Monthly Archives: February 2012

A Farewell to Pope Benedict XVI

A Farewell to Pope Benedict XVI

Papal Arms ofBenedict XVI

Papal Arms of
Benedict XVI

In these momentous days, I ask you to pray for me and for the Church, trusting as always in divine Providence. (Twitter Pontifex)

(Vatican Radio) The Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI will come to an end with the Sede Vacante (“Vacant See”) beginning at 8pm Rome time (7pm GMT). On the last full day of his pontificate, Pope Benedict will hold a special farewell meeting with members of the College of Cardinals in the Clementine Hall. At 4.55 p.m. the Pope will bid farewell to the pontifical household, an depart the Apostolic Palace by car from the San Damaso Courtyard. From there, he will be driven to the Vatican heliport, where he will be seen off by the Dean of the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Angelo Sodano. At 5.15 p.m. he will be flown to Castel Gandolfo, about 30 km from Rome. The Holy Father will then briefly greet the faithful of the Diocese of Albano from the central balcony of the Apostolic Palace. This will be the last public appearance of Pope Benedict XVI while in office. At 8 p.m, the reign of the 265th Pope, the 264th successor of St. Peter, will come to an end, having lasted 7 years, 10 months, and 9 days.

If only everyone could experience the joy of being Christian, being loved by God who gave his Son for us! (Twitter Ponifex)

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Benedict XVI: A supremely liturgical Pope

liturgical pope(Vatican Radio) One of the lasting legacies of Benedict XVI’s pontificate will be the mark he has left on the Liturgy as it is celebrated today. In short, he has re-focused our attention on how we, as Catholics, celebrate our faith in the light of tradition.From his highly discussed 2007 Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontififcum, to his approval of the equally debated New English Language translation of the Roman Missal; from his elimination of all rites and gestures that are not specifically sacramental in nature from Papal liturgies to his recent changes to rites for the beginning of a pontificate, the “Ordo Rituum pro Ministerii Petrini Initio Romae Episcopi”, Benedict XVI has brought the Universal Churches’ focus back to prayer and the Eucharist, the source and summit of what makes us Church. In a way Benedict XVI has been a supremely liturgical Pope.

“I think we will be unpacking the significance of his impact on the liturgy for many years to come”, says Monsignor Andrew Wadsworth, executive director of the Secretariat for the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.
Mons. Wadsworth, who was deeply involved in the New English Language translation of the Roman Missal, dropped by Vatican Radio to speak to Emer McCarthy about the liturgical mark Benedict XVI has left on the English speaking Church.

“When the Holy Father spoke to his own clergy, the priest of the diocese of Rome for the last time, he said two very significant things about the Liturgy: Firstly he said that the Second Vatican Council was very right to treat of the Liturgy first, because it thereby showed that God has primacy. And in the Liturgy the most important consideration is adoration. He linked this to the fact that he has desired that in the celebration of our Mass there should be a Crucifix on the altar. So that the priest looks at the Cross and remembers that it’s the sacrifice of Calvary that’s being represented in the celebration of the Mass and that the people should look at the Cross rather than at the priest”.

“The Motu Propiro really is a very important moment in which the Holy Father puts two forms of the Roman Rite which potentially have been at loggerheads which each other since the Second Vatican Council in a creative dynamic relationship with each other. The Holy Father really is reminding us that the light of tradition should fall on all of our liturgical experience”.
“In relation to the New English Translation of the Missal…it was the Holy Father who judged on the whole question of pro multis for many, chalice rather than cup, those are his particular judgements and his prerogative as the Pope. He showed a great interest in the process as it was unfolding …over ten years in the making”.

Lent is a favourable time in which to rediscover faith in God as the foundation of our lives and of the Church’s life. (Twitter Pontifex)

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Benedict XVI will be “Pope emeritus”

We must trust in the mighty power of God’s mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new. (Twitter Pontifex)Vatican City, 26 February 2013 (VIS) – Benedict XVI will be “Pontiff emeritus” or “Pope emeritus”, as Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, reported in a press conference on th final days of the current pontificate. He will keep the name of “His Holiness, Benedict XVI” and will dress in a simple white cassock without the mozzetta (elbow-length cape).

More than 50,000 tickets have already been requested for the Pope’s final general audience tomorrow morning, 27 February, but greater attendance is expected. Except for the trip around St. Peter’s Square in the popemobile and the exclusion of the “bacciamani” (brief personal greetings that take place after the ceremony), the audience will take place as usual. On its conclusion, the Pope will go to the Clementine Hall of the Vatican Palace to meet with some of the civil authorities who are present in Rome or who have travelled here to wish him farewell. Among these dignitaries will be the presidents of Slovakia and of the German region of Bavaria.

