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Archive for the ‘Pope Benedict’ Category

Catholic survey offered by belief net. Check it out. The only question I didn’t like was the role of women in the church. You had to answer either priestesses or deaconesses. What’s up with that?

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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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I really didn’t want to get into this topic. However it seems the events of the past few days requires a few lines just to vent.

university-protest.jpg

Pope against the university
la-sapienze-is-hostage-of-the-pope.jpg
La Sapienze is hostage of the pope. Photo – REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli

students-protest-the-pope-2.jpgPhoto- REUTERS/Dario Pignatelli

The Tychonic system explained the known facts as well as Galileo. In fact Galileo went beyond the facts and extrapolated that the earth rotates around the sun. Galileo argue that the tides helped to support the argument that the earth moved round the sun.

The church was in fact more conservative with the facts then Galileo was and perhaps Christopher Clavius held the church’s position best.

What Galileo did prove was that the Ptolemaic system was untenable when he discovered the phases of Venus. The discovery of the moons rotating around Jupiter demonstrated that there was more then one center of rotation.

There was the tychonian.gif

Tychonic system

copernican_universe.gif

and the Copernican system.

The first model supported the facts and didn’t challenge the assumed interpretation of Scripture of Geocentricism. The latter challenged that interpretation and Galileo was on the right track when he chose the Copernican system, but he overreached by claiming his theory was scientific fact when at the time it was demonstrated as only a hypothesis. The Jesuits happily taught the Copernican system in Catholic universities with the church’s blessing, even after Galileo was under house arrest,because they only claimed heliocentrism was a hypothesis not an empirical fact.

The Asia news has the translation of the Pope’s speech to the university of Rome. And the reason for this out cry against the pope? Ratzinger’s 1990 remarks on Galileo

However this is where context is lost. Note in the previous link the words of the then Cardinal now pope

the synthetic judgment of the agnostic-skeptic philosopher P. Feyerabend appears much more drastic (emphasis mine) then the Cardinal quote Feyerabend(who’s opinion is viewed by the pope as more drastic) “The church at the time of Galileo was much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself, and also took into consideration the ethical and social consequences of Galileo’s doctrine. Its verdict against Gaileo was rational and just, and revisionism can be legitimized solely for motives of political opportunism.”

The problem however is that the Pope was pointing out that modernity has become doubtful of itself and of today’s science and technology. The faculty wrote that the Pope’s comments “offend and humiliate us.” “In the name of the secular nature of science we hope this incongruous event can be cancelled,” said the letter addressed to the university’s rector.

The point and the opportunity was missed by the faculty and thereby the protesting students. In the pope’s wonderfully written encyclical on hope Spe-salvi

16…In order to find an answer to this we must take a look at the foundations of the modern age. These appear with particular clarity in the thought of Francis Bacon. That a new era emerged—through the discovery of America and the new technical achievements that had made this development possible—is undeniable. But what is the basis of this new era? It is the new correlation of experiment and method that enables man to arrive at an interpretation of nature in conformity with its laws and thus finally to achieve “the triumph of art over nature” (victoria cursus artis super naturam)[14]. The novelty—according to Bacon’s vision—lies in a new correlation between science and praxis. This is also given a theological application: the new correlation between science and praxis would mean that the dominion over creation —given to man by God and lost through original sin—would be reestablished[15].17. Anyone who reads and reflects on these statements attentively will recognize that a disturbing step has been taken: up to that time, the recovery of what man had lost through the expulsion from Paradise was expected from faith in Jesus Christ: herein lay “redemption”. Now, this “redemption”, the restoration of the lost “Paradise” is no longer expected from faith, but from the newly discovered link between science and praxis. It is not that faith is simply denied; rather it is displaced onto another level—that of purely private and other-worldly affairs—and at the same time it becomes somehow irrelevant for the world. This programmatic vision has determined the trajectory of modern times and it also shapes the present-day crisis of faith which is essentially a crisis of Christian hope. Thus hope too, in Bacon, acquires a new form. Now it is called: faith in progress. For Bacon, it is clear that the recent spate of discoveries and inventions is just the beginning; through the interplay of science and praxis, totally new discoveries will follow, a totally new world will emerge, the kingdom of man[16]. He even put forward a vision of foreseeable inventions—including the aeroplane and the submarine. As the ideology of progress developed further, joy at visible advances in human potential remained a continuing confirmation of faith in progress as such.

