Women Can Be Priests

Pope Benedict

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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/07 10:15:38 (permalink)
Benedict XVI's Message to Rome Conference on Laity
"Co-responsible for the Church's Being and Action"
zenit.org
June 4, 2009

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 4, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Here is a Vatican translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered May 26 at St. John Lateran to open the pastoral convention of the Diocese of Rome. The conference had as its theme "Church Membership and Pastoral Co-responsibility."

* * *

Your Eminence,
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
and in the Priesthood,
Dear Men and Women Religious,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Continuing what is by now a happy tradition, this year too I am glad to open the Diocesan Pastoral Convention. To each one of you who represent here the entire diocesan community, I address with affection my greeting and heartfelt thanks for the pastoral work you carry out. Through you, I extend to all the parishes my cordial greeting in the words of the Apostle Paul:  "To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rm 1: 7).

I cordially thank the Cardinal Vicar for the encouraging words interpreting your sentiments that he has addressed to me and for the help that he offers me, together with the Auxiliary Bishops, in the daily apostolic service to which the Lord has called me as Bishop of Rome.

It has just been recalled that in the past decade the Diocese initially focused its attention on the family; then for another three years, on teaching the faith to the new generations, seeking to respond to the "educational emergency", a challenge to all that is far from easy; and lastly, again with a reference to education, prompted by the Encyclical Letter Spe Salvi, you gave attention to the theme of teaching hope.

As I thank the Lord with you for all the good he has granted us to do I am thinking in particular of the parish priests and priests who spare no effort in guiding the communities entrusted to them I wish to express my appreciation of the pastoral decision to give time to reviewing the ground covered, with a view to focusing on certain fundamental contexts of ordinary pastoral work, in the light of past experience, to explain them better and to make them more broadly shared.



This commitment, which you have already been monitoring for several months in all the parishes and in the other ecclesial contexts, must be based on a renewed awareness of our being Church and of the pastoral co-responsibility which, in Christ's name, we are all called to exercise. And it is precisely on this aspect that I would like to reflect now.

The Second Vatican Council, desiring to pass on, pure and integral, the doctrine on the Church that had developed in the course of 2,000 years, gave the Church a "more deeply considered definition", illustrating first of all the enigmatic nature, that is, as a "reality imbued with the divine presence, hence always capable of new and deeper exploration" (Paul vi, Inaugural Address at the Second Session of the Second Vatican Council, 29 September 1963).

Well, the Church, which originates in the Trinitarian God, is a mystery of communion. As communion, the Church is not merely a spiritual reality but lives in history, so to speak, in flesh and blood. The Second Vatican Council describes her "in the nature of sacrament a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men" (Lumen Gentium, n. 1).

And the very essence of sacrament is that the invisible is tangible in the visible and that the tangibly visible opens the door to God himself. The Church, we said, is a communion, a communion of people who, through the action of the Holy Spirit, form the People of God which is at the same time the Body of Christ.

Let us reflect a little on these two key words. The concept of "People of God" came into being and was developed in the Old Testament:  to enter into the reality of human history, God chose a specific people, the People of Israel, to be his People. The intention of this particular choice is to reach, through a few, many people and through them to reach all. In other words the intention of God's specific choice is universality. Through this People, God enters into the reality of history.

And this openness to universality is achieved in the Cross and in Christ's Resurrection. In the Cross, St Paul says, Christ broke down the wall of separation. In giving us his Body, he reunites us in this Body of his to make us one. In the communion of the "Body of Christ" we all become one people, the People of God, in which to cite St Paul again all are one and there are no longer distinctions or differences between Greek and Jew, the circumcized and the uncircumcized, the barbarian, the Scythian, the slave, the Jew, but Christ is all in all. He has broken down the wall of distinction between peoples, races and cultures:  we are all united in Christ.

Thus we see that the two concepts "People of God" and "Body of Christ" complete each other and together form the New Testament concept of Church.

And whereas "People of God" expresses the continuity of the Church's history, "Body of Christ" expresses the universality inaugurated in the Cross and in the Lord's Resurrection. For us Christians, therefore, "Body of Christ" is not only an image, but a true concept, because Christ makes us the gift of his real Body, not only an image of it.

Risen, Christ unites us all in the Sacrament to make us one Body. Thus the concept "People of God" and "Body of Christ complete one another:  in Christ we really become the People of God. "People of God" therefore means "all", from the Pope to the most recently baptized child. The First Eucharistic Prayer, the so-called "Roman Canon" written in the fourth century, distinguishes between servants "we, your servants" and "plebs tua sancta"; therefore should one wish to make a distinction, one should speak of servants and plebs sancta, while the term "People of God" expresses the Church all together in their common being.

Subsequent to the Council this ecclesiological doctrine met with acceptance on a vast scale and thanks be to God an abundance of good fruit developed in the Christian community. However we must also remember that the integration of this doctrine in procedures and its consequent assimilation in the fabric of ecclesial awareness did not happen always and everywhere without difficulty and in accordance with a correct interpretation.

