27 September 2006

Muslims Debate Reaction...

Taken from the BBC

The angry reactions to the Pope's original remarks included the killing of an Italian nun in Somalia and attacks on Christian churches in Palestinian territories.

But several Muslim writers argued that such violent reactions appeared to confirm the very things that Muslims have been seeking to refute.

Some concluded that it would have been better to engage in a rational debate with the Pope.

The European Muslim scholar, Tarik Ramadan, blamed Muslim leaders and scholars for such violent responses.

Leaders who deny their people freedom of expression, he wrote, find it convenient to allow their people to let off some steam as long as it is about Danish cartoons or words uttered by the Pope.

["Is] it was wise of Muslims to feel offended by the Pope's quotation from a 14th Century Christian emperor while they continue to ignore questions they have faced over the past five years about the meaning of the term "jihad" and the legitimate use of force[?"]

Khaled Hroub, a Jordanian-born academic, wrote that the aggressive and intolerant reactions failed to live up to the ideals Muslims believe in.

One columnist, Abdelwahab Al Affendi, ridiculed those who demanded a retraction of the Pope's original remarks.

Mr Al Effendi wrote saying that nothing short of the Pope's converting to Islam will ever assuage the anger of those people!

The Pope is not Alone...

Taken from Daily Pioneer

Given the ferocity of the attack launched against the Pope and the death threats held out by some organisations, including an Islamic cleric from Somalia who has asked Muslims to "hunt down and kill" Benedict XVI, one would have thought that political and religious leaders would be chary of treading this path and inviting the wrath of Islamists. But that is not the case. Unmindful of the tirade being faced by the Pope, two other religious leaders - Archbishop Christodoulos, Head of the Orthodox Church of Greece and Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury - have spoken up about Islam in much the same vein as the Pope.

Speaking on 'The Cross and the Crescent: The clash of faiths in an age of secularism", a week after the Pope made his controversial remarks, Lord Carey said, "Islam's borders are bloody and so are its innards. The fundamental problem is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilisation whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power". In other words, Lord Carey is just not willing to separate radical Islam from Islam in general. However, he urged Muslims to address their religion's association with violence "with great urgency".

Undaunted by the attack on Pope Benedict, the head of the Orthodox Church of Greece told the faithful in Athens that Christians in Africa were suffering from fanatic Islamists.

...Following the assassination of Swami Shraddhanand at the hands of a Muslim fanatic in December, 1926, Mahatma Gandhi had said: "Mussalmans have an ordeal to pass through. There can be no doubt that they are too free with the knife and the pistol. The sword is an emblem of Islam. But Islam was born in an environment where the sword was, and still remains, the supreme law. The message of Jesus has proved ineffective because the environment was unready to receive it. So with the message of the Prophet. The sword is yet too much in evidence among the Mussalmans. It must be sheathed if Islam is to be what it means - peace." This was 80 years ago.

Going by the statements of the Pope and many others, it appears as if time has stood still. Nothing has happened between 1926 and 2006 which would warrant us to say that Gandhi's view on Islam is now irrelevant. On the other hand, the cumulative effect of much of what has happened in the world and in our sub-continent in these intervening years has only reinforced this view.

Long years before Gandhi spoke his mind on Islam, Swami Vivekananda told a gathering in London in November, 1896: "In the Quran there is the doctrine that a man who does not believe these teachings should be killed. It is a mercy to kill him! Think of the bloodshed there has been in consequence of such beliefs!"

Annie Besant said in 1922 that the argument of the Muslim leadership that they are ordained to obey Islamic law as against laws made by the state is "subversive of civic order and stability of the state". BR Ambedkar, the author of our Constitution, too, has emphatically stated that Islam divided the world into Dar-ul Islam ( Abode of Islam) and Dar-ul Harb (Abode of War) and that it is incumbent of Muslims to wage war against any country that is not controlled by Muslims.

In recent years, Samuel Huntington, the Harvard Professor who has propagated the 'Clash of Civilisations' theory, has observed: "The Quran and other statements of Muslim belief contain few prohibitions on violence, and a concept of non-violence is absent from Muslim doctrine and practice."

So what is new in what the Pope said some days ago in Germany? Shall we now put Gandhi, Ambedkar, Annie Besant and Vivekananda in the dustbin of history and mollify the hotheads in the Islamic world, or shall we stand up and tell these radical Islamists that the liberal, democratic world has now run out of patience?

Truly, democrats around the world are tired of explanations. If Islam means peace, we must ask the adherents of Islam to please show it! The angry outburst of Muslims across the world may silence the Pope or force him to backtrack, but nobody should be deceived by it. The problem will not disappear with the Pope's partial retraction. As the reactions of Archbishop Christodoulos and Lord Carey show, non-Muslims are not going to be cowed down by threats of violence either. The apprehensions about Islam in the non-Muslim world are real. Muslims must face this truth and take the initiative to give themselves a new, moderate image. Nobody else can do it.

26 September 2006

Lost in Translation

Post Communion (Prayers after Communion) for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time

What is heard in Mass...
Lord, help us with your kindness. Make us strong through the eucharist. May we put into action the saving mystery we celebrate. (ICEL 1973 Translation of the 1970 Missale Romanum)

The Prayer as it is in Latin...
Quos tuis, Domine, reficis sacramentis, continuis attolle benignus auxiliis, ut redemptionis effectum et mysteriis capiamus et moribus. (2002 Missale Romanum)

A Literal Translation from the Latin...
Kindly raise up, O Lord, with unending helps, those whom you renew by your sacraments, so that we may grasp the effect of redemption both in the sacramental mysteries and in conduct of our lives.

For more commentary: WDTPRS

25 September 2006

Ad Orientium

An example of the Novus Ordo Mass being celebrated Ad Orientium (facing East / facing the Altar). Celebrant is Cardinal Sean O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston. (Courtesy of http://cardinalseansblog.org/)


Taken from Houston Chronicle

...the violent response of some Muslims not only makes the pope's point but also slanders their religion more effectively than some centuries-old quote ever could. What is the Arabic word for irony?

Between this latest controversy and the rioting earlier this year over cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad, there seems something pathetically reflexive about some Muslims' reaction to perceived religious insult. It's as if they are addicted to the faux power to be found in throwing a tantrum, threatening violence, demanding attention, forcing apologies.

