Sunday, April 25, 2010

David Quinn: Pope replaces George Bush as the man some people love to hate
By David Quinn
Friday April 23 2010

Joseph Ratzinger was elected as the successor to Pope John Paul II five years ago this week. Already a controversial figure, he has since gone on to become the hate figure du jour in certain circles, a sort of replacement bogeyman for George W Bush.

Those circles include aggressive secularists, angry ex-Catholics and some within the Catholic Church itself who still suffer from the delusion that the purpose of the Second Vatican Council was to turn the church into another form of failed liberal Protestantism.

Obviously, Benedict is in the news now because of the scandals and the ongoing, and mostly unfair, attempts to implicate him in the mismanagement of those scandals. But even without the scandals, Benedict was and is a hate figure for some.

Admittedly he has not always helped his own cause. For example, he would have been better off not quoting that Byzantine emperor's criticisms of Islam in his Regensburg address of September 2006.

He was also unwise to lift the excommunication order on Bishop Richard Williamson -- a Holocaust denier -- without, at a minimum, a full and proper explanation.

But in other respects he has been attacked without any proper justification. For example, in December 2008 he was widely condemned for comparing homosexuality with the destruction of the rainforests, except that he did no such thing. In that speech, he never even mentioned homosexuality.

A few weeks later, on his way to Africa, he defended the church's opposition to condom promotion in fighting the spread of HIV/Aids. He was excoriated for this and blamed for helping to cause the deaths of millions.

But none of his critics paid any attention to the actual scientific evidence, which shows that no condom promotion campaign aimed at general populations has ever succeeded in reducing the spread of HIV/Aids. What works, according to the evidence, are fidelity campaigns.

Attacks on Benedict, and on the Catholic Church generally, come from many directions. The church is attacked over its supposed attitude towards Protestants, Jews, Muslims and the other religions generally.

Benedict and the church are attacked over their attitude towards homosexuality and human sexuality generally. They are attacked over their defence of the right to life of the unborn, the elderly and the sick. They are attacked over their defence of marriage.

But in a way, all these attacks are an attack on the same thing, namely Benedict and the church's defence of objective truth and morality, its belief that certain things are right or wrong in themselves regardless of opinion or circumstance.

In an age of moral relativism, nothing is more offensive than the person who says, however calmly, that not all 'truths' are equal, that morality is not simply a matter of opinion, that religions are not all equally true or equally false, and that not all lifestyle choices are equal.

With regard to sex, for example, the church says that sex has an objective meaning and purpose and that one such purpose is procreation, which is intrinsically linked to heterosexuality.

This is connected to the defence of marriage. One reason the church says men and women should marry before they have sex is because it believes children have a right to be raised by their two married parents.

But many people, not least cohabiting couples, single parents and homosexuals find this offensive and it leads them into a denial that children have any need for, or right to, a married mother and father. The church cannot go down that road.

Nor can the church say all religions are equal because then it would have to deny that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. But this doesn't mean the church can't treat other religions with respect.

Why is this so difficult to grasp? Presumably we're all able to treat most of the people with whom we disagree with respect. Well, the church does the same, contrary to popular prejudice.
The paradox of relativism is that it claims to treat all points of view equally but in fact it damns and condemns those who deny relativism.

In other words, relativists defend their point of view as trenchantly and aggressively as the worst fundamentalists and will brook no opposition.

The Pope calls this ultra-aggressiveness the 'dictatorship of relativism'. The main reason these liberal fundamentalists spend so much of their time and energy attacking the Pope and the church is because they are the foremost defenders of objective truth and morality in the world today.

Destroy Benedict, damage or co-opt the church he leads, and you go a long way towards destroying opposition to liberal fundamentalism. This is a cataclysmic battle between those who believe in objective morality and those who think morality is relative. Joseph Ratzinger is smack bang in the middle of the hottest part of this battle.

- David Quinn
Irish Independent

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

As a member of CL, I absolutely had to post this here

La Repubblica, April 4, 2010, page 1
Let Us Return, Wounded, to Christ
by Julián Carrón*


*The author is the President of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation.

Dear Editor,

None of us has ever been as dismayed as we are in front of the heart-wrenching story of
child abuse. Our dismay arises from our inability to respond to the demand for justice
which springs from the bottom of our hearts.

