Thursday, April 30, 2009

God is Visible

"There Is a Certain Visibility of God in the World"

VATICAN CITY, APRIL 29, 2009 ( Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI gave today at the general audience in St. Peter's Square, part of a catechetical series he is giving about great writers of the Church in the Middle Ages.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters,

The patriarch Germanus of Constantinople, of whom I would like to speak today, does not belong to the most characteristic figures of the Eastern Christian world, and yet, his name appears with a certain solemnity in the list of the great defenders of sacred images, compiled in the Second Council of Nicaea, the 7th ecumenical council (787).The Greek Church celebrates his feast in the liturgy of May 12. He had a significant role in the complex history of the fight for images, during the so-called iconoclast crisis: He knew how to effectively resist pressure from an iconoclast emperor, that is, an adversary of icons, such as was Leo III.

During Germanus' time as patriarch (715-730), Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, suffered a very dangerous besiegement from the Saracens. On that occasion (717-718), a solemn procession was organized in the city with the showing of the image of the Mother of God, the Theotokos, and a relic of the holy cross, to invoke from on high the defense of the city. In fact, Constantinople was liberated from the besiegement. The adversaries decided to permanently let go of the idea of establishing their capital in the city that was the symbol of the Christian empire, and the appreciation for divine help was extremely great among the people.

Patriarch Germanus, after that event, became convinced that the intervention of God should be considered evident approval of the piety shown by the people toward the holy icons. Of an entirely different opinion, on the other hand, was Emperor Leo III, who precisely that year (717), was enthroned as the indisputable emperor in the capital, in which he would reign until 741. After the liberation of Constantinople and after a series of further victories, the Christian emperor began to show ever more openly the conviction that the consolidation of the empire should begin precisely with a reordering of the manifestations of the faith, with particular reference to the risk of idolatry, which according to his opinion, the people were exposed to due to an excessive devotion to icons.

Nothing was gained by Patriarch Germanus' references to the tradition of the Church and the efficacy of certain images, which were unanimously recognized as "miraculous." The emperor became more and more staunch in the application of his restoration project, which included the elimination of icons. And when, on Jan. 7, 730, during a public meeting he openly took a position against devotion to images, Germanus did not want in any way to yield to the will of the emperor on questions that he considered determinant for the Orthodox faith, to which, according to him, belongs precisely the devotion to and love for images. As a result of that, Germanus found himself obligated to turn in his resignation as patriarch and to condemn himself to exile in a monastery where he died forgotten by everyone. His name came to light again precisely in the Second Council of Nicaea (787), when the Orthodox Fathers decided in favor of icons, recognizing the merits of Germanus.

Patriarch Germanus gave much attention to the liturgical celebrations, and for a certain time, he was also considered the one who began the feast of Akathist. As is known, Akathist is an ancient and famous hymn which arose in the Byzantine circle and was dedicated to the Theotokos, the Mother of God. Despite the fact that from the theological point of view, Germanus cannot be classified as a great thinker, some of his works had a certain echo above all because of certain of his intuitions regarding Mariology. From him, in fact, we have various homilies about Marian themes and some of them have profoundly marked the piety of entire generations of faithful, as much in the East as in the West. His splendid homilies on the Presentation of Mary in the temple are still-living testimonies of the non-written tradition of the Christian Churches. Generations of nuns and monks, and members of countless institutes of consecrated life, continue finding even today precious treasures of spirituality in these texts.

Some Marian texts from Germanus that are part of his homilies pronounced on SS. Deiparae dormitionem, corresponding to our feast of the assumption, still create awe. Among these texts, Pope Pius XII used one that he set as a pearl in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus (1950), with which he declared the dogma of faith, the assumption of Mary. Pope Pius XII cited this text in that constitution, presenting it as one of the arguments in favor of the permanent faith of the Church in the corporal assumption of Mary into heaven. Germanus wrote: "Could it ever happen, most holy Mother of God, that heaven and earth feel honored by your presence, and you, with your departure, would leave man deprived of your protection? No. It is impossible to think of such a thing. In fact when you were in the world you did not feel that the things of heaven were foreign, in the same way, after having emigrated from this world, you have not felt removed from the possibility of communicating in spirit with men. … In fact you have not abandoned those to whom you have guaranteed salvation … indeed your spirit lives eternally, nor has your flesh suffered the corruption of the tomb. "You, oh Mother, are close to everyone and protect everyone, and even though our eyes cannot see you, we completely know, oh One on high, that you live in the midst of all of us and that you make yourself present in the most varied of ways … You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life.

