Archive for the ‘Benedict XVI’ Category

Unlike the UK, the Holy See continues to celebrate Corpus Christi on the proper day. EWTN had a wonderful coverage of the Mass at St Peter’s Square and the procession to st Maria Maggiore. The most interesting development is how communion was given. Reception kneeling and on the tongue was the norm at least where the holy father gave out communion, one can even see the communion plate in use.

Here is Benedict XVI giving communion to one of the religious that assisted at the Mass:


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The CNS recently released this story

Archbishop to ordain priests using Tridentine Mass in Rome cathedral

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — A former Vatican official will ordain four traditionalist priests in a Tridentine Mass celebrated in the cathedral of Rome, church officials said.

The Feb. 23 ordination Mass in the Basilica of St. John Lateran will be the most prominent celebration of the old rite in Rome since Pope Benedict XVI relaxed restrictions on its use last year.

The Mass, to be celebrated by Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, will follow the 1962 Roman Missal, known commonly as the Tridentine rite. In July 2007 the pope issued new rules, saying the old rite could be used much more freely than before.

Those to be ordained are members of the Good Shepherd Institute, a society of apostolic life that uses only the Tridentine rite. The institute, based in France, is made up primarily of priests and seminarians who left the schismatic Society of St. Pius X and reconciled with the Vatican in 2006.

The Society of St. Pius X, founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, split with the Vatican years ago over liturgical and other issues.

In a statement, the Good Shepherd Institute expressed thanks to the pope and the Diocese of Rome.

“We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to the ecclesiastical authorities who have graciously allowed the celebration of this Mass to take place in the extraordinary form and in the cathedral of the Holy Father,” the statement said. [Want to bet that ‘the Ecclesiastical authorities’ is anyone but the Holy Father? Yes the Cardinal-Vicar would have had to be involved as well, but at the end of the day it’s the pope’s cathedral and diocese.]

“The Institute of the Good Shepherd wishes to take this opportunity to demonstrate its devotion to and communion with the Holy Father and, though him, its communion with the whole church,” it said.

Archbishop De Magistris is the retired head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, an office that deals with indulgences and matters of conscience. Last September, he celebrated a Mass of thanksgiving in Rome for the papal document that allowed wider use of the 1962 missal.


I can’t wait for the pictures..

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It has now been reported that the Good Friday prayer for the Jews has indeed been altered. If you remember there was a lot of talk about how the old one was ‘divisive’, ‘anti-semitic’ and on and on. Here is the new version as given in a recent note from the Vatican Secretariat of State:

Note by the Secretariat of State:

With reference to the dispositions contained in the Motu Proprio “Summorum Pontificum” of 7 July 2007, regarding the possibility to use the last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the II Vatican Council, published in 1962 by authority of Blessed John XXIII, the Holy Father Benedict XVI has decided that the Oremus et pro Judæis of the liturgy of Good Friday contained in said Missale Romanum be substituted by the following text:

Let us also pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord may enlighten their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Saviour of all men.

Let us pray. Let us bend our knees. Rise.

Almighty and eternal God, who want that all men be saved and attain the knowledge of the truth, propitiously grant that as the fullness of the Gentiles enters Thy Church, all Israel be saved. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

This text must be used, beginning in the current year, in all celebrations of the Liturgy of Good Friday according to the said Missale Romanum.

From the Vatican, 4 February 2008

Apparently the new version was produced by the Holy Father himself

-The “perfidious” removed as it already was in the 1962
-“Enlighten their hearts” instead of the Pauline “withdraw the veil from their hearts”

While I can see some people being less than thrilled about it, it is not a dramatic change and has the virtue of re-affirming the traditional soteriology of salvation only in and through Jesus Christ. I’m not sure that the Jewish groups that were campaigning for a change will be among those fully satisfied.
It’s worth noting that it seems to put the conversion of the Jews on hold until ‘the fullness of the Gentiles enters Thy Church’, which would put it around the Parousia or Second coming of Christ. Interestingly it ‘s a line similar to that taken by many apocalyptic protestant preachers that claim, ‘yes the Jews will convert but only at the return of Christ’. Are we giving up on the task of converting Israel as well as the rest of the world?

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The Catholic News Agency comes with this ‘shocking’ revelation

“Pope Faces ‘ad orientem’ in Sistine Chapel

Vatican City, Jan 15, 2008 / 04:22 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass on Sunday in the Sistine Chapel, using the church’s original altar beneath Michelangelo’s depiction of the Last Judgment instead of the removable altar used by Pope John Paul II.

The Vatican’s office for liturgical celebrations issued a statement saying the decision to use the old altar was used to respect “the beauty and the harmony of this architectural jewel.”

Using the old altar meant that Pope Benedict occasionally celebrated the liturgy with his back to the people, a posture called “ad orientem” or “towards the east” in the traditional phrasing. It was the first time Mass had been celebrated in the Chapel in such a way since the Second Vatican Council, which took place between 1962 and 1965.

