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apr 222017
 

Bildet over er fra pave Benedikts fødselsdagsfeiring sist søndag, og i en artikkel som viser samme bilde skriver Fr Raymond de Souza om Ratzinger/Benedikts viktigste arbeid for Kirken, nemlig det som har med Bibelen, liturgien og en rett tolkning av Vatikankonsilet å gjøre. Aller mest fundamentalt er en rett bibelforståelse, og om det skriver de Sousa:

… By the time Ratzinger was ordained in 1951, several generations of biblical scholarship – while making great scientific advances – had begun to erode the central and sacred role of the Bible in the life of the Church. Advances in biblical archaeology, study of ancient languages and literary criticism had produced remarkable new understandings of the biblical texts. Scripture scholarship, though, had slipped away from theology and become something akin to classics, as if the Bible were Greek epic poetry or Latin rhetoric.

Ratzinger accepted all that was good in the new methods, but insisted that if the scriptures were to have any relevance for today, they had to be read in light of the faith, to be read as divine revelation received and lived by the Church. Biblical scholarship that, for example, tried to get to the “real” text behind centuries of patristic reflection, was treating the text as something separate from the people it was addressed to – the Church.

His theological work bore fruit in two key documents, the Pontifical Biblical Commission’s The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (1993) and the fruit of the first synod he summoned as pope, Verbum Domini (2010).

Yet it was his decision to publish, while pope, a three-volume study of the life of Christ (Jesus of Nazareth) that will have the greatest impact. Instead of proposing how biblical study ought to be done, Ratzinger-Benedict got on with it and did the job himself, confirming in the masterful trilogy that he was probably the most learned man alive.

His biblical project was critical to his work in securing the authentic teaching of Vatican II. Everyone remembers Benedict for proposing the “hermeneutic of continuity and reform” against a “hermeneutic of rupture”. But he went to the root cause of the rupture. ….

apr 152017
 

thank_you_holy_father_benedict_xvi

16. april (påskedag) fyller pave (emeritus) Benedikt 90 år – jeg gratulerer ham med dagen litt på forskudd.

I en artikkel på the Catholic Herald, med overskrift The Ratzinger revolution, og ingress His writings will one day inspire a generation to revolt against the West’s secular consensus kan vi lese bl.a.:

Benedict XVI will celebrate his 90th birthday on Easter Sunday. Cardinal Joachim Meisner famously described him as a man who is as intelligent as 12 professors and as pious as a child making his First Communion.

If one inserts the words “Joseph Ratzinger” into the Google Scholar search engine, which records academic publications, one obtains some 24,600 hits in four seconds. The words “Benedict XVI” bring up even more results – 66,100. ….

As Bavaria’s most famous son since Ludwig II enters his 10th decade of life, it is worth considering what the impact of all these publications might be in the brave new world of 21st-century Catholicism. My thought is that the publications of Ratzinger will form a treasury to be mined by future generations trying to piece together elements of a fragmented Christian culture.

Ratzinger himself emphasises that the seat of all faith is the memoria Ecclesiae: the memory of the Church. He believes that “there can be a waxing or waning, a forgetting or remembering, but no recasting of truth in time”. As a result, “the decisive question for today is whether that memory can continue to exist through which the Church becomes Christ and without which she sinks into nothingness”.

In this void of nothingness, in a world without the memoria Ecclesiae, the human person strives for an autonomy that is in conflict with his nature. It is natural, normal and healthy for one’s sense of self to exist within the context of a living history and tradition. Those without such moorings often spend their entire youth trying to “find themselves” without much success and often only after years of painful experimentation.

These reflections on the importance of memory were made by Ratzinger in 1982. Earlier, in 1958, during his theological teenager phase, Ratzinger wrote an essay entitled “The New Pagans and the Church”. In it he observed that whenever people make a new acquaintance they can assume with some certainty that the person has a baptismal certificate, but not that he has a Christian frame of mind. This was a full decade before the cultural revolution of the 1960s. …

…. When a new generation arises in full rebellion from the social experiments of the contemporary era, craving a human ecology that respects both God and nature, and wanting to be something more than rootless cosmopolitans, Ratzinger’s publications will serve as Harry Potter-style Portkeys, giving creative young rebels access to the missing cultural capital – indeed, access to what Ratzinger calls the memoria Ecclesiae.

High on the list of the missing cultural capital is the realisation that from the earliest times Christianity has understood itself as the religion of the Logos, the religion according to reason. As Ratzinger expresses the principle: “Faith has the right to be missionary only if it transcends all traditions and constitutes an appeal to reason and an orientation towards the truth itself.” The lack of truth, he argues, is the major disease of our age.
….

Både engelsk Wikipedia og norsk Wikipedia har grundige artikler om pave Benedikt.

mar 142017
 

Kanskje jeg skal lese denne boka, for det er ikke alltid like lett å forstå pave Frans. Slik kan vi lese på First Things:

An important new book has appeared that carefully evaluates Francis’s pontificate, and provides something the pope—for all his good deeds—often hasn’t: context and clarity.

