Saturday, October 31, 2009

Celebrating 'All Hallows Eve' and the 'Feast of All Saints' in a Pre-Christian West

By Deacon Keith Fournier
Catholic Online (

'Halloween' comes from 'All Hallows Eve', the Vigil of the celebration of the Christian Feast of 'All Saints'.

The Feast of All saints is our family Feast day when we honor all those who have died, marked with the sign of faith, and gone on before us to be with the Lord. They now beckon all of us into the fullness of the communion of love.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) - I just tried to place my books down on the file drawer outside of my makeshift home office and had to move three carved smiling pumpkins out of the way. Our grandson and his mom, our daughter, live with us. I really should say we all live with him, given his ability to “occupy the turf” so to speak, with his toys and the amazing little world he has built. It ever reminds me of the gift of childhood. He has completely transformed our home. He will soon be three years old. He is a continual invitation to my wife and me to keep it simple. We raised five children of our own but have never achieved what people call the “empty nest” stage. They just seem to return home. Family truly is a way of life and, when lived as a domestic church, it is a source of real grace and conversion.

This year our grandson discovered a place he incessantly refers to in his adorable attempts at conversation as the ‘punkin patch’. I have heard so many stories about his two trips with his mom to the “punkin patch” that I could probably write a book. He is looking forward to “trick or treating” with his mom in our neighborhood this year and his excitement is contagious! He has his little “Dash” costume ready. For my readers unfamiliar with who “Dash” is, he is the little boy from the family of Super Heroes in the movie “The Incredibles” who can run really fast. I have seen the video at least five times. The day he tried the costume on we watched him run all over the house with the kind of joyful abandon we sadly lose as we “grow up.” So, pushing those pumpkins out of the way today to clear a spot for my books made me smile.

I hurriedly opened my laptop and read one of the news sources I often check, the UK “Daily Telegraph.” I knew I wanted to write on the Feast of All Saints. A report out of Rome bore this headline “Vatican condemns Halloween as anti-Christian.” However, a further read of the original source upon which the Telegraph reporter based his article in L’Observatore Romano, revealed a very different headline. The article in the Vatican paper was entitled 'The Dangerous Messages of Halloween.' The priest interviewed for the story warned that the celebration has sometimes been hijacked by occultism and encouraged parents to 'to be aware of this and try to direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty rather than terror, fear and death.' Good, sound advice for all of us.

“Halloween” comes from “All Hallows Eve”, the Christian Vigil of the celebration of the Christian Feast of “All Saints”. I contend that what it is becoming simply reflects the waning influence of the Christian vision in the West and presents an opportunity for Catholic Christians to do what we have always done, live like missionaries in our own culture. The Church has always recognized that cultural practices can be “mixed”, containing those aspects which elevate the human person and those which do not. However, members of the Church are invited to transform such cultural practices from within through our proper participation. That has been the missionary model of the Church for two millennia.

Many of the dates which were “Christianized” and now host Christian “Holy-Days” were originally utilized for “Pre-Christian” (“Pagan”) celebrations. This process reflects the wisdom of the Church and a missionary approach. She has “baptized” them, recognizing the seeds of what was good within them. By immersing them in the beauty of the proclamation of Jesus Christ, the fullness of truth and the source of all goodness, she transforms them into vehicles for transforming culture. The Church is His Body. She is meant to be the home of the whole human race. As the early fathers were fond of proclaiming, the Church is the world reconciled - the world in the process of transfiguration. We who live our lives in the Church do so for the sake of the world. We should not be afraid of human culture; we are called to continue the redemptive mission of our Lord by transforming it from within as leaven in a loaf.

Cardinal Levada: no “celibacy issue” in reception of Anglicans into Catholic Church

Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the CDF

Vatican City, Oct 31, 2009 / 12:13 pm (CNA).- In an extensive clarification released on Saturday by the Vatican press office, Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. made clear, on behalf of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Levada, that there is no “celibacy issue” delaying the publication of the Constitution that will establish the context in which Anglicans can be received into the Catholic Church.

In a statement released in English –breaking the common use of Italian- Fr. Lombardi explained that “there has been widespread speculation, based on supposedly knowledgeable remarks by an Italian correspondent Andrea Tornielli, that the delay in publication of the Apostolic Constitution regarding Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, announced on October 20, 2009, by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is due to more than ‘technical’ reasons.”

“According to this speculation, there is a serious substantial issue at the basis of the delay, namely, disagreement about whether celibacy will be the norm for the future clergy of the Provision,” Fr. Lombardi’s statement explains.

Responding to the speculations, which include suggestions that also celibacy in the Catholic Latin rite would be open to discussion, Fr. Lombardi offered the official comments of Cardinal Levada.

“Had I been asked I would happily have clarified any doubt about my remarks at the press conference. There is no substance to such speculation. No one at the Vatican has mentioned any such issue to me.”

According to Cardinal Levada, Pope Benedict’s Apostolic Constitution will be ready “by the end of the first week of November” and its delay “is purely technical in the sense of ensuring consistency in canonical language and references.”

See also from USA Today, "Vatican to accept married priests on case-by-case basis."

Friday, October 30, 2009

Vatican: pope to meet Anglican chief

AP via Yahoo! News
By FRANCES D'EMILIO, Associated Press Writer – Fri Oct 30, 2:29 pm ET

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI will meet with the Archbishop of Canterbury next month in the leaders' first encounter since the Catholic church moved to make it easier for disenchanted Anglicans to convert to Catholicism, a Vatican spokesman said Friday.

Archbishop Rowan Williams, the Anglican leader, was already due to visit Rome in November for ceremonies at a pontifical university to honor a late cardinal who worked for Christian unity, said the spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. Taking advantage of the archbishop's presence in Rome, Benedict will receive Williams on Nov. 21 at the Vatican, Lombardi said in a telephone interview.

The Vatican's move, announced last week, to ease Anglican conversions to Catholicism is designed to entice traditionalists opposed to women bishops, openly gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions in the church headed by Williams.

Given the surprise overture to potential converts, the talks between Benedict and Williams "take on a particularly important significance," said Lombardi. But he stressed that Williams has met with the pontiff during past trips to Rome and indicated that the two would have likely met even without the recent developments.

Vatican paper cautions against occult influence on Halloween

Catholic World News
October 30, 2009

An article in L'Osservatore Romano has cautioned against the "dangerous messages" in popular celebrations of Halloween. “Halloween has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian," wrote Joan Maria Canals, noting that a focus on the macabre and ghoulish has crept into the celebrations even of young children. The Vatican newspaper article encourages parents to help their children avoid the harmful influences of the occult and the frightening aspects of public observances.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Halloween dangerous says Vatican (Roman Forum)

Vatican condemns Hallowe'en as anti-Christian (Daily Telegraph)

Litany of Saints

Friday, October 30, 2009, 3:11 PM

I had an email a few days ago, from someone who sent me a youtube video.

The emailer was a new correspondent, and the video was meant to “help” me understand that the Catholic church was the Whore of Babylon, and that Pope John Paul II was the Beast of Revelation, who would rise from the grave and fool the world.

No, I don’t think I will be linking to the video. Normally I ignore that sort of stuff; between the hate mail from the left, the hate mail from the far-right and the strongly-dislike mail from certain Christian quarters (who seem to have more problems with me than the atheists do), I have enough to read, watch, link to and throw out, each day. But this thing was so ignorant, and so hateful, so Jack Chick on Crack that I confess it annoyed me a bit.

It annoyed me enough (particularly since I count so many Evangelicals among my dear friends, but I suspect this person is not really Evangelical) that -just because I can, and because we are about to observe All Saints and All Souls days (and because I am a great fan of the Communion of Saints)- I’m going to put up the video of the Litany of Saints from John Paul II’s funeral, which back then troubled some, too. The video is not, sadly, the straight-up Litany with funeral footage, but it’s the best I could find.


