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Feb 13 15 7:22 AM
Benedict has accepted an invitation from Pope Francis to attend the consistory on Saturday 14th February 2015.ReutersBenedict made his first public appearance since his retirement at last years consistory.Benedetto XVI al Concistoro
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Theological giants Benedict XVI and one of his heroes – the controversial Cardinal Jean Danielou – have been hailed for illuminating through their respective works the ever-relevant answer to a modern world in crisis: Jesus Christ.“If you want to be modern, you have to look at Jesus,” Rome-based theology professor Father Giulio Masparo told EWTN News Feb. 13.And through the writings of the late French cardinal in particular, he noted, the Christian claim in today's world is infinitely superior “than what you can find by thinking that everything is relative.” Fr. Masparo, a professor in Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical University of Santa Croce in Rome, helped to organize a Feb. 12-13 conference titled: “Study days: Danielou-Ratzinger before the Mystery of History.”Held at the University of Santa Croce, the conference explored the great continuity between Cardinal Danielou and Benedict XVI, who are both known for placing a historical frame around their theological writings.Originally from Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, Cardinal Danielou was a Jesuit, and is considered one of the greatest theologians of the 20th century. He is known for his clarity in explaining profound concepts in a comprehensible way for the unlearned reader.Danielou was highly criticized following the Second Vatican Council, a false interpretation of which he faulted for the crisis in religious life and the increase in secularization which ensued. In a controversial interview with Vatican Radio in 1972, the cardinal stressed that “Vatican II declared that human values must be taken seriously. It never said that we should enter into a secularized world in the sense that the religious dimension would no longer be present in society.”“It is in the name of a false secularization that men and women are renouncing their habits, abandoning their works in order to take their places in secular institutions, substituting social and political activities for the worship of God,” he said.Cardinal Danielou also faulted “a false conception of freedom” that devalued religious constitutions and “an erroneous conception of the changing of man and the Church” for many of the crisis that unfolded after the Vatican council.However, despite the criticism directed at the French cardinal, then-Bishop Josef Ratzinger was an avid supporter of Danielou, and placed great value on his stance and writings. The two maintain numerous similarities in their theological writings, beginning with their historical gaze at theology, their emphasis on scripture and turning to the Church Fathers.Danielou and now-retired pope Benedict XVI, or “Father Benedict” as he wishes to be called, also place a great emphasis on the liturgy and, perhaps most importantly, the idea of mission.“In one word I can say that for them the meaning of our world is Christ,” Fr. Masparo said.For them, “if you read the Gospel, if you pray, if you go to church and receive the sacraments, your sight changes and you are able to see that below the surface there is the presence of God, of Jesus Christ not only in the time we are living but also within the matter we are living with,” the priest said.Because of the emphasis that both place on the relationship between being and history, they are “very modern” in the sense that they address one of the key concerns in contemporary society.In the midst of a world in crisis where man is searching and can’t seem to find what he is looking for, Danielou and Benedict XVI step into the middle of “this puzzle” with the answers provided by scripture, which are enlightened by the Church Fathers.“What they wrote is wonderful and I think it can show a way out of this crisis situation that we are living in now,” Fr. Masparo said, noting how both dug into the past with the goal of finding meaning for their present time.One contemporary issue the theologians can shed light on is that of homosexuality, the priest said, pointing specifically to Cardinal Daneilou – whose brother, Alain, was a prominent Buddhist and gay author.“This is the typical point where we can see the crisis of our time because we are not able to manage differences. We have tried to find a solution saying ‘ok, we have no differences,’ but you always have differences,” Fr. Masparo explained.“If you have homosexuality, you have to manage the difference between homosexual and heterosexual. You cannot erase all the differences.”Both of the theologians found the solution to the problem of differences by looking to the way Jesus dealt with them in the Gospels, the priest noted, saying that before doing anything else Christ accepted the people who came to him.Cardinal Danielou embodied this in the way that he encountered his brother. After finding out that Alain was same-sex attracted, his shocked family threw him out, and they went through a lot of suffering, the priest observed.However, Cardinal Danielou had the opposite reaction and dedicated his life to praying for his brother, and accepted his different ideas while remaining open to him. Alain, Fr. Masparo said, “recognized this love of his brother.”