Tag Archives: ecclesiology

Cardinals to pray & discuss about Dominus Iesus, sex abuse, Ordinariate for Anglicans wishing to be Catholic

cardinals2.jpgAnna Arco’s article online at the Catholic Herald (of the UK fame) reports that before the consistory of cardinals on November 20, during which the Pope will create 24 new cardinals there will be prayer, reflection and conversation about a number of things but three key topics will be the 10th anniversary of Dominus Iesus, sex abuse crisis and the Ordinariate for Anglicans who desire to enter into full communion the Catholic Church. Other issues to be discussed, but no less crucial to the life of the Church, are religious liberty and the sacred Liturgy.

Read Arco’s article, “Cardinals to discuss Church reactions to sexual abuse and the Ordinariate.” Don’t make the connection between the two issues. There’s no connection.

24 New Cardinals named by Pope Benedict today

cardinals.jpgThe Pope announced his intention to name 24 new cardinals of the Holy Roman Church today. The public consistory is scheduled for November 20 and it is at this ceremony that the Holy Father’s intention becomes official, becoming members of the College of Cardinals. The new cardinals will have their names in inscribed in the list of “Roman priests” who are deputed to elect the Bishop of Rome.

This is the third time the Holy Father has created cardinals since his becoming Pope in 2005. Previous consistories were in 2006 and 2007. The new cardinals reflect the various competences the Church relies upon to preach the Gospel and to serve the Church.

  • Italians

Archbishop Angelo Amato, SDB, Prefect of the Congregation of Saints

Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, Prefect of the Congregation of Clergy

Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli, Major Penitentiary

Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, CS, President of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See

Archbishop Paolo Sardi, Vice-Chamberlain of the Apostolic Chamber and Patron of the Order of Malta

Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Paul outside the Walls

Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council of Culture

Archbishop Paolo Romeo, Archbishop of Palermo

  • North Americans

Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke,  Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of Apostolic Signatura

Archbishop Donald William Wuerl, Archbishop of  Washington, DC

  • Other Europeans

Archbishop Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians

Archbishop Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising

Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz, Archbishop of Warsaw

  • Africa

Archbishop Robert Sarah (Guinea Conakry), President of  Cor Unum

Archbishop Medardo Mazombwe, Emertius Archbishop of Lusaka

Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, Archbishop of  Kinshasa

  • Asia

Archbishop Malcom Ranjith Patabendige Don, Archbishop of Colombo

  • Eastern Church

His Beatitude, Patriarch Antonio Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts 

  • South America

Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Archbishop of Aparecida

Archbishop Raul Eduardo Vela Chiribogo, Emeritus Archbishop of Ecudor

  • The Over 80 Cardinals

Msgr. Domenico Bartolucci, Emeritus Master of the Sistine Chapel

Msgr. Walter Brandmüller, Emeritus President of the Pontifical Commission of Historical Sciences

Bishop Elio Sgreccia, Emeritus President of the Pontifical Academy of Life

Archbishop Jose Manuel Estepa Llaurens, Emeritus Ordinary of the Spanish Military

Read journalist John Allen’s analysis of the new cardinals: John Allen the new cardinals 2010.pdf

Sacred Duties, Episcopal Ministry: what’s wrong with the US Conference of Bishops

Few people in these parts (in the Eastern part of the USA) know the name Robert F. Vasa except ecclesial-philes like myself, but that’s because he’s on the other side of the country. Never mind. Who could say with honesty that there’s a genuine concern for knowing ecclesial affairs viz. from a person who has little name recognition such as Robert Vasa. That is, until now, who, with some excellent, even controversial ideas, is sure to anger the round heads. Only now Vasa’s thinking is gaining some currency. But let’s give him his just due respect. Robert F. Vasa, 59, is the Bishop of Baker, OR, a priest of the Lincoln Diocese who delivered an extraordinarily good address titled, “Sacred Duties, Episcopal Ministry” on September 16, 2010 at the 2010 InsideCatholic Partnership Award Dinner in Washington, DC, that has not received the attention it deserves.