Hallowe'en - a Christian Holiday

Catholic News Agency
October 30, 2009

By Helen Hull Hitchcock *

Not long ago, a friend and I were talking about children and holidays. "What am I going to do about Hallowe'en?" she asked. "My kids love planning costumes, figuring out jokes and riddles for trick-or-treating, and then there's the big night when dozens of neighbor children come to our door for handouts. But now I wonder if it's right for Christians to let our kids participate in pagan holidays like this at all."

Her concern was real — and considering some of the adult Hallowe'en street celebrations in recent years, anyone would think this is a deeply pagan festivity. (The same might be said of Mardi Gras celebrations!) Add to that the fact that some people today actually claim to be witches. They have claimed "ownership" of Hallowe'en. They claim it is really an ancient pagan harvest festival.

What about this? Can even innocent children's parties, trick-or-treating, dressing up like witches and ghosts on October 31 — as almost all Americans have done for generations — be participating in a pagan religious celebration? Worse, is it a way of seducing our kids into the occult or devil worship?

Are we compromising our religious beliefs and principles by letting our children, even if innocently, dabble in something that has its origins in evil? As Catholic families, what is our obligation to be consistent and true to our faith?

We think that Hallowe'en can be a real teaching moment. Despite what many people think — or what some modern-day "witches" may claim — Hallowe'en is and has always been a Christian holiday.

The word Hallowe'en itself is a contraction of "Hallowed evening". Hallowed is an old English word for "holy" — as in "Hallowed be Thy Name", in the Lord's Prayer.

Why is this evening "hallowed"? Because is is the eve of the Feast of All Saints — which used to be called All Hallows. Like Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, and the Easter Vigil, the Church's celebration of her greatest feasts begins the evening before. (This follows the ancient Jewish practice of beginning the celebration of the Sabbath at sundown on Friday evening.)

We need to begin to re-Christianize or re-Catholicize Hallowe'en by repairing the broken link to its Christian meaning and significance. We need to reattach it to All Saints Day — and to All Souls Day, for it is only in relation to this that we can understand the original and true significance of the "hallowed eve".

The Communion of Saints

The Church's belief in the Communion of Saints is a key to unlocking the real mystery of Hallowe'en and to restoring its connection to the Church's celebration of All Saints and commemoration of All Souls.

The Communion of Saints is really a definition of the Church: the unity in faith in Christ of all believers, past, present and future, in heaven and on the earth. We are united as one body in Christ by holy things, especially the Eucharist, which both represents the Mystical Body of Christ and brings it about. (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church §960)

The Communion of Saints also means the communion in Christ of holy persons (saints) — "so that what each one does or suffers in and for Christ bears fruit for all". (CCC §961)

So, as Pope Paul VI put it, "We believe in the communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming one Church".

Furthermore, "we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and His saints is always [attentive] to our prayers". (CCC §962)

This is why Catholics honor the saints and "pray to the saints". (Actually, what we are doing is are asking them to pray for us -- to add their prayers to ours, just as we might ask a friend to pray for us. This is known as "intercessory prayer".)

It is because of our belief in the communion of all the faithful in Christ — in this world or in the next — that Catholics pray for the dead, for all those those have died and who are being purified (in Purgatory), that they will soon be granted eternal rest in heaven with God and reunited with all the saints.

See also from YouTube-CatholicNewsAgency's Channel:


Pope's prayer intentions for November 2009

Catholic World News
October 30, 2009

The Pope's general intention is: "That all the men and women in the world, especially those who have responsibilities in the field of politics and economics, may never fail in their commitment to safeguard creation."

His missionary intention is: "That believers in the different religions, through the testimony of their lives and fraternal dialogue, may clearly demonstrate that the name of God is a bearer of peace."

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for November (VIS)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pope Benedict's busy Christmas season liturgical schedule published

Vatican City, Oct 29, 2009 / 10:48 am (CNA).- The Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations announced today the list of events that the Pope will preside over from November through January 2010. Highlights of the celebrations include the Christmas Midnight Mass, the Urbi et Orbi blessing and the baptism of children.

The full list of celebrations is as follows:


- Saturday 28. At 5 p.m. in the Vatican Basilica, celebration of first Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent.

Pundits continue to praise, condemn Pope for overture to Anglicans

Catholic World News
October 29, 2009

Over a week after the Vatican announced the Pope’s intention to create personal ordinariates that would allow Anglican communities to enter the Catholic Church, op-ed writers continue to praise and condemn the Pontiff. Reactions range from “There'll be some bumps in the road, but we're headed home at last. Hallelujah!” (first link) to “That women are or should be subservient to male hierarchies is an unacceptable superstition (practice) in need of an exorcism” (last link).

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Anglican Catholics: headed home at last (Saint John Telegraph-Journal)

Thanks Benny, but no thanks (Edmonton Sun)

Colleen Carroll Campbell: Attacks on traditional Anglicans prove pope's point (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Ken Briggs: Anglicans who answer pope's call must abandon key principles (Allentown Morning Call)

Women need not apply (Winter Park/Maitland Observer)

Benedict XVI says Church needs to proclaim Gospel on the ‘digital continent’

Vatican City, Oct 29, 2009 / 11:30 am (CNA).- Addressing the full Pontifical Council for Social Communications today, Benedict XVI urged its members to help communicate the teachings of the Church on the “digital continent” of the ever-changing technological landscape.

Reflecting on the role of social networking and increasingly real-time electronic communication, Pope Benedict XVI said on Thursday that "modern culture is established, even before its content, in the very fact of the existence of new forms of communication that use new languages; they use new technologies and create new psychological attitudes.”

"Effectively," he continued, the advent of new technology “supposes a challenge for the Church, which is called to announce the Gospel to persons in the third millennium, maintaining its content unaltered but making it understandable.”

Quoting John Paul II's encyclical "Redemptoris Missio" that affirms: "Involvement in the mass media, however, is not meant merely to strengthen the preaching of the Gospel. There is a deeper reality involved here: since the very evangelization of modern culture depends to a great extent on the influence of the media.”

See also from Catholic World News, "Digital communications challenge Church to find new ways to evangelize, Pope says."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Special Report: Five Myths about the Pope’s Anglican Ordinariates

By Taylor Marshall
Catholic Online (

As a former Anglican priest myself, I am profoundly grateful for our Holy Father’s generous proposal toward Anglicans, 'that they all might be one'

Taylor Marshall is a former Anglican priest and the author of 'The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity'.

DALLAS, TX (Catholic Online) - On October 20, 2009, the Holy See made an unexpected announcement: the Holy Father will be issuing an Apostolic Constitution (the highest form of papal document) through which he will erect personal ordinariates for Anglican clergy and laity wishing to enter the Catholic Church. While rumors about this have been stirring since 2007, the recent decision came as a surprise to most Catholics and Anglicans.

Those who remember their high school history might recall that Pope Gregory the Great sent missionaries to England in the late sixth century to establish the Catholic Church in England. In A.D. 598, Pope Gregory the Great designated the township of Canterbury as the nation’s principal see. There were hiccups along the way (Norman conquest), but England remained under the pastoral oversight of the Pope until 1534 when King Henry VIII declared himself caput ecclesiae anglicanae “Head of the English Church.” Henry VIII never shook his devotion to the old rites. He demanded priestly celibacy, Latin Masses, and prayers for the dead. He did however have an appetite for the wealth of the monasteries. When Henry VIII died in 1547, he left his son Edward VI as king. As a Protestant, Edward approved a Protestantized English ritual which became known as the Book of Common Prayer in 1549.

