Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Old rite wins new Mass appeal

A woman prays during a Tridentine Mass July 22 at St. Mary Mother of God Catholic Church in Northwest. (Astrid Riecken/The Washington Times)

The Washington Times
By Julia Duin
July 30, 2007

The Tridentine Mass, the Latin-only rite both loved and hated by many Catholics for its medieval qualities, is roaring back into use after a July 7 papal decree loosened the rules on celebrating it.

Two traditional priestly societies dedicated to the rite report that priests from all over the country are signing up in droves for weeklong classes to learn the rituals and language of the Mass, named after the 16th-century Council of Trent.

Monsignor Michael Schmitz, vicar-general of the Florence, Italy-based Institute of Christ the King, said he has received hundreds of calls from interested clergy.

"This is a nationwide phenomenon," he said. "Many more parish priests and younger priests are interested in learning to celebrate the Latin Mass.

"Whenever the Latin rite is celebrated, you get many young people," he added. "They are looking for something that speaks to the soul, and the beauty of the liturgy is awe-inspiring. The heartfelt presence of God really affects them."

The Elmhurst, Pa.-based Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter trained 50 priests on performing the rite this summer at its Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary in Denton, Neb.

Its September session is already full and its Elmhurst bookstore got a "big upsurge" in demand for priestly training materials within two days of the announcement, said the Rev. Carl Gismondi, a Fraternity priest studying theology at the Dominican House in the District.

Monday, July 30, 2007

"I promise you my obedience, my fidelity, my effort in all that you demand of me"

Inside the Vatican
(Newsflash July 30/07)

A very special interview with Pope Benedict XVI's personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein. It contains important reflections on the Pope's 2006 Regensburg talk, on the new motu proprio, and on the Pope's day-to-day private life from the person who is closest to him...

Special Note: The following interview with Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, Personal Secretary to Pope Benedict XVI from even before his election to the papacy on April 19, 2005, done by German writer Peter Seewald, appeared last week in the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung (Munich). It has now been posted in translation, in Italian as well as English, by various Web sites on the Internet. Here is an English translation by Gerald Augustinus, who posted it on his website at: http://closedcafeteria.blogspot.com/2007/07/interview-with-msgr-gaenswein.html --The Editor

by Peter Seewald

Interview Translation by Gerald Augustinus

7/27/2007 8:17:00 PM

By Translation by Gerald Augustinus - The Cafeteria Is Closed Blog

Father Georg Gaenswein (a monsignor) is Pope Benedict's personal assistant. He gave an interview to the German (Munich) newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. I have translated it. The interviewer was Peter Seewald, who was a lapsed Catholic, spent a couple of weeks with Pope Benedict (then cardinal) and returned to the Church. I spent all night writing this exclusive English translation - reading, translating and typing at the same time. Still took hours. It is one of the most interesting insider interviews you'll come across.


Peter Seewald (PS): Herr Praelat, how is the Pope?

Msgr. Gaenswein (MG): He's well, feels very good, works a lot and is in "high gear."

PS: Does he use the exercise bike that his physician, Dr. Buzzonetti, told him to?

MG: The bike is in our Appartamento Privato.

PS: What does that mean?

MG: It's being a good bike, ready to be used.

PS: When he was a cardinal, Joseph Ratzinger wanted to retire, stating he was exhausted.

MG: With his election as Pope something happened that he neither strived for nor wanted. But I am convinced that, as he by and by surrendered to God's will, the grace of the office in his person and his actions has shown effect and still is.

PS: How did he react to the election results?

MG: I entered as the cardinals were kneeling before the Pope in the Sistine Chapel, swearing him fidelity and obedience. His face was almost as white as his soutane (cassock). He looked pretty stirred.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

AP - Sun Jul 29, 7:56 AM ET

Pope Benedict XVI greets the faithful during the Angelus noon prayer from the balcony of his summer retreat of Castel Gandolfo in the hills overlooking Rome, Sunday, July 29, 2007. The Pontiff called Sunday for nuclear disarmament, saying that nuclear technology must be used instead to promote development in the respect of the environment. Pope Benedict XVI also issued an appeal for the release of Korean hostages held in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)
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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Pope on celibacy

The Herald
Sat, 28 Jul 2007 2:52 AM PDT

ROME. Pope Benedict XVI yesterday confirmed in a letter to the Roman Catholic Church that priestly celibacy "remains obligatory," invoking Christ’s example.

"I reaffirm the beauty and importance of a priestly life lived in celibacy as a sign expressing total and exclusive devotion to Christ, to the Church and to the Kingdom of God," reads the apostolic exhortation, the first of Benedict’s papacy.

"I therefore confirm that it remains obligatory in the Latin tradition," the pope wrote in the document issued by the Vatican.

"There is a need to reaffirm the profound meaning of priestly celibacy, which is rightly considered a priceless treasure," he said.

"The fact that Christ himself, the eternal priest, lived his mission even to the sacrifice of the Cross in the state of virginity constitutes the sure point of reference for understanding the meaning of the tradition of the Latin Church," the pope’s exhortation said.

The text, reflecting the conclusions of an October 2005 synod (assembly) of bishops, also reaffirms that Catholics who divorce and remarry are barred from taking communion, unless they "commit to living their relationship . . . as friends, as brother and sister."

In addition, the pope exhorts "Catholic politicians and legislators . . . to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature," and urges them to reject legislation in favour of abortion, euthanasia or homosexual unions. "These values are not negotiable," he wrote.

The exhortation which comes as draft legislation, is before parliament that would give legal status to unmarried couples including gays, an issue that is deeply divisive for the ruling centre-left government in mainly Catholic Italy. — AFP.

Friday, July 27, 2007

AP - Fri Jul 27, 2:11 PM ET

Pope Benedict XVI greets the faithful from the balcony of his papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo, in the hills south of Rome, Friday, July 27, 2007. Benedict XVI left Lorenzago in the Dolomite mountains on Friday to return to Castel Gandolfo after two weeks of rest. (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)
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Benedict XVI Arrives to Castel Gandolfo

Secretary Says Pope's Vacation Was "Monastic"

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, JULY 27, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's personal secretary described the Pope's vacation as "monastic," saying that the Holy Father spent much time in meditation and prayer, but also took many walks in the woods.

The Pope wrapped up his 19-day summer vacation in Lorenzago di Cadore in the Veneto region of northern Italy today, and made his way to the summer papal residence of Castel Gandolfo, 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Rome.

It was a sort of "monastic-Benedictine vacation," explained Monsignor Georg Gänswein in an interview with the Italian daily Il Giornale.

Monsignor Gänswein explained the Pope's daily vacation schedule: "Every day begins with holy Mass, followed by thanksgiving, the breviary and meditation. Then there is breakfast, and afterward the Holy Father spends his time reading, studying, writing and meditating.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pope's top aide warns of Islamisation of Europe

Daily Mail
Last updated at 18:25pm on 26th July 2007

Pope Benedict XVI's private secretary warned of the Islamisation of Europe and stressed the need for the continent's Christian roots not to be ignored.
"Attempts to Islamise the west cannot be denied," Monsignor Georg Gaenswein was quoted as saying in the weekly Sueddeutsche Magazin to be published Friday.

"The danger for the identity of Europe that is connected with it should not be ignored out of a wrongly understood respectfulness," the magazine quoted him as saying.

Pope Benedict XVI's aide, Georg Gaenswein, warns of attempts to Islamise the west

Gaenswein also defended a speech Benedict gave last year linking Islam and violence, saying it was an attempt by the pontiff to "act against a certain naivety."

Muslims around the world protested against Bendict's speech, with churches set ablaze in the West Bank and a hard-line Iranian cleric saying the pope was united with U.S. President George W. Bush to "repeat the Crusades."

An Italian nun was also gunned down in a Somali hospital where she worked, and the Vatican expressed concern that the attack was related to reaction to the pope's remarks.

Recently, the influential archbishop of Cologne, Joachim Meisner, said in a widely-publicised interview on Deutschlandfunk radio that the "immigration of Muslims has created a breach in our German, European culture."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Benedict XVI Urges Loving the Human and Divine

Encourages "Quite Catholic" Attitude

AURONZO DI CADORE, Italy, JULY 25, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI says the beauty of Christianity is in relishing both the human and the divine.

The Pope said this Tuesday during a question-and-answer session with 400 priests of the dioceses of Belluno-Feltre and Treviso, in the Church of St. Justina Martyr in Auronzo di Cadore, near Lorenzago di Cadore, where he is vacationing.

One of the priests asked the Holy Father about enjoying human things, such as recreation. "I liked playing soccer more than going to Eucharistic adoration," the priest said, explaining that his superiors in the seminary scolded him for this.