The Bishop is taking a critical look at the contemporary ministry of the bishop, at least in the USA, as we’ve seen it unfold with the existence of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
I DON’T like the USCCB and would prefer to see it close, or at least downsize significantly. I find USCCB officials intrusive, their work open to misinterpretation, the bishops not doing what they are supposed to do for “needy bishops” –to give fraternal constructive correction to bishops not doing or incapable of doing their episcopal ministry as expected– and I find the USCCB documents compromised or agenda driven. In addition, I find the tax paid on each “Catholic head” in the dioceses to be excessive and it’s a genuine burden on many dioceses, particularly the Eastern Church dioceses who don’t have access to large amounts of money. One last word on the bishops’ documents: they are often not written by the bishops themselves (who would have the time?) but are produced by the staffers of the USCCB or outsiders and are vague and lack substance that would clearly address the issues at hand; when the documents are “committee documents” they are often ground for the lefty-loonies to manipulate for their own ends.
There are few instances where I think a conference of bishops in the USA is useful but not absolutely necessary. The usefulness of a conference of bishops would be seen in knowing the needs of the Church in North America, in the work done in the fields of the sacred Liturgy, certain questions on immigration, healthcare and pro-life and certain relief agencies like CRS. The translation of texts is labor intensive and it needs wider episcopal oversight and input that 10 bishops can give. BUT let’s be clear, the USCCB is not an alternative teaching body for the Church in America; it has no authority to teach or make laws over and above the Universal Church or the individual diocesan bishop; it does not speak for the Church’s bishops. Diocesan bishops can’t absolve themselves of the duty to rightly to teach, govern and sanctify the people entrusted to them personally by the Holy Spirit and for the Church in general. Episcopal ministry is exercised not with strategies and programs but by listening, praying and teaching when needed. 
Some people who are USCCB favorable will be dramatic by saying, “The USCCB said and demands thus and such….” AND the response you should give is, “SO what.”
Read, study and pray with Bishop Vasa’s address noted above. You may want to say a prayer for him, too. He’ll likely get hate mail for his attempt to teach what is true. In my mind this address is necessary reading for informed Catholics. The point here is not be disrespectful of the sacred duties and responsibilities of bishops. My point here is to live, to act and to think with the Church under the Roman Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him. As Catholics we are to be total and radically centered on the person of Jesus Christ lived in the sacrament of the Church and under her magisterium. I follow Christ through the ministry of the Pope, the bishop of this diocese but not in a bureaucracy of bishops.

Pallium Mass 2010: a guarantee of freedom, charity and unity, the Pope reminds

Though they suffered on different days, Saints Peter and Paul are known as one, as Saint Augustine reminds.

In first hearing and then reading the papal homily I noticed some very crucial points for us to reflect upon and to seriously consider: the real persecution of the Church today and the impact on Catholic identity exists not exclusively from outside the Church (a theme the pope has stated before now) but from the faithful’s betrayal of the faith, of Truth. When secularism, not to be confused with secularity, infiltrates the Church the true message of the Gospel is obscured and our hearts are darkened.

As usual on today’s solemn feast of Peter and Paul, Pope Benedict bestowed the pallium, the symbol of theological, juridical and fraternal communion between the pope and a bishop. It is also a symbol of the “fullness of charity and unity.” In seeing the pallium we see, as Benedict says, a symbol of “the guarantee of freedom for the Church’s Pastors and the Communities.” Today, 38 archbishops from around the world received the pallium, including three archbishops from the USA and one from Canada. 

The Pope’s exhortation and prayer upon giving the pallium:

To the glory of God and the praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the apostles Peter and Paul, and of the Holy Roman Church, for the honor of the Churches, which have been placed in your care, and as a symbol of your authority as metropolitan archbishop: We confer on you the pallium taken from the tomb of Peter to wear within the limits of your ecclesiastical provinces.

And then

May this pallium be a symbol of unity and a sign of your communion with the Apostolic See, a bond of love, and an incentive to courage. On the day of the coming and manifestation of our great God and chief shepherd, Jesus Christ, may you and the flock entrusted to you be clothed with immortality and glory. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Below is Benedict’s homily for today’s Mass (with my own points of emphasis).