As I was able to explain in my Discourse to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2005, an interpretative current, claiming to refer to a presumed "spirit of the Council", sought to establish a discontinuity and even to distinguish between the Church before and the Church after the Council, at times even crossing the very boundaries that exist objectively between the hierarchical ministry and the responsibilities of the lay faithful in the Church.

The notion of "People of God", in particular was interpreted by some, in accordance with a purely sociological vision, with an almost exclusively horizontal bias that excluded the vertical reference to God. This position was in direct contrast with the word and spirit of the Council which did not desire a rupture, another Church, but rather a true and deep renewal in the continuity of the one subject Church which grows in time and develops but always remains identical, the one subject of the People of God on pilgrimage.

Secondly, it should be recognized that the reawakening of spiritual and pastoral energies that has been happening in recent years has not always produced the desired growth and development. In fact it must be noted that in certain ecclesial communities, the period of fervour and initiative has given way to a time of weakening commitment, a situation of weariness, at times almost a stalemate, and even resistence and contradiction between the conciliar doctrine and various concepts formulated in the name of the Council, but in fact opposed to its spirit and guidelines.

For this reason too, the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 1987 was dedicated to the theme of the vocation and mission of lay people in the Church and in the world. This fact tells us that the luminous pages which the Council dedicated to the laity were not yet sufficiently adapted to or impressed on the minds of Catholics or in pastoral procedures. On the one hand there is still a tendency to identify the Church unilaterally with the hierarchy, forgetting the common responsibility, the common mission of the People of God, which, in Christ we all share. On the other, the tendency still persists to identify the People of God unilaterally, as I have already said, in accordance with a merely sociological or political concept, forgetting the newness and specificity of that people, which becomes a people solely through communion with Christ.

Dear brothers and sisters, it is now time to ask ourselves what point our Diocese of Rome has reached. To what extent is the pastoral co-responsibility of all, and particularly of the laity, recognized and encouraged? In past centuries, thanks to the generous witness of all the baptized who spent their life educating the new generations in the faith, healing the sick and going to the aid of the poor, the Christian community proclaimed the Gospel to the inhabitants of Rome.

The self-same mission is entrusted to us today, in different situations, in a city in which many of the baptized have strayed from the path of the Church and those who are Christian are unacquainted with beauty of our faith.

The Diocesan Synod, convoked by my beloved Predecessor John Paul ii, was an effective receptio of the conciliar doctrine and the Book of the Synod involved the Diocese in becoming more and more a living and active Church in the heart of the City, through the coordinated and responsible action of all its inhabitants.

The City Mission that followed in preparation for the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 enabled our ecclesial community to become aware that the mandate to evangelize does not only concern a few but rather all of the baptized.

It was a salutary experience that helped to develop in the parishes, religious communities, associations and movements a consciousness of belonging to the one People of God which, as the Apostle Peter said, God made his own:  "that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him" (1 Pt 2: 9). And let us give thanks for that this evening.

There is still a long way to go. Too many of the baptized do not feel part of the ecclesial community and live on its margins, only coming to parishes in certain circumstances to receive religious services. Compared to the number of inhabitants in each parish, the lay people who are ready to work in the various apostolic fields, although they profess to be Catholic, are still few and far between.

Of course, social and cultural difficulties abound but faithful to the Lord's mandate, we cannot resign ourselves to preserving what exists. Trusting in the grace of the Spirit which the Risen Christ guaranteed to us, we must continue on our way with renewed energy. What paths can we take?

In the first place we must renew our efforts for a formation which is more attentive and focused on the vision of the Church, of which I spoke and this should be both on the part of priests as well as of religious and lay people to understand ever better what this Church is, this People of God in the Body of Christ.

At the same time, it is necessary to improve pastoral structures in such a way that the co-responsibility of all the members of the People of God in their entirety is gradually promoted, with respect for vocations and for the respective roles of the consecrated and of lay people.

This demands a change in mindset, particularly concerning lay people. They must no longer be viewed as "collaborators" of the clergy but truly recognized as "co-responsible", for the Church's being and action, thereby fostering the consolidation of a mature and committed laity.

This common awareness of being Church of all the baptized in no way diminishes the responsibility of parish priests. It is precisely your task, dear parish priests, to nurture the spiritual and apostolic growth of those who are already committed to working hard in the parishes. They form the core of the community that will act as a leaven for the others.

Although these communities are sometimes small, to prevent them from losing their identity and vigour they must be taught to listen prayerfully to the word of God through the practice of lectio divina, as the recent Synod of Bishops ardently hoped. Let us truly draw nourishment from listening, from meditating on the word of God. Our communities must not lack the knowledge that they are "Church", because Christ, the eternal Word of the Father, convokes them and makes them his People. Indeed, on the one hand faith is a profoundly personal relationship with God but on the other it possesses an essential community component and the two dimensions are inseparable.