The choice echoes part of the Pope’s reintroduction of traditional liturgical practices, some of which were phased out by the Second Vatican Council. The Pope has also encouraged the revival of Gregorian chant, a centuries-old style of liturgical music.”

There was also a picture pretending to be the holy father offering Mass in the Sistine chapel but oddly having the pillars for the baldacchino at the High Altar in St Peters in the background.. As such the article comes across as non-committal, simply reporting what has happened and when. Though the slight confusion with ‘his back to the people’ and ‘towards the East’ is a bit annoying, the simple ‘what-happened-when-and-where’ type of reporting is a welcome change

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One could argue for the use of coercion, by some force if necessary, in religious struggles where the faith is being attacked. For example; a priest who openly defies and preaches against the teachings of the Church can, and should, be removed from his office and if need be forcibly be compelled to leave his pulpit and rectory -with the help of proper legal forms and police intervention. Similarly, a layman who works as an abortionist and belongs to the communist party can and, indeed should, be excommunicated (indeed he is, latae sententia) and told that he cannot call himself a catholic in good standing with the Church before he repents and turns from his wrongful practices. A bishop furthermore can be compelled to ‘retire’ or be transferred if he teaches and acts against the Faith. There are in fine several such disciplinary measures available, all having the benefit of 1) helping those of the faithful that may be ignorant to see what the Church teaches, and 2) providing an impetus for the one that is disciplined to repent.

Other religions too have disciplinary measures that can be taken against wayward adherents. However, rather than being therapeutic in natur, as for instance excommunication, these are more often that not strictly punitive. Today the Torygraph had a short article pertinent to the issue. A daughter of a British Imam is living under police protection after her own family has threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity. This, not to be named woman, (though the name of the imam might be interesting to know) has been a Christian for 15 years now has been forced to move 45 times in those years to escape the blade. What she says is a very interesting point about the practices of the mohammedans, especially concerning their faithfulness to the letter of the koran.

“I know the Koran says that anyone who goes away from Islam should be killed as an apostate so in some ways my family are following the Koran. They are following Islam to the word…”

This is not some story about someone in Saudi Arabia or Sudan, but actual fact in present day UK. Nor is this woman alone, a documentary recently highlighted the same problem interviewing several others in the same situation. What does this tell us about the status of islam in the UK? of islam in general? Personally it makes me more and more convinced that the Byzantine emperor Pope Benedict quoted in his Regensburg speech last year (part of it here; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XVI_Islam_controversy) was right in his criticism of islam and of the violence found among it’s adherents. I invite any muslim readers to show me that I’m wrong, preferably with reason and examples..

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Looking at some of the pictures of the consistory and the con-celebrated Mass that followed, something struck me.

The arrangement of the Altar here


somehow looks very much like the arrangement here

Which of course is a picture of H.H Pius XII of happy memory saying Mass at exactly the same altar.

Somehow I missed the pictures from earlier this month when the holy father offered the Mass for the Cardinals and Bishops that have died during the year. There too the same arrangement was used. All of this in turn reminds me of a passage from the then cardinal Ratzingers “The Spirit of the Liturgy”, a must-read for anyone who wants to know what kind of liturgical ‘adjustments’ to expect from the pope. Looking around on the net I was able to find a transcript of the relevant passage which follows:

A more important objection is of the practical order. Are we really going to re-order everything all over again? Nothing is more harmful to the Liturgy than constant changes, even if it seems to be for the sake of genuine renewal.

I see a solution to this in a suggestion I noted at the beginning in connection with the insights of Erik Peterson. Facing toward the East, as we heard, was linked with the “sign of the Son of Man”, with the Cross, which announces Our Lord’s Second Coming. That is why, very early on, the East was linked with the sign of the cross. Where a direct common turning toward the East is not possible, the cross can serve as the interior “East” of faith. It should stand in the middle of the altar and be the common point of focus for both priest and praying community.

In this way we obey the ancient call to prayer: Conversi ad Dominum, “Turn to the Lord!” In this way we look together at the One whose Death tore the veil of the Temple — the One who stands before the Father for us and encloses us in His arms in order to make us the new and living Temple.

Moving the altar cross to the side to give an uninterrupted view of the priest is something I regard as one of the truly absurd phenomena of recent decades. Is the cross disruptive during Mass? Is the priest more important than Our Lord?

This mistake should be corrected as quickly as possible; it can be done without further rebuilding. The Lord is the point of reference. He is the rising sun of history.

Both popes pictured above are of course facing the same direction -one of the things that helped to spark the problems- East, down the Nave and towards the people. Benedict’s approach here is simply a quiet return to the ancient practice. It is a simple step, but an important one in the attempt to make the N.O. endurable, something that at least for the time seems to be a tragic necessity, if only to pave the way for a proper liturgical renewal.

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