Sts Peter & Paul Greco.jpg

The biblical
texts of this Eucharistic Liturgy of the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, in
their great wealth, highlight a theme that could be summarized thus: God is
close to his faithful servants and frees them from all evil, and frees the
Church from negative powers. It is the theme of the freedom of the Church,
which has a historical aspect and another more deeply spiritual one

This theme
runs through today’s Liturgy of the Word. The first and second readings speak,
respectively, of St Peter and St Paul, emphasizing precisely the liberating
action of God in them. Especially the text from the Acts of the Apostles
describes in abundant detail the intervention of the Angel of the Lord, who
releases Peter from the chains and leads him outside the prison in Jerusalem,
where he had been locked up, under close supervision, by King Herod (cf. at
12.1 to 11). Paul, however, writing to Timothy when he feels close to the end
of his earthly life, takes stock which shows that the Lord was always near him
and freed him from many dangers and frees him still by introducing him into His
eternal Kingdom (see 2 Tim 4, 6-8.17-18). The theme is reinforced by the
Responsorial Psalm (Ps 33), and also finds a particular development in the
Gospel of Peter’s confession, where Christ promises that the powers of hell
shall not prevail against his Church (cf. Mt 16:18).

Observing closely we note
a certain progression regarding this issue. In the first reading a specific
episode is narrated that shows the Lord’s intervention to free Peter from
prison. In the second Paul, on the basis of his extraordinary apostolic
experience, is convinced that the Lord, who already freed him “from the
mouth of the lion “delivers him” from all evil”, by opening the
doors of Heaven to him. In the Gospel we no longer speak of the individual
Apostles, but the Church as a whole and its safekeeping from the forces of
evil, in the widest and most profound sense. Thus we see that the promise of
Jesus – “the powers of hell shall not prevail” on the Church – yes,
includes the historical experience of persecution suffered by Peter and Paul
and other witnesses of the Gospel, but it goes further, wanting to protect
especially against threats of a spiritual order, as Paul himself writes in his
Letter to the Ephesians: ” For our struggle is not with flesh and blood
but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this
present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens”(Eph 6:12).


if we think of the two millennia of Church history, we can see that – as the
Lord Jesus had announced (cf. Mt 10.16-33) – Christians have never been lacking
in trials, which in some periods and places have assumed the character of real
persecution. These, however, despite the suffering they cause, are not the
greatest danger for the Church.
In fact it suffers greatest damage from what
pollutes the Christian faith and life of its members and its communities,
eroding the integrity of the Mystical Body, weakening its ability to prophesy
and witness, tarnishing the beauty of its face
. This reality is already
attested in the Pauline Epistle. The First Epistle to the Corinthians, for
example, responds to some problems of divisions, inconsistencies, of infidelity
to the Gospel which seriously threaten the Church. But the Second Letter to
Timothy – of which we heard an excerpt – speaks about the dangers of the
“last days”, identifying them with negative attitudes that belong to
the world and can infect the Christian community: selfishness, vanity, pride,
love of money, etc. (cf. 3.1 to 5). The Apostle’s conclusion is reassuring: men
who do wrong – he writes – “will not make further progress, for their
foolishness will be plain to all” (3.9). There is therefore a guarantee of
freedom promised by God to the Church
, it is freedom from the material bonds
that seek to prevent or coerce mission, both through spiritual and moral evils,
which may affect its authenticity and credibility

