Category Archives: Pope Benedict XVI

The Pope’s Prayer Intentions for September 2008

What is prayer? It is a complete surrender to God; it is an attitude and way of life that is
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known as a complete abandonment to God’s greatness who is beyond all our understanding and need because out of love He creates and redeems us.


The general intention

That those, who because of war and totalitarian regimes have been obliged to leave their homes and country, be supported by Christians in the defense and protection of their rights.

The mission intention

That all Christian families, faithful to the sacrament of matrimony, will cultivate the values of love and community, so that they will be a small evangelizing community, open and sensitive to the material and spiritual needs of their brothers and sisters.

It’s back to class for Pope Benedict and his students

The Pope held his annual Schülerkreis (Circle of Students) according to the Catholic press. It’s refreshing to me to know that the duties of being Supreme Pontiff don’t sidetrack the Pope from doing some important theological thinking.

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, AUG. 31, 2008 ( Benedict XVI is meeting with his former students to discuss the historical Christ and the Gospel account of the Passion, reports L’Osservatore Romano.

The Vatican newspaper reported that the meeting is taking place through Monday at Castel Gandolfo, where the Pope is spending the summer.

The meeting is an annual one that the Holy Father has had with 38 former students and doctoral candidates for more than 25 years. The group is called “Ratzinger Schülerkreis” (Ratzinger’s Circle of Students).

The colloquium is treating the figure of Jesus both in light of “Jesus of Nazareth,” published by Benedict XVI in 2007, and in view of the second volume that the Pope is currently writing.

Two Protestant biblical scholars were invited to this year’s colloquium: Martin Hengel and Peter Stuhlmacher. The two presented papers, and then a discussion was held.

Martin Hengel’s paper dealt with the historicity of the figure of Jesus, and Peter Stuhlmacher reflected of the passion and death of Jesus.

The two exegetes — both professors at the University of Tübingen, where Ratzinger taught in the 1960s — offered suggestive themes for discussion, but will not enter into an exploration of the Pontiff’s work.

Hengel, an historian and exegete, is not new to this gathering. In the 1990s he participated in a meeting and spoke on the figure of Peter in the Gospel of Mark.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the archbishop of Vienna, and Auxiliary Bishop Hans-Jochen Jaschke of Hamburg, are also participating in the meeting.

Father Stephan Horn, 72, a German priest of the Society of the Divine Savior, heads the “Schülerkreis” and organized the meeting.

Georg Ratzinger becomes an honorary citizen

GRatzinger.jpgAt the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo and in the presence of the Holy Father, the mayor of Castel Gandolfo will confer an honorary citizenship on Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, brother of the Holy Father Benedict XVI. God grant him many years!

On the Use of the Name of God, Pope Benedict teaches

Thumbnail image for Benedict XVI.gifOn Friday, 8 August 2008, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments communicated to the relevant ecclesial authorities (i.e., Bishops’ Conferences and therefore Diocesan Bishops) that the Holy Father in accord with the same congregation and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the norms for the liturgical use of “…the Divine Name signified in the sacred tetragrammaton….” The document is called “Letter to the Bishops’ Conferences on the ‘Name of God'” (Prot. N. 213/08/L). The directives are clear and concise. The Letter is issued under the signatures of Francis Cardinal Arinze and Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith and dated 29 June 2008. The directives:


1.      In liturgical celebrations, in songs and prayers the name of God in the form of the
tetragrammaton.jpgtetragrammaton YHWH is neither to be used or pronounced.

2.      For the translation of the Biblical text in modern languages, destined for liturgical usage of the Church, what is already prescribed by n. 41 of the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam is to be followed; that is, the divine tetragrammaton is to be rendered by the equivalent of Adonai/Kyrios: “Lord”, “Signore”, “Seigneur”, “Herr”, “Señor”, etc.

3.      In translating, in the liturgical context, texts in which are present, one after the other, either the Hebrew term Adonai or the tetragrammaton YHWH, Adonai is to be translated “Lord” and the form “God” is to be used for the tetragrammaton YHWH, similar to what happens in the Greek translation of the Septuagint and in the Latin translation of the Vulgate.


The cardinal and the archbishop explain in the first part of the letter the value of remaining faithful to the consistent teaching and tradition of the Church. Here one can say that in following this teaching Catholics have continuity of faith: legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi (often abbreviated by the bromide of lex orandi, lex crendendi). The implication of this teaching, therefore, has much to do with Christology, liturgical theology, catechetics and interfaith dialogue with our Jewish brothers and sisters. I think the final paragraph bears prayerful consideration because of the Church’s objectivity:

Avoiding pronouncing the tetragrammaton of the name of God on the part of the Church has therefore its own grounds. Apart from a motive of a purely philological order, there is also that of remaining faithful to the Church’s tradition, from the beginning, that the sacred tetragrammaton was never pronounced in the Christian context nor translated into any of the languages into which the Bible was translated.


As commentary, the teaching presented by the Church was taught to me and my classmates at Notre Dame High School (W. Haven, CT) in Mr. William Parkinson’s Old Testament class in 1983. So, I think we were fortunate to have had the correct catechesis and praxis at that time in our Church’s history. Having said this, I wonder about the arrogance (perhaps mere ignorance?) of Christians using of the Divine Name incorrectly and I wonder how long it will take publishers to change their editorial policy. I am thinking of the dreadful liturgical songs still used in parishes.

The Pope’s Prayer Intentions for August 2008

Benedict XVI arms.jpgIt is a venerable Catholic custom to unite our prayers to those of the Pope’s. Frequently, we pray, that is, we state in our morning offering “…for the intentions of the Holy Father….” Remembering that “Prayer is man standing before God in need of everything, but also with trust that God will give everything, and bring us to the fulfillment he has destined for us” (John Janaro, Praying with Saint Paul, 221). Hence, here are the August intentions the Pope has asked us to remember in our prayers before the Throne of Grace:


The general intention
That the human family may learn to respect God’s plan for the world and become ever more aware that Creation is God’s great gift.

The mission intention
That the answer of the entire people of God to the common calling to holiness and mission may be promoted and fostered by means of careful discernment of charisms and constant commitment to spiritual and cultural formation.

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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