Friday, June 30, 2006

Pius XI documents to be released by Vatican Secret Archives

Vatican City, Jun. 30, 2006 (CNA) - Benedict XVI has decreed that as of September 18 - when the Vatican Secret Archives and other archives of the Holy See resume activities after the summer vacation - all documents related to the pontificate of Pope Pius XI will be made available to researchers.

Pope tells new archbishops that evil will never defeat Christ, church

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The powers of evil and death will never triumph over Christ and the church he built on the rock of Peter and continues to fortify with his successors, Pope Benedict XVI told new archbishops from 18 countries.

Though the church and Christ are continually walking toward their cross, suffering and being tossed to and fro like a small boat on a sea whipped up "by the winds of ideologies, ... in the suffering church, Christ is victorious," the pope said during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul June 29.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Catholics can get indulgence for praying for families in early July

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To encourage Catholics to attend the Fifth World Meeting of Families in Valencia, Spain, and to recite prayers with their families, Pope Benedict XVI is offering a special spiritual gift, the Vatican said.

"The gift of a plenary indulgence" will be given to those who participate in the July 1-9 meeting in Spain or who gather their own families together in early July to pray for families, the Vatican announced June 27.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Pope Benedict wants liturgical music to reflect the sacred, not the secular

Regardless of the negative tone of this article, the Pope's criticism is well warranted. Many others, including myself, believe that certain modern liturgical styles in music detract from rather than add to the sense of the sacred within the Mass.
Posted on 27 June, 2006 # ANI

The Pope wants ‘Pop’ music banned from Churches!

London: Guitars and modern music, may soon be out the doors in Roman Catholic Churches, for it seems that Pope Benedict XVI doesn’t quite approve of them, preferring the ‘traditional’ Gregorian chants or sacred polyphonic choral music to it.

The Catholic Church has started using modern musical instruments such as electric guitars in a bid to make more people attend masses. And though these measures were proving to be successful, the Pope doesn’t think that they are appropriate within the walls of the Church.

At a concert conducted by Domenico Bartolucci the director of music at the Sistine Chapel, Benedict XVI said that within the church walls the only suitable music was the ‘traditional’ type.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Pope reflects on devotion to the Sacred Heart

VATICAN Pope Benedict XVI Angelus: “authentic devotion to the Sacred Heart retains all its validity and attracts souls who thirst for the mercy of God who find therein the inexhaustible source from which to draw the water of life …”

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - The “significant liturgical solemnities” which crown the 12th Sunday of ordinary time, 25 June, were recalled by Pope Benedict XVI in his midday reflection before the Angelus prayer with the people gathered in St Peter’s Square. The Pope said the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus “is a happy combination of popular devotion and theological profundity”. Devotion to the Sacred Heart “has its roots in the Incarnation - the Pope said -, it is precisely through the Heart of Jesus that God shows most sublimely his love for humanity. This is why authentic devotion to the Sacred Heart retains all its validity and attracts souls thirsting for God’s mercy in which they find an inexhaustible source from which to draw the water of Life which refreshes the deserts of the soul and causes hope to flourish again”. Benedict XVI also recalled that it was the Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests. He called on those present to “always pray for priests, so they may be valid witnesses of the love of Christ”.

Monday, June 26, 2006

President Arroyo visits Pope; invites him to Philippines

The Manila Times
Tuesday, June 27, 2006

President invites Pope Benedict XVI to visit the Philippines

President Arroyo met His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican Monday, bringing news of the abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines.

It was the first time the President met the new Pope, who was installed after the death of Pope John Paul II in April 2005.

Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said Mrs. Arroyo’s meeting with the Pope reaffirms the special ties between the Philippines and the Vatican, which had strengthened over time during the papacy of John Paul II.

He said part of Mrs. Arroyo’s agenda during her audience with the Pope was to extend the country’s invitation for His Holiness to make a state visit to Manila.

For more details and comments on President Arroyo's visit, see today's post "At the Vatican" from Amy Welborn's "Open Book":

President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines meets with Pope Benedict

In her departure statement, Mrs. Arroyo said her decision to sign the bill abolishing the death penalty was “the best pasalubong [gift]” she could offer to the Pope.

