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I have just found out that Fr. Benedict Groeschel, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, will be visiting LaSalette Shrine in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
Beginning at 6:30 there will be Mass, Adoration, prayer and preaching by Fr. Groeschel.

I am planning on attending. Sorry about the late notice, but I hope someone is able to take advantage of the wonderful opportunity.

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It’s official. Archbishop Milingo is excommunicated. In response to the Archbishop’s “ordaining” of four “bishops” last weekend the Holy See has released the following:


“With great concern, the Holy See has followed the recent activities of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, emeritus of Lusaka, Zambia, with his new association of married priests, spreading division and confusion among the faithful.

“Church representatives of various levels have tried in vain to contact Archbishop Milingo in order to dissuade him from persisting in actions that provoke scandal, especially among the faithful who followed his pastoral ministry in favor of the poor and the sick.

“Bearing in mind the understanding shown, also recently, by Peter’s Successor towards this aged pastor of the Church, the Holy See has awaited with vigilant patience the evolution of events which, unfortunately, have led Archbishop Milingo to a position of irregularity and of progressively open rupture of communion with the Church, first with his attempted marriage and then with the ordination of four bishops on Sunday, September 24, in Washington D.C., U.S.A.

“For this public act both Archbishop Milingo and the four ordinands have incurred excommunication ‘latae sententiae,’ as laid down in Canon 1382 of the Code of Canon Law. Moreover, the Church does not recognize, nor does she intend to recognize in the future, these ordinations and all ordinations deriving from them; and she considers the canonical status of the four supposed-bishops as being that they held prior to this ordination.

The Apostolic See, attentive to the unity and peace of the flock of Christ, had hoped that the fraternal influence of people close to Archbishop Milingo would cause him to rethink and return to full communion with the Pope. Unfortunately the latest developments have made these hopes more unlikely.

“At times of ecclesial suffering such as these, may prayers intensify among all the community of the faithful.”

In my opinion, what took so long? This should have happened a long time ago.

Dear Cardinal Poupard,
Your Excellencies,
Dear Muslim Friends,

I am pleased to welcome you to this gathering that I wanted to arrange in order to strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the Holy See and Muslim communities throughout the world. I thank Cardinal Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, for the words that he has just addressed to me, and I thank all of you for responding to my invitation.

The circumstances which have given rise to our gathering are well known. I have already had occasion to dwell upon them in the course of the past week. In this particular context, I should like to reiterate today all the esteem and the profound respect that I have for Muslim believers, calling to mind the words of the Second Vatican Council which for the Catholic Church are the Magna Carta of Muslim-Christian dialogue: “The Church looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humanity and to whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves whole-heartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God” (Declaration Nostra Aetate, 3). Placing myself firmly within this perspective, I have had occasion, since the very beginning of my pontificate, to express my wish to continue establishing bridges of friendship with the adherents of all religions, showing particular appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians (cf. Address to the Delegates of Other Churches and Ecclesial Communities and of Other Religious Traditions, 25 April 2005). As I underlined at Cologne last year, “Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra. It is, in fact, a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends” (Meeting with Representatives of Some Muslim Communities, Cologne, 20 August 2005). In a world marked by relativism and too often excluding the transcendence and universality of reason, we are in great need of an authentic dialogue between religions and between cultures, capable of assisting us, in a spirit of fruitful co-operation, to overcome all the tensions together. Continuing, then, the work undertaken by my predecessor, Pope John Paul II, I sincerely pray that the relations of trust which have developed between Christians and Muslims over several years, will not only continue, but will develop further in a spirit of sincere and respectful dialogue, based on ever more authentic reciprocal knowledge which, with joy, recognizes the religious values that we have in common and, with loyalty, respects the differences.

Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue is a necessity for building together this world of peace and fraternity ardently desired by all people of good will. In this area, our contemporaries expect from us an eloquent witness to show all people the value of the religious dimension of life. Likewise, faithful to the teachings of their own religious traditions, Christians and Muslims must learn to work together, as indeed they already do in many common undertakings, in order to guard against all forms of intolerance and to oppose all manifestations of violence; as for us, religious authorities and political leaders, we must guide and encourage them in this direction. Indeed, “although considerable dissensions and enmities between Christians and Muslims may have arisen in the course of the centuries, the Council urges all parties that, forgetting past things, they train themselves towards sincere mutual understanding and together maintain and promote social justice and moral values as well as peace and freedom for all people” (Declaration, Nostra Aetate, 3). The lessons of the past must therefore help us to seek paths of reconciliation, in order to live with respect for the identity and freedom of each individual, with a view to fruitful co-operation in the service of all humanity. As Pope John Paul II said in his memorable speech to young people at Casablanca in Morocco, “Respect and dialogue require reciprocity in all spheres, especially in that which concerns basic freedoms, more particularly religious freedom. They favour peace and agreement between peoples” (no. 5).

Dear friends, I am profoundly convinced that in the current world situation it is imperative that Christians and Muslims engage with one another in order to address the numerous challenges that present themselves to humanity, especially those concerning the defence and promotion of the dignity of the human person and of the rights ensuing from that dignity. When threats mount up against people and against peace, by recognizing the central character of the human person and by working with perseverance to see that human life is always respected, Christians and Muslims manifest their obedience to the Creator, who wishes all people to live in the dignity that he has bestowed upon them.

Dear friends, I pray with my whole heart that the merciful God will guide our steps along the paths of an ever more authentic mutual understanding. At this time when for Muslims the spiritual journey of the month of Ramadan is beginning, I address to all of them my cordial good wishes, praying that the Almighty may grant them serene and peaceful lives. May the God of peace fill you with the abundance of his Blessings, together with the communities that you represent!

This morning in the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo, Benedict XVI received Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and representatives from Muslim-majority countries that maintain diplomatic links with the Holy See.

Participating in the meeting were heads of mission from Kuwait, Jordan, Pakistan, Qatar, Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Turkey, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lebanon, Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, Albania, the Arab League, Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Iran and Azerbaijan. Also present were 14 members of the Islamic Council of Italy and representatives from the Italian Islamic Cultural Center and the Office of the World Muslim League.

Following a brief greeting by Cardinal Poupard, Benedict XVI explained how he had called the meeting “in order to strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the Holy See and Muslim communities throughout the world.”

“I should like to reiterate today all the esteem and the profound respect that I have for Muslim believers,” he continued in his French-language address.

“I have had occasion, since the very beginning of my pontificate, to express my wish to continue establishing bridges of friendship with the adherents of all religions, showing particular appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians.”

“In a world marked by relativism and too often excluding the transcendence and universality of reason, we are in great need of an authentic dialogue between religions and between cultures, capable of assisting us, in a spirit of fruitful cooperation, to overcome all the tensions together.

“Continuing, then, the work undertaken by my predecessor Pope John Paul II,” he added, “I sincerely pray that the relations of trust which have developed between Christians and Muslims over several years, will not only continue, but will develop further in a spirit of sincere and respectful dialogue, based on ever more authentic reciprocal knowledge which, with joy, recognizes the religious values that we have in common and, with loyalty, respects the differences.

“Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue,” the Pope continued, “is a necessity for building together this world of peace and fraternity ardently desired by all people of good will. In this area, our contemporaries expect from us an eloquent witness to show all people the value of the religious dimension of life.

“Likewise, faithful to the teachings of their own religious traditions, Christians and Muslims must learn to work together, as indeed they already do in many common undertakings, in order to guard against all forms of intolerance and to oppose all manifestations of violence. As for us, religious authorities and political leaders, we must guide and encourage them in this direction.”

Benedict XVI then highlighted how “the lessons of the past” must “help us to seek paths of reconciliation, in order to live with respect for the identity and freedom of each individual, with a view to fruitful co-operation in the service of all humanity. As Pope John Paul II said in his memorable speech to young people at Casablanca in Morocco: ‘Respect and dialogue require reciprocity in all spheres, especially in that which concerns basic freedoms, more particularly religious freedom. They favor peace and agreement between peoples’.”