"Doesn't bringing man close to God, and God to man, happen in our humanity, even for us priests?" he asked the Pontiff.

"I would be against choosing whether to play soccer or to study sacred Scripture or canon law. Let us do both," Benedict XVI responded. "We cannot always live in high meditation; maybe a saint at the highest levels of his earthly existence can do that, but normally we live with our feet on the ground and our eyes fixed on heaven.

"Both are given to us by the Lord and therefore loving human things, loving the beauty of this earth, is not just very human, but also very Christian and quite Catholic."

The Pope said that a "healthy and truly Catholic pastoral care" includes living in what he called the "et-et," Latin for "and-and."

He explained that this should prompt us "to live humanity and the humanism of mankind, all the gifts that the Lord has given us, which we have developed and, at the same time, not to forget God, because in the end the great light comes from God and only from him comes the light that gives joy to the realities of the things that exist."

"Therefore," the Holy Father said, "I would like to work for this great Catholic synthesis, for this 'et-et'; to be truly man -- that everyone according to their own gifts and their own charism loves the earth and the beautiful things the Lord has given us, but to also be grateful for the light of God that shines on the earth, that gives splendor and beauty to everything else."

"Let us live in this Catholicity joyously. This would be my answer," Benedict XVI concluded, prompting applause from the priests present.

Archbishop clears up media distortions about Pope’s Motu Propio on Latin Mass

Valladolid, Jul 25, 2007 / 10:20 am (CNA).- Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez Plaza of Valladolid (Spain) said this week the Pope’s intention behind allowing greater use of the Missal of 1962 is not to turn the clock back, as many have said, but rather to foster “unity among Catholics, especially during the celebration [of the Mass] and to reconcile the Church with her liturgical past prior to Vatican II.”

“Even though the media has repeated it so many times, the Pope has not decided that we are going to return to celebrating the Mass in Latin. To say such a thing is not only ignorant, it’s also thoughtless. It has always been permitted to celebrate the Mass in Latin, even after Vatican II, and the books of the liturgical reform were written in Latin and later translated into the different languages,” Archbishop Rodriguez explained.

He stressed that the Pope is not discrediting Vatican II with the Motu Propio or acquiescing to the Lefebvrists, as he knows the differences with them “are not only liturgical; the Pope reaches out his hand but he does not compromise his own profound convictions.”

Archbishop Rodriguez noted that the Pope “has reaffirmed the authority of Vatican II and he has reiterated that the liturgical reform is well-founded.”

“In the text of the Motu Propio it is clearly indicated that the celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of 1970 is the ‘ordinary’ form of our liturgy,” the archbishop continued. “The celebration according to the Missal of 1962, promulgated by John XXIII, is the ‘extraordinary form,’ even though it is desired by a determined number of Catholics.” “This is not, therefore, a question of ‘going back to Latin’,” he stated. “In practice, nothing will change for the great majority of Catholics.”

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

AP - Tue Jul 24, 10:18 AM ET

Pope Benedict XVI poses with children during his visit to the Santa Giustina church in Auronzo, near Belluno, Italy, Tuesday, July 24, 2007. Benedict plans to stay in Lorenzago, near Italy's border with Austria, until July 27, when he moves to the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo, in the hills south Rome. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
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Monday, July 23, 2007

Pope Benedict calls for a new Pentecost as World Youth Day approaches

Lorenzago di Cadore, Jul 23, 2007 / 09:28 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict has issued his message to the youth preparing for World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney, Australia. In his discussion of the theme for the gathering, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be my witnesses,” the Holy Father called for a new Pentecost.

As individual registration for WYD 2008 kicked off, Pope Benedict became “pilgrim number one” in the list of those awaiting the event that marks a time of renewal for the youth of the Church.

The strongest parts of the Holy Father’s message told the youth of the need for invoking a new Pentecost on the world and the necessity of being missionaries to their peers.

Ever aware of young people’s growing unease about their future, the injustices they see in the world, and their questions about how to react to violence and egoism which is growing in the world, Benedict told them that the Holy Spirit can answer these doubts and tragedies.

He also exhorted the youth, “Don’t forget the greatness of God’s gift, the fruits of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control.” These can heal a wounded world and the world of today’s youth.

The Pope called upon the youth to, “Become the new soul of humanity by being credible witnesses of the Church’s mission to the world.” He noted that, “We can only be Christ’s missionaries if we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit.”

Showing that he knows the culture’s fear of the faith, Benedict told the youth that, “Today it’s more necessary than ever to present the Gospel and witness to the faith. Some people see giving witness to their faith as being intolerant, but … representing Christ doesn’t mean imposing Christ. In the end, only Christ can fulfill man’s innermost desires.”

The Pope closed his message to the youth by telling them that as Australia is preparing to welcome them, Australia and all of Oceania is also preparing for a New Evangelization. Thus, “as we prepare our pilgrimage to Sydney we must prepare ourselves for a new Pentecost for the Church and humanity, in the Third Millennium.”

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI: "Put an end to the pointless slaughters of war and do not forget the mistakes of the past!"

Sunday Angelus

The Holy Father during today's Angelus in Lorenzago di Cadore

Lorenzago di Cadore, Jul 22, 2007 / 09:33 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI has made an impassioned plea to end the “pointless slaughters” of wars and not to forget the mistakes of the past that have led to such conflicts.

Addressing a large crowd in the central piazza of Lorenzago di Cadore where he is spending his summer vacation, the Pope stressed that God’s plan was never for violence but for mankind to live in peace with Him and one another.

“In these days of rest that, thanks be to God, I am spending here in Cadore, I hear ever more intensely the painful impact of the news I receive of bloody clashes and violent episodes happening in so many parts of the world”, the Pope said.

“This prompts me to reflect again on the drama of human freedom in the world. The beauty of nature reminds us that we have been placed by God to ‘cultivate and protect’ this ‘garden’ that is the earth”, he continued. “If men could live in peace with God and with each other the world would really resemble a ‘paradise’”.

AP - Sun Jul 22, 8:43 AM ET

Pope Benedict XVI arrives to deliver the traditional Angelus prayer in Lorenzago di Cadore, near Belluno, Italy, Sunday, Sunday, July 22, 2007. Benedict XVI called Sunday for an end to all wars, saying they were 'useless slaughters'' that bring hell to paradise on Earth. Benedict plans to stay in Lorenzago, near Italy's border with Austria, until July 27, when he moves to the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo, in the hills south Rome. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Vatican words rile some Protestants

Michael Miller

Peoria Journal Star
Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Vatican's statement last week on the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church has riled some non-Catholic Christians in the ecumenical movement, but Catholic leaders and some Protestants are saying it's nothing to be concerned about and certainly nothing new.

The statement, released July 10, affirmed Catholic teaching that "Christ established here on earth only one Church. . . . This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic . . . subsists in the Catholic Church."

The document also said that Orthodox churches, while having apostolic succession, or authority handed down from Jesus' apostles, are "wounded" and that Protestant churches are "defective" although they still can be used by God for salvation purposes.

An ecumenical officer with the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops said the document "is aimed primarily at bishops and Catholic theologians to remind them of some of the key elements of Catholic doctrine."

According to the Rev. James Massa, executive director of the USCCB's department of ecumenical and interreligious affairs, the statement says that "Christ is present in these other Christian communities and churches achieving God's purposes."

One of the difficulties of addressing or interpreting such a document is that non-Catholics listening to the Vatican talk to its own theologians and bishops can miss the context.

"(Cardinal Walter) Kasper made the point that this is saying the Protestant communities are not churches in the sense by which Catholics define themselves as a church," Massa said. "They (Protestants) call themselves churches. We recognize that they have the right to define themselves as churches."

On the other hand, "I don't think they'd want to define themselves as the church in the way that the Catholic Church defines itself."

In a July 12 statement, Bishop Daniel Jenky of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria referred to "sensational treatment" of the Vatican document. He said that "This highly technical instruction is really only a restatement of the decrees of the Second Vatican Council."

"As the bishop of Peoria, I would like also to clearly state my conviction that those who call Jesus their Lord, accept the authority of Scripture and pray to our father are Christian believers and therefore my brothers and sisters in faith," Jenky said.

Some of those "brothers and sisters in faith" weren't so enamored with the document, though.

"Similar statements and perspectives precipitated the 16th-century Reformation nearly 500 years ago," said Gerald Kieschnick, president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in a statement. "At that time Martin Luther said, 'Popes and councils can err.' Apparently that is still true today."

However, Kieschnick said that the LCMS looks "forward to the continuation of our theological dialogues with Roman Catholic leaders in discussion of this very important matter and to strengthening our common witness on such matters as the sanctity of life."

