Holy See: February 2013 Archives

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The Pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI has now, 8pm Rome time (2pm EST) come to an end with the Sede Vacante ("Vacant See"; the empty chair), the reign of the 265th Pope, the 264th successor of Saint Peter,  lasted 7 years, 10 months, and 9 days.

Vatican City, 25 February 2013 (VIS) - Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone SDB, sent a letter to the monasteries devoted to contemplative life around the world, inviting them to intensify their prayers at this special moment in the life of the Church. Following is the entire text of the message that is dated 21 February.

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"I write to you as the whole Church anxiously follows the final days of the luminous pontificate of His Holiness Benedict XVI and awaits the arrival of the successor whom the Cardinals gathered in conclave and guided by the Holy Spirit will choose, after discerning together the signs of the times of the Church and the world.

"His Holiness Benedict XVI has asked all the faithful to accompany him with their prayers as he commends the Petrine ministry into the Lord's hands, and to await with trust the arrival of the new Pope. In a particularly urgent way this appeal is addressed to those chosen members of the Church who are contemplatives. The Holy Father is certain that you, in your monasteries and convents throughout the world, will provide the precious resource of that prayerful faith which down the centuries has accompanied and sustained the Church along her pilgrim path. The coming conclave will thus depend in a special way on the transparent purity of your prayer and worship.

"The most significant example of this spiritual elevation which manifests the most authentic and profound dimension of every ecclesial action, the presence of the Holy Spirit who guides the Church, is offered to us by His Holiness Benedict XVI who, after having steered the barque of Peter amid the waves of history, has chosen to devote himself above all to prayer, contemplation and reflection.

"The Holy Father, with whom I shared the contents of this letter, was deeply appreciative, and asked me to thank you and to assure you of his immense love and esteem.

"With affection in Christ I send you greetings, united with you in prayer."

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard L. Müller, addressed the Pontifical Academy of Life on 22 February 2013. It was the annual meeting in Rome. Müller's talk didn't shatter too many windows by unearthing new problems, nor did it break new ground in the Church's teaching. Müller gives a brief assessment of the situation and that we have gone off the tracks in some ways. He does, however, shed light on the fact that we need to take more seriously our moral and faith formation and to put in the time doing the hard work to know the issues and how to respond to them according the parameters of the Catholic Faith. Too often we are afraid to do the hard work. And that's the ministry of the Prefect: to illumine and offer a corrective. Archbishop Müller did challenge, to a degree, the theological professorial establishment, even if the talk may be seen a bit anemic. 

The full text: Gerhard Müller Human Life in Some Documents of the Magisterium.pdf

Details on Pope Benedict...

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According to the Vatican Information Service, quoting the Holy See spokesman, Jesuit Father Frederico Lombardi, in a press conference, made some details public today regarding His Holiness. In sum, he said that Pope Benedict XVI:

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  • will be referred to as "Pope Emeritus" or "Pontiff Emeritus";
  • will keep the style "His Holiness, Benedict XVI";
  • will keep wearing a simple white cassock without the papal mozzetta; and 
  • that the fisherman's ring, and the lead seal, will be broken.

Benedict is scheduled to arrive in Castel Gandolfo on 28 February, at 5:15pm -Rome time. At 8pm, Rome time), when the See of Peter goes vacant, the Swiss Guard will quietly leave the papal summer residence; the Guard's services of protection are limited to the person of the Pontiff; the security of the "Pope Emeritus" will be assured by the Vatican Gendarmerie.

As commentary, some opined that the papal ring could be given to the Vatican Museum but the decision was made to continue to break the break to show the end of this papal reign. Perhaps the broken ring will be given to the Museum if it is not crushed beyond recognition.

It seems to me that in Benedict's case, he ought to be readmitted to the College of Cardinals, be known as His Eminence, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Bishop-emeritus of Rome. Moreover, he ought to adopt the clothes of a cardinal and be given the titular church of Sant'Anselmo or Santa Maria in Trastevere. I'd like him to be given the Benedictine Church of Sant'Anselmo!

In 1936, the King of England, Edward VIII, abdicated, he was first known as HRH Prince Edward, and then, HRH the Duke of Windsor. 

Recently, Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands announced that she was abdicating throne on 30 April. Thereafter Beatrix will be known as Her Royal Highness, Princess Beatrix. You can only have on monarch at a time. 

Roma locuta, causa finita. 

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The USCCB published a handy yearbook "presentation of all 117 cardinals eligible to vote for a new pope in the upcoming conclave. The electors are presented in alphabetical order by last name. Their age as of Feb. 28 and country of origin are also given. Also noted are those who are current members of the Roman Curia. The file contains three pages. (CNS graphic/Paul Haring and Nancy Phelan Wiechec)"

One hears that the Indonesian cardinal, Jesuit Julius Darmaatmadja, 78, the archbishop emeritus of Jakarta, will not be attending due to health issues. He's been dealing with eye problems for years and likely has other serious health concerns. There's a lot of people talking --though it doesn't mean too much now-- about Cardinal Roger Mahoney's presence at the conclave. For some, it is hoped that his conscience will tell him not to go to Rome. We'll see.

