celebrant: Mons. Camille Perl
Vatican Canon and
Vice-President emeritus of Ecclesia Dei Pontifical Commission
(Franciscans of the Immacolata Choir)

Dinner break

9:30 pm: “Giovani e Tradizione” get together
Angelo Pulvirenti – Coordinator


Sunday, October 18th, 2009

10:00 am: Papal Basilica of St. Peter, Eucharistic Adoration Chapel
Pontifical Mass in the traditional Roman rite
celebrated by H. E. Mons. Raymond Leo Burke
Archbishop and Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
(Franciscans of the Immacolata Choir)

12:00 pm: Angelus with the Holy Father in St. Peter Square




And still I ask, as I am sure everyone else wonders, what will it take for the Holy Father himself to say the traditional Mass in public? My only disappointment in him so far is that he has not done so more than two years after he issued the Motu Proprio. I am positive he has an excellent reason, but one that I cannot even begin to guess!

It would have to do with the right occasion, but we are into the third year of the liberalized Mass, and soon it will be time for the first worldwide review of its implementation, which he asked for after three years.

Would that be the occasion, when he can say "You've all had three years to get used to it. Now, get used to it at some papal celebrations as well"?




10/19/08
P.S.

posts a correction today:



... As Prof. Luc Perrin recalled today at Le Forum Catholique, this has not been the first Traditional Mass celebrated in that august Basilica in 40 years.

The catacomb-like Hungarian Chapel (crypt) housed celebrations of low Masses under the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei. And a Mass was celebrated by Bishop Pascal N'koué, Bishop of Natitingou (Benin) in November 2006, in the extremely tense and difficult months which preceded the publication of Summorum. That celebration, promoted by C&L, took place in the Chapel of the Choir, which is located opposite to the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, where Archbishop Burke said Mass on Sunday... but it was (the first) full Pontifical Mass, with faldstool and all" celebrated in St. Peter's after 1969.
.



New Catholic who posted the above, goes on to say:

Yet one must remember the fact that Summorum has been in force for two years. Pontifical Masses should be common and permanent features in the Vatican Basilica by now - the Extraordinary Form should not remain an extraordinary event at Saint Peter's.




Two more pictures from Archbishop Burke's Mass:
The vestments used were from the Vatican Sacristy's treasury.



TERESA BENEDETTA
00Monday, October 19, 2009 1:10 AM



Yesterday, the Italian blog messainlatino.it published the positively surprising results of a survey carried out by a Gallup affiliate in Italy to determine the attitude of practising Catholics towards the traditional Mass.



2 out of 3 Italian Catholics
would attend a traditional Mass
if available in their parish

Translated from

Oct. 16, 2009




...

The first question served to determine the sample to be interviewed, so as to limit it only to those who consider themselves Catholic.

It is of grave concern that only a little more than three-fourths of Italians still consider themselves Catholic. This is less than previous surveys - perhaps because it is the most recent (and the trend has been negative), but mostly because previous surveys presented the respondent with a choice, naming a list of other religions or atheism, to choose from.

In which case, some respondents answer 'Catholic' simply because it is the religion they can identify with, not Buddhist or Muslim or Hindu. But this survey asked them directly: "Do you consider yourself Catholic, yes or no?" - more exigent in that it almost calls for a profession of faith, which not a few baptized Catholics no longer feel they can do.

The succeeding questions were asked only of the declared Catholics. Responses to the second question about Mass-going were more in line with previous surveys. At least 51% of respondents said they go to church at least once a month. It means that in the overall population (including non-Catholics and non-believers), some 38% of Italians set foot into a church at least once a month.

But the first questions only concern us in a relative way, as they serve to provide a context for the succeeding answers. And here, the surprises begin.

The first: Only 58% of Catholics (and 64% of those who go to Mass at least once a month) have heard about the Motu proprio on the traditional Mass and the possibility of attending it today. In France, according to a similar survey commissioned by Paix Liturgique, 82% of practising Catholics knew about the Motu Proprio.

This means two evident things. The first, that priests generally say little or nothing to - we cannot say 'promote' - provide information to their parishioners about Summorum Pontificum. What one might call a conspiracy of silence....

Secondly, there is widespread ignorance about it, which has clearly hindered releasing the forces and energies that would favor renewed interest in the traditional Mass, but most of all, it means perpetrating the outdated prejudice that the old rite has been abrogated, prohibited, against the Church and the Pope, and similar myths.

This only makes it more difficult to apply the Motu Proprio, out of simple ignorance that it exists (with the self-serving connivance, let us say, of so many prelates who know about it, of course, but choose to act as if it had never been decreed).

But the numbers are more trustworthy. An incredible 71% of Catholics say they would find it perfectly normal to have both forms of the Mass in their parish... With 6-7% undecided, only 22-24% would find having both forms 'abnormal'.

Surprisingly, majority of this opposing group are women below 55. You know the type: the catechist, the reader, the extraordinary minister for communion, the parish factotum, the parish fixer, the 'cheerleader' who cues applause and other demonstrations during the liturgy.

In short, persons who, although an absolute minority, are able to exert an intimidating presence on the parish priest who may not necessarily agree with their preferences.

But a crushing majority of greater than 70% who find the coexistence of both Mass forms right and fair renders insignificant - and presumptuous - any 'threat' from the Pasionaria-du-jour.

Which brings us to the last question. Where the responses are so unexpected that if the survey had not been by DOXA, whose credibility is not doubted, they would seem to be merely artefactual.

Because 21% of all Catholics (and 40% of those who go to Mass every Sunday) say that if the traditional Mass were available in their parish, they would prefer to attend it regularly over the new Mass.

Do you realize what the figure represents in absolute numbers? Nine million Italians would choose to attend the traditional Mass on Sundays. That is quite staggering!

If we include the responses of those who go to Mass now at least once a month, the percentage rises to 33% of all Catholics (and 63% of those who go to church at least once a month).

You may not fully grasp it because it seems incredible: it means that 2 out of 3 practising Catholics would attend a traditional Mass at least once a month.

If we add these monthly Massgoers to those who now attend a Tridentine Mass every Sunday, and divide the figure by 4 (to account for 4 Sundays each month), then on average, we would have 12 million Italian Catholics who would choose the old Mass over the new.
And that means one Italian out of 5 (including all other religions and atheists).

One additional finding: a small but significant minority of persons who now never go to Mass say they would go to Sunday Mass again if the traditional Mass were available to them. We are not talking here of 20-30 Tridentine ultras, but of a few hundred thousand Italians.

Without a doubt, the objective of the survey was amply achieved and even surpassed: Who can now say that in Italy, the traditional Mass is of interest to practically no one?

[Just wait for what the dissident and recalcitrant Italian bishops will report next September!]


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Tuesday, October 20, 2009 6:55 PM



I posted the initial reports and commentaries on this STORY in the BENEDICT thread because it is his initiative, and a very historic one, not just for his Pontificate but for the Roman Catholic Church and for Christianity.

And for purposes of the CHURCH&VATICAN thread, I am glad Deacon Fournier has written a comprehensive article that emphasizes this historicity while highlighting the major points of the Vatican announcement today.



The Vatican welcomes Anglicans
to the Catholic Church

By Deacon Keith Fournier

10/20/2009
www.catholic.org


In an absolutely stunning announcement on the morning of October 20, 2009, the Holy See has, by Apostolic Constitution, provided the canonical vehicle for Anglican Christians to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Throughout the evening expectations rose throughout the world along with the fervent prayers of millions who have longed to see this day. Many Catholics have watched in prayer with hopeful, heartfelt longing for their Christian brethren in the Anglican Communion.

Many Anglican Christians have suffered from the ravages of their community from within brought about by moves away from Christian orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Now, there is a way to the safe harbor of the Catholic Church.

This morning the Vatican offered a lifeline into the Ark of Peter for Anglican Christians who wish to avail themselves of the invitation. Expectations had been that, in response to the formal petition of the “Traditional Anglican Communion” for a vehicle for corporate entry into full communion, the Holy See would offer a juridic structure under Canon Law similar to the “personal prelature” which is the global organizing vehicle for the ecclesial movement Opus Dei.

In essence it provides a “floating” global Diocese wherein the prelature has its own Bishops and its own priests while welcomed alongside of the existing Dioceses of the Catholic Church.

