Thursday, May 20, 2010
The Spanish embassy in Rome today confirmed the visit, saying Zapatero will only visit the Vatican.
This will be the second meeting between Zapatero and Benedict XVI. The first took place in Valencia, Spain, in 2006, in the context of the Pope's visit there for the World Meeting of Families.
Since his election in 2004, Zapatero and the Church have often been at odds over his policies to allow more abortions, to permit same-sex marriages and to end compulsory religious education in public schools.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
A ghastly discovery today: plans to subject Pope Benedict XVI to trendy musical tripe when he celebrates the Beatification Mass for Cardinal Newman at Coventry Airport on September 19. According to Nick Baty, a supporter of the little gang of composers who have liturgical commissions sewn up in this country, the music for the Mass will include:
• Eucharistic acclamations by Fr Peter Jones, who wrote the tiresome Coventry Gloria for John Paul II’s visit in 1982. Yes, he’s still going strong;
• Christ be our Light by Bernadette Farrell, one of the inner circle of old trendies whose work is forced on Massgoers by cloth-eared PPs every week;
• Salisbury Alleluia by Christopher Walker, another of the inner circle;
• A Gloria by Alan Smith (you can hear a taste of it here: not trendy but utterly banal) and a psalm by Paul Wellicome. According to this document, both men are members of the relevant Birmingham diocesan committee;
• One of the most hideous of all folk hymns, Make Me a Channel of Your Peace;
• Some Taizé. You would have thought we’d heard enough Taizé over the years, but apparently not.
Oh, and there’s a brief motet by Elgar and a couple of rousing Newman-based hymns; but basically it’s game set and match to the Society of St Gregory (SSG), the mafia of the mediocre who ensure that most music at Mass in most dioceses reeks of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. This stuff didn’t sound either beautiful or cutting-edge when it was performed for Pope John Paul; how will it sound to the ears of a genuine music lover, Pope Benedict XVI? And young Catholics, especially, loathe it.
I’m confused. I thought that the Bishops of England and Wales had helped to commission the setting of the Mass by James MacMillan that will be heard at the papal ceremony in Glasgow. That is a lovely piece: fresh, original, full of unexpected modulations but also majestic traditional harmonies that will appeal to our Bruckner-loving Pontiff. Why not also perform the MacMillan Mass at the Newman beatification?
Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham is a former student of the Royal Northern College of Music. Your Grace, how can you justify forcing the Holy Father to listen to music that he will not like – indeed, that no one much likes, apart from a few elderly Tabletistas and the SSG (some of whose members make far too much money out of their cosy arrangements with dioceses)?
It’s not too late to put things right, I hope. Does Mgr Guido Marini, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, know of these depressing plans? Also, if the music is going to be this corny, that doesn’t augur well for the rest of the liturgy, does it? The Coventry Mass should be one that makes the heart soar, not the toes curl.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Benedict said such tests should drive Catholics to greater spiritual fervour and stricter adherence to Church rules.
"The real enemy to fear and to fight is sin, spiritual ill, which sometimes unfortunately affects even members of the Church," the 83-year-old German Pontiff told the crowd gathered in St Peters square.
"We live in the world but we are not of the world, even if we must guard against its temptations," he said. "The tests that the Lord provides drive us to greater fervour and consistency."
Benedict’s tone marked an extension of the latest change in the Vatican’s response to the abuse scandal, which has forced the resignation of Bishops in Ireland, Belgium and Germany.
In recent weeks, a number of Vatican officials had accused the media, gays or progressives of waging a smear campaign against the Church.
However, earlier last week the Pope said during a trip to Portugal that Catholicism’s greatest threat came from "sins within the Church" and he acknowledged it must seek forgiveness, though this was no substitute for justice.
Sunday’s demonstration of support, organised by an Italian Catholic lay association, brought nearly 200,000 people to the wide circular space before St. Peters basilica.
Many of those who came from across Italy waved banners such as "The people of Rome with the Holy Father" or "Renewing the Holy Spirit".
"Thank you for your presence and your faith," the Pope told the crowd, which interrupted his speech with applause. "Today you demonstrate the great affection and closeness of the Church and the Italian people to the Pope and your Priests."
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the Italian Bishops conference and a close collaborator of the Pope’s, said the Church "purified by penitence should be a place of justice and comfort for the faithful".
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/Pope+tells+crowd+priests+must+resist+temptation/3035017/story.html#ixzz0oBLtZc5c
Sunday, May 16, 2010
VATICAN CITY — Tens of thousands pilgrims flocked to the Vatican on Sunday in a rally of support for Pope Benedict XVI as he battles a paedophile Priest scandal.
Police estimated the crowd which filled St Peter's Square and Via della Conciliazione, the broad avenue leading to the holy city, at more than 150,000.
Some bore banners of support for the embattled head of the Roman Catholic Church saying "Together with the Pope" and "Your Holiness, you are not Alone, the whole Church is with you."
The demonstration of support was organised by the Italian Episcopal Conference, two days after Benedict's return from a four-day visit to Portugal which was marked by huge crowds.
"Today you show the great affection and profound closeness of the Church and the Italian people to the Pope and your Priests... because, in the commitment to spiritual and moral renewal, we can always do better," Benedict said, addressing the crowd from the balcony of his Vatican apartment.
"The real enemy to fear and to fight is sin, spiritual evil, which at times, unfortunately, also infects members of the Church," he said.
In what may yet be seen as a watershed in his battle against the Church's biggest crisis in decades, a penitent Pope said last week en route to Portugal that the problems it faced came not from its enemies, but from sin within the institution itself.
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, president of the Italian Bishops Conference and Archbishop of the northern city of Genoa, led a group prayer focused on the meaning of purification, solidarity, forgiveness and justice.
The Church, "faithful to its mission", must be "purified of the sins of its sons", Bagnasco said.
Tens of thousands of pilgrims, made up of many Catholic associations, arrived in Rome aboard hundreds of chartered buses and special trains.
"We came from all over Italy to Saint Peter's to express our affection in a moment that is so difficult for him and the entire Church," said Paola Dal Toso, head of one of the associations that organised the rally.
"I am here to support the Holy Father in this difficult moment for the Church. He's a good Pope who has known how to react to the paedophilia scandals," said Cristian Papachioli, a 25-year-old student Priest.
Chiara, a 37-year-old from the northern Italian city of Piacenza, said: "We are lucky to have such a committed Pope, it's a blessing."
The faithful had gathered beneath a cloudy sky below the Pope's balcony since early morning, to pray with him during the Regina Coeli, celebrated each Sunday in the weeks ahead of Pentecost.
"I thank you with all my heart, dear brothers and sisters, for your warm presence," Benedict told them.
The Church has for months been embroiled in a series of sex abuse scandals amid allegations that the Vatican had protected paedophile Priests from prosecution in several European countries and the United States.
The Pope's comments that the Church was alone culpable were effectively a reversal of earlier Vatican attempts to blame media sensationalism for its problems and won praise from Vatican watchers.
The Holy See said the turnout in Portugal has been a strong public response to attacks on the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics over his handling of the paedophile crisis.
"The vitality of the people's faith demonstrates great hope, despite internal and external difficulties" facing the Church, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said at the end of the visit.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Taken from: http://news.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/World/Story/A1Story20100510-215260.html
VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI, a bookish theologian, holds a deep-rooted interest in the popular cult of the Virgin Mary, which will be on display during his visit to the shrine of Fatima in Portugal.
"Contrary to what one could imagine, Benedict XVI has a very positive opinion of demonstrations of popular faith like the one you can see in Fatima," Vatican expert Sandro Magister told AFP.
The Pope heads to Portugal on Tuesday to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the beatification of young shepherds who claim to have seen the Virgin Mary appear.
"Like his predecessor John Paul II, Benedict XVI is very pious with regards to Mary," French Cardinal Paul Poupard told AFP.
Several trips have already brought Benedict to sanctuaries devoted to the Virgin Mary, where he celebrated Masses in front of thousands of faithful: Marizell in Austria, Loreto in Italy, Aparecida in Brasil, Altotting in Germany, the "house of Mary" in Turkey and Lourdes in France.
As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the Pope - then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger - dealt thoroughly with apparitions and miracles.