Thus young people, who are more exposed to the growing individualism of contemporary culture, the consequences of which inevitably involves the weakening of interpersonal bonds and the enfeeblement of the sense of belonging, will also taste the beauty and joy of being and feeling Church.

Through faith in God we are united in the Body of Christ and all become united in the same Body. Thus, precisely by profoundly believing we may achieve communion among ourselves and emerge from the loneliness of individualism.

If it is the Word that gathers the community, it is the Eucharist that makes it one body:  "because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread" (1 Cor 10: 17). The Church, therefore, is not the result of an aggregation of individuals but of unity among those who are nourished by the one Word of God and the one Bread of Life.

Communion and the unity of the Church that are born of the Eucharist, are a reality of which we must be ever more aware, also in receiving Holy Communion, ever more aware that we are entering into unity with Christ and thus become one among ourselves.

We must learn ever anew to preserve and defend this unity from the rivalry, disputes, and jealousies that can be kindled in and among ecclesial communities. In particular, I would like to ask the movements and communities that came into being after the Second Vatican Council and that in our Diocese too are a precious gift for which we must always thank the Lord, I would like to ask these movements, which I repeat are a gift, always to ensure that their formation processes lead their members to develop a true sense of belonging to the parish community.

The Eucharist, as I have said, is the centre of parish life, and particularly of the Sunday celebration. Since the unity of the Church is born from the encounter with the Lord, the great care given to adoration and celebration of the Eucharist, enabling those who participate in it to experience the beauty of Christ's mystery is no secondary matter.

Given that the beauty of the liturgy "is no mere aestheticism, but the concrete way in which the truth of God's love in Christ encounters us, attracts us and delights us" (Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 35), it is important that the Eucharistic celebration manifest and communicate, through the sacramental signs, the divine life and reveal the true face of the Church to the men and women of this City.

The spiritual and apostolic growth of the community then leads to its extension through a convinced missionary action. Strive, therefore, in every parish as at the time of the City Mission, to restore life to the small groups or counselling centres for the faithful who proclaim Christ and his word, places where it is possible to experience faith, to put charity into practice and to organize hope.

This structuring of the large urban parishes by the multiplication of small communities allows the mission a larger breathing space, which takes into account the density of the population and its social and cultural features which are often very different.

If this pastoral method is also to be applied effectively in workplaces, it would be important to evangelize them with a well thought-out and adapted pastoral ministry since, because of the high social mobility, it is here that people spend a large part of their day.

Lastly, the witness of charity that unites hearts and opens them to ecclesial belonging should not be forgotten. Historians answer the question as to how the success of Christianity in the first centuries can be explained, the ascent of a presumed Jewish sect to the religion of the Empire, by saying that it was the experience of Christian charity in particular that convinced the world. Living charity is the primary form of missionary outreach. The word proclaimed and lived becomes credible if it is incarnate in behaviour that demonstrates solidarity and sharing, in deeds that show the Face of Christ as man's true Friend.

May the silent, daily witness of charity, promoted by parishes thanks to the commitment of numerous lay faithful continue to spread increasingly, so that those who live in suffering feel the Church's closeness and experience the love of the Father rich in mercy. Therefore be "Good Samaritans", ready to treat the material and spiritual wounds of your brethren. Deacons, conformed by ordination to Christ the Servant, will be able to carry out a useful service in promoting fresh attention to the old and new forms of poverty.

I am also thinking of the young people:  dear friends, I invite you to put your enthusiasm and creativity at the service of Christ and the Gospel, making yourselves apostles of your peers, ready to respond generously to the Lord if he calls you to follow him more closely, in the priesthood or in consecrated life.

Dear brothers and sisters, the future of Christianity and of the Church in Rome also depends on the commitment and witness of each one of us. I invoke for this the maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, venerated for centuries in the Basilica of St Mary Major as Salus populi romani. As she did with the Apostles in the Upper Room while awaiting Pentecost, may she also accompany us and encourage us to look with trust to the future.

With these sentiments, while I thank you for your daily work, I warmly impart to you all a special Apostolic Blessing.

http://www.zenit.org/article-26088?l=english
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/11 09:33:18 (permalink)
Bishops of Central, North America call for regional migration summit
By Catholic News Service
June 10, 2009

TECUN UMAN, Guatemala (CNS) -- Bishops from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Central America called on their governments to convene a regional summit to assess the causes of migration and to work out a regional plan for cooperation on migration and development.

"We are at a pivotal moment in the history of migration in this hemisphere," said the statement, dated June 4, which was released at the conclusion of a meeting of 10 bishops from the region and two Vatican representatives. "There is no time to waste," it said.

The conference, one of a series of regular meetings for the region's bishops on migration issues, was held at a migrants' center in western Guatemala, near the Mexican border.

The bishops' statement described the combination of political opportunities created by the change in the White House and urgency fed by the global economic crisis and the increased role of organized crime in human trafficking.