The Holy Father concluded his address by expressing his profound conviction “that in the current world situation it is imperative that Christians and Muslims engage with one another in order to address the numerous challenges that present themselves to humanity, especially those concerning the defense and promotion of the dignity of the human person and of the rights ensuing from that dignity. When threats mount up against people and against peace, by recognizing the central character of the human person and by working with perseverance to see that human life is always respected, Christians and Muslims manifest their obedience to the Creator, Who wishes all people to live in the dignity that He has bestowed upon them.”

VIS

The “logic of Christianity” was the central theme of Benedict XVI’s reflections before praying the Angelus yesterday with pilgrims gathered in the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo.

The Holy Father quoted Sunday’s Gospel reading in which Jesus announces to His disciples, for the second time, His passion, death and resurrection. The evangelist Mark, said the Pope, “highlights the strong contrast between Jesus’ mentality and that of the twelve Apostles, who not only do not understand the Master’s words and refuse the idea that He may die, but discuss among themselves which of them is ‘the greatest.’

“Jesus patiently explains His logic to them,” the Holy Father added, “the logic of love that is service even unto the giving of self. … This is the logic of Christianity, which responds to the truth of man created in God’ image, and at the same time contrasts man’s egoism, a consequence of original sin. All human beings are attracted by love – which in the final analysis is God Himself – but often mistake the concrete ways to express that love. And thus from a tendency that in its origins is positive, though polluted by sin, evil intentions and actions can arise.”

Pope Benedict went on to recall the words of the Letter of James: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy. … And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

He concluded: “these words make us think of the witness of so many Christians who … dedicate their lives to the service of others for the sake of the Lord Jesus, working as servants of love and … ‘artisans’ of peace. Sometimes, some of them are asked for the supreme witness of blood, as happened a few days ago to the Italian religious, Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, who fell a victim to violence. This sister, who for many years had worked serving the poor and defenseless of Somalia, died pronouncing the word ‘forgiveness.’ This is the most authentic Christian witness, a peaceful sign marking the victory of love over hatred and evil.”

VIS

Saturday morning in Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father received 98 bishops from 44 countries on four continents. The prelates have been participating a course of “aggiornamento” organized annually by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the prefect of which is Cardinal Ivan Dias.

In his address, the Pope dwelt upon the efforts that have to be made to ensure that the announcement of the Gospel reaches everyone, and upon the need to evangelize cultures and “encourage sincere and open dialogue with one and all, so that together we can build a more fraternal and united humanity.

“Only when driven by the love of Christ,” he added, “is it possible to bring to completion this apostolic labor, which demands the intrepid courage of those who, for the Lord’s sake, do not fear even persecution and death.” On this subject, he recalled the “heroic witnesses to the Gospel” of previous centuries, as well as the recent sacrifice of “Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, missionary sister of the Consolata, barbarously murdered in Mogadishu, Somalia,” on September 17.

Benedict XVI told his audience that in order to be good pastors, they had to set an example in all fields of life. It is likewise vital, he said, “that you give primary importance in your episcopal ministry to prayer and to the incessant striving for sanctity. It is also important that you concern yourselves with the serious formation of seminarians and with the permanent ‘aggiornamento’ of priests and catechists.”

He went on: “Maintaining the unity of the faith in the diversity of its cultural expressions is another precious service required of you. … This means that you must remain united to your flock, following the example of Christ the Good Shepherd, and that the flock must always remain united to you. As sentinels of the People of God, avoid divisions with firmness and courage, especially when they are due to ethnic or socio-cultural reasons. They damage the unity of the faith and undermine the announcement and witness of the Gospel of Christ.”

After expressing his joy at “the continual flowering of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life,” in many of their churches, the Pope called on the prelates to ensure that seminaries have “a sufficient number of formators, chosen and trained with care, who must first and foremost be examples and models for the seminarians. … It is upon the training of future priests and of all other pastoral care workers, especially catechists, that the future of your communities and of the Universal Church depends.”

VIS

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Documents now available from the Vatican Secret Archives will allow scholars to rewrite history and erase claims the church was not a staunch opponent of Nazism, fascism and other forms of totalitarianism, said a Jesuit historian.

Jesuit Father Giovanni Sale, historian of the Jesuit journal, La Civilta Cattolica, said documents relating to the 1922-1939 pontificate of Pope Pius XI will have an impact on political and religious history.

