Saturday, October 25, 2014

SHOULD POPE FRANCIS' STATEMENTS TODAY ON MARRIAGE GIVE US HOPE ABOUT HIS APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION ON THE FAMILY NEXT YEAR? I HOPE SO!

Pope Francis to Schoenstatt movement: Marriage never been attacked so much as now

(Vatican Radio)  Pope Francis said the institution of Christian marriage has never been under so much attack as nowadays where a temporary or throw-away culture has become widespread. He said marriage should not be seen just a social rite  and urged priests to stay close to couples and especially children experiencing the trauma of a family break-up. The Pope was replying to questions put to him on a range of topics during an audience with more 7000 pilgrims belonging to the Schoenstatt movement, an international Marian and apostolic organization that is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding in Germany.  The movement now embraces members, both lay and clerics, from dozens of nations around the world.  

Mistaken views about marriage and its true meaning, our temporary or throw-away culture, the need to be courageous and daring, Mary’s missionary role, the disunity of the Devil and why the concept of solidarity is under attack.  These were just some of the wide-ranging issues which Pope Francis spoke about in his off the cuff remarks during the question and answer session with the Schoenstatt pilgrims held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall on Saturday.

Asked about marriage and what advice he can offer to those who don’t feel welcome in the Church, Pope Francis stressed the need for priests to stay close to each one of their flock without becoming scandalized over what takes place within the family.   He said a bishop during the recent Synod on the family asked whether priests are aware of what children feel and the psychological damage caused when their parents separate? The Pope noted how sometimes in these cases the parent who is separating ends up living at home only part-time with the children which he described as a “new and totally destructive” form of co-habitation.

He said the Christian family and marriage have never been so attacked as they are nowadays because of growing relativism over the concept of the sacrament of marriage.  When it comes to preparing for marriage, Pope Francis said all too often there is a misunderstanding over the difference between the sacrament of marriage and the social rite. Marriage is for ever, he said, but in our present society there is a temporary or throw-away culture that has become widespread. 

Turning to the missionary role of Mary, the Pope reminded people that nobody can search for faith without the help of Mary, the Mother of God, saying a Church without Mary is like an orphanage. When questioned as to how he maintains a sense of joy and hope despite the many problems and wars in our world, Pope Francis replied that he uses prayer, trust, courage and daring.
 
 To dare is a grace, he said, and a prayer without courage or daring is a prayer that doesn’t work.
   
(Here His Holiness slips back into ambiguity and I really can't say I understand what he means for it can be taken more than one way): Asked about reform of the Church, the Pope said people describe him as a revolutionary but went on to point out that the Church has always been that way and is constantly reforming itself.  He stressed that the first revolution or way of renewing the Church is through inner holiness and that counts far more than more external ways such as reforming the Curia and the Vatican bank. Pope Francis also spoke about the importance of having a freedom of spirit and warned against closing ourselves up in a mass of rules and regulations, thus becoming a caricature of the doctors of law.  ( My comment: Yes inner renewal in what holiness is all about and if one is inner-renewed, one would never receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin or deny the teachings of the Church)


The theme of our throw-away society was also touched on again by the Pope in another reply when he said our present-day culture is one that destroys the human bonds that bind us together. And in this context, he continued, one word that is at risk of dying in our society is 'solidarity' and this is also a symptom of our inability to forge alliances. Pope Francis also warned about the Devil, stressing that he exists and that his first weapon is disunity.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE PICTURES BELOW AND THE HEADING PICTURE ABOVE THAT CAPTURE THE LITURGICAL IMAGINATION OF THE FAITHFUL IN THE SENSE OF "MYSTERION/SACRAMENTUM"? AND WHAT ABOUT THE LAST SET OF PICTURES THAT CREATE THE OPPOSITE SENTIMENTS AND CAUSE ONE TO WANT TO TURN AWAY?

As I meditate on this photo above, it creates a "sense" of mystery (in the sacramental meaning of the word) and wonder for me. What about you? As I look at it as a properly formed Catholic, I know the most important element in the photo is the image of the Sacred Host. Our Lord is clearly the focus juxtaposed before the image of the crucifix as our Lord present for our worship and adoration is offered in a few moments by Christ Himself to His heavenly Father in the Sacrifice of Love of the Holy Cross. The heavenly Father accepts this love and is pleased with the loving sacrifice of His most Beloved Son more so than He is displeased by our sins.

