Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pope Benedict's Books

In Light of the World Pope Benedict explains his legitimate attachment to his personal library. Every intellectual knows and loves and, as far as possible, keeps, his books!

"[I moved into the papal appartamento with] my study at least. It was important for me to have my study the way it has developed over the course of many decades. In 1954 I bought my desk and the first bookshelves. Gradually there were additions. In them are all my advisors, the books; I know every nook and cranny, and everything has its history. Therefore I brought the whole study along with me. (15) ...The beauty of the faith shines forth as I read the Church Fathers." (16)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Condoms are for Dogs

In the wake of the new international media distortion campaign against His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's clear and consistent condemnation of contraception it is necessary to clarify that his reference to a possible amoral use of condoms referred to a male prostitute in sodomastic activity in which case the condom would have absolutely no contraceptive role: an inherently impotent and sterile act.

In other words, condoms might be OK for dogs! In that vein here are three pro-marital act slogans.




The only loving sexual activity is heterosexual and faithfully monogamous and holy, always open to procreation; otherwise it is merely selfish lust in disguise, not fully human: the stuff of dogs! Cf. Deus Caritas Est, 6 ff.

Incidently, this was the media's dirty way to announce the publishing of the Holy Father's new Interview Book which he produced this Summer with the excellent journalist Mr. Peter Seewald his biographer.

You will find an exhaustive and updated response to all the excitement at Young Jesuits. That article is very much worth reading. It is well balanced and very sympathetic of everyone involved, beginning with the secular journalists.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hebrew Catholics in the Holy Land

In light of my last article I should like to highlight the presence of Catholics in the Holy Land, especially of the small but very significant Vicariate of Hebrew Catholics under the care of the Patriarchal Vicar Father David Neuhaus, a Hebrew Catholic himself. I have added their website to my great links.

In light of the recent Synod on the Middle East, here is an article on the various communities of Catholics in the Holy Land with special emphasis on the Hebrew Vicariate.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Promised Land not Exclusively for the Jews

Archbishop clarifies synod remarks condemned by Jewish organizations
November 12, 2010
Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros, the Melkite Greek Catholic bishop of Newton (Massachusetts), has clarified remarks made during an October 23 press conference presenting the final message of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East.

Archbishop Bustros was quoted as saying, “The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands,” adding, “we Christians cannot speak of the 'promised land' as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people-- all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people.” The archbishop’s remarks were condemned by Jewish organizations.

Archbishop Bustros told Jihad Watch:

During the press conference which was held at the end of the Synod, I presented this message in my role as president of the commission that drafted the message. I was then asked by a journalist: "What do you mean by this sentence: 'Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable'?" I answered: "Israel cannot use the Biblical concept of a promised land to justify its occupation of Palestinian territory and the expulsion of Palestinians who have been living there for centuries. We Christians cannot now speak about the Promised Land for the Jewish people. With Christ the Promised Land became the Kingdom of God": Jesus referred to this land in His sermon on the mount and gave it a spiritual interpretation: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God... Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land." (Mt. 5:3.5)

In my answer I was thinking in particular of Jewish settlers who claim their right to build on Palestinian territory by saying it forms part of biblical Israel, the land promised by God to the Jews according to the Old Testament. I also warned against the risk of Israel becoming an exclusively Jewish state, with a consequent threat to the 1.2 million Muslim and Christian Arabs living in Israel. The Synod is acknowledging the separation between religion and politics, in stating that recourse to the Bible cannot be used to justify political events: "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." (Mt. 22:21)

As a Christian, and especially as a Middle-Eastern Christian-- and this is the unanimous opinion of the Middle-Eastern Christians, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants-- I see that the concept of the Promised Land cannot be used for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians. The creation of the State of Israel in 1948-- after the resolution of the UN in 1947 regarding the partition of Palestine which was under the British mandate between Arab and Jews-- is a political issue not a religious one. It is a fact of history like other facts: Jews who were persecuted in Europe and suffered the horrors of the Shoah decided to come to Palestine and build a country for their own. They chose Palestine because of the memory of the Jews who lived there 2000 years ago. They came in great numbers; a war arose between them and the Arabs living there, and they won the war; hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to leave their homes and flee to the surrounding Arabic countries: Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Some of the Israelis based their return on the Old Testament theme of the Promised Land. But this does not mean that God is behind their return and their victory against the Arabs …

As for the idea of the chosen people, it is clear, according to Christian theology and especially to St. Paul, that after Christ there is no longer one particular chosen people! With Christ and in Him all men and women of all countries are called to become children of God and unite in one body, the Body of Christ.

Now in the Israeli-Palestinian issue we are in presence of two opposed religious extremist ideologies: from one part extremist Jews who say that Palestine is the Promised Land given to them by God, and that they cannot give up any part of it to the Arabs; and from the other part extremist Muslims who say that Palestine is a Muslim land given to them by God during the Arabic conquests, and that they cannot give up a part of it to the Israelis. With these two opposed religious ideologies it is impossible to find a compromise in order to reach a lasting peace.

