Category Archives: Holy See

Benedict works on Legion of Christ

The Holy Father met yesterday and today with the Apostolic visitors to the Legion of Christ. 7 points were discussed. The working points are announced here (listed here in Italian). This is a step in a very long process of reformation; we now wait for a final decision from the Pope and the Holy See.

We continue to pray: Come Holy Spirit, come through Mary.

Paul Augustin Cardinal Mayer, RIP

Paul Augusitn Mayer2.jpgPaul Augustin Cardinal Mayer, OSB, died today just shy of his 99th birthday. He was the Church’s eldest Prince.

Cardinal Mayer was born on 23 May 1911 and professed vows the Abbey of Metten on 17 May 1931; he was ordained a priest on 25 August 1935 and elected abbot of Metten on 3 November 1966. Mayer’s service to the Church universal began in 1971 when he was ordained a bishop by Pope Paul VI and named secretary for the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes. later he was Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and then Ecclesia Dei. When made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II he was given the titular of Sant’Anselmo all’Aventino.
Cardinal Mayer was a priest for 74.5 years; 38 years a bishop and 24 years a cardinal.
In a telegram to Abbot Primate Notker Wolf, Pope Benedict XVI said of Cardinal Mayer:
“he leaves the indelible memory of an industrious life spent with mildness and rectitude in coherent adherence to his vocation as a monk and pastor, full of zeal for the Gospel and always faithful to the Church. While recalling his knowledgeable commitment in the field of the liturgy and in that of university and seminaries, and especially his much appreciated service to the Holy See, first in the preparatory commission for Vatican Council II then in various dicasteries of the Roman Curia, I raise fervent prayers that the Lord may welcome this worthy brother into eternal joy and peace.
May Paul Augustin Cardinal Mayer’s memory be eternal!

Benedict reflects on Tomas Spidlik, priest, Jesuit, scholar, cardinal

I don’t typically post the Holy Father’s funeral addresses for cardinals here because they’d be too many. But I think this is one is an exceptional circumstance with the death of His Eminence, Tomas Cardinal Spidlik who was laid to rest today. Emphasis added for important points, obviously.

May Cardinal Spidlik’s memory be eternal!

Among the last words spoken by the mourned Cardinal Spidlik were these: “I have looked for the face of Jesus during my whole life, and now I am happy and at peace because I am about to see it.” This wonderful thought — so simple, almost childlike in its expression, and yet so profound and true — refers us immediately to the prayer of Jesus, which resounded a moment ago in the Gospel: “Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world (John 17:24).

It is beautiful and consoling to meditate on this correspondence between man’s desire, who aspired to see the Lord’s face, and Jesus’ own desire. In reality, that of Christ is much more than an aspiration: It is a will. Jesus says to the Father: “I desire that they also … may be where I am.” And it is precisely here, in this will, where we find the “rock,” the solid foundation to believe and to hope. The will of Jesus in fact coincides with that of God the Father, and with the work of the Holy Spirit it constitutes for man a sort of sure “embrace,” strong and gentle, which leads him to eternal life.

Card Tomáš Špidlík.jpegWhat an immense gift to hear this will of God from his own mouth! I think that the great men of faith live immersed in this grace, they have the gift to perceive this truth with particular force, and so can also go through harsh trials, such as those that Father Tomas Spidlik went through, without losing confidence, and keeping, on the contrary, a lively sense of humor, which is certainly a sign of intelligence but also of interior liberty.

Under this profile, evident was the likeness between our mourned cardinal and the Venerable John Paul II: both were given to ingenious joking and jokes, even though having had as youths difficult personal circumstances, similar in some aspects. Providence made them meet and collaborate for the good of the Church, especially so that she would learn to breathe fully “with her two lungs,” as the Slav Pope liked to say.

This liberty and presence of spirit has its objective foundation in the Resurrection of Christ. I want to underline it because we are in the Easter liturgical season and because it is suggested by the first and second biblical readings of this celebration. In his first preaching, on the day of Pentecost, St. Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, proclaims the realization in Jesus Christ of Psalm 16.

It is wonderful to see how the Holy Spirit reveals to the Apostles all the beauty of those words in the full interior light of the Resurrection: “I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope” (Acts 2:25-26; cf Psalm 16/15:8-9). This prayer finds superabundant fulfillment when Christ, the Holy One of God, is not abandoned in hell. He in the first place has known “ways of life” and has been filled with joy with the presence of the Father (cf Acts 2:27-28; Psalm 16/15:11).

The hope and joy of the Risen Jesus are also the hope and joy of his friends, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit. Father Spidlik demonstrated it habitually with his way of living, and this witness of his was ever more eloquent with the passing of the years because, despite his advanced age and the inevitable infirmities, his spirit remained fresh and youthful. What is this if not friendship with the Risen Lord?

In the second reading, St. Peter blesses God that “by his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” And he adds: “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials” (1 Peter 1:3.6). Here, too, is seen clearly how hope and joy are theological realities that emanate from the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ and from the gift of his Spirit. We could say that the Holy Spirit takes them from the heart of the Risen Christ and infuses them in the heart of his friends.