On the morning of 28 February, the last day of his pontificate, the Pope will meet with, again in the Clementine Hall, the cardinals what are present in Rome. At 4:55pm, in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Vatican Apostolic Palace and before a detachment of the Swiss Guards, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State of His Holiness, and and other members of that dicastery will bid him farewell. The Pope’s helicopter will land at Castel Gandolfo at 5:15pm, where he will be received by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, respectively president and secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State along with Bishop Marcello Semeraro of the Diocese of Albano, and civil authorities of the locality.

Benedict XVI will appear at the balcony of the Castel Gandolfo Apostolic Palace to greet those who have gathered in the square to wish him well. The Sede Vacante will begin at 8:00pm and the Swiss Guards assigned to him at Castel Gandolfo will take their leave, as their corps is dedicated to the safe-guarding of the Roman Pontiff. Instead, the Vatican Gendarmerie will take over the Pope emeritus’ safety detail.

Fr. Lombardi also explained that Bendict XVI will no longer use the “Fisherman’s Ring”, which will be destroyed along with the lead seal of the pontificate. This task falls to the cardinal camerlengo and his assistants. Likewise, the Press Office director announced that the Pope will no longer wear the red papal shoes.

Regarding the beginning of the Congregations of Cardinals, the dean of the College of Cardinals will send a letter to all the cardinals on 1 March, calling them to Rome. “It is likely, therefore,” Fr. Lombardi added, “that the congregations will begin starting next week.”

We would like to thank Vatican Information Service for its daily updates on the development of these historic events.

Spiritual Reflection

Do you wish your prayer to rise up to God? “Add to it two wings, fasting and almsgiving.” “Share your bread with the hungry” (Isaiah 58:7), Isaiah said. Do not think that fasting is enough. Fasting humbles you, it does not help others. Your hardships will be fruitful if you donate to others abundantly. Here, your soul has been bereaved; to whom shall you give that which you deprived yourself of? Where shall you place what you have denied yourself of? How many poor people could have been fed with the lunch you have stopped eating today! Your fasting should be this: while another takes food, be pleased in nourishing yourself with the prayer which you will be granted. As Isaiah says: “While you speak, I tell you: behold, I am here, if with joy you will share the bread with the hungry.”

"Vergelt's Gott"Dio La ricompensi!

“Vergelt’s Gott”
Dio La ricompensi!

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For an overview of the final days of the pontificate of Benedict XVI, please visit the Final Days of Benedict XVI site at Final Days.


Catholic Teaching on Contraception

For Married Couples Only?

Condemnation of Contraception Is a Universal Norm


Sexual intercourse, the tradition holds, is legitimate and good (and, for Christians, grace-imparting) when and only when it is marital. Marriage is a one-flesh communion of persons with two defining goods: the unity and perfection of the spouses and the procreation and education of children. Intercourse that is marital will always respect the full one-flesh significance of the marital relationship by retaining a unitive and procreative character. The normative work this does in sexual ethics is primarily negative. Sexual acts that intentionally disregard either the unitive or the procreative goods of marriage are non-marital and therefore wrongful acts. Intercourse between non-married partners violates the unitive good, as do all coercive sexual acts. Contraceptive acts will against the procreative good; they are therefore non-marital, even if between married persons, and so wrongful. They are wrongful precisely because by definition they entail a will against the procreative good of marriage. Let me repeat: all non-marital sex is wrongly chosen, both inside and outside of marriage. Fornication is sex between non-married persons. Masterbatory acts are non-unitive. Contraceptive acts are non-procreative and non-unitive, insofar as rejecting the procreative meaning of sexual intercourse they do not realize between couples an integral one-flesh union.

See our other posts on contraception and abortion at:

Contraception and Birth Control

OPINION: Abortion Issues

Read or download the entire interview at Catholic Teaching on Contraception For Married Couples

The Liturgy, Work of the Trinity: God the Father

ROME, FEB. 8, 2012 ( Without the mediation of the Son, we would not have known the Father, and we would not have received the Spirit that enables us to recognize the Son as Lord and to adore in him the Father. The Father willed to render us capable of all this, that is, to adopt us as His children, before the creation of the world (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], 1077. The capacity to act as individuals or as members of a chosen and consecrated people is called _liturgy_: rightly described as work of the mystery of the three Persons. The Trinitarian action, therefore, is the prototype of the sacred or liturgical action. However, given the ecclesiastical and liturgical activism that has led to the adoption of terms like _actor_ and _operator_ even in sacred liturgy, to avoid ambiguities we must define the nature of this action. The sacred action of the liturgy is essentially a _blessing,_ term noted by all, but not in its true meaning. This is defined in the following article of the Catechism, which it is appropriate to quote in its entirety: _Blessing is a divine and life-giving action, the source of which is the Father; his blessing is both word and gift (_bene-dictio _eu-logia_). When applied to man, the word _blessing_ means adoration, and surrender to his Creator in thanksgiving (CCC, 1078).

