Tag Archives: truth

Defender of the Bond is an icon of the Good Shepherd

Cardinal BurkeOn November 8, the Holy Father Francis received in audience participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature with the Prefect, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke (he’s one of our American Prelates in service to the Holy Father at the Curia). A plenary session allows for the consulters and those assigned to a particular office to meet to discuss business but also to meet with the Pope so as to hear what he has to say on a  particular theme of his choosing. A plenary session is held once a year.

The Wisconsin native, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke is a brilliant noteworthy churchman. His Eminence  earned his doctorate in Canon Law from the Gregorian University in 1984. John Paul named Burke to be the Defender of the Bond of the same tribunal he now leads. He was previously the bishop of La Crosse and archbishop of St Louis. Pope Benedict appointed him to the present work in 2008 and a cardinal in 2010.

Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, one of three ecclesiastical tribunals of the Holy See, is the highest judicial authority of the Church; the Prefect, acting in the name of the Pope, is the minister of justice. The decree of justice is sent under a signature, hence, “signature,” administering the justice asked for by the people of God. There are 25 prelates who assist the Prefect and his staff. You can learn more about the ministry of the Apostolic Signature by reading the articles in Pastor Bonus.

Here, the Pope focuses on truth and justice in the work of the Defender of the Bond with regard to the sacrament of Marriage. The Defender of the Bond and the judge of martial cases work together to ascertain the truth and are not in competition with each other but is the point of communion between what is revealed in scripture, lived in the sacraments and lived in the world. You can see to what extent Mother Church tries to care for her married children in a time of hurt and discouragement.

The following his Francis’ talk with my emphasis.

This, your Plenary Session, gives me the opportunity to receive all of you who work in the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, expressing to each one my gratitude for the promotion of the correct administration of justice in the Church. I greet you cordially and I thank the Cardinal Prefect for the words with which he introduced our meeting.

Your activity is geared to fostering the work of the ecclesiastical tribunals, called to respond adequately to the faithful who turn to the justice of the Church to obtain a correct decision. You do your utmost so that they function well, and you support the responsibility of bishops in forming suitable ministers of justice. Among these, the Defender of the Bond carries out an important function, especially in the process of matrimonial nullity. It is necessary, in fact, that he be able to fulfill his own part with efficacy, to facilitate the attainment of truth in the definitive sentence, in favor of the pastoral good of the parties in question.

In this regard, the Apostolic Signature has offered significant contributions. I am thinking in particular of the collaboration in the preparation of the Instruction Dignitas connubii, which explains the applicable trial norms. Placed in this line also is the present Plenary Session, which has put at the center of its works the promotion of an effective defense of the matrimonial bond in the canonical processes of nullity.

The attention given to the ministry of the Defender of the Bond is without a doubt opportune, because his presence and his intervention are obligatory for the whole development of the process (cf. Dignitas connubii, 56, 1-2; 279, 1). Foreseen in the same way is that he must propose all sorts of proofs, exceptions, recourses and appeals that, in respect of the truth, foster the defense of the bond.

The mentioned Instruction describes, in particular, the role of the Defender of the Bond in the causes of nullity for psychic incapacity, which in some Tribunals constitute the sole reason for nullity. It underlines the diligence that he must put in assessing the questions addressed to the experts, as well as the results of the opinions themselves (cf. 56, 4). Therefore, the Defender of the Bond who wishes to render a good service cannot limit himself to a hasty reading of the acts, or to bureaucratic and generic answers. In his delicate task, he is called to try to harmonize the prescriptions of the Code of Canon Law with the concrete situations of the Church and of society.

The faithful and complete fulfillment of the task of the Defender of the Bond does not constitute a pretension damaging of the prerogatives of the ecclesiastical judge, to whom corresponds solely the definition of the cause. When the Defender of the Bond exercises the duty to appeal, also to the Roman Rota, against a decision which he holds damaging to the truth of the bond, his task does not abuse that of the judge. In fact, the judges can find, in the careful work of him who defends the matrimonial bond, a help to their own activity.

The Second Ecumenical Vatican Council defined the Church as communion. Seen in this perspective are the service of the Defender of the Bond and the consideration that is reserved to him, in a respectful and attentive dialogue.

A final, very important annotation as regards the workers committed in the ministry of ecclesial justice. They act in the name of the Church; they are part of the Church. Therefore, it is necessary to always keep alive the connection between the action of the Church that evangelizes and the action of the Church that administers justice. The service to justice is a commitment of apostolic life: it requires to be exercised by keeping one’s gaze fixed on the icon of the Good Shepherd, who bends down to the lost and wounded sheep.