The liturgies found in the Book of Common Prayer and subsequent editions reveal a careful blend of medieval Catholic piety mixed with subtle Protestantism. Henry’s daughter Queen Elizabeth fully realized this compromise between Catholicism and Protestantism—perhaps the cleverest grab for political power in history. As England colonized the world, she spread her national Anglican church. In America, she became the Episcopal Church. The new worldwide conglomerate of national churches became known as the Anglican Communion. Since those days, the Anglican Communion has been divided into roughly three camps: High Church (more Catholic), Low Church (more Protestant), and Broad Church (liberals who bless the political and cultural mores of society—something going all the way back to Henry’s desire for a second marriage, and then a third marriage, and then a fourth…you know the story).

In the last twenty years, the Broad Churchmen emerged as victors in the Anglican Communion as they secured the ordination of women in the 1980s and 1990s. The past decade has been embroiled in debates about homosexuality as it touches on marriage and clerical ordination. The disaffected conservatives (High Church and Low Church) are looking for options. Clearly, the High Church movement is open to the Catholic Church and many bishops, priests, and lay people have appealed to the Pope for help. The Pope has now provided an an answer: “Come home! Rome opens its doors to you!”

The New York Times, the London Times and almost every known newspaper has printed articles about this new announcement. The blogs are ablaze. However, there is a lot of misinformation churning around out there. I have collected five common misconceptions about the Holy See’s announcement. Each myth merits an informed and measured response.

Myth #1 The Pope is sheep-stealing

The Pope’s alleged “sheep-stealing” been the most popular subject within the secular media. To them, the Holy Father has launched a media campaign to kick the Anglican Communion while it’s down. The poor Archbishop of Canterbury is struggling to keep things together and then “Bamm!” the Pope surprises everyone with a bid for Anglican souls. However, we must remember that it was Anglicans who pursued the matter with the Holy Father—and we’re not talking about just one or two Anglicans. We are talking about thousands and thousands of Anglicans: bishops, priests, deacons, and laity. Anglican bishops from several nations have sent private letters to the Holy See. Much of this is confidential. They want a way out. They want to become Catholic. The Pope is responding to souls looking to him for guidance. The pope is not stealing sheep—He is holding out his pastoral staff to those sheep looking for protection.

Pope, at audience, traces first flowering of monastic and scholastic theology

Catholic World News
October 28, 2009

At his regular weekly public audience on Wednesday, October 28, Pope Benedict XVI continued his series of talks on the development of Christian thought, moving into the 12th century with its enormous expansion of theological studies. The Gregorian reform had taken effect, the Pope said, bringing "a greater evangelical purity" to the Church, and among the results were the development on monastic and scholastic theology, which would produce the great works of Sts. Bonaventure and Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century.

Monastic theology, the Holy Father said, was characterized by a careful attention to the Word of God. He recommended that approach today, urging to faith "to reserve a certain time each day for meditation on the Bible." The scholastic approach, he continued, developed the style of argument known as the quaestion, which is "not easy for modern mentality to understand." But behind that unfamiliar form was the clear recognition that "faith and reason, in reciprocal dialogue, tremble with joy when they are both animated by the search for intimate union with God."

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Latin Theology Flourished in the 12th Century (VIS)

Pope: "a natural friendship" between faith and reason when they seek the truth

» 10/28/2009 13:32

They, said Benedict XVI during the general audience, are "the wings on which the human spirit rises up to God". monastic and scholastic theology arose in the twelfth century, one is a prayerful listening to the Word of God, the other shows the merits of the mysteries of God, with faith, but also with reason.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Between faith and reason "there is a natural friendship," they "are filled with joy when they are both animated by the search of the intimate love of God" and, as John Paul II wrote they are "the wings on which the human spirit rises up to God ". This was the lesson proposed today by Benedict XVI to the 15 thousand people in St. Peter's Square for the general audience. A lesson which spoke of "the history of the flourishing of Latin theology in the twelfth century".

At that time, he recalled, Western Europe lived "a period of relative peace, economic development and structural consolidation as well as a vibrant cultural life thanks to relations with the East". The Church was witnessing the fruits of Gregorian reform, which "established evangelical purity particularly in the clergy and restored wide freedom of action to the papacy". It was also a period of "development of consecrated life with the birth of new orders and the revival of existing ones." "Theology also flourished, refining methods, advancing towards new problems, in contemplation of the mystery of God," "inspiring arts and culture."

The two different environments in which this fervid theological activity flourished were monasteries and scholae [schools] that "would soon gave birth to universities, which are one of the typical inventions of medieval Christianity". Thus there came to exist monastic and scholastic theology. The former was mainly due to "abbots gifted with evangelical fervour, dedicated to inspire and nurture the desire for God," the latter to "educated men, fond of research, aiming to show the merits of the mysteries of God, with faith certainly but with also with reason".

In the monasteries the method was primarily linked to the explanation of Holy Scripture. "The monks were all devoted listeners and readers of Scripture," which became "lectio divina, an orated reading of the Bible. Simple reading is not enough to perceive its profound mystery, its message. They needed a spiritual reading of the Bible, allegorically interpreted to discover Christ and his saving work in every page".

See also from CNA, "Pope calls Catholics to daily meditation on the Bible."

And from YouTube-Vatican's Channel:

Benedict XVI: Knowledge only grows if one loves the truth

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Love in truth

The Observer
Charles E. Rice
Issue date: 10/27/09

Our first three columns this term discussed the Obama administration's takeover of the American private sector, including the automotive industry, banking, health care, student loans, etc. To avoid getting lost in details, let's note some controlling principles offered by Pope Benedict XVI in his third encyclical, "Love in Truth" (Caritas in Veritate) (CIV), issued June 29. CIV builds upon his first two encyclicals, "God is Love" (Deus Caritas Est, 2006) and "In Hope We Were Saved" (Spe Salvi, 2007). It carries forward Benedict's assertion in his first World Day of Peace message, on Jan. 1, 2006, that "Any authentic search for peace must begin with the realization that the problem of truth and untruth is the concern of every man and woman; it is decisive for the peaceful future of our planet." His first three encyclicals emphasize that love and acceptance of the truth about man and God offer the only hope for peace. "Jesus," said Benedict in that message, "defined himself as the Truth in person, and … states his complete aversion to 'everyone who loves and practices falsehood.'"

CIV focuses on "integral human development," as urged by Paul VI in "Populorum Progressio" in 1967. CIV's opening words note the spiritual as well as material character of such development: "Charity in truth, to which Jesus Christ bore witness … is the … driving force behind the … development of every person and of all humanity."

CIV deserves attention, especially within the Beltway and in the media. Don't hold your breath waiting for that. Let us, rather, note some unfashionable truths offered in CIV:

Plan for Papal Visit to Paul VI's Birthplace

One-day Visit Set for Nov. 8

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 27, 2009 ( Benedict XVI will visit Pope Paul VI's birthplace and inaugurate the new premises for an institute dedicated to the 1963-1978 Bishop of Rome.

The Nov. 8 visit to Concesio will occur in the context of the Holy Father's pastoral visit to the Italian province of Brescia, 30 years after Paul VI's death.

The Vatican press office published today the official program for the one-day pastoral visit. The Pope will arrive to Brescia at 9:30 a.m.. He will then make a private visit to the parish church of Botticino Sera, where he will venerate the remains of St. Archangel Tadini.

He will then be welcomed at the Duomo of Brescia cemetery, and will make a brief visit to this church.

A concelebrated Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the Paul VI Square of the city of Brescia. Benedict XVI will deliver the homily and after Mass, he will pray the Angelus and address a few words to the faithful.

