"Furthermore, We declare, We proclaim, We define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff."- Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam

Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy 83rd Birthday to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI

Manilla Bulletin

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

"Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him." - Blessed Jacinta of Fatima

"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)

Pope Benedict’s German Birthplace Vandalized, Police Say

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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Donahue in Berlin at at pdonahue1@bloomberg.net.

The mob should lay off. The Pope is completely innocent

Richard Dawkins's case against the Pope is nonsense. Benedict has striven to rid the Church of child abuse.

Jack Valero
The Guardian

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

And so the relentless attempts to 'get' Pope Benedict XVI continue… by Damian Thompson

From the Telegraph.co.uk

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.

Oremus pro Papa nostro Benedicto!

The Institute of Christ the King is in need of your help in presenting a Spiritual Bouquet to our Holy Father, in support and fidelity to the Vicar of Christ amidst all the persecution he is undergoing by the perfidious and slanderous media. God bless the Pope!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bishops around the world speak out in support of Pope Benedict XVI

.- 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."

Rome Cardinals decry alleged anti-Catholic 'hate' campaign, say target is gay marriage stand

Los Angeles Times

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.

Cardinal tells Pope not to be distracted by 'petty gossip’

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.

By Nick Squires in Rome

The Telegraph

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...