“History cannot be detached from God and then run smoothly on purely material lines.” Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
A popular quote we often hear but find hard to understand is “beauty will save the world.” How will beauty save the world? The line comes from Dostoevsky’s novel, The Idiot, attributed to the main character, Prince Myskin. The prince, an epileptic Russian nobleman, serves as a Christ-like figure, who stands apart for his innocence and even naiveté. Out of the mouth of this idiot comes a clearer vision of beauty and reality than those around him, his clarity heightened even in the midst of his sickness.
The saving power of beauty in the prince’s life could not overcome his sickness, but nonetheless illumined his vision: “What matter though it be only disease, an abnormal tension of the brain, if when I recall and analyze the moment, it seems to have been one of harmony and beauty in the highest degree—an instant of deepest sensation, overflowing with unbounded joy and rapture, ecstatic devotion, and completest life?” In the midst of his suffering, he glimpsed, though in a paradoxical manner, the heart of reality.
Are the prince’s words on beauty the words of a mad idiot or of a prophet?
In Solzhenitsyn’s Noble lecture, he notes that after dismissing the quote for years, he realized that “Dostoevsky’s remark, ‘Beauty will save the world,’ was not a careless phrase but a prophecy. After all he was granted to see much, a man of fantastic illumination. And in that case art, literature might really be able to help the world today?”
If that is not enough, Pope John Paul II quoted the line in his Letter to Artists, under the heading “The Saving Power of Beauty”:
People of today and tomorrow need this enthusiasm [of wonder] if they are to meet and master the crucial challenges which stand before us. Thanks to this enthusiasm, humanity, every time it loses its way, will be able to lift itself up and set out again on the right path. In this sense it has been said with profound insight that “beauty will save the world” (§16).
Can the words of an idiot set the tone for our response to the modern world? In a mad world, maybe only the idiot is sane. It seems we can and even must trust him, now that the words of an idiot have become the words of a Pope!
Upon reading Pope Francis’s first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, I was struck most of all by its literary quality. The encyclical does not offer much theological innovation, but is remarkable for its engagement of culture: classical, medieval, and above all contemporary. It seems to follow Dostoevsky’s vision for the power of beauty. In our world that has largely rejected the ability of reason to know the truth and the moral order toward the good, is it a privileged moment for beauty? The encyclical seems to point to this reality, using literature and art to underscore its points.
Pope Benedict XVI, the primary drafter of Lumen Fidei, emphasized the absolutely essential role of beauty in human life in his “Meeting with Artists.” Guess who he turned to for support?
Dostoevsky’s words that I am about to quote are bold and paradoxical, but they invite reflection. He says this: “Man can live without science, he can live without bread, but without beauty he could no longer live, because there would no longer be anything to do to the world. The whole secret is here, the whole of history is here” (quoting from the novel, Demons).
Is it not clear that we are missing this key element of human life? And if we are, what does this mean for the life of faith?
Lumen Fidei does not explicitly draw out the significance of beauty for the light of the faith. Rather, it is demonstrated by the style of the encyclical itself. Once again, Dostoevsky makes a crucial appearance:
In Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, Prince Myskin sees a painting by Hans Holbein the Younger depicting Christ dead in the tomb and says: “Looking at that painting might cause one to lose his faith.” The painting is a gruesome portrayal of the destructive effects of death on Christ’s body. Yet it is precisely in contemplating Jesus’ death that faith grows stronger and receives a dazzling light; then it is revealed as faith in Christ’s steadfast love for us, a love capable of embracing death to bring us salvation. This love, which did not recoil before death in order to show its depth, is something I can believe in; Christ’s total self-gift overcomes every suspicion and enables me to entrust myself to him completely (§16).
This quote is significant in relation to Dostoevsky’s vision of beauty for a number of reasons. Like “beauty will save the world,” it comes from The Idiot and refers to Prince Myskin. Second, it points to a central theme of the novel, the struggle with beauty, physically and spiritually, in the midst of suffering. Third, this struggle and tension between physical and spiritual beauty becomes a central motif in the engagement of modern culture. In the midst of sickness, how can one perceive beauty clearly? Beauty should be a path to truth, and thus faith, but the modern world itself is disfigured and trapped in darkness. It has a kind of spiritual epilepsy, an internal, maddening sickness, which, unlike for Myskin, impairs the perception of true beauty.
