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!

mai 262016
 

I Joseph Ratzingers liturgibind (som jeg har nevnt tidligere) i hans samlede verk fins det også noen prekener. Her er en som heter “On the Question of the Adoration of the Eucharist and Its Sacredness” – som det passer godt å nevne i dag som er festen for Corpus Christi. Der sier han bl.a.:

… this year (1980) the Holy Father has sent a letter to all priests to help us understand our task anew in the light of the Paschal Mystery and, thus, in unity with the whole Church, to live it more fully.’ On that account we make our recollection this day in fellowship with all the faithful, because our service is to them: even when we are talking about the priesthood, precisely then we are not proclaiming ourselves but Christ crucified, in whose service we are here. ratzinger_liturgy

In his letter the Holy Father has turned this year to questions concerning the Eucharistic sacrament and has quite deliberately addressed those points on which we risk becoming in some sense one-sided. It is a matter, as people would say nowadays, of a sort of “revision de vie”, an examination of our common path at a certain point, so as to find our course again and clarify it. This evening I would like to take two main points out of the Pope’s letter and reflect on them with you before the Lord: the question of the adoration of the most holy Eucharist, and that of its sacredness.

First, there is eucharistic adoration. We had rediscovered with renewed clarity in the Council that the heart of the eucharistic sacrament is the celebration of the holy mystery in which the Lord assembles his people, unites them, and builds them up by taking them into his sacrifice and giving himself to them, letting himself be received by us. The Eucharist, as we had rediscovered, is an assembly in which the Lord acts upon us and brings us together. All this is correct and remains correct. But in the meantime this idea of assembly had become flattened and separated from the idea of sacrifice, and thus the Eucharist had shrunk to a mere sign of brotherly fellowship. At the same time the concentration on the eucharistic celebration was causing faith and sacrament to lose something of their place among us. This has become quite visible in many churches—the place of adoration hides away somewhere on the edge of things, like a bit of the past. What was more far-reaching was the way the Eucharist itself was shrinking to the space of a brief half-hour, so that it could no longer breathe life into the building, no longer be the pulse of time. Confined to the space of the sacred rite, it was becoming a tiny island of time on the edge of the day, which as a whole was given over to the profane and hectic business of our worldly activity. If, today, we look back on this development, we realize that the adoration of the Sacrament was not in competition with the living celebration of the community, but its condition, its indispensable environment. Only within the breathing space of adoration can the eucharistic celebration indeed be alive; only if the church and thus the whole congregation is constantly imbued with the waiting presence of the Lord, and with our silent readiness to respond, can the invitation to come together bring us into the hospitality of Jesus Christ and of the Church, which is the precondition of the invitation.

Les videre!

mai 192016
 

Egentlig er vel dette en ikke-sak, for pave Frans svarte nylig nokså spontant og “rundt” på et spørsmål om kvinnelige diakoner kan bli aktuelt, og tenkte høyt at dette må man kanskje studere litt grundigere. Men en grundig undersøkelse ble gjort for ca 15 år siden. På katolsk.no kan vi lese en grei fremstilling av saken, bl.a.:

Under et møte med kvinnelige ordensledere fra hele verden, ble paven spurt om å danne en offisiell kommisjon som kan utrede hvorvidt kvinner kan bli ordinert som diakoner.

Kvinnelige diakoner er nevnt i Det nye testamentet, av flere kirkefedre, og i dokumenter fra konsilet i Nikea, men det er omdiskutert hvorvidt den rollen tilsvarer det som i dag kalles permanente diakoner – som tjenestegjør ved dåp og bryllup og noen ganger preker i messen.

Frans sa til Den internasjonale forsamlingen for ordensledere (UISG) at, ifølge hans oppfatning, ble ikke kvinnene som omtales som diakoner i Det nye testamentet ordinert slik som ved dagens permanente diakonat; men de hjalp til når andre kvinner skulle døpes ved full neddykking, eller salves med olje. Spørsmålet er imidlertid «dunkelt» og trenger å bli gransket videre. Han sa til møtet: «Jeg vil spørre troskongregasjonen hvorvidt det finnes studier om dette». Han sa også at «jeg synes det virker nyttig om vi kan få en kommisjon som kan klargjøre dette grundig».

I 2001 kom Den internasjonale teologiske kommisjonen – som er troskongregasjonens rådsorgan – med et dokument som konkluderte med at de historisk kvinnelige diakonene ikke tilsvarer det vi har i dag som permanente diakoner. «I følge innstiftelsesriter fra den tidlige kirken framgår det at den funksjonen disse kvinnelige diakonene hadde, ikke er helt det samme som det vi i dag kaller diakoner.»