"The global economic crisis has impacted all nations and must be considered in seeking solutions to problems of illegal immigration," the bishops wrote. "An examination of global economic agreements and their impact on migration flows also must be included."

It referred to the dangers faced by migrants who "suffer at the hands of smugglers, human traffickers and drug cartels" who "continue to suffer abuse and even death as they seek to find work to support their families."

The organized crime syndicates that operate along borders and within the various countries "not only threaten migrants, their violence has inhabited towns and communities. Human trafficking networks prey upon vulnerable women, men and children; and is a horrific crime that must be abolished."

The bishops also decried increased violations of human rights of migrants, which are especially concentrated in areas where the civil authorities don't intervene.

And they also lamented "the impact of migration on the family unit -- too often families are separated in our hemisphere. Children all too often bear the brunt of this family separation by being left alone or by being forced to work to support a family who has lost a father or mother. We have verified the vulnerability of many unaccompanied children."

They noted that within their own countries public awareness is lacking about migration, especially "the evil of human trafficking," and said migrants are sometimes considered to be the cause "of all kinds of social ills."

"We are saddened when in our own communities migrants are not welcomed as brothers and sisters in our own faith as members of our Catholic family," they wrote. "We must insist that in the church, 'no one is a stranger.'"

"The church recognizes that all the goods of the earth belong to all people, they said.

People who cannot find jobs in their own countries sufficient to support themselves and their families "have a right to find work elsewhere in order to survive."

"While sovereign governments have the right to enforce borders," they continued, "we are a church without borders rooted in Jesus Christ with a universal good that implies a responsibility to advocate in our countries for the basic protection of human rights and dignity of migrants and the creation of humane policies based on moral and ethical principles."

Besides calling for a regional summit on migration, the signers urged other church leaders "to receive with respect and acceptance our brother and sister migrants. ... It is of utmost importance they feel welcome in their communities of origin as well as their receiving communities and to have pastoral accompaniment along their journey."

They also called for "a re-examination of refugee and asylum protection policies within our hemisphere. Women, children, and families at times flee political or other forms of persecution, but are not given adequate protection in other countries."

Meeting participants who signed the statement were Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, head of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Travelers, Mexican Archbishop Rafael Romo Munoz of Tijuana; U.S. Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City; Bishop Francois Lapierre of Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec; Bishop Angel San Casimiro Fernandez of Alajuela, Costa Rica; Bishop Pedro Joaquin Hernandez Cantarero, apostolic vicar of Darien, Panama; Bishop Bernardo Hombach of Granada, Nicaragua; and the meeting's host, Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini Imeri of San Marcos, Guatemala. All the bishops head their respective migration committees or human mobility commissions.

Also attending the meeting were: Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, apostolic nuncio to Guatemala; Mexican Bishops Leon Renato Ascensio of Ciudad Juarez and Leopoldo Gonzalez of Tapachula; and U.S. Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento, Calif., board chairman of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0902670.htm
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/11 09:35:07 (permalink)
Evidence of change: The Vatican on more friendly terms with science than in former days...What would Galileo say!?

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Vatican visit to CERN opens new channel of dialogue for science, faith
By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service
June 10, 2009

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A recent visit by a Vatican delegation to CERN -- one of the world's largest centers for scientific research -- has opened up an important channel of communication between science and faith, said the Vatican representative to U.N. agencies in Geneva.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the representative, was part of the delegation led by Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo, president of the commission governing Vatican City. The head of the Vatican Observatory, Jesuit Father Jose Funes, and a Vatican astronomer, U.S. Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, were also part of delegation visiting the world's largest particle physics laboratory in Geneva June 3.

The director-general of CERN, Rolf-Dieter Heuer, was interested in having the Vatican come to the world famous facility "because he wanted this visit to be a way to establish a link to the Holy See," Archbishop Tomasi told Catholic News Service by phone June 9.


Vatican representatives recently visited the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider in an underground tunnel straddling the border of Switzerland and France. This 2007 image shows the installation of one of the collider’s 1,746 superconducting magnets. (CERN)

The idea of having the Vatican visit CERN came from Ugo Amaldi, the president of TERA Foundation, which collaborates closely with CERN in finding ways to apply atomic research in treating cancer, especially in children, said the archbishop.

In an e-mail response to questions by CNS, Cardinal Lajolo said he "gladly accepted the invitation to visit CERN because of my own interest regarding the farthest limits that astrophysical science is striving to reach with proton acceleration."

He said the discovery of new sub-atomic particles may help confirm Princeton University professor Edward Witten's Superstring Theory, which seeks to unify Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity and quantum physics.

Archbishop Tomasi said, "The issue that emerged from the visit was how to maintain contact" because scientists studying the universe ask many of the same questions theologians ponder such as what is the meaning of life.

However, the methods scientists and theologians use for answering those questions are radically different and put them in "two completely different worlds," he said.

"There is no hostility between the two, but there is a need to talk across this border and see how human knowledge can be advanced," he said.

