Thursday, May 20, 2010

On H.H. The Pope's pronouncements during (and shortly before and after) his trip to Fatima

In reverse chronological order:



VATICAN CITY, 13 MAY 2010 (VIS) - ...

[...] The Pope continued: "I express my deep appreciation for all those social and pastoral initiatives aimed at combating the socio-economic and cultural mechanisms which lead to abortion, and openly concerned with defending life and promoting the reconciliation and healing of those harmed by the tragedy of abortion".

"Initiatives aimed at protecting the essential and primary values of life from its conception, and of the family based on indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman, help to respond to some of today's most insidious and dangerous threats to the common good. Such initiatives represent, along with many other forms of commitment, essential elements in the building of the civilisation of love".

PV-PORTUGAL/ VIS 20100514 (750)

This didn't go down too well with the usual suspects, such as The Rev. Fr. James Martin S.J., culture editor at the American Jesuit magazine America.



VATICAN CITY, 13 MAY 2010 (VIS) - [...]

"In truth", [His Holiness] said, "the times in which we live demand a new missionary vigour on the part of Christians, who are called to form a mature laity, identified with the Church and sensitive to the complex transformations taking place in our world. Authentic witnesses to Jesus Christ are needed, above all in those human situations where the silence of the faith is most widely and deeply felt: among politicians, intellectuals, communications professionals who profess and promote a mono-cultural ideal, with disdain for the religious and contemplative dimension of life. Such circles
contain many believers who are ashamed of their beliefs and who even give a helping hand to this type of secularism, which raises barriers before Christian inspiration. And yet, dear brothers, may all those who defend the faith in these situations, with courage, with a vigorous Catholic outlook and in fidelity to the Magisterium, continue to receive your help and your insightful encouragement in order to live out their Christian freedom as faithful lay men and women".

[...] Turning then to consider the movements and new ecclesial communities, which he described as "new springtime" for the Church, the Holy Father said: "Thanks to their charisms, the radicality of the Gospel, the objective contents of the faith, the living flux of Church tradition, are all being communicated in a persuasive way and welcomed as a personal experience, as free adherence to the mystery of Christ".

PV-PORTUGAL/ VIS 20100514 (970)

"[T]his type of secularism"? But what type of secularism would a Catholic ever want to support? I can't conceive of any. And "the living flux of Church tradition" is an unfortunate choice of words.



VATICAN CITY, 12 MAY 2010 (VIS) - [...]

Before the end of the ceremony, the Pope entrusted priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. "We are mindful that, without Jesus, we can do nothing good", he said, "and that only through Him, with Him and in Him, will we be instruments of salvation for the world.

"Bride of the Holy Spirit, obtain for us the inestimable gift of transformation in Christ. Through the same power of the Spirit that overshadowed you, making you the Mother of the Saviour, help us to bring Christ your Son to birth in ourselves too. May the Church be thus renewed by priests who are holy, priests transfigured by the grace of Him Who makes all things new".

"Help us, through your powerful intercession, never to fall short of this sublime vocation, nor to give way to our selfishness, to the allurements of the world and to the wiles of the Evil One".

"Mother of the Church, we priests want to be pastors who do not feed themselves but rather give themselves to God for their brethren, finding their happiness in this. Not only with words, but with our lives, we want to repeat humbly, day after day, our 'here I am'".

PV-PORTUGAL/ VIS 20100513 (860)

For reactions to this, see here, and see here for the text of the Consecration. I see this as a welcome development, a step towards the Consecration of Russia.



VATICAN CITY, 13 MAY 2010 (VIS) - [...]

The shepherd children "offered their whole lives to God and shared them fully with others for love of God", said the Holy Father, highlighting how "we would be mistaken to think that Fatima's prophetic mission is complete. ... Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end. In Sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and He does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: 'Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which He will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which He is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?'.

[...] Benedict concluded his homily by expressing the hope that "the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions" may "hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Blessed Trinity".

PV-PORTUGAL/ VIS 20100513 (830)

This also is heartening. And I wonder what the ellipsis in "complete. ... Mankind" replaced?



VATICAN CITY, 11 MAY 2010 (VIS) - This morning during his flight to Portugal, the Holy Father responded - as he traditionally does on his flights abroad - to a number of questions put to him by the journalists accompanying him on the papal plane.

Answering a query about the current secularisation of Portugal, a once profoundly Catholic country, the Holy Father replied that Portugal "has carried the faith to all corners of the world; a courageous, intelligent and creative faith. ... The dialectic between secularism and faith in Portugal has a long history", he said, noting how "over centuries of discussion between enlightenment, secularism and faith, there has never been a lack of people who have sought to build bridges and create dialogue".