"In fact it was impossible that that which had been converted into the vase of God and the living temple of the most holy divinity of the Only Begotten would be enclosed in the sepulcher of the dead. Again we believe with certainty that you continue walking with us" (PG 98, coll. 344B-346B, passim).

It has been said that for the Byzantines, the decorum of the rhetorical form in preaching, and even more in hymns or poetic compositions that they call tropari, is as important in the liturgical celebration as the beauty of the sacred building in which the celebration takes place. Patriarch Germanus was recognized, in this tradition, as one of those who has contributed much to keeping alive this conviction, that is, that the beauty of the word, of the language and the beauty of the building and the music should coincide.

I cite, to conclude, the inspired words with which Germanus described the Church at the beginning of this small work of art: "The Church is the temple of God, sacred space, house of prayer, convocation of the people, body of Christ … It is heaven on earth, where the transcendent God dwells as in his house and walks [about] in her, but it is also the fulfilled image (antitype) of the Crucifixion, of the tomb and of the Resurrection. The Church is the house of God in which the life-giving mystical sacrifice is celebrated, at the same time the most intimate part of the sanctuary and the holy grotto. Within her is found those true and authentic precious pearls that are the divine dogmas of the teaching offered directly by the Lord to his disciples" (PG 98, coll. 384B-385A).

At the end remains this question: What does this saint have to tell us today, [being] chronologically and also culturally very far from us? I think substantially three things. The first: There is a certain visibility of God in the world, in the Church, which we should learn to perceive. God has created man in his image, but this image has been covered in so much filth from sin that consequently God is almost not seen anymore in it. Thus the Son of God became true man, perfect image of God: In Christ we can thus contemplate the face of God and learn ourselves to be true men, true images of God. Christ invites us to imitate him, to come to be similar to him, so that in each man the face of God, the image of God, again shines through. In truth, God had prohibited in the Ten Commandments making images of God, but this was caused by the temptations to idolatry that believers could be exposed to in the context of paganism. Nevertheless, when God became visible in Christ through the incarnation, it became legitimate to reproduce the face of Christ. Holy images teach us to see God in the form of the face of Christ. After the incarnation of the Son of God, it has therefore become possible to see God in the images of Christ and also in the face of the saints, in the face of all men in whom the holiness of God shines.

The second [lesson] is the beauty and dignity of the liturgy. To celebrate the liturgy in the awareness of the presence of God, with this dignity and beauty that allows one to see a bit of his splendor, is the task of every Christian formed in his faith.

The third [lesson] is to love the Church. Precisely concerning the Church, we men are inclined to see above all its sins, the negative; but with the help of faith, which makes us capable of seeing authentically, we can also, today and always, rediscover in her the divine beauty. It is in Church where God makes himself present, offers himself in the holy Eucharist and remains present for adoration. In the Church, God speaks with us, in the Church, "God walks with us," as St. Germanus says. In the Church, we receive the forgiveness of God and we learn to forgive.

Let us pray to God so that he teaches us to see in the Church his presence, his beauty, to see his presence in the world, and that he helps us also to be transparent for his light.

[Translation by ZENIT]

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our catechesis on the early Christian writers of East and West, we turn to Saint Germanus, Bishop and Patriarch of Constantinople, whose feast day is celebrated in the Greek Church on 12 May. In 717, while Constantinople was under siege by Saracen armies, Germanus led a procession with the venerated image of the Theotokos, the Mother of God, and relics of the Holy Cross. The siege was lifted, convincing him that God had responded to the people’s devotion. Some time later however, Emperor Leo III initiated his campaign against the use of sacred images, judging them to be a source of idolatry. When Germanus opposed the Emperor publicly in 730 he was forced to retire in exile to a monastery, where he later died. His memory was not forgotten, and in the Second Council of Nicea, which restored devotion to sacred images, his name was honoured. The writings of Germanus, steeped in an ardent love of the Church and devotion to the Mother of God, have had a wide influence on the piety of the faithful both of the East and the West. He promoted a solemn and beautiful Liturgy and is also known for his insights in Mariology. In homilies on the Presentation and the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, Germanus extols her virtue and her mission. A text which sees the source of her bodily incorruption in her virginal maternity was included by Pope Pius XII in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus. I pray that through the intercession of Saint Germanus we may all be renewed in our love of the Church and devotion to the Mother of God.
I offer a warm welcome to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors from England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Japan, Canada and the United States. Upon all of you I cordially invoke the Lord’s Easter blessings of joy and peace!