Looking back to Benedict’s vision, we can see how beauty itself is luminous. The light of beauty is meant to illuminate the path toward the light of faith. In Benedict’s “Meeting with Artists,” we see both the darkness of the modern eclipse of beauty and true beauty’s ability to lead to sight:
Too often, though, the beauty that is thrust upon us is illusory and deceitful, superficial and blinding, leaving the onlooker dazed; instead of bringing him out of himself and opening him up to horizons of true freedom as it draws him aloft, it imprisons him within himself and further enslaves him, depriving him of hope and joy…. Authentic beauty, however, unlocks the yearning of the human heart, the profound desire to know, to love, to go towards the Other, to reach for the Beyond. If we acknowledge that beauty touches us intimately, that it wounds us, that it opens our eyes, then we rediscover the joy of seeing, of being able to grasp the profound meaning of our existence.
by Edward Pentin Wednesday
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi has strongly criticised an article on Pope Francis that appears in the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine.
Although he acknowledged that the Holy Father’s appearance on the publication’s front cover shows a diverse interest in the Pope, the Jesuit spokesman denounced the article’s negative portrayal of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s pontificate, saying the piece disqualifies itself as serious journalism.
“Unfortunately, the article disqualifies itself, falling into the usual mistake of a superficial journalism, which in order to highlight the positive aspects of Pope Francis, thinks it should describe in a negative way the pontificate of Pope Benedict, and does so with a surprising crudeness,” Fr. Lombardi said in a statement.
In the piece titled "Pope Francis: The Times They Are A-Changin’", author Mark Binelli calls Benedict’s papacy “disastrous” and goes so far as to attack the former pontiff’s appearance and character. He also describes Benedict’s acclaimed apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis as “wonky” but without explaining further.
While representatives from more than 80 countries addressed the pope, a little boy walked onto the stage to say hello.
Ellie Hall / BuzVzFeed / Via youtube.com
Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com
Pope Francis was visibly amused when the child stayed on the stage instead of returning to his seat on the steps.
Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com
He refused to leave the pope’s side, even at the encouragement of several cardinals.
Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com
When the representatives came forward to greet the pope, the little boy was initially not amused.
Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com
But then he realized what was going on and decided to help out.
Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com
Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com
When Pope Francis began his speech, an aide attempted once again to make the child return to his seat.
AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino
The little boy refused, wrapping his arms around the pope in a tight hug.
Osservatore Romano / Reuters
Pope Francis didn’t seem to mind.
Ellie Hall / BuzzFeed / Via youtube.com
In fact, he seated the boy on his chair before resuming his speech.
Love. Kid runs on stage during @Pontifex speech, hugs him, Pope sits him on his chair to continue the speech.
Osservatore Romano / Reuters
Luke 18:16: “Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
BY EDWARD PENTIN
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has reportedly said that he retired from the papacy after a “mystical experience” and because “God told me to.”
The news comes from an anonymous source who visited the former pope a week ago, according to the Zenit news agency.
Asked why he resigned, the pope emeritus said, “God told me to,” but added that he had not received any kind of apparition or similar phenomenon. Rather, it was a “mystical experience” in which the Lord planted a seed of “absolute desire” in his heart “to remain alone with him, secluded in prayer.”
According to the source, this mystical experience has lasted throughout these past months, increasing “more and more” his longing for a unique and direct relationship with the Lord. It has not been an “escape” from the world, he reportedly said, but a means of seeking “refuge in God and living in his love.”
He also said that the more he sees of the “charisma” of his successor, Pope Francis, the more he realizes that his decision to resign the papacy was “the will of God.”
Despite living a cloistered life in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in the Vatican Gardens, Benedict XVI does occasionally receive visitors privately. A few weeks ago, a seminarian at the North American College was surprised to be invited to the pope emeritus’ quarters to have a private conversation.
But during these meetings, Benedict XVI remains very prudent and typically discreet. He doesn’t reveal any secrets or say anything that may weigh on the new pontificate. He wishes to avoid declarations that could be thought of as “words said by the other pope,” Zenit reported.