“For the first time, I am going to have an audience with Pope Benedict XVI [at the] Vatican, and I will convey to him the support of the entire Filipino nation to his papacy. I also want to thank Congress for giving me the chance to bring to him the best gift our country can give: the abolition of the death penalty,” the President said.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Reflections on the negative effects on liturgy of Vatican II

Thanks, Spirit Daily, for posting this article from CW News:

Vatican liturgical official seeks recovery of the sacred

Vatican, Jun. 23 ( - The secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship has conceded some "negative results" of liturgical changes since Vatican II, and voiced his support for reform of the post-conciliar liturgy, in an interview with the I Media news agency.

Archbishop Albert Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don told I Media that the Council fathers had hoped to reinvigorate the sense of an active encounter with God through the liturgy. "But unfortunately," he said, "after the Council, certain changes were made rapidly, without reflection, in a burst of enthusiasm, in a rejection of some exaggerations of the past." The result, the archbishop said, was quite different from the Council's intent.

Asked to provide some examples of the negative results, the Sri Lankan prelate listed "the abandonment of the sacred and the mystical," the confusion between the common priesthood of all the faithful and the ordained ministry, and the concept of the Eucharist as a common banquet rather than a representation of Christ's Sacrifice.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Pope to prelates of Baltic States: Gospel will help heal wounds left by communism

Pope: Gospel “does not hinder man’s freedom”

Vatican City, Jun. 23, 2006 (CNA) - This morning, the Holy Father received prelates from the episcopal conferences of the Baltic States - Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. Pope Benedict encouraged the bishops and reminded them that the Gospel will aid them in healing the wounds of communism and confronting secularism.

"While the wounds communism inflicted on your people are not yet completely healed,” Pope Benedict said, “secularism is exercising a growing influence, exalting the illusion of consumerism and rendering human beings the measure of themselves. All this makes your pastoral work even more difficult. But, without losing faith, continue tirelessly in announcing the Gospel of Christ, the word of salvation for mankind of all times and cultures."

Friday, June 23, 2006

Oh, Sacred Heart of Jesus, renew our hearts; may our hearts be one with thine

Thank you, St. Peter's Helpers, for reminding us in today's post, "Sacred Heart, Be My Love," to consecrate ourselves to Jesus' Sacred Heart.

Come, let us adore Christ's Sacred Heart; come, let us pray for His priests

Today is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Come, let us adore Christ’s Sacred Heart, wounded for love of us.

Thank you, Blog by-the-Sea, for yesterday's informative post about the feast and the World Day of Prayer for Priests, both of which are celebrated today:

The Feast of the Sacred Heart and World Day of Prayer for Priests

Tomorrow will be the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (the Friday after the octave of the feast of Corpus Christi). ZENIT today has an interview with the director of the apostleship of prayer in Italy, with more explanation of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. Pope Pius XII wrote an Encyclical on the devotion in 1956 called "Haurietis Aquas." In a May 15 letter to Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, superior general of the Society of Jesus, Pope Benedict XVI said that in the Sacred Heart, "we can recognize in an ever clearer way the limitless love God has for us."

Tomorrow is also the World Day of Prayer for Priests, discussed in an article on Catholic Online. The theme this year, issued by the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy, is "I have called you friends." The theme comes from Scripture and from the homily of Pope Benedict XVI at the Chrism Mass on April 13, 2006:

"Being a priest means becoming an ever closer friend of Jesus Christ with the whole of our existence. The world needs God--not just any god but the God of Jesus Christ, the God who made himself flesh and blood, who loved us to the point of dying for us, who rose and created within himself room for man. This God must live in us and we in him. This is our priestly call: only in this way can our action as priests bear fruit."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Pope names longtime aide Vatican No. 2

The Boston Globe
June 22, 2006

VATICAN CITY --Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of Italy, a longtime aide to Pope Benedict XVI and the first major church official to speak out against "The Da Vinci Code," was appointed Thursday as secretary of state, the Vatican's No. 2 official.

P.S. from Poland–A Preview of Benedict's Trip to Valencia–News in Brief from the Vatican

Joan's Rome: Insights and Obversations from the Heart of the Church

Joan Lewis
Monday, June 19, 2006

As readers of “Joan’s Rome” know, I dedicated several issues of this column to Pope Benedict’s travels to Poland, the last of which was posted a day after my return from Krakow and was devoted to the Holy Father’s remarkable and unforgettable visit to the former concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Because of a very quick trip to the United States, I missed a weekly column. Thus, I am happy to resume today, and I’d like to thank everyone who told me they missed reading the latest news from the Vatican and from Rome.

I would also urge you to visit these pages next week when I tell the astonishing and very beautiful story of a couple whose faith and love and total selflessness has turned their lives upside down with new children, new joys and new challenges.