What Pope Francis Really Said by Tom Hoopes, writer in residence at Benedictine College, is one of the best books to appear on the subject—because it avoids caricaturing Francis, from either the left or the right, and strives to get to the heart of his papacy by studying the full context of his teachings. A second strength is that it rescues Francis from distortion without overlooking his flaws.

Hoopes comments: To try to understand what Pope Francis wants from the Church in the twenty-first century, we should start by invoking Our Lady, Undoer of Knots. Our understanding of Pope Francis has become knotted up with conflicting feelings fed by mistaken reporting, false adulation, rash judgment, and the pope’s own verbal slip-ups.

One of the challenges in covering Francis is that he frequently speaks in incomplete sentences, particularly in the free-wheeling—and often problematic—interviews he grants to the press. Explaining Francis’s teachings in their proper context, therefore, is like putting together a huge jigsaw puzzle—because he says so many things, about a particular subject, at different times, and with different emphasis. But Hoopes has done an admirable job tracking down Francis’s most important statements, and bringing them together to provide a coherent summary of his teachings.

Regarding the pope’s much-discussed views on the economy, for example, Hoopes immediately puts to rest the notion that Francis is a crypto-Marxist who despises every aspect of the free market. In fact, as Hoopes documents, Francis’s views are rooted in the Gospel and the Church’s rich body of social teachings and these are “not just focused on bettering the material needs of the poor,” but addressing the needs of rich and poor alike. …

Her er boka på Amazon.

des 262016
 

Dette hører vi i dagens messe:

Inngangsvers
Himmelens porter åpnet seg for den hellige Stefan, den første av martyrskaren. Derfor jubler han i himmelen med seierens krone.

Kollektbønn
Herre, vi ber deg, hjelp oss å etterligne ham vi ærer, så vi kan lære å elske også våre fiender. For i dag feirer vi den hellige Stefans fødselsfest, han som du gav kraft til å be endog for sine forfølgere. Ved vår Herre Jesus Kristus …

Kommunionsvers
De stenet Stefan, som bad: Herre Jesus, motta min ånd.

Les alle messens bønner, antifoner og tekster her.

I dag sa pave Frans også dette i sin preken:

On the feast day of Christianity’s original martyr, Pope Francis issued a strong call not to forget the testimony of today’s victims of anti-Christian persecution around the world, a stunning number of whom have made the supreme sacrifice in recent years.

“Even today the Church, to render witness to the light and the truth, is beset in various places by hard persecutions, up to the supreme test of martyrdom,” Francis said on Monday.

“How many of our brothers and sisters in the faith suffer abuses and violence, and are hated because of Jesus!”
“I’ll tell you something,” the pope said. “The number of martyrs today is greater than in the early centuries [of the Church]. When we read the history of the early centuries, here in Rome, we read about so much cruelty to Christians. It’s happening today too, in even greater numbers.”

“Today we want to think of them and be close to them with our affection, our prayer and also our tears,” the pontiff said. “In these days, in Iraq, the Christians celebrated Christmas in a cathedral that had been destroyed. That’s an example of fidelity.
“The hardships and dangers notwithstanding, they offer courageous witness by belonging to Christ, and they live the Gospel committing themselves in favor of the least, of the most overlooked, doing good to all without distinction. …

des 122016
 

For noen få dager siden – 8. desember, høytiden for jomfru Marias uplettede unnfangelse – var tusenvis av menensker samlet ved de spanske trappene i Roma, for å overrekke den store Mariastatuen en blomsterkrans. Slik beskriver Catholic Herald det som skjedde:

In the late afternoon, the Pope made his traditional visit to a statue of Mary erected in the centre of Rome, near the Spanish Steps, to celebrate the official Church recognition that Mary was conceived without sin.

Thousands of Romans and tourists crowded around the statue where people had been laying flowers all day. Earlier on Rome firefighters with a truck and ladder hung a wreath of white flowers from the outstretched arms of the statue. …

… Although she was just a humble young woman from a small town, Mary’s total “yes” to God was “the most important ‘yes’ of history” and overturned Adam and Eve’s prideful “no”, which unleashed sin into the world, Pope Francis has said.

“With generosity and trust like Mary, may each of us say this personal ‘yes’ to God today,” Pope Francis prayed as he recited the Angelus prayer with visitors in St Peter’s Square on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Even when they do not say “no” to God, human beings can be experts in saying, “yes, but …” to God, the Pope said.

“To avoid saying ‘no’ outright to God, we say, ‘Sorry, but I can’t,’ ‘Not today, but maybe tomorrow,’ ‘Tomorrow I will be better, tomorrow I will pray, I’ll do good tomorrow,’” he said. But in responding that way, “we close the door to what is good and evil profits.”

Nevertheless, Pope Francis said, God keeps trying to reach out and save us. And through the “yes” of Mary, he became human, “exactly like us except for one thing, that ‘no,’ that sin. This is why he chose Mary, the only creature without sin, immaculate.”

des 052016
 

Dette skriver John Allen i en grundig artikkel kalt No matter what anyone says, clarity on ‘Amoris’ remains elusive. Han åpner artikkelen slik:

For a document that was intended to settle the debate unleashed by two tumultuous Synods of Bishops called to discuss issues related to marriage and family life, Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’s treatise on the family, instead seems notable for how much it’s left unresolved and still-disputed.