Of course, faux power is, by definition, not real. Real power effects change. Faux power makes noise and changes nothing. When they behave like this, Muslim radicals highlight the difference — and the fact that they don't know the difference.

Ultimately, this latest episode speaks less to papal error than to the fact that Islam is being hijacked by ignorant thugs who use violence — both threatened and real — as a conduit to power. Not justice, power. And fake power at that. In the process, they make Islam seem synonymous with bombings, beheadings and blood.

If anybody owes Muslims an apology, it's they.

24 September 2006

Renewal of Parish Life

Taken from CWNews

The parish should be understood as "a family of Christian families," the Pope said. He called attention to the description of the first Christian community in Jerusalem, in which the believers gathered to hear the apostles, to pray and celebrate the Eucharist, and to share with those in need. Today, he said, a parish can "relive this experience," especially if the parish is united in prayer.

The success of parish life, the Pope observed, will come not merely from "programs worked out at a theoretical level," but from intense and communal prayer. "Nourished by the Eucharistic bread," he said, the parish "grows in Catholic communion and walks in complete faithfulness to the magisterium." That same fraternal spirit, he added, would impel the members of the parish community to provide material assistance to those who need it.

Why Benedict XVI did not want to fall silent or backpedal

Taken from Chiesa by Sandro Magister

The masterful lecture that the pope-theologian delivered at the University of Regensburg really did send shivers throughout the world. Because what Benedict XVI said there is just what happened afterward. The pope explained the distance that runs between the Christian God, who is love, immolated in Jesus on the cross, but also “Logos,” reason; and the God worshipped by Islam, so transcendent and sublime that he is not bound by anything, not even by that rational assertion according to which there must not be “any coercion in matters of faith.” The Qur’an says this in the second sura, to which the pope conscientiously made reference, but it then makes other and opposite statements. And the violent eruption in the Muslim world against the pope and Christians confirms that this other tendency has the upper hand, giving form and substance to the way in which myriads of the faithful of Allah view the world of the infidels. The other side of pope Joseph Ratzinger’s lecture in Regensburg is the blood poured out in Muslim Mogadishu by sister Leonella Sgorbati, a woman veiled and yet free, a martyr whose last words were addressed to her killers: “I forgive you.”

In reality, almost the entirety of Benedict XVI’s lecture in Regensburg was addressed to the Christian world, to the West and to Europe, which in his view are so sure of their naked reason – too sure – that they have lost the “fear of God.” But here as well the pope’s words found their confirmation in the facts. Hand in hand with the swell of verbal and physical violence on the part of Muslims, on the other side, in theory his own side, the pope was the target of incessant volleys of friendly fire. Just as the sagacious companions of Job attributed the blame for his misfortunes to him, so also Benedict XVI was surrounded by a veritable whirlwind of advice and rebuke of the same sort.

It was the same way in the Vatican. Benedict XVI had the good fortune of installing a new secretary of state and a new foreign minister, both of them firmly in his trust, on the very day that the Muslim attack against him began, on Friday, September 15, right after he came back from his trip to Bavaria. But the grumbling of the curia members hostile toward him did not calm down at all – on the contrary. He got away with the appointment of the new foreign minister, archbishop Dominique Mamberti, from Corsica, who has worked as a nuncio in Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea, and before that in Algeria, Lebanon, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, and thus has direct familiarity with the Arab and Muslim world, and is skilled in the art of diplomacy. But as for the nomination of cardinal Tarcisio Bertone as the new secretary of state – for this, no, they did not forgive him. The fact that Bertone is not a career diplomat, but a man of doctrine and a pastor of souls, is now being held even more against the pope as proof of his ineptitude on the world political scene. In Bavaria, with the assignment changes not yet having taken place, Benedict XVI was accompanied by the outgoing secretary of state, cardinal Angelo Sodano, who has spent his entire life in diplomacy. But the pope was careful to avoid having cardinal Sodano read in advance the lecture he was preparing to deliver in Regensburg. Whole sections of the text would have been censored, if its supreme criterion had been the Realpolitik upon which the Vatican diplomacy of Sodano and his colleagues is nourished.

For Benedict XVI, too, realism in relations between the Church and states is a value. It was so with the totalitarian systems of the twentieth century: with German Nazism as with Soviet Communism. The controversial silences of Pius XII with Nazism, and later, with Communism, of John XXIII, of Vatican Council II, and of the Ostpolitik of Paul VI, had compelling reasons, and in the first place the defense of the victims of those systems themselves. But now, it is being demanded of Benedict XVI that he maintain a similar silence in regard to the new adversary of Islam: it is a silence that is often given the name of “dialogue.” Has pope Ratzinger not respected this? Then this is the comeuppance he deserves from “offended” Islam: threats, demonstrations, burning in effigy, governments demanding retractions, the recall of ambassadors, churches burned, a religious sister killed. The pope is seen as bearing his part of the blame in all this. On the other hand, it’s “post mortem” beatification for his predecessor John Paul II, who prayed humbly in Assisi together Muslim mullahs, and when visiting the Umayyad mosque in Damascus listened in silence to the invectives his hosts hurled against the perfidious Jews. No fatwa was issued for the demolition of the Vatican walls, or for the slitting of Karol Wojtyla’s throat. It was a mere coincidence that Ali Agca, who shot him, was a Muslim – the assassination had been planned in Christian territory...

Benedict XVI does not deny the proper value of political realism. The secretariat of state has mobilized its network of nunciatures to provide for governments the complete text of the lecture in Regensburg, the official note of explanation released on September 16 by cardinal Bertone, and the explanations presented by the pope in person at the Angelus on Sunday the 17th. By the end of September, the ambassadors to Muslim-majority countries will be called to the Vatican for another effort to defuse the tensions. And the pontifical council for culture, headed by cardinal Paul Poupard, is preparing a meeting with Muslim religious representatives.

But realism isn’t everything for Benedict XVI. The dialogue with Islam that he wants to create is not made of fearful silences and ceremonial embraces. It is not made of mortifications which, in the Muslim camp, are interpreted as acts of submission. The citation he made in Regensburg, from the “Dialogues with a Mohammedan” written at the end of the fourteenth century by the Christian participant in the dialogue, the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologos, was deliberate choice. A war was on. Constantinople was under siege, and in a half century, in 1453, it would fall under the dominion of the Ottoman Empire. But the learned Christian emperor brought his Persian counterpart to the terrain of truth, reason, law, and violence, to what marks the real difference between the Christian faith and Islam, to the key questions upon which war or peace between the two civilizations depends.

