Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Do you think he could say ths infallibly?

Coming to the end of his summer holiday, Pope Benedict is emphasizing environmentalism.

"We must respect the interior laws of creation, of this Earth, to learn these laws and obey them if we want to survive," B16 said, according to MSNBC. "This obedience to the voice of the Earth is more important for our future happiness . . . than the desires of the moment. Our Earth is talking to us and we must listen to it and decipher its message if we want to survive."

Could the pope soon be exchanging white for green in his daily attire? If there's one thing you can say about B16, he's fashion forward.

Of course, I'm not a big fan of randomly invoking infallibility, but climate change is a planetary emergency--and a major moral issue.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Off with his red-hatted head?

U.S. Catholic writer Bob McClory, whose article on the sex abuse crisis five years on appears in the August issue of U.S. Catholic, was on KABC radio in Los Angeles this morning talking about the eye-popping settlement of the abuse claims in that archdiocese. The host of the show called for Cardinal Mahony's resignation, but I find myself, surprisingly, disagreeing.

It may be true that Mahony deserves to be fired; he probably would be if he was the head of a school district that handled allegations of sexual abuse in the way the archdiocese did. But if we've learned anything from the resignation of former Boston Archbishop Bernard Law, it's that episcopal execution does not always equal justice. Law now manages a palace of a church in Rome and is still incredibly influential in the Curia. And the abuse victims in Boston never got the full truth from the horse's mouth.

As long as Cardinal Mahony is still in office in L.A., he will be under constant pressure for fuller disclosure of who knew what and when, which is the stated goal of many victims groups. If he leaves, he'll never have to answer another question.

A billion dollars?

That shocking number is not a mistake, and that' s about the final cost of the LA archdiocese's massive settlement with almost 600 victims of sexual abuse by clergy, religious, and other church workers that was announced over the weekend and approved today. You can read the LA Times coverage here. The $1 billion is the combination of a previous $114 paid to 86 victims, a December settlement of $60 million of 45 victims, and today $660 million whopper to 508 victims. Add legal fees and incidentals, and that's about a billion dollars.

What is amazing to me is the lack of outrage on the part of LA Catholics. The cash settlement alone--$250 million in archdiocesan assets--is a tremendous burden for the people of God in LA to bear. And let us not forget, that money and property didn't just fall out of heaven. It was given to the church leadership in trust, and because of the failures of that leadership that exposed the church to liability, it is now being liquidated. That's a tragedy that demands redress, and we have yet to see the kind of reform that will bring the transparency and accountability that Catholics deserve.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Giving new meaning to "ecumenism"

Speaking of mice and cookies (see previous posts), the Vatican has unloaded its second barrel against Vatican II, this time by basically restating the elements of its 2000 document Dominus Iesus in relation to other Christian communions in a new missive from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In short, the Orthodox are "wounded" because they lack a proper relationship (of submission?) with the bishop of Rome, and the Protestants aren't churches at all because they lack apostolic succession.

Two documents in two days aimed at two crucial elements of Vatican II, the liturgical reform and ecumenism. Both seemed geared toward appeasing the extreme right wing of Catholicism (and alienating the broad middle?). What's next, a document repudiating religious freedom--another complaint against Vatican II leveled by the Lefebvrites? What about the document on Judaism?

Then comes this spin from Father Augustine Di Noia, Under-Secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as reported by the Washington Post:

"The Church is not backtracking on ecumenical commitment. But, as you know, it is fundamental to any kind of dialogue that the participants are clear about their own identity. That is, dialogue cannot be an occasion to accommodate or soften what you actually understand yourself to be." So just what is our "ecumenical commitment"? Repeating over and over that everyone else is wrong, and all they need to do is be just like us?

No matter what his intentions, Pope Benedict has just made incredible concessions to those who oppose Vatican II and claiming major power--reinterpreting an ecumenical council--for the bishop of Rome.

Bad news indeed.


We're being eaten by a boa constrictor

If you doubted that the Society of St. Pius X would not be satisfied with a restoration of the Missal of Pius V--the actual name for the Tridentine liturgical book, not the "Missal of Blessed John XXIII," which is ridiculous spin--consider SSPX head Bernard Fellay's response, as reported by Zenit:

"Difficulties that still remain [but the SSPX] wishes that the favorable climate established by the new dispositions of the Holy See will make it possible--after the decree of excommunication which still affects its bishops has been withdrawn--to consider more serenely the disputed doctrinal issues." In other words, we haven't gotten our way yet. Just a little more... a little more ...

All this to restore communion with about 1 million Lefebvrites.

But wait, there's more. See the next post.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Liturgical revisionism

I just can't pass this up, from Summorum Ponitificum, which, incidentally, the Vatican website has not made available in English:

I just can't pass this up, from Summorum Ponitificum, which, incidentally, the Vatican website has not made available in English:

"In more recent times, the Second Vatican Council expressed a desire that the respectful reverence due to divine worship should be renewed and adapted to the needs of our time. Moved by this desire our predecessor, the Supreme Pontiff Paul VI, approved, in 1970, reformed and partly renewed liturgical books for the Latin Church. These, translated into the various languages of the world, were willingly accepted by bishops, priests and faithful. John Paul II amended the third typical edition of the Roman Missal. Thus Roman Pontiffs have operated to ensure that "this kind of liturgical edifice ... should again appear resplendent for its dignity and harmony."[4]"

What a bunch of nonsense! Vatican II did not "express a desire"; in a near-unanimous vote, the bishops ordered a "general reform" of the liturgy. And nowhere does the phrase "respectful reverence" appear; their phrases were "full, conscious, and active," and "right and duty of the baptized." B16 makes it sound like Paul VI issued the new liturgical books on a whim.

This is an amazing piece of papalizing theology, and an amazing exercise of papal power. The repudiation of the council is not only liturgical but ecclesiological as well. Collegiality has flown right out the window.

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Pope dumps Council

As expected, Pope Benedict XVI has issues is motu propio (meaning "on his own initiative, and this surely is), Summorum pontificum, liberalizing the use of the pre-Vatican II liturgies for all the sacraments, save Holy Orders, it seems. The old Roman Missal is being styled the "Missal of Blessed John XXIII," which is rich indeed, since all J23 did to the liturgy was add St. Joseph to the Roman Canon.

Though the pope insists this is not a repudiation of Vatican II, one has to wonder if the liturgical principles of "full, conscious, and active participation" as the "paramount concern" of the reform of the liturgy will be observed as the old liturgy is resurrected. Those principles were, after all, taught by an ecumenical council called by the pope. And what about the lectionary? The liturgy constitution says that the "treasures of the scriptures" should be opened for the faithful in the liturgy. Will the old lectionary also be used, which has only a single cycle of readings (epistle and gospel) and as opposed to the vastly superior three-year cycle (Old Testament, epistle, and gospel reading) of the reformed liturgy. I doubt it.

I can only echo the words of the Italian bishop Luca Brandolini as reported by the Washington Post: "A reform for which many people worked, with great sacrifice and only inspired by the desire to renew the Church, has now been canceled."

Of course, now we can only wait and see if the introduction of a second Roman rite into use will indeed bring greater unity. I doubt it, especially since Bishop Fellay of the schismatic Society of Pius X has already said that there can be no further steps to unity until Rome lifts the excommunications imposed in 1988.

What is it that they say about giving a mouse a cookie?

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