Heuer has been invited to visit the Vatican, the archbishop said, but no date has been set.

In an opening statement during a roundtable discussion on science and faith in dialogue June 3, Cardinal Lajolo said scientific truths and theological truths can never contradict each other because all truths "are derived from the same source, which is God."

He quoted St. Robert Bellarmine, the doctor of the church who had been involved in the Vatican's investigation of Galileo Galilei. Then-Cardinal Bellarmine said if a scientific statement turns out to be evidently true and appears to not be in complete conformity with sacred Scripture, then "one needs to research how sacred Scripture can be interpreted correctly so as not to contradict scientific truth."

Cardinal Lajolo said this statement "still remains a valid principle in dealing with scientific statements" today.

The Catholic Church is a defender of reason and truth, which "is why the church later recognized the scientific position held by Galileo and the error committed in condemning him," said the cardinal.

Archbishop Tomasi said, "There were very good feelings, a good atmosphere during the visit and some frank exchange" between Vatican representatives and the CERN scientists.

"A good channel of communication has been established" with CERN and its scientists, even with those who don't believe in any religion, he said.

The Vatican delegation was given an official welcome to the CERN facilities and had a chance to learn more about the laboratory's activities, he said.

They were given a tour of CERN's underground Large Hadron Collider, which is the world's largest high-energy particle accelerator used in experiments for trying to better understand the universe and what happened immediately after the Big Bang.

The accelerator is expected to be up and running again in September after it suffered damage during early experiments last fall.

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0902657.htm
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/11 09:40:54 (permalink)
Year for Priests Web site highlights international celebration
Catholic News Service
June 10, 2009

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations has set up a Web site to mark the Year for Priests, a worldwide celebration from June 19 of this year to June 19, 2010. Pope Benedict XVI chose to begin the Year for Priests on the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a day of prayer for the sanctification of all priests.

The pope also designated St. John Vianney as the universal patron of all priests on the 150th anniversary of the saint's death. The saint, who is also known as the Cure of Ars, is the patron of parish priests. The Year for Priests Web site is http://www.usccb.org/yearforpriests/. The site includes the pope's message for the occasion and the announcement of the plenary indulgence in conjunction with the celebration. The site also offers specially commissioned prayers for priests and laity. The pope's messages and the prayers are available in English and Spanish. Throughout the year, the secretariat also will use the site to publish monthly articles about the priesthood written by prominent Catholic women. Other activities in the Year for Priests include a retreat on the national level and a gathering of priests in Rome for the celebration's culmination. Further details about the national retreat will be available on the site.

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/briefs/cns/20090610.htm#head2
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/11 09:47:56 (permalink)
Understanding Bible requires faith, intelligence, pope says
Catholic News Service
June 10, 2009

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Discovering the truth contained in the Bible about God and about each human person requires attentive reading and scholarship as well as a constant willingness to change one's life, Pope Benedict XVI said. "God gave us the Scriptures to teach us," the pope said June 10 at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.


Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his weekly general audience at the Vatican June 10. His reflection during the audience was on the Bible and John Scotus Erigena, a ninth-century Irish theologian and philosopher. (CNS/Emanuela De Meo, CPP)

Reviewing the teaching of John Scotus Erigena, a ninth-century Irish theologian and philosopher, Pope Benedict said Erigena insisted on the fact that the only way to understand the Bible fully was with an approach that relied on intelligence and prayer at the same time and that the final result was not understanding, but contemplation. An expert on the writings of the early Christian theologians of the East, Erigena said the purpose of the Bible is to help the human person "remember that which was impressed on his heart at the moment he was created in the image and likeness of God," an understanding of God later clouded over by original sin, the pope said. "The words of the Holy Scriptures purify our reason, which is somewhat blind, and help us remember that which we bear in our hearts as images of God," Pope Benedict said. For Erigena, the pope said, a Christian has "the obligation to continue to seek the truth until one reaches an experience of silent adoration of God."

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/briefs/cns/20090610.htm#head8
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/11 09:57:28 (permalink)
No Authority Without Truth, Says Pontiff
Affirms That Faith and Reason Must Agree
zenit.org
June 10, 2009

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Since faith and reason come from the same source -- divine wisdom -- authority should never contradict truth, according to Benedict XVI.

The Pope spoke of the perfect coincidence of faith and reason and its consequences for authority today during the general audience in St. Peter's Square, which was decorated with colorful flowers in anticipation of Thursday's feast of Corpus Christi. The Holy Father focused his address to the some 15,000 pilgrims on John Scotus Erigena.

He said the writings of the 9th century thinker "could bring about interesting developments even for contemporary theologians."

The Pontiff particularly considered Erigena's teaching on authority. He explained that "we cannot speak of God starting from our inventions, but rather from what God himself says about himself in sacred Scripture. Given that God only speaks the truth, Scotus Erigena is convinced that authority and reason should never be in contraposition one against the other. He is convinced that true religion and true philosophy coincide."