Pope Ratzinger sees modern times, too, as being fraught with war, and with holy war. But he asks Islam to place a limit of its own on “jihad.” He proposes to the Muslims that they separate violence from faith, as prescribed by the Qur’an itself, and that they again connect faith with reason, because “acting against reason is in contradiction with the nature of God.”

In Regensburg, the pope exalted the greatness of the Greek philosophy of Aristotle and Plato. He demonstrated that this is an integral part of biblical and Christian faith in the God who is “Logos.” And he also did this deliberately. When Paleologos held his dialogue with his Persian counterpart, Islamic culture had just emerged from its happiest period, when Greek philosophy had been grafted onto the trunk of Qur’anic faith. In asking Islam today to rekindle the light of Aristotelian reason, Benedict XVI is not asking for the impossible. Islam has had its Averroes, the great Arab commentator on Aristotle who was treasured by such a giant of Catholic theology as was Thomas Aquinas. A return, today, to the synthesis between faith and reason is the only way for Islamic interpretation of the Qur’an to free itself from its fundamentalist paralysis and from obsession with “jihad.” And it is the only ground for authentic dialogue between the Muslim world and the Christianity of the West.

At the Angelus on Sunday, September 17, which was broadcast live even by the Arab television network Al-Jazeera, Benedict XVI expressed his “regret” at how his lecture had been misunderstood. He said that he did not agree with the passage he cited from Manuel II Paleologos, according to whom in the “new things” brought by Mohammed “you will find only evil and inhuman things, like the order to spread the faith by means of the sword.” But he did not apologize at all; he didn’t retract a single line. The lecture in Regensburg was not an academic exercise for him. He did not put aside his papal vestments there in order to speak only the sophisticated language of the theologian, to an audience made up only of specialists. The pope and the theologian in him are all of a piece, and for everyone. Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who has grasped the essence of this pontificate better than other Church leaders have done, said on Monday, September 18 to the directive body of the Italian bishops that “the fundamental coordinates” of the message Benedict XVI is proposing to the Church and the world are found in these three texts: the encyclical “Deus Caritas Est”; the address to the Roman curia on December 22, 2005, on the interpretation of Vatican Council II; and, last but not least, the “splendid” lecture in Regensburg.

Benedict XVI is hopeful. He would not have been so daring if he did not believe in the real possibility that an interpretation of the Qur’an that marries faith with reason and freedom can be reopened within Islamic thought. But the voices in the Muslim world that are accepting his offer of dialogue are too weak and too few, and almost not to be found. And the pope is too much alone in a wayward Europe that really does resemble somewhat the Eurabia described by Oriana Fallaci, a “Christian atheist” whom he has read, met with, and admired. And then there is the violence that hangs over Christians in Islamic countries, and also outside of them – when, to silence the pope, members of his flock are killed, and all the better if they are innocent, like a religious sister, a woman.

23 September 2006

Pope Provocateur

Courtesy of WDTPRS...

These reflections lead Benedict to a much graver indictment of Islam: "For Muslim teaching," he says, "God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." Citing the 11th century polymath Ibn Hazm, Benedict adds that in Islam, "God is not bound even by his own word."

Let’s play that again, since the rest of the media failed to notice: [we noticed!] Pope Benedict suggests that the God of Mohammad is, or may seem to humans to be, "not even bound to truth and goodness." Who knows whether that really reflects a consensus view down the ages among Muslim theologians—Benedict makes his case about Islam by citing one scholar who cites another scholar who cites another. The more interesting question is why Benedict goes out of his way to use Islam as an example, since he also warns against similar tendencies toward insisting on God’s radical "otherness" within the Catholic tradition itself. So why can’t he simply illustrate the controversies of faith without going outside the boundaries of his own?

In fact, Benedict saves his sharpest barbs for non-Muslim targets: Protestantism, which seeks a "primordial" form of faith; liberal theology, which reduces Jesus to "the father of a humanitarian moral message"; scientific rationalism, the ethics of which are "simply inadequate" to answer the "specifically human questions about our origin and destiny"; and what might be called Catholic pluralism, a culturally adaptive notion of the faith that Benedict denounces as "false" and "coarse."

These aren’t mere provocations. There is an overarching philosophical architecture to Benedict’s critique, expressed in the notion of the "de-Hellenization of Christianity." Christianity, in his view, is shaped and defined by the great dialogue between Athens and Jerusalem, reason and revelation. When the Apostle John says "In the beginning was the Word," the "word," literally, is logos—which is reason, or argument. This, according to Benedict, expresses "the intrinsic necessity of a rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek inquiry."

That rapprochement—a triumph of dialogue—lies at the heart of Benedict’s theology: Strip faith from reason (as scientific rationalism does), or reason from faith (as Protestant literalism does), and "it is man himself who ends up being reduced."

There is a political subtext. Precisely in the middle of his speech, the Pope describes the convergence of faith and philosophy as decisive to the character of "what can rightly be called Europe." He does not mention Europe again, nor, except obliquely, Islam. But near the end of his speech he warns that the "exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason" may be seen by other cultures "as an attack on their most profound convictions." "Reason which is deaf to the divine," he adds, "is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures." [Remember that Benedict resisted the suggestion that Turkey be admitted to the EU.]

A Europe that cannot understand its own religion, except as a form of subjective irrationalism, cannot possibly engage another. A Christianity that voluntarily recuses itself from reason cannot sustain a belief in the goodness of its convictions, to say nothing of its truth. A West that abandons a critical dialogue between faith and rational inquiry ceases to be the West. It becomes, in a peculiar way, guilty of the same errors Benedict accuses Islam of making. This is the Pope’s teaching, and it requires no apology. Notice that he offers none.

22 September 2006

Pastor not Statesman

Taken from Shouts from the Piazza

...when the Pope's coat of arms was revealed much was made of the fact that he didn't include the now traditional triple tiara as an ornament in the coat of arms. It was said the Pope wished to de-emphasize his role as a monarch and head of state and play up his role as a pastor. Indeed while many criticized the move (self included) many who describe themselves as part of the more progressive wing of the Church lauded him for laying aside the inappropriate trappings of a secular ruler. Instead, it was argued, the symbol of the papal office should underscore his religious role in the Church and in the world.

