Midnight Mass of Christmas – 2014.12.24

Whispers in the Loggia: “This Is How God Is” – At First Audience, Francis “Steps Outside”

 

Whispers in the Loggia: “This Is How God Is” At First Audience, Francis “Steps Outside”

Continuing the weekly tradition of his predecessors, this morning saw Pope Francis’ first turn at the General Audience, his focus on Holy Week.

Speaking only in Italian, the new pontiff made it a point to note his intent to resume the topic begun by Benedict XVI in his Wednesday talks “after Easter.”

For now, though – just two weeks since his election – today’s appearance launches Francis into the intense cycle of Holy Week’s climactic days.

While Papa Bergoglio will celebrate and preach at the Chrism Mass in St Peter’s tomorrow morning, the widely-noted Evening Mass in Rome’s youth prison will be a private affair closed to press (even if photos might still emerge). By tradition, the pontiff doesn’t give the homily at the Good Friday liturgy in St Peter’s, but will likely offer closing remarks during the nighttime Via Crucis at the Colosseum.

In the Triduum’s home stretch, Francis will preside and preach the Easter Vigil in the Vatican basilica on Saturday night, and give his Urbi et Orbi message following the morning Mass in lieu of a liturgical sermon.

As future plans go, meanwhile, this morning the Vatican announced that the 266th bishop of Rome – the title by which Francis has most often defined himself – will formally take possession of his cathedral, St John Lateran, at an evening Mass on April 7th, the Second Sunday of Easter.

(Note: As seen above today, Francis has kept to employing his personal silver ring in everyday use, wearing the Fisherman’s Ring with which he was invested solelyfor major liturgies.)
(Note: As seen above today, Francis has kept to employing his personal silver ring in everyday use, wearing the Fisherman’s Ring with which he was invested solelyfor major liturgies.)

“A Horizon of Hope”

“To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope! For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God, which has opened up before us in Christ. It is a hope built on the rock which is God.” Pope Francis (excerpt from Inaugural Mass Homily)

Pope Celebrates Inaugural Mass – WSJ.com.VATICAN CITY—The Catholic Church’s first New World pontiff formally began his ministry Tuesday with a call for politicians, priests and others in positions of power to protect society’s weakest and poorest members.

Pope Francis was officially installed as Pontiff; The Army bought a $300 Million blimp, and now the contractor wants it back; Internet providers oppose FCC recommendations on cyber-security. Photo: Getty Images.

Standing on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis told a group of heads of state, among a crowd of tens of thousands gathered for his inaugural Mass, that secular and religious leaders must act as “custodians” for “every creation of God.”

The new pope, an Argentine Jesuit elected last week to lead the scandal-tarnished church, has moved swiftly to set a more humble tone for the papacy, departing from some of the customary pomp and fueling hopes for change in Rome.

A Papacy Begins

Reuters

The papal pallium is fitted on Pope Francis during his inaugural Mass.

Tuesday’s Mass, a deeply symbolic event watched closely by the clergy as well as those in the pews, signaled Pope Francis’ intention to focus on serving the disadvantaged—as well as his desire to readjust the priorities of the church hierarchy.

“I’d like to ask, please, to anyone who is in charge of the economy, politics, society—to all men and women of good will—let’s be custodians of creation and of the design of God inscribed in nature—custodian of others and of the environment,” the pope said.

Francis, the Jesuits and the Dirty War | National Catholic Reporter

Francis, the Jesuits and the Dirty War | National Catholic Reporter

Those who have not lived under a dictatorship should not be quick to judge those who have, whether the dictatorship was in ancient Rome, Latin America, Africa, Nazi Germany, Communist Eastern Europe, or today’s China. We should revere martyrs, but not demand every Christian be one.

Rumors and questions are circulating about Pope Francis and the time when he was the Jesuit provincial of Argentina and his relationship to two imprisoned Jesuits and the Argentine military dictatorship.

The Society of Jesus is filled with intelligent men who are passionate about their ideas and work, so of course there are arguments and disagreements just as there are in any family. I have had debates with other Jesuits over dinner where voices were raised, but that does not mean I don’t love them and would not be willing to die for them. We are a family.