According to this author, the Pope continued, not even Scripture is exempt from this discernment.

He explained: "In fact Scripture, affirms the Irish theologian […] would not have been necessary if man had not sinned. Therefore, it must be deduced that Scripture was given by God with a pedagogical intention and lowering himself so that man could recall all that had been stamped on his heart from the moment of his creation 'in the image and likeness of God' and that the original fall had made him forget."

Thus, "sacred Scripture purifies our rather blind reason and helps us to return to the memory of what we, as image of God, carry in our hearts, unfortunately violated by sin," Benedict XVI said.

Speechless

Noting how Erigena spoke of the "divinization" of man through the "adoring and silent recognition" of the mystery of God, the Pope illustrated how the author's works are "the clearest demonstration of the attempt to express the explainable of the inexplicableness of God."

"The numerous metaphors used by him to indicate this ineffable reality show up to what point he is aware of the absolute incapacity of the terms with which we speak of these things," the Holy Father said, "And, nevertheless, there remains this enchantment and this atmosphere of authentic mystical experience in his texts that sometimes can almost be tangibly felt."

He offered by way of example one of Erigena's writings: "The only thing that must be desired," he wrote, "is the joy of the truth, which is Christ, and the only thing that must be avoided is the absence of him. It should be considered that this [absence] is the only cause of total and eternal sadness. Take Christ from me and no good whatsoever remains for me; there is nothing that terrifies me as much as his absence. The worst torment of a rational creature is the privation and the absence of him."

"These are words that we can make our own," the Bishop of Rome concluded, "converting them into a prayer to him who also is the longing of our hearts."

http://www.zenit.org/article-26146?l=english
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/11 14:49:00 (permalink)
Church Being Given Chance to Rediscover Priesthood
US Bishops' Leader Reflects on Heart of Ministry

zenit.org
June 10, 2009

CHICAGO, JUNE 10, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Though the priesthood has recently undergone a "purification," the Church is being given an opportunity to rediscover what its all about, says the president of the U.S. episcopal conference.

Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, affirmed this in his column this week for the archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic New World. He dedicated the article to the Year for Priests, called by Benedict XVI for June 19 - June 11, 2010.


Cardinal Francis George
Archbishop of Chicago


Noting some of the problems facing the world -- issues ranging from home foreclosures, to nuclear disarmament, to domestic violence -- the cardinal affirmed: "What strikes me is that these issues, like all issues in the Church, can’t move forward without attention from our priests."

He noted that the Holy Father's proclamation of a Year for Priests is "to help all of us revisit what the faith tells us a priest is and to encourage ordained priests in their lives of service and dedication."

Cardinal George announced that the U.S. episcopal conference is offering resources for the year, including a prayer available in English and Spanish.

Essentials

Then, the Chicago archbishop illustrated his reflection by recounting the conversations he recently had with a prelate from Cuba.

The episcopal conference president recalled: "[The Cuban bishop] told me that less than 2% of Cubans practice their religion, partially because of the scarcity of churches but also because of the atheist propaganda and because one is penalized for practicing the faith by being excluded from professions like teaching or the practice of law.

"Nevertheless, about 55% of Cubans still baptize their children and many still visit the national shrine on special occasions, even though the Church is without schools, youth groups, charitable organizations, regular means of communication and the institutions that are taken for granted as part of Church life here."

Cardinal George noted how until the visit of Pope John Paul II just over 10 years ago, the government limited the number of priests on the island to 200.

"If a bishop wanted to ordain a priest, he had to wait until another priest died," the cardinal explained.

He added: "The bishop told me that he began two new parishes last year. What does it mean to start a parish in Cuba? After years of personal formation, each of two newly ordained priests was sent into a neighborhood and told to begin gathering people to listen to the Gospel and to celebrate Mass and the other sacraments when and where he could.

"The parishes would probably never have a church building or anything else we would regard as normal and necessary. They would have only what the Church had at Pentecost: Faith in the risen Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the ministry of the apostles and those appointed by them to love and govern the people in Christ’s name."

The cardinal concluded his reflection acknowledging that "[r]ecent years have been hard on the priesthood, as it has undergone what Pope John Paul II called a 'purification.'"

"Perhaps, however," he said, "this Year of the Priest will be the occasion to discover again what priesthood really is and to support the overwhelming majority of faithful priests here and throughout the country."

--- --- ---

On the Net:

U.S. bishops' conference Year for Priests resources: www.usccb.org/yearforpriests/index.shtml

Complete text of Cardinal George's column: www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2009/0607/cardinal.aspx

http://www.zenit.org/article-26141?l=english
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/11 15:28:07 (permalink)
Pope Will Open Year for Priests on June 19, 2009
Catholic Online
(www.catholic.org)
June 10, 2009

The setting for official opening of the Year for Priests on June 19, 2009 has been determined.