However, now it is some of those same "progressive" people, some would even call them liberals despite the fact that that's a political rather than a religious distinction, are very critical of Benedict XVI for being "un-diplomatic" in his comments concerning faith, reason and violence. Now, all of a sudden they want less the theological thinker, less the pastoral leader and more of a statesman. Heads of State have to be diplomatic. Religious leaders do not. Heads of State have to weigh every utterance very carefully for possible ramifications. Pastors speak the truth regardless of the consequences. The Second Letter to Timothy exhorts to "...Be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching."

So now we have a Pontiff who takes that title seriously. He's not interested in the tip-toeing through the minefield of diplomacy. Rather, he wants to be a bridge-builder (that's what "pontiff" literally means) to travel over the fray and traverse the minefield by challenging others to a meaningful dialogue that involves taking a good hard look at yourself as well as learning from the experience of others. In addition, he isn't afraid to be the smartest person in the room. He's not going to dumb down the rhetoric in order to engage in dialogue.

By his own words and the choices he's making in the Curia the Pope is showing that his focus will be as Chief Shepherd of the flock. The Church's primary concerns will be articulated theologically not geo-politically. If the crown goes, then so does the "papal monarchy" and with it papal statemanship. In it's place we get a Shepherd who isn't afraid to step on a few toes, even when it is politically incorrect, in order to defend his sheep. So, for all those who cried "yay!" when the tiara disappeared this is the same guy who did it so you don't get to whine and moan that the Pope was "politically insensitive". This is what you get: the mitre in it's place means this guy is a bishop...not a politician.

19 September 2006

Singing 'round a campfire...

...[Swiss Interior Minister Pascal] Couchepin then said a debate on the issues was desperately necessary, including within Islam.

"Whoever refuses to debate, reduces religion to emotions. And you'd then end up with a priest, an imam and a Buddhist monk sitting round a campfire singing songs together. That, at least for me, is not the point of religion," he said.

Full Text: Swiss Info

Reference Courtesy of Catholic World News

18 September 2006

Fair Media Reporting from London's Times on Regensburg Speech

...Yet it would be wrong to censor a pope who has pondered the future of faith and reserves disdain for rationalists whom he confronts in his conclusion: “In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world’s profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion to the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures.”

Both Christianity and Islam aspire to the divine and they share a theology that is contemptuous of mindless materialism and crass consumerism. This Pope is not “relegating religion” and he is tweaking the tail of the rationalists, which provides no excuse, no justification, no cause for the spiritual to be irrational. Christianity and Islam have rarely sat easily together; but tolerance must not be deliberately destroyed by the intolerant.

View Full Text

Regensburg Speech & Rationality

Courtesy of Catholic World News and WDTPRS...

A Wall Street Journal Europe editorial hits the nail on the head regarding the Pope's Regensburg speech, the Muslim reaction, and the implications. The conclusion:

In Christianity, God is inseparable from reason. "In the beginning was the Word," the pope quotes from the Gospel according to John. "God acts with logos. Logos means both reason and word," he explained. "The inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of history of religions, but also from that of world history. . . . This convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe."

The question raised by the pope is whether this convergence has taken place in Islam as well. He quotes the Lebanese Catholic theologist Theodore Khoury, who said that "for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent, his will is not bound up with any of our categories." If this is true, can there be dialogue at all between Islam and the West? For the pope, the precondition for any meaningful interfaith discussions is a religion tempered by reason: "It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures," he concluded.

This is not an invitation to the usual feel-good interfaith round-tables. It is a request for dialogue with one condition—that everyone at the table reject the irrationality of religiously motivated violence. The pope isn’t condemning Islam; he is inviting it to join rather than reject the modern world. By their reaction to the pope’s speech, some Muslim leaders showed again that Islam has a problem with modernity that is going to have to be solved by a debate within Islam. The day Muslims condemn Islamic terror with the same vehemence they condemn those who criticize Islam, an attempt at dialogue—and at improving relations between the Western and Islamic worlds—can begin.

16 September 2006

Official Vatican Response to Negative Muslime Pope Benedict XVI's Adress at Regensburg

Statement of His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State

Given the reaction in Muslim quarters to certain passages of the Holy Father's address at the University of Regensburg, and the clarifications and explanations already presented through the Director of the Holy See Press Office, I would like to add the following:

- The position of the Pope concerning Islam is unequivocally that expressed by the conciliar document Nostra Aetate: "The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, Who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion. In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead. Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting" (no. 3).

- The Pope's option in favor of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue is equally unequivocal. In his meeting with representatives of Muslim communities in Cologne, Germany, on 20 August 2005, he said that such dialogue between Christians and Muslims "cannot be reduced to an optional extra," adding: "The lessons of the past must help us to avoid repeating the same mistakes. We must seek paths of reconciliation and learn to live with respect for each other's identity".

- As for the opinion of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus which he quoted during his Regensburg talk, the Holy Father did not mean, nor does he mean, to make that opinion his own in any way. He simply used it as a means to undertake - in an academic context, and as is evident from a complete and attentive reading of the text - certain reflections on the theme of the relationship between religion and violence in general, and to conclude with a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence, from whatever side it may come. On this point, it is worth recalling what Benedict XVI himself recently affirmed in his commemorative Message for the 20th anniversary of the Inter-religious Meeting of Prayer for Peace, initiated by his predecessor John Paul II at Assisi in October 1986: " ... demonstrations of violence cannot be attributed to religion as such but to the cultural limitations with which it is lived and develops in time. ... In fact, attestations of the close bond that exists between the relationship with God and the ethics of love are recorded in all great religious traditions".

- The Holy Father thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful, and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions. Indeed it was he who, before the religious fervor of Muslim believers, warned secularized Western culture to guard against "the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom".

- In reiterating his respect and esteem for those who profess Islam, he hopes they will be helped to understand the correct meaning of his words so that, quickly surmounting this present uneasy moment, witness to the "Creator of heaven and earth, Who has spoken to men" may be reinforced, and collaboration may intensify "to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom" (Nostra Aetate no. 3).