… Nåværende prefekt i troskongregasjonen, kardinal Gerhard Müller, deltok i 2001-kommisjonen. Han sa i etterkant at kvinner ikke kan bli ordinert til diakoner av samme grunn som de ikke kan bli ordinert til prester. «Det ville virkelig vært kvinnediskriminerende å si at de egner seg for diakonatet, men ikke for preste- eller biskopsembetet», sa kardinalen.

Pave Frans sa til møtet med ordenslederne at kvinner ikke kan preke i messen fordi presten er «i Kristi person» og derfor også er den som skal preke.

Dette er hentet fra en artikkel i Catholic Herald. De skriver også mer om denne saken HER og HER.

Hele Den internasjonale teologiske kommisjonens rapport fra 2002 kan leses her.

mai 032016
 

16mai_PIUSXII
I en bokanmeldelse i First Things av boka Church of Spies, av Mark Riebling, leste jeg i dag den overraskende nyheten over, samt flere andre ting om hvordan pave Pius XII prøvde å beskytte jøder og andre minoriteter mot Nazismen. Bl..:

… In Church of Spies, Mark Riebling provides readers with a comprehensively documented story of the Germans who worked to remove Hitler from power and return their country to its place in the civilized world. These brave individuals received moral and political support from many sources, not least from the pope himself. Pius XII was an active participant: transmitting information, encouraging resistance, even supporting plots for assassination. …

The pope first specifically referred to the plight of European Jewry in December 1942 and reiterated that concern again in June 1943. Given the Nazi dictatorship across Europe, however, nothing would be achieved until Hitler and his forces were removed. The papacy would regain its public voice only after the liberation of Rome in 1945. Meanwhile, the pope’s emissaries in Germany facilitated conspiracy against Hitler. …

Pius XII’s anti-Nazi commitment was clearly demonstrated before war broke out. He secretly informed the British government of the Nazi plan to occupy Norway and Denmark. He warned Holland and Belgium that the Nazi army would not recognize their claim to ­neutrality. And before hostilities broke out between France, Britain, and Germany, Pius XII warned of Nazi military plans.

How the Vatican received this information has never been disclosed. Until proven otherwise, we should assume that the source was Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of the Abwehr, the German military intelligence organization. Canaris, a Protestant, had no difficulties in working with the Catholic Church. An early opponent of ­Nazism, Canaris, with trusted assistants, remained in regular contact with the Vatican, through Joseph ­Müller, and reported the progress achieved in forming an anti-Nazi coalition willing to challenge Hitler’s rule.

The pope’s insistence on the importance of overturning Nazi control of Germany was a key to a resumption of peace and to the survival of Jews and all other persecuted minorities. …

Les mer om denne boka hos Amazon.

apr 242016
 

John Allen skrev i går en artikkel der han beskriver hvordan pave Frans – som fortsatt er populær i media – ikke riktig klarer (eller ønsker) å rydde opp i Vatikanets administrative problemer – kardinalene som valgte ham for tre år siden trodde han var den beste til å ordne opp på dette området. Allen skriver:

Of late there have been reminders that Francis’ success on the global stage is not really matched by comparable breakthroughs as a manager.

Over the past quarter-century, two areas above all have generated persistent scandal and heartache for the Vatican, and were waiting for a new pope to take up: The child sexual abuse scandals, and money.

In terms of the abuse scandals, a recent report by the Associated Press reveals that a new tribunal within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was created by Francis to handle “abuse of office” charges against bishops accused of covering up abuse cases, essentially is going nowhere.

The tribunal, billed as a dramatic move by Francis in the direction of accountability, has been mired from the beginning in conflicting jurisdictions and unclear lines of authority, and so far has not taken up a single case. …

… Meanwhile on the financial front, people were caught off guard this week when news broke that the Vatican had suspended an external audit of its finances to be performed by the global firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).