That "sanctity of life" movement is one of several where Catholics and other Christians participate on a grass-roots level. Another area of cooperation is the Cursillo renewal movement, which in the Diocese of Peoria has historically been marked by Protestant involvement. Such interaction will probably continue without a noticeable hitch.

Friday, July 20, 2007

AP - Fri Jul 20, 7:16 AM ET

In this photo made available by Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano Friday, July 20, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI sits outside an Italian Rangers hut in the Parco dei Sogni, Dreams' Park, near Lorenzago di Cadore in the Italian Alps. Benedict plans to stay in Lorenzago, near Italy's border with Austria, until July 27, when he moves to the papal summer retreat at Castel Gandolfo, in the hills south of Rome. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, ho)
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Vatican City State enters the digital world

Vatican City, Jul 19, 2007 / 09:00 am (CNA).- The Vatican City State has ventured forth into the digital world today by launching a sharply designed Internet portal. The new site (http://www.vaticanstate.va/) comes as a response to the ever increasing number of requests by pilgrims and tourists for information about the world’s smallest city state.

The new website, will run alongside the official Holy See website (http://www.vatican.va/), and has been implemented in five languages (Italian, English, French, Spanish and German) with Portuguese soon to be added.

The offices of the various entities within the 109 acre sovereignty are represented by the categories: State and Government, Services, Other Institutions, Monuments and Shop. A communiqué about the site says that the portal "presents the State's bodies, the key monuments with descriptions and images, and useful time schedules for the public.”

The site also offers a photo tour of the Vatican Gardens, as well as real time access via five webcams to some of the most famous sights: the dome of St. Peter's, St. Peter's Square, a panoramic view of Rome, the tomb of John Paul II and the palace of the Governorate.

The new portal will also soon add some features that stamp collectors and museum buffs will be quite excited about. According to the site designers, "visitors will soon be able to purchase Vatican coins, stamps and other articles available from the Vatican Museum's publications and reproductions sales office."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Vatican denies pope celebrates Latin Mass privately

18 Jul 2007

The Vatican says that Pope Benedict concelebrates his daily morning Mass in Italian using the current edition of the Roman Missal, denying claims that he is using the Tridentine rite.

Claims that the pope celebrates his private Mass using the Tridentine rite are incorrect, Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi said, according to Catholic News Service.

The Tridentine Mass is the Latin-language liturgy that predates the Second Vatican Council; it was last revised in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal.

Less than 10 days after Pope Benedict issued his letter on 7 July providing greater opportunity for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, news reports claimed Pope Benedict already had been celebrating the old rite privately.

"The confusion probably was caused by our footage of the pope celebrating facing the altar, which is due to the fact that the altar is against the wall" in the private chapel of the Apostolic Palace, Fr Lombardi said.

With the altar against the wall, the concelebrants in the private chapel end up having their backs toward the congregation during the eucharistic prayer, he told Catholic News Service.

Fr Lombardi also said the fact that the pope's two private secretaries concelebrate the Mass with him each morning "obviously means he is using the new Missal," since the Tridentine Mass strictly limits concelebration.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pope Benedict uses older ritual for his private Mass

Vatican, Jul. 16, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news), who recently issued a motu proprio allowing all Catholic priests to celebrate the old Latin Mass, uses the older ritual himself for his private Mass, CWN has learned.

Informed sources at the Vatican have confirmed reports that the Holy Father regularly celebrates Mass using the 1962 Roman Missal.

In his motu proprio Summorum Pontificum the Pope says that the older form-- the form in universal use before the liturgical changes that followed Vatican II-- was never abrogated.

Since becoming Roman Pontiff, Benedict XVI has always used the new ritual-- which he identifies in Summorum Pontificum as the "ordinary form" of the Roman rite-- for public celebrations of the Eucharistic liturgy. However few people have witnessed the Pope celebrating his private daily Mass.

Unlike his predecessor John Paul II, who regularly invited visitors to attend the Mass that he celebrated each morning in his private chapel, Benedict XVI has made it his regular practice to celebrate Mass with only a few aides. The Pope's closest associates have established a reputation for preserving confidences.

Pope Benedict has long been known as an ardent defender of the Catholic liturgical tradition. In the early 1990s he raised eyebrows in Rome by writing a laudatory preface to the book The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, in which Msgr. Klaus Gamber decried many of the liturgical changes of the past few decades.

Then-Cardinal Ratzinger also traveled to Wigratzbad, in Bavaria, to ordain priests for the Fraternity of St. Peter, a group devoted to the use of the traditional liturgy. He performed those ordinations, as well as Mass on Easter Sunday in 1990, using the 1962 Roman Missal.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The SSPX Response to Benedict’s Motu Proprio

Catholic Culture
Posted Jul. 16, 2007 5:35 PM

by Dr. Jeff Mirus

The news is a few days old, but I haven’t had a chance to comment on it. The head of the Society of St. Pius X has described the expansion of use of the 1962 Missal as “not a step, but a leap in the right direction.” He also holds out hope for another conciliatory step: the lifting of the decree of excommunication against SSPX bishops.

SSPX leader Bishop Bernard Fellay says that Vatican officials have suggested to him that it will be easier to get the excommunication lifted than it was to get the Motu Proprio issued. Perhaps, but in Summorum Pontificum Benedict himself seemed to caution against optimism by noting that the issues dividing the SSPX from the Catholic Church are at a deeper level than the liturgy. These issues have yet to be effectively addressed, so there is a long way to go.

Benedict has also indicated that he wants his pontificate to be marked by reconciliation within the Church, and I have no doubt that he would lift the excommunication once enough progress is made, if he thought doing so would restore unity. Obviously he would have to be very careful, probably requiring at least a private agreement in advance that Bishop Fellay and his brothers within the SSPX would henceforth be obedient to the Pope. Otherwise, there would be no point.

Quite apart from such speculation, there is one thing Bishop Fellay said which I feel bound to question. He said that the wider use of the 1962 Missal would bring “extraordinary supernatural assistance at a time of grave crisis.” Without claiming to know the Bishop’s intention, this sounds rather too much like another slur against the validity of the novus ordo. Otherwise, why should Bishop Fellay expect “extraordinary supernatural assistance” just because more people might be celebrating Mass according to the older form?

Is the Sacrifice of Christ less potent in the novus ordo? No, the infinite power is still there. As always, it is our receptivity which must be heightened. And even if one prefers the 1962 Missal, there are very good spiritual reasons to doubt that one has a greater opportunity to gain grace from the liturgy one finds most pleasing. In fact, maintaining the right attitude in unpleasant circumstances is likely to be worth substantially more.

Is this an argument for bad liturgy? No, but it is an argument for proper dispositions and against statements about “extraordinary supernatural assistance” based on liturgical preference. If emotional consolation is what we’re after, then by all means let us hold out for the liturgy of our choice. But if we really want extraordinary supernatural assistance, the best course is to avail ourselves of Christ’s saving power, obediently and joyfully, in whatever form the Church provides.

Latin Mass excites Catholic traditionalists in North Jersey

Women wore traditional lace head coverings during the Latin Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Chapel in Pequannock.

The Record
Monday, July 16, 2007


The strict Catholic couple travel 30 miles each Sunday to attend church.

Paul and Margaret Papendick tried worshiping at several parishes closer to their home in Waldwick, but didn't like the changes made in the Roman Catholic Mass during the 1960s and 1970s.

"They took the Latin Mass away from us," Margaret said. "And spirituality was the first thing that left."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Pope hopes to visit N.Y. in 2008

Courier-Post - 30 minutes ago
Sunday, July 15, 2007

Associated Press Writer

LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy (AP) -- Pope Benedict XVI hopes to visit New York and Lourdes, France, in 2008, and plans to deliver an important speech to diplomats during his upcoming trip to Vienna, the Vatican spokesman said Sunday.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi didn't specify what the speech would cover during the pope's Sept. 7-9 trip to Austria, but Vienna is the headquarters of the U.N. nuclear agency. Lombardi said Benedict would deliver an "internationally important" speech to diplomats accredited to Vienna-based international organizations.

He said early plans are under way for a papal trip next year to the shrine at Lourdes, to mark the 150th anniversary of the apparition of the Madonna. The trip will also be a significant emotional one, Lombardi said, since Pope John Paul II's last foreign trip was to Lourdes.

"We also hope to go to the United Nations," Lombardi said. No date for the trip has been set; heads of state and government gather each September in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly session.