In effect the wedding image above creates a sense of mystery and acknowledgement of what is made visible in the two images below:


I could be wrong in my diagnosis, but I don't think modern Catholics or those reared in the Church without the Extraordinary Form Mass would get the same sense of mysterion/sacramentum as is portrayed in all the images that I have thus far highlighted. For example what sense of mysterion/sacramentum and wonder do the following photos of Holy Mass elicit in you? The exact same ones that the photos above do? I don't think so! But I could be wrong. What do you think?



In my most humble opinion, the sense of the sacred, the sense of wonder and the sense of reverence are lost in the modern photos of the Mass. Can this be but one and a major one, reason for the decline in Mass attendance over the past 50 years. There's nothing inspiring about these photos and these photos don't cause us to meditate on them. In fact, we want to turn away from them because of their ugliness and sterility, just as people have turned away from Mass when the priest turned toward them!
What do you think?

RORATE CAELI PROVIDES THE FULL TEXT OF POPE BENEDICT'S WRITTEN PRESENTATION ON OCTOBER 21ST


The following is from Rorate Caeli and their English translation! I highlight important points in red.

First Major Text of Benedict XVI Ratzinger following resignation
On Catholic Faith, Missions, and World's Religions - Full translation by Rorate

Message of the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
for the naming of the reformed Aula Magna
of the Pontifical Urbaniana University

October 21, 2014

I would like to in the first place express my heartfelt thanks to the Rector and to the academic authorities of the Pontifical Urbaniana University, to the staff and to the student representatives, for their proposal to name the rebuilt Aula Magna [Main Hall] in my honor. I would like to thank in a special way the Chancellor of the University, Cardinal Fernando Filoni, for having organized this initiative. It is a cause of great joy for me to be able in this way to be always present amidst the work of the Pontifical Urbaniana University.

In the course of a number of visits that I was able to make as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I was always struck by the atmosphere of universality in the very air that one breathes in this University, where young men and women coming from practically all the countries of the world are preparing for service to the Gospel in the whole world of today. I also see today facing me in this lecture hall, a community formed by so many young people, a community that makes us see in a living way the stupendous reality of the Catholic Church.

This definition of the Church as “Catholic”, which has been part of the Creed since ancient times, possesses something of Pentecost. Let us remember that the Church of Jesus Christ has never related to only one people or only one culture, but that from the beginning she was ordained to the whole of mankind. The last words of Jesus to his disciples were: “Make all people my disciples”. (Mt. 28:19). And at the moment of Pentecost the Apostles spoke in many languages, in this way being able to manifest, through the power of the Holy Spirit, all the fullness of their faith.

From that time the Church has grown in a real way on every Continent. Your presence, dear students, reflects the universal face of the Church. The prophet Zechariah had announced a messianic reign that would extend from sea to sea and that would be a kingdom of peace. (Zc. 9:9) And in fact, wherever the Eucharist is celebrated, as from the Lord, and men, become among themselves one body, there is present something of that peace that Jesus Christ had promised to give to his disciples. That you, dear friends, be collaborators with this peace is becoming more and more urgent within a violent and lacerated world in which Christ’s peace needs to be built up and safe-guarded. For this reason the work of your University is so important, in which you desire to learn how to draw closer to Christ in order to be able to become His witnesses.

The Risen Lord gave this task to his Apostles, and through them disciples of every time, to carry his Word to the ends of the earth and to make all men his disciples. The Second Vatican Council, reprising in the Decree “Ad Gentes” a constant tradition, has illuminated the profound rationale for this missionary effort and has called upon the Church of today to take on this task with renewed strength.

But is this still possible? Many ask this question, both inside and outside the Church. Is this mission really possible in the world as it is today? Would it not be more appropriate that all religions get together and work together for the cause of peace in the world? The counter-question is: Can dialogue substitute for mission? Today many have the idea, in effect, that religions should respect each other, and, in dialogue with each other, become a common force for peace. In this way of thinking, most times there is a presupposition that the various religions are variants of one and the same reality; that “religion” is a category common to all, which assumes different forms according to different cultures, but expresses, however, one and the same reality. The question of truth, which at the beginning of Christianity moved Christians more than anything else, in this mode of thinking is placed within parentheses. It presupposes that the authentic truth about God, in the last analysis, is unobtainable, and that at best one can make present what is ineffable only with a variety of symbols. This renunciation of truth seems convincing and useful for peace among the religions of the world.

This is, however, lethal to faith. In fact, faith loses its binding character and seriousness, if everything is reduced to symbols that are at the end interchangeable, capable of referring only from afar to the inaccessible mystery of the divine.

Dear friends, understand that the question of mission places us not only in confrontation with the fundamental questions of faith but also with the question of who man is. In the context of a brief address meant to greet you all, obviously I am not able to try to analyze in an exhaustive way this set of problems that today we all face. I would like, however, at least to touch on the direction upon which we should embark with respect to our task at hand.