Anglican priests' group weighing Pope's invitation

Catholic World News
October 27, 2009

A conservative group of Anglican priests in the US and Canada has responded cautiously to the initiative by Pope Benedict XVI welcoming Anglicans into the Catholic Church. The Society of Catholic Priest in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada acknowledged that "such a move may make some sense" for many Anglican clerics, and could constitute "a natural extension of our understanding of the evolution of Tradition in the life of the Church.”

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Anglican Society of Catholic Priests Responds to Vatican Decision (Anglican Journal

Society of Catholic Priest in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada

Pope will travel to northern Italy in May to see Shroud of Turin

Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn celebrates Mass at St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Turin in 2000, the last time the Shroud of Turin was on public display. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI will join hundreds of thousands of pilgrims traveling to northern Italy in 2010 to see the Shroud of Turin, which many believe is the burial cloth of Christ.

The Vatican and the Archdiocese of Turin announced Oct. 27 that Pope Benedict will visit the city May 2. "As the first act of his visit, the Holy Father will pause for personal prayer before the holy shroud," the archdiocese said.

Earlier in the year, the archdiocese had announced the shroud would be on public display April 10-May 23, 2010, offering members of the public their first opportunity to see the shroud since it underwent major cleaning and restoration in 2002.

The work involved removing 30 fabric patches and a fabric backing, known as the Holland Cloth, sewn onto the shroud in 1534 after a fire.

Pope Benedict's visit to Turin will include the celebration of an outdoor Mass, a visit with a group of sick people and an evening gathering with young people.

The Archdiocese of Turin operates a Web site -- -- with information about the shroud, the current state of scientific studies on the cloth and information for tourists, which will include the possibility of making a reservation online to view the shroud during the exposition period.

See also

Monday, October 26, 2009

Letter #44, from Rome, Monday

insidethevatican - Oct 26, 2009

Movement on all Fronts

Though 82, Benedict XVI is moving on all fronts: Lefebvrists, Anglicans, the Orthodox, Jews. The "pontificate of transition" is becoming the "pontificate of action." Will the Pope's vision succeed?

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from Rome


These newsflashes can be found on the web by clicking on the icon below:


"Nam oportet et haereses esse, ut et qui probati sunt, manifesti fiant in vobis." ("For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.") —1 Corinthians 11:19


Movement on All Fronts...

The talks began today, Monday, October 26.

On this historic Monday, unprecedented high-level theological discussions between representatives of the Society of St. Pius X and of the Holy See got underway to discuss "all the unresolved doctrinal questions" ("grandi temi dottrinali non risolti") related to the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), its implementation and interpretation.

The talks took place in the building once known as the "Holy Office of the Inquisition" and still called the Sant'Uffizio in Italian -- the Holy Office.

On one side, representatives of the Society of St. Pius X, founded by the French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (died 1991). From their founder, the members of the Society are often called "Lefebvrists."

On the other, top theologians from the Vatican itself, men very close to Pope Benedict XVI, led by Mosignor Guido Pozzo (yesterday I erroneously labeled him as an archbishop), the head of gthe Ecclesia Dei commission. (Photo: Pozzo at the main door of the Holy Office.)

The talks continued for three hours.

They went very well.

And they will continue.

Not only will they continue, they will continue at an almost frenetic pace for the Holy See, which generally "thinks in centuries": there will be meeting every two weeks for as long as it takes to settle these questions.

Father Federico Lombardi noted this relative haste when he delivered a brief communique on the meeting this afternoon in the Vatican Press Office. "This is a rather rapid paste for the Holy See," he said.

This is worth noting because it suggests that the Pope wants this dialogue on a "fast track," not something that drags on interminably.

Faith Is Key to Interpreting Scripture, Says Pope

Addresses 100-Year-Old Pontifical Biblical Institute

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2009 ( The historical-critical method of interpreting biblical texts is legitimate and necessary, but it must not be forgotten that the key to the interpretation of Scripture is the faith of the Church, says Benedict XVI.

"If exegesis also wishes to be theology," he told the Pontifical Biblical Institute today, "it must acknowledge that the faith of the Church is that form of 'sim-patia' without which the Bible remains as a sealed book."

The Pope received in audience the professors and students of the Pontifical Biblical Institute on the occasion of the institute's 100th anniversary. Pius X founded the institute in 1909, and entrusted its direction to the Society of Jesus.

Benedict XVI alluded to the debate on the historical-critical method of sacred Scripture, which aims to understand Scripture in light of the historical context and worldview of the era.

The Holy Father explained that the Second Vatican Council clarified in the dogmatic constitution "Dei Verbum" that the historical-critical method is legitimate and necessary, "reducing it to three essential elements: attention to literary genres; study of the historical context; examination of what is usually called Sitz im Leben" (roughly translated as "setting in life").

"The foundation on which theological understanding of the Bible rests is the unity of Scripture," the Pope affirmed, which implies "the understanding of the individual texts from the whole."

"Scripture being only one thing starting from the one people of God, which has been its bearer throughout history, consequently to read Scripture as a unit means to read it from the Church as from its vital place, and to regard the faith of the Church as the real key to interpretation," he added.

The Pope Lets a Thousand Liturgies Bloom

Wall Street Journal
OCTOBER 22, 2009, 9:45 P.M. ET

Vatican City

The Vatican's announcement this week that it will allow former Anglicans who join the Catholic Church to retain a collective identity, using many of their traditional prayers and hymns in their own specially designed dioceses, is an event with profound implications for both Anglican and Catholic life.

The decision, made to accommodate Anglicans upset with their church's growing acceptance of homosexuality and of women clergy, is likely to transform ecumenical relations between the churches. It will also heighten the internal Catholic debate over the requirement of priestly celibacy (which is to be routinely waived for married Anglican clergy who convert under the new rules, extending an exception made on a limited basis till now).

Perhaps the most striking effect of the Vatican's move is the likelihood that, within the next few years, Catholic priests around the world will be celebrating Mass in a form that draws largely from the Book of Common Prayer. This resonant text, in its many versions, has informed Anglican worship since shortly after King Henry VIII led the Church of England away from Rome nearly five centuries ago.

Startling as that may sound, the Vatican's adoption of a liturgy with Protestant origins is merely the latest—and hardly the most exotic—addition to the Catholic church's liturgical smorgasbord. The range of worship forms has grown ever wider in recent years as the global church has become ever more diverse.

Millions of Charismatic Catholics today, most commonly in Latin America but also in Africa and the Philippines, regularly attend spectacular Masses featuring Pentecostal-style faith healing, speaking in tongues and preaching that echoes the upwardly mobile aspirations of the Prosperity Gospel. Catholic Masses in sub-Saharan Africa typically feature exuberant dancing, not only by designated performers but by the congregation at large, and music derived from popular local traditions.

Church has ultimate authority to interpret Bible, Pope reminds scholars

Catholic World News
October 26, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI met on October 26 with leaders of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, which is marking its 100th anniversary this year. The Pontiff reminded the Jesuit administrators of the Biblicum that the study of the Scriptures must take place in a context of Christian faith and loyalty to the teaching magisterium. "Furthermore it is the Church, in her institutions, that has the decisive word in the interpretation of Scripture," he said.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Pontifical Biblical Institute Celebrates 100 Years (VIS)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Letter #42, from Rome, Wisdom

insidethevatican - Oct 25, 2009

A Word of Wisdom

Cardinal Turkson will come to Rome. And, a word of wisdom. Two, in fact...

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from Rome



"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." —James 3:17


Flash: Turkson to Replace Martino at Justice and Peace

First, the breaking news -- Cardinal Peter Turkson (photo), 61, the Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, the eloquent "relator" or general secretary of this month's Synod for Africa, will succeed Cardinal Renato Martino (photo below), 77, as the head of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace, it was announced today.

This will make Turkson the highest-ranking African cardinal in the Church, and give him important experience in a curial position, at the heart of the Church.