15 September 2006

A Week of Pope Benedict XVI

Taken from Rorate-Caeli:

Friday, September 8

...certain values detached from their moral roots and full significance found in Christ have evolved in the most disturbing of ways. In the name of ‘tolerance’ [Canada] has had to endure the folly of the redefinition of spouse, and in the name of ‘freedom of choice’ it is confronted with the daily destruction of unborn children. When the Creator’s divine plan is ignored the truth of human nature is lost.

Saturday, September 9
I have found in Saint Corbinian’s bear a constant encouragement to carry out my ministry with confidence and joy – thirty years ago, and again now in my new task – and to say my daily "yes" to God: I have become for you a beast of burden, but as such "I am always with you" (Ps 73:23). Saint Corbinian’s bear was set free in Rome. In my case, the Lord decided otherwise.

Sunday, September 10
Every now and then, however, some African Bishop will say to me: "If I come to Germany and present social projects, suddenly every door opens. But if I come with a plan for evangelization, I meet with reservations". Clearly some people have the idea that social projects should be urgently undertaken, while anything dealing with God or even the Catholic faith is of limited and lesser urgency. Yet the experience of those Bishops is that evangelization itself should be foremost, that the God of Jesus Christ must be known, believed in and loved, and that hearts must be converted if progress is to be made on social issues and reconciliation is to begin ...

Monday, September 11
Jesus’ "hour" is the Cross; his definitive hour will be his return at the end of time. He continually anticipates also this definitive hour in the Eucharist, in which, even now, he always comes to us. ...In the Canon of the Mass, the Church constantly prays for this "hour" to be anticipated, asking that he may come even now and be given to us. And so we want to let ourselves be guided by Mary, ... by the Mother of all the faithful, towards the "hour" of Jesus.

...whenever priests , because of their many duties, allot less and less time to being with the Lord, they eventually lose, for all their often heroic activity, the inner strength that sustains them. Their activity ends up as an empty activism. To be with Christ - how does this come about? Well, the first and most important thing for the priest is his daily Mass, always celebrated with deep interior participation.

Tuesday, September 12
[Emperor Manuel II Palaeologos] addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God", he says, "is not pleased by blood – and not acting reasonably is contrary to God’s nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats... To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death...". The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God’s nature.

...This inner rapprochement between Biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history - it is an event which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East, finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: this convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe. ...

I must briefly refer to the third stage of dehellenization, which is now in progress. In the light of our experience with cultural pluralism, it is often said nowadays that the synthesis with Hellenism achieved in the early Church was a preliminary inculturation which ought not to be binding on other cultures. The latter are said to have the right to return to the simple message of the New Testament prior to that inculturation, in order to inculturate it anew in their own particular milieux. This thesis is not only false; it is coarse and lacking in precision. The New Testament was written in Greek and bears the imprint of the Greek spirit, which had already come to maturity as the Old Testament developed. True, there are elements in the evolution of the early Church which do not have to be integrated into all cultures. Nonetheless, the fundamental decisions made about the relationship between faith and the use of human reason are part of the faith itself; they are developments consonant with the nature of faith itself.

Wednesday, September 13
The organ has always been considered, and rightly so, the king of musical instruments, because it takes up all the sounds of creation – as was just said - and gives resonance to the fullness of human sentiments, from joy to sadness, from praise to lamentation. By transcending the merely human sphere, as all music of quality does, it evokes the divine. The organ’s great range of timbre, from piano through to a thundering fortissimo, makes it an instrument superior to all others. It is capable of echoing and expressing all the experiences of human life. The manifold possibilities of the organ in some way remind us of the immensity and the magnificence of God.

...In an organ, the many pipes and voices must form a unity. If here or there something becomes blocked, if one pipe is out of tune, this may at first be perceptible only to a trained ear. But if more pipes are out of tune, dissonance ensues and the result is unbearable. Also, the pipes of this organ are exposed to variations of temperature and subject to wear. Now, this is an image of our community in the Church.

Thursday, September 14
I came to Germany to bring once more to my fellow-citizens the eternal truths of the Gospel and to confirm believers in their fidelity to Christ, the Son of God, who became man for the salvation of the world.

13 September 2006

Rationality and Irrationality

From Rorate-Caeli:

We believe in God. This is a fundamental decision on our part. But is such a thing still possible today? Is it reasonable? From the Enlightenment on, science, at least in part, has applied itself to seeking an explanation of the world in which God would be unnecessary. And if this were so, he would also become unnecessary in our lives. But whenever the attempt seemed to be nearing success -- inevitably it would become clear: Something is missing from the equation!

When God is subtracted, things does not add up for man, for the world, for the whole universe. So we end up with two alternatives. What came first? Creative Reason, the Spirit who makes all things and gives them growth, or Unreason, which, lacking any meaning, yet somehow brings forth a mathematically ordered cosmos, as well as man and his reason.

The latter, however, would then be nothing more than a chance result of evolution and thus, in the end, equally irrational. As Christians, we say: "I believe in God the Father, the Creator of heaven and earth" -- I believe in the Creator Spirit. We believe that at the beginning of everything is the eternal Word, with Reason and not Unreason. With this faith we have no reason to hide, no fear of ending up in a dead end. We rejoice that we can know God!

Benedict XVI, September 12, 2006 (Regensburg)
Zenit translation, with corrections

12 September 2006

More on the Possible Widened Tridentine Indult

Taken from The New Liturgical Movement (Commentary by Shawn Tribe):

It's been asked that there be some comment on the revived rumours of the widening of the Tridentine Mass, of the "universal indult". (See Rorate Caeli for example.)

I can neither confirm nor deny what is being attributed to Fr. Laguerie, Superior of the newly formed institute of the Good Shepherd, of whom it is being suggested he has stated there will be a much freer place for the classical liturgical books come November.

What I will say is what I've always said: Easter was a time that was proposed only by circumspect thinking about a symbolic Feast that might coincide with such an announcement. It was pure speculation. After the dust cleared and some became despondent when such an accouncement did not come at that time, for months afterward inside sources continued to privately suggest there was substance to the original rumours.

I've noted recently as well that as part of those predictions, this idea of a Good Shepherd Institute was mentioned, demonstrating that at least that much of it was information that panned out. But indeed, that was only part of the rumours.

There has been talk about the post-synodal document on the Eucharist due to arrive in October or November. Again, this is speculative, and indeed it might make sense if we understand one thing:

The Pope is not only interested in the question as relates to the classical Roman liturgy, but also as it relates to the reform of the reform. The Pope holds, it would seem, there is an interrelationship between the two that could be of mutual benefit.

