Tag Archives: L’Osservatore Romano

Pope Paul VI remembered for a faith that is open

The Venerable Servant of God Pope Paul VI died on this day in 1978, the Feast of the Transfiguration. He was the Roman Pontiff for 15 years. Notable in his pontificate were several events: the closing of the Second Vatican Council, the erection of the created a Secretariat for non-Christians, later renamed the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, the publication of 7 encyclicals including the most contentious of the 20th century, Humane Vitae, the mutual lifting of the ex communications between Rome and Constantinople (Patriarch Athenagoras) and the meeting with Pope Shenouda III (of Egypt) resolving Christological differences, the meeting with Archbishop Michael Ramsey of Canterbury, plus he held 6 consistories that created 143 cardinals. The reform of the sacred Liturgy is likely the one enduring bone of contention that gets lots of people riled up to this day.

It must be said in my opinion, not all the problems that Paul faced were of his making. Society was haywire which adversely affected the Church in all quadrants.

Back in June the Vatican newspaper published a translation of a homily likely never read in English by many Americans given to honor the deceased Pontiff by the cardinal-archbishop of Munich, Joseph Ratzinger.

In a homily given by Joseph Ratzinger recalling Pope Paul VI, he said, “the transfiguration promised by the faith as the transformation of man is above all a journey of purification, a journey of suffering. Paul VI accepted his papal service increasingly as a transformation of faith in suffering. The last words of the Risen Lord to Peter, after constituting him as the Shepherd of his flock, were: “when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go” (Jn 21:18).  It was a reference to the cross awaiting Peter  at the end of his journey. It was, in general, a reference to the nature of this service. Paul VI let himself be lead more and more where as a human being he did not want to go alone. More and more the pontificate meant for him wearing the cloth of another, being nailed to the cross. (…) He gave new value to authority as service, bearing it as suffering. He took no pleasure in power, in position, in a successful career; and it was precisely because of this, his dutiful authority – ‘they will lead you where you do not want to go’ – became great and credible. Paul VI  carried out his service by faith. From this derived  both his firmness and his willingness to compromise. For both he was criticized, and some comments after his death were even in bad taste.  But today a Pope who  isn’t criticized  would be failing to carry out his duty to this age.  Paul VI resisted the intense scrutiny of the media, the powers of the day. He could do this because he didn’t consider success and approval the measure of truth and faith, but rather his conscience.

Those who met him in his last years were able to experience directly his extraordinary transformation in faith, its transfiguring power. One could see how much the man, who by his nature was an intellectual, surrendered himself day after day to Christ, how he let himself be changed, transformed, purified by him, and  how this made him ever more free, ever more profound, good, perceptive and simple.

Faith is a death, but it is also a metamorphosis for entering into authentic life, towards transfiguration. In Pope Paul one could see all this. Faith gave him courage. Faith gave him goodness. And in him it was also clear that a faith of conviction is not closed but open. In the end, our memory will treasure the image of a man who held out his hands. He was the first Pope to have travelled to all the continents, fixing in this way an itinerary of the Spirit, which began in Jerusalem, the centre of meeting and of parting of the three great monotheistic religions; then his journey to the United Nations, to Geneva, his meeting with humanity’s greatest non-monotheistic religious cultures, India, and his pilgrimage to the people who suffer in Latin America, in Africa, in Asia. Faith holds out its hands. Its sign is not a fist, but an open hand”.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
1978 homily for Pope Paul VI
L’Osservatore Romano
21 June 2013

Responding to the mystery of the living God as beggars of faith

A person with certitude in someone or something is going to propose that you consider making an inquiry into what is the cause of your certainty and hope. Naturally we will want to share with others and to deepen within ourselves a reality that blossoms as a beautiful new flower. The draw of that flower is no mere superficial thing: there is hope, beauty, expectation, communication, an essentiality that is unique. This is the role of the Pope who gives good example and daily tells us the cause of his joy and hope in being a friend of Jesus Christ. He encourages to look deeper into our faith in Christ and not to settle for less than what has been offered, that is, everything.

“Being Christian is not just obeying orders but means being in Christ, thinking like Him, acting like Him, loving like Him; it means letting Him take possession of our life and change it, transform it and free it from the darkness of evil and sin” (Pope Francis, General Audience, April 10, 2013).

The head of the ecclesial movement, Communion and Liberation, Father Julián Carrón reflects on what it means to be a Christian today with the help of the new pope in L’Osservatore Romano (18 May 2013), in “As Beggars of Faith.” It is a brief reflection on what he sees going on with Pope Francis leading the Church as he meets with the Church’s many ecclesial movements.

