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RE: Papal History 2009/01/22 02:15:38 (permalink)
Peace Efforts
 
The war and its consequences were the main focus of Della Chiesa. He declared the neutrality of the Holy See and attempted from that perspective to mediate peace in 1916 and 1917. Both sides rejected his initiatives.
 
The national antagonisms between the warring parties were accentuated by religious differences before the war, with France, Italy and Belgium being largely Catholic. Vatican relations with Great Britain were good, while neither Prussia nor Imperial Germany had any official relations with the Vatican. In Protestant circles of Germany the notion was popular that the Roman Catholic Pope was neutral on paper only, strongly favouring the Allies instead. Benedict was said to have prompted Austria-Hungary to go to war, in order to weaken the German war machine. Allegedly, the Papal Nuncio in Paris said in a meeting of the Institut Catholique, to fight against France is to fight against God; the Pope was said to have exclaimed to be sorry not to be a Frenchman; The Belgian Cardinal Desire-Joseph Mercier, known as a brave patriot during German occupation but also famous for his anti-German propaganda, was to have been elevated by Benedict XV, who allegedly praised the Treaty of Versailles, which humiliated the Germans. This view was rejected by the Vatican’s Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri, who wrote on March 4, 1916 that the Holy See is completely impartial and does not favor the Allied side. This was even more important, so Gasparri noted, after the diplomatic representatives of Germany and Austria-Hungary to the Vatican were expelled from Rome by Italian authorities. However in light of all this, German Protestants rejected any “Papal Peace” as insulting. French politician Georges Clemenceau regarded the Vatican initiative as anti-French. Benedict made many unsuccessful attempts to negotiate peace, but these pleas for a negotiated peace made him unpopular, even in Catholic countries like Italy, among many supporters of the war who were determined to accept nothing less than total victory. His best known intervention was the seven-point Papal Peace proposal of August 1917, demanding a cessation of all hostilities, a reduction of armaments, guaranteed freedom of the seas, and international arbitration. Only Woodrow Wilson responded directly, stating that a declaration of peace was premature; in Europe each side saw him as biased in favour of the other and were unwilling to accept the terms he proposed. Still, although unsuccessful, his diplomatic efforts during the war are attributed to an increase of papal prestige and served as a model in the 20th century: to the peace efforts of Pius XII before and during World War II , the policies of Paul VI during the Vietnam War and the position of John Paul II before and during the War in Iraq.
 
. . .
 
After the War
 
At the time however, the anti-Vatican resentment, combined with Italian diplomatic moves to isolate the Vatican in light of the unresolved Roman Question,  contributed to the exclusion of the Vatican from the Paris Peace conference of 1919 (although it was also part of a historical pattern of political and diplomatic marginalization of the papacy after the loss of the papal states). Despite this, he wrote an encyclical pleading for international reconciliation, Pacem, Dei Munus Pulcherrimum. There is a statue in Saint Peter's Basilica of the Pontiff absorbed in prayer, kneeling on a tomb which commemorates a fallen soldier of the war, which he described as a "useless massacre".
 
After the war, Benedict focused the Vatican's activities on overcoming famine and misery in Europe and establishing contacts and relations with the many new states which were created as a consequence of the demise of Imperial Russia, Austria-Hungary and Germany. Large food shipments and information about, and contacts with, prisoners of war were to be the first steps for a better understanding of the papacy in Europe.
 
Regarding the Versailles Peace Conference, the Vatican was of the opinion, that the economic conditions imposed on Germany were too harsh, threatening the European economic stability as a whole. Pietro Gasparri was of the opinion, that the peace conditions and the humiliation of the Germans would likely result in another war, as soon as Germany would be militarily in a position to start one. The Vatican also rejected the dissolution of Austri-Hungary, seeing in this step an inevitable and eventual strengthening of Germany. The Vatican also had great reservations about the creation of small successor states which, in the view of Gasparri, were not viable economically and therefore condemned to economic misery. Benedict rejected the League of Nations as a secular organisation that was not built on Christian values. On the other hand, he also condemned European nationalism that was rampant in the 1920s and asked for European Unification in his 1920 encyclical Pacem Dei Munus.
 
The Pope was also disturbed by the Communist revolution in Russia. The Pope reacted with horror to the strongly anti-religious policies adopted by Lenin's government and the bloodshed and widespread famine which occurred during the subsequent Russian Civil War. He undertook the greatest efforts trying to help the victims of the Russian famine, raising five million (what currency?) in 1921 alone. Following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, concerns were raised in the Vatican about the safety and future of the Catholics in the Holy Land.
 