However, the announcement from Rome is much farther reaching and, for Vatican watchers, nothing short of spectacular in its implications for Anglican Christians seeking a place in the Church captained by the successor of Peter.

Pope Benedict XVI has offered to establish “Personal Ordinariates”, the structure offered for those in the military, within which to care for Anglicans, lay and clergy, while enabling them to maintain the liturgical and spiritual unique distinctives of their tradition.

The Roman Catholic Church by way of an “Apostolic Constitution” will provide the process which will allow for Anglican Christians to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said this concerning the Apostolic Constitution in a statement just released: “In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony”.

That spiritual patrimony will include enabling married men called after marriage to serve as priests. Following the ancient Christian tradition they are allowed to do so now in the Eastern Christian Churches, both Orthodox and Catholic. However, again following the practice of the ancient Christian tradition, the Bishops of these Ordinariates will be chosen from among the ranks of the celibate clergy.

The prayers of millions have been answered and Christian history was made on October 20, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI has fashioned, after much serious theological and pastoral work, a way home for many of our Anglican brethren.

This canonical vehicle will allow for a form of corporate entry into full communion which could conceivably enable not only the “Traditional Anglican Communion” a path over the troubled Tiber but also provide for other groups of Anglicans including parishes, religious communities and even entire Dioceses.

So monumental is this announcement that a nearly simultaneous Press Conference was also held in London including the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster. They issued a joint statement, that said, among other things:

“The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution.

“The Apostolic Constitution is further recognition of the substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition.

"Without the dialogues of the past forty years, this recognition would not have been possible, nor would hopes for full visible unity have been nurtured. In this sense, this Apostolic Constitution is one consequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

“The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing cooperation. The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together....

"This close cooperation will continue as we grow together in unity and mission, in witness to the Gospel in our country, and in the Church at large.”

There is only one word for this historic announcement - extraordinary. The Apostolic Constitution signed by Pope Benedict XVI will dramatically affect the ecclesial landscape of the entire Christian world. It will also change Christian history going forward.

To this observer, who has been writing about these events for a long time and holding firm to the hope of just such an opening while others dismissed it, this is only the beginning of an historic period of Church history, a new missionary age.

In the midst of the darkness of the hour, the Catholic Church has done what she has done for over two millennia: shine the light of the Truth to offer the way to salvation for all the Nations.

The Church is not some optional organizational “extra” we fashioned, she is the Body of Christ, the new world, the seed of the Kingdom to come, the place where all men and women can find their fulfillment and the only path to authentic peace.

The prayer of the Son of God “May They Be One” (John 17) still echoes and heaven itself is responding. Today’s historic news is the sign of the coming plan of that loving God who “…so loved the world that He sent His Only Son”. (John 3:16)

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Thursday, October 22, 2009 2:00 PM



Here is the article from the Cardinal Newman site that places Pope Benedict XVI's forthcomign Apostolic Constitution for converting Anglicans in the light of similar considerations by the 19th-century cardinal who has been the most famous Anglican convert to Catholicism, and will soon be proclaimed Blessed.



Benedict XVI and Anglican converts:
Newman's perspective

Oct. 21, 2009


Yesterday the Vatican announced the Holy Father’s new Apostolic Constitution, which will provide a way for Anglican groups to be admitted to full communion with the Catholic Church. The Apostolic Constitution will allow these communities to retain many of their liturgical and other traditions, whilst accepting fully the teachings of the Popes and the Ecumenical Councils of the Church.

Commentators have linked the announcement to the forthcoming beatification of John Henry Newman, who converted to Catholicism in 1845 after years of reflection on the nature and mission of the Christian Church.

A number of reporters have suggested that Newman himself could be the patron of new ‘Ordinariates’ – the name to be given to these Anglican groups after their reception into the Church.

What would Newman himself think of such a scheme? Newman believed that the Catholic Church was the ‘one true fold of the Redeemer’, and wrote in the Letter to the Duke of Norfolk in 1875 that: “From the day I became a Catholic to this day, now close upon thirty years, I have never had a moment’s misgiving that the communion of Rome is that Church which the Apostles set up at Pentecost.”

This defined his view of the Catholic Church’s mission, expressed in an earlier letter: “can any one deny that the Roman Church does call on all men to join her …?”

Of course, no one knew better than Newman that each person must follow his or her conscience, and that only if individuals are ready to accept the Catholic religion, after much prayer and reflection, should they do so. As a result, Newman tended to emphasise individual conversions rather than group schemes.

However, this is only part of the picture. Newman had an important correspondence in 1876 with the convert Ambrose Phillipps de Lisle, about a plan for an Anglican ‘uniate’ Church, similar to the Eastern Rite Churches in communion with Rome.

The plan, which had some support from Cardinal Manning, the then Archbishop of Westminster, had been proposed in an anonymous pamphlet called Christianity or Erastianism? It argued that the Anglican Church was at the mercy of the British State, and that the only way to avoid this ‘Erastian’ Church was to enter into communion with the Holy See.

Newman’s initial position was sceptical, for practical reasons. He wrote to de Lisle on 19th January that it was a ‘plausible scheme’, but that he saw difficulties, for instance in the relations between the ex-Anglican groups and the rest of the English Catholic Church (“it would be very difficult to avoid perpetual collisions between the two bodies … The Roman priests would be complaining that the rich splendid Anglican Church in their mission was drawing away at least the young generation”).

For Newman, it depended on what the plan could hope to achieve – if enough Anglicans would enter the Catholic Church, it would be worth it. But Newman noted that among Anglo-Catholics “I am told few will feel inclined towards it”.

But some ten days later Newman wrote again to de Lisle: “Nothing will rejoice me more than to find that the Holy See considers it safe and promising to sanction some such plan as the Pamphlet suggests. I give my best prayers, such as they are, that some means of drawing to us so many good people, who are now shivering at our gates, may be discovered.”

In fact, the scheme soon collapsed, with de Lisle writing that “some powerful influence … has at once intervened”.

Writing in May, Newman consoled de Lisle with thoughts he had already expressed in his Apologia pro Vita Sua: “It seems to me there must be some divine purpose in it. It often has happened in sacred and in ecclesiastical history, that a thing is in itself good, but the time has not come for it … And thus I reconcile myself to many, many things, and put them into God’s hands. I can quite believe that the conversion of Anglicans may be more thorough and more extended, if it is delayed – and our Lord knows more than we do.”

Newman’s line, then, was that plans for group reunion should be left to the right time. When would be right?

In his 1873 sermon ‘The Infidelity of the Future’, Newman had noted the positive influence of non-Catholic Christian groups in modern times: “it is obvious that while the various religious bodies and sects which surround us according to God’s permission have done untold harm to the cause of Catholic truth in their opposition to us, they have hitherto been of great service to us in shielding and sheltering us from the assaults of those who believed less than themselves or nothing at all”.

Yet he had gone on to predict the increasing pressure that secularisation and anti-Christian forces would place on these non-Catholic traditions: “in these years before us it will be much if those outlying bodies are able to defend their own dogmatic professions”.

Whereas, according to Newman, the Catholic Church would hold fast against such challenges, he predicted that “as time goes on, when there will be a crisis and a turning-point with each of them, then it will be found that, instead of their position being in any sense a defence for us, it will be found in possession of the enemy”.

In the challenge provided by secularism, Newman saw a new opportunity. “I rejoice … [that] as one compensation of the cruel overthrow of faith which we see on all sides of us, that, as the setting of the sun brings out the stars, so great principles are found to shine out, which are hailed by men of various [Christian] religions as their own in common, when infidelity prevails.”

As he had written in his Idea of a University, “if falsehood assails Truth, Truth can assail falsehood”. Newman believed that, under the pressure of an increasingly aggressive secularism, there will be people of all different Christian allegiances and backgrounds who come to recognise the principles that they share and move closer to that closest unity of faith and love which can only exist in communion with the Vicar of Christ.

So, Newman foresaw a point where the weakness of non-Catholic Christian traditions, under the assaults of rationalism and unbelief, would signal the moment had arrived for plans to allow bodies of such Christians to enter into communion with the Catholic Church.

Newman did not underestimate the possible dangers of this kind of plan. He recognised the great significance of personal conversion, such as his own, and the difficulties there might be in fully integrating the new bodies into the life of the Catholic Church.

But still, according to Newman, when the time came for such initiatives it would be right to hope that they would contribute to sharpening and purifying the Christian conscience in a hostile world, and would bring blessings upon both the Catholic Church and upon those who in this way entered into communion with her.