A little publicized event during Benedict XVI’s trip to Poland was his blessing on May 27 of a train called “Totus Tuus,” Latin for “all yours,” the well-known motto of Pope John Paul whose love for and devotion to the Virgin Mary was a hallmark of his papacy.

Railway in Poland: Benetict XVI Blesses The "Pope's Train"
Add: 5 June 2006

"The Pope's Train" carries pilgrims between Krakow and Wadowice, the hometown of Poland's beloved pope John Paul II. during John Paul's successor's Benedict XVII visit to Poland the train arrived at Lagiewniki station where the Holly Father blessed it. Lagiewniki are famous for the location of Saint Mary's sanctuary.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Supreme Court to review second partial-birth abortion case

Washington DC, Jun. 20, 2006 (CNA) - Yesterday the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of a second partial-birth abortion case and the outcome could mean an end to the procedure.

The appeal to be heard may overturn a ruling by the 8th Circuit court of appeals that invalidated a 2003 law banning partial-birth abortions, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Bush.

The Supreme Court had already agreed to hear an appeal to a similar ruling passed down by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The rulings under review represent two of three cases brought forward by the abortion industry immediately after the 2003 law was passed.

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, a pro-life law firm, told LifeNews yesterday, "The Supreme Court took a significant step today that clearly puts the issue of partial-birth abortion front-and-center."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Pope gradually reshuffles Vatican

Italy Magazine

By Web Editor. Filed under Current Affairs, News from Italy on June 20th, 2006

The most important move in Pope Benedict XVI’s reshaping of the Vatican administration after his election in 2005 will be announced soon, according to Vatican-watchers in Italy.

The current Vatican Secretary of State, the 79-year-old Cardinal Angelo Sodano, is widely expected to step down later this year and Benedict must choose a replacement. It is a crucial choice because the holder of the position, akin to that of a prime minister, is second only to the pope in the Vatican hierarchy. He is in charge of all the political and diplomatic activities of the Holy See and so wields enormous power.

According to persistent rumours, the job will go to one of Benedict’s closest collaborators over the last ten years, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the archbishop of Genoa. Bertone, 71, worked for eight years as the pope’s number 2 at the Vatican’s doctrinal department, before being sent to head the Genoa archdiocese in 2003. The two are said to be very close.

Monday, June 19, 2006

INTERVIEW - Vatican envoys in Beijing for secret talks - cardinal

The Star Online
World Updates
June 19, 2006

By Matthew Jones

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Vatican officials have visited Beijing for closed-door talks on normalising ties despite strains over the installation of two bishops in China without Rome's approval, the church's top clergyman in Hong Kong said on Monday.

"The talks are about ... the whole relationship between the Holy See and Chinese government, about the millions of faithful, Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun said.

"It's a big issue and should not be so narrowly connected to the few persecuted priests," Zen told Reuters in an interview.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Today is Corpus Christi Sunday; Pope: consecrated Host is truly Bread from heaven

As Catholic Culture reminds us, Corpus Christi (Body and Blood of Christ) is a Eucharistic solemnity, or better, the solemn commemoration of the institution of that sacrament. It is, moreover, the Church's official act of homage and gratitude to Christ, who by instituting the Holy Eucharist gave to the Church her greatest treasure.

In preparation for today's solemnity, Pope Benedict made the following remarks on June 15

Pope Benedict XVI on the solemnity of Corpus Christi: “The Host is our manna with which the Lord nourishes us, it is truly Bread from heaven, in which he gives Himself”

Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - On Thursday June 15 Solemnity of Corpus Christi Pope Benedict XVI celebrated an open air Mass in front of the Cathedral of Rome St John’s and then presided the Procession with the Blessed Sacrament which moved to the Basilica of St Mary Major, where he imparted the Eucharistic Blessing. During the homily the Pope meditated on the signs of the bread and wine: “Jesus chose bread and wine to be a sign of his presence. In each of these signs he gives himself entirely not only part. The Risen Lord is not divided. He is a person, and through signs he comes to us and becomes one with us. However each sign, in its own typical manifestation, represents one particular aspect of His mystery and speaks to us that we may learn to understand a little more of the mystery of Jesus”.