For those who haven’t been following every twist and turn, Amoris Laetitia is a broad treatment by a tremendously pastoral pope, and it can’t be reduced to single contested point. Nevertheless, the most polarizing question during the synods was whether divorced and civilly remarried Catholics could receive the sacrament of Communion under at least some circumstances, and everyone read the text with one eye to what Francis would say on that question.

In the document, Francis addressed the point only in a footnote – footnote 351 – which appeared to leave the door open for a “yes” answer, but not doing so in a way that explicitly changed either Church law or teaching. That cleared the path for bishops to interpret the implications of the pope’s ruling differently, with some taking a restrictive approach and others a more permissive line. …

Allen referer så til jesuitten Fr Antonio Spadaro som «insists that some of the attacks directed at the pope’s document reflect a “bad spirit,” and that anyone who’s sincere doesn’t need any more clarification on the Communion debate than has already been given», og til troskongregasjonens leder Kardinal Müller, som bl.a. sier at han «leaves open the possibility that Francis might commission the doctrinal congregation to create an “ad-hoc commission” to resolve the dispute. That, to be clear, is not the language of someone who believes that Amoris, and the responses to it to date, have resolved every possible doubt.»

John Allen avslutter denne artikkelen med disse to konklusjonene:

First, despite the insistence of papal allies that everything is perfectly clear about what the deal is with regard to access to Communion, there’s an important segment of the Church that just doesn’t believe that’s true. Whether they’re a minority or a majority doesn’t matter for the moment – they can’t simply be dismissed, because they include senior figures in the hierarchy.

By the way, Spadaro’s willingness to engage in an exchange with Ivereigh represents something that hadn’t been done so far, which is to respond directly to the four cardinals. In itself, that’s arguably an acknowledgment there are questions that still need to be answered.

Second, unless and until Pope Francis delivers a binding magisterial response, the forecast is for local control. We’ve already seen various bishops deliver clearly divergent responses about what the implications of Amoris will be in their dioceses, and there’s nothing to suggest that won’t continue in the absence of a clear and indisputable papal declaration.

Depending on one’s point of view, that could either be styled as a long-overdue step towards the “healthy decentralization” in Catholicism to which Francis has often referred, or as doctrinal chaos, but in any event, it clearly seems to be where we are.

nov 282016
 

Danmark har en ganske interessant katolsk tidsskrift, Katolsk Orientering, og i siste nummer (Les det her, i pdf-format) skriver de på side 1 og 2 om usikkerheten mange føler etter de to bispesynodene i Roma om familien. Artikkelen åpner slik:

Klarhed udbedes

Fire fremtrædende kardinaler bad i september paven om klarhed over tvivlspunkter i Amoris Laetitia, men fik tilsyneladende ikke svar. Nu har de offentliggjort deres brev til paven

”Den hellige Fader har besluttet ikke at svare. Vi har opfattet denne suveræne afgørelse som en indbydelse til at fortsætte med overvejelser og diskussion, fredeligt og respektfuldt. Og derfor informerer vi hele Guds folk om vores initiativ og stiller samtlige dokumenter til disposition”.

Sådan skriver de fire kardinaler Raymond Burke, Walter Brandmüller, Carlo Caffarra og Joachim Meisner i en kommentar til en appel, der mandag den 14. november kunne læses på mange onlinemedier. Appellen blev oprindelig sendt til Vatikanet, der bekræftede modtagelsen den 19. september.

Kardinalerne skriver, at baggrunden for appellen er ”en dyb pastoral bekymring” over den ”usikkerhed” og ”forvirring”, som Amoris Laetitia har skabt blandt de troende. Videre står der i indledningen: ”Kirkens store tradition lærer os, at udvejen fra situationer som denne består i at henvende sig til Den hellige Fader og bede Den apostoliske Stol opklare den tvivl, som er årsagen til usikkerhed og forvirring”. Spørgsmålene beskæftiger sig med det kontroversielle ottende kapitel i dokumentet og især med spørgsmålet, om fraskilte gengifte kan modtage kommunionen. Dette spørgsmål har været diskuteret i månedsvis, og her har fronterne været trukket skarpt op.

Kardinal Kasper ser dokumentet som en bekræftelse af, at fraskilte gengifte i enkelttilfælde kan modtage kommunionen uden at være seksuelt afholdende. ”Der er åbninger der – det er helt klart” sagde han i april i Aachen kort efter, at Amoris Laetitia var blevet offentliggjort. Samme holdning indtager Wiens ærkebiskop, kardinal Christoph Schönborn.