At most, he will express wonder at how the Holy Spirit is working through his successor or he will talk about how his decision to resign was the result of Divine inspiration.
<p><a href=’http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-to-journalists-i-love-you-so-much-and-i-thank-you-for-everything/’>Pope to journalists: 'I love you so much and I thank you for everything' :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)</a>.</p>Vatican City, Mar 16, 2013 / 08:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Francis told thousands of journalists today he loved them and thanked them for their recent work.
“I love you so much and I thank you for all that you have done,” Pope Francis told over 5,000 journalists today at Paul VI Hall in the Vatican.
“We aren’t called to communicate about ourselves, but on this trinity of truth, goodness and beauty,” he told the journalists at 11:00 a.m. local time.
The newly elected Pope from Argentina spoke to them and their families on the third day of his pontificate.
“Your work needs study, sensibility, experience like all other professions, but needs to also give special attention to truth, goodness and beauty,” said the Pope.
“That is why we are so close because the Church exists to communicate precisely this,” he stated.
He thanked the journalists for their “hard work” covering the days since Benedict XVI announced his resignation adding that it is not easy to communicate to “a vast and varied public.”
“Be sure that the Church reserves a big attention to your precious work,” said the 76-year-old Argentinian.
The pontiff told the professionals that Jesus is the center of the Church and not himself.
Havemus Papam! The crowds are jubilant in St. Peter’s Square awaiting our new Holy Father’s appearance at the Vatican balcony. I’m waiting for his first Urbi et Orbi blessing. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Who?
From the pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world of the Second Vatican Council
Man’s deeper questionings
The world of today reveals itself as at once powerful and weak, capable of achieving the best or the worst. There lies open before it the way to freedom or slavery, progress or regression, brotherhood or hatred. In addition, man is becoming aware that it is for himself to give the right direction to forces that he himself has awakened, forces that can be his master or his servant. He therefore puts questions to himself.
The tensions disturbing the world of today are in fact related to a more fundamental tension rooted in the human heart. In man himself many elements are in conflict with each other. On one side, he has experience of his many limitations as a creature. On the other, he knows that there is no limit to his aspirations, and that he is called to a higher kind of life.
Many things compete for his attention, but he is always compelled to make a choice among them. and to renounce some. What is more, in his weakness and sinfulness he often does what he does not want to do, and fails to do what he would like to do. In consequence, he suffers from a conflict within himself, and this in turn gives rise to so many great tensions in society.
Very many people, infected as they are with a materialistic way of life, cannot see this dramatic state of affairs in all its clarity, or at least are prevented from giving thought to it because of the unhappiness that they themselves experience.
Many think that they can find peace in the different philosophies that are proposed.
Some look for complete and genuine liberation for man from man’s efforts alone. They are convinced that the coming kingdom of man on earth will satisfy all the desires of his heart.
There are those who despair of finding any meaning in life: they commend the boldness of those who deny all significance to human existence in itself, and seek to impose a total meaning on it only from within themselves.
But in the face of the way the world is developing today, there is an ever increasing number of people who are asking the most fundamental questions or are seeing them with a keener awareness: What is man? What is the meaning of pain, of evil, of death, which still persist in spite of such great progress? What is the use of those successes, achieved at such a cost? What can man contribute to society, what can he expect from society? What will come after this life on earth?
The Church believes that Christ died and rose for all, and can give man light and strength through his Spirit to fulfill his highest calling; his is the only name under heaven in which men can be saved.
So too the Church believes that the center and goal of all human history is found in her Lord and Master.
The Church also affirms that underlying all changes there are many things that do not change; they have their ultimate foundation in Christ, who is the same yesterday, today and for ever.
Father Fessio’s Pope Benedict XVI
A Way With Words
Father Fessio soon learned that the same luminous clarity enlivened Father Ratzinger’s published works.
“Back in 1968, when he published the Introduction to Christianity, the prose was already there,” said Father Fessio, referring to a work that remains a key textbook for graduate theological studies.