18. At the same time, two categories become increasingly central to the idea of progress: reason and freedom. Progress is primarily associated with the growing dominion of reason, and this reason is obviously considered to be a force of good and a force for good. Progress is the overcoming of all forms of dependency—it is progress towards perfect freedom. Likewise freedom is seen purely as a promise, in which man becomes more and more fully himself. In both concepts—freedom and reason—there is a political aspect. The kingdom of reason, in fact, is expected as the new condition of the human race once it has attained total freedom. The political conditions of such a kingdom of reason and freedom, however, appear at first sight somewhat ill defined. Reason and freedom seem to guarantee by themselves, by virtue of their intrinsic goodness, a new and perfect human community. The two key concepts of “reason” and “freedom”, however, were tacitly interpreted as being in conflict with the shackles of faith and of the Church as well as those of the political structures of the period. Both concepts therefore contain a revolutionary potential of enormous explosive force.

This I believe is the pope point which the university doesn’t seem to grasp. Science will never achieve redemption. Most scientist would be repelled to think that society has placed them on such a path, but the secular world and in particular the political sphere has handed that task to it. The pope simply desires to lift that burden from it’s shoulder which it is incapable of lifting. Christ is the only one who has redeemed mankind and the fruit of that task will not be fully realized until the end of time.

Zadok the Roman seems to make a similar point in his blog They’re worse than I thought

Rather, reading in context, his emphasis seems to be the fact that there is a debate within secular thought itself regarding the progress made by science since the Galileo case. He goes on to say:

To my great surprise, in a recent interview on the Galileo case, I was not asked a question like, ‘Why did the Church try to get in the way of the development of modern science?’, but rather exactly the opposite, that is: ‘Why didn’t the church take a more clear position against the disasters that would inevitably follow, once Galileo had opened Pandora’s box?’

Ratzinger himself was surprised at the criticism of modern science which has been arising recently.
What’s his conclusion:

It would be absurd, on the basis of these affirmations, to construct a hurried apologetics.

He does not suggest that people of faith ‘construct a hurried apologetics’ based on the reassessment of Galileo by some thinkers. In simpler language, he’s warning us, be careful of jumping to hasty conclusions about the relationship between science and faith.

Religious columnist John Allen says it best

In a nutshell, therefore, Benedict is being faulted by the physics professors for quoting somebody else’s words, which his full text suggests he does not completely share. (Readers who remember Regensburg can be forgiven a sense of déjà-vu.) The pope, modern science, and a canary in the coal mine

The only reason the facility should be scared of the pope is if they actually believe that they rather then Christ are the redeemers of mankind. Even Galileo didn’t have that big an ego;>)

There is I suspect a much larger political rather then theological or scientific motive going on here. The Guardian

is always good for a bit of editing. Note the picture in the article (cropped to remove the wording on the mask) and compare it to the unedited one.

student-protest-of-pope.jpg

(AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Now we can see that this wasn’t necessarily a protest against the church tainting the universities vaunted “secular” tradition which came with the invasion of the kingdom of Italy in 1870 [of course it should repute it’s actual Catholic foundation- the papacy, perhaps change their lineage to secularly pure for the past 137 years, rather then 705 of taint] which will line it’s political thought up nicely with the EU in it’s denial of it’s obvious Catholic foundations. Perhaps the chapel-of-la-sapienza-university.jpg

chapel-of-la-sapienza-university AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino) will be the students next phase in rejecting it’s Catholic roots. Galileo was placed under house arrest, today we see students placing themselves under their own personal house arrest in their minds.

The event had some elements of a political and moral protest to it as the student in the Borgia photo takes the time to protest the pope’s position on homosexuals.

At least the university hasn’t killed the seed of intellectual freedom totally in it’s youth who came to see the pope, since he chose not to come to them.

students-cheer-pope.jpg

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The National Catholic Reporter had a letter Liturgy reform: No going back

The throne room protocols of the Tridentine Mass, the elevations, barriers, brocade, structures and language separating clergy from laity gave way to a worshiping community in which all the baptized were called to full, conscious, active participation. A new way of worshiping marked the beginning of the end of the vertical ecclesiology that for 500 years had shaped every aspect of the church’s life and ministry around hierarchical and clerical preeminence…

This is something we need to listen to and protect against which is exclusive vertical liturgical worship. It is IMO the reason we had many saying rosaries, or having novena while at mass pre-1960’s. The faithful were not engage in the mass. This vertical emphasis was needed, because the protestant reformers rejected the sacradotal priesthood. The times demanded explicit actions and gestures to support the belief in the sacramental priesthood. The same can be said of the Sacrificial aspect of the mass to the de-emphasis of the meal aspect.

