Monday, September 14, 2009

A couple of things

Pope Benedict has denounced power-seeking bishops. But which ones did he have in mind?
Monday 14 September 2009 08.08 BST

It is not that often that a general publicly rebukes his brigade and battalion commanders. And it is equally rare for a pope to reprove his bishops.

But at a very high-profile service in St. Peter's on Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI did just that. At the consecration of five new pastors, he said: "We know how things in society, and not infrequently in the Church too, suffer because of the fact that many of those to whom a responsibility has been entrusted, work for themselves and not the community – the common good."

In another passage of his sermon which, according to Corriere della Sera, Benedict spent an entire day finessing, he declared: "Let us not bind men to us; let us not seek power, prestige and esteem for ourselves."

In general terms, it is clear that this was a warning – and a pretty frank one by the standards of pontifical utterances – addressed to bishops. But which ones? The answer is not obvious.
Corriere thought his coded message was directed at his pastors in Italy. Earlier this month, an attack by the Berlusconi family newspaper on the editor of the bishop's daily Avvenire brought into the open a rift between the Vatican secretariat of state and the Italian bishops' conference over how to deal with Silvio Berlusconi and his scandalous private life. The Vatican is all for brushing the affair under the carpet so as not to upset a conservative leader who has it in his power to deliver the Church legislation in line with its beliefs. The bishops, by contrast, are under immense pressure from ordinary Italian worshippers to speak out in defence of traditional Catholic morality. The division is made worse by personal differences between some of the bishops and Benedict's secretary of state – the bluff, less than tactful Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

Bertone has also run into pretty determined resistance in the Roman Curia, the central administration of the Catholic church, and in the Secretariat of State itself. One reason for Saturday's ceremony, indeed, was to make up to bishop a couple of senior officials in Bertone's department who are being dispatched abroad as nuncios to give the cardinal a freer hand.
It was very much a Curial affair. So might the pope's message, then, have been that from now on we should all row in the same direction? Maybe.

But the much-respected Catholic author, Vittorio Messori, interviewed in La Stampa, had an entirely different idea: that the pope's rebuke was aimed, not at any church leader in Europe let alone the Vatican, but at bishops with sharp elbows and rather too high self-esteem in the developing world "above all [in] Africa and Latin America where the status of priest, and especially of bishop, is a dream for many poor, young local men who, for that reason, crowd into the seminaries."

So there is the puzzle. Answers, please, below in the space for comments – or on a postcard to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Apostolic Palace, St Peter's Square ... etc.

Pope to renegades: Respect Judaism, other religions
September 14, 2009 ROME (JTA) -- Respect for Judaism and other religions is mandatory for readmission into the mainstream Catholic fold, Pope Benedict XVI will tell a renegade traditionalist Catholic group.

In a weekend interview with a newspaper in Passau, Germany, Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn said doctrinal talks between the Vatican and the traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X would begin soon.

"The SSPX will be told very clearly what is not negotiable for the Holy See," Schoenborn said. "This includes such fundamental conclusions of the Second Vatican Council as its positions on Judaism, other non-Christian religions, other Christian churches and on religious freedom as a basic human right."

Led by its founder Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the SSPX broke with the Vatican over the reforms of the Vatican II conference, which among other things lifted anti-Jewish dogma and opened the way to Catholic-Jewish dialogue.

Lefebvre and his followers were excommunicated in 1988.

Pope Benedict wants to bring them back into the fold of the mainstream church. He sparked controversy in January by revoking the excommunication order against four SSPX bishops, including British-born Richard Williamson, who had made statements denying the extent of the Holocaust.


Carlos Echevarria said...

Annie, I have read your post with great interest, especially as a follower of both the Vatican and Berlusconi, even before he became PM in '94.

As for his "scandalous private life", I would concede, as most Italians do, that he is "no saint"...

But if you divorce yourself from Italian politics, with its 50 plus governments after WW2, he is presently the longest serving PM, has led Italy out of the economic doldrums, has sent troops to Kabul, stopped illegal immigration and has begun the process of de-Islamicizing a bulk of Italian cities.

You might want to check out the present polls of his favorability ratings and the PDL party, notwithstanding some recent travails with coalition Parliament Speaker Fini.

I would also note that his present, 2nd wife, he met when she was a showgirl and still married to his first one, so she has NO moral authority to rail!

Many of these allegations and lurid details have been propagated by EL Pais newspaper (Sardinia parties), Repubblica, etc., all proud left wing and pro-communist rags. (UK Telegraph is also leftist)

Moreover, there was a Italian Shiavo and the Berlusconi govt is introducing extremely pro life right to life laws, amongst other initiatives.

Neither Dino Buffo nor Sec of State Bertone, have much standing here either.

Buffo, was involved in some sexual shenanigans of his own, and in his case it was of the homosexual variant....

Bertone had the gall to travel to Cuba meet with Raul Castro, pray for the health of Fidel in a fawning manner and even said that the Castro brothers support the chuch in Cuba????????????????

I refer to Dr Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican magazine to see other grave mistakes undertaken by Bertone, as an intl diplomat.

Annie said...

Thanks Carlos. Your comments always make for interesting and informative reading!!