In 2000, John Paul II entrusted Ratzinger with writing a theological document on an aspect of the Virgin's six apparitions to three shepherds in Fatima between May 13 and October 13 in 1917.
The text dealt with what is known as the third secret of Fatima, which John Paul II believed to be a prophecy of the assassination attempt he survived on May 13 1981.
The three secrets of Fatima are visions and prophecies allegedly given by an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to three young Portuguese shepherds.
"The Pope's visit to Fatima is not a visit to any sanctuary dedicated to Mary, as it was in other trips," the Pope's spokesman Federico Lombardi said.
"The Pope dealt thoroughly with these events from the theological and spiritual point of view," he said.
Since the beginning of Benedict's Papacy in 2005, references to the Virgin in his homilies have been on the rise.
Benedict "has often underscored the importance of Catholicism speaking to everyone, including the 'lost sheep,' Catholics who do not practice on a regular basis," Magister told AFP.
"These pilgrimage sites are a way to gather masses. It is not contradictory with his love of sciences and with his university experience," he added.
Benedict has also often shown appreciation for the simple and popular faith of Bavaria, the predominatly Protestant German region where he was born.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
The Pope will travel to Portugal this week amid hopes that he might shed light on one of the Catholic Church's most intriguing mysteries – the so-called Third Secret of Fatima
During his four day visit, Benedict XVI will pray at the shrine of Fatima, one of the best known centres of Catholic pilgrimage in the world and the focus of endless conspiracy theories and Doomsday predictions.
Its cult is founded on the belief that three shepherd children witnessed a series of apparitions and prophecies of the Virgin Mary in 1917.
Three secrets were supposedly disclosed to them, with the first and second relating to a vision of Hell and predicting the end of World War I, the outbreak of World War II, the collapse of the Soviet Union and Russia's return to Christianity.
The third secret was only disclosed by the Vatican in 2000 and was said to have foretold the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II by a Turkish gunman in 1981.
There has been intense speculation ever since that the Vatican withheld part of the secret, which is said to have concerned the Satanic infiltration of the Catholic Church, the rise of an anti-Pope or even nuclear Armageddon. The Holy See claims that it has released the full text of the secret and that it is holding nothing back, but many Catholics are not convinced.
Benedict is one of the world's leading authorities on the mystery because as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, before he was elected Pope in 2005, he was responsible for developing the Vatican's official position on the miracle of Fatima and wrote a scholarly interpretation of the Third Secret.
Benedict's visit is heavy with symbolism. He will be in Fatima on May 13 – the same day, in 1917, that the Madonna supposedly first appeared to the children. It is also the date on which Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca came close to killing John Paul II after shooting him in St Peter's Square.
ROME — Roman Catholics can send now text messages of support to Pope Benedict XVI, Italian public television said Saturday, as the Church faces an international paedophile scandal.
The mobile phone service was launched by Rai television's Sunday weekly religious programme, ahead of a gathering organised by lay groups in Saint Peter's Square on May 16 to show their backing for the Pontiff.
All messages sent to the special number -- +39 335 18 63 091 -- will be passed along to the Pope by the end of May, the broadcaster said. They will be shown from Sunday during the television show "In His Image".
"It's a truly unique event, because with this number everyone can show their solidarity without being physically present in Saint Peter's Square," said Rosario Carello, the chief of the programme on the Rai Uno channel.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Pope Alexander VI
"Was Pope Alexander VI the moral monster of legend, and was he truly concerned about the wellbeing of the Church?"
The most infamous of all the Popes, father of several children, and politician extraordinaire. The second Borgia Pope, the most misunderstood and most unexplainable character to have ever sat upon the throne of Saint Peter, dynamic, enigmatic, and intelligent, this man was a shrewd political leader, with a very clear understanding of the politics of his day. Alexander was not a Churchman, he belonged else where, yet he did not neglect his responsibilities to the Church. By no means was he an exemplary Christian, however, he did bring back a prestige and power to the Church that made Her enemies tremble, and Her faithful gasp in wonder and awe.
On 1 January 1431 at Xativa, near Valencia, in Spain, Isabella de Borja gave birth to Rodrigo de Borja, the future Pope Alexander VI. The young Rodrigo had not decided upon any particular profession, however this all changed in 1455.Isabella’s brother, Cardinal Alfonso de Borja, who become Pope Callixtus III in 1455, opened up a completely new host of opportunities for the ambitious Rodrigo. Rodrigo was adopted into Callixtus’ immediate family and entered into the Church, not to serve as a spiritual leader, the thought of a clerical vocation was not even considered, but rather it was the perfect opportunity for him to further himself politically, socially, and financially. The Italians knew Rodrigo de Borja henceforward as Rodrigo Borgia.
Rodrigo’s uncle, Pope Callixtus III, bestowed many rich benefices upon Rodrigo, and then sent him to study law at the University of Bologna for a year. Then in 1456, he was made Cardinal-Deacon of St. Nicolo in Carcere at the age of twenty-five, and he held that title until 1471, when he was made Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, then in 1476, he was made Cardinal-Bishop of Porto and Dean of the Sacred College. Rodrigo’s official position in the Curia of the Church, after 1457, was that of Vice-Chancellor of the Roman Catholic Church, which earned him the envy of many. This was an important and lucrative position, and it seems in his long position in the administration of the Papal Chancery to have given a satisfactory service. Francesco Guicciardini (1483-1540), a Florentine politician and historian, wrote of Rodrigo, “…in him [Rodrigo Borgia] were combined rare prudence and vigilance mature reflection, marvelous power of persuasion, skill and capacity for the conduct of the most difficult affairs…” The list of archbishoprics, bishoprics, abbacies, and other dignitaries that Rodrigo held were many; he had a magnificent household, and had a passion for card playing. He was a moderate eater and drinker, and a careful administrator, all was well for Rodrigo, and it should not come as a surprise to find that he quickly became one of the richest men of his time.
At the age of twenty nine Rodrigo upset the entire town and court of Sienna, after having received a letter from Pope Pius II condemning his misconduct which, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “…had been so notorious as to shock the whole town and court.” In 1468, Rodrigo was ordained into the Priesthood, yet he continued with his immoral ways. In 1470, his relations with the Roman woman, Vanozza de Catanei, begun, she was the mother of Rodrigo’s four children: Juan, Caesar, Lucrezia, and Jofre.
Rodrigo’s contemporaries described him as tall and handsome. Sigismondo de Conti speaks of him as a large, robust man, with a sharp gaze, great amiability, and "wonderful skill in money matters." Others admired his florid complexion, dark eyes, and full mouth; he was praised for his imposing figure, his cheerful countenance, persuasive manner, brilliant conversation, and intimate mastery of the ways of polite society. It is no wonder that a man with handsome features, and the characteristics of prince or politician, did not make a good Priest, yet alone a Pope.
With the death of Pope Innocent VIII on the 25 July 1492, the struggle for the seat of Saint Peter had begun. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Rodrigo had won the Conclave by a two-thirds majority, which was likely due to vast sums of money, promises, and favors. Rodrigo was a brilliant negotiator and was very good at persuading people to do what he wanted. According to legend, Rodrigo had paid Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, who was the final vote needed to secure a two-thirds majority, four mule loads of silver to sway him to vote for Rodrigo at the Conclave. This story has since been discredited, as Cardinal Ascanio stood to gain more by voting for Rodrigo, because he would become the Pope’s Chief Adviser, which was a lucrative position. Furthermore, there is actually not a single piece of irresistible evidence to prove that Rodrigo had bribed anyone at all. The Conclave was not contested, and according to the law at the time, it was found to be a valid Conclave, which would disprove the fact that Rodrigo had obtained the Papacy through simony.
Francesco Guicciardini wrote that on the 11 August 1492, Rodrigo Borgia become Pope Alexander VI, and this caused great “alarm and horror” in Rome. However, there seems to be no justification for this statement, because there was a massive celebration in Rome on that day. Huge bonfires were lit, there were torchlight processions, garlands of flowers and, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “…triumphal arches were erected with extravagant inscriptions.” Furthermore, on the 26 August 1492, the day of his coronation at Saint Peter’s basilica, and during his progression to the basilica of Saint John Lateran, he was met, according to “The Diarist”, an unknown Papal biographer, with an ovation “…greater than any Pontiff had ever received.” The people of Rome considered Alexander as one of their own, and were confident that he would be a good Pope, bringing peace and dignity back to Rome. It did not take long for Alexander to meet the expectations of the people.