Get closer to God during vacation, Pope says

Pope Benedict XVI walks at his holiday retreat in Lorenzago di Cadore, northern Italy July 11, 2007. (REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

The Boston Globe
July 15, 2007

LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy (Reuters) - Vacation should be a time for Christians not only to relax but to get closer to God, Pope Benedict said on Sunday from his mountain retreat in the Italian Dolomites.

"Every good Christian knows that vacation is the time to rest the body but also to nurture the spirit through more time for prayer and meditation, to grow in one's personal relationship with Christ and follow his teachings ever more closely," he said.

The 80-year-old Pope was speaking at his regular Sunday blessing amid the tall pines surrounding a church-owned estate in the Dolomite mountains north of Venice where he is on a three-week private retreat.

"Amid this sight of fields, woods, and peaks pointing to the sky, the desire to praise God for the wonders of his works rises spontaneously in the soul and our admiration for this natural beauty is easily transformed into prayer," he said.

Reuters - Sun Jul 15, 11:24 AM ET

Pope Benedict XVI is presented with a gift from a boy at the end of his Angelus prayer at Mirabello castle in Lorenzago di Cadore, northern Italy, July 15, 2007. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano (ITALY)
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To Love Means to Act Like the Good Samaritan

Pope Benedict addressing those gathered in Lorezango di Cadore for the Angelus

Lorenzago di Cadore, Jul 15, 2007 / 10:56 am (CNA).- From a red-draped balcony of the Castle of Mirabello, next to the villa where the Pope is residing for his days of vacation, the Holy Father addressed a few words of encouragement and spiritual guidance to the faithful, mostly citizens of the mountain town of Lorenzago, in his Sunday Angelus address.

Drawing on the figure of the Good Samaritan from today’s Gospel, Benedict XVI noted that this passage, “leads us into the heart of the message of the Gospel: love for God and love for our neighbor.”

Answering the question “who is my neighbour?”, Jesus turns the question on the questioner, “stating that each one of us must make himself the neighbour of every person he meets. “Go and do the same!’”

The Pope noted that loving means acting like the Good Samaritan. “We know”, he continued, “that the Good Samaritan par excellence is Jesus Himself: though being God, he did not hesitate to lower himself to the point of becoming man and giving his life for us.”

The Holy Father greeted those who were on vacation and commented, “before this spectacle of valleys, forests, and mountains extending towards the heavens, there arises spontaneously in the soul the desire to praise God for the marvels of his works”.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Do you want the Latin Mass in your parish?

Causa Nostrae Laetitiae
Thursday, July 12, 2007

A blogger called Lumen Gentleman has formed a search engine by which those of us who wish to request the Latin Mass in our parish, across the nation, or across the world can find one another.

If you register, your email will not be given out, but others can send you messages via the database, which you may respond to. I found 8 contacts here on Long Island alone.

Why don't you register, and see how many of us are interested near you? Armed with this knowlege, we could ask our Bishop for a personal parish (Latin Mass only). He said the response has been overwhelming, proving that interest in the Latin Mass is just beginnning to experience a revival. Here's the link.

Father Cantalamessa on Jesus

"Between History and … History"

ROME, JULY 14, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of a talk given in Rome by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on historical research concerning Jesus.

* * *

Talk given at a public debate held in Rome
12 May 2007

1. Jesus, between history and … history

It seems to me that, more basic than the alternative expressed in the title, "Jesus, between history and theology," is the alternative, "Jesus, between history and history." The notion of a rectilinear, univocal form of historical research concerning Jesus, leading progressively to a clear and complete picture of him is a myth which no serious historian of our day would claim to validate.

Leaving aside the diachronic variations -- that is to say, the historical reconstructions of Jesus that have come, one after the other, during the last two centuries -- let me look for a moment at the synchronic views, that is, those that have arisen simultaneously in one epoch, our own.

In the new introduction to her work: "From Jesus to Christ. The origins of the images of Jesus in the New Testament," Paula Fredriksen, Professor at Boston University, writes: "Paperbacks proliferate as the range of portraits of Jesus broadens. In recent scholarship, Jesus has been imagined and presented as a type of first-century shaman figure; as a Cynic-sort of wandering wise man; as a visionary radical and social reformer preaching egalitarian ethics to the destitute; as a Galilean regionalist alienated from the elitism of Judean religious conventions (like Temple and Torah); as a champion of national liberation and, on the contrary, as its opponent and critic -- on and on. All these figures are presented with rigorous academic argument and methodology; all are defended with appeals to the ancient data. Debate continues at a roiling pitch, and consensus -- even on issues so basic as what constitutes evidence and how to construe it -- seems a distant hope."[1]

Friday, July 13, 2007

"Fidelity To This Mass Was Never Disobedience"

Inside the Vatican
(Newsflash July 13/07)

The head of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (founded by Archbishop Lefebvre) sees the motu proprio as absolving his group of blame in the break with Rome

- by Bishop Bernard Fellay

Note: We received today at Inside the Vatican the following letter from Bishop Bernard Fellay, the head of the Society of St. Pius X, on the July 7 motu proprio on the liturgy published by Pope Benedict XVI. We publish the letter in its entirety, so that our readers may see how Fellay is interpreting the document.

We note that Fellay's remarks are marked by caution.

He opens with thanks to the Holy Father, but then immediately makes this main point: that he is cautious about this document because he feels the great battle over the liturgy -- over which rite will be celebrated in the Church, and when and how often -- still lies ahead, and depends in considerable measure on the attitude and decisions of many bishops around the world who have not yet made clear their own positions. This seems prudent on his part. It is an attitude of "wait and see."

Moreover, Fellay rightly notes something of great importance: that implicit in this motu proprio of Benedict's is Benedict's conviction, and, consequently, his assertion, that what happened at and after the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) was not a rupture with Church tradition. And Fellay rightly notes the corollary: that for those who would contest that assertion (as the Lefebvrists do) the time has arrived for an open dialogue -- for a debate.

This letter is, then, in effect, an offer to begin talking openly. As such, it is quite positive, for open discussion of disputed points is the only chance to settle them without force and coercion of consciences. And in this matter, as Rome seems to have recognized, debate and persuasion are necessary, for the existence of the Lefebvrist group, with its several hundred priests and perhaps 1 million laity who often have very large families, is a simple "fact" which evidently is not going away.

We note one other thing: in 1988, Joseph Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, directed the discussions held at that time with Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in order to reconcile Lefebvre with Rome. Those discussions very nearly led to Lefebvre's reconciliation with Rome.

Lefebvre signed a "protocol of agreement" in early May in Rome, then went out to Albano, near Castel Gandolfo, where his headquarters were. That night, he stayed up almost the entire night in prayer, and the following morning he withdrew his consent from the document he had signed.

He then went on seven weeks later, against Pope John Paul II's express wishes, to ordain Fellay and three other bishops, at the end of June in Switzerland, which led to his excommunication -- the only open schism since the Second Vatican Council.

Ratzinger has said on different occasions that he regarded that breakdown in his attempt to "head off" the Lefebvrist schism as one of his greatest failures. And so it is not wrong to see his issuance of the motu proprio as directed, at least in part, to overcoming that failure, and healing the schism.

In this context, the letter of Fellay, the successor of Lefebvre, takes on a special, almost personal importance, in this pontificate. -- The Editor

The Letter of Bishop Bernard Fellay
July 7, 2007

Dear Faithful,

The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of July 7, 2007 re-establishes the Tridentine Mass in its legal right. In the text it is clearly acknowledged that it was never abrogated. And so fidelity to this Mass -- for the sake of which so many priests and lay people have been persecuted, or even severely punished, for almost forty years -- this fidelity was never disobedience. Today it is only right and just to thank Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre for having maintained us in this fidelity to the Mass of all times in the name of true obedience, and against all the abuses of power. Also there is no doubt that this recognition of the right of the traditional Mass is the fruit of the vast number of rosaries offered up to Our Lady during our Rosary Crusade last October; let us not forget now to express to her our gratitude.

Beyond the re-establishment of the Mass of Saint Pius V in its legitimate right, it is important to study the concrete measures issued by the Motu Proprio and the justification given by Benedict XVI in the letter which accompanies the text:

- By right, the practical measures taken by the pope must enable the traditional liturgy -- not only the Mass, but also the sacraments -- to be celebrated normally. This is an immense spiritual benefit for the whole Church, for the priests and faithful who were hitherto paralyzed by the unjust authority of the bishops. However, in the coming months it remains to be seen how these measures will be applied in fact by the bishops and parish priests. For this reason, we will continue to pray for the pope so that he may remain firm following this courageous act.