Monday, April 27, 2009

"We Must Change Our Concept of Realism"

Eagerly awaiting the Holy Father's new encyclical I offer a quote from his opening address for the recent Synod of Bishops on "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church" last October. In it he compares the infallible and foundational power of God's Word to the limits and weakness of human words and promises, evident in the collapsing banking systems.

"...At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord speaks to us about the two possible foundations for building the house of one's life: sand and rock. He who builds on sand only builds on visible and tangible things, on success, on career, on money. Apparently these are the true realities. But all this one day will vanish. We can see this now with the fall of two large banks: this money disappears, it is nothing. And thus all things, which seem to be the true realities we can count on, are only realities of a secondary order. Who builds his life on these realities, on matter, on success, on appearances, builds upon sand. Only the Word of God is the foundation of all reality, it is as stable as the heavens and more than the heavens, it is reality. Therefore, we must change our concept of realism. The realist is the who recognizes the Word of God, in this apparently weak reality, as the foundation of all things. Realist is he who builds his life on this foundation, which is permanent."

Shifted Trends

In the past priests were ordained to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, with the greatest care and seriousness, to God for men.

Today priests are ordained to toy with the liturgy and to allow toying with it by others.

Those who are vigilant for the Catholic moral, doctrinal and liturgical Tradition are weeded out, excluded, not part of "the club" in most dioceses and religious orders. The clowns and the immoral are promoted while the serious and the "straight" are systematically rejected.

But "the battle is the Lord's"! He has given us Pope Benedict XVI and the Holy Father has given us the new prefect of the CDW to set the liturgy and the Church right again, according to the mind of God.

Priests Can Refuse Communion on the Hands and Require Kneeling to Receive

Below is an article in which the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship says that priests can and should follow the universal norm of the Church of requiring that communicants kneel and receive directly on the tongue while kneeling. Very interesting! This is evidently the Holy Father's wish too!

May the bishops, priests and seminaries of the world take note!!!

There is something new going on and it is very traditional!

Our liturgists need now to get with the times; the Benedict era is underway!

The article comes from the current issue of the Adoremus Bulletin.

CDW Prefect on Kneeling for Holy Communion
An interview with Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW), appeared in the February edition of the Italian magazine 30 Giorni (30 Days), in which the cardinal responded to several questions on liturgy. Following are excerpts from the interview, in which he strongly endorses Pope Benedict's practice of administering Communion on the tongue to people who are kneeling.

30 Giorni: What are, beyond those which we already talked about, the issues you will have to address in carrying out this new mission?
Cardinal Canizares: To help the Church to follow completely what the Second Vatican Council has indicated in the Constitution, Sacrosanctum Concilium. To help to understand fully what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about the liturgy. To take to heart what the Holy Father--when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger--has written about the question, especially in the beautiful book The Spirit of the Liturgy. To take to heart how the Holy Father--assisted by the office for liturgical celebrations headed by Monsignor Guido Marini--celebrates the liturgy. The papal liturgies in fact have always been, and still are, exemplary for the whole Catholic world.

30 Giorni: In an interview granted in Spain [in the journal La Razon] you have praised the pope's decision to distribute the Eucharist, in the liturgies which he celebrates, only kneeling and only in the mouth. Are there changes to be expected in this regard in universal discipline of the Church?