Father Bergoglio, like Pope John Paul II, had serious reservations about liberation theology, which was embraced by many other Latin American Jesuits. As a North American I have trouble understanding these disputes since John Paul and Bergoglio obviously wanted justice for the poor while the liberation theologians were not in favor of violent revolution as their detractors claimed. But clearly this was an issue that divided the church in Latin America.

Part of the problem was the use of the term “Marxist analysis” by some liberation theologians, when they sought to show how the wealthy used their economic and political power to keep the masses down. The word “Marxist,” of course, drove John Paul crazy. Meanwhile, the Latin American establishment labeled as Communist anyone who wanted economic justice and political power for workers. Even many decent but cautious people feared that strikes and demonstrations would lead to violence. What is “prudent” can divide people of good will……..read more

Those who have not lived under a dictatorship should not be quick to judge those who have, whether the dictatorship was in ancient Rome, Latin America, Africa, Nazi Germany, Communist Eastern Europe, or today’s China. We should revere martyrs, but not demand every Christian be one.

via Francis, the Jesuits and the Dirty War | National Catholic Reporter.

Will Benedict Still Be ‘Pope’? | Daily News | NCRegister.com

Will Benedict Still Be ‘Pope’? | Daily News | NCRegister.com.

In his letter, Pope Benedict announced that he would step down from “the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of St. Peter, entrusted to me by the cardinals on April 19, 2005, in such a way, that as from Feb. 28, 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of St. Peter, will be vacant and a conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff …”

The Pope signed his letter of resignation “BENEDICTUS PP. XVI,” and Bishop Paprocki noted that it “simply means that he is the sixteenth pope by the name ‘Benedict.’ That is a historical fact that will never change.”

Term of Endearment

Bishop Paprocki then suggested that Catholics should view the word “pope” as “an honorific, even a term of endearment (‘papa’ in Italian). It is not the title of an ecclesiastical office.”

Thus, just as Catholics continue to call a priest “Father,” even though “he has resigned from the office of pastor,” so Italians probably “will continue to call Pope Benedict Papa Benedetto even after he leaves office as the Bishop of Rome,” predicted the bishop, who lived in Rome for three and a half years while studying canon law.

“I don’t think people will have a hard time wrapping their minds around having a pope who is no longer the Roman pontiff, bishop of Rome, etc. Certainly, in direct address, one would never address him as anything but ‘Your Holiness.’”

That said, Bishop Paprocki added that it “would be best to know what Pope Benedict himself wants to be called after February 28, and I hope he will tell us.”

While some experts have said that the Pope should be called “Cardinal Ratzinger” after he formally resigns, Bishop Paprocki did not think term seemed “correct.”

“If he had resigned before reaching the age of 80, after which a cardinal may no longer vote in a papal conclave, I do not think he would have, should have or could have donned a red cassock and entered the conclave in the Sistine Chapel to vote for his successor.

“Instead, at 8pm Rome time on Feb. 28, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI will have a new identity to which we will have to become accustomed: His Holiness, Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, former Roman/supreme pontiff, bishop emeritus of Rome.”

Read more: National Catholic Register

The War of the Two Councils: The True and the False

by Sandro Magister

ROME, February 15, 3103 – To the priests of his diocese, with whom he met yesterday for the last time before leaving, Benedict XVI wanted to deliver “a little chat on Vatican Council II, as I have seen it.”

In reality, the “little chat” lasted for almost 40 minutes, with the audience very much attentive throughout.

Joseph Ratzinger spoke off the cuff, without ever looking at any notes.

He proceeded according to major chapter divisions, each of them dedicated to the main questions faced one after another by the Council: the liturgy, the Church, revelation, ecumenism, religious freedom, the relationship with Judaism and the other religions.

For each of these themes he said what was at stake and recounted how the conciliar fathers addressed it. With passages of great interest on the concept of the People of God and on the relationship between Scripture and Tradition.

But to everything he added an introduction and a conclusion that particularly impressed those present.

THE INTRODUCTION

Benedict XVI began with an anecdote, telling about when Cardinal Frings had invited him, a young theologian, to write him an outline for a conference that he would have to give in Genoa, at the request of Cardinal Siri, on the topic of “the Council and modern thought.”

The outline pleased the cardinal, who read it just as the young Ratzinger had written it for him. But the best part came afterward:

“A little while later Pope John called Frings, and he was full of trepidation that he may have said something incorrect, something false, and that he had been called upon for a rebuke, perhaps even to have the scarlet taken away.