At the conclusion of this meeting, I encourage you all to persevere in the search for a limpid and correct exercise of justice in the Church, in response to the legitimate desires that the faithful address to Pastors, especially when, confidently, they ask to have their own status authoritatively clarified. May Mary Most Holy, who we invoke with the title Speculum iustitiae, help you and the whole Church to walk on the path of justice, which is the first form of charity. Thank you and good work!

How Catholics use Scripture: Pope Francis talks on inspiration and truth in the Bible

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Yesterday, the Holy Father met with the members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (PBC) led by German Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The theme the PBC’s annual plenary assembly was “Inspiration and Truth in the Bible.” On the personal and parish level, this theme is revisited year-in and year-out. Catholics (and the Orthodox) have a particular way of praying, reading, studying and living the sacred Scripture that is very different from the Protestant ecclesial communities: from WITHIN the context of the living community of faith, i.e., the Liturgy.

Pope Francis paid close attention to this year’s work of the PBC by saying it “affects not only the individual believer but the whole Church, for the Church’s life and mission are founded on the Word of God, which is the soul of theology as well as the inspiration of all of Christian existence.”

He noted that in Dei Verbum the emphasis of what the nature of Scripture is, how the Church interprets Scripture, what is conserved by the Church, and by whose authority is at work. I  think one of the “money quotes” is when Francis reminded us that “The interpretation of Sacred Scriptures cannot be just an individual academic effort, but must always be compared to, inserted within, and authenticated by the living tradition of the Church.” 

The point we Catholics have to come to understand and to work on is that we are a biblically based religion, like none other, established by Jesus Christ, and preaching Him since 33 AD. We can’t get away from the Scriptures and that’s why bible study AND lectio divina are crucial every day. The Scriptures are testimony of how God works and humanity responds to God’s invitation.

Here is the Pope’s text:

I am pleased to welcome you at the end of your annual Plenary Assembly. I thank the President, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller, for his greeting and summary of the topic that has been the subject of careful consideration in the course of your work. You have gathered again to study a very important topic: the inspiration and truth of the Bible. It is a matter that affects not only the individual believer, but the whole Church, for the life and mission of the Church is founded on the Word of God, which is the soul of theology and the inspiration of all Christian life .

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What will Benedict XVIs legacy be in the years ahead?

Português: Cerimônia de canonização do frade b...

The answer to this question will not be in its final form for a long time. The papacy only ended a few weeks ago. Historians will have to look at several things before they will be able to reflect back with greater precision that a video or a blog commentary can provide in 2013. There are several things that Pope Benedict’s 8 year reign that give good indicators as to what we engage with in the years ahead. Many more intelligent than I have thought this question through, but Father Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Chicago has made a good first attempt when he posits that Benedict will be remembered for:

1. being able to give a more authentic interpretative key to the Second Vatican Council; that is, naming the true mission of the Church;
2. being able to present the objective truth of the faith as taught by the Church these 2 thousand years with the clear awareness that the truth is about the Divine Love lived in joy; this is often called affirmative orthodoxy: the big ‘yes’ vs. the fat ‘no’;
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Treachery to the truth today?

Theologians are after divine truth and not mere human opinions. There is a danger and a difficulty about this point. We are in danger of modern disregard of theology. . . . The danger nowadays is overemphasis on non-intellectual elements. This means a kind of treachery to the truth. It used to be assumed that man is a reasonable animal. The modern idea seems to be that man is first and foremost a creature with a heart. I am not prepared, however, to give up my reason in connection with the things of God.

Father Georges Florovsky

Remarks made at the Second World Conference on Faith and Order

Edinburgh, August 4, 1937

Is Father Florovsky correct in his perception? I tend to think so….

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Society is built upon gift of self and a well-formed conscience tells Croats, us

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I am very glad that the first engagement of my visit should
be with you, representing as you do key sectors of Croatian society and the
Diplomatic Corps. My cordial greetings go to each of you personally and
also to the important communities to which you belong: religious, political,
academic and cultural, the world of the arts, finance and sport. I thank
Archbishop Puljic and Professor Zurak for the kind words they have addressed to
me, and I thank the musicians who have welcomed me in the universal language of
music. This dimension of universality, characteristic of art and culture,
is particularly appropriate for Christianity and the Catholic Church. Christ is fully human, and whatever is human finds in him and in his word the
fullness of life and meaning.

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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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