The text of Father Carrón’s reflection is here: JCarrón As Beggars of Faith.pdf

Pope Francis’ books draw on Ignatian spirituality

Have you been wondering what the Pope has published? Well, look no further. L’Osservatore Romano is publishing an article in tomorrow’s edition on Francis’ books. With Pope Francis leading the Church I think there will be a resurgence of Ignatian spirituality –as distinct from “Jesuit spirituality”, inhabiting our Christian lives. I am sure these books will be published in various languages before long.

The first two books in Italian by Jorge Mario Bergoglio were presented on Tuesday, 26 March in the offices of Civiltà Cattolica. They are published by Editrice Missionaria Italiana (Emi): Umiltà, la strada verso Dio (Bologna, 2013,  64 pages, € 6.90, with an afterword by Enzo Bianchi) and Guarire dalla corruzione (Bologna 2013, 64 pages, € 6.90, with an afterword by Pietro Grasso) and are collections of  addresses that the Cardinal Archbishop of  Buenos Aires gave in 2005 to the faithful of the archdiocese.

Both books draw on the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola to describe  its deep inner workings and offer solutions to extremely pertinent phenomena such as corruption in both society and the Church, as well as the urgent need for an ecclesial life distinguished by brotherly holiness.

Speakers at the meeting chaired by Fr Antonio Spadaro, editor-in-chief  of the Jesuit journal, were Lucetta Scaraffia, an Italian historian, Fr Luigi Ciotti and Lorenzo FazzinI, director of Editrice Missionaria Italiana.

Bergoglio stated:

“Factions fighting to impose the hegemony of their own viewpoint and preferences are  fairly common in religious communities, both local and provincial. This occurs when charitable openness to neighbour is replaced by each individual’s own ideas. It is no longer the religious  family as a whole which the religious defends, but only the part of it that concerns him. People no longer adhere to the unity that contributes to configuring the Body of Christ, but rather to the divisive, distorting, and debilitating conflict. For formation teachers and superiors it is not always easy to inculcate a sense of belonging to the family spirit, especially when it is necessary to shape inner attitudes, even small ones, but which have repercussions at this level of the institutional body. One of the effective attitudes that must acquire substance in the hearts of young religious is that of ‘self-accusation’, for it is in the absence of this practice that the spirit of  separation and division is rooted. It is therefore essential first of all to ban every  reference, even an unconscious one, and every kind of pharisaic attitude that presents self-accusation as something puerile or characteristic of the cowardly. Self-accusation, rather, presupposes a rare courage in order to open the door to unknown realities and let others see beyond my appearance. It means removing all our make-up so that the truth may shine through.

The accusation of ourselves (which is only a means) is the basis in which the fundamental option puts down roots: for anti-individualism and for a family and Church spirit which brings us to relate as good children and good siblings, so as to succeed later in being good parents. Accusing ourselves implies a fundamentally communitarian attitude.”

Pope meets 
with Vatican gardeners and cleaners


The L’Osservatore Romano reported today that “When we have a heart of stone it happens that we pick up real stones and stone Jesus Christ in the person of our brothers and sisters, especially the weakest of them. Pope Francis said this, commenting on the day’s Readings during the Mass he celebrated on Friday morning in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

It was a simple celebration to which the Pope invited employees of the garden and cleaning services of the Governorate of Vatican City State. He gave them a brief homily, focused in particular on the Gospel passage of John which recounts the episode of the Jews who wanted to stone Jesus.


Speaking of God in 140 characters

Pope with iPad.jpgThe Pope will tweet. Is this a mortal sin or a gospel value?

In today’s L’Osservatore Romano edition Mario Ponzi
writes of Pope Benedict’s latest venture into tweeting. The Pope is not going to give up his love of books, old fashion research and handwriting his talks, but he’s diving into more deeply in the digital world. He’ll have to keep his message
to 140 characters. Can he do it? I am sure the clarity of the Pope can be
limited to a mere 140 characters. It’s ancient history now in cyberworld but it
was June 2011 that the Holy Father touched his own iPad launching the Vatican’s
News.va portal; tweeting in five languages
is a polymath way of  communicating
at the Vatican.

Archbishop Claudio Maria Celli, 71, president of the Pontifical
Council for Social Communications
 since 2007, last week delivered his keynote address at
the 100th anniversary of Our Sunday Visitor. Celli has been hardworking in
moving the Holy See into the 21st century with an acceptance of social media and its benefits for communicating the gospel effectively today.

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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]yahoo.com.
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