What’s followed has been a testy public back-and-forth over where things broke down, and why, between Italian Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the number two official at the Secretariat of State who issued an April 12 letter suspending the audit, and Australian Cardinal George Pell, tapped by Pope Francis as Secretary for the Economy in February 2014. …

John Allen avslutter artikkelen slik: “there’s an unavoidable irony about the fact that a pope elected in part to remedy a perceived “governance gap” could end up being seen instead as having perpetuated it.”

apr 192016
 

Pope-Benedict-XVI-humility
Det er i dag 11 år siden kardinal Ratzinger ble valgt til pave og tok navnet Benedikt XVI. John Allen skriver om dette og sier også pave at Benedikt kan komme til å bli kjent for paven som foretok de store reformene. Han skriver bl.a.:

… When the American scandals erupted under St. John Paul II, the deniers had control in the Vatican and the reformers were an embattled minority. By the end of Benedict’s papacy, the situation was the exact reverse: The deniers hadn’t gone away, but they’d been driven underground.

While he was still at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, it was then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who pushed for new rules to weed out abuser priests in the Pope John Paul II years and who wrote those rules into law as pope.

It was also Ratzinger who unleashed his top prosectuor, then-Msgr. Charles Scicluna, on Mexican Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado despite the cleric’s powerful network of Vatican allies, and who sentenced Maciel to a life of “prayer and penance” in 2006.

Later, Benedict was the first pope to meet with victims of sex abuse, the first pope to apologize for the crisis in his own name, and the first pope to dedicate an entire document to the abuse crisis in his 2010 letter to the Catholics of Ireland.

Benedict laicized almost 400 priests in 2011 and 2012 alone for reasons related to sex abuse, which is almost 1 in every 1,000 Catholic priests in the world flushed out of the system in just two years.

To be sure, there was plenty of work left undone at the end of Benedict’s term, but the broad direction had been set.

Although Pope Francis is rightly celebrated for his humility and simplicity, the truth is that Benedict XVI contributed significantly to the “demystification” of the papal office well before Francis stepped onto the scene.

Here’s an example. Shortly after his election, Francis returned to the Casa del Clero in Rome where he’d been staying prior to the conclave in order to pack his own bag and pay his own bill, an episode that became part of his “man of the people” image.

Yet Benedict did much the same thing 11 years ago, returning to his apartment to pack up and then going around to thank the nuns who lived in the building for being good neighbors. In other words, Benedict was every bit as humble as his successor – arguably, in some ways, more so – even if that wasn’t always clear from his public image.

Benedict also humanized the papacy with his capacity to admit fault and to ask for help.

His 2009 letter to the bishops of the world after the Holocaust-denying traditionalist debacle is one of the most heart-felt, plaintive documents written by a papal hand you’ll ever see, and in it Benedict candidly acknowledged that he and his Vatican team had dropped the ball – not on the substance of the decision, which he defended, but on the way it was handled and communicated.

Finally, of course, there’s the fact that Benedict delivered the single most stunning act of papal humility in at least the last 500 years: His Feb. 11, 2013, decision to resign.

Pope Francis has said that in the wake of that act, resignation has now become an “institution” rather than a historical anomaly. That doesn’t even mean every future papacy will end in resignation, because some no doubt will still die in office, either as a conscious choice or simply by dint of circumstance.

Nevertheless, Benedict clearly answered the question of whether a pope even could resign in relatively normal historical circumstances – in other words, when not facing schism or invading armies – with a resounding “yes,” thereby, in ecclesiological terms, moving the papacy a huge step closer to being reinserted within the College of Bishops.

No doubt, Francis and whoever follows him will continue to build on these precedents. The fact always will remain, however, that the precedents were set by the “Great Reformer.”

apr 142016
 

I dokumentet “Amoris lætitia” har pave Frans bevisst valgt å uttale seg uklart, ser det ut til – så da kan man letter forstå oppslag som det jeg kritiserte i går. Hos Sandro Magister kan man bl.a. lese:

The deliberately vague, polyvalent form of many passages of “Amoris Lætitia” finds confirmation in the incredible diversification of comments. It should suffice to cite three conflicting ones from among the thousand that the post-synodal exhortation has prompted.

On one side is an enthusiastic Alberto Melloni – the Church historian who is also the current leader of the progressive “school of Bologna” – who hails the exhortation as the “epochal” act that has definitively liberated marriage from the “juridical-philosophical cage” of the Council of Trent with its “cold and lifeless doctrine”:

On the other side is Juan José Pérez-Soba, a professor at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Pontifical Lateran University, according to whom instead, just as in the “Relatio finalis” of the synod, neither in “Amoris Lætitia” is there any explicit admission of the divorced and remarried to communion, contrary to all the expectations:

In the middle is Robert Royal, founder and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, who applauds the exhortation for its “vigorous defense of Church teaching on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, reproductive technologies, the education of children,” but at the same time criticizes chapter 8, which “hesitantly and ambivalently would like to depart from the Church’s constant teaching since the beginning, on communion for the divorced and remarried”. …

I denne artikkelen presenterer Magister også synet til P. Antonio Spadaro, S.J., som har en svært progressiv forståelse av dokumentet – og som på mange måter står pave Frans nær.