The consecrated Host is “the simplest type of bread and food, made of a little flour and water. In this way it appears to be food for the poor, the first to whom the Lord destines his presence” the Pope explained. During Mass the bread is called “fruit of the earth and the work of human hands”, since in it is enclosed the daily labour of those who work the earth, sow and harvest and those who then make the bread. “Nevertheless the bread is not only our product, something man made; it is a fruit of the earth and therefore also a gift - the Pope said -. Because the fact that the earth produces fruit is not to our credit; only the Creator can render the soil fertile.” The water which is needed to make the bread is a gift of God: “At a time when we hear of desertification and repeated warnings that mankind and animals are in danger of dying of thirst in regions without water, at this time we are newly aware of that water is an immense! gift and just how impossible it is for us to obtain it on our own. So looking a little more closely at this small piece of white Host, this bread of the poor, we see it is a synthesis of creation”.

The sign of bread has another message: “In the bread made of ground wheat grains the mystery of the Passion is concealed - the Holy Father explained -. Flour, ground grain, presupposes the death and resurrection of the wheat grain. Since it is ground and baked it bears within itself once again the mystery of the Passion. Only through dying comes the rising, the fruit and the new life”. The early Church found in the bread yet another symbolism: “the ground grains which become bread is a process of unification. We, who are many, must become one bread and one body, Saint Paul tells us. Therefore the sign of bread becomes both a hope and a task.”

“In a very similar way the sign of wine also speaks to us - said Benedict XVI -. While bread reminds us of daily life, simplicity and pilgrimage, wine expresses the exquisiteness of creation: the joyful banquet which God plans to offer us at the end of time and to which in advance, here and now, again and again, he refers with this sign. However the wine too speaks of the Passion: the vine must be repeatedly pruned in order to be purified; the grapes must mature in the sun and the rain and then be crushed: only through this passion does a fine wine mature”.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Viewing Love via Benedict XVI; Series of Reflections on "Deus Caritas Est"

ROME, JUNE 17, 2006 ( The many facets of Christian charity are being explored in a series of articles in the Vatican's semiofficial newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. The ongoing series consist in reflections on Benedict XVI's encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est."

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, opened the series May 10. "Truth draws people together because it frees them from individual opinions," he wrote. "Love draws men together because it makes them overcome individual egoisms." Christianity, in turn, announces that "Truth is Love," the cardinal added.

This leads to the conclusion that Christianity is the religion of the community, and unity of humankind. This, Cardinal Martino contended, is a central message of the encyclical.

By accepting the message that God is love, people have a common foundation on which to build in order to overcome differences and break out of their own selves. The love of God not only reveals to us our own dignity, the cardinal wrote, but it also helps us understand that others possess the same dignity.

"Human society," the Vatican official stated, "is not born out of the 'mutual struggle for recognition,' but from the experience of being loved, which enables us to love others."

Friday, June 16, 2006

Redressing misinterpretations of Vatican II

From the blog, "CVSTOS FIDEI," comes this excellent commentary on some of the misinterpretations of Vatican II. Hopefully, the recent translation of the liturgy into an English more closely aligned with the original Latin will help to redress some of those misinterpretations.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Vatican II Redux

When Vatican II concluded their proceedings in 1968 it could be safely said that of all the Church councils, Vatican II was distinctly different from all others because the documents produced didn't have an interpretive authority. I believe this was the catalyst that bore the fruit of discontent in the West, especially here in the United States. This discontent was the result of hasty 'reforms' implemented, incorrectly, in the 'spirit of Vatican II' by progressives within the Catholic Church; Subsequently allowing for traditional Catholics to feel marginalized and subsequently a fast moving protestantization followed.

Without this interpretive authority, the documents procured in Vatican II created confusion for the rest of the Church. These unintended consequences caused an exodus from religious vocations and a drop in morale among the laity; especially when these documents coming from said council were often misinterpreted from the outset by high-minded Church progressives.

The goals of Vatican II in my humble opinion were to energize the laity in bringing the message of Christ to humanity, ie, the world. Vatican II laid the foundations for the laity to evangelize the world through their continual pursuit of holiness that were once thought of the domain of religious and saints.

A Changing Mass for U.S. Catholics

New York Times

Published: June 16, 2006

Roman Catholic bishops in the United States voted yesterday to change the wording of many of the prayers and blessings that Catholics have recited at daily Mass for more than 35 years, yielding to Vatican pressure for an English translation that is closer to the original Latin.

The bishops, meeting in Los Angeles, voted 173 to 29 to accept many of the changes to the Mass, a pivotal point in a 10-year struggle that many English-speaking Catholics had dubbed "the liturgy wars."