Read or download Fr Mauro Gagliardi’s Column on Liturgical Theology, God the Father at The Liturgy-Work of the Trinity-God the Father

Pope’s Lenten Message 2012


VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2012 (VIS) – Made public today was the 2012 Lenten Message of the Holy Father Benedict XVI, the title of which is taken from the Letter to the Hebrews: “Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works”. Extracts from the English-language version of the document are given below:

“The Lenten season offers us once again an opportunity to reflect upon the very heart of Christian life: charity. This is a favourable time to renew our journey of faith, both as individuals and as a community, with the help of the word of God and the Sacraments”.

“This year I would like to propose a few thoughts in the light of a brief biblical passage drawn from the Letter to the Hebrews: ‘Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works'”.

(1) Let us be concerned for each other: responsibility towards our brothers and sisters.

“This first aspect is an invitation to be ‘concerned’. … The verb which introduces our exhortation tells us to look at others, first of all at Jesus, to be concerned for one another, and not to remain isolated and indifferent to the fate of our brothers and sisters. All too often, however, our attitude is just the opposite: an indifference and disinterest born of selfishness and masked as a respect for ‘privacy’. … Even today God asks us to be ‘guardians’ of our brothers and sisters, to establish relationships based on mutual consideration and attentiveness to the well-being, the integral well-being of others. The great commandment of love for one another demands that we acknowledge our responsibility towards those who, like ourselves, are creatures and children of God. Being brothers and sisters in humanity and, in many cases, also in the faith, should help us to recognise in others a true alter ego, infinitely loved by the Lord. If we cultivate this way of seeing others as our brothers and sisters, solidarity, justice, mercy and compassion will naturally well up in our hearts”.

“Concern for others entails desiring what is good for them from every point of view: physical, moral and spiritual. Contemporary culture seems to have lost the sense of good and evil, yet there is a real need to reaffirm that good does exist and will prevail, because God is ‘generous and acts generously’. The good is whatever gives, protects and promotes life, brotherhood and communion. Responsibility towards others thus means desiring and working for the good of others, in the hope that they too will become receptive to goodness and its demands. Concern for others means being aware of their needs. Sacred Scripture warns us of the danger that our hearts can become hardened by a sort of ‘spiritual anaesthesia’ which numbs us to the suffering of others. The Evangelist Luke relates two of Jesus’ parables by way of example”: the parable of the Good Samaritan and the parable of Dives and Lazarus. Both “show examples of the opposite of ‘being concerned’, of looking upon others with love and compassion. What hinders this humane and loving gaze towards our brothers and sisters? Often it is the possession of material riches and a sense of sufficiency, but it can also be the tendency to put our own interests and problems above all else. We should never be incapable of ‘showing mercy’ towards those who suffer. Our hearts should never be so wrapped up in our affairs and problems that they fail to hear the cry of the poor. … Reaching out to others and opening our hearts to their needs can become an opportunity for salvation and blessedness.

“‘Being concerned for each other’ also entails being concerned for their spiritual well-being. Here I would like to mention an aspect of the Christian life, which I believe has been quite forgotten: fraternal correction in view of eternal salvation. Today, in general, we are very sensitive to the idea of charity and caring about the physical and material well-being of others, but almost completely silent about our spiritual responsibility towards our brothers and sisters. This was not the case in the early Church. … Christ Himself commands us to admonish a brother who is committing a sin. … The Church’s tradition has included ‘admonishing sinners’ among the spiritual works of mercy. It is important to recover this dimension of Christian charity. We must not remain silent before evil. I am thinking of all those Christians who, out of human regard or purely personal convenience, adapt to the prevailing mentality, rather than warning their brothers and sisters against ways of thinking and acting that are contrary to the truth and that do not follow the path of goodness. Christian admonishment, for its part, is never motivated by a spirit of accusation or recrimination. It is always moved by love and mercy, and springs from genuine concern for the good of the other. … In a world pervaded by individualism, it is essential to rediscover the importance of fraternal correction, so that together we may journey towards holiness. … It is a great service, then, to help others and allow them to help us, so that we can be open to the whole truth about ourselves, improve our lives and walk more uprightly in the Lord’s ways”.