The request to assume responsibility, the acknowledgement of the evil committed, the
reprimand for the mistakes made in the handling of the affair – all of this seems to us to
be totally inadequate as we face this sea of evil. Nothing seems to be enough. And so we
can understand the frustrated reactions that have been coming forth at this time.

This has all served the purpose of making us stand face to face with our demand for
justice, acknowledging that it is limitless, bottomless – as deep as the wound itself. Since
it is infinite, it can never be satisfied. So the dissatisfaction, impatience and even the
disillusionment of the victims are understandable, even after all the injuries and mistakes
have been admitted: nothing can satisfy their thirst for justice. It’s like entering into an
endless struggle. From this point of view, the ones who committed the abuse are
paradoxically facing a challenge similar to that of the victims: nothing can repair the
damage that has been done. This in no way means that their responsibility can be lifted,
and much less the verdict that justice may impose upon them; it would not be enough
even if they were to serve the maximum sentence.

If this is the case, then the most burning question, which no one can escape, is as simple
as it is unavoidable: “Quid animo satis?” What can satisfy our thirst for justice? This is
where we begin to feel all our powerlessness, so powerfully expressed in Ibsen’s Brand:
“Answer me, God, in the jaws of death: Is there no salvation for the Will of Man? No
small measure of salvation?” In other words, cannot the whole force of human will
succeed in bringing about the justice that we so long for?

This is why even those who demand it most, those who are most insistent in calling for
justice, will not be loyal to the depth of their nature with its demand for justice if they do
not face this incapacity that they share with all men. Were we not to face it, we would fall
prey to an even crueler injustice, to a veritable assassination of our humanity, because in
order to keep on crying out for the justice that we formulate according to our own
measurement, we have to silence the voice of our hearts, thus forgetting the victims and
abandoning them in their struggle.

It is the Pope who, paradoxically, in his disarming boldness, has not fallen prey to
reducing justice to any sort of human measure. To begin with, he admitted without
hesitation the gravity of the evil committed by priests and religious, urged them to accept
their responsibility for it, and condemned the way certain bishops in their fear of scandal
have handled the affair, expressing his deep dismay over what had happened and taking
steps to ensure that it not happen again. But then, he expressed his full awareness that this
is not enough to respond to the demand that there be justice for the harm inflicted: “I
know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed
and your dignity has been violated.” Likewise, even if the perpetrators serve their
sentences, repent, and do penance, it will never be enough to repair the damage they did
to the victims and to themselves.

Benedict XVI’s recognition of the true nature of our need, of our struggle, is the only way
to save our full demand for justice; it is the only way to take it seriously, to take it fully
into consideration. “The demand for justice is a need that is proper to man, proper to a
person. Without the possibility of something beyond, of an answer that lies beyond the
existential modalities that we can experience, justice is impossible… If the hypothesis of
a ‘beyond’ were eliminated, that demand would be unnaturally suffocated” (Father
Giussani). So how did the Pope save this demand? By calling on the only one who can
save it, someone who makes the beyond present in the here and now, namely, Christ, the
Mystery made flesh. “Jesus Christ … was Himself a victim of injustice and sin. Like you,
He still bears the wounds of His own unjust suffering. He understands the depths of your
pain and its enduring effect upon your lives and your relationships, including your
relationship with the Church.” Calling on Christ is not a way to seek a hiding place to run
off to in the face of the demand for justice: it is the only way to bring justice about. The
Pope calls upon Christ, and steers clear of a truly dangerous shoal, that of distancing
Christ from the Church, as if the Church were too full of filth to be able to bear Him. The
Protestant temptation is always lurking. It would have been very easy to give in to, but at
too high a price – that of losing Christ. Because, as the Pope recalls, “it is in the
communion of the Church that we encounter the person of Jesus Christ.” And so, aware
of the difficulty both the victims and the guilty have “to forgive or be reconciled with the
Church,” he dares to pray that, by drawing near to Christ and sharing in the life of the
Church, they “will come to rediscover Christ’s infinite love for each one of you,” since
He is the only one able to heal their wounds and rebuild their lives.

