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Luke Coppen's Catholic Herald Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Vatican

Morning Catholic must-reads

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Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to the Irish Church has provoked a deluge of commentary. Here are some of the most interesting comments: John Allen, Lisa Miller, Fr Ray Blake, Fr Tim Finigan, George Pitcher, Giles Pinnock, the Daily Telegraph, the Observer, Vatican Radio, Fr Federico Lombardi and Archbishop Vincent Nichols.

The third official meeting of the representatives of the Holy See and of the SSPX for doctrinal talks took place on Saturday.

Catholics in Zambia are asking the Pope to remove the Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu of Lusaka.

Rome Reports says Archbishop Oscar Romero’s Cause is gaining new momentum (video).

Pope Benedict reflected on the universality of art at a concert on Saturday night in the Clementine Hall (video).

Theologian Tina Beattie and atheist Carl Packman discuss God, Christianity and violence.

And the Vatican now has an official Twitter account.


Morning Catholic must-reads

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The Catholic Education Service of England and Wales has issued a statement welcoming the passage of the sex education Bill last night. Fr Tim Finigan is dismayed by Church support for the Bill and Melanie Phillips suggests that the Schools Secretary Ed Balls has launched a “secular inquisition“.

Gordon Brown has said he will resist calls to legalise assisted suicide.

The Times wonders whether religion will determine the result of the British general election.

Germany’s Catholic bishops have promised that they will respond quickly to the abuse crisis in the country.

American Catholic leaders are calling for new efforts to achieve bipartisan healthcare reform.

Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has urged Catholics and Mormons to defend religious freedom together.

The Vatican previews the Pope’s trip to Malta in April (video).

David Gibson suggests the Vatican may have shown judicious restraint by shelving a report on condoms.

A spectacular new Caravaggio exhibition has opened in Rome (video).

A Communist barber in Rome says praying to John Paul II cured him of a hernia.

And Leon Suprenant offers a guide to the “top 10 confirmation saints you never considered“.

Morning Catholic must-reads

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A Christian teacher lost her job after offering to pray for a sick pupil.

A rabbi lit the fourth Advent candle at St Patrick’s Cathedral, New York, yesterday.

In the end, Senate healthcare reform negotiations were all about abortion, but Bart Stupak is ready for a pro-life last stand.

The backlash against the Pius XII decision begins.

The Holy See copyrights John Paul II.

The number of cardinal-electors has dropped to 112.

Canonist Dr Edward Peters is baffled by the Vatican’s latest action against Emmanuel Milingo.

Fr James Martin SJ is irked by “faith-based advertising”.

Pope Benedict explains why Christians are like Christmas trees.

Historian Diarmaid MacCulloch writes an appreciative Christmas message to Rowan Williams.

Francis X Clooney SJ ponders the questions raised by Archbishop Vincent Nichols’s visit to a Hindu temple.

Peter Steinfels announces the end of his New York Times column.

The Intentional Disciples salute the “extraordinary” Mary Ward, whose Cause progressed on Saturday, while Cardinal Pell rejoices at the progress of Mary MacKillop’s Cause.

Patrick Madrid responds to the disclosure that the founder of the Legion of Christ was a plagiarist.

A septugenarian monk who makes coffins is named among the top Irish-American business people.

Mgr Charles Pope sees God’s glory in snow.

Rorate Caeli explains why the maniple was never abrogated.

And, finally, Cranmer praises the ecumenical spirit of Morning Catholic must-reads.

SSPX talks ‘cordial, respectful and constructive’, says Vatican

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The first meeting between Vatican and SSPX theologians took place this morning.

Ecclesia Dei has just issued the following statement:

On Monday 26 October 2009 in the Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio, headquarters of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the study commission made up of experts from Ecclesia Dei and from the Society of St Pius X held its first meeting, with the aim of examining the doctrinal differences still outstanding between the Society and the Apostolic See.

In a cordial, respectful and constructive climate, the main doctrinal questions were identified. These will be studied in the course of discussions to be held over coming months, probably twice a month. In particular, the questions due to be examined concern the concept of Tradition, the Missal of Paul VI, the interpretation of Vatican Council II in continuity with Catholic doctrinal Tradition, the themes of the unity of the Church and the Catholic principles of ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and non-Christian religions, and religious freedom. The meeting also served to specify the method and organisation of the work.

Rocco Palmo quotes the head of the SSPX delegation, Bishop Alfonso de Gallarreta, as saying that “in the best case… we have several years of discussions ahead of us”.

Photo: Members of the SSPX delegation, background centre, framed by Vatican Swiss guards, enter the Vatican earlier today (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

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Written by Luke Coppen

October 26, 2009 at 3:36 pm

Posted in SSPX, theology, Vatican

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Pope Benedict: Music lifts our mind to God

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On Saturday Pope Benedict XVI attended a Vatican concert in his honour. Chinese pianist Jin Ju performed music by a range of composers on pianos from seven different eras.

The Pope said:

Music is a part of all cultures and, we might say, accompanies every human experience, from pain to pleasure, from hatred to love, from sadness to joy, from death to life. We see how, over the course of the centuries and millennia, music has always been used to give a form to that which we are not able to speak in words, because it awakens emotions that are difficult to communicate otherwise. So it is not by chance that every civilisation has placed such importance and value on music in its various forms and expressions.