So when that post-synodal document comes, I expect it should most primarily relate to the reform of the reform first of all. But will there be some tie in to the classical Roman liturgy? Possibly, but again, it is an open question.

At any rate, without confirming or denying the statements in question attributed to Fr. Laguerie, I still believe the sources whom have said that the rumours of the springtime were legitimate and substantial, and I still believe such coming to fruition in some way, shape or form is still plausible and quite possible -- but what it will be if it comes is by no means certain.

A Widening of the Tridentine Indult in November?

Taken from Rorate-Caeli:

The French national newspaper Le Figaro reports today some interesting words from the first Superior of the new Institute of the Good Shepherd, said at Mass yesterday:

"Father Laguérie is convinced that the Roman wind blows in the right direction. And he even believes he knows that "Rome is about to publish a document destined to restore the Traditional rite to its place, to liberalise its usage."

When would this document come? Just read Father Laguérie's exact words in the church of Saint-Eloi, in Bordeaux, transcribed by the Centre Saint-Paul of Paris (thanks to Le Forum Catholique):

"...one may say, I believe, that this giant step which has just been taken is, not only for us but for all the Church, is the sign, the preparation, the propaedeutics of this document which shall be released, certainly in November, in which the rights of the Traditional Mass shall be restored in all their dignity."

Well, Fathers Laguérie, Aulagnier, Héry, de Tanoüarn...have just returned from their latest Roman marathon, during which the new Institute was founded. It is probable that they are better informed on these details than most. The different "calendars" apparently seem to match right after October...

10 September 2006

Faith & Knowledge

... highlights the fact that we are saved by Faith. The corporeal healing of the lepers is an image of our spiritual healing performed by Our Lord Jesus Christ. Since Faith is necessary to be saved, it might be good to think about this supernatural virtue in order to invigorate it. Our eternal destiny is at stake.

According to the definition by Saint Augustine: “ to think with assent ”, Faith is the act of believing. From this definition, we can already say that Faith involves our highest human abilities, which are our intelligence and our will. Believing is an act of reason, even though its object exceeds reason. Our will, also, is involved. Only someone who wants to believe believes. A good understanding of what Faith is shows us that it is first a matter of intelligence, and not a matter of feeling. We can only deplore the modern error which consists in feeling God and which contradicts the teaching of the Masters of the spiritual life and a sound theology. Of course we would like to feel God and to enjoy His presence. It is perfectly legitimate, but the fact is that we are children of Adam and Eve and as such, we are born with the consequences of original sin. One of them is a certain deprivation of God. So, finding God is a difficult road and would be almost impossible without Revelation and His grace. Faith is precisely our answer to Revelation. By it, we believe in what God has revealed.

Now, many Christians, when speaking about their Faith, say that it is a personal encounter with Jesus or God. We don’t want to deny this “definition” which is not a definition, by the way, but rather a description. It is true that in the process which leads to Faith, there is a certain meeting with God, but it is important to further clarify what Faith is. Actually, many people seem to greatly exaggerate the sensible angle of this meeting with Jesus. Most certainly, there are some special cases such as Saint Paul’s conversion on his way to Damascus. Certainly almost all of us have felt Our Lord’s presence in one way or another, or perhaps have even seen Him. Very well, but all the spiritual writers warn us: if it happens, thanks be to God, but it is certainly not the most important thing in our spiritual life. We must believe in order to be saved, but nowhere it is said that we must feel God. Furthermore, the act of Faith, since it is subject to the free-will in relation to God, as Saint Thomas explains, is meritorious.

Jesus Himself teaches that Faith is the principle of supernatural life in a soul. Six times in the Gospel of Saint John, He says: “ He that believes in Me has life everlasting.” In the same Gospel ( 17,3) He says: “Now this is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

So eternal life is a knowledge. It is the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ. This knowledge will be the beatific vision in Heaven. For now it is Faith. Only those who have Faith now will see God in Heaven.

We certainly know this truth, but what about its impact in our daily life? The fact is that unfortunately, many souls are not very concerned about their Faith. They have been spiritually healed by Jesus, but they are like the nine lepers of the Gospel who went away and didn’t give glory to God. Their Faith is not the principle of their spiritual life as it should be and instead of being a developing mustard seed, it is only a kind of hazy option in their life. They cannot relish the spice of Faith and it is not very surprising when, in the end, they give it up alltogether.

Having Faith involves many things, and first of all, a conversion of our life. I said a conversion, but, rather, I should say some conversions. In fact, spiritual theology distinguishes in fact 3 conversions which have been well explained by Father Garrigou-Lagrange. The first one is justification, which is a change of state: the change from the state of sin to the state of grace. This change cannot be done without Faith. The second conversion, which is the entrance into the illuminative way, goes with a purification of senses. It is a necessary stage toward perfection. As Saint John of the Cross points out, at this time, the soul feels no consolation even for Divine things. It is hard and the soul feels a certain dryness, but a pure Faith keeps it faithful to God. Prayer become a contemplation inspired by a pure Faith.

The third conversion is the entrance into the unitive way, which is the way of the perfects. It goes with a purification of the spirit. God removes all imperfection from the soul. At this point, as Saint John of the Cross says, “ the soul walks blindly with a pure Faith, which is a dark night for natural faculties.” You feel darkness and aridity, but Faith strengthened by the gift of intelligence, illuminates your life. The fruit of this conversion is a great love of God.

So, as you can see, Faith is necessary for the three conversions. It is the principle of life which leads you from the state of a sinner to glorification. Then it will make way for the beatific vision. The danger of placing too much importance on feelings can result in the temptation to give up religious practices when the time of purification comes. Unfortunately, it happens sometimes to be the case.

...you have the duty to protect your Faith and your means of doing this are prayers, the Sacraments and study. Remember this, especially during your examination of conscience before confession. Neglecting to nourish your Faith would be sinful and harmful to yourself.
One day, Jesus Christ told you: Arise, go thy way; for thy faith hath made thee whole. Now, don’t forget to give glory to God.

May Our Lady help us to keep our Faith pure and strong, so that it will remain in us the principle of our life until the day when we see God.