Diplomatic Agenda
 
In the post-war period Pope Benedict was involved in developing the Church administration to deal with the new international system that had emerged. The papacy was faced with the emergence of numerous new states such as Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Finland, and others. Germany, France, Italy and Austria were impoverished from the war. In addition, the traditional social and cultural European order was threatened by right-wing nationalism and fascism and left-wing socialism and communism, all of which potentially threatened the existence and freedom of the Church. To deal with these and related issues, Benedict engaged in what he knew best, a large scale diplomatic offensive to secure the rights of the faithful in all countries.
 
Italy
 
Leo XIII already had agreed to the participation of Catholics in local but not national politics. Relations with Italy improved as well under Benedict XV, who de facto reversed the stiff anti-Italian policy of his predecessors by allowing Catholics to participate in national elections as well. This led to a surgence of the Partito Populare Italiano under Luigi Sturzo. Anti-Catholic politicians were gradually replaced by persons who were neutral or even sympathetic to the Catholic Church. The King of Italy himself gave signals of his desire for better relations, when for example, he sent personal condolences to the Pontiff on the death of his brother. The working conditions for Vatican staff greatly improved and feelers were extended on both sides to solve the Roman Question. Benedict XV strongly supported a solution and seemed to have had a fairly pragmatic view of the political and social situation in Italy at this time. Thus, while numerous traditional Catholics opposed voting rights for women, the Pope was in favour, arguing that, unlike the feminist protagonists, most women would vote conservative and thus support traditional Catholic positions.
 
France
 
Benedict attempted to improve relations with the anti-clerical Republican government of France. He canonized the French national heroine Saint Joan of Arc. In the mission territories of the Third World, he emphasized the necessity of training native priests to replace the European missionaries as soon as possible, and founded the Pontifical Oriental Institute of Studies and the Coptic College in the Vatican. In 1921, France re-established diplomatic relations with the Vatican.
 
USSR
 
The end of the war brought about the revolutionary development, which Benedict XV had foreseen in his first encyclical. With the Russian Revolution, the Vatican was faced with a new, so far unknown, situation. An ideology and government which rejected not only the Catholic Church but religion as a whole. “The Pope, the Tsar, Metternich, French radicals and German police, are united against communism said Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The Historical Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences wrote, that the “reactionary policies of the Vatican” were an outgrowth of fear of socialism and hate of communism. This fear turned the Vatican into an ally of capitalism. The Catholic Church is seen to have been in a 1000 year alliance with feudalism, just defeated in Russia. In the words of Friedrich Engels, “the Church blessed the feudal order with the gloriole of divine blessings. Her hierarchy was ordered according to feudal principles. She is one of the greatest feudal exploiters."
 
The Communists took their time to get into Church issues, which were not a priority. Lenin "did not want to put the religious question at the forefront, because it does not belong there at all." They did not repeal the Tsarist decrees guaranteeing religious freedom. They even permitted the restoration of the Orthodox Patriarchate, which had been dormant for over 150 years.  But with time, a [persecution of the Churches, including the Catholic Church, began and intensified. All religion, "the opiate of the masses"  was considered hostile to communism, but most of the revolutionary violence was oriented against the Russian Orthodox Church. The new regime began to interfere in spheres, so far reserved for the Church, by legalizing divorce, and issuing civil marriage certificates. Bloody repression of civilians, carried out under the auspices of the Polish Comrade Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky,  head of the Cheka, led to public protest. The Patriarch Tikhon of Moscow issued a solemn anathema against the Communists "for their frightful and bestial murder of people entirely innocent, even people lying sick in bed, in ruthless cruelty, in full daylight without any trial and in defiance of all justice and legality". The Soviets responded by taking away most Church properties and by nationalizing all Church schools. The Patriarch was arrested. Most monasteries were suppressed, and "counter-revolutionary" religious were executed. During the winter of 1918-1919, some "twenty bishops were murdered together with thousands of priests and religious". Some hope developed among the United Orthodox in the Ukraine and Armenia, but many of the representatives there disappeared or were jailed in the following years. Several Orthodox bishops from Omsk and Simbirsk wrote an open letter to Pope Benedict XV, as the Father of all Christianity, describing the murder of priests, the destruction of their churches and other persecutions in their areas.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XV
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RE: Papal History 2009/01/22 02:21:13 (permalink)
Lithuania and Estonia
 