Thomas G Wenski pallium 2010.jpg

The theme of the freedom of
the Church, guaranteed by Christ to Peter, also has a specific relevance to the
rite of the imposition of the pallium, which we renew today for thirty-eight
metropolitan archbishops, to whom I address my most cordial greeting, extending
with it affection to all who have wanted to accompany them on this pilgrimage.
Communion with Peter and his successors, in fact, is the guarantee of freedom
for the Church’s Pastors and the Communities entrusted to them
. It is
highlighted on both levels in the aforementioned reflections. Historically,
union with the Apostolic See, ensures the particular Churches and Episcopal
Conferences freedom with respect to local, national or supranational powers,
that can sometimes hinder the mission of the ecclesial Church. Furthermore, and
most essentially, the Petrine ministry is a guarantee of freedom in the sense
of full adherence to truth and authentic tradition, so that the People of God
may be preserved from mistakes concerning faith and morals. Hence the fact that
each year the new Metropolitans come to Rome to receive the pallium from the
hands of the Pope, must be understood in its proper meaning, as a gesture of
communion, and the issue of freedom of the Church gives us a particularly
important key for interpretation. This is evident in the case of churches
marked by persecution, or subject to political interference or other hardships.
But this is no less relevant in the case of communities that suffer the
influence of misleading doctrines or ideological tendencies and practices
contrary to the Gospel. Thus the pallium becomes, in this sense, a pledge of
freedom, similar to the “yoke” of Jesus, that He invites us to take
up, each on their shoulders (Mt 11:29-30). While demanding, the commandment of
Christ is “sweet and light” and instead of weighing down on the bearer,
it lifts him up, thus the bond with the Apostolic See – while challenging –
sustains the Pastor and the portion of the Church entrusted to his care, making
them freer and stronger.

at the confession B16 & Patr rep 2010.jpg

I would like to draw a final point from the Word of
God, in particular from Christ’s promise that the powers of hell shall not
prevail against his Church. These words may also have a significant ecumenical
value, since, as I mentioned earlier, one of the typical effects of the Devil
is division within the Church community. The divisions are in fact symptoms of
the power of sin, which continues to act in members of the Church even after
. But the word of Christ is clear: ” Non praevalebunt – it will
not prevail” (Matt. 16:18). The unity of the Church is rooted in its union
with Christ, and the cause of full Christian unity – always to be sought and
renewed from generation to generation – is well supported by his prayer and his
. In the fight against the spirit of evil, God has given us in Jesus the
‘Advocate’, defender, and after his Easter, “another Paraclete” (Jn
14:16), the Holy Spirit, which remains with us always and leads the Church into
the fullness of truth (cf. Jn 14:16; 16:13), which is also the fullness of
charity and unity. With these feelings of confident hope, I am pleased to greet
the delegation of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, which, in the beautiful
custom of reciprocal visits, participates in the celebrations of the patron
saints of Rome. Together we thank God for progress in ecumenical relations
between Catholics and Orthodox, and we renew our commitment to generously
reciprocate to God’s grace, which leads us to full communion.

Dear friends, I
cordially greet all of you: Cardinals, Brother Bishops, Ambassadors and civil
authorities, in particular the Mayor of Rome, priests, religious and lay
faithful. Thank you for your presence. May the Saints Peter and Paul help you
to grow in love for the holy Church, the Mystical Body of Christ the Lord and
messenger of unity and peace for all men. May they also help you to offer the
hardships and sufferings endured for fidelity to the Gospel with joy for her
holiness and her mission. May the Virgin Mary, Queen of Apostles and Mother of
the Church, always watch over you and especially over the Ministry of
metropolitan archbishops. With her heavenly help may you always live and act in
that freedom that Christ has won for us. Amen.

St Peter is the “absolute and reliable rock,” Fr Giussani told us

together with the pope.jpg

Today in Rome members of the various Catholic lay ecclesial movements
like Focolare, Sant’Egidio, Catholic Action and Communion and Liberation are
gathering in Rome as a sign of prayerful solidarity at the Regina Coeli address
of the Pope in Saint Peter’s Square. Indeed, in a sign of friendship and
obedience to the Successor of Saint Peter, Pope Benedict XVI. And as a sign of
this worldwide communion with the Pope, members of Communion and Liberation are
gathering in cities around the world in prayer for the Pope and the Church.

According to news about the event, about 150,000 people flooded Saint Peter’s Square. The Pope said that he was comforted by the “beautiful and spontaneous show of faith and solidarity.”