- Sermon by Fr Laurent Demets FSSP on the 13th Sunday after Pentacost (Emphasis my own)

9 September 2006

Points to Ponder Upon...

"Democracy succeeds only to the extent that it is based on truth and a correct understanding of the human person. "

"A particularly insidious obstacle to education today, which your own reports attest, is the marked presence in society of that relativism which, recognizing nothing as definitive, leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires. Within such a relativistic horizon an eclipse of the sublime goals of life occurs with a lowering of the standards of excellence, a timidity before the category of the good, and a relentless but senseless pursuit of novelty parading as the realization of freedom. Such detrimental trends point to the particular urgency of the apostolate of ‘intellectual charity’ which upholds the essential unity of knowledge, guides the young towards the sublime satisfaction of exercising their freedom in relation to truth, and articulates the relationship between faith and all aspects of family and civic life."

-Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Ontario (Canada) Bishops, Extracts

A Commentary on Baptism, Grace and Humility

Taken from De Fide Catholica

A certain false conception of humility can push some people to deny their qualities, which is a denial of themselves and of God. Whether they simulate their humility or whether they are in good faith, they are wrong, and even blameworthy for the first ones.

A truly humble person recognizes himself as he really is, because humility allows us to see the truth. We have the perfect and most beautiful example given by Our Lady when she proclaims her Magnificat. She knows, acknowledges and proclaims that God has regarded her humility and henceforth, has done great things to her. Saint Paul also recognizes his title of apostle. Neither Our Lady nor St. Paul falsely say that they are nothing and are very conscious of their privileges, but they attribute them to God. It seems to be bold, but it is simply truth. Saint Paul says it clearly: “But by the grace of God, I am what I am; and his grace in me has not been void.”

I think we should and we must be more grateful for the graces of God, first by recognizing them and then by using them for His glory. He accomplishes so many marvels in us that we cannot remain mute. The problem is that most of the time we don’t see them. The reason for our blindness is a lack of a spiritual life which prevents us from recognizing God’s work in us. Yet, we are like the deaf and dumb man of the gospel, and one day, Our Lord has opened our ears too, but it was the ears of our soul. We have received the grace of being able to hear God and to proclaim His marvels but for some reasons such laziness or cowardice, we refuse to listen to Him and to proclaim His Gospel.

The day of our Baptism, Jesus told us: “Ephepheta!” Be you opened! Be you opened to my grace and to my voice so that you will be able to recognize me when I visit you. Alas, the ears of our soul, opened by God’s grace can be closed again by our bad will. Then, we don’t recognize the marvels of God and consequently, we consider our religion as a set of rules and laws which soon become a burden. And when we consider this burden too heavy, we finally give up our duties toward God.

Thus, we have been made able to participate in his sacrifice by our Baptism, but instead of uniting ourselves to Jesus on the Cross, we content ourselves with just attending Mass, because it is a duty. Don’t you understand that it should also be, and mainly, an act of love? It happens sometimes that some people complain, because the Mass is too long. They think it is too long, but they are wrong. How long did Jesus remain nailed on the Cross? Probably too long, don’t you think? If only we could understand, as much as we can, and acknowledge what a marvel the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is, such a thought has no place in our minds, and if by chance Satan tempts you in this area, an act of Faith and of Charity can easily reduce the efforts of the tempter to nothing. But in fact, it will not result in nothing but it will instead be a small victory, because a temptation we have overcome allows us to increase our love for God and to strengthen our will.

Sancta sanctis! This old acclamation from eastern liturgy means “ holy things for holy people.” There are different meanings we can find for this sentence, but one is that only holy people are able to recognize holy things. So, if you don’t marvel every day while considering God’s work, it is because you are not holy enough and you cannot recognize His work. God does great things every day, but because you are not opened you cannot see them. And I bet you anything that your life is not so different than the life of pagans and non-believers. Your eternity will probably not be different too.

So, let us turn to Our Lady and pray to her so that she can help us to open our soul to God. Let us learn from her what humility is. Then, God will do great things to us, and first, he will save us!

- Father Laurent Demets, FSSP. Sermon for the 11th Sunday after Pentacost 2006.

Spirit of the Liturgy

Extract from Athanasius Contran Mundum (Emphasis my own)

One of the things trumpeted by champions of the reformed rites is that now the priest is free to "express himself". Now, that rigid rubrics have been tossed aside, the priest can be himself, and share himself with the congregation. All that is necessary is to go to Mass each morning and encounter your parish priest shouting out "Good morning everybody", at an act that is supposed to be the holiest thing we can encounter....

[In the Traditional Mass,] there are set and defined rubrics. The priest faces the altar, he needs to perform certain rituals at certain times, and make certain steps in certain places. The priest in the Traditional Mass can not decide he is going to add his own flavor, he can't substitute a hymn for the parts of the Mass which will be said by every priest praying that missal in the world. Rubrics are present at the Mass because the priest stands in persona Christi. He is not himself. He is Christ. There is no better way for the priest to conform with Christ than to die to himself, as our Blessed Lord did on the cross. Jesus without resistance, though it was in his power to do so with terrible effect, laid down on the cross and offered up his life as an act of love, to make propitiation for our sins. When the priest stretches out his arms, he does as Christ who stretched his arms on the cross for men. In as much as the priest does not deviate from the rubrics, he dies to himself. Facing the altar and consequently God, he performs nothing. Rather one could say correctly that he surrenders himself so that what the Church always and every does is accomplished through him.

New traditionalist institute founded

Taken from What Does the Prayer Really Say?

Friday, September 08, 2006
Vatican erects new Traditional Institute
Vatican – Agence I.MEDIA

Rome has set up a new traditionalist fraternity accepting former priests and seminarians of the Fraterniy of St. Pius X.

The Congregation for Clergy erected on 8 September 2006, a new religious institute, “Good Shepherd”, taking in former priests and seminiarians of the Fraternity of St. Pius X, separated from Rome since 1988, according to the information gathered by I.MEDIA. The seat of this new fraternity where the priests will celebrate Mass exclusively according to the traditional liturgical rite of St. Pius V could be at Bordeaux (France) at the Church of St. Eligius.

On the morning of 8 September 2006, Feast of the Nativity of the Virgin, Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, also in charge of the Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, signed the decree of erection of the institute of pontifical rite of the “Good Shepherd”. This concerns a society of apostolic life under the guidance of the Commission “Ecclesia Dei” and also the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. In the decree Card. Hoyos approved the statutes of the new institute which will have as its superior a priest ejected from the Fraternity of St. Pius X, the ebullient Fr. Philippe Laguérie.