The relations with Russia changed drastically for a second reason. The Baltic states and Poland gained their independence from Russia after World War I, thus enabling a relatively free Church life in those former Russian countries. Estonia was the first country to look for Vatican ties. On 11 April 1919, Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri informed the Estonian authorities, that the Vatican would agree to have diplomatic relations. A concordat was agreed upon in principle a year later in June 1920. It was signed on 30 May 1922. It guaranteed freedom for the Catholic Church, established archdioceses, liberated clergy from military service, allowed the creation of seminaries and catholic schools and enshrined church property rights and immunity. The Archbishop swore alliance to Estonia.

Relations with Catholic Lithuania were slightly more complicated because of the Polish occupation of Vilnius, a city and archiepiscopal seat, which Lithuania claimed as its own. Polish forces had occupied Vilnius and committed acts of brutality in its Catholic seminary there. This generated several protests by Lithuania to the Holy See.  Relations with the Holy See were defined during the pontificate of Pope Pius XI (1922-1939)

Poland

Before all other heads of State, Pope Benedict XV in October 1918 congratulated the Polish people on their independence. In a public letter to Archbishop Kakowski of Warsaw, he remembered their loyalty and the many efforts of the Holy See to assist them. He expressed his hopes that Poland would again take its place in the family of nations and continue its history as an educated Christian nation. In March 1919, he nominated ten new bishops and, soon after, Achille Ratti as papal nuncio who was already in Warsaw as his representative. He repeatedly cautioned Polish authorities against persecuting against Lithuanian and Ruthenian clergy.


Benedict XV as Cardinal Della Chiesa in 1914
 
During the Bolshevik advance against Warsaw, he asked for worldwide public prayers for Poland. Nuncio Ratti was the only foreign diplomat to stay in the Polish capital. On 11 June 1921, he wrote to the Polish episcopate, warning against political misuses of spiritual power, urging again for peaceful coexistence with neighbouring peoples, stating that “love of country has its limits in justice and obligations.” He sent nuncio Ratti to Silesia to act against potential political agitations of the Catholic clergy.
 
Ratti, a scholar, intended to work for Poland and build bridges to the Soviet Union, hoping even, to shed his blood for Russia. Pope Benedict XV needed him as a diplomat and not as a martyr and forbade any trip into the USSR even though he was the official papal delegate to Russia. However, he continued his contacts with Russia. This did not generate much sympathy for him within Poland at the time. He was asked to go. “While he tried honestly to show himself as a friend of Poland, Warsaw forced his departure, after his neutrality in Silesian voting was questioned”  by Germans and Poles. Nationalistic Germans objected to a Polish nuncio supervising elections, and Poles were upset because he curtailed agitating clergy.  On 20 November, when German Cardinal Adolf Bertram announced a papal ban on all political activities of clergymen, calls for Ratti's expulsion climaxed in Warsaw. Two years later, Achille Ratti became Pope Pius XI, shaping Vatican policies towards Poland with Pietro Gasparri and Eugenio Pacelli for the following thirty-six years. (1922-1958)
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RE: Papal History 2009/01/22 02:31:14 (permalink)
Church Affairs

Theology
 
In internal Church affairs, Benedict XV reiterated Pius X's condemnation of "modernist" scholars and the errors in modern philosophical systems in his first encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, and declined to readmit to full communion scholars who had been excommunicated during the previous pontificate. However, he calmed what he saw as the excesses of the anti-modernist campaign within the Church. On July 25, 1920 he wrote the motu proprio Bonum sane on Saint Joseph and against naturalism.

Canon Law reform
 
In 1917 Benedict XV promulgated the Church's first Code of Canon Law, the preparation of which had been commissioned by Pope St. Pius X, and which is thus known as the Pio-Benedictine Code. This Code, which entered into force in 1918, was the first consolidation of the Church's Canon Law into a modern Code made up of simple articles. Previously, Canon Law was dispersed in a variety of sources and partial compilations.

The new Canon Law is credited with reviving religious life and providing judicial clarity throughout the Church. In addition, continuing the concerns of Leo XIII, he furthered Eastern Catholic culture, theology and liturgy by founding a Oriental Institute for them in Rome.