Before Alexander’s ascension to the throne of Saint Peter, Rome was in a terrible state. Two very powerful, baronial families were constantly vying for control of the city. It was not uncommon to see fighting in the streets, and assassinations were commonplace too. According to a historian, Infessura, who lived at the time, there were over two hundred and twenty assassinations in the few months before Alexander’s rise to the Papacy. Rome was falling apart; the Eternal City was in squalor, thieves ran amok and it was in no way a city that was supposed to represent the centre, and seat of power of Christianity. One may ask why previous Popes had not done anything to solve this. The answer is simple; the two baronial families that were mentioned earlier had an almost complete and crippling control of the city.
To answer this question more fully we need to look at the political situation of the time. Nicolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) was a Florentine politician who wrote a book called “The Prince”; this book explains the political situation of Italy and gives a very good insight into the Papacy of Alexander VI. Italy was divided up into many minor states, the main ones being; the Papal States, ruled by the Pope, the state of Venice, which was a Republic, the state of Florence, which was also a Republic, the Kingdom of Naples, which was run by the King of Naples, and lastly the Dukedom of Milan, which was run by the Duke of Milan. There were also a few other smaller states, which were not major players in the political field. These Italian states had two fears, that of foreign invasion, and that of another state taking more territory. Now excluding the fear of foreign invasion, the Italians were most afraid of two states taking more territory, and those were the states of Venice, and the Papal States. In order to restrain the Venetians the different Italian states formed an alliance against them, not to conquer them completely, but just to keep them within their own territory. In order to stop the Popes from taking more land, the Italians made use of the Barons of Rome.
There were two baronial families in Rome, and both were very powerful. The Orsini and the Colonna, they hated each other, and there continual fighting caused the Popes to focus their attentions on solving family feuds, rather than running the Papal States and seeing to the needs of the Church. The Orsini and the Colonna would buy Cardinals, and would use them to vote in a Pope that was sympathetic to their family. Now, as Nicolò points out in his book, that Pope would try to destroy the other family, however, due to a Pope’s short lifespan, usually ten years, the opposing family would never be completely destroyed. When a new Pope came into power, he would be sympathetic to the other family, and would start to destroy the opposing family. Thus, the situation could never be resolved, and as Nicolò says, “This was the reason why the temporal powers of the Pope were little esteemed in Italy.”
Alexander VI changed all of that. With his vast sums of money, his army, and by using Duke Valentino, his son Caesar, Alexander managed to crush both families, and regain power over Rome. No longer would a particular family lay claim to Rome, the Eternal City once again belonged to the successor of Saint Peter. Alexander immediately set out to restore the beauty and grandeur of Rome. Alexander split up the city into four districts, each with its own magistrate. Investigations were made into murders, especially assassinations, the guilty were hanged on the spot, and their houses razed to the ground. Alexander even allowed on a Tuesday for anyone, man or woman, to bring their grievances before him, and he would then resolve them himself, and according to “The Diarist”, “he set about dispensing justice in an admirable manner.” Although Alexander was not a well-educated man, he surrounded himself with learned men, and became a patron of the arts and sciences. He had the University of Rome rebuilt, and hired the greatest professors to teach there. Alexander also loved the theatre, and became a patron of the dramatic arts too.
Alexander then looked to the defense of the city; he turned the Mausoleum of Adrian into a fortress, capable of withstanding a siege, and by fortifying the Torre di Nona, he made Rome safe from a naval attack too. By allowing the growth of art, many great artists and architects came to the city, hoping to find a patron, and Alexander was only too happy to oblige. Artists such as Bramante and Pinturicchio worked for Alexander, in fact, the beautiful Mysteries of Faith, by Pinturicchio was commissioned by Alexander, and they still adorn the walls of the Appartimento Borgia in the Vatican today. The amazing ceiling of the Santa Maria Maggiore was commissioned by Alexander, using the first gold brought from the Americas by Columbus.
Alexander loved Pontifical ceremonies, and fine music. He would listen to good sermons with a critical ear, and he wrote two treaties on canonical subjects, as well as a defense of the Christian Faith. Alexander also passed decrees on prayers and devotions to the Virgin Mary that are still in place today. In 1493, Alexander released a Papal Bull that separated the world into two halves, giving all undiscovered lands in the west to the Spanish, and all undiscovered lands in the east to the Portuguese, thus solving a problem that may have resulted in war between the two nations. Alexander also sent the first missionaries into the Americas and issued a decree that banned certain books that would have caused major uprisings. Alexander was also very lenient on Rome’s Jews by allowing them to live in the city without persecution. He also tried to establish, like his uncle before him, an alliance against the Turks, and he tried his best to persuade Charles VIII of France from invading Italy. In the Jubilee year of 1500, Alexander also managed to accommodate the thousands of pilgrims that came to visit the city, and he did not spare a single coin, in order to ensure the safety and comfort of his “guests”.
Besides all of these things, Alexander still lived an immoral life, in 1492, before he became Pope, Alexander had put aside his mistress, Vanozza de Catanei, and replaced her with the younger Guilia Faranese, who bore another two or three of Alexander’s children. Contrary to popular belief, Alexander had not hosted wild orgies in the Vatican, nor did he fund the Banquet of Chestnuts, a massive orgy, that involved over 50 prostitutes. These tall tales have been found to be just the stories of Alexander’s enemies. Alexander was extremely fond of his children, and he spent lots of money on keeping them pleased, not ashamed of flaunting his children, he earned the disrespect of many of his Cardinals. Alexander’s two favorite children were Lucrezia and Caesar, and with their help, Alexander would become more powerful and rich. Alexander had made his mistress’ brother, Alessandro Faranese a Cardinal, and he was later to become Pope Paul III.
Alexander married his daughter off three times, the first marriage he had annulled, the second marriage was ended when Caesar had killed her husband, and the third she lived out peacefully until her death. Lucrezia was often put in charge of the Church when her father went on his travels, and the rumors that her and her father had sexual relations was just the heated lies of Alexander’s many enemies. Lucrezia is often portrayed in popular media as a vile and immoral person, but she was much more moral and upstanding than she is given credit for.
On the 31 December 1494, the French entered into the city of Rome, Charles VIII was upset that Alexander had refused to crown him King of Naples. Alexander wanted to keep the very fragile peace that was in Italy and had instead crowned Alfonso II, the rightful heir to the throne. At the sight of the French canons, everyone had abandoned Alexander, and he was left alone to face the upset King. Cardinal della Rovere, who supported the French invasion, as he wanted Alexander deposed, had lead a rebellion against Alexander, and had the support of half of the Cardinals. Alexander’s closest ally, his commander of the army, Virginio Orsini had also abandoned him, which was a very harsh blow, yet under all these pressures, Alexander did not give in. After a fortnight, it was Charles who finally gave in, he acknowledged Alexander as the true Pope, and he performed his filial obedience with utmost humility. Charles could still not get Alexander to accept his claims to the Neapolitan crown. Charles entered into Naples and disposed of the unpopular Alfonso, and then wasted two months in trying to convince the Pope that he was in fact the true King of Naples, by this time an alliance of the Italian states, Spain, and the Empire had formed to chase the French out of Italy
Alexander had regained the respect of many, and was now a major player in the political scene. With everything fine in Rome, Alexander turned his attentions to the Papal States. After many years of neglect, the Papal States had been ruled by petty tyrants and rogues, and were in a state of chaos. With the help of his cruel and ruthless son, Alexander managed to bring the Papal States under his control again. Caesar was the head of the Papal army, he was a brilliant military leader, but his cruelty earned not only fear, but disrespect amongst his officers. Some of Caesar’s closest officers were plotting against him, and when he found out, he had no remorse or pity when he had them killed. With the Papal States under his control again, Alexander now wanted to exact revenge on the people who had betrayed him at the French invasion. He had them all excommunicated, and in their powerlessness they handed the keys to their castles to the Sacred College, but Alexander wanted them for himself. When Alexander found out that Cardinal Orsini had been involved in the conspiracy against his son, he showed no mercy on the Orsini at all. Caesar was sent to destroy them completely, and all that remained of them was the fortress of Bracciano, the Pope was truly in control.