However the post Vat. II reformers have gone to extremes in allowing almost anything to the point of sacrigilous novalties in their desire to meet their defination of “Active participation”.

From Catholic liturgical library: Sacred Congregation of Rites issued the instruction, De musica sacra

Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious and active participation in the ceremonies which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy.
Such participation by the Christian people as a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people” (I Pet. 2:9; 2:4-5) is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.
In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true spirit of Christ . . .Participation

There is a difference between Royal Priesthood/Universal Priesthood. We faught those battles with Gnostics, Montanists, Catharist, Protestant Reformers. Isn’t it clear by now that there is a difference between the two? What Archbishop Piero Marini has allowed to occur IMO on his watch is in practice the Exclusion of the vertical to support the active participation of the laity. And that is what is the out cry and need from the laity that the Archbishop have ignored or failed to recognize. It’s not retrenchment as he claims below it’s about balance.

“Church music and secular music are now each influenced by the other. This is particularly clear in the case of the so-called “parody Masses”, in which the text of the Mass was set to a theme or melody that came from secular music, with the result that anyone hearing it might think he was listening to the latest “hit”. It is clear that these opportunities for artistic creativity and the adoption of secular tunes brought dan­ger with them. Music was no longer developing out of prayer, but, with the new demand for artistic autonomy, was now heading away from the liturgy; it was becoming an end in itself, opening the door to new, very different. ways of feeling and of experiencing the world. Music was alienating the liturgy from its true nature.” [The Spirit of the Liturgy pp.146-7, author Cardinal Ratzinger]

opponents of Vatican II knew from the outset that the one way to preserve Trent was to halt liturgical reform. To look back over the 42 years since the close of the council is to see that progress in the reform has been real but slow, and to admit that any awakening of Catholic laity to their full baptismal identity is still in the future. At the same time, those devoted at many levels to a pre-Vatican II model of the church have worked hard to bring down many aspects of liturgical reform. Frustrating the process of vernacular translations, crimping the rubrics for Mass to accentuate the ordained and, most recently, restoring the Tridentine rite, are among the more visible signs of successful retrenchment….Marini said in an interview. “The faithful don’t receive permission from priests to participate in the Mass. They are members of a priestly people, which means they have the right to participate in offering the sacrifice of the Mass. This was a great discovery, a great emphasis, of the council. We have to keep this in mind, because otherwise we run the risk of confusion about the nature of the liturgy, and for that matter, the church itself.”

It’s difficult to tell how the Archbishop is using the term “participate” with respect to offering the sacrifice of the mass. As it’s worded I have trouble with how his statement can be balanced with the Council of Trent:

“If any one saith, that all Christians have power to administer the word, and all the sacraments; let him be anathema.” Seventh Session CANON X
“If any one saith, that there is not in the New Testament a visible and external priesthood; or that there is not any power of consecrating and offering the true body and blood of the Lord, and of forgiving and retaining sins; but only an office and bare ministry of preaching the Gospel, or, that those who do not preach are not priests at all; let him be anathema.” Twenty-Second Session CANON I

“Let’s think of tourist centers, where it would be lovely for people to recognize each other in something they have in common. So we ought to keep such things alive and present. If even in the great liturgical celebrations in Rome, no one can sing the Kyrie or the Sanctus any more, no one knows what Gloria means, then a cultural loss has become a loss of what we share in common. To that extent I should say that the Liturgy of the Word should always be in the mother tongue, but there ought nonetheless to be a basic stock of Latin elements that would bind us together“[God and the World, pp417-8,author Cardinal Ratzinger]

“I am convinced that the ecclesial crisis in which we find ourselves today depends in great part upon the collapse of the liturgy, which at times is actually being conceived of etsi Deus non daretur: as though in the liturgy it did not matter any more whether God exists and whether He speaks to us and listens to us.” Quote from
Catholic Culture
by Cardinal Ratzinger.

And that last quote is what we all need to listen to whether we find ourselves supporting left, right or center.

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