(Here is a good article from Ghana Business News on the appointment and its significance:’s-cardinal-turkson-gets-closer-to-becoming-first-black-pope)

The appointment was announced at 1 pm in the Vatican Press Office, in Turkson's presence, at a Vatican Press Conference held to "wrap up" the Synod on Africa, by Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., the Pope's press spokesman... and Turkson looked surprised.

Synod Message: Africa, Rise up and walk!

» 10/25/2009

Here is the full text of the Message prepared by the Bishops during the African Synod. It looks at the continent’s tragedies and hopes as well as the Church’s commitment to development, the dignity of women, and the fight against AIDS. It also refers to the dialogue with the Churches of Asia.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – We publish the full text of the Message of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, which was approved during the 18th General Congregation last Friday, 23 October, and released today. It contains many important points. First, it signals the commitment of various ethnic, linguistic and cultural groups to the unity of the Church and mentions the fact that African Churches were founded as far back as apostolic times. One section is dedicated to the activities of the Church in favour of development and AIDS patients. On this issue, the bishops express their solidarity towards the Pope who back in March said that condoms were an “inadequate” means to eradicate the disease. The document also expresses appreciation for the women who talked about their role in society and in African Churches. Given the poverty of the continent, the Message stresses the urgency to study and apply the social doctrine of the Church and proposes greater South-South cooperation as well as between the Churches of Africa and Asia.


1. It was a special gift of grace and like a last will and testament to Africa when the Servant of God Pope John Paul II, towards the end of his life, on November 13th, 2004, announced his intention to convoke a Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops. This same intention was confirmed by his successor, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, on the 22nd of June 2005, in one of the first major decisions of his pontificate. As we gather here for this Synod, from all countries of Africa and Madagascar and the adjacent Islands, with brother bishops and colleagues from all continents, with and under the Head of the Episcopal College, with the participation of some fraternal delegates from other Christian traditions, we thank God for this providential opportunity to celebrate the blessings of the Lord on our continent, to assess our stewardship as Pastors of God=s flock, and to seek fresh inspiration and encouragement for the tasks and challenges that lie ahead. It is now fifteen years since the First Assembly in 1994. The teachings and directives of the Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa have not ceased to be a valid guide for our pastoral efforts. In this follow up assembly, however, the Synod has been able to concentrate on a theme of the greatest urgency for Africa: our service to reconciliation, justice and peace in a continent that is very much in dire need of these graces and virtues.

2. We started our work here with an inaugural celebration of the Holy Eucharist, presided over by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, invoking the Holy Spirit to “lead us into all truth” (Jn 16:13). On that occasion, the Pope reminded us that the Synod is not primarily a study session. Rather, it is God’s initiative, calling us to listen: listen to God, to one another and to the world around us, in an atmosphere of prayer and reflection.

3. As we prepare to disperse to our various places of assignment, with renewed commitment and courage, we wish to address this message to the whole Church, Family of God, especially to the Church in Africa: to our brother bishops on whose behalf we are here; to the priests, deacons, religious and all the lay faithful, and to all whose hearts God may open to listen to our words.



4. We live in a world full of contradictions and deep crisis. Science and technology are making giant strides in all aspects of life, equipping humanity with all that it takes to make our planet a beautiful place for us all. Yet tragic situations of refugees, abject poverty, disease and hunger are still killing thousands on a daily basis.

5. In all this, Africa is the most hit. Rich in human and natural resources, many of our people are still left to wallow in poverty and misery, wars and conflicts, crisis and chaos. These are very rarely caused by natural disasters. They are largely due to human decisions and activities by people who have no regard for the common good and this often through a tragic complicity and criminal conspiracy of local leaders and foreign interests.

6. But Africa must not despair. The blessings of God are still abundant, waiting to be prudently and justly employed for the good of her children. Where the conditions are right, her children have proved that they can reach, and have indeed reached, the height of human endeavours and competence. There is much good news in many parts of Africa. But the modern media often tend to emphasize bad news and thus seem to focus more on our woes and defects than on the positive efforts that we are making. Nations have emerged from long years of war and are moving gradually along the path of peace and prosperity. Good governance is making appreciable positive impact in some African nations, challenging others to review past and present bad habits. Signals abound of many initiatives seeking to bring effective solutions to our problems. This Synod, precisely by its theme, hopes to be part of such positive initiatives. We call on all and sundry to join hands to address the challenges of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace in Africa. Many are suffering and dying: there is no time to waste.

See also from CNA, "‘Rise up!’ Pope Benedict tells Africa at close of Synod."

And from YouTube-Vatican's Channel:


Pope Benedict: Priests human maturity
October 25, 2009

And from yesterday at the Synod:

Benedict XVI: at the Synod, we spoke as pastors
October 24, 2009

The Church is an Evangelizer now and forever
October 24, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

For an Episcopal Parish, a Path to Catholicism

New York Times
Rosemont Journal

Published: October 24, 2009

ROSEMONT, Pa. — When the Vatican announced last week that it would welcome groups of traditionalist Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church, leaders of one Episcopal parish celebrated as if a ship had arrived to rescue them from a drifting ice floe.

Enlarge This Image

Jessica Kourkounis for The New York Times
Bishop David Moyer of the Church of the Good Shepherd welcomes a Vatican decision to embrace traditionalist Anglicans.

“We’d been praying for this daily for two years,” said Bishop David L. Moyer, who leads the Church of the Good Shepherd, a parish in the Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia that is battling to keep its historic property. “When I heard the news I was speechless, then the joy came and the tears.”

This parish could be one of the first in the United States to convert en masse after the Vatican completes plans for a new structure to allow Anglicans to become Catholic while retaining many of their spiritual traditions, like the Book of Common Prayer and married priests.

The arrangement is tailor-made for an “Anglo-Catholic” parish like this one, which has strenuously opposed the Episcopal Church over decisions like allowing women and gay people to become priests and bishops. Mass here is celebrated in the “high church” style reminiscent of traditional Catholic churches, with incense, elaborate vestments and a choir that may sing in Latin.

“The majority of our members will be on board with this,” the Rev. Aaron R. Bayles, the assistant pastor, said as he finished celebrating a noon Mass devoted to church unity in a small side chapel lighted with blue votive candles.

He said he was exultant when he heard the news from the Vatican because he had always hoped to see the unification of Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Christianity.

Former archbishop attacks Pope for Anglican overtures

Lord Carey says lack of consultation on Rome's invitation to Anglo-Catholics is 'inexcusable'

By Imogen Lillywhite

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Lord Carey (above) said Pope Benedict XVI's failure to consult was 'inexcusable'

The former archbishop of Canterbury criticised the Roman Catholic Church this weekend, branding as "inexcusable" its failure to consult leading Church of England clergy on the Pope's invitation for Anglo-Catholics to join him.

Lord Carey gave a cautious welcome to the proposals from Rome but said he was "distressed" that his successor had received just two weeks' notice of them.

He said that the move by Pope Benedict XVI could help clergy in the Church of England who were unhappy with the ordination of women bishops.

Related articles

Peter Stanford: After 500 years, has the Pope outfoxed the Archbishop?

However, he urged the current Archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams, to protest at the lack of consultation.

He told the Today programme on BBC Radio 4: "I would protest and say what we must do is to work closely together, and I gave the example of 10 or 15 years years ago when we were ordaining women as priests.

"My views are predicated on one little word: 'if'. I don't know the details, but if my successor was only informed about this two weeks ago then I think this is quite distressing.

"We are closer together, we share offices – ecumenical offices – in many dioceses and so on. There was really no need for it to be done in this kind of way."

He added: "I was very surprised by the way this was done, not the action itself. I think we ought to give this a cautious welcome."

Dr Williams said earlier last week that he had been informed of the move at a very late stage, but said he did not see it as an act of aggression by the Catholic church.