On the 18 August 1503, Pope Alexander VI had died of Roman Fever. Contrary to popular belief, he did not die by mistakenly drinking a poisoned wine destined for his Cardinal host. The death of Alexander quickly brought down the empire of his son Caesar, who died in 1507, but the power that Alexander had brought to the Church was never lost.
To the uneducated person it may seem extremely strange as to why, or how, could a man of such ill repute be given the position of power over a religious institution. Furthermore, if we look into Catholic Theology, we shall see that the papacy is a function of extreme importance within the life of the Church. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ on Earth! So again, we ask, how can this be?
Well it is important to remember that before the reforming Council of Trent, in the mid 16th Century, the papacy was viewed, by the Renaissance world, as an office. It was a position of power, and the thought of it being a religious calling was rarely thought of. The political situations at the time called for a more worldly or secular man to hold the title of Successor of Saint Peter. The Church was fine in terms of spirituality, but in terms of temporal powers, She was in a shambles. A Pope who was concerned about spirituality could not deal with the influences of outside, non-Church related parties. What the Church needed at that time, was a man who could pull the Church out of the clutches of feuding families and barons, and make the Church powerful again, so that the Church could rule Herself, and not be dictated to by kings and princes.
The man to fill that gap was Pope Alexander VI. If he was born in another time, there would have been little chance of him becoming a Priest, yet alone a Pope, but one cannot deny the fact that Pope Alexander did indeed restore the Church to Her former glory. Once Alexander had restored power back to the Church, from then on, more spiritual men could take charge, and see to the needs of the Church.
What is the importance of this investigation? Well it is simple. History has dealt Pope Alexander VI a bad hand, his name deserves to be cleared from the lies he was usually subscribed to. There is a need to show the truth, and whether that truth is bad, or good, it must be shown. Pope Alexander VI has been a bit of a black sheep for the Church, but this investigation wishes to show that there is no need for the Church to see Alexander in that light. Although the chances of Alexander ever being declared a Saint are near impossible, he should at least be given some credit for restoring the dignity of the Holy See, and the might of the Church.
One can look over all the evidence for one’s self and one can interpretate this evidence in a variety of manners; however, the burden of proof will rest on your shoulders in trying to prove that Alexander was the moral monster of legend. The majority of the evidence points out Alexander’s faults, and even less point’s out his strengths, yet only a fool, bigot, or completely ignorant person would still cling to the notion that he was a lustful, power maddened, and blood-thirsting creature.
Pope Alexander VI, was he the moral monster of legend? No, although he was not an upstanding moral spiritual leader, and by no means was he a good example of Christian virtues, he was not the vile man he is popularly made out to be. He was ruthless, yet the politics of the time called for it. It must be understood that the Papacy was viewed as an office, not a vocation, and it must be said that there were many times that Alexander performed in a manner that most other men would have shrunk away from. He was resilient, intelligent, and brave, he would have, and did, make a brilliant secular leader. De Maistre in his book “Du Pape” said it right when, “…the vices lightly passed over in a Louis XIV become most offensive and scandalous in an Alexander VI.” He did nothing that is wrong when viewed from the perspective of a secular leader, but as a spiritual one, he became the infamous “Borgia Pope”.
Was he truly concerned about the wellbeing of the Church? At times, it may seem that he was only concerned about himself, and his family, which was true, yet he did a great many things for the Church, and he ensured the propagation of the Faith to those people in the New World. Although not a great Churchman, he did bring back glory and dignity to the Holy See, and made the Church powerful and rich. It is important to realize, as Pope Leo the Great once said, “…the dignity of Peter suffers no diminution even in an unworthy successor.” Therefore, as much as an unworthy successor Alexander may have been, this does in no way damage or harms the truth of the Faith or the validity of the Catholic Church.
Loughlin, J. (1907). Pope Alexander VI. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.Retrieved June 1, 2008 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01289a.htm
Gardner, E. (1910). Francesco Guicciardini. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.Retrieved June 1, 2008 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07064a.htm
“The Prince”, by Nicolò Machiavelli. Translated by, W.K. Marriott, published by, William Benton, published in 1978. Part of Encyclopedia Britannica. Copyright 1952
“The Papacy”, by Paul Johnson. Published by, George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd. Published in 1997. Copyright 1997
“A short history of the Catholic Church”, by J. Derek Holmes and Bernard W. Bickers. Published by, Burns & Oates, published in 1992. Copyright 1983
“Rome and Vatican”, by Cinzia Valigi. Published by, Plurigraf Narni-Teri, published in 1990. Copyright 1990
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
The Holy Father was referring to a weekend bomb attack on a column of buses carrying Christian students from the village of Hamdaniya, 40 km east of Mosul, to University in the city.
Four people were killed and 171 injured, at least 17 seriously. Pope Benedict XVI asks local Church leaders to convey his heartfelt condolences to those affected by this crime and to their families. He reaffirms his spiritual closeness to the Christian communities of Iraq and renews his appeal to all men and women of good will to hold steadfast to the ways of peace and to repudiate all acts of violence which have caused so much suffering.
The Holy Father offers fervent prayers for the eternal repose of the victims and invokes Almighty God’s abundant gifts of strength and consolation upon those who are injured and mourning.
Fifty thousand people were there when the Pope said Mass in the open air in Turin on Sunday.He went to see the Shroud of Turin, which is being exhibited at the Cathedral there. “This is a burial cloth that wrapped the remains of a crucified man in full correspondence with what the Gospels tell us of Jesus,” he said.Pope Benedict did not give any opinion on its authenticity, but he added that it was “an icon written in blood”. That seems a well judged phrase.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates his 83rd birthday today. Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Alois Ratzinger) was born on April 16, 1927 at Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany and was baptized on the same day as it was Holy Saturday and in Catholic tradition, children are baptized on Easter Vigil.
His father, Joseph Ratzinger Sr., was a police officer and belonged to a family of peasants while his mother, according to the Pope’s official biography, was the daughter of artisans from Rimsting on the shore of Lake Chiem, and before marrying she worked as a cook in a number of hotels. Joseph Ratzinger’s brother, Georg Ratzinger is a priest and was director of the Regensburger Domspatzen choir, a famous church choir in Germany, for quite a long time.
Ratzinger spent his youthful years in tumultuous times. In 1941, a few days after his 14th birthday, he was forced to join the Hitler Youth Movement. Because he was only coerced to join the movement, he refused to participate in the meetings and activities of the group. Later on as a seminarian, he was drafted into the German anti-aircraft corps but a subsequent infirmity did not permit him from fulfilling his military duty.
Joseph and Georg Ratzinger were both ordained in Freising on June 29, 1951 by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Munich.
Ratzinger joined the academic community of the University of Bonn as a theology professor in 1959. During his stint as faculty, he was appointed advisor of the Archbishop of Munich. It was also during this time when he was summoned to be part of the historic Second Vatican Council. From then on, he has been known the world over as a brilliant theologian.
In 1977, he was appointed Archbishop of Munich and in 1981, he was summoned by Pope John Paul II to head the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. After the death of Pope John Paul II, he was elected by the College of Cardinals as the 265th Successor of Peter.
We wish His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI good health and God’s immense blessings on his birthday. May he steadfastly lead the Church worldwide as we face great challenges. Happy 83rd Birthday to our Holy Father!
Thursday, April 15, 2010
"I saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him." - Blessed Jacinta, (child-seer of Fatima, Portugal)
April 13 (Bloomberg) -- The house in which Pope Benedict XVI was born in the southern Bavarian village of Marktl am Inn was vandalized overnight with an “obscene” phrase spray- painted above the main door, police said.
The blue graffiti was discovered early today, Bavarian police said in a statement on their Web site. Authorities, who estimate the damage at 1,500 euros ($2,040), have painted over the text to cover it up. Police are searching for the person who vandalized the house.
“You can presume” the graffiti was related to the sex- abuse scandal linked to the Catholic Church in Germany, police spokesman Konrad Rutzinger said by phone from southern Germany. He declined to give details on the content of the graffiti.