Cardinal Canizares: As is known, the current universal discipline of the Church requires that as a norm Communion is distributed into the mouth of the faithful. Then there is an indult that allows, at the request of episcopates, to distribute Communion on the palm of the hand also. This is worth remembering. The pope, then, to give greater prominence to the due reverence with which we must approach the Body of Christ, wished that the faithful who receive Communion from his hands do so on their knees. This seemed to be a beautiful and edifying initiative of the Bishop of Rome. The present norms do not require anyone to do the same. But neither do they prevent it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Great Christians

In his last Wednesday audience the Holy Father reiterated the purpose of this series of audiences on the great persons of our history:

"Dear Brothers and Sisters,

"The Church lives in people (nelle persone) and whoever wants to get to know the Church, to understand its mystery, must consider the people who have lived and who continue to live its message, its mystery. It is for this reason that I have spoken in the Wednesday catecheses of people from whom we can learn what the Church is. We started with the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church and have slowly arrived to the eighth century, the period of Charlemagne."

Above is the warrior statue of Charlemagne, the plaza of Notre Dame, Paris, the great eigth century defender and promoter of Christian culture.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Primate of England Joined Pope Benedict Condemning Condoms

Here is news which I first found in Italian from il Riformista and now in English at
This prominent prelate joins the front line of the culture war. May God bless the See of Saint Thomas a Becket!
Also see his interview with the bbc on abortion advertising:

Saturday, April 11, 2009
Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols defends Pope's stance on condoms

The new Archbishop of Westminster defended the Pope's stance on condoms and Aids and called for sexuality to be "humanised".

But he dodged the issue of whether the Church should advocate condom use as a health measure when one party in a marriage has aids or HIV.

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, who will be installed at Westminster Roman Catholic cathedral in May, refused to comment on whether he would advise a faithful married couple to use condoms if one of them had Aids.

Instead, he argued that Pope Benedict XVI had been misrepresented in his recent comments and that his aim had been to defend African women.

The Pope was greeted by a chorus of international condemnation after he told journalists during his recent visit to Africa that the rate of Aids and HIV infection on the continent was "a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems."

The Holy See did not dispute the Pope said this, but later altered the "official" record to indicate that what he had intended to say was that condoms "risk" aggravating the problems.

Archbishop Nichols, a conservative who, at 63, has a potential 27 years at Westminster, is likely at some stage to have no option but to state his position on an issue where the Catholic Church's official stance appears increasingly untenable.

Many Catholic and non-Catholic Christians have no issue with the Church's stance on life issues generally, supporting its oppostion to euthanasia, abortion and promiscuity. But the Church's refusal even to consider sanctioning condom use as a health measure in countries where Aids is rampant is being condemned at the highest levels of scientific and intellectual debate in the West as ill-informed, unscientific and inhumane.

Archbishop Nichols, asked on BBC Radio 4's Today programme about the Pope's statement that condoms can make Aids worse, said: "I am not sure that's exactly what he said at all. What he actually talked about was the need to humanise sexuality. And I think to some extent he was speaking up in protection of African women. And I think we face the same challenge."

Urging Catholics to protest against plans to liberalise television advertising for condoms and abortion advice services, he said: "The adverts at present on television for contraception actually are demeaning of young people. They depict two people having sex on a street corner and some more just in a drunken orgy, and that is not a fair representation of young people today. We really need to do an awful lot to raise expectations of each other and to humanise sexuality, to use the Holy Father's phrase."

Asked whether he would suggest condom use to a married faithful catholic couple who came to him for advice where one of them had Aids, he said: "Well obviously that's a very sensitive point and obviously there are different views on that."

Asked what his own view was, he insisted: "No, no, that's not what this public debate is about."

He continued by arguing that he wanted to pursue the point about humanising sexuality.

"We really do have to raise people's expectatins about themselves. Today is Good Friday. What do we celebrate today? We celebrate this enormous gift of God's love to us, which teaches us how much dignity we have, and we have to encourage as a society people to live off their best instincts, their best generosity and not constantly be portraying our society as degraded and in need of elastoplast all the time."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Canizares Revives the Communion Rail and Kneeling for Communion and on the Tongue in Cathedral

The universal norm of receiving communion kneeling ("Fideles communicant genuflexi vel stantes, prout Conferentia Episcoporum statuerit..."[Insitutio Generalis Missalis Romani, 160] ) at the communion rail and directly on the tongue by the priest is gradually being reinstituted. First by the Pope and now in Toledo, the primatial see of Spain, by the Prefect of Worship himself, the preferential option for more profound reverence is prevailing! May the ordinaries and cathedrals of the world take note, follow suit! See my translation below of the article from

Canizares recovers kneeling communion, "just like the Pope does it"

EP/Toledo Friday, 10 April 2009

The Cardinal and Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Antonio Canizares, announced yesterday, during the Holy Mass of the Lord's Supper, that beginning yesterday evening those who wished to receive communion could do so kneeling at the kneeler "to communicate with respect and as the Pope does it".