“We are living in the world where everybody has the perception that they must change in order to be ‘right,’ (but) Jesus’ answer is that you are right just as you are, because you are mine, because I created you,” the priest explained.Jesus Christ, he said, “told us to love everybody, so I think it’s a big problem now when we are talking about Catholicism that the topics of homosexuality (and) abortion are just moral topics.”Although we are all sinners, we are all “right” by nature because we have been created in the image of God, he noted, and stressed that because of this a homosexual person can never be considered a problem.In the priest's view, the problem lies with today's gay rights movement at large, as he believes it reduces the individual to a definition. “Life is more complex.”“We have to learn from each other and at the same time to keep our ideas,” Fr. Masparo said, adding that we have been given the freedom to maintain different beliefs, which must be accepted with respect for the other person.Each person has the freedom to believe there is a wrong way of doing things and to promote a different method, he said, stressing that the Church, in her teachings, “is not imposing a behavior on anybody.”People, the priest said, should believe what they want, but emphasized that “there is a truth,” and history will tell who was right and who was wrong.One of the reasons why Cardinal Jean Denielou is so little known outside the French Catholic circles is because he died suddenly, of a heart attack, while visiting the house of a prostitute. The fact was used by the French secular press to imply the “hypocrisy” of the Jesuit’s moral life. Alain, as famous an author in the Agnostic circles as his brother was in the Catholic one, wrote after the death of the French Cardinal: “His death and the scandal provoked by it, when he had become one of the leading figures of the Church, was a sort of posthumous vendetta, one of those favours that the gods bestow on those whom they love. If he had died just a little while sooner or later, or if he had been visiting a lady of the sixteenth arrondissement (an expensive neighbourhood in Paris) under the pretext of works of charity, instead of bringing the revenue of his theological writings to a poor and needy woman, there would have been no scandal.”“Jean had always dedicated himself to disregarded people. For a certain period he had celebrated a Mass for the sake of homosexuals. He tried to help prisoners, criminals, troubled young people, prostitutes. I deeply admired this ending of life similar to that of the martyrs, whose fragrance rises to heaven amid the opprobrium and sarcasm of the crowd.”According to Vatican analyst Sandro Magister, since 2012, when the first conference on Jean Danielou was held in Rome, “the quarantine has ended for this Cardinal.”
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Archdiocese LvivMore on the story mentioned by CallieTheCat aboveOn 21 February 2015 the Archbishop of Lviv, Mieczysław Mokrzycki, took his brother bishops to meet Benedict while on their ad limina visit to Rome.Archdiocese LvivMieczysław Mokrzycki, was second secretary to St John Paul II and to also Benedict XVI until he was appointed Archbishop of Lviv. Pope Benedict ordained him Bishop in St Peter's basilica. Benedict invited Mieczysław Mokrzycki to lunch at his convent home and expressed a wish to meet his brother bishops. The meeting for the group was arranged at the Lourdes GrottoArchdiocese LvivAs well as praying for peace Benedict blessed the group and he also blessed the cornerstone of a convent for the sisters of St Benedict in Lviv.Archdiocese LvivFather Benedict expressed his solidarity with the suffering of the Ukranian people.Benedict is now usually driven to the Lourdes Grotto in the white golf cart which can be seen in the background.Archbishop Mokrzycki said he thought Benedict looked well.Franziskus und Benedikt solidarisch mit Ukraine
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Two years ago this month shock waves ran through the world’s media as Benedict XVI announced his resignation. There was much speculation concerning the reasons for his unexpected decision and the identity of his successor, while many commentators wondered about the consequences for the Church of having “two popes”. Within hours further details emerged: the outgoing pontiff would not revert officially to being Joseph Ratzinger or even to the appellation of Cardinal Ratzinger. He would retain the name of Benedict XVI, which he had assumed upon election to the See of Peter, and would continue to wear the white cassock worn by successive popes. His official title, from the moment on which he renounced office, on February 28, would be that of Pope Emeritus. (This is not correct. There was much confusion about what Benedict would be called and what he would wear. At first it was announced that he would be Bishop Emeritus of Rome. His own choice, as he told a German journalist in December, was to be called Father Benedict. He said at the time he did not have the strength to insist. Others were making those choices for him. Why can't the Catholic Herald get these basic facts right?)The title was without precedent. (Exactly, as the canon lawyers pointed out at the time) Popes had resigned before, of course. The most recent – the holy but ineffectual hermit Celestine V – was pope for a few months in 1294. Far from assuming a position of honourable retirement, he was imprisoned in a papal fortress where he quickly succumbed to old age. One hopes that mistreatment did not contribute to his demise, but his successor had good reason to fear the consequences of leaving him at liberty. A former pope might have become the tool of a faction unfriendly to the new incumbent. The College of Cardinals was notoriously prone to factional intrigue. Political leaders, aware that the stakes were high in terms of political and economic power, were only too willing to exploit divisions among churchmen. So medieval popes could not afford to be sentimental when the unity of Western Christendom was at stake. Though he was to be canonised not long after his death, Celestine V was a danger while he lived. A gentle sequestration was