According to Vatican sources, the innovation rests in the fact that “Benedict XVI himself desired this approach” according to which “the traditional Missal of St. Pius V is not a separate Missal but rather a special form of the unique Roman Rite.” In the Vatican, as among the members of the new institute, it is stressed that “this accord corresponds to the requests once made by Monsignor Lefebvre”, separate from Rome in 1988.

The new fraternity counts among its ranks, aside from five priests, some seminarians assured to be ordained in the near future. Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos has said he will celebrate the first ordinations. Those responsible for the fraternity also count on the fact that the priests of the Fraternity of St. Pius X could opt to follow them and that they can found in different dioceses, “personal parishes”. In Bordeaux, Paris and other places, these priests are supported by a number of faithful attached to the Missal of St. Pius V, the liturgical rite in force before the liturgical reform of 1969.


In April 2006, at Lourdes, Jean-Pierre Card. Ricar stated before a meeting of the bishops of France that “the question of relations with the Fraternity of St. Pius X” merits “a special treatment”. “We know that Pope Benedict XVI is concerned about this” he explained, adding that, “in the weeks or months to come, he should be giving directives to facilitate a path toward a possible return to full communion.” “We will welcome these in good faith and put them into practice faithfully”, Card. Richard again shot at the bishops.

What is going on? Here are a few points.

1) There is some bad blood between the SSPX and the FSSP as well as (probably) the Institute of Christ the King, which makes the FSSP and the ICK less than optimal alternatives for men of the SSPX who want to be in union with Rome. This new group offers a fresh possibility for those who were in line with the men in this new group who themselves were tossed from the SSPX for various internal reasons.

2) This seems to be main a French reality.

3) Benedict XVI is using Cardinal Ricard, a member of the P.C. "Ecclesia Dei" to put head pressure on the French bishops who, in the past, have been terribly hostile to anything having to do with the older form of Mass, etc.

4) Benedict XVI is acting, chipping away at the edges.

5) Card. Ricard suggests that this move is part of Pope Benedict XVI’s plans for "full communion".

6) The fact that this group is for former SSPXers suggests that it is not going to be accepting new candidates who were not in the SSPX. Thus, this is aimed squarely at the SSPX.

7) Given the fact of the plenary of the SSPX and the contact Bp. Fellay had with Pope Benedict XVI, it strikes me that His Holiness belives that there is enough discontent in the SSPX, or enough harmony with the positions of the former SSPX priests founding this new institute, that it was time to "strike while the iron is hot" so to speak.

These are some initial impressions.

-Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf

Vatican approves new traditionalist institute

Friday, September 08, 2006
Catholic World News : Vatican approves new traditionalist institute

Sep. 08 (CWNews.com) - The Vatican has established a new religious institute to accommodate priests and seminarians leaving the schismatic Society of St. Pius X, the I Media news agency report.

The new group, the Good Shepherd community, will be located in Bordeaux. Members will be allowed to celebrate Mass using the traditional liturgy exclusively.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, signed the decree establishing the Good Shepherd community on September 8. The institute will be a "society of apostolic life," under the supervision of the Congregation for Clergy and the Congregation for Religious.

The Vatican has approved the canonical statutes for the new institute, as well as the first superior: Father Philippe Laguérie, a priest who was dismissed from the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX).

Informed sources at the Vatican report that Pope Benedict XVI personally approved the settlement that will allow members of the Good Shepherd society to use the traditional liturgy, following the Missal of St. Pius V. Members of the new institute point out that by authorizing this move, the Pope has fulfilled one of the major demands made by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre before his break with the Vatican in 1988.

The new fraternity will include five priests and a number of seminarians, including several who are in line for ordination to the priesthood shortly. Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos will celebrate the group's first ordinations. All of the members have already left the SSPX.

By establishing this new community, the Vatican has chosen to pursue talks with priests who have left the breakaway traditionalist group, rather than with the SSPX itself. In that respect the move might signal a decision by Vatican leaders that reconciliation with the SSPX is unlikely, after years of unfruitful negotiations. The creation of the Good Shepherd institute could provide an incentive for other priests to leave the SSPX. Talks between the Holy See and the SSPX intensified in 2000, when Pope John Paul II asked Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos to make a special effort to achieve reconciliation with the traditionalists who split from Rome in 1988. Those talks gained even more momentum with the election of Pope Benedict XVI, who was widely seen as sympathetic to the traditionalists' concerns.

In August 2005 the Pope met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, the SSPX superior, for private talks at Castel Gandolfo. However, the talks between traditionalist leaders and Vatican officials eventually cooled, and Bishop Fellay-- who was recently re-elected as the head of SSPX-- has told journalists that he sees little likelihood of a reconciliation in the near future. Father Laguérie, the leader of the new institute, expressed the concerns of traditionalists in March of this year when he wrote that the Vatican should remedy "the scandals of the years 1960- 2000," and insisted that traditionalists should have "total freedom for the liturgy" and the liberty to question the teachings of Vatican II. He argued that Pope Benedict, in a December speech to the Roman Curia, had acknowledged the damage done by popular interpretations of Vatican II.

In April 2006, speaking at Lourdes, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard told the bishops of France that "the question of relations with the SSPX" deserved special treatment. He added that Pope Benedict was particularly anxious to find a resolution after years of division. The French hierarchy, he said, should be prepared to welcome traditionalists back into full communion.

The priests who will compose the Good Shepherd institute have all found themselves in conflict with the traditionalist group to which they once belonged. Father Paul Aulangnier was the superior of the SSPX in France until 2003, when he was dismissed from the group after defending an agreement between the Vatican and another traditionalist group, the Brazilian Society of St. John Vianney. Father Laguérie, the group's superior, was expelled in 2004 after he openly criticized the formation at SSPX seminaries.

Full Article Courtesy of Cathololic Exchange

7 September 2006

Catholic Answer Forum back Online!

++Pax Vobiscum++

The most wonderous tidings emerges from Catholic Answers. Its forums are back online! All threads from mid April to early August were lost due to hacking. New Security measures have since been installed.

Kyrie Eleison. Christe Eleison. Kyrie Eleison.

Deo Gratias!