This is the challenge facing all of us who are incapable of finding an answer for our sins
and for the sins of others: agreeing to take part in Easter, which we celebrate during these
days, as the only way to see the re-blossoming of hope.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Novena for Holy Father


This short prayer for Pope Benedict XVI was written by the Knights of Columbus, the world's largest Catholic service agency, during the media assault on Pope Benedict XVI in early 2010 over allegations that he engaged in a cover-up of clerical sexual abuse. The Knights of Columbus asked all Catholic faithful, and especially those in the United States, to pray this prayer for Pope Benedict XVI as a novena, from April 11, 2010, to April 19, the fifth anniversary of the Holy Father's election as pope. It is, however, a suitable prayer to pray for Pope Benedict at all times.

Prayer for Pope Bendict XVI

Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd, Benedict, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world. Amen.

V. Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.

R. May the Lord preserve him, give him a long life, make him blessed upon the earth, and not hand him over to the power of his enemies.

V. May your hand be upon your holy servant.

R. And upon your son, whom you have anointed.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI
EASTER 2010


Cantemus Domino: gloriose enim magnificatus est.

“Let us sing to the Lord, glorious his triumph!” (Liturgy of the Hours, Easter, Office of Readings, Antiphon 1).
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I bring you the Easter proclamation in these words of the Liturgy, which echo the ancient hymn of praise sung by the Israelites after crossing the Red Sea. It is recounted in the Book of Exodus (cf 15:19-21) that when they had crossed the sea on dry land, and saw the Egyptians submerged by the waters, Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, and the other women sang and danced to this song of joy: “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed wonderfully: horse and rider he has thrown into the sea!” Christians throughout the world repeat this canticle at the Easter Vigil, and a special prayer explains its meaning; a prayer that now, in the full light of the resurrection, we joyfully make our own: “Father, even today we see the wonders of the miracles you worked long ago. You once saved a single nation from slavery, and now you offer that salvation to all through baptism. May the peoples of the world become true sons of Abraham and prove worthy of the heritage of Israel.”


The Gospel has revealed to us the fulfilment of the ancient figures: in his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ has freed us from the radical slavery of sin and opened for us the way towards the promised land, the Kingdom of God, the universal Kingdom of justice, love and peace. This “exodus” takes place first of all within man himself, and it consists in a new birth in the Holy Spirit, the effect of the baptism that Christ has given us in his Paschal Mystery. The old man yields his place to the new man; the old life is left behind, and a new life can begin (cf. Rom 6:4). But this spiritual “exodus” is the beginning of an integral liberation, capable of renewing us in every dimension – human, personal and social.


Yes, my brothers and sisters, Easter is the true salvation of humanity! If Christ – the Lamb of God – had not poured out his blood for us, we would be without hope, our destiny and the destiny of the whole world would inevitably be death. But Easter has reversed that trend: Christ’s resurrection is a new creation, like a graft that can regenerate the whole plant. It is an event that has profoundly changed the course of history, tipping the scales once and for all on the side of good, of life, of pardon. We are free, we are saved! Hence from deep within our hearts we cry out: “Let us sing to the Lord: glorious his triumph!”


The Christian people, having emerged from the waters of baptism, is sent out to the whole world to bear witness to this salvation, to bring to all people the fruit of Easter, which consists in a new life, freed from sin and restored to its original beauty, to its goodness and truth. Continually, in the course of two thousand years, Christians – especially saints – have made history fruitful with their lived experience of Easter. The Church is the people of the Exodus, because she constantly lives the Paschal Mystery and disseminates its renewing power in every time and place. In our days too, humanity needs an “exodus”, not just superficial adjustment, but a spiritual and moral conversion. It needs the salvation of the Gospel, so as to emerge from a profound crisis, one which requires deep change, beginning with consciences.


I pray to the Lord Jesus that in the Middle East, and especially in the land sanctified by his death and resurrection, the peoples will accomplish a true and definitive “exodus” from war and violence to peace and concord. To the Christian communities who are experiencing trials and sufferings, especially in Iraq, the Risen Lord repeats those consoling and encouraging words that he addressed to the Apostles in the Upper Room: “Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:21).