When the Catechism of the Catholic Church was completed in 1992, during the pontificate of Blessed John Paul II, Father Fessio reviewed the text and immediately noticed that it bore signs of Joseph Ratzinger’s distinctive ability to synthesize challenging material. At the time, then-Cardinal Ratzinger was the president of the catechism’s Preparatory Commission, which worked for six years to complete the project.
“When I first received the Catechism, I spent a whole retreat meditating on the Table of Contents — it was so beautiful. The Catechism wasn’t just a summary or a book of lists, it presented the faith as an organic whole,” said Father Fessio.
After his mentor was elected pope, Catholics across the globe had their first taste of Benedict’s literary gifts.
“Love is possible, and we are able to practice it because we are created in the image of God. To experience love and in this way to cause the light of God to enter into the world — this is the invitation I would like to extend with the present encyclical,” wrote Pope Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est, his first encyclical.
“He is like a painter using his palette to produce a portrait,” said Father Fessio, noting that the Pope also managed to work his magic in collaborative synodal documents as well as his encyclicals.
“He uses simple images — light and dark. You notice the same thing when you open up The Lord of the Rings and begin reading a paragraph: The majority of words are one syllable, and they convey profound thoughts and emotions.”
Thus, when Pope Benedict was enthroned in 2005, “he talked about the pallium, and, when he spoke to the cardinals, he noted that red is for martyrdom.”
Same Man, Different Settings
Over the course of more than 40 years, Father Fessio has stayed in touch with his former professor, meeting with other students from Regensburg for annual gatherings and collaborating on a variety of projects. During that time, the priest said, he has witnessed very little change in the man who will resign from the Petrine office on Feb. 28.
“He was always a theologian of the Church,” he said. “I saw the same man doing the same thing in different settings. He is a faithful servant, and Blessed John Paul II relied on him a good deal.
“But look how the liturgy changed as soon as Benedict was made pope. Chant was introduced. It means that he was not in favor of the kind of liturgies that Pope John Paul II celebrated, but he accepted it. And when he was pope, he acted differently.”
Indeed, while media commentators still dredge up Cardinal Ratzinger’s nickname of “God’s Rottweiler” from his days as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Father Fessio has “never heard him raise his voice. He was always a listener, even at the CDF.”
“I wouldn’t call him shy; I would call him reserved. He is not someone who would enjoy a cocktail party,” said Father Fessio.
“Yes, he is firm. He has tremendous confidence because he has confidence in Christ. Friendship in Christ: It is the bass note in all his work.”
The resulting spiritual serenity sustained him amid the tumultuous decades following the Second Vatican Council, when the German cardinal sparked animosity by insisting that the Council did not constitute a break with the continuity of Catholic Tradition.
Father Fessio recalled a remark the Pope made during a meeting some time after his election.
Another Catholic publisher asked the Holy Father why only Ignatius Press was publishing his works. Father Fessio recalled that the Pope calmly responded, “Because when no one else cared, they published my works.’”
When Father Fessio learned that the Pope would resign during Lent, he quickly grasped the significance of his timing.
“He was born during Holy Week,” he said. “And I am confident he chose the time for his resignation because he wanted the next pope as an ‘Easter’ pope, with time for reflection.”
Added Father Fessio, “His life begins and ends with the Paschal mystery.”
Joan Frawley Desmond is the Register’s senior editor.
Read more: Pope Benedict | Daily News | NCRegister.com.
Drawing a crowd at least four or five times its normal size, a throng estimated at well over 100,000 people swarmed St Peter’s Square today for the Pope’s noontime Angelus – the next-to-last Sunday greeting from B16 before his resignation takes effect in 11 days.
Unlike the Wednesday Audience, no tickets are required for the pontiff’s weekly appearance at his study window. It was reported yesterday that the lone remaining mid-week gathering – on the 27th – has already seen 35,000 requests for tickets, and will be moved into the Square from its usual winter venue inside the 7,000-seat Paul VI Hall.
(On-demand video of the gathering is available through the Holy See’s streaming HD player.)
Quoting his favorite saint – Augustine, the subject of his doctoral dissertation in theology as a young priest, and a figure on whom he’s sought to model himself – Benedict reminded the crowd that “Jesus took our temptations on himself to give us his victory over them.”read more………..