But the bishops made substantial changes to the text that the Vatican wanted, and those changes could still be rejected by Vatican officials.

Some of the changes they did adopt are minor, but in other cases Catholics will have to learn longer and more awkward versions of familiar prayers. For example, instead of saying, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you," in the prayer before Communion, they will say, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof."

The reason for the change is a Vatican directive issued in 2001 under Pope John Paul II that demanded closer adherence to the Latin text. But some bishops in the English-speaking world were indignant at what they saw as a Vatican move to curtail the autonomy of each nation's bishops to translate liturgical texts according to local tastes and needs.

The new translation is likely to please those traditionalists who longed for an English version more faithful to the Latin in use before the Second Vatican Council in the 1960's. But it may upset Catholics who have committed the current prayer book to heart and to memory and who take comfort in its more conversational cadences.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Volume Gathers Benedict XVI's Key Thoughts

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 13, 2006 ( A new volume published in Italian by Libreria Editrice Vaticana gathers key phrases pronounced by Benedict XVI in the first year of his papacy.

"Pensieri Spirituali" (Spiritual Thoughts) gathers phrases chosen from his encyclical, homilies, meetings and audiences, and from moments when he spoke without notes.

Lucio Coco, compiler of the texts, explained that the topics "are faith in God, the centrality of Jesus and the love that is given us and that man must transform into self-giving."

In these pages are thoughts on confidence, journeying, charity, education, the Eucharist, happiness, Jesus Christ, Mary, the Word of God, patience, work, silence, suffering, life, consecrated life, and man's vocation, among many others.

Among the quotes is this one from the Pope's address to clergy in the Diocese of Aosta last July 25: "Suffering itself is the way to transformation, and without suffering nothing is transformed."

The quoted thoughts cover the period April 2005 to March 2006. They derive from papal documents available on the Vatican's official Web page as well as from the section that Vatican Radio dedicates to the Pope.

Vatican denounces violence in Holy Land

June 14 2006 at 06:47PM

Vatican City - The Vatican on Wednesday called for peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, saying the Holy Land had become "hostage" to those who believe its problems can be solved by force or unilateral action.

A statement said Pope Benedict was worried about episodes of "increasingly blind violence" between Israelis and Palestinians and urged them to return to negotiations.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

All Christians are called to holiness

Cardinal Cipriani: today’s society twists call to holiness

Lima, Jun. 13, 2006 (CNA) - The Archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani said this week that today’s society makes people believe that holiness is the exclusive call of a select few, when “it is nothing more than achieving the same feelings, thoughts and works of Christ.”

“We are all invited to make our family, culture, sports, politics, economics, recreation and illnesses a path to holiness,” the cardinal said during Sunday Mass.

He called on the faithful to express their love for the Holy Trinity by seeking holiness. “Being good people is not enough. Not being bad or not doing wrong to others is not sufficient. We must love everyone. We must seek Christ in others,” he warned.

The Peruvian cardinal also encouraged the faithful to participate in the celebration of Corpus Christi and he prayed to the Blessed Mother that all Peruvian families would become a reflection of the life of communion that exists in the Holy Trinity, in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The Laity: Movers in the New Evangelization

Part of the new evangelization that Pope Benedict XVI has spoken of is to more fully engage the laity in bearing witness to Christ and His Church. Jesus asked that all Christians evangelize for Him, bear witness to the truth of the gospel and diligently work to be a "light to the world."

Interview With Ramiro Pellitero

PAMPLONA, Spain, JUNE 9, 2006 ( The role of the laity as the principal force behind the evangelization and transformation of society has been rediscovered, says Ramiro Pellitero.

The professor of pastoral theology at the University of Navarra, has written "The Laity in the Ecclesiology of Vatican II," published in Spanish by RIALP Editions, in which he brings together the writings of 13 authors on the vocation and mission of the lay faithful, in the light of the Second Vatican Council.

In this interview with ZENIT, the author discusses what the role of the laity in the Church.

Q: Let's begin with questions of language that might be obvious to experts, but not for those unfamiliar with these matters. The word "laity" is used today to designate the partisans of laicism. One speaks of the "lay state," "lay schools," etc. -- a position that is foreign to or even opposed to religion. I suppose that you are not using the word in this sense.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Pontiff Promotes Corpus Christi Procession

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 11, 2006 ( Benedict XVI invited all in Rome "to take part in great numbers" in the Corpus Christi procession this week.