A frivolous, Benaddictine note: One can see there was another obvious feature in common between Joseph Ratzinger and John Newman, other than their intellect and holiness - the hair! The same parting, even.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, October 23, 2009 8:12 PM


Some Anglicans thank St. Therese for this week's supra-ecumenical grace. I love stories like these.... From the staff blog of the Kansas City Diocese's newspaper (I have combined the 10/21 and 10/22 entries).


St. Therese and the Anglicans


Last year, a small Anglican parish in Kansas City decided to seek full communion with the Catholic Church. They were received by Bishop Robert Finn and they now make their home at St. Therese Little Flower Parish where they continue to receive converts.

St. Therese is probably unique in the Catholic world in that it celebrates both its historic Gospel Mass and now an Anglican Use Liturgy every Sunday.

Father Ernie Davis is a former Episcopal Priest who "came home" to the Catholic Church and was ordained for the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph in 2002. He is currently administrator of the St. Therese parish. He wrote of the news from the Vatican:

Anglicans and Catholics flocked to visit the relics of Saint Therese of Lisieux as they made a very recent pilgrimage to England. Her relics rested on her 2009 feast day at York Minster, the Cathedral of the Anglican Archbishop of York.

When I read about that, I told the people here at St. Therese Little Flower that she was working on something big. In other words, preparations for this Apostolic Constitution have been in process for 170 years, and some of the preparations have been made at levels that are higher than Popes
.


The Traditional Anglican Communion Bishop of Canada saw the claim and sent an email today to Father Davis with remarkable details of St. Therese’s intercession. Here’s the email:

Dear Father Davis,

Your story about the Anglican Ordinariate and St Therese (which came to me via England this morning) is very interesting. And I can tell you another connexion with her.

I am the Anglican Catholic Bishop of Canada in the TAC. I was present at the Synod of TAC Bishops in Portsmouth England in October 2007 which voted unanimously to ask for full communion, and signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The first full day of the Synod was October 1st, the 'new' date of St Therese's feast, and the actual vote to ask for full communion was taken on October 3rd 'old' date of her feast.

I also accompanied the Primate and Bishop Robert Mercer CR to deliver the Letter to the CDF where we had been directed by the Holy Father. My friend Mother Teresa of the Carmel in Edmonton had given me some holy cards with a piece of cloth touched to her relics. Each of us carried one of these cards, and we asked St Therese's prayers on our venture. We also had similar cards from Poland of the Servant of God John Paul II.

I have continued 'to bother her' about a favourable response to our request, and now thanks to the generosity and love of the Holy Father who has taken a personal interest in us for many years, and the prayers of St Therese, something wonderful has come about.

God bless you,

+Peter Wilkinson, OSG
Bishop Ordinary
Anglican Catholic Church of Canada
TAC




TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, October 24, 2009 1:32 AM



WHAT HAPPENED IN PAPHOS


I found two Orthodox sites - one of them Rumanian - that carry the English text of the final statement issued by the Mixed International Commission for theological dialog between the Catholic and Orthodox churches after their 11th session which ended today.

In short, the sessions did not produce a document on the discussions that were supposed to be a follow-up to the Ravenna document of 2007, because of protests against the dialog by some significant Orthodox groups [why now, after 10 meetings and 20 years of this dialog?] and the decision of the Bulgarian Patriarchate not to take part. Last year, the Russian delegation walked out, but they attended this year.

The statement summarizes what took place this year.


The eleventh meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church took place in Paphos, Cyprus, a city with a rich history, having received three Apostles, Paul, Barnabas and Mark. The meeting took place from 16-23 October 2009, generously and fraternally hosted by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus.

Twenty Catholic members were present; several more were unable to attend. All the Orthodox Churches, with the exception of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria, were represented, namely the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Patriarchate of Antioch, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Patriarchate of Moscow, the Patriarchate of Serbia, the Patriarchate of Romania, the Patriarchate of Georgia, the Church of Cyprus, the Church of Greece, the Church of Poland, the Church of Albania and the Church of Czech Lands and Slovakia.

The Commission worked under the direction of its two co-presidents, Cardinal Walter Kasper and Metropolitan John of Pergamon, helped by the two co-secretaries, Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima (Ecumenical Patriarchate) and Monsignor Eleuterio F. Fortino (Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity).

At the opening session on Saturday, 17 October, the Commission was welcomed very warmly by the host, Metropolitan Georgios of Paphos, who emphasized the importance of holding the meeting in this apostolic city, famous in the history not only of this island but of the whole of Christianity.

On Saturday, 17 October, the Catholic members celebrated the Eucharist in the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Cross, Nicosia, presided over by Cardinal Walter Kasper, in the presence of the Orthodox members.

In his homily he expressed the gratitude of the Catholic Delegation to the Church of Cyprus and especially to Metropolitan Georgios of Paphos for his warm hospitality, and stressed that the spirit of humility and love should prevail in the work of our Joint Commission, emphasizing the words of the Lord: “Whoever would be first among you shall make himself slave of all” (Mark 10:44).

On Sunday, 18 October, the Orthodox members celebrated the Divine Liturgy in the Church of Phaneromeni, Nicosia, presided over by His Beatitude the Archbishop of Cyprus, Chrysostomos, in the presence of the Catholic members.

In addressing those present, Archbishop Chrysostomos stated: “Together with all the other Orthodox Churches, we underline our firm insistence on the established basic poles of the ecclesiastical conscience of the first thousand years of the historical life of the Church. The Ecumenical Councils and the great Fathers of the first millennium are a guarantee of the authentic theological interpretation of the sacrament of the divine economy in Christ, and of its genuine experience by the faithful in the sacrament of the Church, which, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, extends the continuous and living presence of Jesus Christ in the world, until the end of time.”

Afterwards, the co-presidents, Cardinal Walter Kasper and Metropolitan John of Pergamon, together with Metropolitan Gennadios of Sassima, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Metropolitan Vasilios of Constantia-Famagusta and Archbishop Roland Minnerath, were welcomed at the Presidential Palace by the President of Cyprus, His Excellency Dimitris Christofias, who expressed his hope for the continuation of this important dialogue in a world still divided, like Cyprus itself, and expressed his good wishes for progress towards communion between the two Churches in the future.

The members of the Commission visited the Byzantine Museum, and had an official lunch at the Archbishopric, offered by H. B. Archbishop Chrysostomos.

During the afternoon, the members paid a visit to the Metochion of Kykkos Monastery and were welcomed very warmly by the Abbot, Metropolitan Nikiphoros of Kykkos and Tylliria, and by Metropolitan Isaias of Tamassos and Orini. Later in the evening, Metropolitan Vasilios of Constantia-Famagusta hosted an official dinner at his Metropolitanate in Paralimni.

During the course of the week, the members also visited the Monastery of St. Neophytos and the archaeological sites of St. Paul in Paphos.

On the first day of the meeting, as is customary, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox members met separately to coordinate their work. The Orthodox meeting discussed among other things the negative reactions to the Dialogue by certain Orthodox circles, and unanimously considered them as totally unfounded and unacceptable, providing false and misleading information*.

All Orthodox members of the Commission reaffirmed that the Dialogue continues with the decision of all the Orthodox Churches and is pursued with faithfulness to the Truth and the Tradition of the Church.

The Catholic meeting considered the draft text as a good basis for our work and confirmed the intention to continue the Dialogue with confidence and reciprocal trust, in obedience to the will of the Lord.



As was decided at the last plenary session in Ravenna, 2007, the Commission studied the theme ”The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium”, on the basis of a draft text prepared by the Joint Coordinating Committee, which met in Elounda, Crete, Greece last year.

During this plenary meeting, the Commission carefully considered and amended the draft text of the Joint Coordinating Committee, and decided to complete its work on the text next year, by convening a further meeting of the Joint Commission. No final text has been decided upon, and any text that may be circulated is not valid.

It was decided that the 12th plenary meeting will be hosted by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, in Vienna, Austria, from 20-27 September 2010.

The eleventh plenary session ended with Orthodox Vespers at St. Theodoros’ Cathedral in Paphos, followed by a reception offered by Metropolitan Georgios.

The meeting of the Joint Commission was marked by a spirit of friendship and trustful collaboration. The members of the Commission greatly appreciated the generous hospitality of the Church of Cyprus, and they strongly commend the continuing work of the dialogue to the prayers of the faithful.