I

1. The common opinion is that religions are, so to speak, side by side as the Continents and the individual Countries on a map. This, however, is not exactly true. Religions are in a state of movement on the level of history, just as are peoples and cultures. There are religions that are “on hold”. The tribal religions are of this type. They have their moment in history and nevertheless are waiting for a greater encounter that brings them to fullness.

As Christians, we are convinced that, in silence, they are waiting for the encounter with Jesus Christ, the light that comes from him, that alone is able to lead them in a complete way to their truth. And Christ is waiting for them. The encounter with him is not a barging in of a stranger that destroys their 
own culture and their own history. It is instead the entrance to something greater, towards which they are journeying. Consequently this encounter is always at the same time a purification and a maturation. Furthermore, the encounter is always reciprocal. Christ waits on their history, their wisdom, the way they see things.

Today we see ever more clearly another aspect as well: while in countries with a great Christian past, Christianity in many ways has become tired, and some of the branches of the great tree that grew from the grain of mustard seed of the Gospel have withered and fall to the ground, but from the encounter with Christ in the religions that are looking forward in expectation new life is springing forth. Where at first there was only tiredness, new dimensions of faith are arising and bringing joy.

2. Religion in itself is not a unitary phenomenon. It always involves a number of distinct dimensions. On the one side there is the prominence of reaching out beyond this world towards the eternal God. On the other side we find elements that have arisen from the history of men and from their practice of religion. Among these elements certainly there are beautiful things but also things that are base and destructive, wherever the egoism of man has taken over religion and, instead of an opening, has transformed religion into a closure within its own space.

Therefore, religion is never simply a phenomenon that is only positive or only negative. Both aspects are en-mixed within it. From its beginnings the Christian mission has discerned in a very marked way especially those negative elements in pagan religions that it encountered. For this reason, the Christian proclamation at its very beginning was extremely critical of religion. Only by overcoming those traditions that the Christian faith understood as demonic could the faith develop its power of renewal. On the basis of these types of elements, the Evangelical theologian, Karl Barth placed religion and faith in opposition, and adjudicated religion in an absolutely negative way as an arrogant behavior of man that tries, on his own initiative, to lay hold of God. Dietrich Bonhoeffer took up this formulation in his advocating a Christianity “without religion”. Without doubt we are dealing with a unilateral way of seeing things that cannot be accepted. And nevertheless it is correct to affirm that every religion, to remain on the side of what is right, at the same time must also be always critical of religion. This is clearly valid, from its origins and according to its nature, for the Christian faith, which, on the one hand, looks with great respect upon the great expectations and deep richness of religions, but, on the other hand, the Christian faith looks at what is negative with a critical eye. It stands to reason that the Christian faith again and again must develop such a critical power even with respect to its own religious history.

For us Christians Jesus Christ is the Logos of God, the light that helps us to distinguish between the nature of religion and its distortion.

2. In our time the voice of those who want to convince us that religion as such is obsolete is becoming louder and louder. They say that only critical reason should be the basis for man’s actions. Behind similar conceptions stands the conviction that with the positivist way of thinking reason in all its purity has achieved supremacy in a definitive way. In reality, even this way of thinking and living is historically conditioned and bound to a specific historical culture. To consider it as the only valid way of thinking about things diminishes man in some way, taking away from him dimensions that are essential for his existence. Man becomes smaller, not greater when there is no longer any room for an ethos, that, by its authentic nature, goes beyond pragmatism, when there is no longer any room for the gaze turned towards God. The proper place for positivistic reason is in the great spheres of technology and economics, but this does not exhaust all that is human., And so it is up to us who believe to open wide the doors again and again that, beyond mere technology and pure pragmatism, lead to the wonderful greatness of our existence in the encounter with the living God

II

1. These reflections, perhaps a bit difficult, should show that even today, in a world that is profoundly changed, the task of communicating the Gospel to others remains a reasonable one. And, moreover, there is a second way, more simple, to justify this undertaking today. Love demands to be communicated. Truth demands to be communicated. Whoever has experienced great joy cannot keep it simply for himself. He must pass it on to others. The same thing is true for the gift of love, through the gift of recognizing the truth that manifests itself.

When Andrew met Christ, he could not do anything but say to his brother: “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41). And Philip, who was also given the gift of this encounter, could not do anything but to say to Nathaniel that he had found him of whom Moses and the Prophets had written (John 1:45). We proclaim Jesus Christ not to get as many members as possible for our community, and least of all for the sake of power. We speak of Him because we feel that we have to share that joy with others that has been given to us.