The Vatican One-Two Punch

Spirit & Life®
“The words I spoke to you are spirit and life.” (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 01, Number 75 Friday, July 13, 2007

Fr. Tom Euteneuer

What a breath of fresh air has just issued from the Vatican this week with the publication of two documents on the Mass and the Church. Pope Benedict XVI has lived up to his vocation to "strengthen the brethren" in their faith (Lk 22:32) with these teachings, and as a result, this healthy wind of truth has made us decidedly clear-headed about our identity as Catholics.

Just to recap, on Saturday (which, incidentally, was 070707) the Holy Father issued his document clarifying that the Traditional Mass was never abrogated and returning permission to every single priest in the world to celebrate it. Three days later he issued a document clarifying that the Catholic Church is the one, true Church that Christ founded. These are not theological treatises per se. Rather, they are doctrinal clarifications about precise issues that Catholics need to be clear about in order to, well, be real Catholics. With candor and precision, Benedict sidelined all the muddled theology about the Mass and the Church with a solid one-two punch to the "erroneous interpretations" of the Second Vatican Council as he called them which have been confusing Catholics for four decades. The former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of only two Cardinals at the last conclave who actually attended Vatican II, so he speaks with more than a little authority about that Council. He invented no new teachings and issued nothing that should have been surprising to anyone, but he has fed our minds and spirits with a healthy dose of truth. That, after all, is what doctrine is for.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Gratitude for Summorum Pontificum

Catholic Exchange

James Bemis
July 11, 2007

Last weekend, Pope Benedict XVI released his motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, which enables the greater use of the Pre-Vatican II liturgy, now commonly known as the Tridentine Latin Mass. Under Summorum Pontificum, any priest who is "worthy and not impeded by law" may celebrate the Tridentine Mass and in parishes where a group of faithful that "exists stably" requests celebration of the Old Mass, the pastor should "willingly accede to their requests."

Thus far, the reaction to Summorum Pontificum reported in news accounts has been overwhelmingly negative, probably due to the mass media's instinctive hatred of anything traditional. Among the reasons frequently cited for the opposition to the Pope's move are that most people do not understand Latin, a wider use of the Tridentine Mass could cause divisiveness in parishes, and various complaints from special interest groups, both inside and outside the Church, many of which seem either ignorant or to have missed the point entirely.

Well, let at least one voice be raised in favor of Summorum Pontificum: I am delighted with the motu proprio and very grateful to the Holy Father for this immense and generous gift.

Before my conversion, my image of the Catholic Church was formed by the Latin Mass, then the Roman Catholic Church's primary form of worship. Even before I understood Catholicism, I could easily see how it differed from the Episcopal Church in which I was raised. By virtue of its liturgy, the Catholic Church was its own Thing — there was nothing on earth remotely like it.

When thinking of the Catholic Church, I visualized the elaborate and mysterious ritual I had seen in countless television shows and movies. For when Hollywood wanted to show the reverent, the sacred or practically anything else having to do with religion, it was the Catholic Church and her sacraments that best provided the visualization of the tangible presence of the supernatural in human life. Like many, I was attracted to It without really knowing what It really was. But there is something strange and yet familiar about the whole atmosphere of Catholic worship, much having to do with use of the beautiful sounding Latin, a language you could love without knowing a word of it.

By the time I converted in 1983, of course, the liturgy had changed drastically from what I expected. Over the years, I attended folk masses, rock masses, and children's masses, where kids frolicked in the sanctuary while Father tried to keep us focused on the liturgy; listened to weepy, sentimental songs at Mass whose melodies echoed the Top 40; saw receiving the Eucharist in the hand appear and altar rails disappear; watched as priests became scarce and altar girls abundant. But in all that time there was one thing I never saw: the ancient liturgy that formed my notion of what made Catholicism special in the first place.

It was at least fifteen years after converting before I attended a Traditional Latin Mass. Although the ritual was different, somehow I immediately felt like I had arrived back home. This was the Catholicism that I unconsciously had known without really knowing it, the Faith to which I instinctively reacted before actually encountering it.

Although finding a Tridentine Mass in my area (Los Angeles archdiocese) is difficult and the times inconvenient, I attend one whenever possible. To me, nothing conveys the richness and sense of the supernatural the way the Old Mass does: its magnificent prayers constantly remind us that the Mass is, first and foremost, a Eucharistic Sacrifice; the beautiful, strictly defined rubrics; the wonderful ancient hymns that contain not a hint of pop schmaltz about them; the solemn reception of the Body and Blood of Our Lord kneeling and on the tongue; and, at the end of Mass, the reading of the beginning of John's Gospel, perhaps the most profound words ever written.

AP - Thu Jul 12, 2:53 PM ET

An elderly woman peers down from a balcony adorned with flowers and a Vatican flag as she waits for a glimpse of Pope Benedict XVI as he passes by in Lorenzago di Cadore, near Belluno, Italy, Thursday, July 12, 2007. The Pontiff began his Alpine vacation Monday in this mountain resort of the Dolomites where he will remain until July 27. Benedict's private vacation was described as a 'period of rest,' although the 80-year-old pontiff has two scheduled appearances, on July 15 and July 22, to deliver the traditional Sunday noon Angelus prayer. (AP Photo/Alberto Pellaschiar)
Enlarge photo...

Schismatic bishop calls Motu Propio on 1962 Missal historic “leap”

Bishop Bernard Fellay

Madrid, Jul 12, 2007 / 10:30 am (CNA).- In an exclusive interview with the Spanish daily “La Razon,” the superior general of the Lefebvrites, Bishop Bernard Fellay, said Benedict XVI’s Motu Propio allowing universal use of the Missal of 1962 as an extraordinary form of celebrating the Mass “is not a step, it’s a leap” of historic proportions.

The schismatic bishop spoke with journalist Vittorio Messori from the general house of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. The movement boasts of 481 priests, 90 lay brothers, 206 nuns, 6 seminaries, 117 monasteries, 82 schools, 6 university institutes, 450 places of worship in 62 countries and at least half a million followers.

According to La Razon, Fellay’s reactions are “more positive than what anyone who knows the complexity of the ongoing case with the Holy See for more than 20 years could have expected: the Mass, not only in Latin, but according to the ancient rite, has always been the rallying cry of the Lefebvrists. But dissidents have always insisted on the fact that the new Eucharistic liturgy is nothing more than the expression of an orientation that is unacceptable in many aspects, adopted after Vatican II by the Catholic Church.

Thus, in certain traditionalist circles, it has often been said that a decree such as the one approved by Pope Ratzinger would not only be insufficient, but would in some way be a distraction and would reinforce the ambiguities.”

Nevertheless, Fellay said, “This is a truly historic day. We desire to express our profound gratitude to Benedict XVI. His document is a gift of Grace. It’s not a step; it’s a leap in the right direction.”

In addition, Fellay said the “normalization” of the Mass, “which does not belong to St. Pius VI but rather has always belonged to the Church,” is “an act of justice, it’s a supernatural extraordinary help in times of grave ecclesial crisis.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

With major moves, question is whether Benedict will be a 'St. Michael Pope'

Spirit Daily
By Michael H. Brown

There was the rumor, the impression, the word from the start of his pontificate that Benedict XVI was not so much interested in a large Church, an expansive Church, a growing Church, as one that was true to its calling -- that was perhaps even what might be called a remnant.

There were those who said the Pope even desired to make it smaller, if that's what it took to bring it back to the early devotion of Christianity.

He'd rather have a smaller Church, if necessary, but one that was ridded of modern claptrap, that was purified.

And there it was last week: His Holiness making it clear that he was all for unity and bringing followers of Lefebvre back into the fold (and growth, if growth came without compromise), but that he was most interested in restoring majesty: the way things were before matters began to go terribly wrong after 1970.

In one fell swoop, the complexion of the Church had been altered, at least temporarily.

It was older again. It was grander. There was now the memory of a priest facing the altar of God, of deep silence, of august reverence. One observer has called it the "Benedictine Reform."

It was to be seen how far this would go.

At the same time -- not a week after Benedict lifted restrictions on the Latin Mass -- the Vatican issued a document through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that declared all non-Catholic Christian churches to be legitimate churches but ones that were "wounded": not real "churches" with a capital "C."

Non-Catholics can find salvation -- can go to Heaven, the Vatican says -- but there is something missing, Rome also has said since 2000.

The document, issued by Benedict's successor in doctrinal matters, Cardinal William Levada, aimed to correct what it called "erroneous or ambiguous" interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, which took place from 1962 to 1965.

We are the Mother Church, he was declaring. We are not going to pretend we are not the Mother Church. We prepared the very documents that are known as the Bible. We are the oldest institution on earth. This is the way we begin ecumenical discussion.