(2) Being concerned for each other: the gift of reciprocity.

“This ‘custody’ of others is in contrast to a mentality that, by reducing life exclusively to its earthly dimension, fails to see it in an eschatological perspective and accepts any moral choice in the name of personal freedom. A society like ours can become blind to physical sufferings and to the spiritual and moral demands of life. This must not be the case in the Christian community!”

“The Lord’s disciples, united with Him through the Eucharist, live in a fellowship that binds them one to another as members of a single body. This means that the other is part of me, and that his or her life, his or her salvation, concern my own life and salvation. Here we touch upon a profound aspect of communion: our existence is related to that of others, for better or for worse. Both our sins and our acts of love have a social dimension. This reciprocity is seen in the Church, the mystical body of Christ: the community constantly does penance and asks for the forgiveness of the sins of its members, but also unfailingly rejoices in the examples of virtue and charity present in her midst. … Christians can also express their membership in the one body which is the Church through concrete concern for the poorest of the poor. Concern for one another likewise means acknowledging the good that the Lord is doing in others”.

(3) To stir a response in love and good works: walking together in holiness.

“These words of the Letter to the Hebrews urge us to reflect on the universal call to holiness. … The time granted us in this life is precious for discerning and performing good works in the love of God. In this way the Church herself continuously grows towards the full maturity of Christ. Our exhortation to encourage one another to attain the fullness of love and good works is situated in this dynamic prospect of growth.

“Sadly, there is always the temptation to become lukewarm, to quench the Spirit, to refuse to invest the talents we have received, for our own good and for the good of others. All of us have received spiritual or material riches meant to be used for the fulfilment of God’s plan, for the good of the Church and for our personal salvation. The spiritual masters remind us that in the life of faith those who do not advance inevitably regress”.

“In a world which demands of Christians a renewed witness of love and fidelity to the Lord, may all of us feel the urgent need to anticipate one another in charity, service and good works. This appeal is particularly pressing in this holy season of preparation for Easter”.

A Victim in Search of Healing

Speaker at Conference on Clergy Sex Abuse Shares Her Hopes for the Church


 VATICAN CITY, 7 FEB 2012 (VIS) – An international symposium entitled “Towards Healing and Renewal” began yesterday evening in Rome’s GregorianUniversity. The event, which will run until 9 February and brings together bishops and religious superiors from all over the world, aims to relaunch the Church’s commitment to protecting minors and vulnerable people from child abuse. During the opening session a message was read out, sent in the Holy Father’s name by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. to Fr. Francois-Xavier Dumortier S.J., rector of the Gregorian.

 In his English-language message, Cardinal Bertone notes that, “as His Holiness has often observed, healing for victims must be of paramount concern in the Christian community, and it must go hand in hand with a profound renewal of the Church at every level. … The Holy Father therefore supports and encourages every effort to respond with evangelical charity to the challenge of providing children and vulnerable adults with an ecclesial environment conducive to their human and spiritual growth. He urges the participants in the symposium to continue drawing on a wide range of expertise in order to promote throughout the Church a vigorous culture of effective safeguarding and victim support”.

 The Pope also prays to the Lord that the symposium may help the Church “to respond in a truly Christ-like manner to the tragedy of child abuse”.

Marie Collins, who was abused by a hospital chaplain when she was just 13 years old, is one of the key speakers at the symposium. She spoke with ZENIT about the suffering she has endured over the decades since being abused, and her hope that this symposium will bring about real change.

Read and interview with Mary at A Victim in Search of Healing.

Victim: Not Everyone Abused by Clergy Wants to Leave the Church

Symposium on Sex Abuse Looks at Psychological, Pastoral Elements

“It was difficult for me,” admitted Collins, when asked about her decision to share her story, “but I felt that it was very important that the leadership of the Church — we have so many bishops from around the world here — that they hear a victim’s experience, and I felt for that reason that I should do it, and I’m very glad I did and I think the response was very good. There was actually one African bishop who spoke after the presentation and he felt that — beforehand he had not really given the issue a great deal of importance, but having heard us both speak, he had changed his mind and felt that this was something he really had to give a lot more attention to. So, I think it was important that what we both said was heard.”

The opening presentation, which was delivered by Marie Collins, a victim of child sex abuse, and Sheila Hollins, a professor of psychiatry, was largely directed toward understanding the sex abuse crisis from the victim’s perspective. In a press conference following the speech, both speakers answered questions regarding some of the issues discussed.

Read or download the entire article at Not Everyone Abused Wants to Leave the Church

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