Og John Allen skriver her om hvor viktige noen av fotnotene i pavens dokument er:

Numbers 336 and 351 in Amoris Laetitia may go down as among the most famous footnotes in papal history, since that’s where the key language occurs about how discernment in cases of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics could lead to a change in their ability to receive the sacraments.

If the devil is always in the details, in the case of Amoris Laetitia, one might say, the fireworks are in the footnotes.

Fr Longenecker skriver også om dokumentet, bl.a.:

… let us consider chapter eight which people at both extremes of the American Catholic church have jumped on. In chapter eight the pope discusses appropriate pastoral approaches to those whose marital situations are “less than the Catholic ideal.” The progressives have claimed that the document allows communion for divorced and remarried people and are delighted. Conservatives agree but are dismayed. …

… In saying that some conservatives have over reacted, it must be said that some progressives have too. I had an email from one person who assumed there would be a new procedure to grant divorced and remarried Catholics a dispensation to receive communion. They wondered how a priest would go about “making exceptions” to the rule for couples in his care.

I don’t think chapter eight says any of that at all. Here, in a few points, is what the Pope is trying very hard to communicate to us:

1. Modern Marriage is a Mess – for many complicated reasons marriage in the modern world is in crisis. As a result there are many of our people who are the walking wounded.

2. The Church is Global – the Marriage Mess is different in different parts of the world for a complex series of reasons. … Cultures are different. Socio economic conditions are different. Many things are different.

3. One Pastoral Method Does Not Fit All – While we uphold the simple definition of Christian marriage as between one man and one woman for life, the situation of a polygamous culture in Africa and a no fault divorce culture in America and a machismo culture in Argentina and a cohabiting culture in Europe means that while we uphold the ideal, matching our lives to that ideal is increasingly complex and it is impossible to set out one pastoral methodology which will apply to everyone.

4. The Church is Welcoming Not Excluding – Pope Francis wants us to open the doors to those who are caught up in the Marriage Mess. This does not mean we sacrifice or compromise the ideal, but it does mean that we listen to the real life situations of real people. …

5. Priests and people should Work With the Wounded – Some people who are divorced and re-married have simply flaunted the church’s rules and could care less about the faith. Pope Francis recognizes this and condemns them. On the other hand, many are genuinely wounded, genuinely repentant and genuinely want to belong to the church and follow Jesus Christ despite their “irregular relationships.” In other words, they want to find peace, they’ve messed up and they know it and they want to find reconciliation and the way forward.

6. Those Who Fall Short of the Ideal Should be Integrated – Pope Francis want us to welcome and integrate those whose relationships are “less than ideal”. We should remember that those whose relationship are “less than ideal” are not just the divorced and remarried. There are numerous complex relationships that fall short of the Catholic ideal. These people should be welcomed into the church and asked to participate in prayer, Bible study, charitable activity, fellowship and full life in the parish except for the reception of communion

7. Integration Does Not Demand Reception of Communion – there is a very interesting observation over at Church Militant in which the author specifically quotes Pope Francis in his press conference on the way back from Mexico and the Pope specifically says “No Communion for the Divorced and Remarried.” Check out the article.

apr 132016
 

Fra det engelske Catholic Herald tar jeg med tre artikler om “Amoris lætitia”. Den første artikkelen helter Amoris Laetitia: What people are saying, og den starter slik:

Church leaders have welcomed the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, which was published on Friday.

Cardinal Wilfred Napier of Durban said: “What is new about this exhortation is its tone,” that it exhorted ministers “to be warm and caring in the way they deal with people in difficult circumstances”. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin identified “a unifying thread: The Gospel of the family is challenging and demanding, but … with the grace of God and his mercy, is attainable and fulfilling, enriching and worthwhile”.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane described the heart of the interview thus: “A genuinely pastoral approach to marriage and the family begins with the facts.” For Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, “Pope Francis challenges us to approach the weak with compassion.” ….

Den andre artikkelen heter When apostolic exhortations are too long all we are left with is spin, og inneholder bl.a.:

… the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, weighs in at 60,000 words or thereabouts. According to Fr Raymond de Souza, this makes Amoris Laetitia the longest document of the Papal Magisterium ever. The encyclicals of St John Paul II, which have been of lasting value to the Church, are long by the standards of his predecessors, but Amoris Laetitia beats all records.