The message of the Synod for the Middle East takes a moderate position and clearly advocates, regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the two-State-solution … Then the message explicitly condemns all kinds of violence and religious extremism … By dialogue only-- a dialogue which requires compromises from both sides, not by war, and especially not by a war based on religious assumptions-- can the Holy Land reach a just and lasting peace.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Pilgrim Shell and Papal Coronation Campaign

Last Saturday The Holy Father made his Jacobean Year pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain to the shrine of Saint James Major, the Apostle. The scallop shell is the symbol of the "Camino" (Saint James Trail) and is also a symbol in Pope Benedict's coat of arms. During the in flight interview to Santiago Pope Benedict spoke of the shell's pilgrimage significance and Santiago's place in Christian pilgrimages.

Father Lombardi: Your Holiness, in the message for the recent congress on shrines that took place, in fact, at Santiago de Compostela, you said that you are living your pontificate with the sentiments of a pilgrim. On your coat of arms there is also the scallop shell of the pilgrim. Would you like to tell us something about your perspective on this pilgrimage, in your personal life too and in your spirituality, and about the thoughts you have as you travel as a pilgrim to Santiago?

Benedict XVI: Hello! I can say that being on a journey is already inscribed in my biography. But this is perhaps something external; nevertheless, it makes me think of the instability of this life, of being on a journey. Of pilgrimages one could say: God is everywhere, there is no need to go to another place, but it is also true that faith, according to its essence, is being a pilgrim.

The Letter to the Hebrews shows [this] in the figure of Abraham, who leaves his land and remains a pilgrim toward the future all of his life, and this Abrahamic movement remains in the act of faith, it is being a pilgrim above all interiorly, but it must also express itself exteriorly. Sometimes, leaving behind the everyday, the world of the useful, of practical goals, leaving it behind only to be truly on the path to transcendence, transcending oneself and the everyday and thus also finding a new freedom, a time of interior rethinking, of identifying oneself, to see the other, God, and in this way it is also always being on a pilgrimage: not only a leaving behind of self but also a traveling together. The pilgrimage reunites, we are going together to the other and thus we both rediscover each other.

Let me just say that the trips taken to Santiago de Compostela are an element in the spiritual formation of the European continent. Making a pilgrimage here constitutes, has constituted the common European identity, and today too this movement is being reborn, these dreams of being in spiritual and physical movement, of this person or that finding himself and thus to find silence, freedom, renewal, and to find God.

The second topic, also related to the papal coat of arms, check out the campaign to crown Pope Benedict XVI with the Papal Tiara, last used by Pope Paul VI. Here is the original campaign website.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sanctorum Communionem and the Discarded "Communion Table"

Ratzinger points out that in the "communion of saints" sanctorum refers first of all to "the holy things", i.e. the sacraments--the principle means of holiness, especially the Holy Eucharist. Only secondarily does the ninth article of the creed (Credo in sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem) refer to the people who are sanctified by the worship of the holy mysteries.

"The saying about the communion of saints refers first of all to the Eucharistic community which through the body of the Lord binds the Churches scattered all over the earth into one Church. Thus originally the word "sanctorum" ("of the holy ones') does not refer to persons but means the holy gifts, the holy thing, granted to the Church in her Eucharistic feast by God as the real bond of unity. Thus the Church is not defined as a matter of offices and organizations but on the basis of her worship of God..." (Introduction to Christianity, Herder and Herder, NY, 1970, p. 257-8) [viz., what He effects in Her: unity in His communion of charity]. The communion of saints comes from Holy Communion! at the communion Table! Which brings me to my point.

Misguided bishops, priests and liturgists threw out the so called "altar rail" which is really properly called "the communion rail." They changed the name of the communion rail (read "the communion table") and collapsed it into the altar, calling the altar the table. But it is important to emphasize that the rail is, properly speaking, "the table", the proper place for the laity to receive the sacred species; and that kneeling reverently at the rail is a normative place for communion (Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, 160), and a much more proper manner than the rushed "fast food" and cumbersome communion line, not to mention the forbidden sitting or gathering around the altar and receiving together with the priest.

Notice the traditional German name for the communion rail: Der Kommuniones Tisch, and the Spanish: el comulgatorio (the communion place!). Isn't it ironic that in their quest for the communion table they threw it out! Bring back our communion rails to increase the dignity of our sanctorum communionem.

There is one more point to be made in this reflection for All Saints, and that is that that most confusing instruction of the NCCB mandating standing for communion as being normative for USA (if it ever had any force in its inherent ambiguity and contradictions) is certainly nullified by Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio permitting and encouraging the 1962 form of the Mass. If the people can kneel to receive in our parishes for one form of the Mass they can certainly do so for the other. It is, after all, the same eternal Lord we worship and receive in either form of the Mass, is it not! Should we not receive Him with the same majesty in both forms!

All you holy Saints of God, pray for the increased dignity of our Holy Communions to effect the Church's unambiguous Holy Communion with Our Blessed Lord in every way and in everything.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...