Paphos, Cyprus, 22 October 2009.




Here is how a UK Orthodox site reported the Paphos meeting:

This 11th meeting was unsuccessful. This is considered to be a great victory for Orthodoxy. The faithful people, the monks of Mount Athos, priests and monks from around the world, bishops of the Church of Greece and the Church of Serbia, along with the entire Bulgarian Patriarchate have now manifested their opposition to a previous unchecked process which scandalised many orthodox Christians.



*AsiaNews

reported briefly on this protest on 10/19 in what was, curiously, the only report it has filed so far about the meeting:

Paphos, Oct. 19 (AsiaNews) - The 2nd round of dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox is being held in Paphos (Cyprus) from October 16 to 23. Progress, however, appears a distant goal.

Two days ago, groups of traditionalist Orthodox monks and Orthodox priests from Larnaca interrupted the meeting of the Joint Commission, asking Archbishop Chrisostomos to stop it.

They believe that dialogue between the two Churches is designed to "subjugate the Orthodox to the Pope in Rome".

Yet it is to this very island, a martyred land of ancient Christian traditions, divided by the last wall in Europe, the one between Greece and Turkey, that Benedict XVI will come on a papal visit in June 2010.

[The rest of the article is an interview with Metropolitan Zizoulas, co-chairman with Cardinal Kasper of the Paphos session. I will post it separately.]


I suppose unless one has lived in a predominantly Orthodox country, one does not realize the extent, much less the depth, of animosity that has been inculcated over the centuries among the Orthodox against Roman Catholics, and how they focus this animus on the Pope as the symbol of the Church.

We get carried away by the genuine ecumenical spirit of most of the Orthodox Patriarchs, particularly Bartholomew I, and forget that they have to sell ecumenism and - God forbid, as their faithful might think - reunification with Rome!

This should be sobering for Cardinal Kasper... So, while the cause of ecumenism takes one step forward with the traditional Anglicans, two steps back with the Orthodox.



Paolo Rodari has an 'atmosphere' story, obviously written before the final statement was released:


In Paphos, a Catholic-Orthodox dialog
amid protest and controversy

by Paolo Rodari
Translated from

Oct. 22, 2009






In Paphos, the Cyprus shoreline on whose foam Aphrodite was born, there is the beautiful Hotel St. Georges facing the Mediterranean - swimming pools, spas, private beach, its own golf course, snazzy waiters who sing to the tourists (so many Englishmen) the praises of Famagusta - the center of Mideast cool and hip in the 1970s and now reduced to a ghost of what it was by the Turkish military occupation of northern Cyprus.

In Paphos and at St. Georges, the master of the house is the Orthodox Patriarch of Cyprus, Chrysostomos II. Almost like a dress rehearsal for the much-awaited papal visit next June to the Cyprus south of the last Wall in Europe - that which divides the capital Nicosia into two), the patriarch welcomes his brothers from the various Orthodox Churches and, with them, their Catholic counterparts (60 delegates in all), who make up the mixed commission on theological dialog which was supposed to carry on with the breakthrough achieved in Ravenna two years ago.


Patriarch Chrysostomos with Archbishop Hilarion who led the Moscow delegation to Paphos.

Their purpose is to find reasons that can bring their Churches together again and bring down the barriers built over centuries. Arduous but not impossible, especially not in these days when other Christians separated from Rome - some Anglicans and the Lefebvrians - are nearer now to coming back to Rome than before.

After Ravenna, the objective was to study the ecclesiology of the first millennium of Christianity - before the Great Schism - when there was only one Church, despite some differences between East and West.

The Orthodox Churches are not strangers to disputes - among themlseves. In Ravenna, the Russian delegation threw a fit and walked out before the meeting even begun - so Moscow is not a signatory to the Ravennna document. The walkout was to protest the participation of the Estonian Church, sponsored by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople - bht Moscow considers the Estonian church to be under its Patriarchate.

Russia is back in the Paphos talks, but it's not necessarily a crossed bridge. Disagreements have always been the order of the day, according to Metropolitan Zizoulias of Pergamon.

Co-president of the Mixed Commission with Cardinal Walter Kasper, eminent theologian and charismatic figure, Zizoulias points out it happens on both sides. Not just in the Orthodox world, he says, but even in the Catholic church, there are people who engage in "excessive dogmatic rationalism and do not wish anything to change".

Harsh words. Which seem to be a reference to Benedict XVI's decision to drop the title Patriarch of the West - something that many of the Orthodox Churches have not taken well. [I think the reasoning was that by getting rid of the West-delimited title, Benedict was, in fact, affirming papal primacy over both East and West.]

Paphos. It also has traditionalist Orthodox monks, joined these days by priests from Larnaka, another Cypriot city, who demonstrated against the Catholic-Orthodox meeting, and called on Patriarch Chrysostomos to put a halt to it. They claim that the dialog is aimed solely at 'subordinating Orthodoxy to the Pope of Rome".

This is an argument that has also been used by the monks of Mt. Athos, who have protested to the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople that he is surrendering to Rome on the matter of Petrine primacy.

But the Petrine primacy - the question which Ravenna had directed to be further studied by considering the history of the first millennium - is not the only point in question by the opponents of the dialog. Ecumenism itself is being questioned. As a heresy! [I am still puzzled why these objections have never been reported before in the Western press. But of course, these theological dialogs have scarcely been covered. .]

Zizoulias told AsiaNews: "On the part of all the Orthodox who are taking part in the ecumenical dialog, there is no deviation from any article of faith. To know how to dialog with someone who has a different belief does not make one a heretic. Dialog has nothing to hide, and we still have a long way to go."

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Saturday, October 24, 2009 8:17 AM


I didn't really lose track of the Synod - just that the Synod participants wound up most of their presentations in the first week, and the second week was then devoted to working sessions, and then this third and last week to drafting reports and other concluding business.


EIGHTEENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION
Friday morning, Oct. 23, 2009



During the Eighteenth General Congregation held this morning, Friday 23th October 2009, the Synodal Fathers approved the Nuntius (Message), at the conclusion of the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops.

The Synod published the full provisional text of the Message in Italian, English, French and Portuguese. The English text may be found on:
www.vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_23_ii_speciale-africa-2009/02_inglese/b30...
It's a long document, but the Vatican net archives are 'permanent' and not bound to be phased out, to the link should be permanent as well.

The Message was presented to the press in the early afternoon at the Vatican Press Room by the Mesage Committee headed by Mons. John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja (Nigeria) and President of the message committee.

The Synod bulletin has this brief overview of the Message:


AFRICA IS ALREADY MOVING
AND THE CHURCH IS MOVING WITH HER


A Continent in motion, with the Church at its side. The “Message to the People of God” by the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops is a strong and full exhortation, an invitation to courage and strength in faith, because “Africa has started moving forward and the Church is moving with her”.

The Synodal Nuntius was presented this morning in the Hall, and is made up of seven parts, plus an introduction and a conclusion.

It addresses priests, that they may be faithful in their celibacy, chastity and lack of attachment to material goods; and the lay faithful, “ambassadors of God” in everyday life.

It addresses politics too, because Africa needs holy politicians to fight corruption and work for the common good.

The appeal to Catholic families is powerful - they are called to a new commitment in society.

To make all this possible, it is up to governments to guarantee the proper support in the fight against poverty.

From this point of view, a new undertaking in the promotion of women, the “backbone” of the local Churches, is required. Not just socially but above all in the relationship with the “toxic” ideologies having to do with gender and sexuality.

The “Message” is also directed at men, who are called upon to be responsible husbands and fathers, who defend life from the moment of conception.

In terms of family, special attention is paid to young people and children, the present and the future of Africa.

The “Message” also reflects upon the Continent’s many problems. As regards the AIDS plague, it is reemphasized that the Church is in the front line of the struggle against the virus and in treating its victims, and that the question will not be resolved by handing out condoms. What was underlined instead was the success obtained through chastity and fidelity.

There was also an appeal to the international community to treat Africa with respect and dignity, to change the rules regarding the economy and Africa’s foreign debt, to stop exploitation by multinationals.

The document emphasizes the importance of dialogue with the traditional religions, from an ecumenical and inter-religious point of view. With Muslims, in particular, dialogue is possible, we read in the “Message”, but it is important to say no to fanaticism, ensure mutual respect and underline that religious freedom is a fundamental human right and includes the freedom to share and propose, but not impose, your own faith.