Kardinalerne understreger, at de ikke ønsker dokumentet opfattet som et ”konservativt” angreb på de ”progressive”. De ønsker med initiativet at skabe klarhed og henvendte sig derfor til paven i bevidstheden om, at ” Petrustjenesten er en tjeneste for enheden og at det tilkommer Peter at styrke sine brødre i troen.” ”Vi håber, at ingen – med urette – dømmer os som modstandere af Den hellige Fader og som mennesker, der mangler barmhjertighed”, skriver de videre. ….

nov 232016
 

En kirkerettsekspert, Ed Condon, skriver i Catholic Herald en artikkel som starter (friskt) slik:

The furore caused by Misericordia et Misera is a damning indictment of those surrounding the Pope. Pope Francis is not an expert in canon law. I do not think His Holiness would mind me putting it that bluntly. In fact I rather suspect that, given his personal style, he would happily agree. It is far from heresy to point out that a pope might not be a born canonical expert, anymore than it would be unreasonable to suggest that Donald Trump has no particular natural expertise in American constitutional law. …

Videre skriver han at paven nå har gitt alle prester noe de allerede har, nemlig myndighet til å tilgi synden provosert abort. Men med denne alvorlige synden følger også en ekstra konsekvens, nemlig automatisk ekskommunikasjon, og det er egentlig denne paven nå gir alle prester myndighet til å ta bort. Slik skriver han:

… How the faculty to hear confessions and forgive sins works, in canon law, is like this: a priest gets the “power” to forgive sins through his ordination, but to validly use this power he needs the faculty to exercise it (c. 966 §1). He gets this faculty from the law itself in some circumstances, like in danger of death for the penitent (c. 976), but the normal process is for him to be given the faculty by his bishop for use in the diocese (c. 969 §1). Once he has the faculty from his bishop to hear confessions and forgive sins in his diocese, the law then extends that faculty to apply anywhere in the world (c. 967 §2). In short: if a priest has the faculty to hear confessions and absolve any sins, he can absolve all sins, and if he has the faculty to do this somewhere he can do it anywhere.

This means that the actual effect of the Pope’s concession of the “faculty” to absolve the “sin” of abortion to all priests is to grant them a faculty which 99 per cent of them already have. The one-percenters who don’t have the faculty are those who have not already been given it by their bishop, or have had it revoked; those suspended from ministry, for example. Now it is pretty obvious that this is not what the Pope meant, even if it is what he technically said. So what did he mean to say?

What was supposed to be announced, and what would have been announced had his curial assistants done their job, was the concession of the “faculty” to “remit the censure” for the “delict/crime” of abortion.

While every canonical crime is a sin, not every sin is also a canonical crime, though some of the most serious are. Abortion is, for sure, a grave sin. It is also a delict (c. 1398) which carries the penalty of excommunication. To be clear: there is no such thing as a “reserved sin”, but there are “reserved crimes”. A reserved crime is one where only a person with particular authority can lift the penalty. In the case of abortion, only the ordinary of the territory (the diocesan bishop, for all intents and purposes) can lift the censure, in this case of excommunication. It is common practice for some bishops to give their priests this faculty by delegation, along with the faculty to hear confessions. But, since the faculty to lift the penalty is not extended by the law, as it is with absolving the sin, to cover everywhere, but is limited to the territory of the ordinary, the power to lift the censure does not travel with the priest, even if he has it at home. …

… What the Pope is actually doing, and I hope this will be clarified in the not too distant future, is giving all priests the faculty to lift the excommunication, always and everywhere and on their own. He did this first for the the Year of Mercy and is now making it permanent.

The Pope has in no way downgraded or mitigated the severity of the sin of abortion, and effectively ending the reservation of the delict is hardly the disciplinary earthquake some people are assuming it is.

nov 212016
 

Ved starten av Barhjertighetsåret hadde pave Frans gitt alle prester i SSPX myndighet til å tilgi synder i skriftemålet (noe de ikke hadde hatt på lang tid), og til alle katolske prester å tilgi synden provosert abort (som kirkeretten setter begrensninger for). I et brev som ble kunngjort i dag – MISERICORDIA ET MISERA – har han forlenget begge disse tillatelsene (på ubestemt tid). Slik kan vi lese:

12. Given this need, lest any obstacle arise between the request for reconciliation and God’s forgiveness, I henceforth grant to all priests, in virtue of their ministry, the faculty to absolve those who have committed the sin of procured abortion. The provision I had made in this regard, limited to the duration of the Extraordinary Holy Year, is hereby extended, notwithstanding anything to the contrary. I wish to restate as firmly as I can that abortion is a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life. In the same way, however, I can and must state that there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father. May every priest, therefore, be a guide, support and comfort to penitents on this journey of special reconciliation.

For the Jubilee Year I had also granted that those faithful who, for various reasons, attend churches officiated by the priests of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, can validly and licitly receive the sacramental absolution of their sins. For the pastoral benefit of these faithful, and trusting in the good will of their priests to strive with God’s help for the recovery of full communion in the Catholic Church, I have personally decided to extend this faculty beyond the Jubilee Year, until further provisions are made, lest anyone ever be deprived of the sacramental sign of reconciliation through the Church’s pardon.