seen as a necessity, rather than an affront to the dignity of the unfortunate ex-pope, who in any case was a renowned ascetic unlikely to protest vigorously against the rigours of his isolation. The monastery of Mater Ecclesiae, within the walls of the Vatican City State but secluded from the workings of the curial machine, might seem not dissimilar to a form of incarceration. But Benedict XVI’s seclusion there has been totally voluntary and he appears only too grateful to have been relieved of the burdens of office. (Was the ME, with a full household, really his idea or yet another thing she felt unable to resist?) This has not stopped commentators both within and outside the Church voicing concern that the newly invented status of Pope Emeritus might prove problematic. Anybody who has had a superannuated predecessor hanging round the office – or the parish – will understand this fear. Days after Benedict’s resignation, I was asked by a taxi driver – a non-Catholic presumably little acquainted with ecclesiastical power play – if there was not a risk of Benedict cramping the style of his successor. Many then shared his anticipation that the presence of “two popes” in the Vatican might undermine the authority and freedom of action of his successor. Some even thought – including some of those with a direct stake in the outcome – that the conclave was going to be difficult with the former pope still around behind the scenes. But Benedict announced quickly that he would play no part in the conclave (he was already past voting age even if he was deemed still a cardinal). But this was not enough to reassure the doubters. They feared (and some hoped) that the cardinals might feel unable to choose someone uncongenial to the former pope as long as he was felt to be hovering in the background. Then, once the new pope took over, would Benedict be able to refrain from trying to influence his decisions? Might he not become a focus of dissent, if the successor attempted to pursue a different path? ( There was a danger of this at the time of the Synod, so much so that in December Benedict gave his unprecedented interview to FAZ)I told the taxi driver that what I knew of Benedict XVI’s character made me sure that these apprehensions would not be realised. He is a humble man, a shy academic more at home in the tutorial than in the eye of the media and having little interest in the machinery of power. He truly believes that the Holy Spirit guides the Church, through (and sometimes in spite of) the decisions and actions of the men who govern her, even at the highest level. I was sure he would respect the liberty of his successor, remaining silent even if he had his private misgivings. Moreover, Benedict is a theologian whose ecclesiology is probably more balanced than that of anyone else in his generation. He knows that, simply put, there cannot be “two popes”. (Yes, but others do not share his intellectual gifts and still others have been more than willing to exploit the papal title he retains) Once a canonical election has taken place, and as soon as he consents to his election, the new pope is Bishop of Rome, successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ. In the two years since I gave this answer to my cabbie’s question, nothing has led me to revise it. It is clear to all that the new Pope is markedly different from his predecessor in style, and there are certainly differences of substance with regard to questions like the relation of pastoral activity to doctrine and missionary strategy. But it is not yet clear how far-reaching the differences are. Many Catholics, including influential members of the hierarchy, are alarmed and perhaps inclined to look towards the Pope Emeritus for guidance. His choice has been to remain silent. (Except for allowing the unwise publication of his "revised" 1970's essay at the tile of the Synod)There was a direct and unambiguous confirmation of this during the family synod last October. It was reported then that a group of cardinals thought that Pope Francis was overturning the clear and repeated teaching of his predecessors. Supposedly, several of them formed a delegation and went to Mater Ecclesiae to see Benedict, asking him to intervene. His response, they said, was simply to state that, since he was no longer pope, he had no authority in the matter, and that they should address their concerns to Pope Francis. According to some versions of the report, he himself informed his successor of the visit. (But how did those complainers get to see him? The doorkeeper let them in) If the report is true, the cardinals would certainly have been disappointed. Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict’s faithful assistant, has insisted the story is false. (He would, as he would have let them in! And that adjective "faithful" is so thoroughly overworked and, in my opinion, serves to perpetuate a myth) But we all know that denials concerning politically charged matters in the Church are to be taken with a pinch of salt. Archbishop Gänswein is not to be suspected of untruthfulness, (why not?) but he will be quite familiar with the principle of mental reservation ( that means being untruthful) – the more so now that he works for a Jesuit pope. (He did not need to work for a Jesuit Pope to be familiar with that term) A version of events containing even relatively minor inaccuracies can be denied without prejudice to honesty, especially when the subject matter is itself confidential. (That is lying, pure and simple) Even if the story were totally invented, it still would serve to illustrate what I am convinced Benedict would do in such circumstances – and, indeed, what he must do, both as a matter of professional ethics and in Catholic ecclesiology. So those who wish for direct intervention by the Pope Emeritus will remain unsatisfied. (Yes, I