"I believe that the task and mission of Europe in this situation is to discover such dialogue, integrating faith and modern rationality into a single anthropological vision which completes the human being and thus also makes human cultures able to communicate with one another. Thus I would say that secularism is normal, but separation and contrast between secularism and the culture of faith is anomalous and must be overcome. The great challenge of the current time is for the two to meet and thus discover their true identity. This, as I have said, is a mission for Europe and the [great] human need of our own history".


The third question put to the Pope concerned the significance of the apparitions of Fatima and whether the third secret, apart from referring to the shooting of John Paul II, also referred to the Church's suffering for the sexual abuse of minors.

"Apart from the great vision of the Pope's suffering, which we can primarily ascribe to Pope John Paul II", said Pope Benedict, the apparitions "indicate events of the future of the Church, which develop and are revealed little by little. Thus it is true that, apart from the moment indicated by the vision, we see the need for a passion of the Church, a passion naturally reflected in the person of the Pope, but the Pope stands for the Church and thus it is the sufferings of the Church that are being announced".

"As for the novelties we can discover in this message today", he went on, "we may see that attacks against the Pope and the Church do not only come from outside; rather, the sufferings of the Church come from inside the Church, from the sin that exists in the Church. This was always common knowledge, but today we see it in truly terrifying form: the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from external enemies, but is born of sin within the Church. Thus the Church has a profound need to relearn penance, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness but also the need for justice. Forgiveness does not replace justice".
PV-PORTUGAL/ VIS 20100512 (650)

Well, I can't say that I was too enthused at hearing His Holiness speak of "integrating faith and modern rationality into a single anthropological vision which completes the human being"; it brought to mind Msgr. Tissier's recent article Faith Imperilled by Reason: The Hermeneutics of Benedict XVI. And I reject that secularism can be regarded as "normal" in any other sense than that, unfortunately, there happens no longer to be a significant number of Catholic Confessional States; in every other respect secularism is quite abnormal, since the Social Reign of Christ is the norm.



VATICAN CITY, 11 MAY 2010 (VIS) - [...]

In this context, Benedict XVI recalled how the foundation of a republic in Portugal 100 years ago, "by distinguishing between Church and State, opened a new space of freedom for the Church (to which the two Concordats of 1940 and 2004 later gave form) in a cultural and ecclesial context deeply marked by rapid changes. The sufferings caused by the transformations were, in general, faced with courage", he said.

PV-PORTUGAL/ VIS 20100511 (790)

The first thing to note is that His Holiness speaks here of a distinction between, not a separation of, Church and State. Yet according to Mr. John L. Allen, Jr.,

Benedict hailed the secular separation of church and state for “opening up a new area of freedom for the church,”

This is not the first time when Catholic news agents who should know better have misrepresented His Holiness's words on these matters; here's an excerpt from a Zenit article from December 2008:

Pope: Church-State Separation a Sign of Progress

Says Division Between Caesar and God Is Fundamental

ROME, DEC. 15, 2008 ( Church-state separation is one of the signs of the progress of humanity, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this Saturday when he visited the Italian embassy to the Holy See.

The Church "not only recognizes and respects the distinction and autonomy" of the state vis-à-vis the Church, but also "takes joy in this as one of the great advances of humanity," he said.

This separation is "a fundamental condition for [the Church's] very liberty and the fulfillment of its universal mission of salvation among all peoples," the Holy Father added. "This brief visit is conducive to reaffirming that the Church is very aware that the distinction between what is of Caesar and what is of God belongs to the fundamental structure of Christianity." [...]


But in fact, His Holiness never spoke of "separation" during that address; here is what he had to say:

“This brief visit allows me to reaffirm that the Church is very aware that the distinction between what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God, that is to say, the distinction between State and Church, is a part of the fundamental structure of Christianity. ... This distinction and autonomy are respected and recognized by the Church which is happy with them, considering them a great progress for humanity and a fundamental condition for its freedom and for fulfilling its universal mission of salvation among the peoples".
[VIS 081215 (600)]

And of course, in the previously-cited VIS 20100512 (650), His Holiness said that "separation and contrast between secularism and the culture of faith is anomalous and must be overcome". Nevertheless, I concede that His Holiness's words are hardly an unequivocal preaching of the Social Kingship of Christ, and for a Portuguese reaction (in English) to what the Holy Father said, see here.

But, of course, it is His Holiness's re-opening of the Third Secret controversy which will be of lasting significance; see here for an article by Mr. Ferrara on the matter.

Reginaldvs Cantvar
Feast of St. Bernardine of Siena, Confessor, A.D. 2010

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Applied Christian politics 101.

Such was INEVITABLY the case when the church was coopted by the Roman state, and thus become an integral (key) player in the Western imperial project and its drive to total power and control.

This image is featured in the book The Pentagon of Power by Lewis Mumford--essential reading re the origins and development of what Mumford called the Invisible Megamachine--the ultimate form of which IS the Pentagon military-industrial-complex. Quite literally the "culture" of death.