Avisa Dagen skrev i dag om dette, med en nokså uklar overskrift: «Paven vil gi syndsforlatelse til kvinner som har tatt abort».

Jeg tillot meg da skrive følgende kommentar til innlegget:

Man har (selvsagt) alltid kunnet motta tilgivelse for provosert abort i Den katolske kirke, men det har vært viss begrensninger på hvilke prester som har fått fullmakt til å gi slik tilgivelse – biskopene kan gi en slik fullmakt til noen eller alle prester. Nå har paven bestemt at tillatelsen han ga til alle prester om å gi slik tilgivelse for ett år siden, skal gjelde videre på ubestemt tid.

sep 122016
 

John Allen skriver om denne talen i det berømte universitet i Regensburg i Tyskland, at: «In the opening section of the speech, Benedict cited a 14th century dialogue between a Byzantine emperor and a Persian, in which the emperor said provocatively: “Show me just what Mohammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”»

2006_b16_regensburg

Det ble en hel del bråk etter den talen, men Allen sier at man nok skylder pave Benedikt en unnskyldning, for: «Ten years later, there’s a mounting sense that perhaps the world owes Benedict an apology. The rise of the Islamic State, Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, and other extremist Islamic movements, and the continual waves of terror and barbarism they generate, has created a sense that perhaps it wasn’t Benedict who stumbled by pointing out that Islam has a problem – perhaps it’s Muslims who haven’t responded to the problem adequately.»

Men aller viktigst, skriver John Allen: «Lost in the noise, however, is the central thing to know about the Regensburg speech, to wit: It’s not really about Islam at all.» Og han fortsetter:

… In the 4,500-word address, Benedict devoted barely three paragraphs to the remark quoted above from Manuel II Paeologus, which he used to set up his reflections on the topic, which was “Faith, Reason and the University.” He was trying to make a point about the importance of religion never parting company with reason, and could just as easily have taken his cautionary tale from Hinduism, Buddhism, or, for that matter, Christianity.

Benedict’s real target in the speech is the West, identifying two worrying trends he saw (and no doubt still sees) in Western thought – one inside the Christian church, and the other in the broader culture.

He devoted a significant chunk of the Regensburg speech to tracing the history of efforts at “dehellenization,” meaning to suggest that the use of ancient Greek concepts of reason in the early Church was really just an historical accident, and there’s nothing essential about them to the Christian faith.

Benedict insists that salvation history doesn’t work that way, and that it was providential that the Biblical faith and Greek thought intersected. It marked a fundamental choice by Christianity, he believes, to recognize that reason is intrinsic to God’s nature, and that to act irrationally is therefore to break with God’s will.

Benedict was even more critical of trends in Western culture to regard only the so-called “hard sciences” as truly rational, meaning objective, and to relegate everything else – including morality – to the realm of personal preference and choice.

That’s a disaster, he argued, because it leaves no basis for moral consensus on anything, and thus makes building a real community impossible. If there’s no objective good, then what’s to stop the powerful from abusing the weak, what’s to stop a tyrannical majority from oppressing a minority, and on and on? …

sep 092016
 

b16_last_testamentIntervjuboka med pave emeritus Benedikt kan bestilles (på engelsk) på Amazon, men er ikke klar før om to måneder. Benedikt er blitt ganske skrøpelig, har hatt pacemaker siden 1997, må bruke gåstol når han beveger seg, og har mistet synet på venstre øye. Catholic Herald skriver om ham og den nyutgitte boka:

… In a book-length interview with the German author Peter Seewald, Pope Benedict said that when he resigned he had the “peace of someone who had overcome difficulty” and “could tranquilly pass the helm to the one who came next.”

The new book, Last Testament, will be released in English by Bloomsbury in November. The German and Italian editions were set for release on September 9, but some excerpts were published September 8 by the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Pope Benedict insisted once again that he was not pressured by anyone or any event to resign and he did not feel he was running away from any problem.

“My weak point perhaps is a lack of resolve in governing and making decisions,” he said. “Here, in reality, I am more a professor, one who reflects and meditates on spiritual questions. Practical governance was not my forte and this certainly was a weakness.”

Pope Francis, on the other hand, “is a man of practical reform”, the retired pope said. His personality and experience as a Jesuit provincial and archbishop have enabled him to take practical organisational steps.

The retired pope, who is 89, said he had no inkling that then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio would be elected his successor; “no one expected him.”

“When I first heard his name, I was unsure,” he said. “But when I saw how he spoke with God and with people, I truly was content. And happy.” …

two_popes

sep 092016
 

pope-benedict-xvi
John Allen skriver om den nye boka om pave Benedikt, som gis ut i dag, bl.a.:

Pope Francis is celebrated for his humility, and rightly so. This is, after all the pontiff who began his reign by kneeling and asking the crowd in St. Peter’s Square to pray for him before he delivered a formal blessing, who returned to a Rome residence to pay his own bill and pack his own bag, and who declined to live in the sumptuous papal apartments.