Some techies have some great things to give us. Watch the interactive presentation of how a pope is elected at the Vatican Insider.
The news media is hot to assess the Church and her legacy in the wake of Benedict XVIs abdication announcement on February 11, 2013. And, to be honest, much of the assessment is tedious and lacking substance, even from veteran and well-known and reliable Catholic thinkers. No shortage of prattle. Pick up the daily paper or turn on the TV/radio news and you will be treated to comparisons and rumination between the still current papacy (the Pope is not gone yet) and the previous one but too often with secular criteria and interests. Judging the pope and the Church with criteria other than a focus on God and the proclamation of the Gospel is not faithful. The media, we have to recognize, is not too conversant in matters of Catholic faith. In fact, they generally so very little and merely repeat clichés. Far more people are interested in questions of power, authority, the teaching, the numbers of faithful, "successes" and "failures," the position of "the pope who resigned" and the like than they are in matters pertaining to the Word of God, the salvation of souls and to eternal life. 

Perhaps in the days to come we can come to a new and vital interest in the substance of the faith than in power.

Ross Douthat's editorial, "The End of a Catholic Moment," is correct and sad but true. His final thought is interesting and I with curiosity to see how and who will lead us both in the Church universal and in America....

Cardinal electors by region

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The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) under the direction of Monsignor Richard Hilgartner of the Secretariat for Divine Worship, has produced a packet of materials regarding the pope.

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Benedict's resignation as the Bishop of Rome goes into effect on 28 February 2013 at 8:00pm (Rome time; 2pm EST). Thereafter and until the election of a new Supreme Pontiff, Mother Church is in a period called sede vacante. This, however, does not mean nothing happens in the Church and that no one is in-charge.

The following are some of the key persons leading Holy Church.

  • The Apostolic Penitentiary Manuel Cardinal Monteiro de Castro, 74, does not cease working like many of the other offices of the Holy See and Vatican because the work of the Penitentiary pertains to the forgiveness of sins and matters of questions of conscience from the faithful. Sins and justice need to be forgiven. De Castro and his coworkers will remain in office.
  • The Chamberlain (the Camerlengo), Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, SDB, 78, who is the current Secretary of State, will see to the management of the temporal goods of the Church. Bills need to be made and leadership provided. He functions in this capacity during the sede vacante. Moreover, he will also head the Congregational meetings, that is, the daily meetings of the College of Cardinals discussing the needs of the Church. The cardinals will hear a "state of the Church."  During the conclave, Bertone will announce the result of every ballot, ascertaining the votes required for election. Cardinal Bertone will show the new pope to the papal apartments and hand him the keys. The Chamberlain will be assisted by Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca , 57, from Catania, who functions as a legal consultant.
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The Cardinal electors for 2013

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The list of cardinal-electors as of today is 118. 

According to the Law of the Church, at the time that the Chair of Peter becomes vacant, those cardinals who achieve 80 years may not vote in the conclave. Pope Benedict said today that the Church is sede vacante at 8pm (Rome time) on 28 February. Therefore, Lubomyr Cardinal Husar born on 26 February 1933 becomes unable to vote in the 2013 conclave.

But observers will note that there are three cardinals who will be 80 around the time of the next conclave, a date still to be announced by Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, Cardinal Secretary of State and the Carmerlengo.

They are:

Walter Cardinal Kasper: 5 March 1933

Severino Cardinal Poletto: 18 March 1933

Juan Cardinal Sandoval: 28 March 1933

In 2005, there were 117 cardinals (but only 115 participated in the papal election).

The oldest cardinal walking into the conclave will be Godfried Cardinal Daneels (4 June 1933), the emeritus archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel, Belgium.

The youngest cardinal will be Baselios Cleemis Cardinal Thottunkal (15 June 1959), Major Archbishop of Trivandrum, India.

The Americans in the Conclave:

Roger Cardinal Mahoney, 77

Francis Cardinal George, 76

Justin Cardinal Rigali, 77

William Cardinal Levada, 76

Sean Cardinal O'Malley, 68

Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, 63

Raymond Cardinal Burke, 64

Donald Cardinal Wuerl, 72

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, 63

Edwin Cardinal O'Brien, 73

James Cardinal Harvey, 63

Robert W. Oliver.jpgFather Robert W. Oliver, a priest from Boston began his new work --a ministry of justice-- as the new Promoter of Justice at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on February 1.

Interesting in Cindy Wooden's CNS article today is that three-quarters of the 112 conferences of bishops around the world have submitted their plans to protect children. Many who have not are from Africa.

Oliver has offered praise for the press in the USA in shedding light on a difficult subject. Most certainly this is a very difficult subject to understand and rectify.

There's a lot of work to do. What is needed today is for all of us to be steady, coherent and faithful to the task of protecting all people from predators.

Father Oliver replaces the competent and forthright priest from Malta, Charles J. Scicluna, 53, now an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Malta serving with the Dominican archbishop Paul Cremona.

Prayers of Father Oliver and the people he will serve as a Good Shepherd.

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]yahoo.com.



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This page is a archive of entries in the Holy See category from February 2013.

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