Church (ecclesiology): February 2011 Archives

Sfeir.jpgToday, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the petition of His Beatitude, Patriarch Nasrallah Peter Sfeir, cardinal, to retire from his pastoral leadership as the Father of Maronite Church.

The resignation was speculated a few weeks ago.

Here is the letter of Pope Benedict to His Beatitude (in French until an English translation is given).

John Patrick Foley, cardinal & grand master.jpgJohn Patrick Cardinal Foley, 75, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem retired from his work in Rome due to the illnesses of luekemia and anemia. He returned to his native Philadephia. His return to the USA was swift after submitting a letter of resignation to the Cardinal Secretary of State on February 8 and meeting with His Holiness, Pope Benedict on February 10; he was home on the 12th.

Foley is the former editor of the Phildelphia Catholic newspaper The Catholic Standard & Times and the former President of the Pontifical Council of Social Communications. The Cardinal held his position at the Holy See for 23 years.

His Eminence freely admits his physical diminishment but is facing his illness with courage and with Christ at the center. His diagnosis was received in September 2009.

Read the CNS story here.


On February 19th, the Cardinal Secretary of State, His Eminence, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone SDB and Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the assistant for General Affairs, presented the Holy Father the 2011 Annuario Pontificio. The Annuario is the pontifical yearbook with everything you want to know and more. Highlights in this edition:

In 2010, the Pope erected 10 new episcopal sees, 1 apostolic exarchate and 1 apostolic vicariate. One diocese was elevated to the rank of metropolitan see, two prelatures to the rank of diocese, and two apostolic prefectures and one apostolic administration to the rank of apostolic vicariates.

The world's Catholics increased from nearly 1,166 million in 2008 to 1,181 million in 2009, an increase of fifteen million faithful which corresponds to a growth of 1.3%.

The distribution of Catholics among the continents. Between 2008 and 2009:

SSPX detente?

| | Comments (0)
The religion editor for Reuters published an article "Catholic splinter group sees no Vatican accord" on the eve of Vatican-Society of St Pius X talks ending but with no resolution. Why this group of priests persists in living outside the Catholic Church and under the unity of Pope Benedict is beyond me. Hubris is a good word but the issues are complex. Certainly there are some legitimate doctrinal issues that have surfaced following the Second Vatican Council on which the SSPX adherents are correct in objecting to. But their manifest schism from the Church of Rome is not the way to renew doctrine and to have care for the salvation of souls. I think Bishop Bernard Fellay is too obstinate to accept any offer of Divine Grace from the Trinity.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran of France proto deacon of the College of Cardinals Feb 21 2011.jpgWith the Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan, 84, who requested to be made a cardinal-priest and because of his age, the College of Cardinals gets a new proto-deacon (that is, the first among the deacons of the College). 

Jean-Louis Pierre 
Cardinal Tauran, 67, from France, is currently the president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. His central duty as the proto deacon is to announce to the world that a new pope has been elected at a conclave. He will say:

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum, habemus Papam: Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum, Dominum N. (first name) Sanctaee Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem N. (the surname) qui sis nomen imposuit N. (the papal name).

The French born proto deacon was ordained a priest of Bordeaux in 1969 and was ordained a bishop in 1991. He has served as Secretary for Relations with States in the Secretariat of State till 2003 when he was created a cardinal and appointed the Church's archivist and librarian. In 2007, Pope Benedict named Tauran the President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. 
Husar and Voznyak.jpgIn the past weeks we've seen the Pontiff accepting the resignation of His Beatitude Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, 78, as the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Bishop Ihor Voznyak is the temporary administrator of the Church until a new leader is elected.

The Ukrainian Church is the largest of the Eastern Catholic Churches with its own tradition, law, discipline, and customs; in Church law we'd call the Ukrainian Church an Ecclesia sui juris. As a note, the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church is alternately called the Union Church, Ukrainian Catholic Church, Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Byzantine Rite or the Kyivan Catholic Church. Empress Maria Theresa introduced the designation of Greek-Catholic in the title of the Church in 1774. In 1999, the Synod of Bishops introduced the name "Kyivan Catholic Church."
The Philippines is the most populous Catholic nation in Asia. We ought to be aware that the Catholic faith has been in the Philippines for 5 centuries now!!!!

These days, among the many things Benedict XVI is doing, he's meeting with the Filipino bishops who are praying at the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul, all in an effort to strengthen the bond of unity between the universal Church and the Church in the Philippines. This is the second group of bishops from the Philippines led by Archbishop Palma of Cebu, is in Rome for the ad Limina. A third group will begin their visit on the 21st. Benedict addresses the body the bishops and also meets individually with each bishop. Every 5 years a bishop who heads a diocese is to make a pilgrimage to Rome to pray, to visit with the pope to report on the state of evangelization of the local church and to visit with the various departments at the Holy See. A quinquennial report is sent ahead of a bishop's visit to the Eternal City so that the pope can study the good and areas of need of a particular diocese. It is the expectation that the ad Limina Apostolorum, to the threshold of the Apostles, helps in the transparency in bishop's concern for the salvation of souls. What Benedict told the Filipino bishops today is appropriate for us here in the USA. A portion of the text is given below with my notations for emphasis.

OL Lourdes at St Peter's.jpg
Filipino culture is also confronted with the more subtle questions inherent to the secularism, materialism, and consumerism of our times. When self-sufficiency and freedom are severed from their dependence upon and completion in God, the human person creates for himself a false destiny and loses sight of the eternal joy for which he has been made. The path to rediscovering humanity's true destiny can only be found in the re-establishment of the priority of God in the heart and mind of every person.
RFisichella.jpgIn some comments made of a book on the papacy of Benedict XVI, Archbishop Rino Fisichella said that at the beginning of every pontificate the new pope and the Church face certain challenges that are normal. As Fisichella, the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization reminded his audience, we're only 6 years into Benedict's ministry as the head of the Catholic Church. None of the things that blotted the pope's copybook (that is, have caused the Pope to expend political capitol) are new and that extraordinary; change is always needed in the Church moving to a new administration. All of the recent popes have had to deal the growing pains of transitioning from pontificate to another. In Fisichella's interpretation, and I concur, the central issue of Benedict's work is one of formation, a new education in the faith of all the faithful, including the higher and lower clergy. However, I do think that some of the people that work directly or indirectly at the Holy See have not been as helpful as they possibly could be so as not to have Benedict kicked by the secular media at every "major" event.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]



Humanities Blog Directory

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Church (ecclesiology) category from February 2011.

Church (ecclesiology): January 2011 is the previous archive.

Church (ecclesiology): March 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.