Tomáš Špidlík arms.jpg

I introduced on purpose the image of the “heart,” because, as many of you know, Father Spidlik chose it as the motto of his cardinal’s coat of arms: “Ex toto corde,” “with all the heart.” This expression is found in the Book of Deuteronomy, within the first and fundamental commandment of the law, there where Moses says to the people: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5). “With all the heart — ex toto corde” refers hence to the way with which Israel must love its God. Jesus confirms the primacy of this commandment, which he combines with that of love of neighbor, affirming that the latter is “similar” to the first and that from both the whole law and the prophets depend (cf Matthew 22:37-39). Choosing this motto, our venerated brother placed, so to speak, his life within the commandment of love, he inscribed it wholly in the primacy of God and of charity.

There is another aspect, a further meaning of the expression “ex toto corde,” that surely Father Spidlik had present and attempted to manifest with his motto. Always starting from the Biblical root, the symbol of the heart represents in Eastern spirituality the seat of prayer, of the meeting between man and God, but also with other men and with the cosmos. And here we must remember that in Cardinal Spidlik’s standard, the heart that the coat of arms shows contains a cross in whose arms intersect the words “phos” and “zoe” — “light” and “life” — which are names of God. Hence, the man who fully receives, “ex toto corde,” the love of God, receives light and life, and becomes in turn light and life in humanity and in the universe.

But who is this man? Who is this “heart” of the world, if not Jesus Christ? He is the Light and life, for in Him “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:0). And I wish to recall here that our deceased brother was a member of the Society of Jesus, that is, a spiritual son of St. Ignatius who put in the center of faith and spirituality the contemplation of God in the mystery of Christ.

In this symbol of the heart East and West meet, not in a devotional but in a profoundly Christological sense, as other Jesuit theologians of the last century revealed. And Christ, central figure of  Revelation, is also the formal principle of Christian art, a realm that had in Father Spidlik a great teacher, inspirer of ideas and of expressive projects, which found an important synthesis in the Redemptoris Mater chapel of the Apostolic Palace.

I would like to conclude returning to the theme of the Resurrection, quoting a text much loved by Cardinal Spidlik, a fragment of the Hymns on the Resurrection of St. Ephrem the Syrian:

From on High He descended as Lord,
From the womb he issued as a slave,
Death knelt before Him in Sheol,
And life adored Him in his resurrection.
“Blessed is his victory!” (No. 1:8).

May the Virgin Mother of God accompany the soul of our venerated brother in the embrace of the Most Holy Trinity, where “with all the heart” he will eternally praise his infinite Love. Amen.

Tomáš Cardinal Špidlík dead at 91

Tomáš Špidlík.jpgThe staff of the Centro Aletti with faith in the life-giving power of the Lord’s Resurrection announced the death of Tomáš Cardinal Špidlík Friday, 16 April 2010 at 9 pm.

The In making their announcement the staff of the Centro Aletti expressed their gratitude to God for the Cardinal’s many years through his gift of paternity and wisdom. They ask that all of us to be united in prayer to accompany the Cardinal’s soul to his ultimate and definitive passage to eternal life.

The Cardinal’s wake will be at the Centro Aletti until Monday, April 19. On Tuesday, April 20 the Mass of Christian Burial will take place at the Vatican Basilica at 11:30 am celebrated by Angelo Cardinal Sodano with the Holy Father concluding the Liturgy with a homily and the prayers of final commendation.

Tomáš Špidlík arms.jpg

Let us pray.

By Thy resurrection from the dead, O Christ, death no longer has dominion over those who die in holiness. So, we beseech Thee, give rest to Thy servant Tomáš in Thy sanctuary and in Abraham’s bosom. Grant it to those, who from Adam until now have adored Thee with purity, to our fathers and mothers, to our kinsmen and friends, to all men who have lived by faith and passed on their road to Thee, by a thousand ways, and in all conditions, and make them worthy of the heavenly kingdom.

The Holy Father’s telegram to the superior general of the Society Jesus, Father Adolfo Nicolas Pachon, reads:

“The pious demise of Cardinal Tomas Spidlik, distinguished Jesuit and zealous servant of the Gospel, has aroused deep commotion in my heart. It is with profound gratitude that I recall his solid faith, his paternal affability and his intense cultural and ecclesial labours, especially as an authoritative expert on Eastern Christian spirituality. I raise fervent prayers to the Lord that, by the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin and St. Ignatius of Loyola, He may give the deceased cardinal the eternal prize promised to His faithful disciples. And to you, to the Society of Jesus, and to everyone who knew him and appreciated his gifts of mind and heart, I send a heartfelt and comforting apostolic blessing.

We give thanks to the Lord for blessing us with this wise and holy priest and cardinal!

Vatican gives guidelines on sex abuse allegations

The Holy See has put in one spot on their webpage the numerous documents concerning the abuse of minors, and the Church’s response. Check it out. The documentation given here is crucial in understanding how the Church thinks and acts pastorally in view of sexual abuse of minors.

Of note is the “Guide to Understanding Basic CDF Procedures concerning Sexual Abuse Allegations.” The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has listed for the average reader the basic nuts and bolts of how an allegation is handled today.

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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