Catholic missions
 
On 30 November 1919, Benedict XV appealed to all Catholics worldwide to sacrifice for Catholic missions, stating at the same time in Maximum Illud, that these missions should foster local culture and not import European cultures. The damages of where particularly grave in Africa and Asia, where many missiuonaries were deported and incarcerated if they happened to originate from a hostile nation.

Mariology

Pope Benedict was an ardent mariologist, devoted to Marian veneration and open new theological perspectives. He personally addressed in numerous letters the pilgrims at Marian sanctuaries. He named Mary, the Patron of Bavaria and permitted in Mexico the Feast of the IC of Guadaloupe. To underline his support for the mediatrix theology, he authorized the Feast of Mary Mediator of all Graces. He condemned the misuse of Marian statues and pictures, dressed in priestly robes, which he outlawed April 4, 1916.


Benedict XV supported the theology of Co-redemtrix of the Virgin Mary
 
During World War I, Benedict placed the world under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and added the invocation Mary Queen of Peace to the Litany of Loreto. He promoted Marian veneration throughout the world by elevating twenty well known Marian shrines such as Ettal Abbey in Bavaria into Basilica Minor's. He also promoted Marian devotions in the month of May in the spirit of Grignon de Montfort. The dogmatic constitution on the Church issued by the Second Vatican Council quotes the Marian theology of Benedict XV.

In his encyclical on Ephraim the Syrian he depicts Ephraim as a model of Marian devotion to our mother who uniquely was predestined by God. Pope Benedict did not issue a Marian encyclical but addressed the issue of Co-Redemptrix in his Apostolic Letter, Inter Soldalica, issued March 22, 1918.
  • As the blessed Virgin Mary does not seem to participate in the public life of Jesus Chist ,and then, suddenly appears at the stations of his cross, she is not there without divine intention. She suffers with her suffering and dying son, almost as if she would have died herself. For the salvation of mankind, she gave up her rights as the mother of her son and sacrificed him for the reconciliation of divine justice, as far as she was permitted to do. Therefore, one can say, she redeemed with Christ the human race.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XV
 
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RE: Papal History 2009/01/22 02:38:50 (permalink)
Writings
 
During his seven-year pontificate, Benedict XV wrote a total of twelve encyclicals. In addition to the encyclicals mentioned, he issued In Hac Tanta on St. Boniface (May 14, 1919), Paterno Iam Diu on the Children of Central Europe (November 24,1919), Pacem, Dei Munus Pulcherrimum on Peace and Christian Reconciliation (May 23, 1920), Spiritus Paraclitus on St. Jerome (September 1920), Principi Apostolorum Petro on St. Ephram the Syrian (October 5, 1920), Annus Iam Plenus also on Children in Central Europe (December 1, 1920), Sacra Propediem on the Third Order of St. Francis (January 6, 1921), In Praeclara Summorum on Dante (April 30, 1921), and Fausto Appetente Die on St. Dominic ( June 29, 1921).
 
His Apostolic Exhortations include Ubi Primum ( September 8, 1914), Allorché fummo chiamati ( July 28, 1915) and Dès le début ( August 1, 1917) The Papal bulls of Benedict XV include Incruentum Altaris ( August 10, 1915), Providentissima Mater (May 27, 1917) Sedis huius ( May 14, 1919), and Divina disponente ( May 16, 1920). Benedict XV issued nine Breves during his pontificate: Divinum Praeceptum ( December 1915), Romanorum Pontificum (February 1916), Cum Catholicae Ecclesiae ( April 1916), Cum Biblia Sacra ( August 1916), Cum Centesimus (October 1916), Centesimo Hodie (October 1916), Quod Ioannes ( April 1917), In Africam quisnam ( June 1920), and, Quod nobis in condendo (September 1920).
 
Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum
 
Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum is an encyclical of Benedict XV given at St. Peter's, Rome, on the Feast of All Saints on November 1, 1914, in the first year of his Pontificate. The first encyclical written by Pope Benedict XV coincided with the beginning of World War I, which he labelled The Suicide of Civilized Europe. Benedict described the combatants as the greatest and wealthiest nations of the earth; they are well provided with the most awful weapons modern military science has devised, they strive to destroy one another with refinements of horror. There is no limit to the measure of ruin and of slaughter; day by day the earth is drenched with newly-shed blood, and is covered with the bodies of the wounded and of the slain.
 
In light of the senseless slaughter, the Pope pleads for "peace on earth to men of good will" (Luke ii. 14), insisting that there are other ways and means whereby violated rights can be rectified.
 