Among the other themes dealt with by the “Message”, the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and diocesan programs on peace, an end to the practice of vendetta, the reinforcing of ties with the ancient Churches of Ethiopia and Egypt, as well as between Africa and the other continents, gratitude to the missionaries, the need to support migrants and refugees in the world because welcoming them is a duty.



NINETEENTH GENERAL CONGREGATION
Friday afternoon, Oct. 23, 2009



At 5:30 pm. Friday, with the Prayer for the II Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, in the presence of the Holy Father, the Nineteenth General Congregation began. Presiding was Cardinal Wilfrid Fox NAPIER, O.F.M., Archbishop of Durban (SOUTH AFRICA).

The Final List of Propositions was read in the Hall by the assembly's General Relator, Cardinal. Peter TURKSON, Archbishop of Cape Coast (GHANA). The List will be studied by each of the Synodal Fathers, and they are expected to submit their signed ballot at the Twentieth General Congregation for Saturday morning, October 24.

At the end of this General Congregation, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Mons. NIKOLA ETEROVIĆ, announced that the Holy Father Benedict XVI would offer a gift of a Chasuble to the Synodal Fathers to mark the end of teh assembly.

They will wear the chasubles for the Solemn Concelebration of the Holy Mass in conclusion of the Synod on Sunday morning, October 25, St. Peter's Basilica.



TWENTIETH & FINAL GENERAL CONGREGATION
Saturday morning, Oct. 24, 2009


At 9:00 am. today, the Twentieth (and last) General Congregation began, for voting on the Final List of Propositions. Presiding was Cardinal Théodore-Adrien SARR, Archbishop of Dakar (SENEGAL).

During this final session, the Final List of Propositions was voted on.

After the session ended, the Synod Fathers, other prticiapants, guests and staff of the Synodal Assembly attended a luncheon with the Holy Father in the atrium of Aula Paolo VI.

[The OR report on the luncheon has been posted in the BENEDICT thread.]


The Holy Father authorized publication of the unofficial version of the Final List of 57 Propositions approved by the assembly. The English version may be found here:
www.vatican.va/news_services/press/sinodo/documents/bollettino_23_ii_speciale-africa-2009/02_inglese/b33...


Unless one was doing it as an assignment or part of one's job, it's really not possible for a casual observer to properly take in what happens at a Synodal assembly, whatever the topic is.

There is so much information - doctrinal, social, economic, cultural, political and pastoral - to absorb, and hundreds of opinions on subjects one has likely never confronted before, that just the cursory reading of the daily summaries of the interventions at the Synod becomes a major challenge.

Even John Allen, who has probably been the only Anglophone reporter who has tried to follow this Synod with some system, was unable to give a daily highlights summary, and ultimately did not report anything at all during the third week of the assembly. His reports may be found on
ncronline.org/synodforafrica

He did manage to do a few extensive interviews with ranking African prelates which deserve reading - they are absorbing, informative and eye-opening in terms of the pastoral challenges faced by African bishops, and convey the magnitude of the human condition they must deal with, and how little the outside world really appreciates about the African reality.

In the process, one comes away with great awe and admiration for the heroic task the clergy and lay faithful are doing, sometimes against impossible odds. More than ever, they need our prayers, our gratitude, and any assistance that we can each give them, in our individual ways.
TERESA BENEDETTA
00Monday, October 26, 2009 12:26 AM


It appears Cardinal Walter Kasper is OK with the Vatican initiative towards disaffected Anglicans, and knew that the matter was out of his hands, that it goes beyond his dicastery's ecumenical work. In any case, he has his usual upbeat tone with regard to the dialog with the Orthodox. Avvenire interviewed him in Paphos.




Cardinal Kasper talks
about the Paphos meetings and
the opening to the Anglicans

By LUIGI GENINAZZI
Translated from

Oct. 24, 2009


PAPHOS - One goes ahead, even with small steps.

It's what that tireless worker for ecumenical dialog with the Orthodox says, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

The recent week of work in the mixed commission for theological dialog between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches was an opportunity to take the pulse of ecumenism.


Eminence, during these days, you have confronted, together with the Orthodox, the question of the primacy of the Pope. Have there been any results?
I can say we have made some small steps forward. There are no big results yet, but we must consider that this is a difficult and sensitive matter, the mere mention of which, until recently, would have triggered great controversy in Orthodox circles.

The most important thing is that all the memBErs of tHE mixed commssion. Catholic as well as Orthodox, have reaffirmed their firm intention to continue dialog and to come to an agreement about the doctrine of the Petrine primacy. Of course, it will take time, but the roadmarks have been posted and no one wants to turn back.


Could you try to explain, to those who are not thelogians, what point the discussion has reached....
At this meeting, we examined the primacy of the Bishop of Rome in the first millennium. I think we arrived at a consensus that it was not simply an honorific primacy. It was something more. But at the moment, there is no agreement as to how to define that suthority. We need to discuss it farther.


An authoritative member of the commission, the Orthodox Bishop Gennadios, said that the work is proceeding too slowly....
And I agree with him completely! But we must ask why. Our method of working goes back 30 years, when the mixed commission was first constituted for theological dialog with all thE Orthodox churches together. Which meant the participation of all the autocephalous Churches, each with its own delegation, each with its own positions. So if there is a suggestion on how to speed up the talks, it would be very welcome!


Recently, you said that the season of the great freeze between Catholics and Orthodox has passed. Does this mean that relations are warmer now?
We are in peak season with the Orthodox! But then, even in summer, thunderstorms occasionally happen. Here in Cyrpus, we saw one, unforeseen, but fortunately, transient.

There was a conspicuous protest demonstration by a group of Orthodox fanatics who oppose dialog with the Catholic Church, which was immediately condemned by Archbishop Chrysostomos II [head of the Cypriot Orthodox Church] and by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece. [I wish the interviewer had asked Kasper about the significance of the participation of the monks of Mt. Athos with the protesters.]


Did the demonstrations affect the work of the Commission?
Absolutely not. Though it caused some embarassment for our hosts. But I told them that in the West we are used to noisy minorities. I was a university dean after 1968, and protest demonstrations were the order of the day.


Eminence, the Catholic Church is opening the door for the reentry of traditional Anglicans. What impact will this historic decision have on the ecumenical dialog?
The negotiations were not carried out by our Council but by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Obivously, we were kept informed about it.

It is important that we clear the air of wrong interpretations. This was not proselytism - we are not robbing another Church of their faithful.

The Pope responded to urgent requests presented by some sectors of the Anglican Communion. It is a gesture of great openness and welcome, carried out in the spirit of dialog. In this sense, it will have a positive influence on ecumenism.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Monday, October 26, 2009 2:12 PM



Thanks to the Italian blog messainlatino which picked up this story from a Spanish blogger's site which provided the link to the Argentine newspaper where this interview was published Saturday:


The Lefebvrians - closer to the Pope:
Interview with Mons. Fellay

by Silvina Premat
Translated from

October 24, 2009


On Monday, five days after the news that Anglicans may return to the Roman Catholic Church as communities, the Lefebvrians will begin a dialog with Rome that may end similarly and which might have started earlier without the scandal provoked last January by Mons. Richard Williamson who denies the Holocaust.




Yesterday, Mons. Bernard Fellay, the successor to Mons. Marcel Lefebvre as the leader of the Catholics who constitute the one 'schism' of the 20th century, said that Williamson's statements were 'an unhappy episode' that was then exploited 'with the malicious intention' to attack the Pope and the Fraternity of St. Pius X (FSSPX).

Visiting Argentina, Fellay - one of the four bishops whose excommunication was lifted by Benedict XVI last January - gave an exclusive interview to La Nacion. In perfect Castilian Spanish, he denounced infighting at the Vatican and said that Williamson, who for five years headed the FSSPX seminary in La Reja, in Buenos Aires province, is 'in retirement' in London where he 'prays and studies'.


How much time do you figure the dialog with the Vatican will last?
It is difficult to say. In the Vatican, they talk about a year, at the least. That's pretty long.


And the result could be the definitive integration of the FSSPX with Rome?
One must distinguish between these doctrinal issues and what you call integration. They are two parallel matters. At any rate, even the Vatican says that this integration cannot take place until we settle these doctrinal points which are very important to us because there is so much confusion about them. To maintain Church unity, a clarification is necessary.