We will be credible proclaimers of Jesus Christ when we have encountered him in the depths of our existence, when, within the encounter with Him, we are given the great experience of truth, of love, and of joy.

2. The deep tension between the mystical offering to God, in which one gives oneself totally to him, and the responsibility to one’s neighbor and for the world created by God, is a natural part of religion. Martha and Mary are always inseparable, even if, time to time, the accent can fall on one or the other. The point of encounter between the two poles is the love in which we touch God and his creatures at the same time. “We have come to know and believe in the love that God has for us”. (I John 4:16) This phrase expresses the authentic nature of Christianity. That love, which is realized and reflected in multiform ways in the saints of all times, is the authentic proof of the truth of Christianity.
[Translation by Fr. Richard G. Cipolla, DPhil]

WELL IT WAS BOUND TO HAPPEN AND IN MY HOMETOWN NO LESS: PAGAN PRIDE PARADE!

This is in the "religion section" of Saturday morning's Augusta Chronicle. The metro area has always had witches, no kidding! And there is the occult there as I guess there is everywhere. When I was pastor of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, we discovered at least twice the ripped apart remains of a cat that had been sacrificed on our grounds in honor, we think, of the Spring solstice. It was not a pleasant discovery and we knew it wasn't another animal that did it as there was a small fire used in the ritual!

But I digress: the article on the Pagan Pride parade in Augusta!

Augusta Pagan Pride Day, harvest ritual set for Nov. 1

By Lisa Kaylor Paganism gets a lot of negative attention around Halloween, but local groups will invite the community to see what it’s really about on Nov. 1.
Michelle Boshears (right) demonstrates a pagan ritual as Jezibell Anat looks on in preparation for the first Pagan Pride Festival in 2009. A similar ritual will be deilvered during the 2014 Pagan Pride Festival that will take place Nov. 1 at Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Michelle Boshears (right) demonstrates a pagan ritual as Jezibell Anat looks on in preparation for the first Pagan Pride Festival in 2009. A similar ritual will be deilvered during the 2014 Pagan Pride Festival that will take place Nov. 1 at Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam.
 
A Pagan Pride Day festival will offer information about the different pagan groups in the area, plus activities, workshops and rituals. It will be held at New Savannah Bluff Lock and Dam Park, which offers a pavilion in case of rain.

The event will include a performance by Bardic Fire Drum Circle, and the festival will end with a harvest ritual to honor the Earth’s bounty.

The idea behind Pagan Pride Day is to let people know that while it’s a different religion, it’s about honoring the Earth and is nothing to be concerned or frightened over, said festival spokeswoman and main ritual leader Jezibell Anat.

“It’s a different type of spirituality,” she said.

It is a diverse faith made up of many types of pagans, ranging from Wiccan to Asatru to Druidry, but they all stem from ancient roots and revere nature. Practitioners find their own path and develop their own theology, she said.

“Pagans honor the harvest and the cycle of the seasons,” Anat said. “Halloween is based on the ancient festival of Samhain, honoring those who have gone before. Honoring ancestors is a tradition that we’ve inherited.”

She said the purpose of the festival is to let the community know that pagans are here in Augusta, for those who might be searching for a group to join or for non-pagans interested in learning more about the religion.

Around town, many small circles meet in private homes, but open circles are held on Sundays at Universalist Unitarian Church. A group meets regularly for dinner and socializing. Smaller events are held throughout the year, but Pagan Pride Day is intended to be a community event.

“What we want to do is have a major public event. We want this to be a much wider outreach,” Anat said.

Admission is free, but donations of nonperishable items will be taken for the Universalist Unitarian Church of Augusta’s food shelf.

“We want to be contributing members of our community,” she said. “We just want people to know we’re here, and we want to be a part of the community and be accepted for our beliefs the way we accept other people’s beliefs.”

Friday, October 24, 2014

WHAT AN EXCELLENT REVIEW OF THE SYNOD BY FATHER RAYMOND J. DESOUZA

My only comment is the critique of the German bishops and how they see themselves as the center and gravely offended the periphery, like the Church in Africa! This is the best critique of the synod and is found in the National Catholic Register, here.

10/23/2014 CNA
– CNA
Before the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome began Oct. 5, I wrote that my first hope for the fortnight would be that “it does no harm to those efforts in parishes around the world to propose the blessed and demanding vocation of Christian marriage.”

The danger of even low expectations is that they can be dashed.