The liturgical ceremonies surrounding Thursday's feast express "the faith and love of the Christian community for its Lord present in the Eucharist," the Pope said today after reciting the Angelus in St. Peter's Square.

The Bishop of Rome will celebrate Mass at 7 p.m. on the feast of Corpus Christi, in the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

At the end of Mass, "we will solemnly accompany the Most Holy Sacrament on the Via Merulana to St. Mary Major's Square, where I will impart the Eucharistic blessing," the Pontiff said.

The Vicariate of Rome announced that for two days preceding the celebration, 40 uninterrupted hours of Eucharistic adoration will be held in the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Holy Trinity, badge of believers

Trinity Sunday
The Christian badge

Maurice Eminyan, SJ

The feast of the Holy Trinity, which we observe today, not only marks the conclusion of Our Lord's visible ministry on earth, but also indicates the very beginnings of the apostle's preachings throughout the whole world.

If we may use a more down-to-earth analogy, the Church was born at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles, but it started operating when Jesus commanded his disciples to go to the whole world baptising all men and women in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Trinity, Father and Son and Holy Spirit, has always been regarded as the badge of all those who choose to follow Christ and accept his teachings. As Christians we are familiar enough with this mystery, which is the most important one for us, but also the most difficult to understand. After all, what is most important is not to understand, but to accept by supernatural faith: faith in God Himself, but also faith in Christ who has taught it to us, and faith in the Church which passes it on to us.

The sign of the cross, which we often make during the day before we begin something of importance, has become the 'label' of our Christian faith. It might be of interest to note hear that, according to its original Greek version, the phrase "in the name of" is not equivalent to "on the authority of", but "by way of consecration". With baptism, the neophyte becomes the 'property', and therefore the 'protégé' of the Person named.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Reflections on the "proper" exercise of papal authority

Amy Welborn, in her June 9, 2006 post to Open Book, reflects on the question: What is the "'proper' exercise of papal authority"?:

The Word on the Pope

This week in his "Word from Rome" column, John Allen reflects on the papal stylings of Benedict:

Benedict XVI, in the language of the guild, is largely a pope for the inside pages.

In Poland, I found myself wondering if this "less is more" style could have ecclesiological consequences -- if Benedict's way of exercising the papacy, quite apart from any explicit teaching, could change the way we think about the pope.

To explore that question, I turned to Richard R. Gaillardetz, who holds the Margaret and Thomas Murray and James J. Bacik Endowed Chair in Catholic Studies at the University of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio. Gaillardetz has written widely on ecclesiological topics, and is a popular speaker on these subjects.
Gaillardetz might be best-known to long time blog readers as the author of a widely-commented on article in America magazine critiquing the "New Apologetics" which was critiqued, in turn by, among others Karl Keating. In a Word from Rome a year ago, Allen summarizes a talk Gaillardetz offered at the LA Religious Ed Congress and talk summarized as well in the LA Lay Catholic Misson (summaries from two different perspectives, to be fair!)

He opines on problematic overreaches of papal authority:

Yet Gaillardetz argued that what he termed the "interventionist practice on the part of the curia" continues apace. He offered three examples:

Friday, June 09, 2006

Fighting Antisemitism With Theology

Forward Forum

June 9, 2006

During the Second Vatican Council discussions in Rome in the 1960s, Jewish leaders wanted the Catholic Church to make statements denouncing antisemitism, apologizing for the church's role in the Holocaust and recognizing the State of Israel. The Catholics, however, were most interested in discussing God and Scripture. Jews talked politics, while Catholics talked theology. Eventually sustained dialogue narrowed the communication gap, and the results were Nostra Aetate and subsequent salutary documents, all of which were a constructive blend of politics and theology.

Unfortunately, this communications gap continues to cause problems. Recently some Jewish leaders issued criticisms of Pope Benedict XVI for his failure to focus on antisemitism and Jewish martyrs during his visit to Auschwitz. Yet these leaders appeared to miss the significance of what Benedict did say. While he was at the extermination camp, the pope made a number of stunning theological statements about Jews and Judaism that hold enormous positive value.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Vatican Decries Society's "Violent Attacks" on the Family

Posted on June 07, 2006

By Gerry O'Connell in Rome: The Vatican in a new document, has denounced the contemporary “violent attacks” on marriage and the family, restated traditional Church teaching on contraception and confirmed it total opposition to the legalisation of same-sex unions and the adoption of children by gays or lesbians.“Never before has the natural institution of matrimony and the family been victim of such violent attacks”, the Vatican said in a 57-page document issued by the Pontifical Council for the Family.