Canizares told the faithful present at the mass that it is necessary to "greatly guard, much more, the moment of communion, therefore this evening and from this evening on in the cathedral church the communion kneeler is put out as the Pope does, as the Pope wishes, who is the one who indicates to the rest of the Church what we should do".

From another angle, he urged "in a pressing way to deepen the renovation and transformation of our society and of our history which has so much to do with the eucharist, primordial and substantial transformation, and foretaste of a new and renewed world".

"We need to renovate the sense of eucharistic adoration in the priests, in the seminarians, in the consecrated persons, in the entire christian people".

As he pointed out, "we need to deepen in eucharistic adoration, and such deepening will be possible only through a greater knowledge of the mystery in complete fidelity to the tradition and increasing the liturgical life inside our communities".

For Canizares, "from participation in the eucharist, from proper eucharistic celebration, our church will turn out fortified for the new evangelization of which the entire world is so urgently in need". For all of that, he said, "we must intensify a true and profound, nothing superficial, eucharistic and liturgical formation in our diocese".

The cardinal explained that "the renovation of the world will not come about without eucharistic renovation and without the renovation of the liturgy, and for that we must greater guard the celebrations, the silence, the proclamation of and listening to the word,our kneeling, the way to communicate, the way to be in church (el templo), the singing (el canto), and the zeal and participation in the parishes of adoration".

Monday, April 20, 2009

Extraordinary Mass at Saint John Lateran

The new prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship will offer a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form tommorrow at the Papal Cathedral in Rome. Here is the announcement which I got from the Rinascimento Sacro blog.

Hopefully all the cathedrals of the world will also get on board with this newest and authentic liturgical reform: the Mass of Pope John XXIII, the only Mass of the Second Vatican Council.

If they should like to do that they will most certainly have to change, dissolve, or at least radically reeducate and catechize many of their "liturgical committees" which have wholly neglected this form of the Mass for too long.

Martedì 21 Aprile 2009 alle ore 10.00

Basilica Papale S. Giovanni in Laterano


Celebra Sua Em. il Signor
Prefetto della S. Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Actual Divine Mercy

Today, Divine Mercy Sunday, is a particular expression of God's magnanimity for us through the Petrine Office.

Divine Mercy is the day (the octave day of Easter) instituted by Pope John Paul II at the beginning of the new millenium under the aegis of Christ's mercy (as Christ Himself had requested in His revelations to Saint Faustina, the first saint to be canonized in the new millenium). Furthermore, it was Saturday evening (2 April 2005), just after the Vigil Mass of Divine Mercy Sunday that that great servant of God died. The Servant of God John Paul II died on the first Saturday of the month and on the Feast of Divine Mercy.

Now, today, 19 April 2009, is the forth anniversary of the prodigious election of Ratzinger, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, to the chair of Peter, which he fills so well with the vigilance of the Good Shepherd, warding off the wolves who constantly attack and destroy the flock of Christ, and with the shepherd's staff that also gently and strategically draws the sheep into the one fold of Catholicity.

Bless God Who in His infinite mercy continues to lead the Church and the world with the leadership and teaching of this most able and necessary Cooperator Veritatis.

The good Lord shows us today, by this Divine Mercy "coincidence" of the death of John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI that the Petrine Office in every age is a grand manifestation of His merciful love, not least in our own day. Deo Gratias pro Papa Benedicto!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

test post

This is a map of Europe:

Here are some steps:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Prayer

May I grow ever more devoted to You, the Only Living and True God, Jesus Christ, Conquerer of sin and death. Amen.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Vesting Priest!

The deacon's bench blog just posted this new and most excellent priesthood video.

Check it out! Pass it on!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Taboo on Sexual Immorality

In this morning's newspaper there is an article on sex education in the public schools which is prohibited by the Catholic schools because of the explicit and amoral nature of the secular presentation and the impossibility of a meaningful discussion of right and wrong given the exclusion of God.