He added that it would be a "serious mistake" to view it as a response to the difficulties within the Church of England.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Anglican Reactions to Pope's New Provision

From Catholic World News:

Anglican reactions, I: how many?

Anglican reactions, II: celibacy still an issue

Anglican reactions, III: African resistance

Anglican reactions, IV: a new challenge for the Archbishop of Canterbury

Meeting of hundreds of Anglican clergy to consider Pope Benedict’s new provision

Bishop John Broadhurst

London, England, Oct 23, 2009 / 12:22 am (CNA).- Hundreds of traditionalist Anglican clergy will meet this weekend in London to discuss whether to enter the Catholic Church in light of Pope Benedict XVI’s creation of an Anglican “ordinariate.”

About 500 members of members of the group Forward in Faith will attend the meeting, the Times Online reports. Many of them are waiting for the Vatican’s publication of a Code of Practice, which will provide more detail about the proposed new church structure organized under an Apostolic Constitution.

The chairman of Forward in Faith, Bishop of Fulham, England John Broadhurst, issued a statement on Tuesday responding to the Vatican announcement that a structure will be created to assist Anglicans who want to enter into communion with Rome.

Bishop Broadhurst said that Anglican Catholics have had “frequently expressed hope and fervent desire” to be enabled to enter into full communion with Rome while retaining “every aspect of their Anglican inheritance which is not at variance with the teaching of the Catholic Church.”

“We rejoice that the Holy Father intends now to set up structures within the Church which respond to this heartfelt longing. Forward in Faith has always been committed to seeking unity in truth and so warmly welcomes these initiatives as a decisive moment in the history of the Catholic Movement in the Church of England.”

He closed his message with the Latin phrase “Ut unum sint,” Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John meaning “may they be one.” The phrase is also the title of Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical on ecumenism.

Let Yourself Feel the Pull of God, Urges UK Prelate

Archbishop Nichols Addresses Prayer Lecture Series

LONDON, OCT. 23, 2009 ( The archbishop of Westminster is encouraging Christians to experience the "lure of God," and is offering tips on setting aside distractions in order to cultivate a prayerful relationship with him.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols told a childhood story to the crowd gathered in London's Westminster Cathedral Hall Thursday evening, of a time when he and his brothers went mackerel fishing on a holiday in southern Ireland.

"We rowed out into the bay," he said. "In fact we went too far and had some difficult moments on our return journey."

We threw the lines into the sea, the prelate recalled, and "at the end of each line, on each of the many hooks, was a spinner -- a rotating, highly colored piece of metal with sharp hooks attached."

"The mackerel could not resist the flash of light reflecting off the spinners and, once we hit a shoal, they were quickly caught," he said, adding that they "soon had enough for a healthy supper for everyone in the hotel."

The archbishop used this image to illustrate the topic of his talk, "The Lure of God," as he spoke about "the ways in which God can reel us in, if we are able to let him."

He encouraged his listeners to feel "the pull of God," sense the desire for God and turn "all of that into action."

The purpose of our spiritual lives, Archbishop Nichols affirmed, can be expressed in this way, "What I seek is that Christ is born in me, day by day, so that he can do his work through me."

Bulgarian Orthodox want speedy reunion with Rome!

Da Mihi Animas
Friday, October 23, 2009

Pope Benedict has sure gotten the ball rolling and it seems others want to get into the ecumenical action! Thanks to A Catholic Knight on this one:

A Bulgarian Orthodox prelate told Benedict XVI of his desire for unity, and his commitment to accelerate communion with the Catholic Church.

At the end of Wednesday's general audience, Bishop Tichon, head of the diocese for Central and Western Europe of the Patriarchate of Bulgaria, stated to the Pope, "We must find unity as soon as possible and finally celebrate together," L'Osservatore Romano reported.

"People don't understand our divisions and our discussions," the bishop stated. He affirmed that he will "not spare any efforts" to work for the quick restoration of "communion between Catholics and Orthodox."

Bishop Tichon said that "the theological dialogue that is going forward in these days in Cyprus is certainly important, but we should not be afraid to say that we must find as soon as possible the way to celebrate together."

"A Catholic will not become an Orthodox and vice versa, but we must approach the altar together," he added.

The prelate told the Pontiff that "this aspiration is a feeling that arose from the works of the assembly" of his diocese, held in Rome, in which all the priests and two delegates from every Bulgarian Orthodox parish took part.

"We have come to the Pope to express our desire for unity and also because he is the Bishop of Rome, the city that hosted our assembly," he stated.


After the bishop, Luka Bebic, speaker of the Croatian Parliament, addressed the Holy Father, inviting the Pontiff to visit his homeland and thanking him "for the support the Holy See has given our people since independence, during the war back then and now in the process that will lead Croatia to enter the European Union."

How many Anglicans will switch to the Roman Catholic Church?

Reuters Blogs

Religion, faith and ethics

06:29 October 23rd, 2009

Posted by: Avril Ormsby

Disaffected Anglican Dioceses in Papua New Guinea, the United States and Australia might consider switching to Roman Catholicism under a new constitution offered by Pope Benedict, according to Forward in Faith (FiF), a worldwide association of Anglicans opposed to the ordination of women priests or bishops. About a dozen bishops from the Church of England, the Anglican mother church, are also likely to convert, it says.

(Photo: Vatican Cardinal William Levada announces offer to Anglicans, 20 Oct 2009/Tony Gentile)

The Church of England could not comment on numbers likely to convert, with one source adding: “It’s all guesswork.” But Stephen Parkinson, director of FiF, said a figure of 1,000 Church of England priests, reported in the media, was “credible.” Read our news story on this here.

Estimates of laity are “much harder,” Parkinson said. “Inevitably if you say 1,000 priests you are then talking about several thousand laity.”

But he said he “would not be at all surprised at a dozen” bishops in England switching. However, in England, bishops were likely to move individually rather than take their entire dioceses, which tend to have diverse views, with them. Some Anglican clergy anticipated numbers would not be great, pointing to the early 1990s when about 500 switched over the ordination of women priests. Some later returned to Anglicanism.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Great Pope: Pilgrim In White
Thursday, 22nd October 2009

George Cini

Pope John Paul II at the headquarters of the Christian doctrine society - MUSEUM during his visit to Malta in 2001. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

A narrator is walking along the rocky shore in Dwejra, Gozo recalling thoughts expressed by Pope John Paul II as the TV cameraman takes in the magnificence of the Azure Window.

The scene forms part of a 90-minute documentary called The Great Pope: Pilgrim In White dealing with the philosophy advocated by the late Pope from Warsaw, Poland. The pontiff had urged nations to treasure their cultural roots irrespective of the onslaught of the media and other forces. The documentary will be in English and Polish.

"This is not a biography but a closer look at how John Paul II changed the mentality on how people relate with each other," Krystyna Mikulanka, co-producer of the documentary said while the crew was filming here.

Ms Mikulanka, who is also honorary consul for Malta, added that when she spoke about the filming to Gaetan Naudi, who is Maltese Ambassador to Poland, his reply was "why don't you go to Malta as well?"

"It is not practical to go to every place the Pope had visited but with my passion for Malta, it was not hard at all to convince me to come here", Ms Mikulanka said.

The Polish crew of seven - which includes Tadeusz Lampka and Stanislaw Szymanski, producers, as well as Michal Walczak, production manager - have still to film in Mexico and Bolivia, Senegal and Zimbabwe, the Holy Land, Jordan and Egypt.

Priests in London and Yorkshire say they are tempted to join Rome

From The Times
October 22, 2009

Andrew Norfolk and Mary Bowers

The villages of the ancient parishes of Broughton, Marton and Thornton nestle in a corner of North Yorkshire that is perilously close to the Lancashire border. And even closer to Rome.