The synod was not primarily concerned with offering encouragement to young couples eager to embrace the great adventure of Catholic marriage. The couples who are living with quiet heroism the blessings and burdens of that adventure appeared in the background of the synod’s focus.

On the contrary, the synod stirred up giddy excitement among those — both within and without the family of faith — desirous that the Church would finally make its peace with the “sexual revolution.” The beatification of Pope Paul VI at the conclusion of the synod should have signified that rank capitulation on moral teaching was never in the cards, but it was destabilizing to hear some prelates speak rather loosely about the Christian tradition on marriage, chastity and family life.

Yet what left me astonished was that, after 18 months of Pope Francis dominating world headlines, the synod seemed strangely out of sorts with his priorities. This synod badly failed Pope Francis’ bold vision for the Church in 11 distinct ways.

First, the methodology of the synod did not allow sufficient space for the heart of the Church’s missionary proclamation, namely the joy of the Gospel.

While several fathers spoke of the moving testimonies of married couples that began each day’s proceedings, they were an exception to the synod’s work. From the initial worldwide survey to the daily press conferences, the topics that were consistently placed at the forefront were the problems and difficulties of marriage and family life. The supposed topic of the synod was the care of the family in the context of evangelization, and evangelization begins with a conviction that there is a Gospel — the Good News — to share. The synod focused on the problems and not the proclamation.
There was too much hand-wringing and not enough joy.

Second, the agenda for the synod was decidedly worldly.

On his return flight from the Holy Land, the Holy Father said that his agenda was to address the “global” situation of the family, and he “did not like” the dominance of the issue of civilly remarried divorcees. The Church’s principal worry is not that too many people are getting divorced and remarried, but that too few are getting married in the first place. The world’s agenda is divorce, cohabitation and same-sex “marriage.” The synod succumbed to the worldliness Francis inveighs against constantly. The practical agenda for this synod was too much New York Times and not enough New Testament.

Third, the manipulation of the synod’s proceedings and messages was unworthy of a Roman Curia that the Holy Father has almost daily urged to avoid gossip, intrigues and ambition.

Senior bishops from all five continents publicly denounced the behind-the-scenes decisions that only selectively reported on the content of synod interventions, culminating with the midterm report that captured world headlines but did not capture honestly what had actually been said by the participants.

Francis famously denounced the power games of the royal court as the “leprosy” of the papacy, yet the synod was infected by just that. If it is not corrected soon, we have to look forward to an entire year of not listening to the Holy Spirit, but, instead, continued backroom machinations, mendacity and maneuvering.

Fourth, the synod turned inside out the Holy Father’s preference for the peripheries rather than the center.

The world’s most bureaucratic, wealthy, institutionally heavy and intellectually credentialed national Church — Germany — was granted an influence completely disproportionate to the diminishing vitality of its life of worship and witness. Meanwhile, the young local Churches on the periphery were sidelined and even disrespected. It must have been gravely insulting, though he bore it in patient silence, for the first pope from the global south to listen to lectures from the privileged, professorial, clerical caste of the European episcopate as if it was 1869 again, when at the First Vatican Council fully half of all the bishops were either Italian or French. The witness of ordinary Catholics in the young Churches of Africa and Asia took a backseat to the preoccupations of the clerical establishment in Europe. In Francis’ Church, the rich should not get a bigger say than the poor. At the synod they did.

Fifth, the synod was not about the Church going out of herself, but looking inward.
When which cardinal gets appointed to which drafting commission is a dominant story, the Church is in danger of becoming exactly what Francis does not want — self-referential and closed in on itself.
Sixth, the synod did not highlight the encouraging accompaniment of Pope Francis.

At his Valentine’s Day encounter with engaged couples, Francis spoke to them simply and directly about what makes for a happy marriage — spouses who say “thank you,” “excuse me” and “I am sorry.” This wholesome and homey engagement with married life was missing at the synod, replaced instead by more controversial questions.

Seventh, the synod was not a collegial exercise in its major pronouncements.

An elite group of managers did not pay heed to what the majority of the synod participants said. It is not always the case that they have to do so, but Francis speaks of the synod as “journeying together.” On this journey, there were certainly some fathers who seized the direction and expected the others to follow.

Eighth, as was noted after the midterm report was released, the synod seemed to forget about sin.

It was hardly mentioned. Very strange for a synod convened by Pope Francis, who, when asked to describe himself last year, said simply, “I am a sinner.” It is key to Francis’ thinking that the “privileged” place of encounter with the Lord is experiencing Divine Mercy upon our sins. Francis talks about sin and mercy together; the synod seemed to forget the former, which makes the latter less urgent.