The house defacement occurred three days before the German pope’s 83rd birthday in the town on the Inn River near the Austrian border. The pope was born in the three-story, 18th century house on April 16, 1927. The building has become a museum dedicated to Benedict XVI.
Benedict himself was drawn into the widening scandal last month when the Munich archdiocese said the Pontiff, then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, played a role in moving a priest later convicted of molesting boys to his diocese in 1980.
The Vatican yesterday responded to criticism linked to the sex abuse scandal by publishing its guidelines for dealing with Roman Catholic clerics accused of molesting minors for the first time.
On Sunday I appeared on The Big Questions on BBC1 to discuss whether the Pope should "resign". It quickly descended into a heckling circus where calmly reasoned argument fell victim to unfocused outrage. Afterwards, two representatives of the Protest the Pope Coalition told me menacingly I had "no right" to defend Benedict XVI's record on abuse.
But shouting down the truth doesn't make it go away. I don't defend the pPpe because I think it is the duty of a good Catholic; I defend him because he is completely innocent of the charges made against him, and because the media has merged with the mob and misreported the facts.
The three recent stories from the US cited by Richard Dawkins and his mob as "proving" that the Pope should be arrested under international law – the horrible cases of Murphy in Wisconsin, Teta and Trupia in Arizona, and now Kiesle in California – have this in common: the abuse took place in the 1970s; the police were informed and acted; the Priest was suspended by his Bishop; requests for dismissal from the clerical state ("defrocking") were sent to Cardinal Ratzinger's department in the Vatican, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; and some time later the Priests were defrocked – except in the case of Murphy, who died during his trial.
Suspension and defrocking are two separate actions. The first can be done by a Bishop, with immediate effect; the second is a lengthy process that involves Rome. Suspension – meaning a Priest is no longer able to function as a Priest – say Mass, hear Confession, act as chaplain etc – is the key action that a Bishop has to take against an abusive Priest to prevent him having contact with minors. If, in any of these "smoking gun" cases, the Bishop failed to suspend an abusive Priest immediately, he did wrong. But such failure would have had nothing to do with Cardinal Ratzinger, whose only involvement was when a request for defrocking landed on his desk.
The time Rome took over each defrocking says nothing whatsoever about cover-up or collusion. It says only that defrocking was then a complex and elaborate procedure that took too long. However, what prevented the abuse was not the defrocking but the suspension by the Bishop. There is no link between the length of the defrocking process and the Priest's opportunity to abuse. In fact, in the case of Kiesle, most of the abuse for which he was convicted took place after he was defrocked, when his Bishop had no more control over him.
But wasn't Ratzinger in charge while all this was going on? Didn't it happen on his watch? No. From 1981 to 2001 he was in charge of a department that dealt with defrocking, but not with suspensions and penalties for paedophile Priests, which were the responsibility of local Bishops. A number of Bishops failed to suspend the abusive Priests, some of whom continued to abuse. That is the scandal. It has been exposed and dealt with, and a number of Bishops have, as a result, resigned. More important, guidelines are now in place to prevent it ever happening again.
Not only was Cardinal Ratzinger not complicit in these failures, he was the Vatican official who most clearly saw what was needed to tackle the problem. Then, in 2001, Pope John Paul asked him to review the local churches' handling of clerical abuse cases. Cardinal Ratzinger asked Bishops around the world to forward to him all cases where credible allegations had been made against Priests.
He did this not to "cover up" the crimes – which had been reported to the local police – but to ensure that the Priests were more speedily dealt with. He accomplished this by amending the procedure for defrocking to allow for a fast-track procedure that did not involve trials.
Some try to make out that Cardinal Ratzinger's 2001 letter orders a cover-up by insisting that parties observe secrecy under pain of excommunication. What it actually says is that confidentiality should be observed during Church trials, to allow the victims to give evidence freely and to protect the accused until found guilty. There is nothing in that letter preventing victims reporting the case to the police, and the assumption is that they should.
Pope Benedict is not responsible for cover-up, collusion, turning a blind eye, institutional idolatry or any of the other accusations that, with greater or lesser vehemence, have been hurled at the Catholic Church during recent weeks. On the contrary, he is the one in the Vatican who has done most to rid the Church of this scourge. He is the one who has acted most consistently and energetically to improve the Church's handling of these cases.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
The Associated Press is claiming that the former Cardinal Ratzinger was implicated in a decision to delay defrocking a paedophile priest. Sounds bad, doesn’t it? But, as with all the media attempts to “get” Pope Benedict XVI, the story turns out to be a bit more complicated than the headlines imply. Fr Stephen Kiesle committed his disgusting crimes in the 1970s, the Diocese of Oakland withdrew him from priestly ministry and he asked to be laicised, a complicated canonical procedure. In 1985 Ratzinger signed a letter (in Latin) urging caution but then did give permission for the defrocking, which happened in 1987.
Probably the delay was a bad decision; but it was as a lay worker that Kiesle later volunteered for youth ministry – and seems to have got away with it, thanks to the diocese, not the CDF. We don’t really know the full details, but it’s pretty clear to me that, as with The New York Times’s dodgy Wisconsin story, the shocking negligence of the Church authorities can’t easily be laid at the door of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who did not take over direct responsibility for sex cases until 2001. And, indeed, no one would be trying to do so if he hadn’t later become Pope.
Meanwhile, as I pointed out the other day, a genuine sex and corruption scandal is engulfing the Vatican, as it becomes clear that senior Cardinals and curial officials accepted money from the creepy Legionaries of Christ. But there’s a problem: as in the case of the pervert Cardinal Groer, Joseph Ratzinger is untainted by the scandal. So no big deal, eh? All that matters to various media outlets is that they beat the opposition to The Story That Brings Down The Pope. And if it doesn’t exist? “Of course it exists!” scream certain editors.
None of this Ratzinger-baiting helps the victims of clerical abuse. In fact, it has helped one or two sleazebag prelates pass the buck. I despair.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Vatican City, Apr 6, 2010 / 03:09 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic leaders from around the world have expressed solidarity with the Pope in a united response to attempts by some media sources to connect him personally to cases of sexual abuse which reached a boiling point over Holy Week. One prelate remarked that the coincidence of the media pressure with the arrival of Easter is no accident.
L'Osservatore Romano (LOR), reported the words of many Catholic bishops in its Sunday edition, among which were comments from Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez. In a press conference last week, he said that Benedict XVI has maintained firmness, transparency and severity in reacting to cases, although some media outlets seek to "undervalue facts and force interpretations."
The archbishop from the Dominican Republic went on to say that the underlying cause for the offensive by some against the Pope in the U.S. and Europe is due to the firm position of the Church "in defense of life and its rejection of the crime of abortion."
Attempts have been made by some media sources in recent days to tie the Pope to the mishandling of cases of abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, where he served 30 years ago, and to others which reached the Vatican while he was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Mexican Bishop Felipe Arizmendi Esquivel of San Cristobal de Las Casas, spoke on Sunday of the Pope's line of actions, saying "while he was archbishop of Munich and later in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he always treated these cases with extreme delicateness and utmost responsibility."
Cardinal Norberto Rivera said from Mexico City, where he is Archbishop, that the Church will in no way tolerate or defend any act of sexual abuse of minors and that because of the actions of "some dishonest and criminal priests" the Pope has had to confront "defamation and attacks" marked by "lies and cowardice."
Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, in his homily during the Chrism Mass last week said that through the trials of the Church in these moments, "we must also notice the offensive of the audiovisual media that celebrate Easter in their way concentrating on Holy Week their criticisms of the Church and of the Christian faith."
The Cardinal continued to say that the most vulnerable to these attacks are those who are "less informed and less involved in the life of the Church" who are "bombarded by messages that present themselves as criticisms but that are nothing more than operations of propaganda... gross propaganda."
"In our democratic countries, Christians are still citizens on a level with all others but they are certainly not so in the treatment received by the information media," he asserted.
LOR underlined in the article that together with these and other messages, the Church adds the "painful admission of the faults to the past," and it will not allow any attempts at intimidation to distract it from "the duty to provide clarification."
In an interview with Italy's La Stampa, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, said that "the criticisms and the incomprehensions" have always existed and will always exist. "Our duty is to preach the word of Christ to all."