For the rector, the Rev Canon Nicholas Turner, editor of the traditionalist magazine New Directions, the Pope’s decree was the fulfilment of a long-held dream. But he must now decide whether to be reordained as a Roman Catholic priest. And if he does, what will happen to the churches and his parishioners?

To visit the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Thornton is to enter a Norman building that gives every appearance of being Catholic already. There is a statue of the Madonna and Child. There are candles and incense. Father Nicholas celebrates Mass, occasionally in Latin, hears confession and grants absolution.

The three parishes in the united benefice voted in the 1990s for resolutions granting them distance from the Bradford Diocese. Now the three parochial church councils may face a further vote: whether to join their priest and defect en masse to Rome, albeit a version of Roman Catholicism that would allow them to maintain much of their Anglican identity.

If it came to that, though, a hurdle would remain. Their three churches would still belong to the Church of England; unless a deal were reached, where would the new Catholics worship? In Father Nicholas’s ideal world, one church would pass into the control of the Anglican Catholics while the other two remained with the Church of England.

His world is not ideal, however, because his wife, Canon Ann Turner, is the local deacon and the Roman Catholic Church does not accept female deacons. Some tough decisions lie ahead.

“The Pope’s decision is a wonderfully generous move to unity,” he said. “It would be wonderful if the Church of England could return to full communion with Rome while still being the Church of England. But I can’t just abandon over 30 years of ministry as though they never happened. These are exciting times, but one can’t ignore the history of a village church. It is at the centre of the community and I hope we can forge a path that allows all of us to stay together.”

In Walthamstow, East London, Father David Waller sits on a green chair, a black and white cat draped across his knees, and offers a cup of tea. “This could be the most significant thing to happen to the English Church since the Reformation,” he says.

His cat is named Joseph — after Cardinal Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI, and there is a picture of the Pope on the wall. The Anglican priest is one of the hundreds considering defecting to the Roman Catholic Church after the Pope decreed that he would introduce a structure for accepting Anglicans. The 120-strong congregation of the parish of St Saviour is one of several considering moving over en bloc.

See also from The Times, "400,000 former Anglicans worldwide seek immediate unity with Rome."

How many Anglicans will enter?

Catholic World News
October 22, 2009

Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, the most prominent of that continent's Anglican leaders, says that he is "still weighing the implications of the Vatican's offer." His response will be a crucial test for the Pope's plan, since he leads the world's largest and most robust Anglican community.

A spokesman for the traditionalist Anglican group Forward in Faith predicts that up to 1,000 priests will enter the Catholic Church under the terms of the apostolic constitution-- although he cautions that no one has seen the document yet.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Africa's Anglicans Weigh Vatican Offer (Wall Street Journal)

Pope’s Anglican Move May Prompt ‘Flood’ of Converts, Group Says (Bloomberg)

Realistic Expectations about Anglicans ("On the News," 10/21)

Weigel: new provision marks ‘end of an era’ in Anglican-Catholic relations

George Weigel

Washington D.C., Oct 22, 2009 / 04:00 am (CNA).- Catholic commentator George Weigel says that the Vatican’s announcement of a new provision for Anglican groups who desire to convert to Catholicism is an “end of an era” in Anglican-Catholic relations, showing a widening “theological gulf” between Anglican leadership and the Christian tradition.

Writing in The Washington Post's "On Faith" blog, Weigel recounts how Anglican-Catholic relations reached a peak around the time of the Second Vatican Council.

However, in the following decades some Anglican leaders appeared to be distancing themselves from the apostolic tradition on the priesthood and the sacraments.

Weigel discusses an exchange of letters in the 1980s between Pope John Paul II, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie and Cardinal Johannes Willebrands, then the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

Asked by the Catholic prelates to explain why parts of the Anglican Communion had decided to ordain women as priests, Weigel recalls that Archbishop Runcie replied in “largely sociological, rather than theological terms.” The then-senior prelate in the Church of England cited women’s changing roles in business, culture and politics as a justification for the novel practice.

When the exchange of letters ended in 1986, a “parting of the ways” had been reached. Catholic authorities believed that apostolic tradition precluded the ordination of women to the priesthood, while Archbishop Runcie and similarly-minded Anglicans, in Weigel’s view, believed that “contemporary human insights into gender roles trumped apostolic tradition and necessitated a development of both doctrine and practice.”

“Rome could not accept that as a legitimate development of Christian self-understanding,” Weigel explains, reporting that Catholic leaders feared the new Anglican approach would cause the revision of their teachings on many other issues, such as sexual morality.

With Pope Benedict’s announcement of a new Anglican provision, Weigel writes at On Faith, Anglicans have been offered a “path into full communion” with the Catholic Church that “honors the distinctiveness of their spiritual and liturgical traditions.”

See also from CNA, "Traditional Anglican group ‘profoundly moved’ by Pope's new provision for converts."

Letter #39, from Rome, Next Pope?

insidethevatican - Oct 22, 2009

A Chance Meeting

An ordinary Wednesday in Rome

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from Rome


Midnight Oil

The Pope's light was burning late tonight.

In fact, in all the years of his pontificate, since the spring of 2005 after his election, his custom has been to keep his light on until about 11 pm. Then the window goes dark. Sometimes it is a little before 11, sometimes a little after.

But this evening, it was still burning at 11:15, at 11:30, at 11:45, and at 12 midnight. I don't know if it was on any longer, because midnight was when I glanced up at the Apostolic Palace for the last time before calling it a day myself and heading back here to write. The light was still on as I turned and walked away.

Is the Pope working late?

Or did someone forget to turn off the light?

I don't know -- I only know that the light stayed on much longer than usual.


The Next Pope?

This evening I was invited to dine, along with a dozen other journalists, with Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, 61, the Archbishop of Cape Coast in Ghana, in West Africa.

Turkson is not just any cardinal.

He is the youngest African cardinal.

And, as the "Relator," or General Secretary, of the Synod on Africa currently taking place in Rome, he is unquestionably one of the "top" African cardinals (as he is often termed in the press).

Indeed, some have gone so far as to speculate that Turkson may become... the first African Pope. (See:

At an October 5 press conference to open the Synod, Turkson was asked whether he thought the time was right for a black Pope, particularly following the election of President Barack Obama.

Turkson replied: "Why not?"

He argued that every man who agrees to be ordained a priest has to be willing to be a Pope.

He noted that, with Obama and the previous U.N. secretary-general, Kofi Annan, there have been several blacks in positions of global leadership.

He said, "If God would wish to see a black man also as Pope, thanks be to God."

And his words put him in the headlines around the world.


"He is my brother"

It was a beautiful, warm October evening as I walked up the cobblestones, past the Synod Hall, for our 7:30 pm dinner appointment inside the Vatican.

Next to me was my friend, Jesus Colina, the founder of the Zenit news agency. About nine other journalists were walking with us.

We reached a Vatican security checkpoint inside Vatican City (there are several of these). The guards checked our names on a list they had received the day before, and we were free to continue toward Casa Santa Marta, but we stood for a moment, waiting for two more journalists who were late.

An African prelate walked by, dressed very simply. From his clothes, he could have been an ordinary monsignor. But something about his greying hair and the shape of his head...

Jesus nudged me as the man walked by.

"I think that's him," he said to me.


"Cardinal Turkson..."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pope: Man seeks and finds God better with prayer than with reason

» 10/21/2009 12:48

General audience, Benedict XVI illustrates the figure of Bernard of Clairvaux, the last of the Fathers of the Church. He expressed man's participation in the love of God, he devoted himself particularly to the figures of Jesus and Mary and not coincidentally is the one to whom Dante entrusts the prayer to Mary in Paradise. He fought the heresy of the Cathars and antisemitism.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "We too must recognize that man looks for and finds God better and more easily in prayer than in discussion”: this is the teaching that Benedict XVI has drawn from the life and works of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, "called the last of the Fathers of the Church," the figure to whom he devoted his catechesis today in the general audience.