Ninth, at the canonization of Pope St. John Paul II in April, the Holy Father proposed him to the Church as the “Pope of the Family.”

At the synod, he was almost entirely forgotten. A pope who wrote the very rich Familiaris Consortio after the 1980 synod on the family and devoted four years to the theology of the body should have been the starting point for the synod. As for mercy, St. John Paul II devoted an entire encyclical to Divine Mercy. Yet his teaching and the scholars from the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and the Family were overlooked in the synod’s work.

Tenth, the synod ignored Francis’ repeated exhortation that all generations need each other — the young need the elderly, and the elderly need the young.

Even in his affectionate references to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI as a “grandfather,” Francis has a deep sense of the extended family as a bridge between generations. In the focus on the divorced, cohabiting and same-sex couples, the younger and older generations were neglected, even though they are a critical part of the family.

Eleventh, if the Church is to be the “field hospital” for a modern world full of wounded people, it is necessary to know the nature of the diseases and wounds that the modern world suffers from.
The hearts of contemporary men and women have been hurt grievously by the “throwaway” culture bequeathed by the sexual revolution. Doctors who do not diagnose properly are of little help in offering effective treatment. In his closing address, Francis identified this as a lack in the synod, which was tempted to bind up wounds without curing their causes.

The Church now waits for another synod next October. Will it be more recognizably what Pope Francis proposes to a Church of missionary disciples? Or will it remain a worldly exercise?

The experience of synod 2014 is not promising.
Father Raymond J. de Souza is editor in chief of Convivium magazine.
He was the Register’s Rome correspondent from 1998-2003.

THE POPE'S SOBER ANALYSIS, KIND OF LIKE A SMOLDERING BOMBSHELL!

Looking good and healthy!
These are some interesting words from the pope! Should I characterize these words as a BOMBSHELL? You read and you decide! My comments in red.

Retired pope says interreligious dialogue no substitute for mission

By  Francis X. Rocca, Catholic News Service
  • October 23, 2014
VATICAN CITY - Retired Pope Benedict XVI said dialogue with other religions is no substitute for spreading the Gospel to non-Christian cultures, and warned against relativistic ideas of religious truth as "lethal to faith." He also said the true motivation for missionary work is not to increase the church's size but to share the joy of knowing Christ. (To be honest with you, this makes great sense because it is sober and common sense!)

The retired pope's words appeared in written remarks to faculty members and students at Rome's Pontifical Urbanian University, which belongs to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Archbishop Georg Ganswein, prefect of the papal household and personal secretary to retired Pope Benedict, read the 1,800-word message aloud Oct. 21, at a ceremony dedicating the university's renovated main lecture hall to the retired pope.

The speech is one of a handful of public statements, including an interview and a published letter to a journalist, that Pope Benedict has made since he retired in February 2013.

"The risen Lord instructed his apostles, and through them his disciples in all ages, to take his word to the ends of the earth and to make disciples of all people," retired Pope Benedict wrote. "'But does that still apply?' many inside and outside the church ask themselves today. 'Is mission still something for today? Would it not be more appropriate to meet in dialogue among religions and serve together the cause of world peace?' The counter-question is: 'Can dialogue substitute for mission?'

"In fact, many today think religions should respect each other and, in their dialogue, become a common force for peace. According to this way of thinking, it is usually taken for granted that different religions are variants of one and the same reality," the retired pope wrote. "The question of truth, that which originally motivated Christians more than any other, is here put inside parentheses. It is assumed that the authentic truth about God is in the last analysis unreachable and that at best one can represent the ineffable with a variety of symbols. This renunciation of truth seems realistic and useful for peace among religions in the world. (In clear and unambiguous ways, Pope Benedict teaches the truth and raises the alarm in today's Church cascading toward universalism and falsehood! His Holiness raises an alarm!)

"It is nevertheless lethal to faith. In fact, faith loses its binding character and its seriousness, everything is reduced to interchangeable symbols, capable of referring only distantly to the inaccessible mystery of the divine," he wrote. (I am telling you, these are bombshell words in today's Church!)

Pope Benedict wrote that some religions, particularly "tribal religions," are "waiting for the encounter with Jesus Christ," but that this "encounter is always reciprocal. Christ is waiting for their history, their wisdom, their vision of the things." This encounter can also give new life to Christianity, which has grown tired in its historical heartlands, he wrote.

"We proclaim Jesus Christ not to procure as many members as possible for our community, and still less in order to gain power," the retired pope wrote. "We speak of him because we feel the duty to transmit that joy which has been given to us." (Thank you Pope Benedict for your clear, beautiful, serene and prophetic words for a Church in turmoil today, a Church in a mess!)