Adjacent that article is the report of a 33 year old live-in "boyfriend" killing his cohabiting 33 year old "girlfriend." Can't anyone see the evil of concubinage of which domestic homicide is one of the most recurring crimes? Sexual molestation is also most frequent in these experimental and most unstable types of homes. A useful study would be to compare the incidents of domestic homicide and domestic sexual abuse in "living-together" homes versus stable homes with a man and woman in a legitimate life-long marriage having and raising their own children.

The taboo on fornication is no taboo but really necessary for healthy youth, healthy marriages, healthy families in healthy homes to create a healthy society. How can something which was so universally condemned by our ancestors suddenly be deemed acceptable especially as we see and suffer the deadly social consequences (not to mention the hygienic and emotional, the personal, consequences)?

America needs to reject sexual immorality in all its forms in order to be "the land of the free." Christ and His chastity are necessary for true freedom. Because anyone who sins is a slave to sin. But anyone who loves God does so with the love and mercy of Christ with purity of life.

Monday, April 6, 2009

What the Pope Really Said

Cameroon Bishops' Statement on AIDS

"The Holy Father Has Put Man at the Center of His Concern"

YAOUNDÉ, Cameroon, MARCH 26, 2009 ( Here is a translation of the statement of the episcopal conference of Cameroon on the negative media response to Benedict XVI comments on the role of condoms in the fight against AIDS.

* * *After the visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Cameroon, a certain press echoed the supposed unease created by the Holy Father's statements on the use of condoms and on HIV/AIDS. This press continues to label the Pope's position on the use of condoms as irresponsible, and leads one to understand that his statements on this subject had a negative effect and affected his visit to Cameroon negatively. Conscious of the consequences that such misinformation could cause, the national bishops' conference of Cameroon, through the voice of its president, Archbishop Simon-Victor Tonyé Bakot, specifies the following:

When the Pope was on the plane that would bring him to Cameroon, he granted a press interview on board the plane itself. This interview was limited to six questions, of which the fifth was the controversy posed by the journalist of France 2, Philippe Visseyrias: "Holiness, among the many evils that afflict Africa, in particular is the spread of AIDS. The position of the Catholic Church on the way to fight against it is often considered unrealistic and ineffective. Will you address this subject during your trip?"

Here is the Holy Father's complete answer:

"I would say the contrary. I think that the most efficient reality, the most present at the front of the struggle against AIDS, is precisely the Catholic Church, with her movements, with her various organizations. I am thinking of the Sant'Egidio Community that does so much, visibly and also invisibly, for the struggle against AIDS, of the Camilliani, of all the sisters who are at the disposition of the sick.

"I would say that this problem of AIDS can't be overcome only with publicity slogans. If there is not the soul, if the Africans are not helped, the scourge can't be resolved with the distribution of condoms: on the contrary, there is a risk of increasing the problem. The solution can only be found in a double commitment: first, a humanization of sexuality, that is, a spiritual and human renewal that brings with it a new way of behaving with one another; and second, a true friendship, also and above all for those who suffer, the willingness -- even with sacrifice and self-denial -- to be with the suffering. And these are the factors that help and that lead to visible progress.

"Because of this, I would say that this, our double effort to renew man interiorly, to give spiritual and human strength for correct behavior with regard to one's body and that of another, and this capacity to suffer with those who suffer, to remain present in situations of trial. It seems to me that this is the correct answer, and the Church does this and thus offers a very great and important contribution. We thank all those who do this."

The bishops of Cameroon are astonished by what the journalists retained from this very complete statement of the Pope, focused only on opposition to condoms, concealing the whole action of the Church in the fight against AIDS and the care of the sick. They are astonished above all that the press attempts to make people believe that there is unease in Cameroonian opinion on the Holy Father's visit, as a consequence of his statements.

The Cameroonian episcopate underlines very strongly that Cameroonians welcomed Pope Benedict XVI with joy and enthusiasm, thus confirming their legendary hospitality. But by this, it does not deny the reality of AIDS, or its devastating effect on families in Cameroon. The Holy Father has put man at the center of his concern and has reminded us of the teachings of Christ and of the Church.