Among the bishops of the whole world, those who had the most definite intentions from the start were the episcopates of France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, what was called the “Rhenish alliance.” In the first part of the Council “they were therefore the ones who pointed out the way, but the activity was quickly widened and everyone participated more and more in the creativity of the assembly.”” read more…

 

 

THE CONCLUSION

 

 

At the conclusion of the conversation, Benedict XVI instead subjected to criticism the relationship that has been established between the “true Council” and the “Council of the media,” between the real Council and the virtual one.

 

Here it is best to consult the literal and complete transcription of his words:

 

“I would now like to add another point: there was the Council of the fathers – the true Council – but there was also the Council of the media. It was almost a Council unto itself, and the world perceived the Council through these, through the media.

 

“Therefore the Council that immediately and efficiently arrived to the people was that of the media, not that of the fathers. And while the Council of the fathers was realized within the faith, and was a Council of the faith that seeks ‘intellectus,’ that seeks to understand itself and seeks to understand the signs of God at that moment, that seeks to respond to the challenge of God at that moment and to find in the word of God the word for today and tomorrow, while the whole Council – as I have said – was moving within the faith, as ”fides quaerens intellectum,’ the Council of the journalists was not realized, naturally, within the faith, but within the categories of today’s media, meaning outside of the faith, with a different hermeneutic.

 

“It was a political hermeneutic. For the media, the Council was a political struggle, a power struggle between different currents in the Church. It was obvious that the media were taking sides with that part which seemed to them to have the most in common with their world. There were those who were seeking the decentralization of the Church, power for the bishops and then, through the expression “people of God,” the power of the people, of the laity. There was this threefold question: the power of the pope, then transferred to the power of the bishops and to the power of all, popular sovereignty. Naturally, for them this was the side to approve of, to promulgate, to favor.

 

“And so also for the liturgy: the liturgy was not of interest as an act of faith, but as a matter where understandable things are done, a matter of community activity, a profane matter. And we know that there was a tendency, that was also founded historically, to say: sacrality is a pagan thing, perhaps even in the Old Testament, but in the New all that matters is that Christ died outside: that is, outside of the gates, meaning in the profane world. A sacrality therefore to be brought to an end, profanity of worship as well: worship is not worship but an act of the whole, of common participation, and thus also participation as activity.

 

“These translations, trivializations of the idea of the Council were virulent in the praxis of the application of liturgical reform; they were born in a vision of the Council outside of its proper key, that of faith. And thus also in the question of Scripture: Scripture is a book, historical, to be treated historically and nothing else, and so on.

 

“We know how this Council of the media was accessible to all. Therefore, this was the dominant, more efficient one, and has created so much calamity, so many problems, really so much misery: seminaries closed, convents closed, liturgy trivialized. . . . And the true Council had difficulty in becoming concrete, in realizing itself; the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council.

 

“But the real power of the Council was present and, little by little, is realizing itself more and more and becomes the true power that then is also true reform, true renewal of the Church. It seems to me that, fifty years after the Council, we see how this virtual Council is breaking up, is becoming lost, and the true Council is appearing with all of its spiritual power. And it is our task, precisely in this Year of Faith, beginning from this Year of Faith, to work in order that the true Council, with its power of the Holy Spirit, may be realized and that the Church may really be renewed. Let us hope that the Lord may help us. I, retired with my prayer, will always be with you, and together we will go forward with the Lord. In the certainty: the Lord triumphs!”

. . . Yes, when his secretary was dressing him for the audience with the pope he said: ‘Perhaps now I am wearing this robe for the last time.’ Then he went in. Pope John came to meet him, embraced him and said: ‘Thank you, Your Eminence, you have said the things that I wanted to say, but could not find the words.’ In this way the cardinal knew that he was on the right path, and he invited me to go with him to the Council, first as his personal expert and then also as an official peritus.”

Benedict XVI then continued:

“We went to the Council not only with joy, but with enthusiasm. The anticipation was incredible. We were hoping that everything would be renewed, that a new Pentecost would come, a new era of the Church, because the Church was still robust enough at that time, but it seemed more a reality of the past than of the future. And so we were hoping that this would change, that the Church would once again be strength for tomorrow and strength for today.” read more…