This strikes me as unfortunate. When one writes anything – novel, article, or apostolic exhortation – one does so in the hope that it will be read as widely as possible. But when one’s apostolic exhortation is of record breaking length, the chances of it finding a wide readership become correspondingly slim. It simply won’t be read by the man and woman in the pew. The only people who will read it will be professional theologians and commentators, and many of the latter will skim read it, and mine it for quotations. Thus most people who hear about Amoris Laetitia will do so at second hand, and even then in a way that may well warp the meaning of the original. Given the unmanageability of the work itself, what we will be left with is the spin; neither will we be able to counsel people to read the original for themselves and make their own judgment.

Papal documents have been getting longer and longer of late. Perhaps one needs to remember that these are letters, like the pastoral letters that our bishops address to the faithful a few times a year and which are read out in church. A Papal letter than could be read out in all churches would really make people sit up and pay attention. …

Den tredje artikkelen heter Cardinal Burke: ‘Amoris Laetitia does not change Church teaching’, og her leser vi bl.a.:

… cardinal Burke said that “Pope Francis makes clear, from the beginning, that the post-synodal apostolic exhortation is not an act of the magisterium” and that “it is written as a reflection of the Holy Father on the work of the last two sessions of the Synod of Bishops (on the family).”

“A post-synodal apostolic exhortation, by its very nature, does not propose new doctrine and discipline but applies the perennial doctrine and discipline to the situation of the world at the time,” Cardinal Burke wrote.

The cardinal continued: “With the publication of Amoris Laetitia, the task of pastors and other teachers of the faith is to present it within the context of the Church’s teaching and discipline, so that it serves to build up the Body of Christ in its first cell of life, which is marriage and the family. …

apr 092016
 

Oppsummeringen etter bispesynodene om familien i 2014 og 2015 ble utgitt i går, og norske nyhetskilder har meldt kort om dette, stort sett gjennom en NTB-arktikkel, som f.eks. Vårt Land har gjengitt. Denne korte gjengivelsen er korrekt på enkelt punkter, men også forholdsvis misforstått. Jeg har omstrukturert meldingen litt og gir også noen kommentarer til de enkelte artiklene.

I det nye dokumentet fra paven heter det at samboere bør ønskes velkommen og «rettledes, tålmodig og diskret». Han mener at homofile bør respekteres – men fastholder kirkens motstand mot homofile partnerskap og ekteskap.

Ingenting her er jo nytt; vi har i mange år mottatt samboere vennlig og veiledet dem diskret. (Riktignok kan det være at noen utenlandske prester her har vært altfor strenge, jeg har hørt et par eksempler på det.) Og de homofile skal også alltid møtes med respekt, det sa f.eks. Den katolske kirkes katekisme fra 1992 veldig tydelig. Der leser vi i artikkel 2358. “Et ikke ubetydelig antall menn og kvinner viser grunnleggende homoseksuelle tendenser. Denne tilbøyelighet, som er objektivt feilrettet, utgjør en prøvelse for de fleste av dem. Disse må tas imot med respekt, medfølelse og fintfølelse. Alle utslag av urettferdig diskriminering mot dem skal unngås. …”

I tillegg taler paven varmt om kjærlighetens «erotiske dimensjon», og mener kirken bør ta selvkritikk for tidligere å ha hevdet at ekteskapets eneste formål var å få barn.

Her er det knapt grunn til selvkritikk. Kirken har jo de siste årene alltid presentert ekteskapets to hovedformål som 1) Fellesskapet mellom de to, 2) å få barn. I tidligere tider var rekkefølgen her motsatt, og plikten til å få barn kunne bli satt over utviklingen av et godt og varmt fellesskap mellom ektefellene, men det er tross alt lenge siden.

Den katolske kirke anerkjenner ikke skilsmisse, selv om den juridiske skilsmissen er et faktum. I stedet har kirken en ordning med såkalt annullering av ekteskap. Ifølge katolsk lov/ kirkerett kan begrunnelsene for annullering være at den ene parten ikke ønsker barn, (ikke virkelig lovet/ ønsket at ekteskapet skulle vare hele livet), mindreårighet ved inngåelse, tvang, og psykisk sykdom – eller at den ene parten (hadde vært gift) tidligere.

En knapp måned i forkant av bispemøtet i fjor høst sendte paven ut et brev med sju punkter skal blant ­annet føre til at prosessen tar kortere tid og koster mindre (i Norge har den alltid vært billig).