However, there’s also a sense in which Pope Francis is a strong personality, comfortable in command, and possessing a virtually unwavering confidence in the correctness of his own judgments. That’s far from arrogance, of course, but for those who watch him in action, there’s never any doubt about who’s in charge.

If you want a pope filled with a sense of his own limitations and imperfections – not haunted by them, but also remarkably open in acknowledging why they may have made him unsuited to lead, at least for very long – then the man you’re really looking for is Benedict XVI.

We got another reminder of the point on Thursday, with the release of excerpts from a new interview book with Benedict XVI by German journalist Peter Seewald, with whom he’s collaborated several times in the past. Titled Final Conversations, portions of the book were published Thursday in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera and German weekly Die Zeit and daily Bild.

While insisting that he was not pressured by anyone to resign the papacy in February 2013, and that it was his own free decision, Benedict concedes that the demands of running a complex religious multi-national occasionally exceeded what he perceived, anyway, as his capacities.

“My weak point perhaps is a lack of resolve in governing and making decisions,” he said. “Here, in reality, I am more a professor, one who reflects and meditates on spiritual questions. Practical governance was not my forte, and this certainly was a weakness.” ….

aug 262016
 

Pope-Benedict-XVI

Jeg leste nettopp på CRUX om en bok om pave Benedikt som snart kommer ut (på italiensk), der han sier at han rett og slett var for skrøpelig til å fortsette som pave. Der står det bl.a.:

Ever since February 28, 2013, when emeritus Pope Benedict XVI unexpectedly, and in Latin, announced his resignation, theories regarding why became too numerous to count: scandals over leaked confidential documents, his health, an alleged “gay lobby” in the Vatican, and so on.

Benedict said at the time he was stepping down because he was 86 and lacked the strength to continue with his mission of leading an institution present in every corner of the world, with over 1.2 billion members.

In a recent interview he expanded on that explanation, adding more details. Among other things, he said that his March 2012 trip to Mexico and Cuba had taken such a toll that he knew he’d be incapable of making another grueling international trip. He says he agreed with his doctor it’d be better if he didn’t make such a demanding outing.

He had one looming: A July 2013 trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to lead millions of youth from around the world in a week-long festival known as World Youth Day in July 2013. Hence he saw it as his “duty” to resign from the papacy, sooner rather than later after his return from Mexico and Cuba.

That snippet was shared by the emeritus pope himself in an interview with Italian Elio Guerrero, author of the upcoming book “Servant of God and Humanity: The biography of Benedict XVI.” It’ll be released in Italian on August 30, and no date for an English publication has yet been announced.
The book includes not only a preface by Pope Francis, but also an interview Guerrero had with Benedict. …..

aug 032016
 

John Allen skriver om pave Frans’ møte de de polske biskopene for noen dager siden, og sier at pave Frans der fremhevet «vicinanza» (nærhet) heller enn konfrontasjon for å overvinne sekulariseringen:

On Tuesday the Vatican released the transcript of a July 27 question-and-answer session Pope Francis held with the bishops of Poland, in which he seemed to suggest that the right way to resist secularism isn’t to prevail in intellectual arguments, but to “out-love” the opponents of the faith. … There are several fascinating nuggets, including:

– Francis’ reflection on what he sees as a contemporary form of Gnosticism that seeks to separate the individual from the community, especially the Church.

– His fiery rejection of “ideological colonization,” especially the promotion among children of the theory that people are free to choose their own gender.

– His insistence that the roots of the contemporary refugee crisis are in wars driven by financial interests.

– The pontiff’s ringing defense of the parish as the basis of ecclesiastical life, that must not be “thrown out the window.”

– Francis’ call to treasure the elderly, the “grandpas and grandmas” of society, as the “memory of a people.”

At the big-picture level, however, perhaps what’s most fascinating is the alternative way of reading the “progressive” social and ecclesial agenda that’s been associated with Francis since the beginning of his papacy.

Clearly, Francis has shifted the focus away from the “wars of culture” in the West and open confrontation with secularism, towards a more pastoral and social action-oriented approach. In the eyes of some observers – including, it has to be said, some senior Churchmen – that’s risked confusion about Catholic doctrine and the traditional spiritual pillars of the faith, opening the door to ever-greater capitulation to secularism.

What becomes clear listening to Francis speak to the Polish bishops, however, is that seen through his eyes, the aim isn’t giving in to secularization – it’s staging the battle on a different field, away from abstract debates towards hands-on pastoral proximity – what Francis likes to call vicinanza, “closeness” – especially to people in greatest difficulty.

Though he doesn’t quite put it like this, the idea seems to be that the right way to resist secularism and to win souls isn’t to prevail in intellectual arguments, but to “out-love” the opponents of the faith and thereby draw people to the Church.

