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Archive for the ‘Papacy’ Category

Pope Benedict always links the church’s past with his present action. This coming week he links his
lecture at the University of Regensburg, Germany with his speech to be given at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris. President Sarkozy may be the Pope’s unlikely ally  in a country that has dropped to less then 10% attendance for Mass. I suspect that the increase in Muslim population also at 10% may pose problems for the extreme secular state. So I would say the President is using the pope to create a bit of historic French nationalism with cultural Catholicism and the Pope is hoping to rekindle the faith in the country that was traditionally called the first daughter of the church.

Another interesting take on it comes from America 

The first is that the radical exclusion of religion from the public sphere known as laïcité is increasingly being questioned. There are many reasons: social breakdown and high levels of Muslim immigration are causing the French to see the Church as “theirs” more than they did, while church-led social movements are among the most prophetic and energetic in France.

Whatever the reasons, it is France’s own president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is recognising this shift in his call for a “positive laïcité“, calling for the state to have a “structured dialogue” with faiths and for Catholics and others to play a greater role in public life. This is an attempt, not without its risks, to move the French model more in the direction of the American one — towards Church-state separation as a means to protect the freedom of faith rather than to put it into a box marked ‘private’…

The second contemporary paradox is that France is the Catholic country with the strongest-declining congregrations and clergy while also being the Catholic country with most vigorous Catholic “revivals” and movements.

And finally John Allen over at National Catholic Register provides a broader view to the issue of B16 and the ‘creative minority’ of French Catholics.

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Humanae Vitae

 17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

And so the Pope’s warning has come to pass. And still the people cry give us more pills. A secular response came from an unlikely source – George Arthur Akerlof professor of economics @ Berkeley

Fr. Curran & fellow theologian Dan Maguire at the time the encyclical came out, drew a popular “Statement of Dissent” and many priests sign that document with him. It is likely that this is the single most ignored and derided papal document of all time.

I found an article by  Cardinal James Francis Stafford @ Catholic News AgencyI thought it would be helpful to those who didn’t go through the late 60’s sexual revolution from a priests view of Humanae Vitae.

Yet if one looks at Pope Paul VI’s document especially the paragraph quoted above you can see that he could see what would be fall man.

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Crisis, Reform and the Future of the Churchby George Weigel

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Mr. Weigel is a Catholic theologian and a Senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington,D.C. This book was written in 2002 so it’s still very current on the issues facing the church today. The author states that the book is

“For all those who will contribute to the genuinely Catholic reform of the Church in the Unites states. You know who you are. Be not afraid.”

The first 2/3 of the book is devoted to laying the foundation of what happened to the church over the past 35 to 40 years in the aftermath of Vatican II(no it’s not about what’s wrong with that council). He addresses how the role of the priest and the laity were mixed into the vague term of “ministry” and the role of priest as Vatican II teaches “living instruments of Christ the eternal priest”. An added insight is that the idea of the church as the body of Christ was diminished perhaps in church governance. The church is not a denomination defined by the will of its members, but an institution created and its boundaries defined once and for all by the will of Christ.

He address the issue of Humanae Vitae as one of the key points which bishops and Pope Paul VI failed to address what was created an environment that

“was to promote intellectual, moral, and disciplinary disorder in the Catholic Church in the United States.”

As far as I can tell he coined the phrase “Truce of 1968” when Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle took disciplinary action against 19 local priest for joining protests against Humanae Vitae. The Pope apparently feared it would create a schism in the church in America.

The last 1/3 of the book addresses what the author believes are need reforms, some like the seminaries and liturgy are already underway by Pope B16.

The book is an easy read and does provide some good insights for those especially that have come into the church in the past 20 years or so. As well as those who were raised in the church but were not born yet during the 60’s & 70’s. For those of us that have lived through these times, the book will not bring up much that is not already known, but would still be informative if your focus has been focused only on local church issues rather then national or universal ones.

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I thought it a stroke of genius to have the stations of the cross performed by Joesph Cardinal Zen of China. The Vatican has a link to the cards them made for this year. It’s in Italian so you’ll have to translate it.

I think this reflects the high priority of the Papacy in praying for those in China and for diplomatic relations with their gov’t.

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I expect that there will be much written about the Pope’s coming visit to the US. I think perhaps the media will focus on social issues or comments the pope may make and how such statements might effect Catholic voters in the coming elections. But for Catholics I think perhaps there will be no greater issue then on APril 17, when the Pope will engage the 200 top Catholic school officials from across the country. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pope received the same type of reception as he did at the former Catholic university in Rome la-sapienza university 2 months ago.

