NEWS BRIEFS Apr-1-2002
Catholic News Service

Papal preacher says other religions have role in God's salvation plan

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- At the Vatican's Good Friday liturgy, marking Christ's death on a cross to redeem humanity, the pope's preacher said other religions had some role in God's plan of salvation. While criticizing modern theological descriptions of Christ as just one of several ways to salvation, the preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, said God "is humble in saving," and the church should follow suit. "Christ is more concerned that all people should be saved than that they should know who is their savior," he told a large congregation March 29 in St. Peter's Basilica. Pope John Paul II and top Vatican officials were among those in attendance. Father Cantalamessa said other religions "are not merely tolerated by God but positively willed by him as expressions of the inexhaustible richness of his grace and his will for everyone to be saved."

POPE-PRIESTS Feb-14-2002 (610 words) xxxi
Pope says lack of priests is not blessing in disguise for lay roles
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Catholics must not accept the argument that a scarcity of priests is a blessing in disguise because it increases the involvement of lay people in the church, Pope John Paul II said.

"We all know how necessary vocations are for the life, witness and pastoral action of our ecclesial communities," the pope said Feb. 14 during his annual meeting with pastors of Rome parishes and representatives of the city's clergy.

Pope John Paul said a decrease in the number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life frequently is the "consequence of a lessening of the intensity of faith and spiritual fervor."

"Therefore, we must not be content with the explanation that the scarcity of priestly vocations will be compensated by the growing commitment of the lay apostolate or even less that it could be desired by providence in order to favor the growth of the laity," the pope said.

Pope John Paul said it is obvious that in Rome and in many parts of the world there are social obstacles to making a lifelong commitment to celibacy, the priesthood and religious life.

Many people today have difficulty even thinking that they could make a commitment for life that "absorbs them not in a partial and provisional way, but fully and definitively," he said.

It is even more difficult for them to realize that such a vocation is not the result of their choices or talents, the pope said, "but is born of a call from God, from the design of love and mercy which he, from eternity, has for each person."

Because a vocation flows from God, it is not enough for a diocese to have a good recruitment plan, he said.

"The first and principal commitment for vocations cannot be anything but prayer," he said.

"Praying for vocations is not and cannot be the fruit of resignation, as if we think we already have done everything possible with little result and therefore there is nothing left to do but pray," the pope said.

"Prayer, in fact, is not delegating something to the Lord so that he will do something in our place," he told the priests.

Rather, he said, praying for vocations means trusting in God, "putting ourselves in his hands so that he, in turn, will make us trusting and open to carrying out the works of God."

Pope John Paul also told the priests that their good example is essential in helping young people accept the vocation God has in mind for them.

"If teens and young adults see priests busy with too many things, easily upset and complaining, careless in their prayer and in the tasks proper to their ministry, how can they be fascinated by the life of the priesthood?" he asked.

"If, instead, they experience in us the joy of being ministers of Christ, generosity in serving the church, ready to take responsibility for the human and spiritual growth of those persons entrusted to us, they will be prompted to ask themselves if perhaps this would be the 'better part' for them, the most beautiful choice for their young lives," the pope said.

Speaking off-the-cuff at the end of the audience, the pope said the local seminary is the "pupil of the eye of the bishop," because through the seminary "he sees the future of the church."

"I say this with the experience I have had of being a bishop for many years, first in Krakow, then in Rome: in Krakow for 20 years and in Rome already for 24 years," he said.


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Augustine the Canadian
(1/9/02 3:19:51 am)
Reply Communion in the Hand - What Gives?

I've yet to see one convincing argument for why this practice is NOT a degredation of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament.

Call me silly, but I have a hard time seeing how this now "legitimized" practice was in any way shape or form an "improvement". At least not if you believe in the dogmatic teaching of the Church about the Eucharist.

HOWEVER, I do understand how one would see this as a salutary practice if they had heretical views about the sacrament, or radical egalitarian/anti-sacerdotal/de-sacralized views about the Church, Her Sacraments, etc.

Let's be frank - this practice, along with the "extraordinary" ministers (so extraordinary you see them at practically every Mass you attend), women serving at the altar... all of them serve revolutionary ideals, not a single one is in the service of Christ or the Catholic ethos. Only the most pharisaiacal/legalistic can defend these practices, given how offensive to piety they are... most particularly when they are contrasted to the practices that genuinely developed in the Catholic Church.

At best, all you have in the way of support/justification for a lot of this baloney, is an appeal to early Christian practice. However such appeals are full of problems.

1) The appeal to something as being good, or superior, simply because it hails from antiquity, in matters like this has been condemned in this century. Pope Pius XII called this error "archaeologism", and sites many examples of how revolutionaries in his own time wanted to overhaul the rites of the Church in order to line them up with supposed "ancient practices". Oddly enough, he mentions several changes these folks wanted (namely simpler tables for altars, removing holy images from churches, removing black from the liturgical colours, etc) which were sadly acted upon after Vatican II as part of the "liturgical reform".

2) Accepting early Christian practices as a true Catholic, I do not find myself at odds with them by cherishing the organic/Spirit-guided development the Church went through in it's symbolism, liturgics, etc. What you see is a flowering. This is also true in the doctrinal sphere, where you see not innovation, but when needed, a clearer articulation of ideals. There is a problem however for the achaeologist - while I accept antiquity, they do not accept the tradition of the Church throughout the ages - an appeal to go back to primitive usages, is an implicit statement that we've gone amock somehow in latter times, and are in need of turning back the clock. It is a rejection of 1800+ years of legitimate development.