When you were in Salta [site of a Marian shrine in Argentina] recently, you said that some progressivist sectors of the Church are trying to hinder this rapprochement with the Holy See....
And so it is. An example is that the president of the German bishops' conference told a group of Parliament members recently that before the end of the year, we would be out of the Church. This shows very clearly a hostile attitude.

It complicates our problem that there is infighting in the Vatican. So, who would be our interlocutor? The progressivists or the conservatives? It is difficult to know, because this too is not clear. [Mons. Fellay, in this case, you are dealing with Benedict XVI's trusted men - no reason why you can't get that clear! The Pope alone is 'controlling' this process.]... The Church should maintain unity beyond this kind of division.


And where does the Pope stand in this?
He's caught in the middle. He would like to be Pope for everyone. It is difficult.


You have denounced that broadcasting Williamson's interview just when the lifting of your excommunication was announced, was manipulated by those Church sectors against you.
Yes. Even at the Vatican afterwards, there was a dossier that showed the very great possibility of an abusive instrumentalization of Williamson's interview. The very fact that an interview done in November 2008 was not broadcast until the end of January 2009 is strange in itself. Moreover, that interview was also used to keep us from using some churches in Sweden. It all goes to show it was done out of malice.


Who was behind this instrumentalization?
Certainly the progressivists, also the political left, and probably, the Masons. They used that episode to strike at us, but much more, at the Pope himself. This is what's tragic about the episode.

They see a Pope who is gradually trying to make corrections to certain [post Vatican II] reforms, and they do not like it. And so they use this episode as the hammer with which to strike at the Church.


You said then that Williamson's views were personal. What is his situation now now?
Williamson's views [on the Holocaust] are his own. The Holocaust was never a problem for the FSSPX. He's in retirement now in one of our priories in London where he prays and studios.


TERESA BENEDETTA
00Monday, October 26, 2009 2:57 PM




The Vatican Press Office issued this statement today in Italian and English:

COMMUNIQUE OF THE PONTIFICAL COMMISSION
'ECCLESIA DEI'



On Monday 26 October 2009 in the Palazzo del Sant'Uffizio, headquarters of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei", the study commission made up of experts from "Ecclesia Dei" and from the Society of St. Pius X held its first meeting, with the aim of examining the doctrinal differences still outstanding between the Society and the Apostolic See.

In a cordial, respectful and constructive climate, the main doctrinal questions were identified. These will be studied in the course of discussions to be held over coming months, probably twice a month*.

In particular, the questions due to be examined concern
- the concept of Tradition,
- the Missal of Paul VI
- the interpretation of Vatican Council II in continuity with Catholic doctrinal Tradition
- the themes of
the unity of the Church and the Catholic principles of ecumenism,
the relationship between Christianity and non-Christian religions, and
religious freedom
.

The meeting also served to specify the method and organisation of the work.


*10/27/09
NB: The Press Office has corrected the communique - meetings will be 'every two months',
not 'twice a month'. [In Italian, 'bimestrale', not bimensile'.]



I am glad that the Vatican Press Office is giving these discussions the dignity and status they deserve. The fact that they are taking place at all is historic and may well be unprecedented in modern Church history. It is also historic as an institutional attempt by the Church to formally define what it considers to be the correct interpretation of Vatican II.

Oh, remind me again - what was it most media writers had been saying about Benedict XVI? That he would be a 'transitional' Pope - i.e., unlikely to do anything much or anything significant, for that matter? That it would be a 'boring' Pontificate where nothing exciting happens, especially in comparison to his predecessor? Well, eat your words!




Vatican starts talks
with traditionalists

By NICOLE WINFIELD





The FSSPX delegates to the study commission arrive at the CDF building this morning.

VATICAN CITY, Oct. 26 (AP) – The Vatican said talks held Monday with a group of breakaway traditionalist Catholics were cordial and will continue over the coming months.

The Vatican issued a statement at the end of an inaugural meeting between Vatican officials and a delegation from the Society of St. Pius X, which split from Rome following the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Pope Benedict XVI has been keen to reconcile with the group — even though one of their bishops denied the Holocaust — because of his greater aim of unifying the church and putting a highly conservative stamp on it. [I thik the more correct term is 'orthodox' in the generic sense - the official positon of the Church in line with the Gospel and the Tradition fo 2000 years.]

Just last week, he took a major step in that direction by making it easier for Anglican traditionalists to convert to Roman Catholicism.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the meeting marked "the beginning of a new phase of relations" and there was a "sense of trust for the meeting and its prospects" that hadn't existed before.

The late ultraconservative Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the Swiss-based society in 1969, opposed to Vatican II reforms which included outreach to Jews and other Christians and the celebration of Mass in the vernacular rather than Latin [The language was not the main problem! - The form of the Mass itself was radically changed overnight!]

In 1988, the Vatican excommunicated Lefebvre and four of his bishops after he consecrated them without papal consent.

Benedict has worked for two decades to bring the group back into the Vatican's fold. In 2007, he relaxed restrictions on celebrating the old Latin Mass, which the traditionalists had demanded. In January, he answered another one of their demands by approving a decree lifting the bishops' 1988 excommunications.

But on the same day the Vatican decree was signed, British Bishop Richard Williamson was shown on Swedish state television saying historical evidence "is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed" during World War II.

The outcry was immediate, with both Jews and members of the Catholic hierarchy criticizing the Pope's rehabilitation of a Holocaust-denier. While condemning Williamson's remarks, the Vatican defended its decision, only saying later that it hadn't known about his very public views about the Holocaust.

The society's opposition to Vatican II, particularly its teachings on ecumenism and religious freedom, remains at the heart of the dispute with Rome and is the focus of the talks.

The Vatican statement said the two sides on Monday identified the "outstanding doctrinal differences" between them that would be discussed in meetings expected to take place twice a month for several months.

Such an intense workload "shows that they want to go ahead with a certain amount of determination," Lombardi said.

Prior to the start of talks, the society's delegation leader, Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta, had said negotiations may take years.

The Vatican statement said the work was conducted "in a cordial, respectful and constructive climate."

It listed a host of issues stemming from Vatican II that are on the table, including the principles of ecumenism and the relationship between Christianity and non-Christian religions.

There was no immediate comment from the society.

The Vatican has said the society's members must "fully recognize" Vatican II as well as the teachings of all the Popes who came after it if they want to be fully reintegrated into the Church.

The society says it is upholding true Catholic tradition by rejecting elements of Vatican II's teachings, and says the Church's current problems, including a shortage of priests, are a direct result of the 1962-65 meetings.

The Vatican has set out particular conditions for Williamson to be fully brought back in, saying he must "absolutely and unequivocally" distance himself from his Holocaust remarks if he ever wants to be a prelate in the church.

Williamson has apologized for causing scandal to the pope but hasn't publicly repudiated his views.



Let us give thanks to the Lord that Benedict XVI has brought matters to this stage, and let us pray to the Holy Spirit to 'enkindle the fire' among the discussants. God bless the Church and Benedict XVI.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Tuesday, October 27, 2009 4:36 AM




The Catholic-Orthodox theological dialog
is on the right path

by Mons. Eleuterio F. Fortino
Undersecretary
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

Translated from
the 10/26-10/27/09 issue of




In Cyprus, in the historic city of Paphos, where St. Paul once preached, the 11th plenary session was held last week of the Mixed International Commission for Theological Dialog between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches.

The new phase of this dialog, initiated with the ninth session in Belgrade in 2006, is proceeding slowly towards a steep uphill effort on the decisive issue in this phase concerning 'The ecclesiological and canonical consequences of the sacramental nature of the Church: Catholicity and authority in the Church'. [I wish they could devise simpler, shorter and less ponderous formulation of the themes for these Church meetings! The Synodal themes, for instance, are always quite a mouthful.]

Based on the document which was published in Ravenna after the tenth plenary session in 2007, and according to its mandate, the session in Paphos (Oct. 16-23) started to consider the topic of "The Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church during the first millennium".

Thus the Commission has started to discuss the central question of the historic confrontation between the Eastern and Western Churches. Right now, the discussants are seeking to find an objective identification of the problem to arrive at a common hermeneutic which will allow us to reach substantial convergence on its doctrinal consequences.