And we are not going to wash away. We are not going to compromise, not to the extent we have. The dilutions of past concessions are now going to be thickened with the majesty of true devotion -- rectified in a stronger fort.

Motu Proprio is meant for those faithful to Vatican II and will change nothing for most Catholics, says Cardinal Ricard

Rome, Jul 11, 2007 / 10:37 am (CNA).- Cardinal Jean Pierre Ricard, president of the Bishops’ Conference of France, said this week the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum by Pope Benedict XVI “is intended for Catholics faithful to the Pope and respectful of the authority of the Council (Vatican II) and who desire to use the 1962 Missal.”

In noting that “the ancient liturgy has nourished the faith of the faithful during centuries and can still do so today,” Cardinal Ricard said Vatican II was not a “break” but rather a continuation of the tradition of the Church. He stressed that by issuing the document, Pope Benedict is calling on “the council faithful and the traditionalists to begin a journey towards reconciliation and communion.”

The Pope greatly desires “the unity of Catholics, he wants to favor reconciliation and reconcile the Church with her liturgical past. It’s also a gesture towards the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre, but the Pope knows that in this case the differences are not only liturgical,” the cardinal said.

He emphasized that the “Missal of 1970 remains the ordinary form of celebration. This is not bi-ritualism but rather one rite that can be celebrated in two ways. For most Catholics nothing will change,” the cardinal stated.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pope Benedict Continues His "Benedictine Reform" by Stressing Catholic Identity

Inside the Vatican
(Newsflash July 10/07)

A document published today by the Holy See reaffirms the traditional teaching that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ

by Dr. Robert Moynihan

VATICAN CITY, July 10, 2007 -- Just three days after Pope Benedict XVI published his motu proprio allowing wider use of traditional Latin Mass in the Catholic Church, the Vatican doctrinal office he used to head, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, today published a brief text on one of the most controversial passages, and words, from the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), and in so doing reaffirmed the traditional Catholic teaching that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ.

In our view, this is part of a continuing series of decisions and initiatives, beginning with the liturgy motu proprio on July 7, 2007, to increase the sense of Roman Catholic identity in the face of many challenges posed by the modern world. The Pope's intent, it seems clear, is to lessen confusion in the Church, and at the same time to reinforce the sense of Catholic identity over against a type of exaggerated ecumenism in which all Christian communities are increasingly, in practice, regarded as equally valid expressions of Christian faith.

Why is the Congregation publishing this text at this time, so soon after the motu proprio? The answer is not clear. Perhaps the text, which has been in preparation for some time, was simply completed now, and so was published. But there is one scheduled encounter later this year, in Ravenna, Italy, in October, between Catholic and Orthodox theologians, where the identity of the Church and the role of the Pope in that identity will be at the center of the discussion. It is in a certain sense opportune, then, that this document appear now, before October.

As we stated on July 7, we expect more such initiatives in the near future.

(We note in passing something many have already noted on the internet: that the date July 7, 2007, may be written in shortened form as 7/7/7. Speaking a bit humorously, some internet bloggers have asked whether the Vatican chose the date 7/7/7 to issue the motu proprio knowing that it would seem like a "lucky" date and one very different from the number 6/6/6 given in the Book of Revelation as the number of the Beast, who is against Christ (the "Anti-Christ"). We do not wish to engage in numerology, but we do think it may be a useful aid to memory for Catholics, and others, trying to remember when Pope Benedict's "Benedictine Reform" was launched: on 7/7/7.)

Here below, we provide a report on the new document by long-time Vatican journalist, and friend, John Thavis of Catholic News Service, whose work is generally clear, precise and documented with solid facts.

We then provide the entire text of the new document, as released today by the Vatican.


Vatican congregation reaffirms truth, oneness of Catholic Church

By John Thavis

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In a brief document, the Vatican's doctrinal congregation reaffirmed that the Catholic Church is the one, true Church, even if elements of truth can be found in separated Churches and communities.

Touching an ecumenical sore point, the document said some of the separated Christian communities, such as Protestant communities, should not properly be called "Churches" according to Catholic doctrine because of major differences over the ordained priesthood and the Eucharist.

CDF explains Vatican II teaching on the Church in relation to other Christian churches

Reaffirmation of doctrine on salvation in the Church related to St. Pius X Society?

Vatican City, Jul 10, 2007 / 09:29 am (CNA).- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the leadership of Cardinal William Levada, issued a document today that provides further explanation of the teachings of Vatican II on the nature of the Church.

In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, some theologians have proposed interpretations of the Church’s teaching which have been in error and have “give[n] rise to confusion and doubt.” The purpose of this document is to dispel this confusion and bring greater clarity to the matter.

The issuance of these clarifications on the heels of Benedict's Motu Proprio, may signal an attempt by the Vatican to remove all possible barriers towards reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X. The society claims that the Church departed from the teaching that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church at the Second Vatican Council.

What follows is a summary form of the questions and answers. The full length document can be found in CNA’s documents section.

First Question: Did the Second Vatican Council change the Catholic doctrine on the Church?

Response: The Second Vatican Council neither changed nor intended to change this doctrine, rather it developed, deepened and more fully explained it.

Second Question: What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?

Response: Christ 'established here on earth' only one Church and instituted it as a 'visible and spiritual community', that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted. 'This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic. ... This Church, constituted and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him'.

Third Question: Why was the expression 'subsists in' adopted instead of the simple word 'is'?

Response: …It comes from and brings out more clearly the fact that there are 'numerous elements of sanctification and of truth' which are found outside her structure, but which 'as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards Catholic Unity.'

In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church.

Fourth Question: Why does the Second Vatican Council use the term 'Church' in reference to the oriental Churches separated from full communion with the Catholic Church?

Response: The Council wanted to adopt the traditional use of the term. 'Because these Churches, although separated, have true sacraments and above all - because of the apostolic succession - the priesthood and the Eucharist, by means of which they remain linked to us by very close bonds,' they merit the title of 'particular or local Churches,' and are called sister Churches of the particular Catholic Churches.

Fifth Question: Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of 'Church' with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?

Response: According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Lefebvre Successor Thanks Pope

Says Letter Restores Tradition to Church

MENZINGEN, Switzerland, JULY 9, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI's apostolic letter expanding the use of the 1962 missal returns to the Church its liturgical tradition, according to the Society of St. Pius X.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, who succeeded founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre as superior general of the society, said in a statement released to the press Saturday that "Summorum Pontificum" re-establishes the Missal of John XXIII in its rights and "clearly recognizes that it had never been abrogated."

The society "extends its deep gratitude to the Sovereign Pontiff for this great spiritual benefit," adds the superior general.

The statement of Bishop Fellay recognizes "difficulties that still remain," but the society "wishes that the favorable climate established by the new dispositions of the Holy See will make it possible -- after the decree of excommunication which still affects its bishops has been withdrawn -- to consider more serenely the disputed doctrinal issues."

"Not a Rejection of the Council"

Inside the Vatican
(Newsflash July 8/07)

In the Sunday, July 8, 2007 edition of Il Giornale, the respected Italian journalist, Andrea Tornielli, who has also written for Inside the Vatican, published the following interview with the President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, on the main aspects of Summorum Pontificum. The Ecclesia Dei commission is the body entrusted with overseeing the implementation of the "motu proprio."

What meaning does the Pope's decision have?

"The Pontiff's letter is clear. It is a decision which comes from the heart and from the mind of a Pope who loves and knows liturgy well. He wishes that the heritage represented by the ancient liturgy be preserved, without this representing any contradiction with the new Mass. Thousands of letters arrived in Rome from those who asked for the freedom to be able to participate in the old rite."

There have been those who said that Ratzinger thus "rejected" the Council...

"Benedict XVI has not walked or will walk, in any way or expression, on a path which is different from that indicated by the Council. The new Mass remains the ordinary Roman Rite. There is nothing in the motu proprio or in the papal letter which signals a minimal deviation from the Council. It may be appropriate to recall that Vatican II did not forbid the ancient Mass, which was celebrated by the Conciliar Fathers during sessions. No rejection, no offense. It is an encounter with the demands of groups of faithful, an act of liberality."

Is it an act of continuity or rupture in comparison to the Montini and Wojtyla pontificates?

"There is no contraposition. Paul VI granted the possibility to celebrate with the old rite soon after the coming into effect of the new Missal and Pope Wojtyla intended to prepare a Motu proprio similar to the one now promulgated."

Is the authority of the Bishop undermined?

"Those who have argued [so], have done so based on a prejudice, because the role of the Bishop rests assured, canon law does not change. It is the competence of the pastor of the diocese to coordinate the liturgy, in harmony with the supreme orderer, who is the Pope. In case of problems, the Bishop will intervene, always in agreement with the dispositions established by the motu proprio. I am certain that the pastoral sensibility of Bishops will find the way to favor the unity of the Church, helping to avoid a schism."