Rome (Catholic Online) - According to the Vatican Information Service Benedict XVI will preside at Second Vespers to mark the opening of the Year for Priests in the Vatican Basilica at 6 p.m. on Friday June 19, 2009.

This date marks the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and coincides with the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean Marie Vianney "Cure of Ars".

The Catholic News Agency, in a March 16th article, covered the Holy Father’s announcement that the Church will celebrate a special year for priests beginning on June 19. The full content of the article follows:

In his address, the Pontiff emphasized the constant struggle for moral perfection that dwells “in every truly priestly heart.” In support of this tendency toward spiritual perfection, the Holy Father announced that he has “decided to call a special ‘Year for Priests’ which will run from June 19, 2009 to June 19, 2010.”

He noted that the year also marks the “150th anniversary of the death of the saintly 'Cure of Ars', Jean Marie Vianney, a true example of a pastor at the service of Christ's flock."

The Pope will inaugurate the Year on June 19 by presiding at Vespers in St. Peter's Basilica, where the relics of the 'Cure of Ars' will be brought for the occasion by Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars, France.

During the course of the Year, Benedict XVI will proclaim St. Jean Marie Vianney as the patron saint of all the priests of the world. A "Directory for Confessors and Spiritual Directors" will also be published, as will a collection of texts by the Holy Father on essential aspects of the life and mission of priests in our time.

The year will close June 19, 2010, with Pope Benedict presiding at a "World Meeting of Priests" in St. Peter's Square.

Speaking to the Congregation for Clergy, the Holy Father also mentioned the ecclesial communal, hierarchical and doctrinal dimensions that are “absolutely indispensable for any authentic [priestly] mission,” and which guarantee “spiritual effectiveness.”

He explained that the mission is ecclesial “because no-one announces or brings themselves, ... but brings Another, God Himself, to the world. God is the only wealth that, definitively, mankind wishes to find in a priest.”

"The mission is 'communal',” he continued, “because it takes place in a unity and communion which only at a secondary level possess important aspects of social visibility.”

He added that the “'hierarchical' and 'doctrinal' dimensions emphasize the importance of ecclesiastical discipline (a term related to that of 'disciple') and of doctrinal (not just theological, initial and permanent) formation."

The Pope also stressed the importance of priestly formation which must maintain “communion with unbroken ecclesial Tradition, without pausing or being tempted by discontinuity. In this context,” he continued, “it is important to encourage priests, especially the young generations, to a correct reading of the texts of Vatican Council II, interpreted in the light of all the Church's doctrinal inheritance."

In conclusion, the Holy Father warned of the “dilution” of priestly ministry. He explained that the without priests, “there would be no Eucharist, no mission” or the Church.

“It is necessary then, to ensure that 'new structures' or pastoral organizations are not planned for a time in which it will be possible to 'do without' ordained ministry, on the basis of an erroneous interpretation of the promotion of the laity, because this would lay the foundations for a further dilution in priestly ministry, and any supposed 'solutions' would, in fact, dramatically coincide with the real causes of the problems currently affecting the ministry."

http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=33773
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/11 22:18:53 (permalink)
"Real causes of the problems currently affecting the priestly ministry" are precisely because the hierarchy of the Vatican will not allow true laity participation or the spiritual gifts of laity and women.
 
Problems with the ministry and priests, rampant abuse of vulnerable members of the Catholic community by the priests and bishops, is caused by lack of accountability by these priests and bishops and lack of supervision of the priests, bishops, cardinals and popes by the laity and by women. 
 
 The  lack of true participation by women and laity harms the Catholic community. 
 
 It is the hierarchy that blocks the laity and women from being involved in the spiritual and pastoral care of the Catholic community.
 
It is not "dilution" to have women and laity fully involved in the church.  Jesus chose women apostles/disciples and women co-workers in the church.  That is not "dilution" for Jesus and for God to have Jesus choose women as apostles/disciples and co-workers in the church.
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/12 18:22:59 (permalink)
New powers for bishops to 'sack' priests
by Robert Mickens
The Tablet
June 13, 2009

The Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy is to give bishops new powers that will make it easier to discipline priests. The measures will speed up the process of laicisation for priests who are living with women, have left active ministry for several years or who have engaged in seriously scandalous behaviour.

Cases involving clerical sex abuse will be dealt with separately.

The Congregation's prefect, Cardinal ­Cláudio Hummes, said that one reason for the measures was to help children fathered by priests.

The move is also aimed at restoring credibility, confidence and prestige in a celibate priesthood in the light of a growing number of sexual scandals involving Catholic clergy, including bishops. It is being made public as Pope Benedict XVI prepares to launch the Year for Priests.

Cardinal Hummes informed bishops around the world of the new procedures in a recently revealed private letter dated 18 April. The most significant change is that bishops will now be able effectively and unilaterally to "defrock" priests who have abandoned their ministry for more than five years but have not formally requested laicisation. The 1983 Code of Canon Law makes no provision for a bishop to begin procedures to remove such priests without their ­cooperation or consent.