[Whew! What does that mean, in effect? They want to agree on how to interpret objective historical fact [about the primacy of the Pope in the undivided Church] so that they can determine its doctrinal consequences. Consequences for the Orthodox churches, obviously - since the Roman Catholic Church has kept its doctrine on the papacy unchanged, other than the 19th century addendum on papal infallibility.]

In Cyprus, the Commission worked according to a plan elaborated after Ravenna, which in its turn followed the method agreed upon when the Commission first met (Patmos-Rhodes, 1980).

In early 2008, two subcommissions put together the relevant historical elements from the first millennium. Then, the mixed committee for coordination met in Elounda, Crete, on Sept. 17-Oct. 4, 2008, and, based on the research provided, formulated an organic synthesis as the basis for the discussion by the plenary in Paphos.

Both the subcommittee research and the coordinating committee's synthesis took into account the orientation provided at Ravenna that "conciliarity and authority are interdependent", and that at the diocesan level as well as at the universal level, there is a protos or primus (the bishop, the metropolitan or patriarch, the Bishop of Rome).

The discussion paper, entering more directly into the question of the protos at the universal level, states that "both sides (Catholic and Orthodox) agree on the fact that Rome, as the Church that presides in charity, occupied first place in the taxis (classification) and that the Bishop of Rome was, therefore, the protos among the patriarchs" (Ravenna, No, 41).

The conclusion of the working document underscores the importance of this agreement reached: the members of the Commission express their conviction that the document "provides a solid base for future discussions on the primacy at the universal level" (Ravenna, No. 46).

The 11th session (in Paphos) on the specific topic "The role of the Bishop of Rome in the communion of the Church during the first millennium" focused on examining some significant historical testimonies on the role of the Bishop of Rome in that period.

These elements were actually the basis for the Ravenna document and concern various topics such as: the Church of Rome itself in the communion of the Church, the relationship of the Bishop of Rome to St. Peter, the role exercised by the Bishop of Rome in times of crisis (Arianism, Monophysism, Monotheism, Iconoclasm), but also some decisions made by the ecumenical councils, with regard to the Church of Rome as with the Patriarchate of Constantinople.

Also to be considered are non-theological factors which influenced ecclesial mentality and structures like the Roman empire, the transfer of the imperial capital to Constantinople, the decline of the Roman empire in the West, the difficulties of communication created by Islam between the Eastern and Western halves, the creation of Charlemagne's empire [Holy Roman Empire], the progressive reciprocal ignorance between the Eastern and Western Churches, their mutual growing apart in practice, and various controversies between East and West [all this before the Great Schism of 1054].

Examination of all this material will require a long period of study. In Paphos, the Commission began by considering the very early Church, starting with what Peter and Paul preached, their martyrdom and their burial places, then proceeding to the Apostolic Fathers.

Important testimonials examined were the Letter from the Church of Rome to the Christians of Corinth, a letter attributed to Pope Clement I aimed at reconciling the faithful of Corinth with their priests, the Letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch which called Rome the Church that 'presides in charity' over all the others, the statement by St. Irenaeus that every other church should be in accord (con-venire, come together) with the Church of Rome, because of her origin and great authority (propter potentiorem principalitatem), the dispute over the date for Easter between Anicetus and Polycarp, Victor and the bishops of Asia, Cyprian's thinking, etc.

For all the elements referring to the role of the Bishop of Rome, the commission members have to agree on an exact identification as well as a possible common interpretation. All this is demanding and delicate work, which will be resumed at the plenary session next year. It is hoped that the discussions begun in Cyprus will facilitate faster progress at the next session.

The Catholic side had 20 members attending, with some absences of members who were attending the Synodal assembly on Africa. Twenty-four Orthodox delegates represented all the Orthodox Churches except the Patriarchate of Bulgaria.

The communique issued at the end of the plenary session presents the list of Orthodox delegates in the order of Orthodox precedence: the Ecumenical Patriarchate (of Constantinople) followed by the Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, Moscow, Serbia, Romania, Georgia; and the autocephalous churches of Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Albania, the Czech lands and Slovakia.

The completeness of the Orthodox delegation was substantially re-composed with the participation of the Patriarchate of Moscow. whose delegates had walked out of the Ravenna session to protest the presence of representatives from the Church of Estonia, which was invited by the Ecumenical Patriarchate as an autonomous Church, which, however, Moscow does not recognize as such.

The dispute was resolved in the meeting among the primates of the Orthodox Church invited to Constantinople by Patriarch Bartholomew in October 2008, at which it was decided that only the autocephalous churches would be invited to Paphos.

The sessions in Paphos were chaired by the two co-presidents, Cardinal Walter Kasper and Metropolitan Ioannis Zizoulias of Pergamon.

On Oct. 17, the Catholic delegation concelebrated Mass with the Apostolic Nuncio to Cyprus, Mons. Paolo Borgia, at the Catholic Church of the Holy Cross in Nicosia, the Cypriot capital. The entire Orthodox delegation attended.

Cardinal Kasper, who presided, delivered the homily, during which he thanked the Orthodox Church of Cyprus for its hospitality to the Commission, and asked for prayers for the work of the Commission, saying: "In the last document published by our Commission two years ago, we stated that there can be a primus, a protos, as you say in Greek, at every level of the life of the Church. Primacy is not prohibited nor improper in the Church. At this meeting, we shall ask ourselves what this means for the Bishop of Rome".

The church of the Holy Cross is at the frontier between the Greek part of the island and the part occupied by the Turkish military (37% of the island). The need to remedy the division of the island has been stated again and again by the authorities of the Orthodox Church, and in a particularly forceful way by Archbishop Chrysostomos, primate of the Church of Cyprus.

On Sunday, the 18th, it was the turn of the Orthodox delegation to concelebrate the divine liturgy. This was held at the church of
Phaneromèni, also in Nicosia, and presided by Archbishop Chrysostomos.

In his homily, he said it was with "a sense of responsibility towards the Christian world that the Church of Cyprus, the oldest in Europe" was hosting the plenary session: "This theological dialog is the most important among the official theological dialogs that the Orthodox Church is having with other Christians under the coordination of the Ecumenical Patriarchate".

He pointed out the importance of prayer for dialog, and directly disputed "that small segment among the Orthodox' who, wrongly basing their decision on canons that they read out of context, reject praying in common. He invoked the Holy Spirit on the work of the Commission.

The session closed with vespers for the Feast of St. James the Apostle at the Cathedral of Paphos, with Archbishop Chrysostomos presiding.

The Commission was hosted with great generosity and warm fraternal spirit by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus. Archbishop Chrysostomos held a reception at the Archbishop's Palace and and also hosted them for a luncheon. The participants visited the archdiocesan museum with its treasury of precious icons. A delegation was received by the President of Cyprus. The participants were also taken to visit some monasteries with ancient icons and historic Byzantine frescoes.

There was a small episode involving protesters. On the first day of the meeting, about a dozen persons stood outside the hotel with streamers protesting the meeting as a betrayal by the Orthodox delegates whom they accused of yielding to Catholic claims.

Orthodox authorities, the Archbishop of Cyprus, and the Metropolitan of Paphos, all condemned the protest and threatened canonical sanctions for the monks who took part.

The final statement from the Commission says that the Orthodox delegates on the first day "discussed the negative reaction to the dialog by some Orthodox fringe groups, and unanimously considered the protests totally unfounded and unacceptable, by giving false and deceitful information. All the Orthodox members of the Commission reaffirm that the dialog continues with the decision of all the Orthodox Churches, and will be continued in faithfulness to Truth and the Tradition of the Church".

Almost simulatneously, the Church of Greece also expressed its disapproval of the fringe which is critical of ecumenism. The assembly of the Greek Orthodox hierarchy, in a meeting on October 16, said: "The dialog must continue, within ecclesiological norms and Orthodox canon law, in agreement with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, as has been laid down by a pan-Orthodox decision. The representatives of our Church to this dialog have clear knowledge of Orthodox theology, ecclesiology and the ecclesiastical tradition".

The discussion of the draft document from the coordinating committee will be resumed at the plenary session next year. This will take place on Sept. 20-27 in Vienna, with Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn as host.

And so, this important dialog continues slowly, but consistently aimed at the goal of full communion between the tow Churches.

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Tuesday, October 27, 2009 5:27 PM



The link for the interview was not provided, so I have not been able to check out the original.