For the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that are seeing a dangerous resurgence of crimes linked to drug trafficking, let Easter signal the victory of peaceful coexistence and respect for the common good. May the beloved people of Haiti, devastated by the appalling tragedy of the earthquake, accomplish their own “exodus” from mourning and from despair to a new hope, supported by international solidarity. May the beloved citizens of Chile, who have had to endure another grave catastrophe, set about the task of reconstruction with tenacity, supported by their faith.


In the strength of the risen Jesus, may the conflicts in Africa come to an end, conflicts which continue to cause destruction and suffering, and may peace and reconciliation be attained, as guarantees of development. In particular I entrust to the Lord the future of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea and Nigeria.


May the Risen Lord sustain the Christians who suffer persecution and even death for their faith, as for example in Pakistan. To the countries afflicted by terrorism and by social and religious discrimination, may He grant the strength to undertake the work of building dialogue and serene coexistence. To the leaders of nations, may Easter bring light and strength, so that economic and financial activity may finally be driven by the criteria of truth, justice and fraternal aid. May the saving power of Christ’s resurrection fill all of humanity, so that it may overcome the multiple tragic expressions of a “culture of death” which are becoming increasingly widespread, so as to build a future of love and truth in which every human life is respected and welcomed.


Dear brothers and sisters, Easter does not work magic. Just as the Israelites found the desert awaiting them on the far side of the Red Sea, so the Church, after the resurrection, always finds history filled with joy and hope, grief and anguish. And yet, this history is changed, it is marked by a new and eternal covenant, it is truly open to the future. For this reason, saved by hope, let us continue our pilgrimage, bearing in our hearts the song that is ancient and yet ever new: “Let us sing to the Lord: glorious his triumph!”

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Vatican lashes out against sex abuse coverage
By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer Victor L. Simpson

VATICAN CITY – Cardinals rushed to Pope Benedict XVI's defense on Holy Thursday amid accusations he played a role in covering up sex abuse scandals, as an increasingly angry Vatican made a stinging attack on the U.S. media for its coverage.

The relationship between the church and the media has become increasingly bitter as the scandal buffeting the 1 billion-member church has touched the pontiff himself. On Wednesday, the church singled out the New York Times for criticism in an unusually harsh attack.

Western news organizations, including The Associated Press, have reported extensively on the burgeoning scandal, and new revelations have emerged on an almost daily basis.

Venice's Cardinal Angelo Scola expressed solidarity with Benedict in his Holy Thursday homily in the lagoon city, describing him as a victim of "deceitful accusations." He praised the pope as seeking to remove all "dirt" from the priesthood.

Warsaw Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz said the church should take notice of individual tragedies and treat sex abuse cases very seriously, but at the same time he criticized the media for "targeting the whole church, targeting the pope, and to that we must say `no' in the name of truth and in the name of justice."

And Vienna's Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, speaking of Benedict's long years as head of a Vatican office that investigates abuse, said the future pope "had a very clear line of not covering up but clearing up."

He earlier reflected on the issue at a service in Vienna's cathedral Wednesday evening:
"I admit that I often feel a sense of injustice these days. Why is the church being excoriated? Isn't there also abuse elsewhere? ... And then I'm tempted to say: Yes, the media just don't like the church! Maybe there's even a conspiracy against the church? But then I feel in my heart that no, that's not it."

The church on Wednesday presented its highest-level official response yet to one of the most explosive recent revelations regarding sex abuse — a story the Times broke on the church's decision in the 1990s not to defrock a Wisconsin priest accused of molesting deaf boys.

It was the latest in a series of attacks on the press: Last week, L'Osservatore Romano, denounced what it said was a "clear and despicable intention" by the media to strike at Benedict "at any cost."

In the article posted Wednesday on the Vatican's Web site, Cardinal William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote: "I am not proud of America's newspaper of record, the New York Times, as a paragon of fairness."

Levada, an American, said the newspaper wrongly used the case of the Rev. Lawrence Murphy to find fault in Benedict's handling of abuse cases.

A Times spokeswoman defended the articles and said no one has cast doubt on the reported facts. (MY NOTE - No one has cast doubt because the NY TIMES never talked to anyone before publishing their malicious article.)

"The allegations of abuse within the Catholic church are a serious subject, as the Vatican has acknowledged on many occasions," said Diane McNulty. "Any role the current pope may have played in responding to those allegations over the years is a significant aspect of this story."