"If the one who left is not interested [in regu­larising his situation], the good of the Church and the good of the priest who left is that he be dispensed so that he would be in a correct situation, especially if he has children," Cardinal Hummes told Catholic News Service. In the case of seriously scandalous behaviour he insisted that bishops had to "carry out a careful investigation of the facts" and first "proceed formally to correct or ­admonish the accused" before initiating procedures for dismissal. He also insisted that the priest's "right to defend himself [was] sacred".

Pope Benedict will open the Year for Priests in an ornate ceremony on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in St Peter's Basilica. The Pope is scheduled to preside at Second Vespers in the presence of a reliquary containing the heart of St John Vianney. This is the 150th anniversary year of the French saint's death and the Pope plans to declare him Patron of All Priests.

In a separate letter to all priests to mark the initiative Cardinal Hummes said, "It must be a year that is both positive and ­forward-looking, in which the Church says to her priests above all, but also to all the faithful and to wider society by means of the mass media, that she is proud of her priests, loves them, honours them, admires them and that she recognises with gratitude their pastoral work and the witness of their life."

Prominent churchmen - Cardinal Hummes among them - in recent years have said that the possibility of married priests for the Western Church should at least be up for discussion. On the eve of relinquishing his pastoral duties as Archbishop of São Paulo in Brazil in late 2006 and taking up his current ­Vatican position, the cardinal said priestly ­celibacy was "not a dogma" and its usefulness could be "reflected on" in the Church. But on arrival in Rome he was forced to retract the statement and, since then, he and other ­Vatican officials - including Pope Benedict - have confirmed that the issue is not up for ­discussion.

But Cardinal Hummes' number two at the Congregation for the Clergy, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, said in his own letter to priests around the world that reaffirming clerical celibacy is fundamental to the year-long ­observance. Meanwhile, Pope Benedict XVI last Saturday told seminarians and formation staff of the French College in Rome that "the attitudes required of future priests are many: human maturity, spiritual qualities, apostolic zeal and intellectual rigour". He told the priesthood candidates that "if the Church is demanding of them, it is because they must take care of those who Christ, at such a high cost, has drawn to himself".

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/article/13223
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/13 19:41:25 (permalink)
Is not sex abuse cases pedophilia "seriously scandalous behavior?"  It is obvious this pedophilia abuse is still tolerated and condoned while "living with a woman, or fathering children by priests" is the worst of all offences to this pope and Vatican , yet priests harming children, using children for sex, is still condoned, hushed-up, still ok and still no reason to laicize a priest or bishop according to Pope BXVI..
 
Readily it is seen that this horror of priestly, bishop pedophilia predation on Catholic children parishioners is still allowed to go on and has no consequences for the guilty predator priests or bishops.  The only scandal for this pope is if a priest or bishop loves a woman, instead of ignoring and shunning all females. So unlike Jesus is this pope and the previous pope!
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/13 19:52:22 (permalink)
Cardinal Hummes gets invited to live in the spendour of Rome, so he looses all his integrity and all his spiritual and intellectual ideas for a better church more authentic to the teachings of Jesus:  that is he abandons his idea of the possibility of married priests.
 
How pathetic the Vatican and the pope are because St. Peter was MARRIED and had a son named Mark, children!
 
The example God and Jesus give through St. Peter is a Married priest, Married With Children!
 
What a big lie and sham this ""year of the priest" is and this Vianney as priest exampl:
 
Vianney : , solitary army deserter, not collegiality, but isolation, severe mortification unlike Jesus who was social and welcoming to strangers and community, this Vianney who heard the sins of confessors non stop like an obsessive-compulsive troubled deranged unbalanced voyeur of the scandals and sins of others, avoiding other responsibilities and retreats and meetings with other priests and the parish in order to mortify himself and to hear more confessions.  This is no "priest example" to emulate, Vianney does image an  unhealthy and disturbed state of priests of today however, sad to say.
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/14 19:16:54 (permalink)
Is there any reason to hope that the next Pope may be in favor of women in the Church? Maybe it would be easier to reach him. I've never been so mad at the Church in my life. I've just stopped going completely. That's probably not the best approach but I just can't even look up with out feeling angry. Maybe that will change later, shouldn't let a few bad apples make you want to curse the whole tree. But this guy seems to be a hopeless cause, and I know people do live into their 100's sometimes but he is like 82 so I was just wondering maybe that's something to prepare for; reaching the next one. Maybe get a grasp of their backgrounds and life now and begin to build up a case in a manner they can relate to, their life experiences or stories from women from their home town. Something to stir up empathy. The whole what if it was only women doesn't work because they don't have to worry about that, the comparison of slavery falls flat because its more of emotional abuse rather than physical, so I'm thinking maybe the point must be made on a far more personal level to each man one by one. 
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RE: Pope Benedict 2009/06/16 12:13:36 (permalink)
Join real society: treat women with respect. Women are in the image of Christ, Pope Benedict.
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