The Catholic Church's commitment to persons living with the AIDS virus, the support of infected and affected persons, are priorities for the Catholic Church. The support of persons and families as well as the teaching of the Church allow each one to appreciate himself in his dignity as adoptive child of God. This dignity obliges one to look at others and at the world in another way. Instead of seeking his own interest, the Church proposes to man everlasting values. The Catholic Church everywhere is committed daily in the fight against AIDS. In this connection, she has created structures adapted for the reception, control and treatment of HIV infected persons. This assistance is at the same time moral, psychological, nutritional, medical and spiritual. Herein lies the Holy Father's first message on AIDS.

Together with this multifaceted and constant action, the Church, as moral force, has the imperative duty to remind Christians that all disordered sexual practice outside of marriage is dangerous and favors the spread of AIDS. This is why she preaches abstinence for single people and fidelity within the couple. It is her duty. She cannot subtract herself from it. Herein lies the Holy Father's second message. Consequently, the bishops of Cameroon lament that the Western media have clearly forgotten other essential aspects of the Holy Father's African message on poverty, reconciliation, justice and peace. This is very serious, knowing the number of dead that other sickness cause in Africa, and on which there is no true publicity; knowing the number of dead that fratricidal fights cause in Africa due to injustice and poverty.

With the Pope, the bishops of Cameroon remind all Christians and all Cameroonians:

1) That sexual relations have as their first end the procreation desired by God himself at the beginning of creation. Marriage between a man and a woman is the ideal framework willed by God for this procreation.

2) That the Catholic Church does not reject AIDS patients and in no way encourages the spread of the sickness as certain media lead one to believe. She is and will always be active in the multifaceted fight against the sickness.

The bishops of Cameroon

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Condoms Can't Be Right

Great media criticism has been erupting over the Holy Father's 17 March statement that condoms cannot solve but rather contribute to the AIDS problem. In light of Pope Benedict's statement and the ensuing controversy I was very surprised to find The Catholic Advocate (with a Catholic News Service article) speculating about "the specific question of whether, in certain circumstances, condom use was morally licit in AIDS prevention..." which the article claims the Pope did not address and that that question " under study by Vatican theologians." (The Catholic Advocate 25 March 2009)

The implication is that condom use might be permissible. That position has always been categorically condemned by Sacred Scripture, by the Tradition of the Church and by the Magisterium. Condom use is intrinsically immoral in that it separates the two intrinsic meanings of the marital act (procreative and unitive). Condom use will never be permissible as long as it directly impedes the proper giving over and the proper receiving of the sperm into the vagina, which is the ultimate material purpose of the conjugal act. Any altering of that life giving aspect of the act is a mortal sin and a form of adultery, the improper use of the sexual power. cf. Genesis 38:8, Humanae Vitae 14, The Catechism of the Catholic Church 2362-2367. As recently as the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2006) Pope Benedict reiterated this constant and unchangeable teaching of God: "The conjugal act has a twofold meaning: unitive (the mutual self-giving of the spouses) and procreative (an openness to the transmission of life). No one may break the inseparable connection which God has established between these two meanings of the conjugal act by excluding one or the other of them." (Compendium 496)

Rather, it is precisely the type of sexual immorality represented by condom use (typically used for fornication, adultery and sodomy) that causes and fosters sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS. The diseases are symptoms of the sexual sins that cause them. The behavior needs to change, first of all. The only clean sex is the holy act of marriage. All else is dirty and necessarily kills (the soul and the body, cf. Proverbs 5:3-6). That is the truth and no "Vatican theologian" authorized by Pope Benedict is studying any loopholes to that.

For the Archdiocese of Newark official newspaper to misrepresent these fundamental Catholic truths in reprinting an article twisting the Holy Father's statement is at best sloppy and devious and betrays an ignorance and or opposition to the ordinary Magisterium of the Catholic Church in her consistent moral teaching. I suggest that the paper consult the Archbishop John Joseph Myers on how to rectify this doctrinal error published by his newspaper. And for the future I would recommend that the Catholic Advocate stop getting its news from CNS which apparently composed the heretical article. A heretical news agency should not even go by the name Catholic. I would recommend the Catholic News Agency (CNA) as a reliable and really Catholic news source.
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