He added that "there will always be those who won't retain as sufficient or adequate our actions or reparations, but that which counts is the effectiveness of the intervention and the purity of hear with which it is carried out for the common good."
Cardinal Etchegaray also emphasized that following the example of Pope Benedict XVI "is the way that leads out of this storm."
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is ratcheting up its counterattack against accusations that Pope Benedict XVI helped cover up the actions of pedophile Priests to save the Church's reputation.
Senior Cardinals in Rome are decrying what they depict as an anti-Catholic "hate" campaign that they say is related to the fact that Benedict is leading Church opposition to same-sex marriage.
Vatican Radio on Tuesday quoted Italian Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, a Holy See official, as saying the Church must pardon its attackers for what he called "hatred against the Catholic Church."
Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, who heads a Vatican disciplinary commission, says the Pope is being attacked because of his stands against abortion and same-sex marriage. [Cardinal] Herranz is quoted as saying powerful lobbies want to impose a different agenda.
A senior Vatican cardinal used yesterday’s Easter Mass to say the Catholic Church should not be distracted by “petty gossip” about child sex-abuse allegations.
Published: 8:30AM BST 05 Apr 2010
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, broke with tradition to launch a staunch rebuttal of the Pope’s critics.
In the Easter Sunday Mass which preceded the Pope’s Urbi et Orbi message, Cardinal Sodano told the pontiff: “The people of God are with you and do not allow themselves to be impressed by the petty gossip of the moment.”
The heads of the Catholic churches in England, Wales and Ireland all used their addresses to acknowledge the failure to properly address the scandal.
And protestors briefly interrupted Easter Sunday Mass at Dublin’s Pro Cathedral, placing children’s shoes at the altar to represent the victims of clerical sex abuse.
However, the Pope himself avoided any reference to the scandals during his Easter address, instead taking the opportunity to call for mankind to undergo a “spiritual and moral conversion”...
...Cardinal Sodano’s rebuttal of the Pope's critics in the Easter Mass was highly unusual, and considered a measure of how seriously the Vatican is taking the paedophile priest scandals that have hit the Church in Ireland, the US, Germany and several other countries.
Afterwards Benedict XVI told thousands of faithful in St Peter’s Square that humanity needed to emerge from “a profound crisis”, as he called for an end to conflicts in Africa and the Middle East and expressed fears for Christians living in Pakistan and Iraq.
Earlier, the crowds cheered when the Cardinal, a former secretary of state at the Vatican, described the Pope as a “solid rock” on which the Church rests...
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Zenit News Agency (www.zenit.org)
VATICAN CITY (Zenit.org) - Benedict XVI is asking the Iraqi government to increase security around places of worship; a letter to the Iraqi prime minister was published today after more Christians were killed in Mosul.
A Jan. 2 note from the Pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was published today in L'Osservatore Romano.
The letter affirms that the Pontiff "prays with fervor for the end of the violence and appeals to the government to do everything possible to increase security around places of worship in the whole country."
At the time the letter was written a church had been attacked on Christmas morning 30 miles north of Mosul, three Christians in Mosul were killed, and a Christian student was kidnapped from her university.
In the note, the cardinal recalled the visit of the prime minister to the Vatican in 2008, during which "the common hope was expressed that, through dialogue and cooperation between the ethnic and religious groups of your country, including its minorities, the Republic of Iraq will be able to effect a moral and civil reconstruction, in full respect of the identity of those groups, in a spirit of reconciliation and in the pursuit of the common good."
He added that on that occasion, the Pope exhorted "respect in Iraq for the right of freedom of worship and appealed for the protection of Christians and their churches," and the secretary of state did the same.
"You assured me," the cardinal wrote, "that your government was taking very seriously the situation of the Christian minority which has lived for so many centuries together with the Muslim majority, contributing in a considerable way to the economic, cultural and social well-being of the nation."
Cardinal Bertone stressed that the Pope asked him to write the Iraqi prime minister "to transmit his sincere solidarity to you, Excellency, and to all those who died or were wounded in the recent series of attacks on government buildings and places of worship in Iraq, both Muslim as well as Christian."
The letter ends with the cardinal expressing his "appreciation for the numerous initiatives undertaken in benefit of the whole Iraqi community," and assuring Al-Maliki of his "highest esteem."
According to L'Osservatore Romano, the text was published after the Pope learned "with profound sorrow" of the latest killings in Mosul.
The Pontiff, who at present is on spiritual exercises together with his collaborators of the Roman Curia, "is close to those who are suffering the consequences of the violence, with prayer and affection," it reported.
Already last week, the leader of the Archdiocese of Mosul, Archbishop Emil Shimoun Nona, told Aid to the Church in Need that if the situation does not improve, the ancient Christian community of the region will disappear.
Four Christians had been killed in as many days, and the prelate -- who at 42 is the Church's youngest archbishop -- affirmed that the city's few remaining Christians are panicked.
The situation has only worsened, however. Tuesday, three Christians of the same family were slain in Mosul, now bringing to eight the number of Christians killed in the city in the last 10 days.
Syrian Catholics Aishwa Maroki, 59, and his two sons, Mokhlas, 31, and Bassim, 25, were shot in their home.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Vatican City, Feb 23, 2010 / 06:29 pm (CNA).- In preparation for Pope Benedict's coming visit to Malta, the Holy See has released some numbers concerning the Church there. The large number of Catholics on the island nation could mean the Pope will see huge crowds.
The Holy Father will be visiting Malta between April 17 and 18 on the occasion of the 1,950th anniversary of the shipwreck of St. Paul.
If the statistics released through Vatican Press Office on Tuesday are any sign, it's likely that the Pope will draw large crowds during his visit.
The Central Office of Statistics of the Church reports that 94.4 percent of the country's 443,000 people are Catholic and that there are 853 religious and diocesan priests in their service.
This, according to the official statistics, means that there is a priest for every 490 Catholics on the island and an average of 10 priests for every place of worship.
In addition to the elevated number of clergy, there are almost 1,150 religious in Malta.
The Church in Malta also has 91 major seminarians, nearly half the number currently studying for the priesthood in Ireland, which has nearly 10 times the population.
Among scheduled events over Pope Benedict's two-day visit are stops at the place traditionally though to have been where St. Paul preached and St. Paul's Grotto in Rabat. The Holy Father will also celebrate Sunday Mass in the Granaries Square of Floriana.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Torrential rains hammered the island of Madeira in the Atlantic over the weekend, swelling rivers and leaving the coastal city of Funchal "thigh deep in mud," according to Agence France Presse. At least 42 people perished in the tragedy.
The papal telegram comes on the second of three days of mourning decreed by the Portuguese goverment for the victims. Through the letter signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, the Holy Father wished to "assure the whole local community" that he had entrusted the victims to God and asked for "comfort and assistance" for the victims' families, for the injured and for everyone who had lost their possessions.
Pope Benedict XVI also offered his Apostolic Blessing and invoked the divine graces on "all tested by this drama," as well as those participating in search and rescue and relief efforts on the island.
SIR news agency reported yesterday that Bishop Cavaco Carrilho of Funchal also expressed his "profound communion and solidarity to the population and victims" on Tuesday.
THE story of Pope Benedict XVI's life — from his birth in Germany to his election as pontiff — is told through the eyes of a tabby cat called Chico in a children's book to hit Italian bookstores soon.
In Joseph and Chico: A Cat Recounts the Life of Pope Benedict XVI, the orange tabby cat tells readers the Pope is "my dearest friend, a wonderful man with whom I've spent many happy moments".
He recounts the pontiff's childhood and his passion for reading and playing the piano. The book depicts the future Pope's early steps in the Catholic Church from when he entered a seminary in 1939 to his ordination as a priest in 1951.
The feline narrator is inspired by a real orange tabby in Pentling — the German town where the Pope, then Joseph Ratzinger, lived before moving to Rome in 1981 — that belonged to the family next door.
"I can assure you that what you will find in this book … is all true and interesting," the Pope's secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, says in the preface.
The 44-page book touches on the Nazi era, when a teenaged Ratzinger enrolled in the Hitler Youth. "In that period, Joseph was forced to do something that absolutely went against his will: enrol in the army and leave for war," it says.