Music, great music, gives the spirit repose, awakens profound sentiments and almost naturally invites us to lift up our mind and heart to God in every situation, whether joyous or sad, of human existence. Music can become prayer.

(Photo: Pianist Jin Ju performs during a concert at the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican on Saturday. AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

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Written by Luke Coppen

October 19, 2009 at 1:23 pm

The Pope opens Vatican II up for further questioning

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Yesterday’s big Vatican news was the official confirmation that talks between Rome and the SSPX will begin on Monday, October 26.

Rorate Caeli reports that the Vatican’s high-powered delegation will consist of Mgr Guido Pozzo, head of Ecclesia Dei; Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer SJ, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Fr Charles Morerod OP, secretary of the International Theological Commission; Mgr Fernando Ocáriz, Vicar General of Opus Dei; and Fr Karl Josef Becker SJ, consultant of the CDF.

According to the New Liturgical Movement, the SSPX line-up will include Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta, director of the seminary Corredentora Nuestra Señora de La Reja in Argentina; Fr Benoît de Jorna, director of the International Seminary of Saint Pius X in Ecône; Fr Jean-Michel Gleize, professor of ecclesiology at Ecône; and Fr Patrick de La Rocque, prior of the French priory St Louis Nantes.

In a communiqué, the SSPX said the talks would “require the necessary discretion for a peaceful exchange on doctrinal issues that are difficult”.

The Vatican and the SSPX are expected to issue a formal statement after the October 26 meeting.

Robert Moynihan has written a good overview of what will be on the table when the two sides meet. He says:

With Benedict’s decision, the Second Vatican Council is, in a certain sense, as it were, being called in ‘for further questioning’ – for an new examination and cross-examination, like a witness in a trial, to determine what the Council actually said, and intended.

Fr Ray Blake agrees that the talks are not so much about the SSPX as they are about what really happened at Vatican II.

Ignatius Insight offers a useful primer on Vatican II and the ecclesiology of Joseph Ratzinger.

And in other conciliar news, an American bishop has declared that the “spirit of Vatican II” is a “demon that must be exorcised”.

(Photo: Portraits of Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, founder of the Society of St Pius X, flank a crucifix CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

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Written by Luke Coppen

October 16, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Posted in SSPX, Vatican

Tagged with , , , ,

Sarah Silverman: How she can set an example

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So, does Sarah Silverman have a point?

According to the trusted Vatican reporter John Allen, probably not. In his brilliant book, All the Pope’s Men, he has a chapter called the “Top Five Myths about the Vatican”. Myth four is “Vatican wealth”:

To put it bluntly, the Vatican is not rich. It has an annual operating budget of $260 million, which would not place it on any top 500 list of major social institutions. To draw a comparison in the non-profit sector, Harvard University has an annual operating budget of a little over $1.3 billion, which means it could run the equivalent of five Vaticans every year.

But, Silverman might say, what of its artistic treasures?

From the Holy See’s point of view, they are part of the artistic heritage of the world and may never be sold or borrowed against. In 1986, facing a $56 million budget deficit, the Vatican put out a statement saying the artworks and cultural artifacts owned by the Roman Catholic Church constitute “a treasure for all humanity” and cannot be sold.

OK, but how does Allen respond to those who still refuse to accept the plain evidence that the Vatican is not wealthy? Can he prove there isn’t a horde of gold hidden away somewhere?

No, I can’t. I also can’t prove there’s no invisible monster under your bed. What I can say is that if the Vatican is sitting on a secret stash of riches, there’s little evidence of it in the way the institution functions. While there are a few black Mercedes limousines to ferry VIPs to and fro, and some cardinals do have fairly nice apartments, for the most part Vatican personnel do not live especially large.

I’ve got an idea. I don’t know if Sarah Silverman is a millionaire. But I think we can assume she is comfortably off. Why doesn’t she set an example by giving her wealth away?

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Written by Luke Coppen

October 15, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Vatican

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Sarah Silverman: Sell the Vatican, feed the world

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Sarah Silverman, America’s most controversial comedian, has made a modest proposal. She wants Pope Benedict XVI to sell the Vatican and use the proceeds to end world hunger.

The Catholic League has described her remarks as“filthy” and “pathological”.

But Fr James Martin SJ thinks Silverman has a point:

Of course Pope Benedict XVI could not “sell” any of the treasures of the Vatican, the same way that your local archbishop couldn’t sell off the cathedral at a whim; they are not his, they are the church’s. And the church is not simply the hierarchy but the entire people of God. Much in the same way the Ken Burns TV series “National Parks” hammered home the idea that the national parks are everyone’s property, the treasures of the church are the property of all Catholics.

Still, perhaps Ms Silverman, in her post-modern, potty-mouthed way is on to something. Like Jesus was. Sell the Vatican? Well, maybe not everything but perhaps a statue or two?

PS You can listen to Silverman’s monologue on YouTube. But I think I better follow Fr Martin’s lead and not link to it because of its risqué content.

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Written by Luke Coppen

October 15, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Vatican hails Galileo – again

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This will annoy the New Atheists.

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Written by Luke Coppen

October 15, 2009 at 8:28 am

Posted in Vatican

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Rekindling the Williamson affair

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The Swedish television channel that sparked the Bishop Williamson controversy will broadcast an explosive follow-up programme on Wednesday purporting to show the Vatican was well aware of Williamson’s extremist views.

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Written by Luke Coppen

September 21, 2009 at 8:40 am

Posted in Vatican

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