IT TAKES A LIBERAL POPE TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN!

From the Vatican Insider:

Lefebvrians: “Rome doesn’t plan on imposing a capitulation”

Mgr. Guido Pozzo reports on the latest developments in relations between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X

Marco Tosatti vatican city
 
In an interview with authoritative French weekly magazine Famille Chrétienne, the Secretary of Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Guido Pozzo, discussed the state of relations between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X following Mgr. Fellay’s recent meeting with the Prefect of the Doctrine for the Faith. From the interview, it would seem that the Holy See does not intend to put any pressure on Mgr. Lefebvre’s followers but would like an agreement to be reached, although the timeframe for this is uncertain. What we are given to understand here, is that Rome intends to show greater flexibility on any aspect that does not regard doctrine.
 
In 2009 Benedict XVI decided to revoke the  excommunication of Lefebvrian bishops who had been illicitly ordained by Mgr. Lefebvre in 1988. This was a first and essential step toward the resumption of a constructive dialogue. Just a first step, however, because there were still some big doctrinal questions which needed to be addressed. The Ecclesia Dei Commission which has close links with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is the main instrument in this dialogue process.
 
Perhaps the most interesting part of the interview is that which addressed the sticking points in said dialogue. Mgr. Pozzo underlined that “any reservations or positions the Society of St. Pius X may have regarding aspects which are not related to faith but to pastoral questions or the prudential teaching of the Magisterium do not necessarily need to withdrawn or relinquished.” Here Rome seems to be showing an attempt to alter positions expressed in the past: According to Mgr. Pozzo, the fraternity’s reservations are linked to “aspects of pastoral care or the prudential teaching of the Magisterium.” The monsignor’s statement suggests that since these criticisms and reservations are no longer labelled as “doctrinal” the Lefebvrians could legitimately continue to express them.
 
This approach is expressed more clearly in the following part of the interview:  “The Holy See does not wish to impose a capitulation on the SSPX. On the contrary, it invites the fraternity to stand beside it within the same framework of doctrinal principles that is necessary in guaranteeing the same adhesion to the faith and Catholic doctrine on the Magisterium and the Tradition. At the same time, there is room for further reflection on the reservations the fraternity has expressed regarding certain aspects and the wording of the Second Vatican Council documents as well as some reforms that followed but which do not refer to subjects which are dogmatically or doctrinally indisputable.”
 
Finally, one other very important clarification was made: “There is no doubt that the teachings of the Second Vatican Council vary a great deal in terms of how authoritative and binding they are depending on the text. So, for example, the Lumen Gentium Constitution on the Church and the Dei Verbum on the Divine Revelation are doctrinal declarations even though no dogmatic definition was given to them”, whereas the declarations on religious freedom, non-Christian religions and the decree on ecumenism “are authoritative and binding to a different and lesser degree.”

It is unclear how long this process is going to take: “I don’t think it is possible to say yet when this process will conclude,” Mgr. Pozzo said. Both sides are committed to taking things step by step. “There will be no unexpected shortcuts; the clearly stated aim is to promote unity through the generosity of the universal Church led by the successor of Peter.”

Thursday, October 23, 2014

YIKES!

A physician who recently returned to New York City from West Africatested positive for the Ebola virus, a law enforcement official tells CNN.

WHILE I QUESTION SOME OF WHAT IS POSTED ON PEWSITTER, THIS EDITORIAL IS EXCELLENt!