The origin of the evil is a neglect of the precepts and practices of Christian wisdom, particularly a lack of love and compassion. Jesus Christ came down from Heaven for the very purpose of restoring among men the Kingdom of Peace, "A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another. "This is my commandment that you love one another"/
 
Materialism, nationalism, racism and class warfare are the characteristics of the age instead, so Benedict XV:
  • Race hatred has reached its climax; peoples are more divided by jealousies than by frontiers; within one and the same nation, within the same city there rages the burning envy of class against class; and amongst individuals it is self-love which is the supreme law over-ruling everything.

Humani Generis Redemptionem
 
The encyclical Humani Generis Redemptionem from June 15, 1917, deals with blatant ineffectivenesss of Christian preaching. There are more preachers of the Word than ever before according to Benedict XV, but in the state of public and private morals, the constitutions and laws of nations, there is a general disregard and forgetfulness of the supernatural, a gradual falling away from the strict standard of Christian virtue, and that men are slipping back into the shameful practices of paganism. The Pope squarely put part of the blame on those ministers of the Gospel who do not handle it as they should. It is not the times but the incompetent Christian preachers who are to blame: For no one can maintain that the Apostles were living in better times than ours, that they found minds more readily disposed towards the Gospel or that they met with less opposition to the law of God. First in line are the Catholic bishops: The Council of Trent taught, that preaching "is the paramount duty of Bishops." And the Apostles, whose successors the bishops are, looked upon it as something peculiarly theirs. St. Paul writes: "For Christ sent us not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel. Council of Trent Bishops are required to select for this priestly office those only who are "fit," i.e. those who "can exercise the ministry of preaching with profit to souls." Profit to souls, does not mean eloquently or with popular applause, but with spiritual fruit. The Pope requests that all those priests are weeded out, who are incapable of preaching or oh hearing confession. Priests have to concentrate on the word on God and not on popularity contests.
 
Quod Iam Diu
 
Quod Iam Diu was an encyclical given at Rome at St. Peter's on December 1, 1918, the fifth year of his Pontificate. It requested after World War I all Catholics everywhere in the world, no matter which side they were on, to pray for a lasting peace and for those who are entrusted to make it during the peace negotiations.
 
The Pope noted that true, peace has not yet arrived but the Armistice has suspended the slaughter and devastation by land, sea and air. It is now the obligation of all Catholics on all sides to invoke Divine assistance for all who take part in the peace conference. The delegates who are to meet to define peace need all the support they can get for their search of a lasting peace.
 
Maximum Illud
 
Maximum Illud is an Apostolic Letter of Benedict XV issued on November 30, 1919 in the sixth year of his pontificate. It deals with the Catholic missions after World War I. Benedict XV recalled the great Apostles of the Gospel who contributed much to the Expansion of Missions . He reviewed the recent history of the missions and stated the purpose of the Apostolic letter. The encyclical first turned to the bishops and superiors in charge of the Catholic missions, noting the need to train local clergy. Catholic missionaries are reminded that their goal is a spiritual one, which must be carried out in a self-less way.
 
The Pope underlined the necessity of proper preparation for the work in foreign cultures and the need to acquire language skills before going there. He requests a continued striving for personal sanctity and praises the selfless work of female religious in the missions. Mission is not only for missionaries, all Catholics must participate, through their Apostolate of Prayer, by supporting vocations, and by helping financially. The encyclical concludes by pointing out several organizations which organize and supervise mission activities within the Catholic Church.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XV#cite_note-39
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RE: Papal History 2009/01/22 02:46:36 (permalink)
Personality
 
In physical appearance, Benedict XV was a slight man (the smallest of the three cassocks which had been prepared for whoever the new Pope might be in 1914 was still a good deal too big for him). As a result, he became known as "Il Piccolito" or "The Little Man" He was renowned for his generosity, answering all pleas for help from poor Roman families with large cash gifts from his private revenues. When he was short on money, those who would be admitted to an audience would often be instructed by prelates not to mention their financial woes, as Benedict would inevitably feel bad that he could not help the needy. He also depleted the Vatican's official revenues with large-scale charitable expenditure during World War I. On his death, the Vatican Treasury had been depleted to the equivalent in lire of U.S.$19,000. (Reference: Michael Burleigh, Sacred Causes: The Clash of Religion and Politics from the Great War to the War on Terror, HarperCollins, 2007, p.70).
 