There are several places in the text where, if one hadn’t paid careful attention to the header, it would be tempting to think this was actually a transcript of Pope Benedict XVI. That’s especially true of Francis’ diagnosis of Gnosticism and Pelagianism as the most worrying contemporary heresies, and his insistence that neither God can be found without Christ nor Christ without the Church. …..

jul 222016
 

Viewed from his hometown of Wadowice, Poland, Pope John Paul II could be styled as the last and greatest expression of the Habsburg spirit, meaning a a broadly tolerant, open and cosmopolitan view of the world that saw national pride and loyalty not as a threat of imperial cohesion but one of its sources.

wadowice

John Allen skriver slik om pave Johannes Paul og verdensungdomsdagen:

From the beginning, Catholicism in principle has been a universal, global faith, addressed to “the nations” in every corner of the earth. In many ways, however, it was John Paul II who made the Church truly global in practice, first by being the first non-Italian pope in 500 years, second through his staggering commitment to foreign travel – 104 foreign trips covering three-quarters of a million miles, more than three times the distance from the earth to the moon – and third, through his foundation of World Youth Day.

Because of John Paul, Catholics tend to think in more global terms about their Church, realizing that the experiences and priorities of believers in, say, Chicago and London, are not always those of Catholics in Jakarta, or Mumbai, or Riyadh.
Anyone who watched John Paul II during the eight WYD celebrations over which he presided, including Argentina, Poland, the United States, the Philippines, Spain, France, Canada and Italy, was always struck by the delight he took in seeing young people waving the flags of their countries and projecting pride in their cultures. Those instincts resonated with John Paul, because he took such fierce pride in his own Polish roots. … …

jun 302016
 

Sandro Magister skriver i forbindelse med Joseph Ratzingers markering av presteordinasjonen 29/6 1951 en artikkel med følgende ingress: «“And so on the Catholic priesthood fell the fury of Protestant criticism.” At the anniversary of the priestly ordination of the future Benedict XVI, Cardinal Müller recounts his unyielding resistance to Luther’s followers.»

Til Ratzingers jubileum var det utgitt ei bok med 43 av hans prekener, og i bokas innledning skriver kardinal Gerhard L. Müller en del om reformasjonens og den moderne bibelkritikks uheldige virkning på forståelsen av prestetjenesten, bl.a.:

Vatican Council II sought to reopen a new path to the authentic understanding of the identity of the priesthood. So why in the world did there come, just after the Council, a crisis in its identity comparable historically only to the consequences of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century?

I am thinking of the crisis in the teaching of the priesthood that took place during the Protestant Reformation, a crisis on the dogmatic level, by which the priest was reduced to a mere representative of the community, through an elimination of the essential difference between the ordained priesthood and the common one of all the faithful. And then of the existential and spiritual crisis that took place in the second half of the 20th century, which in chronological terms exploded after Vatican Council II – but certainly not because of the Council – the consequences of which we are still suffering from today.

Joseph Ratzinger highlights with great acumen that, wherever the dogmatic foundation of the Catholic priesthood declines, (it) does dry up that spring from which one can in fact drink of a life of following after Christ, …

…. Joseph Ratzinger subjects to detailed critical examination, in its turn, the historical criticism imprinted on Protestant theology and does so by distinguishing philosophical and theological prejudices from the use of the historical method. In this way, he succeeds in demonstrating that with the accomplishments of modern biblical exegesis and a precise analysis of historical-dogmatic development one can arrive in a very well-founded way at the dogmatic statements produced above all at the Councils of Florence, Trent, and Vatican II.

That which Jesus means for the relationship of all men and of the whole of creation with God – therefore the recognition of Christ as Redeemer and universal Mediator of salvation, developed in the Letter to the Hebrews by means of the category of “High Priest” (Archiereus) – is never made to depend, as a condition, on his belonging to the Levitical priesthood.

The foundation of the being and mission of Jesus resides instead in his coming from the Father, from that house and that temple in which he dwells and must be (cf. Lk 2:49). It is the divinity of the Word that makes Jesus, in the human nature that he assumed, the one true Teacher, Shepherd, Priest, Mediator, and Redeemer.

He makes participants in this consecration and mission of his through the call of the Twelve. From them arises the circle of the apostles who found the mission of the Church in history as a dimension essential to the ecclesial nature. They transmit their power to the heads and pastors of the universal and particular Church, who operate on the local and supra-local level.

jun 292016
 

I dag er det 65 år siden den unge Joseph Ratzingers presteordinasjon. I en samling i går i Vatikanet snakket han offentlig for andre gang på over tre år, se under.

Catholic News Agency skriver om dette:

On Tuesday, Benedict XVI gave his second public speech since his final day as Pope, expressing gratitude for a lengthy priesthood and for Pope Francis’ “goodness,” which he said moves him deeply.

Speaking to Pope Francis and members of the College of Cardinals gathered inside the Vatican’s small Clementine Hall for the 65th anniversary of his priestly ordination, Benedict said the Greek word “Efkaristomen” (let us give thanks), expresses “all that there is to say” for the occasion.

“Thank you, thank you everyone! Thank you Holy Father – your goodness, from the first day of your election, every day of my life here moves me interiorly, brings me inwardly more than the Vatican Gardens.”

“Your goodness is a place in which I feel protected,” he said, and voiced his hope that Francis would be able to “move forward with all of us on this path of Divine Mercy, showing Jesus’ path to God.”