While working on his doctorate at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Ravasi spent time in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Jordan on archeological digs, and later served as prefect of the prestigious Ambrosian Library in Milan. Among those who know Ravasi, his penchant for literary allusion is legendary; rarely can he talk for more than five minutes without citing wildly diverse sources such as St. Augustine, Isaac Newton, Vladimir Nabakov, and the Russian Orthodox liturgy.
Despite his prodigious learning, Ravasi has a strong popular touch. On Friday night in Rome he delivered some reflections on Albert Camus at the Jesuit-run Church of Gesù, which struggled to contain an overflow crowd.
Ravasi was scheduled to lead this week’s retreat, delivering a series of spiritual reflections on the Psalms, long before Benedict announced his historic decision to renounce the papacy. The timing, however, means that Ravasi now has a rare opportunity to make a final impression on the other cardinals of the Roman Curia, who are certain to be among the kingmakers in the impending conclave. Moreover, his words will certainly make the rounds in the form of written summaries and rebroadcasts on Vatican Radio, giving the whole world an indirect week-long look at the man who could be pope.
Here are some sentiments and great love:- Just Click to add yours on the Thank You Pope Benedict Blog:
Holy Father, my heart swells with love and admiration. You are an encouraging spiritual father to this world in pain and suffering, for you remind us of our destiny in Christ Jesus Who loves us, everyone. You are a symbol of that love by your constancy and devotion and now especially for the more you want for us.
God lent you to us for a time, and you do shine. You feel your weakness, we perceive your strength and devotion. Our hearts go with you into your retirement to buoy you up and lift you to God in our prayer. Go in peace and continue to pray for the little ones like me who grow in pondering you.
Joann Nelander Albuquerque, NM USA
I know that from experience that ceasing to do the things you love is very hard. But I know you didn’t just quit. You are so humble that you realized you could physically not meet the demands of the modern Church as the Vicar of Christ. I can’t imagine how hard of a decision that this must have been to make. Your example of humility and putting other’s needs over your own wants is so inspiring. You deserve to attain sainthood one day.
« “With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.”Pope Benedict XVI » Thank you for being you. God bless you.
Your Holiness, though it pains us hear you say goodbye, we thank you for the wisdom you have enlightened us, for the sacrifices you bore for us, for the love that you nourished us, and above all for showing us that only in Jesus Christ is the source of our joy and happiness!
Papa Bene, I love you! Thank you for your service, your witness, your gentleness and humility, your wisdom and your joy. During your pontificate, I returned to the Church. Under your guidance, I came to know and love Jesus our Savior more deeply. Thank you! I pray that God give you health and peace, and the blessings of time in the libraries that you hoped for before your elevation to the See of Peter!
It is being said that a Conclave will be held in mid-March. Living in interesting times is indeed a challenge. Are we up to it? Jesus Christ would say, as He does always: "And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) Yes, we are up to any challenge in Christ Jesus, and He hasn’t and will never resign. He is alive and well and reigning at the right hand of the Father and present in the power of His Holy Spirit with us now and forever.
And the People of God say, "AMEN"
Perhaps, Easter will see us welcoming a new pope to the Chair of Peter. If we are called to wait longer, our great strength is our faith We will wait in hope and great expectation during the Easter season as Christ reigns now and forever.
Let Us Pray. - O God! our refuge and our strength, look down with favor on Thy people who cry to Thee; and through the intercession of the glorious and Immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of Saint Joseph her Spouse, of Thy blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and of all the Saints, in mercy and goodness hear our prayers for the conversion of sinners, and for the liberty and exaltation of our holy Mother the Church. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. Holy Michael Archangel, defend us in the hour of conflict; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. - May God restrain him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God thrust Satan down to hell, and with him the other wicked spirits, who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
Pope Benedict tweeted yesterday, one day before his announcement of resignation:
"We must trust in the mighty power of God’s mercy. We are all sinners, but His grace transforms us and makes us new."
As a Church we have a great deal to look forward to in faith and a coming Lent to prepare us in a holy way for the Will of God. Pray, pray,pray!