How do we deal with the Holy Friday prayer for the Jews?

"The authorized Missal is that of 1962, promulgated by John XXIII, in which the expression 'perfidis iudaeis' and 'iudaica perfidia' had already been removed."


Do you predict difficulties?

"I am not aware, in the History of the Church, of any moment in which important decisions have been taken without difficulty. But I strongly hope that they may be coped with and overcome, with the approach suggested by the Pope in his letter."
After this decision, the end of the rupture with the Lefebvrists is closer?

"With this Motu proprio, the door is widely opened [si spalanca la porta] for a return of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X to full communion. If, after this act, the return does not take place, I truly will not be able to comprehend. I wish to clarify, though, that the papal document has not been made for the Lefebvrists, but because the Pope is convinced of the need to underline that there is a continuity in the Tradition, and that in the Church one does not move forward by way of fractures. The ancient Mass has never been abolished nor forbidden." [Andrea Tornielli]

Bishops Welcome "Summorum Pontificum"

Responses to Instructions on 1962 Missal

WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 8, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Bishops are welcoming the letter of the Pope issued "motu proprio," on one's own initiative, concerning the expanded use of the Roman Missal promulgated by Pope John XXIII.

The monthly newsletter for June-July of the U.S. bishops' Committee on the Liturgy, released Saturday, was dedicated to the Pope's letter "Summorum Pontificum."

The newsletter provided a non-official translation of the document concerning the use of the 1962 missal, along with the explanatory letter to the bishops.

The liturgical committee also published an explanation, in the form of 20 questions and answers, on the apostolic letter itself, and an explanation, in the form of 10 questions and answers, on the difference between the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman Missal.

The bishops quoted heavily from the text of Benedict XVI's letter, and assured support for the document: "The Committee on the Liturgy and its Secretariat are charged by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops with the supervision of the implementation of the provisions of 'Ecclesia Dei Adflicta,' and will continue to provide support and advice on this important pastoral initiative."

Archbishop José Gomez of San Antonio, in a press statement released Saturday, said that he believes the letter "will open up great possibilities for reconciliation and unity with those who have shown great devotion to the Roman liturgy prior to the reform of 1970."

He added that he believes the document will "provide Catholics with the opportunity to better understand the continuity between" the former and current Roman Missals, and expressed hope that "people will be able to more clearly see the growth and progress we have realized since Vatican II, while at the same time preserving the rich heritage and legacy of the Church."

Reuters - Mon Jul 9, 9:45 AM ET

Pope Benedict XVI waves on his arrival for his annual holidays in Lorenzago di Cadore, northern Italy July 9, 2007. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo (ITALY)
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Mixed reviews for retro rule on Latin Mass

New York Post
By BEN FRUMIN with Post Wire Services

July 9, 2007 -- Pope Benedict XVI's decision to make it easier to celebrate the old Latin Mass got a decidedly mixed reaction at St. Patrick's Cathedral yesterday - with some lauding the nod to tradition and others fretting that it will turn off young people.

"The Catholic religion is one of tradition. When we did away with the traditional Latin Mass, we lost something. We lost meaning," said Dayne Baughman, 21, a senior from Kenyon College in Ohio who was visiting the famed Midtown church.

But Frances Ruth, 51, of Dublin, Ireland, argued that the move means "the Church is not going forward. And it should be."

Sally Maier, 56, of upstate Webster, said, "Older people, they might enjoy that [Mass]. But the younger people wouldn't understand what's going on."

The pope's decree Saturday allows proponents of the Latin Mass - largely tossed aside in favor of local-language Masses with Vatican reforms in the 1960s - to request that their priest offer the 400-year-old liturgy and, if denied, to appeal all the way to the Vatican.

The decree, which does away with the requirement that bishops approve such requests, has pleased traditionalists who miss the pageantry of the old Mass, during which the priest faces away from worshippers.

But the decision worries some who fear it will burden an already thin rank of priests, many of whom do not know how to say a Latin Mass.

"Where there are groups that want it, it's going to be a real pain in the neck for the pastor," said Father Tom Reese of Georgetown University.

Father Keith Pecklers, professor at Rome's Pontifical Gregorian University, said The pope's "desire, of course, is to help to foster unity. A concern on the part of many bishops is that . . . reaching out to this very small minority . . . will actually bring about disunity in the mainstream church."

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Benedict XVI--Every Christian is called to evangelize

Regina Caeli

Vatican City, Jul 8, 2007 / 08:51 am (CNA).- The Pope took the occasion of today's gospel to remind Christians that by their baptism they are all called to evangelize.

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,” the pope began, to a smaller than usual crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square, “today the Gospel presents Jesus who sends the seventy two disciples into the villages that he is going to visit, so that they may prepare the people.”

“The evangelist Luke underlines that the mission is not reserved to the twelve Apostles,” the Holy Father said. “There is work for all in the Lord's vineyards.”

Furthermore, “Jesus does not limit himself to sending out: he also gives the disciples precise instructions on their behavior...he sends them “two by two”, so that they may help each other and give a witness of fraternal love.”

That they will be “like sheep among wolves”, Benedict noted, means “that they must be peaceful, despite everything, and to bring into every place a message of peace.”

Concerned Catholics, rabbis and priests question revived Latin Mass

USA Today
Updated 2h 43m ago

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY

Pope Benedict XVI's decision to allow expanded use of the centuries-old Latin Mass, scarcely seen or heard in four decades, pleased traditionalists worldwide this weekend — and brought one critic to tears of dismay.

Traditionalists who have lobbied the pope for years for this are delighted with easier access to the age-old elaborate rites, rich with chants, gestures, and prayers that will sound the same for any Catholic worldwide.

Ever since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council swept in the modern Mass, celebrated in local languages with the priest facing the congregation, the long, complex Latin Mass has only been allowed when a bishop allowed the local priest to offer it. Benedict's decision allows any priest asked by congregants to offer it to do so — if they know how. Latin and the centuries old Tridentine Mass have not been taught in seminaries in 40 years.

Karen Hastreiter, 29, who never knew the Latin Mass as a child, praised the old Mass for its beauty. She told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Sometimes when I go to the English mass, there's just not that same sense of prayer. It really jumps out at you when you attend a mass that's really so God-centered. It's just a stark contrast.

That same contrast, however, sent Bishop Luca Brandolini, an Italian liturgy expert, into "mourning" for a conservative retrenchment that he sees threatening the reforms of Vatican II. He told the Rome daily La Repubblica" that " reform for which many people worked, with great sacrifice and only inspired by the desire to renew the Church, has now been cancelled."

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Unofficial translation of Pope Benedict XVI's July 7, 2007 Apostolic Letter

Summorum Pontificum
July 07, 2007 - By Benedict XVI

Apostolic Letter

In the form of "Motu Proprio"



The following unofficial translation has been prepared by the USCCB Secretariat for the Liturgy. Only the Latin original of the Apostolic Letter may be considered the official text.

It has always been the care of the Supreme Pontiffs until the present time, that the Church of Christ offer worthy worship to the Divine Majesty "for the praise and glory of his name" and "for the good of all his Holy Church."

As from time immemorial so in the future the principle shall be respected "according to which each particular Church must be in accord with the universal Church not only regarding the doctrine of the faith and sacramental signs, but also as to the usages universally handed down by apostolic and unbroken tradition. These are to be maintained not only so that errors may be avoided, but also so that the faith may be passed on in its integrity, since the Church's rule of prayer (lex orandi) corresponds to her rule of belief (lex credendi)." (1)

Among Pontiffs who have displayed such care there excels the name of Saint Gregory the Great, who saw to the transmission to the new peoples of Europe both of the Catholic faith and of the treasures of worship and culture accumulated by the Romans in preceding centuries. He gave instructions for the form of the Sacred Liturgy of both the Sacrifice of the Mass and of the Divine Office as was celebrated in the City. He made the greatest efforts to foster monks and nuns, who militating under the Rule of St Benedict, in every place along with the proclamation of the Gospel by their life likewise exemplified that most salutary expression of the Rule "let nothing be given precedence over the work of God" (ch. 43). In this way the sacred liturgy according to the Roman manner made fertile not only the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples. Moreover it is evident that the Latin Liturgy in its various forms has stimulated in the spiritual life very many Saints in every century of the Christian age and strengthened in the virtue of religion so many peoples and made fertile their piety.