Since his resignation from the papacy in 2013, Benedict XVI has made only a handful of public appearances, speaking only at his reception of an honorary doctorate from the University of Krakow last year in Castel Gandolfo. …

Father Z skriver også om dette.

jun 262016
 

16jun_francis_armenia John Allen skriver om pavens besøk i Armenia, at han på alle måter behandlet Karekin II, Den armenske apostoliske kirkens leder, som likemann, bl.a.:

… By any worldly measure, a comparison between Pope Francis and His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians, is a total mismatch.

A pope leads a global faith made up of 1.2 billion people, presides over a sovereign state in the Vatican that has diplomatic relations with pretty much everybody, and is a media rock star all around the world.

The head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, on the other hand, has at most 9 million followers, and is a rock star in exactly one spot: Armenia, a nation of around 3 million people. Otherwise, take off his clerical vestments, and he could move through airports unrecognized.

Despite its history as the world’s first officially Christian nation, Armenia is, frankly, something of a bit player even within Orthodoxy. It’s one of six Oriental Orthodox churches that don’t recognize the Council of Chalcedon, and thus tends to be overlooked in comparison to better-known Orthodox groups such as the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Yet over the past three days, the choreography of the trip, over and over again, has projected the idea that Francis and Karekin are complete equals, both heads of ancient churches and both invested with spiritual authority.

Everywhere Francis has gone, Karekin has been at his side; everywhere Francis has spoken, so too has Karekin; and anything Francis has blessed, prayed, over, or put flowers in front of, he was joined in doing so by Karekin. Francis stayed in Karekin’s Apostolic Palace, sharing meals and prayer every day. …

On Saturday, Francis and Karekin visited the northern Armenian city of Gyumri, and before leaving they stopped at both the Armenian and Catholic cathedrals. Francis offered the final blessing in the Armenian place of worship, while Karekin did so in the Catholic setting.

Also on Saturday, Karekin joined Francis for an open-air Mass the pontiff celebrated in Gyumri’s Vartanants Square, and on Sunday Francis returned the favor by taking part in a Divine Liturgy staged in the courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of the Armenian church in Etchmiadzin.

In both cases, the two men processed in together, side-by-side, and Sunday’s Orthodox liturgy was a rare case of a public event at which a pope was present but not actually the main actor. At one point, a choir intoned prayers for both Karekin and Francis.
The demonstration of common cause among Francis and Karekin reflects not only the corporate commitment of both churches to ecumenism, but also Francis’s personal passion for Christian unity. …

jun 132016
 

I en artikkel med overskrift Pope Francis: Euthanasia is a triumph of selfishness, not compassion skriver Catholic Herald videre:

Growing acceptance of euthanasia does not indicate increased compassion, but highlights the rise of a selfish “throwaway culture” that casts aside the sick, the dying and those who do not satisfy the perceived requirements of a healthy life, Pope Francis has said.

In a culture that is increasingly “technological and individualistic,” some tend to “hide behind alleged compassion to justify killing a patient,” the Pope told health professionals from Spain and Latin America on June 9.

“True compassion does not marginalise, humiliate or exclude, much less celebrate a patient passing away,” the Pope said. “You know well that would mean the triumph of selfishness, of that ‘throwaway culture’ that rejects and despises people who do not meet certain standards of health, beauty or usefulness.” … …

mai 272016
 

Her er andre del av prekenen Ratzinger holdt Skjærtorsdag 1980, «On the Question of the Adoration of the Eucharist and Its Sacredness» – første del finner man her. Der sier han bl.a.:

Let us now turn to the second aspect, the sacred nature of the Eucharist. Our thinking over the last fifteen years has been influenced rather by the notion of «desacralization». We had been struck by the saying in the Letter to the Hebrews that Christ suffered outside the gate (13:12). This, again, chimed in with the other saying, that at the death of the Lord the veil of the Temple was torn in two. Now the Temple is empty. The true holiness, the holy presence of God, is no longer dwelling there; it is outside the city gate. The cult has been transposed out of the holy building into the life, suffering, and death of Jesus Christ. That is where its true presence was already, in his lifetime. When the Temple veil was torn across, so we had thought, the boundary between sacred and profane was torn apart. The cult is no longer something set apart from ordinary life, but holiness dwells in everyday things. What is holy is no longer a special, separate sphere but has chosen to be everywhere, has chosen to make itself felt even in worldly things. Entirely practical conclusions have been drawn from this, right down to some concerning priestly dress, concerning Christian worship and church buildings. This razing of the bastions should be carried out everywhere; nowhere should cult and life be any longer distinguishable one from the other. But thereby the message of the New Testament had ultimately been subject to substantial misunderstanding, albeit on the basis of an idea that was itself correct. For God is not withdrawing from the world so as to leave it to its worldliness, any more than he is affirming it in its worldliness, as if this were in itself holy. For as long as the world is imperfect, the distinction within it between sacred and profane will remain, for God is not withdrawing from it the presence of his holiness, and yet his holiness still does not comprehend the whole.

Les videre!