agree) There is one respect only in which he will continue to exercise a role in the debates, and that is by the force and cogency of his writings both before and after his election. It is true that he chose to revise his writings on the question of the re-admission to Communion of the divorced and remarried, renouncing his former advocacy of this pastoral accommodation at the very time it was the burning issue of the day. But even this is at most only an indirect intervention, and Archbishop Gänswein has assured us that it was long since planned and that its timing was purely coincidental. (More mental reservation? That piece did not belong with an already big volume on Introduction to Christianity. In any case it would have been expedient to remove it giving the timing which was known long before)The archbishop is, in fact, the channel through which the world gets most of the information about Benedict (Yes and in my opinion that is a problem) that the Pope Emeritus wishes to transmit. (That is a bold assumption. Does Father Benedict want to see interviews about him and his celebrity secretary in magazines like Chi? I think not) From him, we have learnt that he enjoys good relations with his successor, whom he likes and respects, and that he does not regret his decision to resign, and judges still that it was necessary for the good of the Church. But it is less easy to explain away two further gestures by Benedict, relating to reforms that defined his pontificate: the liberation of the traditional Latin Mass and the creation of the ordinariate. On October 10 last year he sent a letter to traditionalists saying he was glad that the Extraordinary Form “now lives in full peace within the Church, also among the young, supported and celebrated by great cardinals”. On the very same day, he wrote to the Friends of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, welcoming the growth of the body for ex-Anglicans in England. Such actions intensify the speculation, especially among those ill at ease with the orientations of Pope Francis. There are persistent rumours that Benedict’s resignation was not entirely free, and these are potentially damaging to the unity of the Church, because if this were the case then both his resignation and the election of his successor would be canonically invalid. In a rare, direct interview with a German journalist with whom he has close contacts, Benedict categorically denied that he was forced to step down. (He also said he wanted to be called Father Benedict. Why has nobody asked who prevented him having that title?)Yet there were some genuinely puzzling details. For example, asked why he continued to wear papal white, Benedict explained that there were no other clothes available – a claim impossible to take seriously (Exactly) given that a trusted employee could easily have made a quick trip to one of the numerous clerical outfitters across the piazza from the Apostolic Palace in the days between the announcement of the resignation and its taking effect. Perhaps he was simply joking. (Not likely)Then there is the ambiguity about what exactly a “free” decision to resign is. It is not clear exactly what sort of pressures constitute a lack of freedom as Canon Law would understand it, and it is certainly true that Benedict was under pressures from inside and outside the Church that would have crushed lesser men. In spite of this, all the evidence suggests that the decision was taken by Benedict himself, that he truly considered it necessary for the good of the Church, and that he still does. Attempts to undermine Pope Francis’s papacy by alleging that his election was invalid for other reasons have gained little traction. The best known is that of Antonio Socci, an Italian journalist of no little standing and a fervent Catholic, though certainly no fan of the current Pontiff. Socci’s book Non è Francesco (“It’s not Francis”) alleges that the election was invalid due to procedural irregularities whose complexities will go above the head of all but the most expert canon lawyers. So far it has failed to convince anybody whose opinion would count and has been all but ignored by other Vaticanologists. Another opinion publicised by Socci, and this time quoted approvingly by others, is that Benedict has willingly renounced the government of the Church but preserves for himself some spiritual aspect of papal authority. According to this theory, Francis refers to himself as “Bishop of Rome” rather than “Pope” precisely to accommodate this mysterious division of labour. But this distinction holds no water theologically. It is the Roman Church which holds the primacy over the Universal Church; it is the Bishop of Rome who exercises all and every authority involved in that primacy. What is plausible is that Benedict, in renouncing papal authority, did not mean to renounce the burden which comes with it – what St Paul calls “solicitude for all the churches”. He now carries the Church only in his prayers and by his example. Part of this spiritual responsibility involves support for his successor, for whom he prays, as we should. It is not insignificant that Benedict only appears in public alongside Francis and, indeed, at his invitation. It cannot be easy for Benedict to witness everything that is happening in Rome today, even if the contrasts between him and Francis are not the hard and fast oppositions some take them for. It must cause him some chagrin to see some of his orientations for the Church neglected or even reversed, and some of his most trusted lieutenants marginalised while former adversaries are promoted. But he remains serene because he has an unshakeable faith in the Church and in God, who guides her with a steady hand while human leaders come and go. In this respect, as in so many others, we should heed him and seek to imitate him.