In First Things Fr. Richard John Neuhaus wrote an article entitled “A University of a Particular Kind”. There is in this country two kinds of universities – Secular and Christian. Neither are neutral in their worldview, but since there are so many more secular universities most people receiving that type of education would consider secular to be neutral. It’s not, its existance is hostile to the Christian theos. This does not mean it shouldn’t exist, however the inroads of secular thought into Catholic universities has been significant and clearly harmful to the church. If one believes the Cardinal Newman Society it has recommended 20 of the 235 U.S. Catholic colleges “which most faithfully live their Catholic identity and provide a quality undergraduate education”. In this day and age I amazed its that high.

Catholic universities have been able to give lip service to Catholic parents who believe that their child will receive a “Catholic” higher education. However, whenever the rare bishop is willing to hold the university accountable to that standard, the normal spin or party line if you will goes like this: in seeking truth & academic excellence, placing Catholic teaching or a Catholic environment in higher education would inhibit academic freedom.

If any one would doubt this position, I draw this conclusion from none other then the famous Land O’ Lakes Statement crafted by Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh President of Notre Dame University back in 1967. One either hailed this position as a stand for academic freedom or viewed it as a divorce between Catholic education in this country and the Catholic church. IMO the latter is clearly demonstrated.

My biggest issue with Rev. Hesburg and those who support his position is that they disagree with the Catholic church on positions already settle and therefore not open to debate, yet they run their universities directly against those ideals, and they are unwilling to advise the Catholic parents who expect that their young Johnny’s faith will not be undermined, but actually reinforced what was taught in their home.

The Washington Post may prove me wrong about the media not picking up on this one Catholic College Leaders Expect Pope to Deliver Stern Message

Ex-corde-ecclesia written by Pope John Paul II in 1989 will finally be implemented into Catholic universities. Or at least I hope it will.

With every other University it shares that gaudium de veritate, so precious to Saint Augustine, which is that joy of searching for, discovering and communicating truth(2) in every field of knowledge. A Catholic University’s privileged task is “to unite existentially by intellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placed in opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and the certainty of already knowing the fount of truth”(3).

I don’t expect that the Pope will get anything but lip service. My only hope is that the Pope will place them on notice and advise the general Catholic population that these institutions will be striped of any formal association, and prohibited from claiming any Catholic identity.

As the washington post article stated David Gibson, the author of a Benedict biography, said the pope will ask, “If you’re not going to be an authentically Catholic, orthodox institution, why should you exist?”

Amen.

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I think this was more then symbol over substance here. 100 years ago the idea of the Pope & the Ecumenical Patriarch praying together [in latin no less] would be impossible. The Catholic Herald has a solid reivew of the event.

“Orthodoxy,” he said, “was the common responsibility and obligation of all.”

He said, the liturgy – a communal celebration – was the place where the community learned, expressed and strengthened its faith. “Whereas the gradual development in the West of a juridical source of authority led to an understanding of liturgical rites more as external signs, Eastern Christianity visualised liturgy as an authoritative criterion of faith and ethics”, seen, for example, in the practice of quoting liturgical texts in support of a theological argument, he said.

I think this is an excellent point. Although I think perhaps the reformation may have had a hand in this practice in that Catholics would not refer to liturgical texts in support of Catholic positions because it would be dismissed out of hand. Perhaps thats someting to reconsider.

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This is driving me nuts. I have read in several places where Pope Benedict XVI is having discussion on writting a document on Luther and lifting the excommunication edit on Luther. The London Times has a rumor article on the Pope issuing on in the fall.

Here at least is someone that went to the wizard and received a functioning brain and dispels the rumor.

Here is another link to what the current pope thought on the topic 20 some years ago. It’s well worth the read. Ratzinger on Luther – Communio 11: Fall, 1984luther.jpg

I expect some favorable points made on Luther by the Pope this summer or fall, but those who think the excommunication on Luther would be lifted are grossly misinformed or have grossly been mislead in religious education, especially in the area of papal authority.

You see the church (including the Pope) has no authority over the dead. Judgement does indeed come from God, so the Pope does not have any authority to lift the sentence against Luther, nor would such a gesture be fruitful. It’s moot- he’s dead and God has judged him [for good or for ill]. I hesitate in using the word “has” with respect to God since this is performed in eternity, but hopefully my point is understood.

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