Pope Benedict XV
 
Benedict XV was a careful innovator by Vatican standards. He was known to carefully consider all novelties before he ordered their implementation, but then insisting on them to the fullest. He rejected clinging to the past for the past’s sake with the words, let us live in the present and not in history. His relation to secular Italian powers was reserved but positive, avoiding conflict and tacitly supporting the Royal Family of Italy. Yet, like Pius IX and Leo XIII, he also protested against interventions of State authorities in internal Church affairs. Della Chiesa and later Pope Benedict was not a man of letters. He did not publish educational or devotional books. His encyclicals are pragmatic and down-to earth but intelligent and at times far-sighted. His inner faith allowed him to be above the battles of the Great War, when almost everybody else was taking sides. But not unlike Pius XII during World War Two, his neutrality was doubted by all sides then and even now.
 
Benedict XV personally had a strong devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. He added the title 'Queen of Peace' to her Litany, and gave his support to an understanding of Mary as Mediatrix of All Graces (by approving a Mass and office under this title for the dioceses of Belgium) and affirmed that "together with Christ she redeemed the human race" by her immolation of Christ as his sorrowful mother (in his apostolic letter Inter sodalicia).
 
Death and Legacy
 
Benedict XV fell ill with pneumonia in early January 1922. He succumbed to pneumonia on January 22, 1922.
 
Possibly the least remembered pope of the twentieth century, Benedict XV is nevertheless an unsung hero for his valiant efforts to end World War I.
 

Benedict XV lying in state in 1922
 
In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI recognized the significance of his long-ago predecessor's commitment to peace by taking the same name. Benedict XV was unique in his humane approach in the world of 1914–1918, which starkly contrasts with that of the other great monarchs and leaders of the time. His worth is reflected in the tribute engraved at the foot of the statue that the Turks, a non-Catholic, non-Christian people, erected of him in Istanbul: "The great Pope of the world tragedy...the benefactor of all people, irrespective of nationality or religion." This monument stands in the courtyard of the St. Esprit Cathedral.
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XV#cite_note-39
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RE: Papal History 2009/01/22 02:50:39 (permalink)

Monument of Benedict XV in the courtyard of St. Esprit Cathedral, Istanbul.
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RE: Papal History 2009/01/22 02:50:54 (permalink)
Views of one of his successors - Pope Benedict XVI

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger showed his own admiration for Benedict XV following his election to the Papacy on April 19, 2005. The election of a new Pope is often accompanied by conjecture over his choice of papal name; it is widely believed that a Pope chooses the name of a predecessor whose teachings and legacy he wishes to continue. Ratzinger's choice of "Benedict" was seen as a signal that Benedict XV's views on humanitarian diplomacy, and his stance against relativism and modernism, would be emulated during the reign of the new Pope. During his first General Audience in St. Peter's Square on April 27, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI paid tribute to Benedict XV when explaining his choice:

Filled with sentiments of awe and thanksgiving, I wish to speak of why I chose the name Benedict. Firstly, I remember Pope Benedict XV, that courageous prophet of peace, who guided the Church through turbulent times of war. In his footsteps I place my ministry in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples.

It has been reported that the relatively short twentieth century reign of Benedict XV was another reason for the choice.

(Note on numbering: Pope Benedict X is now considered an antipope. At the time, however, this status was not recognized and so the man the Roman Catholic church officially considers the tenth true Pope Benedict took the official number XI, rather than X. This has advanced the numbering of all subsequent Popes Benedict by one. Popes Benedict XI-XVI are, from an official point of view, the tenth through fifteenth popes by that name. In other words, there is no legitimate Pope Benedict X.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Benedict_XV
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RE: Papal History 2009/01/22 03:11:22 (permalink)

 
Canon Law reform
 
In 1917 Benedict XV promulgated the Church's first Code of Canon Law, the preparation of which had been commissioned by Pope St. Pius X, and which is thus known as the Pio-Benedictine Code. This Code, which entered into force in 1918, was the first consolidation of the Church's Canon Law into a modern Code made up of simple articles. Previously, Canon Law was dispersed in a variety of sources and partial compilations.

The new Canon Law is credited with reviving religious life and providing judicial clarity throughout the Church. In addition, continuing the concerns of Leo XIII, he furthered Eastern Catholic culture, theology and liturgy by founding a Oriental Institute for them in Rome.

 

 
Dear friends,
 
In order to put into context the canon law reforms applicable to women as implemented by Pope Benedict XV, it is helpful to look at the law which preceded his 1917 reforms.
 