The Pope eventually deserted without seeing combat and was taken prisoner by US forces before being released several weeks later. The biography ends with Pope John Paul II's funeral and Benedict XVI's election to the pontificate on April 2005.
The Pope is known to like cats. Before he was elected, he looked after stray cats in his old neighbourhood near the Vatican.
Monday, February 22, 2010
At his Angelus audience on February 21, the first Sunday in Lent, Pope Benedict XVI likened the season of Lent to a "long retreat," a period of spiritual combat. Commenting on the day's Gospel, which recounted Christ's temptation in the desert, the Pope remarked that Jesus taught not merely by example but by actions, "by struggling personally with the Tempter, all the way to the Cross." The message for the faithful, the Pope said, is "that the world is improved by beginning with ourselves, by changing, with God's grace, what is wrong with our lives."
At the conclusion of his remarks, the Pope asked the crowd in St. Peter's Square to pray for the success of the annual Lenten Retreat at the Vatican, which would begin that evening. The Pope and the leaders of the Roman Curia will set aside their regular work for the week-long spiritual exercises.
Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window:
Angelus: Lent, a Period of Spiritual 'Combat' (VIS)
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Published: February 21, 2010 at 11:29 am
Taken from Technorati
As a result of the two-day closed door discussions between Irish Bishops and senior members of the Roman Curia, concerning the child sexual abuse scandal in the Irish Catholic Church, the Vatican released an official statement February 16.
In the Vatican statement, Pope Benedict XVI was quoted as saying that child sexual abuse is a “heinous crime and is a grave sin which offends God and wounds the dignity of the human person created in his image.”
The discussions which took place last Monday and Tuesday have brought into light the serious situation in the Irish Catholic Church, revealed by the Murphy and Ryan reports. The two reports accounted cases of sexual abuse of minors committed by Priests from 1975 and 2004, and the efforts to cover up such abuses by some of the Church’s hierarchy over many years. A third government inquiry is still going on in the diocese of Cloyne.
There were 24 Irish Bishops present in the reunions, headed by Archbishop of Armagh, Cardinal Sean Brady and Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. Each of the Bishops were called in separately and were given the opportunity to voice their respective views, and to explain the line of conduct they had assumed in addressing the delicate issue.
The failure of the Church authorities to act effectively was acknowledged in the Vatican statement. Furthermore, it stated errors and omissions in judgment were some of the factors that contributed in a “breakdown in trust” in the Church’s leadership in Ireland.
The Pope Benedict XVI expressed his hope that the discussions would eventually conduct in a cohesive effort in establishing concrete and effective steps meant to bring justice to the victims, to promote a rekindling of faith, and to re-establish the Church’s spiritual and moral reputation.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
TO ALL PROTESTANTS AND OTHER NON-CATHOLICS.
Pius IX., Pope.
You all know already that We, having been raised, not withstanding Our unworthiness, to this Chair of Peter, and therefore invested with the supreme government and guardianship of the whole Catholic Church, divinely entrusted to Us by Christ our Lord, have judged it seasonable to call to Us Our Venerable Brethren, the Bishops of the whole earth, and to unite them together, to celebrate, next year, an Ecumenical Council ; so that, in concert with these Our Venerable Brethren who are called to share in Our cares, We may take those steps which may be most opportune and necessary, both to disperse the darkness of the many noxious errors which everywhere increasingly prevail, to the great loss of souls ; and also to establish and confirm daily more and more among the Christian people entrusted to Our watchfulness the Kingdom of true Faith, Justice, and the Peace of God. Confidently relying on the close ties and most loving union which in so marked a way unite to Ourselves and to this Holy See these Our Venerable Brethren, who, through all the time of Our Supreme Pontificate, have never failed to give to Ourselves and this Holy See the clearest tokens of their love and veneration ; We have the firm hope that this Ecumenical Council, summoned by Us at this time, will produce, by the inspirations of Divine Grace, as other General Councils in past ages have done, abundant fruits of benediction, to the greater glory of God, and the eternal salvation of men.
Sustained by this hope, and roused and urged by the love of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave His life for the whole human race, We cannot refrain Ourselves, the occasion of the future Council, from addressing Our Apostolic and paternal words to all those who, whilst they acknowledge the same Jesus Christ as the Redeemer, and glory in the name of Christian, yet do not profess the true faith of Christ, nor hold to and follow the Communion of the Catholic Church. And We do this to warn, and conjure, and beseech them with all the warmth of Our zeal, and in all charity, to consider and seriously examine whether they follow the path marked out for them by Jesus Christ our Lord, and which leads to Eternal Salvation. No one can deny or doubt that Jesus Christ Himself, in order to apply the fruits of his redemption to all generations of men, built His only Church in this world on Peter ; that is to say, the Church, One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic ; and that He gave to it all necessary power, that the deposit of Faith might be preserved whole and in inviolable, and that the same Faith might be taught to all peoples, kindreds, and nations, that through baptism all men might become members of His mystical body, and that the new life of grace, without which no one can ever merit and attain to life eternal, might always be preserved and perfected in them ; and that this same Church, which is His mystical body, might always remain in its own nature firm and immovable to the end of time, that it might flourish, and supply to all its children all the means of Salvation. Now, whoever will carefully examine and reflect upon the condition of the various religious societies, divided among themselves, and separated from the Catholic Church, which, from the days of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles has never ceased to exercise, by its lawful pastors, and still continues to exercise, the divine power committed to it by this same Lord; cannot fail to satisfy himself that neither any one of these societies by itself, nor all of them together, can in any manner constitute and be that One Catholic Church which Christ our Lord built, and established, and willed should continue; and that they cannot in any way be said to be branches or parts of that Church, since they are visibly cut off from Catholic unity. For, whereas such societies are destitute of that living authority established by God, which especially teaches men what is of Faith, and what the rule of morals, and directs and guides them in all those things which pertain to eternal salvation, so they have continually varied in their doctrines, and this change and variation is ceaselessly going on among them. Everyone must perfectly understand, and clearly and evidently see, that such a state of things is directly opposed to the nature of the Church instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ; for in that Church truth must always continue firm and ever inaccessible to all change, as a deposit given to that Church to be guarded in its integrity, for the guardianship of which the presence and aid of the Holy Ghost have been promised to the Church forever. No one, moreover, can be ignorant that from these discordant doctrines and opinions social schisms have arisen, and that these again have given birth to sects and communions without number, which spread them selves continually, to the in creasing injury of Christian and civil society.
Indeed, whoever recognizes religion as the foundation of human society can not but perceive and acknowledge what disastrous effect this division of principles, this opposition, this strife of religious sects among themselves, has had upon civil society, and how powerfully this denial of the authority established by God, to determine the belief of the human mind, and to direct the actions of men as well in private as in social life, has excited, spread, and fostered those deplorable upheavals, those commotions by which almost all peoples are grievously disturbed and afflicted.Wherefore, let all those who do not hold to the unity and truth of the Catholic Church avail themselves of the opportunity of this Council, whereby the Catholic Church, of which their forefathers were members, displays a fresh proof of her perfect unity and her unconquerable vitality; and let them, in obedience to the longings of their own hearts, be in haste to rescue themselves from a state in which they cannot be assured of their own salvation. And let them not cease to offer most fervent prayers to the God of Mercy, that He may break down the wall of separation, that He may scatter the mists of error, and that He may lead them back to the bosom of Holy Mother Church, where their fathers found the wholesome pastures of life, and in which alone the doctrine of Jesus Christ is preserved and handed down entire, and the mysteries of heavenly grace dispensed.
As for Us, seeing that We ought, in accordance with the duty of Our supreme Apostolic Ministry intrusted to Us by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, to fulfil with most fervent zeal all the offices of a good Shepherd, and with paternal love to follow and embrace all men throughout all the world We therefore address this Our Letter to all Christians separated from Us, wherein We exhort and entreat them, again and again, to hasten their return to the One Fold of Christ; for with Our whole soul We ardently desire their salvation in Jesus Christ, and We fear lest We may one day have to render an account to the same Lord, who is Our Judge, if We do not, so far as is in Our power, show them, and prepare for them the way to attain to this eternal salvation. Truly, in every prayer of Ours, beseeching and giving thanks, We cease not, day and night, to entreat humbly and earnestly for them, from the Eternal Pastor of souls, the abundance of light and heavenly grace. And since, notwithstanding Our unworthiness, We are His Vicar here upon earth, We therefore wait, with outstretched hands, and with most ardent desire, the return of Our wandering children to the Catholic Church, that We may most lovingly welcome them to the home of their Heavenly Father, and enrich them with his exhaustless treasures. Upon this longed for return to the truth and unity of the Catholic Church depends the salvation not only of individuals, but also of all Christian society; and never can the whole world enjoy true peace, unless there shall be one Fold and one Shepherd.
