Category Archives: Holy See

The Chair of Saint Peter is now empty

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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.

Contemplatives asked to pray for the Church and Pope

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.”

CDF Prefect rehearses work at hand for moral formation, dignity of the person

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

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Details on Pope Benedict…

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. 

The Cardinals who will elect 2013

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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.

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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]
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