Nearly eight years since his election, Pope Benedict XVI announced this morning that, at the end of the month, he will become the first Roman pontiff since Celestine V in 1294 to resign from the Chair of Peter.
The 85 year-old – who has quietly indicated over the years that he would take the drastic step should he feel it necessary – broke the news during a previously-scheduled consistory to approve some causes for canonization (above); originally given in Latin, the following English translation of the statement was released by the Holy See:
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church. After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry. I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering. However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff. With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
From the Vatican, 10 February 2013 Read more here: Whispers in the Loggia: B16 Resigns.
Here we offer an “interview” with Pope Benedict XVI that draws on his previous writings on the subject of homosexuality, on giving legal recognition to homosexual unions, and on the duties of Catholic politicians.
1) Your Holiness, thank you for joining us today. You recently referred to the “powerful political and cultural currents seeking to alter the legal definition of marriage” in the United States. How should the Catholic Church in America respond to such pressure?
The Church’s conscientious effort to resist this pressure calls for a reasoned defense of marriage as a natural institution consisting of a specific communion of persons, essentially rooted in the complementarity of the sexes and oriented to procreation.
Sexual differences cannot be dismissed as irrelevant to the definition of marriage.
Defending the institution of marriage as a social reality is ultimately a question of justice, since it entails safeguarding the good of the entire human community and the rights of parents and children alike.
2) Many try to dismiss this as a matter of religion and say that it should have no place in a modern, pluralistic society. What do you say?
Since this question relates to the natural moral law, the arguments that follow are addressed not only to those who believe in Christ, but to all persons committed to promoting and defending the common good of society.
The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world.
No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman.
3) Many people think think of homosexual unions as on par with heterosexual unions–only with the genders changed. What should we make of this view?
There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.
Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts as a serious depravity (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10).
This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.
This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.
4) What does this say about people with same-sex attraction? How should they be treated? And how should they view their situation? Read more here:
ROME — Holy Father, meet my mother.
Capping a whirlwind nine-day trip with a final visit to the Vatican, Timothy Cardinal Dolan introduced his 84-year-old mom to Pope Benedict XVI yesterday — then jokingly asked the pontiff if he could make her “the first lady of the College of Cardinals.”
Amid cheers and applause, Dolan walked his mom, Shirley, up to the stage to greet his boss during a papal audience before an enthusiastic crowd inside the Paul VI Hall.
“Holy Father, here is my mom!” Dolan said he told the pope.
Unable to resist the temptation to make a joke, Dolan, 62, pointed out that he’s one of the few princes of the church young enough and lucky enough to still have his mother alive.
SPLASHNEWS.COMMAMMA MIA! Timothy Cardinal Dolan introduces his 84-year-old mother, Shirley, to Pope Benedict XVI, also 84, yesterday at the Vatican.
“I asked him if he would declare her the first lady of the College of Cardinals,” he said.
Dolan recounted that the pope, who turns 85 in April, then paid his mom the ultimate compliment, telling her, “You look too young to be the mother of a cardinal.”
The cardinal said his mom — showing that a quick wit is a family trait — shot back, “Holy Father, was that an infallible statement?”
“…In synthesis, the Lenten journey, in which we are invited to contemplate the Mystery of the Cross, is meant to reproduce within us ‘the pattern of His death’ (Ph 3:10), so as to effect a deep conversion in our lives; that we may be transformed by the action of the Holy Spirit, like St. Paul on the road to Damascus; that we may firmly orient our existence according to the Will of God; that we may be freed of our egoism, overcoming the instinct to dominate others and opening us to the Love of Christ. The Lenten period is a favorable time to recognize our weakness and to accept, through a sincere inventory of our life, the renewing Grace of the Sacrament of Penance, and walk resolutely towards Christ….”
(Pope Benedict XVI, 2011 Lenten Message, Nov. 4, 2010)
The headlines read:
“Pope Benedict says that condoms can be used to stop the spread of HIV? ”
“Pope signals historic leap in fight against Aids: Condoms can be justified”
“Pope says some condom use ‘first step’ of morality”
Read the Pope actual statement here and here, in a note issued by Holy See Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. concerning certain remarks by the Pope on the use of condoms, which appear the new book “Light of the World”.