Pope establishes the full return of the Tridentine Mass with new letter

Summorum Pontificum

Vatican City, Jul 7, 2007 / 04:59 am (CNA).- Today marks the historic issuance of Pope Benedict’s apostolic letter on the use of the Roman Missal of 1962. The much talked about letter begins with the Pope giving a history of the use of the Roman Missal, and then provides, among other things, an explanation of the purpose of this Motu Proprio.

Before launching into the history of the pre-Vatican II Missal, the Pope makes the distinction that while some believe that it was done away with by the liturgical reforms of Vatican II, this was never the case.

“I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted.”

In order for his new letter to be understood correctly, Benedict XVI gives his readers some historical context.

Liturgical History

Some have argued that since no new norms were given for the use of the old Missal that it was de facto discarded. However, the Pope responded that, “At the time of the introduction of the new Missal, it did not seem necessary to issue specific norms for the possible use of the earlier Missal. Probably it was thought that it would be a matter of a few individual cases which would be resolved, case by case, on the local level.”

“Afterwards, however, it soon became apparent that a good number of people remained strongly attached to this usage of the Roman Rite, which had been familiar to them from childhood.”

Friday, July 06, 2007

Vatican to release Benedict XVI's letter on the use of the Tridentine Mass tomorrow

CNA to publish letter Saturday morning

Vatican City, Jul 6, 2007 / 11:10 am (CNA).- The Vatican has announced that tomorrow at noon Rome time, the text of Pope Benedict’s Motu Proprio on the use of the pre-1970 Roman liturgy, Summorum Pontificum will be published.

Sources familiar with the document say that it is a well-balanced and thoughtfully composed document. The letter will address the use of the Tridentine Mass and how it will affect the unity of the Church, the authority of bishops, and the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council.

Some Jewish leaders have expressed fears that the letter will reinstate the use of prayers that they consider problematic. Benedict XVI’s decree will revive the 1962 rite for the celebration of the Mass, which includes prayers asking God to "take the veil" off Jewish hearts and show mercy "even for the Jews.”

Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a U.S.-based Jewish civil rights group, did not seem to be worried about the concerns raised by others.

"From second-hand sources, my understanding is they understand our concern, our sensitivity, our distress," Mr. Foxman said in Rome.

"And I think they're not about to add to that distress after all the efforts we've made with reconciliation."

CNA will publish Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum tomorrow morning at 7:00am EST.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

China's State-Backed Catholic Church Slams Cardinal, Vatican Over Rally

The Christian Post
By Maria Mackay
Christian Post Correspondent
Thu, Jul. 05 2007 06:18 PM ET

Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun has received criticism from the state-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association after taking part in a pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong that coincided with a series of events to mark 10th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong this past Sunday to protest the lack of progress towards full democracy in the city.

Prior to the march, Zen encouraged people to join in the march in order to voice their concerns over the deteriorating situation of marginalized people in the city, including those still living below the poverty line and those persecuted for defending human rights.

Liu Bainian, deputy head of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, criticized the cardinal’s decision to join the rally.

"If all Catholics in Hong Kong followed suit [by demonstrating], how can Hong Kong achieve stability? If the Vatican supports someone like him (Zen), how can it win China's trust?" Liu was quoted as saying by the South China Morning Post.

Last week, Pope Benedict XVI sent a reconciliatory letter to Chinese Catholics in which he appealed to China to respect religious freedom and said that the state-sanctioned church was “incompatible” with the Vatican’s rule of appointing its own bishops.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Benedict: St. Basil is “a man who shows us how to be truly Christian”

Vatican City, Jul 4, 2007 / 09:13 am (CNA).- In today’s catechesis on the early Church fathers, Pope Benedict focused on St. Basil. Referring to the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, the Holy Father called Basil a "light of the Church." The audience, attended by 12,000 people, began in St. Peter’s Basilica and then was continued in the Paul VI Hall.

St. Basil, the Pope explained, was born in the 4th century. "Dissatisfied with his worldly successes and ... attracted by Christ, ... he dedicated himself to a monastic life in prayer ... and in the practice of charity." The Church in both East and West, he added, "looks to him admiringly for the sanctity of his life, the excellence of his doctrine and the harmonic blend of his intellectual and practical gifts."

"Through his preaching and writing," this saint, who became bishop Caesarea in 370, "undertook an intense pastoral, theological and literary activity" and "supported the foundation of many 'fraternities' or communities of Christians consecrated to God, whom he visited frequently."

St. Basil "is one of the fathers of monasticism. ... He created a special form of monasticism, not closed to the local church community but open to it. ... His monks ran schools and hospitals and served the poor, thus demonstrating the integrity of their Christian life." These hospitals soon became the model for our modern hospitals.

While maintaining his concern with charity as a sign of faith, Basil "considered the liturgy as the focus of his life," and "was also a wise liturgical reformer. ... At his encouragement, the people came to know and love the Psalms. ... He was able to oppose heretics ... and dedicated his energies to healing divisions within the Church."

"Following a plan he had devised, he became apostle and minister of Christ, ... herald of the Kingdom of God, model and rule of piety, ... pastor of Christ's flock, pious doctor, father and nurse, God's helper and laborer, builder of the Lord's temple.

"This," the Pope concluded, "is the plan that the holy bishop passes on to us, especially to those who announce the Word. He was a man ... who showed us how to be truly Christian."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Vatican keeps house in order; reports budget surplus in 2006

Vatican Reports Budget Surplus of $3.2M
AP via Yahoo! Finance
Tuesday July 3, 1:19 pm ET

Vatican Reports Budget Surplus of $3.2 Million in 2006

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- The Vatican reported on Tuesday a narrow budget surplus of euro2.4 million (US$3.2 million) in 2006, down more than euro7 million from its strong financial showing the previous year.

In its annual financial report, the Vatican said it recorded revenues of euro227.8 million (US$310 million) against expenses of euro225.4 million (US$306 million) in 2006.

It gave no details or explanation of the figures, pending a news conference by financial officials Friday.

In recent years, Vatican accounts have been battered by labor costs and the costs of the Vatican's expanding worldwide diplomatic missions. Of the 2,704 people working in various offices of the Holy See, the Vatican said 1,600 are lay employees.

Many of the expenses are covered by payments from dioceses around the world.

The statement also said contributions to Peter's Pence -- individual donations to the pope, which are listed in dollars -- rose to US$101 million (euro74.3 million), up from US$73 million in 2005.

It also reported a positive result for the Vatican city-state, listing a surplus of euro21 million (US$29 million). Some 4.2 million people visited the Vatican museums last year, a major source of the revenue.

Church officials who examined the financial report Monday also discussed the need for new technology investments in its information division, which includes a daily newspaper, radio station and TV service, the statement said.

Tiny Vatican posts tidy budget surplus

From correspondents in Vatican City
July 04, 2007

THE world's smallest country knows how to keep its books in order.

The Vatican City posted a budget surplus of €2.4 million ($3.8 million) in 2006, it said today.

With 2704 religious and secular staff to pay, as well as the costs of diplomatic representations around the world, a TV and radio station, a daily newspaper and an Internet site, the headquarters of the Catholic Church has annual outgoings of almost €228 million ($363 million).

While it stayed in the black in 2006, the Vatican's surplus fell from the €9.7 million ($15.4 million) it reported for 2005.

Income for the Holy See - a separate country in the heart of Rome - comes from contributions from the faithful, stocks, bonds, other investments and real estate holdings.

The Vatican said Peter's Pence, the yearly collection taken in churches worldwide to help finance the Pope's international charitable works, totalled nearly $102 million in 2006, up from $60 million in 2005.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Papal Letter to Church in China is yanked from Chinese websites by government

Beijing, Jul 2, 2007 / 08:35 am (CNA).- Several Catholic websites that are housed in mainland China were forced by the government to remove the Pope’s letter to the Catholics in China from their website, reports UCA News.

As of today, some sites still have the full 19,763 Chinese character text, but these are mostly all run by Catholics that are “underground.”

At 6:00 p.m. Beijing time on the day that the letter was issued, several mainland Catholic websites had already been forced to substitute a simplified version of the letter for the full length one they had published only hours earlier.

A priest in charge of such a website registered with the government told UCA News on July 2 he felt helpless because he strongly believes that "China church websites should publish the pope's letter."

The priest, who asked not to be named, said some government officials came to his office on June 29 and asked about the letter but did not explicitly say he could not carry it. The next evening, he uploaded the letter to his site, but was told on July 1 morning he was not allowed to upload the text.

Other popular Catholic websites in China were warned to remove or not upload the letter. Some sites even informed their readers on June 29 that the long-awaited papal letter would be released the next evening, and urged their readers to watch for it and related reports. But since then, the same sites have only carried Vatican news since the government has refused to let the letter or any news about it be published.