Feb 27 15 6:27 PM
With great trepidation the Cardinal Fathers present in Rome gather around you today, to once again express to their deep affection and to express our heartfelt gratitude for your selfless witness of apostolic service, for the good of the Church of Christ and of all humanity.
Last Saturday, at the end of the Spiritual Exercises in the Vatican, you thanked your collaborators in the Roman Curia, with these moving words: "My friends, I would like to thank all of you not only for this week but for these eight years, during which you have carried with me, with great skill, affection, love and faith, the weight of the Petrine ministry."
Beloved and revered Successor of Peter, it is we who must thank you for the example you have given us in the past eight years of your Pontificate. On April 19, 2005 you came to join the long line of successors of the Apostle Peter, and today, February 28, 2013, you prepare to leave us, waiting for the helm of the barque of Peter to pass into other hands. There shall thus continue that apostolic succession, which the Lord has promised to his Holy Church, until the voice of the Angel of the Apocalypse is heard on earth proclaiming: Tempus not erit amplius... consummabitur mysterium Dei"(Rev 10: 6-7) "There will be no more delay: the mystery of God will be fulfilled!" Thus shall end the history of the Church, together with the history of the world, with the advent of a new heaven and a new earth.
Holy Father, with deep love we have tried to accompany you on your journey, reliving the experience of the disciples of Emmaus who, after walking with Jesus for a good stretch of road, said to one another: "Were not our hearts burning within us, while he spoke to us along the way?"(Lk 24:32).
Yes, Holy Father, know that our hearts, too, burned while we walked with you these past eight years.Today we want to once again express our gratitude to you. We repeat in chorus a typical expression of your dear native land: Vergelt's Gott, may God reward you!Translation by ZenitThe Pope's Address
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Servus Servorum DeiA Reflection on the Two Year Anniversary of Benedict XVI's Resignation
"You know that this day for me is different from previous ones: I am no longer the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church: until eight in the evening I will be still, and then no longer. I am simply a pilgrim who begins the last leg of his pilgrimage on this earth."
February 28th, 2013: an unforgettable day in the Roman Catholic Church's history. Following a brief helicopter ride to the Apostolic Palace at Castel Gandolfo and greeting thousands of faithful and well-wishers, the papacy of the "humble laborer of the Lord's vineyard" ended at 8:00 p.m.
Benedict XVI shocked the world on February 11th of that year, announcing that he could no longer guide the barque of St. Peter and that in 17 days, the princes of the Church would have to begin the work of choosing a successor.
In a frenzy, the world tried to comprehend why this Pontiff would opt to become the first Pope to resign in over 500 years. While Benedict said it was due to his advanced age, that wasn't enough of an explanation for some.
Following St. John Paul II's equally courageous decision to remain Pontiff while suffering from Parkinson's, many thought that it was due to the stress of a Church rocked by scandals, abuses, betrayals and it was frankly, just too much to handle. In other words, he was weak and needed to bail.
On the contrary, his perceived moment of weakness was his shining moment of absolute strength.
Benedict XVI did what few leaders have ever willingly done: placing the good of the Church first, over what some might perceive as "power". He lived up honorably to the title of the Roman Pontiffs: Servus Servorum Dei (Servant of the Servants of God). (That he certainly did, and though he is no longer the Pope, I daresay that Padre Benedetto, with his legendary humility and gentleness of heart, will always be someone who serves the servants of our Lord.)
Now, many can (and still do) argue that he was authoritarian. As the once head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, he had the difficult job of defending Church teaching against the tidal waves of relativism and secularism in the world. Not the most popular of positions to be in, however, he did it not only with authority but with love. A paternal instinct, one might call, that followed through in his papacy.
Two years later, people are still wondering, some even hoping that Benedict XVI will come out of retirement to address this crucial moment in the Church's history. It's safe to say that they shouldn't hold their breath. Aside from Benedict XVI's obvious respect and reverence to his successor, he himself has made it clear that his mission is to serve the Church in silence and in prayer.
He continues to do so, nestled away in the heart of Vatican City State at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery. And for that, and much more, we can only say to this simple pilgrim: Thank You!
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