What emerges is an even clearer picture of the church as being “steadfast in the fight against totalitarianism, against fascism, against Nazism, but also against communism,” he said in a Sept. 18 interview with Vatican Radio.

Read the complete article here.

It’s been a year! When I started this blog, I wondered if anyone would bother reading it, but I have been pleasantly surprised. People are reading it and even better, they read it and come back. My readers come from all over the world and once I even had a reader on a computer somewhere within Vatican City.

I want to thank all my readers. Those who check in daily, weekly and those who stumble across these pages while searching for something. You inspire me to keep posting.

This morning in the Apostolic Palace of Castelgandolfo, the Pope received participants in the 22nd plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, which is presided by Archbishop Stanislaw Rylko. The theme of the gathering is: “The Parish Rediscovered. Paths for Renewal.”

“During my years of service in the Roman Curia, I have had the opportunity of witnessing the growing importance of the Pontifical Council for the Laity within the Church,” said the Holy Father. He then went on to mention some of the events promoted by the council which he had presided as pope, such as the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne, Germany, or this year’s meeting with ecclesial movements and new communities held in St. Peter’s Square on the eve of Pentecost.

Going on to consider the work of participants in the 22nd plenary assembly, Benedict XVI recalled how, having analyzed “in your last meeting the theological and pastoral nature of the parish community, … you are now pondering the question from an operational point of view, seeking elements useful towards favoring authentic parish renewal.”

“Indeed,” he continued, “theological-pastoral aspects and operational aspects cannot be disassociated from one another if we wish to understand the mystery of communion, of which the parish is called to be an ever greater sign and instrument.” He then outlined certain “essential criteria” for “understanding the nature of Christian communion and, therefore, of each parish,” referring to the first Christian community of Jerusalem, which was “devoted to listening to the teaching of the Apostles, to fraternal union, to the ‘breaking of bread’ and to prayer, a welcoming and united community, even to the point of sharing everything they had.

“The parish can relive this experience, and grow in understanding and fraternal cohesion through prayer … and listening to the Word of God, especially if it participates with faith in the celebration of the Eucharist presided by a priest. … The hoped-for renewal of the parish cannot, then, arise only from pastoral initiatives, useful though they are, nor from programs worked out at a theoretical level.

“Drawing inspiration from the apostolic model,” the Pope added, “the parish ‘rediscovers’ itself in the encounter with Christ. … Nourished by the Eucharistic bread, it grows in Catholic communion and walks in complete faithfulness to the Magisterium,” while “the constant union with Christ gives it the strength to commit itself … to serving our brothers, especially the poorest for which its often the primary point of reference.”

The Pope concluded his address expressing the hope that the work of the plenary assembly may contribute “to making the lay faithful ever more aware of their mission in the Church, especially within the parish community, which is a ‘family’ of Christian families.”

VIS

In Cardinal Sean’s second post, the cardinal I know and love shines through. Posted about an hour ago, he tells the story of his flight and his plans for the next few days, as well as a few interesting tidbits. He is even catching on to the online lingo.

While walking through the never ending terminal in Frankfurt….I thought we were going to walk to Rome after what seemed like a three mile journey from our arrival gate to our new departure gate….as a young seminarian I was in Germany for a couple of months studying German.

I have many fond memories of those days in the early 1960’s. I will share with you, believe it or not, that I and everyone else were wearing lederhosen in those days…but, do not try to find those pictures because I assure you that the negatives have been destroyed….LOL!

Writing about his upcoming trip to San Giovanni Rotundo, Cardinal Sean says:

I should also let you know that this will be my first time visiting the Shrine. I never had the opportunity and honor to meet Padre Pio in person because like all Cappuchin friars we were asked not to visit because so many would havd overwhelmed the Friary.I will share the homily that I have written for this special Mass with you tomorrow….It’s theme is Prayer, Charity and the Joy of Forgiveness.

I think this blog is a great idea. He is shining through and I am looking forward to reading his homily. He is an excellent homilist, so I have no doubt this homily will be memorable.

Read the entire post here.

UPDATE:
I couldn’t leave this post without a link to Jeff Miller’s post on ecclesiastical acronyms. I particularly like LMZO. (Laughing My Zuchetto Off.)

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