The Holy Father has announced a worldwide vigil of prayer for unborn children. On Saturday evening, November 27, in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome the Holy Father will begin the season of Advent. He will lift up in prayer all the children living in the womb, and call God’s protection on them.
Please join Pope BenedictXVI in prayer. He has invited all the bishops of the world to join him. The Advent prayer may be prayed as a Novena or through the season of Advent:
Advent Prayer for LIfe
God of Life,
We rejoice in the promise of your coming.
You have sent your Son, born in Bethlehem.
He is the Prince of Peace, and
The one in whose name all oppression shall cease.
May we welcome his coming each day
And prepare for his coming at the end of time.
May we build a culture that welcomes him
By welcoming every child, born and unborn.
We pray through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Priests’ Secretary writes of Boston Catholics hitting the fan or more to the point:
Now, one blog has announced an all-out “Boston Catholic Tea Party” to drive the communication of their dismay all the way to the Vatican.
“Were fed up” sums up the feelings and furor of Boston Catholics who know better than to sit silent while dissent from Church teaching is tolerated by those responsible for teaching the faithful. Bloggers are making their voices heard at least in the bloggosphere.
The bloggers set up an on-line letter-signing campaign with concerns addressed to: Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, Cardinal William J. Levada. These concerns are spelled out in an open letter format in which they ask that two Boston-area priests in particular be banned from future Boston Archdiocesan programs. Specific points of dissent promoted by these priests (one is an archdiocesan official!) are listed in the letter.
Today’s post at BrianHehirExposed states:
…we’re asking you to join the “Boston Catholic Tea Party” and help rid these upcoming conferences from “negative attitudes of the world” such as those the Holy Father alluded to. Today’s the day to start firing away!
Online letter here
Daily Mail: “This was much more successful than the Roman Catholic hierarchy had dared to hope.”
This video commentary from Whispers in the Loggia’s blogger Rocco Palmo.
In an excellent meditation delivered at the vigil of the beatification of John Henry Newman,Pope Benedict XVI said, “”Passion for the truth is costly: it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied.”
The Pope said:
Newman’s life also teaches us that passion for the truth, intellectual honesty and genuine conversion are costly. The truth that sets us free cannot be kept to ourselves; it calls for testimony, it begs to be heard, and in the end its convincing power comes from itself and not from the human eloquence or arguments in which it may be couched. Not far from here, at Tyburn, great numbers of our brothers and sisters died for the faith; the witness of their fidelity to the end was ever more powerful than the inspired words that so many of them spoke before surrendering everything to the Lord. In our own time, the price to be paid for fidelity to the Gospel is no longer being hanged, drawn and quartered but it often involves being dismissed out of hand, ridiculed or parodied. And yet, the Church cannot withdraw from the task of proclaiming Christ and his Gospel as saving truth, the source of our ultimate happiness as individuals and as the foundation of a just and humane society. Finally, Newman teaches us that if we have accepted the truth of Christ and committed our lives to him, there can be no separation between what we believe and the way we live our lives. Our every thought, word and action must be directed to the glory of God and the spread of his Kingdom. Newman understood this, and was the great champion of the prophetic office of the Christian laity. He saw clearly that we do not so much accept the truth in a purely intellectual act as embrace it in a spiritual dynamic that penetrates to the core of our being. Truth is passed on not merely by formal teaching, important as that is, but also by the witness of lives lived in integrity, fidelity and holiness; those who live in and by the truth instinctively recognize what is false and, precisely as false, inimical to the beauty and goodness which accompany the splendour of truth, “veritatis splendor.”
Today is a great and glorious day, a day in which to love with all praise and thanksgiving our Lord and His Most precious Mother. Today two holy events meet, the Ascension of the resurrected Jesus and the first of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima on May 13th in Portugal.
From Pope Benedict XVI’s address in Portugal:
In truth, 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 who promote a monocultural ideal, with disdain for the religious and contemplative dimension of life. In such circles are found some believers who are ashamed of their beliefs and who even give a helping hand to this type of secularism, which builds 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, as faithful lay men and women, their Christian freedom.