Although today the Vatican maintains that the exclusion of women from priesthood rests on solid theological foundation which has existed since the time of Christ.  An historical scrutiny of Church law reveals this assertion does not stand up to scrutiny.  Contrary to what the Vatican says, Church law throughout the centuries has been steeped in the ancient prejudices against women.  And in spite of all his graces, it continued into the reforms promulgated by Pope Benedict. 
 
From 1234 to 1916 AD, the Church's official code of canon law was known as Corpus Iuris Canonici.  The main source for it is known as the Decretum Gratiani (1140 AD.)  By studying the history and content of canon law, we learn that:

The presumed inferiority of women can be seen in many passages in the Decretum Gratiani (DG). Some examples drawn from DG tell us that accepted perspectives included the following: 

The legal situation of women under the Corpus Iuris Canonici (1234 - 1916 AD) that depended on the Decretum Gratiani has been summed up in this way:
  • “By a principle of civil law, no woman can exercise a public office. By Church Law women are equally barred from all spiritual functions and offices.”
  • “A woman can, therefore, not receive any ecclesiastical ordination. If she receives one, the ordination will not imprint a sacramental character . . . .”
  • “No woman, however saintly she may be, may either preach or teach . . . .”
  • “A wife is under the power of her husband, the husband not under the power of the wife. The husband may punish her. A wife is obliged to follow her husband to wherever he decides to fix his residence.”
  • “A woman is bound to greater modesty than a man.”
  • “A woman is sooner excused on account of fear than a man. She is dispensed from going to Rome to obtain absolution from an excommunication.”

L'Abbé André, Droit Canon, Paris 1859, vol. 2, col. 75.

The influence of the presumed ‘ritual uncleanness’ of women is also clearly evidenced in the Decretum Gratiani (1140 AD), which became official Church law in 1234 AD, a vital part of the Corpus Iuris Canonici that was in force until 1916:

That these ritual prohibitions against women carried through under the Corpus Iuris Canonici (1234 - 1916 AD) is evidenced in the following examples:

As an aside, the ridiculous prohibition for women to ‘sing in church’ was reiterated more than once by the Sacred Congregation for Liturgy:
  • Girls or women could not be members of any church choir (decree 17 Sept. 1897).
  • "Women should not be part of a choir; they belong to the ranks of the laity. Separate women's choirs too are totally forbidden, except for serious reasons and with permission of the bishop” (decree 22 Nov. 1907).
  • “Any mixed choir of men and women, even if they stand far from the sanctuary, is totally forbidden” (decree 18 Dec. 1908).

More to follow about Pope Benedict XV's reforms -- how much did they change things?
 
with love and blessings,
 
~Sophie~
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RE: Papal History 2009/01/22 21:58:09 (permalink)

Would you say that Thomas Jefferson was duplicitous in his treatment of Negros?

Well yes... and it wasn't until he was staring death in the face that he freed his own children by his black slave mistress, after hardly a thought in his younger years of what would have befallen them as property of the estate of the deceased had he been run over by his horse.  But Jefferson is not revered by the Church...
but St. Peter and St. Paul both are revered by the Church, and at Antioch, Paul accused Peter exactly of duplicity over the whole who's-saying-one-thing-but-doing-another with the whole fraternizing-or-not-fraternizing-with-the-uncircumsized-non-Jewish-converts issue.
 
woman who votes with feet
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RE: Papal History 2009/01/23 18:47:10 (permalink)
Yes, woman who votes with feet, you point out that Peter was very much mistaken about several important things and had to be corrected.  So Paul helps convert Peter into being more like Christ by making him come closer to accepting Gentiles.  Peter  also really needed the vision he was given  of eating non-Kosher foods, as acceptable to God and Christ, for Peter to finally become more inclusive like Christ,.  Previously, Peter would not fraternize with Gentiles or truly accept Gentiles.This vision is recorded in book of Acts, I think, as I recall.
 
Simarily the modern "vicar" of Christ, the pope, needs correction too to be more like Christ.
 
 The Pope's  silencing of theologians, nuns, priests and others, his unChristlike suppression of dialogue,
 
  his creation of  disunity and divisiveness and excommunications are also not of Christ, his lack of scholarship and
 
intolerance and contempt for women are also not like Christ.
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RE: Papal History 2009/01/26 01:32:39 (permalink)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
More to follow about Benedict XV!
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