I avsnittene over har jeg presisert enkelte ting (i parentes) som var uklare og mangelfulle. Men det står likevel fast at Kirken i alle år har hatt ekteskapstribunaler, som i mange land har fungert svært godt. Nå vektlegges det (og det er det absolutt ingen uenighet om i Kirken) at tribunalene må fungere godt (og være billige) alle steder, og prosessen har også blitt forkortet noe.

Paven ser ut til å åpne døren på gløtt for at skilte katolikker som har giftet seg på nytt (med en borgerlig vielse), kan få gå til nattverd – noe reglene inntil nå har sagt de ikke kan.

I dette siste avsnittet ligger det eneste kontroversielle i dette lange dokumentet; er det mulig at katolikker som lever i et nytt (sivilt) ekteskap som Kirken ikke har godtatt (fordi de ikke har prøvd å gifte seg kirkelig, ikke har gått til tribunalet med et tidligere ekteskap eller fått avslag fra tribunalet), at disse likevel skal kunne mottatt absolusjon i skriftemålet og kunne motta kommunion i messen? I rundt 50 år har det vært prester som har ment (jeg har ikke gjort det, og forstår heller ikke grunnlaget for å kunne gjøre det) at slike likevel kan motta sakramentene, gjennom det som kalles en pastoral løsning som pr. definisjon er uoffisiell.

Det kan muligens se ut til at en slik løsning har blitt delvis eller nesten godtatt av pave Frans, men dette er ikke skrevet tydelig i dette lange dokumentet noe sted. Jeg skal nå snart kaste meg over grundige og mer teologiske analyser at dokumentet “Amoris lætitia” og se hva de “lærde mener.

Man finner hele dokumentet på engelsk her.

mar 232016
 

Det har nylig blitt offentliggjort et intervju med pave (emeritus) Benedikt XVI, som tar opp temaer som “mercy and our need for forgiveness, salvation through the cross, the necessity of baptism, and the importance of sharing in Christ’s redeeming love.” Intervjuet ble gjort i oktober i fjor, før en konferanse om rettferdiggjørelse og tro i Roma (i Jesuittenes kirke Il Jesu) – der teksten ble lest opp av erkebiskop Georg Gänswein.

Forandringer i synet på rettferdiggjørelse blir tatt opp tidlig i intervjuet, er der leser vi bl.a.:

For the man of today, compared to those of the time of Luther and to those holding the classical perspective of the Christian faith, things are in a certain sense inverted, or rather, is no longer man who believes he needs justification before God, but rather he is of the opinion that God is obliged to justify himself because of all the horrible things in the world and in the face of the misery of being human, all of which ultimately depend on Him. In this regard, I find it significant that a Catholic theologian may profess even in a direct and formal this inverted position: that Christ did not suffer for the sins of men, but rather, as it were, had “canceled the guilt of God.” Even if most Christians today would not share such a drastic reversal of our faith, we could say that all of this reveals an underlying trend of our times. When Johann Baptist Metz argues that theology today must be “sensitive to theodicy”, this highlights the same problem in a positive way. Even rescinding from such a radical contestation of the Church’s vision of the relationship between God and man, the man of today has in a very general way the sense that God cannot let most of humanity be damned. In this sense, the concern for the personal salvation of souls typical of past times has for the most part disappeared. …

Også vanskelige spørsmål om frelse og misjon tas opp i intervjuet:

… There is no doubt that on this point we are faced with a profound evolution of dogma. While the fathers and theologians of the Middle Ages could still be of the opinion that, essentially, the whole human race had become Catholic and that paganism existed now only on the margins, the discovery of the New World at the beginning of the modern era radically changed perspectives. In the second half of the last century it has been fully affirmed the understanding that God cannot let go to perdition all the unbaptized and that even a purely natural happiness for them does not represent a real answer to the question of human existence. If it is true that the great missionaries of the 16th century were still convinced that those who are not baptized are forever lost – and this explains their missionary commitment – in the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council that conviction was finally abandoned.

From this came a deep double crisis. On the one hand this seems to remove any motivation for a future missionary commitment. Why should one try to convince the people to accept the Christian faith when they can be saved even without it? But also for Christians an issue emerged: the obligatory nature of the faith and its way of life began to seem uncertain and problematic. If there are those who can save themselves in other ways, it is not clear, in the final analysis, why the Christian himself is bound by the requirements of the Christian faith and its morals. If faith and salvation are no longer interdependent, faith itself becomes unmotivated.