Speaking to almost 40 thousand people in St. Peter's Square, the pope recalled the figure of the great Monk for whom "sometimes we claim to have resolved the fundamental questions about God, about man and the world with the powers of reason alone," but "without a deep faith in God, nourished by prayer and contemplation, from an intimate relationship with the Lord, our reflections on the divine mysteries are in danger of becoming a futile intellectual exercise, and lose their credibility".

Born in 1090 in Fontaines in France to a "numerous and fairly well-off," family Bernard studied grammar, rhetoric and dialectic and at 20 entered the monastery of Citeaux, "a new more agile monastic foundation, but also more rigorous” than the existing ones of the time, "At only 25 years of age he chose monastic life" and "looking at the lives of other monasteries called for a sober and measured lifestyle in eating and clothing and recommended care for the poor." In 1130 he began an "extensive correspondence with many” important but humble people. To these letters, many sermons, judgements and treaties must be added. He also began "to deal with serious problems of the Holy See and the Church."

Benedict XVI then recalled, "especially his polemical writings” and in particular those against the heresy of the Cathars who despised the material and the human body and thus despised the Creator." Instead he defended the Jews, so much so that a rabbi, Ephraim, "addressed a stirring tribute” to him. “His sermons on the Song of Songs are renowned" and "also a very special for a pupil of his, Bernardo Pignatelli, who became Pope Eugenius III, on how to be a good pope, it remains obligatory reading for all popes". He died in 1153.

See also:

VIS-Press release, "Bernard of Clairvaux, Last of the Church Fathers"

From CNA, "
Understanding the Faith requires friendship with Christ, Pope says"

And from YouTube-Vatican's Channel:

Theology without faith is a mere intellectual exercise
September 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Letter #38, from Rome, Anglicans

insidethevatican - Oct 20, 2009

Another Dramatic Move

The Vatican today made a dramatic announcement: Pope Benedict has authorized a bold new plan to bring Anglicans back into full union with Rome. But many questions remain unanswered

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from Rome


VATICAN CITY, October 20, 2009 -- Dramatic news today -- as dramatic as the decision earlier this year to "un-excommunicate" the four Lefebvrist bishops, as dramatic as the decision on July 7, 2007 (in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum) to restore the old Mass.

Pope Benedict XVI is proposing a special Church structure for those Anglicans who wish to come into full communion with Rome without giving up many of the things they cherish as Anglicans.

The news, which came without prior warning this morning, was precisely coordinated between Rome and London.

Pope emphasizes: Christianity shaped Europe

Catholic World News
October 20, 2009

Addressing the new head of the Commission of European Communities’ delegation to the Holy See, Pope Benedict emphasized Europe’s Christian roots and said that “the transcendent vision of the human person” stemming from those roots is Europe’s “most precious treasure.”

“You, Mr. Ambassador, have described the European Union as ‘an area of peace and stability that brings together 27 States with the same fundamental values,’” said Pope Benedict. “It is a happy description. And yet, it is right to observe that the European Union has not gifted itself with these values … These values are the fruit of a long and torturous history in which, no one can deny, Christianity has played a major role. The equality of all human beings, the liberty of the act of faith as root of the other civil liberties, peace as the decisive element of the common good, of human development -- intellectual, social and economic … are a few of many other central elements of Christian Revelation that continue to mold European civilization.”

The Pontiff continued:

The immense intellectual, cultural and economic resources of the Continent will continue to bear fruit if they continue to be fertilized by the transcendent vision of the human person, which is the most precious treasure of European heritage. This humanist tradition, in which so many families of different thoughts recognize themselves, makes Europe capable of addressing the challenges of tomorrow and of responding to the population's expectations.

It is primarily the search for a just and delicate balance between economic efficiency and social exigencies, the safeguarding of the environment and, above all, the indispensable and necessary support to human life from conception to natural death, and to the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman. Europe will be really itself only if it is able to preserve the originality that has constituted its greatness, and this is capable of making of it, in the future, one of the principal actors in the promotion of the integral development of persons, which the Catholic Church regards as the genuine way able to remedy the present imbalances of our world.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Le Lettere Credenziali Del Capo Della Delegazione Della Commissione Delle Comunità Europee Presso La Santa Sede (Holy See)

Christian Values Continue To Mould European Civilisation (VIS)

Pope Cites Christian Heritage of EU (Vatican Radio)

Papal Address to European Community Envoy (Zenit)

anglicans incoming!

Catholic Culture: Commentary
Off the Record

By Diogenes October 20, 2009

The Holy See took the ecumenical imperative out of the hands of ecumenists, with the result that the reunion of Christians -- at least in one limited area of schism -- ensued. From the Vatican website:

With the preparation of an Apostolic Constitution, the Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion. In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution, pastoral oversight and guidance will be provided for groups of former Anglicans through a Personal Ordinariate, whose Ordinary will usually be appointed from among former Anglican clergy.

The Times of London, with its dizzyingly reckless Monty Python approach to religion stories, headlines its article Vatican Moves to Poach Traditional Anglicans, but the "poaching" metaphor is an odd choice of images when the "rabbits" in question have been pleading, sometimes for decades, to jump into the hunter's game bag. After all, the decisions that changed the playing field were made by the Anglican churches, not the Pope. The Vatican's explanatory statement does not hesitate to point to the shattering effect of Anglican capitulations to Left/liberal secularism:

In the years since the Council, some Anglicans have abandoned the tradition of conferring Holy Orders only on men by calling women to the priesthood and the episcopacy. More recently, some segments of the Anglican Communion have departed from the common biblical teaching on human sexuality -- already clearly stated in the ARCIC document "Life in Christ" -- by the ordination of openly homosexual clergy and the blessing of homosexual partnerships.

While in recent years the Catholic Church has lost some members to Anglicanism, she has benefitted overwhelmingly from the inbound traffic. As your Uncle Di has pointed out before: the dissatisfied Anglican leaves because his Church ain't what she used to be. The dissatisfied Catholic leaves his Church because she is.

Orthodox Catholics deserve to feel satisfaction at today's development. Yet it's easy to exaggerate the advantages. On one hand, the Anglicans coming home to full communion will be active in practice, theologically aware, and proportionately resistant to gay and feminist faddishness. On the other hand we have to admit that a sizable minority of (nominally) Catholic clergy envy the Church of England for precisely the reasons its orthodox are bolting. Who knows how many of our own ecclesiastics, even unindicted ones, are gazing wistfully at the lighted windows of Gene Robinson's honeymoon suite while Rembert Weakland's autobiography slumbers in their lap?

By the same token, under the earlier dispensation most Anglican converts found themselves in ordinary Catholic parishes -- with the ordinary attendant problems -- and they gave a boost to the orthodox cradle Catholics in the customary street-fighting for decent liturgy, decent catechesis, decent clerical deportment, etc. Yet those potential allies who convert under the terms of the Personal Ordinariate will in one sense be in quarantine, hived-off with their own clergy and their own bishop, able to help out in the Catholic culture wars only indirectly if at all. Were I a Robert Lynch or a Roger Mahony I'd feel relieved that these new Catholics, even those domiciled in my diocese, were not under my "pastoral care" -- which means I'd have no need to respond to their articulate and well-informed pleading for the redress of grievances.

Based on who's sputtering in indignation at the Holy See's move and who's not, the Personal Ordinariate is a score for right team. The Church is perpetually and perfectly one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic, but by today's action the attributes "one" and "Catholic" are realized that much more visibly. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.