Mons. Fellay answers more questions,
this time in Brazil

Posted by New Catholic

10/26/09


A correspondent of ours in Brazil sends us a few answers granted by Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), to journalists present in his conference in São Paulo this weekend. This is the short interview:

Journalists have often asked: what would be the preferred format for the Fraternity, an Apostolic Administration, such as Campos, a Personal Prelature, as Opus Dei, or a Personal Ordinariate, as the one granted to the Anglicans?
[Fellay:] The Vatican has already declared very clearly that no canonical statute will be given to the Fraternity before the end of the doctrinal dialogues. As there is nothing official, and nothing known, I cannot say anything. The only thing I can say is that Rome wants to establish for us something that is convenient for the Fraternity.


It has been said that the Holy See might publicly recognize faculties for all Sacraments celebrated by the Fraternity. Do you believe that this might take place shortly?
[Fellay:] I have no idea. I simply do not know.


And the last question is: will the Fraternity accept, temporarily, a provisional canonical structure during the doctrinal discussions?
[Fellay:] This idea does exist, but it is a problem inside the Church.

There are many, many bishops who truly hate us. Actual enemies of the Fraternity. And they would do all within their power to destroy us.

This provisional arrangement would not solve the problem of the priests and of the faithful. The bishops would place great obstacles and chaos would set in. Therefore, a canonical solution will have to be permanent.
[That's being admirably realistic!]

Some small steps could be taken, for instance, recognizing the Sacraments celebrated by the Fraternity and such.



TERESA BENEDETTA
00Thursday, October 29, 2009 2:44 AM



Cardinal Rouco of Madrid:
'Race toward WYD 2011 has begun'






Madrid, Spain, Oct 26, 2009 (CNA)- Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela of Madrid greeted a large group of young Catholics gathered at the headquarters of the World Youth Day 2011 organizing committee last Friday.

Cardinal Rouco Varela addressed the youth saying, “Today begins the race towards WYD, an extraordinary event in which we will be able to experience the universality of the Church, in union with the Pope…with more than a thousand bishops from all over the world, thousands of priests, consecrated men and women, parents, boys and girls, and especially many young people from all over the world.”

Cardinal Rivera reminded the youth of the two great objectives of WYD:

The first, he explained, is to promote “a great encounter of young people with the Lord, that with their faith they might make visible the theme of WYD, ‘Rooted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith'.”

The second objective is “to show the world the testimony of young people in the Church who demonstrate that they know Christ and that following Him is the best path to give life meaning and to be truly happy.”

Cardinal Rouco encouraged those present, including leaders of the organizing committee, their collaborators and many volunteers, to carry out their tasks with the dedication of St. Paul and to bear difficulties and crosses with joy in order to achieve the goal.

This is “a grace as well as a great challenge for Madrid, which we take up with enthusiasm and a spirit of service and humility,” the cardinal said.



TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, October 30, 2009 9:50 PM




Here's one of the rare stories about the Paphos ecumenical session earlier this month. Did Cindy Wooden write any similar story for CNS? I don't recall seeing one.


Officials meet amid Orthodox protests
BY Cindy Wooden

30 October 2009


Catholic and Orthodox officials met for high-level talks in Cyprus last week amid protests from Orthodox monks and lay faithful.

The meeting of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church focused on a key factor in the ongoing division between Catholic and Orthodox: the role of the pope as Bishop of Rome.

The protesters - who were arrested on the third day of their demonstration - claimed that the ongoing dialogue between the two churches was aimed at getting the Orthodox to submit to papal authority.

According to a statement released by the dialogue commission, Orthodox officials discussed "the negative reactions to the dialogue by certain Orthodox circles and unanimously considered them as totally unfounded and unacceptable, providing false and misleading information". The Orthodox delegates "reaffirmed that the dialogue continues with the decision of all the Orthodox churches and is pursued with faithfulness to the truth and the tradition of the Church", according to a statement released in Cyprus and at the Vatican.

At a Mass Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and head of the Catholic delegation, "stressed that the spirit of humility and love should prevail in the work" of the commission.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II of Cyprus, host of the meeting, presided over the Orthodox Divine Liturgy on October 18. He said all the Orthodox Churches were committed to a dialogue that holds firmly to the teachings of the ecumenical councils and the Fathers of the Church of the first 1,000 years of Christianity.

The joint sessions of the dialogue focused on discussing a draft report, "The Role of the Bishop of Rome in the Communion of the Church in the First Millennium". After discussing and amending the text the commission decided to finalise it next September during a meeting in Vienna, according to a statement.

The current round of the Catholic-Orthodox dialogue has been looking at questions related to the exercise of authority in the Church. The authority and decision-making structure of the Catholic Church today, particularly the role of the papacy, is much more centralised than any structure in the Orthodox churches.

While the Orthodox recognise the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople as the "first among equals", he has no direct authority over any of the individual Orthodox churches. In addition, the Orthodox patriarchs exercise their authority together with their synods of bishops. Meeting in Ravenna in 2007, the dialogue commission approved a statement on how communion and authority were expressed and exercised on a local, regional and universal level within the one Church of Christ.

Before moving on to the crucial question of papal authority and papal infallibility, members decided to lay a foundation by discussing how the authority of the Bishop of Rome was exercised when Christianity was still united.

The meeting in Cyprus was attended by 20 Catholic members of the dialogue commission and by representatives of 13 Orthodox churches, including the Russian Orthodox Church.

The Russian Orthodox delegation had walked out of the commission's 2007 dialogue during an inter-Orthodox dispute over which Orthodox communities were qualified to send representatives to the meeting.

The Orthodox protesters in Cyprus last week forced a Catholic priest to cancel a wedding planned in an Orthodox church opposite where the talks were being held.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II strongly condemned the protests, saying that for people to put their own opinion above that of the synods of the entire Orthodox faith "amounts to vanity, indeed satanic vanity".

TERESA BENEDETTA
00Friday, October 30, 2009 11:21 PM




Pius XII's war efforts seen
on rediscovered films

By Jesús Colina




ROME, OCT. 29, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The aid Pope Pius XII offered during World War II on behalf of all victims, regardless of their religion, is documented on newly rediscovered films.

The films were discovered in the Cineteca Nazionale Italiana, in a rather deteriorated state.

The most surprising find is the film "War on War," produced in 1948 by the Italian company Orbis, directed by Giorgio Simonelli and Romolo Marcellini, who also directed "Pastor Angelicus" of 1942.

The Cineteca contacted the Vatican, which sent its delegate Claudia di Giovanni to see the find.

Di Giovanni recounted her excitement when she received the invitation; she gave her testimony at the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, which Benedict XVI closed today.

In the films, which in certain scenes also present a cinematographic history, "extraordinary images of World War II can be seen, [images that are] particularly harsh, but highly effective in underlining the tragedy of the conflict," explained di Giovanni.

Projected, "with the background of the war, are the words and work of Pius XII in aid of all victims, with images of the soup kitchens created by the Pope, and the residence of Castel Gandolfo open to refugees," she added.

The spectator can see how the Pope converted the great halls of the Apostolic Palace into dormitories for refugee women and children.

There are also images of St. Peter's Square and of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, where, at the instruction of the Pope, soup kitchens were created to feed the population going through the penury of war.


"The film is particularly important as it represents Catholicism's attempt to communicate through cinematographic art its 'no' to the war," di Giovanni contended. "The film was practically unable to be distributed in the post-war period, but it is an essential testimony of Pope Pius XII's commitment to peace.

"A restoration of the film was presented at the Venice Film Festival last September, impressing both critics and the public, with a narrative style inspired in neo-realism -- simple but effective -- which does not hide the horror, but represents it in all its more than explicit reality, above all if we consider that it is a 1948 film."

The Vatican Film Archive collaborated with the Cineteca Nazionale Italiana in the restoration of the film and now has a copy to show in non-commercial circumstances.

However, these are not the only audiovisual testimonies that recount Pius XII's aid to the needy, including Jewish victims of the war.

Di Giovanni explained that the Vatican Film Archive recently received 70 films that document the activity of the Pontifical Work of Assistance (PWA), created by Pius XII to help the victims of World War II.

This aid organization was established in 1944 with the name Pontifical Commission of Assistance to Refugees. Later it was called PWA and offered its services until 1970, helping the poor, the sick, prisoners and victims of natural disasters.

The Vatican Film Archive will now conduct a study on these films and ensure their preservation.

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