Here in New York, for example, CL is attending the Mass at Saint Patrick’s
Cathedral with Archbishop Timothy Dolan and will pray the rosary together.

understand these pious and fraternal gestures of CL, here are some thoughts of
Monsignor Luigi Giussani that may give a fuller appreciation of the
companionship of faith and brotherhood we all share.

father and daughter.jpg

Christianity is an
irreducible event, an objective presence that desires to reach man; until the
very end, it means to be a provocation to him, and to offer a judgment of him.
Jesus said to the Apostles after his Resurrection, “Behold, I am with you always,
even to the end of the world” (Mt 28:20).

Christianity will have a dramatic and
decisive bearing on man’s life only if it is understood in accordance with its
originality and its factual density, which, two thousand years ago, had the
form of a single man. Yet even when He was still living, he also had the face
of people whom he had brought together, and then sent out two by two, to do
what He had been doing, and what he had told them to do; they came back
together and returned to him. Later, united as one, this people went out to the
entire known world to present that Fact. The face of that single man today is
the unity of believers, who are the sign of him in the world, or as Saint Paul
says, who are his Body, his mysterious Body – also called “the people of God” –
guided and guaranteed by a living person, the Bishop of Rome.

If the Christian
fact is not recognized and grasped in its proper originality, it becomes
nothing more than a ponderous occasion for all sorts of interpretations and
opinions, or perhaps even for works; but then it lies alongside of or more
often subordinate to all of life’s other promptings.

(Religious Awareness in
Modern Man, Communio, vol. XXV, n.1, Spring 1998, pp. 134-135)

The supreme
authority is the one in which we find the meaning of all our experience. Jesus
Christ is this supreme authority, and it is His Spirit who makes us understand
this, opens us up to faith in Him and His person. “Just as the Father has sent
me so do I send you.” (See John 20:21) The apostles and their successors (the
Pope and the bishops) constitute, in history, the living continuation of the
authority who is Christ. In their dynamic succession in history and their
multiplication throughout the world, Christ’s mystery is proposed ceaselessly,
clarified without errors, defended without compromise. Therefore, they
constitute the place, like a reliable and effervescent spring, where humanity
can draw on the true meaning of its own existence, probing ever deeper. 
genius is to the cry of human need, what prophecy is to our cry of expectancy,
so the apostles and their successors are to announcing the response. But just
as the true answer is always perfectly specific and concrete with respect to
the expectancy which is inevitably vague and subject to illusions – so are
they, like an absolute and reliable rock, infallible: “You are Peter and on
this rock I shall build my Church.” (Matthew 16:17ff.)

B16 May 16 2010.jpg

Their authority not only
constitutes the sure criterion for that vision of the universe and history that
alone explains their (i.e., the universe’s and history’s) meaning; it is also
vital – it steadfastly stimulates a true culture and persistently points to a
total vision. It inexorably condemns any exaltation of the particular and
idealization of the contingent; that is, it condemns all error and idolatry.
The authority of the Pope and bishops, therefore, is the ultimate guide on the
pilgrimage towards a genuine sharing of our lives [convivenza], towards a true

Where that authority is not vital and vigilant, or where it is
under attack, the human pathway becomes complicated, ambiguous, and unstable;
it veers towards disaster, even when on the exterior it seems powerful,
flourishing, and astute, as is the case today. Where that authority is active
and respected, the historic pilgrimage is confidently renewed with serenity; it
is deep, genuinely human, even when the expressive methods and dynamics of
sharing lives are roughshod and difficult.

Still today it is the gift of the
Spirit that allows us to discover the profound meaning of Ecclesiastical
Authority as a supreme directive on the human path. Here is the origin of that
ultimate abandonment and of that conscious obedience to it – this is why it is
not the locus of the Law but of Love. One cannot understand the experience of
that definitive devotion that binds the “faithful” to Authority without taking
into consideration the influence of the Spirit, and that devotion often affirms
itself on the Cross of a mortification of the drive of our own genius or our
plans for life.

(The Journey to Truth Is an Experience, Montreal:
McGill-Queen’s University Press 2006, pp. 73-75)

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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