3) The biggest problem with the "pro-reformers" is that much of what they hoist on Catholics is done not truly in the name of even archaeologism, but rather ecumenism. One not need be a rocket scientist to see parallels in the modern devolution in Catholic liturgics, when compared to what happened amonst the Lutherans, or even more similarly, the Anglicans.

4) One huge problem is that the alleged "ancient usages" these folks are retreating to, are largely fabricated. For example, while it is evident that communion was very often placed into the hand of early Christians, the solemnity of these early liturgies is totally lost on the reformers. They also neglect the sanctity of this early Church's members, or the necessities of the times. They also totally ignore the reasons WHY certain practices (like Holy Communion being distributed into the hands of those coming to the altar) were put to a stop.

The simple truth is, this has nothing to do with sanctity, or with Catholic's part and parcel of the "Catholicism-lite", the parallel religion being created for dupes who call themselves Catholics. It's sad, but painfully easy to see if you have the courage to admit it.

Pope addresses colloquium on french philosopher Blondel
Monday, November 20, 2000 12:00:00 AM GMT

VATICAN CITY, NOV 18, 2000 (VIS) - The Holy Father this morning welcomed 50 participants in the international colloquium organized by the Gregorian University in Rome on the French philosopher Maurice Blondel and entitled "Blondel between 'L'Action' and Trilogy."

"At the root of Maurice Blondel's philosophy," said the Pope, "is the acute perception of the drama of the separation between faith and reason and his intrepid will to overcome this separation contrary to the nature of things. The philosopher from Aix is thus an eminent representative of Christian philosophy, understood as rational speculation, in vital union with faith, in a double fidelity to the exigencies of intellectual research and of the Magisterium."

The Holy Father recalled the words he wrote in a Message in 1993 on the centenary of Blondel's "L'Action": "It is (Blondel's) courage as a thinker, linked to a fidelity and unfailing love of the Church, that current philosophers and theologians who study Blondel's works can learn from this great master."

"May all those engaged in intellectual research," he said in closing, "courageously accept, as Blondel did, knowing the limits of all human thought and allow themselves to be led to the threshold of divine mystery, which is given to us through faith!"


20-Dec-2001 -- Vatican Information Service


VATICAN CITY, DEC 20, 2001 (VIS) - Made public today was a communique regarding a meeting which took place at the convent of Coimbra, Portugal, on November 17, 2001, between Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Sister Mary Lucy of Jesus and of the Immaculate Heart.

"Over the last few months," says the communique, "and especially following the sad event of the terrorist attack of September 11, articles have appeared in various newspapers regarding presumed new revelations by Sister Lucy, announcements of warning letters to the Pope and apocalyptic re-interpretations of the message of Fatima.

"Moreover, emphasis has been given to the suspicion that the Holy See has not published the integral text of the third part of the 'secret,' and some 'Fatimid' movements have repeated the accusation that the Holy Father has not yet consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

"For this reason, in order to obtain clarification and information directly from the surviving visionary, it was considered necessary to organize a meeting with Sister Lucy. This took place in the presence of the prioress of the Carmelite convent of St. Teresa and of Fr. Luis Kondor S.V.D., vice-postulator of the causes of Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta; and with the permission of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and of the bishops of Leiria-Fatima and Coimbra."

"The meeting, which lasted more than two hours, took place on the afternoon of Saturday, November 17. Sister Lucy, who will be 95 on March 22 next year, was in good health, lucid and vivacious. She first of all professed her love for and devotion to the Holy Father. She prays much for him and for the Church as a whole."

With reference to the third part of the secret of Fatima, she affirmed that she had attentively read and meditated upon the booklet published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and confirmed everything that was written there. To whoever imagines that some part of the secret has been hidden, she replied: "Everything has been published; no secret remains." To those who speak and write of new revelations she said: "There is no truth in this. If I had received new revelations I would have told no-one, but I would have communicated them directly to the Holy Father."

Sister Lucy was asked: "What do you say to the persistent affirmations of Fr. Gruner who is gathering signatures in order that the Pope may finally consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which has never been done?". She replied: "The Carmelite Community has rejected the forms for gathering the signatures. I have already said that the consecration that Our Lady desired was accomplished in 1984 and was accepted in heaven."

"Is it true," the communique concludes, "that Sister Lucy is extremely worried by recent events and does not sleep but prays night and day?". Sister Lucy replied: "It is not true. How could I pray during the day if I did not rest at night? How many things are attributed to me! How many things I am supposed to have done! Let them read my book, there are the advice and appeals that correspond to Our Lady's wishes. Prayer and penitence, accompanied by an immense faith in God, will save the world."

Church warns against supporting Gruner's various ministries

VATICAN CITY, SEP 13, 2001 (VIS) - The following declaration was released yesterday afternoon by the Congregation for the Clergy. It was signed by Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, congregation prefect, and by Archbishop Csaba Ternyak, secretary.

"The Holy See has received several news reports concerning the so-called Conference for Peace in the World, which is being planned for Rome for October 7 to 13 and which has been organized by Fr. Nicholas Gruner of Canada.

"The Congregation for the Clergy, upon the mandate from a higher authority, wishes to state that Rev. Nicholas Gruner is under an 'a divinis' suspension, which has been confirmed by a definitive sentence of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature.

"The activities of Fr. Gruner, therefore, including the above-mentioned conference, do not have the approval of legitimate ecclesiastical authorities." CPC/DECLARATION/CASTRILLON HOYOS VIS 20010913 (140)