The text, Family and Human Procreation, which was released in Rome on June 6, says the root cause of these attacks on marriage, the family and human life is to be found in the “eclipse of God”, that is in the failure to recognize God as the creator of all human life.

Vatican releases new document: "Family and Human Procreation"

Document Deals With "Family and Procreation"
Echoes Teachings of "Humanae Vitae"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 6, 2006 ( A new Vatican document on "Family and Human Procreation" aims to "open the doors to the future research into these debated issues."

The Pontifical Council for the Family published the 57-page document today. Among other things, the document recalls that "the family is the only appropriate place for procreation."

The introduction quotes the words given by Pope John Paul II in Puebla, Mexico, in 1979.

The Holy Father had stated that "the family is inbred in man and has been established by God. But today man has become a riddle to himself and is experiencing the deepest crisis in history in his family dimension: The family is attacked as it has never been before; the new forms of union are destroying it; the fertilization techniques are totally ousting human love; the birth control policies are leading to today's 'birth winter.'"

The document later states that procreation, "which is the means of transmitting life through the loving union of man and woman, must be human"; that is, it must be "the fruit of man's actions."

"The act of union of man and woman," states the document, "cannot be separated by its inbred dimension, which is procreation and makes for responsible fatherhood and motherhood. The marital moral rests all on this ground."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The power of "666" to elicit a spiritual or secular response

From Spirit Daily comes this article, written from a spiritual standpoint:


We can make light of today's date -- June 6, 2006, which is 06-06-06, and of course the devil's 'number' -- but there are certain hidden attachments to symbols and if nothing else the day has served to rally the prayers of Christians.

Just as a huge pre-emptive strike by Christians greatly deflected the effect of The DaVinci Code -- taking away its influence on actual beliefs, at least in the movie version -- so can prayer deflect the rituals of occultists who take seriously today's date.

But DaVinci, in so brazenly toying with the character of Christ, indicated the kind of time we are in -- in many ways, an anti-christian time -- and so it paved the way for The Omen, a movie about the anti-christ that cynically is being released this day.

While all the hullabaloo in most cases is just that, those who don't take a meddling with the devil seriously should take a look at what has happened to many of those involved in such movies.

Mysteriously bad events often follow them -- as they also can affect us if we have an occult involvement (or even objects).

And, from the San Francisco Chronicle comes this article, written from a secular standpoint:

Anyone seen the beast?
Today's date supposedly a wicked number, but the Vatican doesn't seem too worried

Jeff Pearlman, Newsday

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

There are those worthless souls who ignore the power of 666, who believe today -- June 6, 2006 -- is nothing more than another ordinary mark on the ordinary calendar. They will go about their lives, blind to the bloodcurdling evil all around.

Soon, the streets will fill with death and decay.

Soon, the anti-Christ will rise to render the Earth a mosh pit of despair -- an empty, rotted stink hole of evil mayhem brought about by all things satanic. Doom will reign! Faces will melt! The world will explode! Die! Die! Die!

Or maybe not.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pope: God speaks quietly, but He gives us all kinds of signs

Hopefully, when God speaks we'll be more attentive to His leading and follow Him more closely. Thank you, Spirit Daily, for posting this article:


All of us are interested in what Heaven may think, and so most of us are interested in "signs."

We get them in many ways. We get them through what we read. We get them through what others say. We get them by what we see.

"God speaks quietly," Pope Benedict XVI once wrote. "But He gives us all kinds of signs. In retrospect, especially, we can see that He has given us a little nudge through a friend, through a book, or through what we see as a failure -- even through 'accidents.' Life is actually full of these silent indications. If we remain alert, then slowly they piece together a consistent whole, and we begin to feel how God is guiding us."

Sunday, June 04, 2006

"Descend on us, Holy Spirit"

May our prayers today be triple fold:

that we, dear Lord, always pray, "Maranatha" ("Come, Lord!");

that we lift our hearts today to you, Holy Spirit, on this feast day of Pentecost, and;

that all the sick offer their sufferings in union with You on the cross, dear Jesus, for the salvation of souls on this "Mission Sunday of the Sick".
From Catholic Culture, comes this Novena for Pentecost:

This novena prayer, although short is sufficient. It would be better of course to add, if time permits, three Hail Marys or say five times the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to the Father, or to use some of the many well-loved novena prayers from other sources. Remember that prayers must be said with the lips in order to gain the indulgences. For the novenas that precede the movable feasts, it is necessary to begin nine days before the feast occurs.