October 23, 2014
Cardinal Burke: From Under the Bus Into the Widow's Web


By Frank Walker
Pewsitter.com



In yesterday’s Vortex Michael Voris apologized for informing people about Cardinal Burke’s warning to the Pope last week. Burke publicly told the Pope to stop ‘harming the Church’ by staying silent in the face of the heterodox direction of the Synod. The Vortex reacted with the breaking story but later deleted the report. In a second Vortex Michael explained that the story had violated his code against criticizing popes. He believed his report was a sin and he’d given scandal. This prompted some appreciation from the liberal and flowery queen of Patheos, Elizabeth Scalia.
Good for Voris. A manful apology and restatement of his mission, and a sound refutation of a contingent of Catholics who are becoming increasingly unhinged toward Pope Francis and vile toward any who will not agree that he is an antipope and a threat to the church. I myself deleted several comments about Pope Francis today, including one calling him “Frank the Fraud”, and I dropped a banhammer on someone actively wishing for his death.
From here Scalia pours venom on the combox people she’s encountered, with their ‘idols’, their love for Fr. Corapi, their conservatism and their ‘republican longings.’ Into this nest of contempt she then drops Cardinal Burke, the man who said the thing that Michael Voris went to Confession for reporting.
For the folks raising them and then casting them down, Conservative Ideology has become a huge idol (what I call in my book a “Super Idol” — one that looms so large it blocks off connection to the humanity of others). Like the pagans of old they are forever trying to serve their idol with the purest of their offerings.
Something similar is going on within the Catholic church where, for some, good Pope Saint Pius X remains the be-all-and-end-all of Catholic thought and rigorous expression. For them, John Paul II had some good moments and some dicey ones, and Benedict XVI was exemplary, but only until he resigned his office and — like a dupe of the devil — brought about this terrible, awful, no-good, teeth-gnashing, and heretical Franciscan papacy.
This is all idolatry, whether secular or sacred or — thanks to the culture wars — a commingling of both.
It is the mania to have something before our eyes that — like the golden calf — reflects ourselves and our thinking back to us, and therefore affirms us in our rightness. For some traditionalist Catholics, Francis is not adequately mirroring them back to themselves, and so he is to be despised. For them, Cardinal Burke is the new idol of choice, the “living saint” of a canon lawyer who will save the church from unruly Francis, otherwise it will be the end of the church and the end of the world!
Nothing human will effect the end of the church, unless God wishes it, and as to the end of the world, do we mean it when we say “we wait in joyful hope for the coming of the Lord” or don’t we? If we don’t mean it that might explain a lot. But it also indicts ourselves, and our prayer, as lacking in truth, and in faith.

AND NOW FOR A LITTLE DIVERSION: PARKING METERS IN THE OLDEN DAYS!

Update: also on the left far back is Davison's Department Store (Macy's) where I worked from 1972 to 1976 (two years later it moved to the Mall and eventually took on the name of its owner, Macy's). Also, Broad Street was the second widest downtown street in the USA second only to New Orlean's Canal Street. (Unfortunately, the famous architect I.M. Pei changed that in the 1970's to keep people downtown by building a building in the middle of the street, created sunken parking and a clear divide in the middle that became tree-lined. Pluses and minuses with the new look.

I love this photo for two reasons: first it shows all these glorious parking meters and second it is downtown Augusta in 1958 and how I remembered it in the 1960's and 70's prior to it being "malled" to death around 1978. Parking meters were removed around the 1980's. But there is talk about placing new ones back!

In this period of downtown Augusta, going there on a Saturday was like being in New York City, there were so many people, cars and traffic. The sidewalks were packed with moving people. All the stores and entertainment were on Broad Street and side streets. Oh for the memories. I wish it could return, but alas!
Please notice the War Monument to all our Confederate dead. A Confederate soldier is atop the monument but not seen in this photo of the monument. It is still there.

REUTERS HAS A PARTICULARY INSIGHTFUL/HELPFUL ARTICLE ON THE JUST COMPLETED SYNOD!

 Looking quite papal!
You can read the entire story from Reuters HERE, but I will highlight the topics they cover! It is quite good to say the least!

What the Catholic synod that discussed divorced, LGBT believers did – and didn’t – do

By James Martin
October 23, 2014

What did the synod do?

1. Fostered openness
2. Addressed important topics. 
3. Set an agenda

What did the synod not do?
1. Change church teaching
2. Cause schism
3. Offend the pope

FORGOING BISHOP'S MANSIONS, GOOD OR BAD?


I know for a fact that in the poorer black Christian denominations of the south, the members of particular congregations want their pastor to live well. He will normally have a very nice house, compared to them, drive a very nice car(s) and have nice jewelry to wear.  Perhaps the members of these denominations live vicariously through their pastors and see an upward mobility in them not only in this life but the life to come.

Catholic bishops around the world were accorded a similar sort of status in terms of their "regalness" and where they lived. The pope too, in terms of the Apostolic Palace, now a museum of sorts as Pope Francis lives in the Vatican Motel 6.

Now the new Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich has decided not to live in the Archbishop's mansion which has 14 fire places and is down right huge, but paid for I presume. I presume too others live there. So it is like an apartment, I suspect, for clergy and domestic help.

Bishop Raymond Lessard when he was the Bishop of Savannah chose not to live in a home in a regular neighborhood as his predecessors did. He moved into the Cathedral rectory. He had a large living room and bedroom/bath and a small chapel for the Blessed Sacrament and private Mass.  He lived humbly. He was named Bishop in 1973 and retired in 1995.  I lived with him in the Cathedral rectory for six years and with three other priests.

So what do you think? Should bishops live in cathedral rectories rather than separate residences or mansions?