Given at Rome, in St. Peter's, on the 13th day of September, 1868, and in the year of Our Pontificate the twenty-third.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Take a look at the comments...Food for thought?
Remember the heretic Martin Luther and all his followers are reprobates. See Pope Leo X's Bull, "Exsurge Domine."
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Pope Couldn't Be Indifferent to Raid as It Hadn't Happened Yet
By Jesús Colina
ROME, FEB. 2, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Pope Pius XII was again in the news this week, as researchers presented two documents that were interpreted as putting the Pope in a negative light regarding his response to the Holocaust.
As ZENIT reported Monday, a brief document was presented as a new find dated Oct. 19, 1943. The document is a telegram from American diplomat Harold Tittmann on his meeting with the Pope.
The document does not mention the Oct. 16 raid on the Jews of Rome, wherein more than 1,000 of the city's Jews were rounded up and deported to Auschwitz.
Given that Tittmann's report does not mention the raid (though theoretically it had happened just three days before), and instead reports Pius XII's concern about Communists in Rome and his desire to keep the Eternal City in peace, headlines reported the Pope's "indifference" to the Holocaust.
However, there is a basic problem.
In a statement sent to ZENIT, Professor Ronald Rychlak of the University of Mississippi explains that Pius XII could not have expressed concern about the roundup of Roman Jews because it hadn't happened yet.
Rychlak is the author of "Hitler, the War, and the Pope.
"He explained: "The transcribed message to Washington from Harold Tittmann is dated Oct. 19, but this is a mistake. Vatican records show that the meeting between Pius and Tittmann took place on Oct. 14.
"In fact, L'Osservatore Romano of Oct. 15, 1943, reported on page one -- top of the first column -- that Tittmann was received by the Pope in a private audience on Oct. 14, 1943.
"Apparently a handwritten '14' was misread as a '19' when the documents were typed. The Pope did not mention the roundup of Jews because it had not yet happened!"
Rychlak noted that what the Pope did express to Tittmann was his concern "that a group of Communists would commit a violent act and this would lead to serious repercussions. Of course, he proved to be exactly correct the following spring."
Moreover, though the Oct. 14 document was presented as a new find, historians were already aware of it because it was published in 1964, with the incorrect date.
It is in the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) collection, in Volume II of 1943, on page 950.
In his blog, Andrea Tornielli, Vatican expert of the Italian daily "Il Giornale," points out that the researchers who presented this "new document," Giuseppe Casarrubea and Mario Cereghino, have already made such "revelations" in the past.
"In October of 2008," he reported, "they presented as unpublished a document to use it against Pius XII (it was also referred to by ANSA [news] agency) and later they had to apologize."
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On the Net:
Text of the telegram in the Foreign Relations of the United States:
Taken from the Telegraph
Here’s my op-ed article on the Anglican ordinariates from this week’s Catholic Herald:
On Monday, Anglo-Catholics across England will be holding a day of prayer to help their bishops, clergy and laity decide how to respond to the Pope’s provision of a self-governing Ordinariate for former Anglicans. Many members of our Church will be praying with them; in Oxford, Anglicans are joining the members of the Oratory for a Holy Hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
There is a lot to pray about, and a lot to pray for. Anglo-Catholics interested in the Holy Father’s offer will be praying for gifts of discernment not only for themselves but for their fellow Anglican Catholics and Catholic Anglicans. (The two terms are not quite interchangeable, which gives you some idea of the complexity of the situation.)
But I’m guessing that top of the list of requests to the Almighty will be for the Catholic Church, in consultation with the Anglo-Catholic leaders, to get it right. That is, to offer a carefully designed model for the Ordinariate, together with detailed instructions for constructing it. And they will have to be detailed, because people will be joining what is, in effect, a non-territorial diocese from different starting points, bringing with them different aspects of the Anglican “patrimony”, and – at least initially – different expectations.
In his address to the English and Welsh bishops earlier this month, Pope Benedict urged them to be generous in their implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus, the Apostolic Constitution that will create Ordinariates worldwide as a permanent provision for ex-Anglicans. Why did he single out this subject? One rumour is that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is puzzled by the small numbers of members of the Church of England planning to join the Ordinariate, and are worried that elements in the Bishops’ Conference are pouring cold water on the project.
As it happens, there are prominent Catholics talking down the Ordinariate scheme, and they should be ashamed of themselves; but they certainly do not include Archbishop Bernard Longley, Bishop Malcolm McMahon and Bishop Alan Hopes, the three bishops on the Commission working out the details of the English scheme. This seems to me to be an ideal trio of English bishops for the task, combining holiness, humour, intellect and, in the case of Bishop Hopes, the specialist knowledge that comes from having once been a leading Anglo-Catholic.
No: what is slowing things down is the fact that a divided, demoralised and confused Anglo-Catholic constituency is under pressure to make decisions about an offer that is not yet on the table. How could it be, when so much hangs on the attitude and decisions of the Church of England?
The General Synod will not outline its legislation for women bishops until its July meeting. So far as I can work out, there is a slim chance that the Synod may give traditionalists limited oversight by bishops who do not ordain women. This would be no more than a fig leaf, and it is probably not going to be offered anyway, so how can Forward in Faith, the main Anglo-Catholic body, justify delaying its official response to Anglicanorum coetibus until the Synod is over? The Apostolic Constitution, remember, was drawn up following requests from traditionalist Anglican bishops for pastoral oversight; it was not intended as a last resort.
In the end, however, the Catholic Church has to face the fact that, in England more than any other country, history has bequeathed us an almighty ecclesiastical mess. Anglo-Catholicism is part of the established religion of England; it is here that a movement of clergy and their patrons adopted a Catholic (sometimes ultra-Catholic) style of worship that developed in opposition to the Church of England hierarchy, and has always been embraced more readily by priests than by lay people. Not only are there fearsome legal barriers to vicars “taking their parishes with them” – the congregation does not own the building, as it does in other countries – but the men and women in the pew are often less diehard in their opposition to women priests and bishops than their pastors. Or, to put it another way, their objections are cultural rather than theological.
My impression is that the Ordinariate appeals most to the Anglican bishops who proposed it and to young, conservative Anglican clergy and seminarians. Older incumbents are split between those few who will move soon, with whoever follows them; those who never wanted to be “Roman Catholics” and will either stay put or move into a dissident Anglican sect or Orthodoxy; and a very large group who favour the Ordinariate in principle but will stay in the C of E for as long as it takes to persuade significant numbers of their flock that this is their only opportunity to carry on worshipping as Catholics (which is what they consider themselves to be). That will take time; the reality of women bishops will have to sink in. The Catholic Church must not be too dismissive of Anglo-Catholic priests who stay to argue gently the case for the Ordinariate, as opposed to staying to fight the lost cause of classic Anglo-Catholicism. Anglicanorum coetibus has no expiry date; some of its finest fruits may not be visible for a decade, when traditionalist laity overcome their natural fear and plunge into the Tiber.
For that to happen, it is essential that the first groups of Anglicans who enter the Ordinariate do flourish, on however small a scale. There have been predictions that around 20 parishes will leave the Church of England soon; I take those with a pinch of salt, so enormous are the legal and pastoral obstacles for a single parish to detach itself corporately from the Established Church. It may be that the first English Ordinariate structure incorporates merged parishes using borrowed church buildings; that will not be a disappointing outcome so much as a realistic one.
In a sense, we should be glad that this experiment, unprecedented in English history, will be pioneered on a small scale. If the Church gets this right, I am confident that the Ordinariate will not stay small for long. The Catholic Church in England and Wales is crying out for new talent, for a true “diversity” rooted in an English devotion that pre-dates the Reformation. But that discussion must wait for another day.