O Holy Spirit, who descended upon the Apostles and filled them with power and wisdom, watch over me and guide me in all my thoughts and acts. Never let me forget to call on you whenever I need help. Amen.

O Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, come into our hearts, shed the brightness of Your light on all nations, that they may be one in faith and pleasing to You.

300 days. S. Pen. Dec. 22, 1932.
(Pentecost Sunday is "Mission Sunday of the Sick" when the sick, the infirm, the crippled, incurables, and all who suffer offer their sufferings for the millions of pagans that they may know God.)

Prayer Source: All Day With God by Blanche Jennings Thompson

Pope celebrates Pentecost Sunday in St. Peter's Square

AP via Yahoo! News - 58 minutes ago

Pope celebrates Sunday Mass at Vatican

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Sunday Mass for tens of thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square to mark the Catholic feast day of Pentecost.

Less than 14 hours earlier, Benedict had joined a cheering crowd of some 350,000 people overflowing from the square for a vigil rally aimed at boosting the Roman Catholic faith throughout the world.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Blair has private audience with Pope


Blair audience with Pope Benedict

Prime Minister Tony Blair has had a private audience with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican.

They discussed how "moderate voices" from the world's main religions need to work together to tackle extremism and reduce the risk of terrorism.

See the meeting.

Sister Lucia's Unpublished Writings Released

Visionary Reflects on Marian Apparitions

ROME, JUNE 2, 2006 ( A small book of unpublished writings by Fatima visionary Sister Lucia will soon be published in Italy.

The 64-page volume, entitled "The Message of Fatima," focuses on the message of Our Lady of Fatima in relation to events that have taken place.

The young Lucia dos Santos witnessed the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima that began on May 13, 1917, along with Francisco Marto and Jacinta Marto. Sister Lucia died at age 97 in February 2005.

For 45 years, the Holy See did not reveal the content of the so-called third secret of Fatima, while Sister Lucia lived in religious silence.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Jesus in New York: Walking through the streets with our Lord, praying for vocations

Is God calling you? From the Vocations Office of the Archdiocese of New York comes this video, "God in the Streets of New York City". With processions of the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of New York and voiceovers from Fr. Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and Pope John Paul II, it is a moving request for those who hear God's call within their hearts to respond wholeheartedly to that call.

Dear Lord, may we take back the streets of New York for your dear Son, Jesus Christ our Redeemer!

Inquiry into vocations can be directed to:

Archdiocese of New York
1011 First Ave
New York, NY 10022

Vocations for Religious Life
1011 First Avenue
Floor: 18
New York, NY
Contact: Sr. Deanna Sabetta
Phone: 212-371-1011 Ext. 2803

Vocations Office - St. Joseph's Seminary
201 Seminary Avenue
Yonkers, NY 10704
Phone: 914-968-6200

May religious vocations and conversions abundantly increase. And, may all have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mary leads always to Jesus Pope reminds

Vatican City, Jun. 01, 2006 (CNA) - The Holy Father marked the end of the month of May yesterday evening, participating in a traditional Marian procession. The procession, which wound its way from the Church of St. Stephen of the Abyssinians - located near the apse of the Vatican Basilica – finished at the Grotto of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens. Hundreds of people participated in the ceremony, which was presided over by Archbishop Angelo Comastri, vicar general for the Vatican City State.

Wednesday being the Feast of the Visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, the Holy Father spoke of the importance of Christ as the source of all Marian devotion. The Holy Father highlighted how in the Virgin Mary's visit "the hidden protagonist is Jesus. Mary carried Him in her womb as in a sacred tabernacle. ... Wherever Mary goes, there is Jesus."

Retrospective on Pope's journey through Poland

National Catholic Reporter
Issue Date: June 2, 2006

Benedict travels Europe to revitalize Christian roots

Warsaw, Poland

Pope Benedict XVI launched what might be dubbed his “Take Back Europe” 2006 summer tour May 25, opening a four-day swing through a traditional Catholic stronghold that he hopes will build momentum for reawakening the Christian roots of the Old Continent.

The motto of the visit to Poland is a pointed reminder of the message: “Stand firm in your faith!”

“I have come to Poland, the beloved homeland of my great predecessor Pope John Paul II, in order to inhale, as he used to do, this atmosphere of faith in which you live,” Benedict said in a meeting with Polish clergy in the Warsaw cathedral.