Friday, February 08, 2008

Third encyclical from Pope in March?

Cathcon translation of Päpstliche Sozialenzyklika bereits im März?

The teaching letter deals with the Catholic social teaching in the age of globalization.

The third encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI will according to the Catholic daily "La Croix" appear in March and deal with the Catholic social teaching in the age of globalization.

From the Vatican, there is as yet no official response so far. Vatican sources, however, confirmed months ago that the Pope plans a document on social teaching. The last major papal letter on this subject came from Pope John Paul II, "Centesimus Annus" which concerned itself with Marxism and capitalism

Of your charity, pray for the repose of the soul


of tbe Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta

Good Friday intercessions - a long history


The events of the 20th Century contributed significantly to the new development

The Good Friday intercessions for the conversion of Jews found originally in the Sacramentarium Gregorianum (cf. K. Gamber, Sacramentarium Gregorianum I- The Stational Mass Book of Pope Gregory, Regensburg 1966, Form 65, pp 61-64), probably being written in 592, was, in the formulation of 1962, the reason for many to adopt a critical attitude when the Motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum" was published on 7 July 2007 regulating the use of the Roman Missal of Blessed John XXIII. Thus, the Chief Rabbis of the Sephardic and Ashkenazi communities in Jerusalem expressed their concerns in a letter to the Pope and asked for a reformulation of the Good Friday intercession.

This was not the first time that this request had attracted the spotlight of attention. The wording before the renewal of John XXIII had, after the historic events of the 20th Century and the horrors perpetrated against the Jewish people, given cause for concern.

The beginning of the original text was: "Oremus et pro perfidis Judaeis - Let us also pray for the perfidious Jews." Pope John XXIII removed from the Good Friday liturgy of 1959 the adjective "perfidi - faithless" and prescribed this in 1960 for the whole church. This innovation was then taken up when he reformed the Roman Missal.

The history of the issue of the adjective "perfidus" for the people of the Jews, however, goes further back, and is closely related to the theme of the relationship of the Catholic Church to the plague of anti-Semitism. In the year 2004, the church historian, based in Munster, Hubert Wolf wrote an article in the "Historische Zeitschrift Heft (279 / 3, 2004) with the title:" 'Pro perfidis Judaeis'. The "Amici Israel" and their request for a reform of the Good Friday intercession for the Jews (1928) or remarks about Catholic Church and anti-Semitism ".

The partial opening of the Vatican archives in February 2003 for the pontificate of Pius XI first allowed Wolf insight into the "ambivalent attitude of the Church to the "Amici Israel"

The "Friends of Israel" (Amici Israel) was a group of 3000 priests and 328 Bishops, Archbishops and Cardinals, among them Archbishop of Munich, Michael von Faulhaber. These joined together in 1926 in Rome. Among one of the main initiators was Sophie Franziska van Leer, a Jewish convert to Christianity who had close contact to Faulhaber.

The aim of the association was to promote the reconciliation of Jews and Christians, and in particular with Catholics. At a time when anti-Semitism in Europe was a very serious problem, the intention of these high dignitaries, priests and nuns was to stress the friendship with the people of the Old Covenant. Christians should learn to understand that the Old and the New Testament stand together, and that the Jewish roots of Christianity should not be neglected.

Until the early opening of the Vatican archives 2003, little was known of this priestly association. Wolf found in the files of the Congregation for the Faith, the successor of the Roman Inquisition and Index Congregation, a fascicle about the "Amici Israel", particularly on its demand that the Good Friday intercession regarding the Jews in principle be reformed. This request caused, says Wolf, great excitement in Rome in 1928.

Pope Pius XI forwarded the concern of the "Amici Israel" to the Congregation of Rites, who were competent for the matter . One of the experts, Abbot of the Monastery of St. Paul's Outside the Walls and later Archbishop and Cardinal of Milan, Blessed Ildefonso Schuster, presented findings that the request was justified. The word "perfidus" that theologically means a lack of faith or eclipse of faith, had, according to Schuster, lost this meaning in the modern use of language- "perfidious" would only be understood in the conventional contemporary sense. The future Beatus supported a deletion of the "perfidus". The Congregation of Rites welcomed the decision and called for the reform.

The "Holy Office" considered the dogmatic aspect of the investigation. The theologian of the Pontifical Court, Marco Sales OP thought that an amendment would be of no benefit. He stressed that the liturgy is so old, that it should not be changed. In addition, the association "Amici Israel" was of a private nature.

The decision of the Secretary of the Holy Office, Cardinal Merry del Val, Secretary of State to Pope St. Pius X, turned out harder. There was an anti-Semitism, which was to be condemned, said the cardinal. But what the "Amici Israel" wanted, was no longer the conversion of the Jews, but only their transition from the realm of the Father to the kingdom of the Son. The request was, in any case, refused. The liturgy of Holy Week goes back to a "respectable days of old" and this excludes any reformability. The word "perfidus" in the ancient rite bring expressed "the detestation of the rebellion and treason" of the chosen people. Thus, the Holy Office stated that "Nihil esse innovandum - nothing is to be modified".

Pope Pius XI endorsed the decision of the Holy Office and strengthened the decision also by numerous clarifications. The proposers of the "Amici Israel" were obliged to reject their goal and the association was dissolved. The decree of dissolution was written by Pius XI and contained a sharp condemnation of racially motivated anti-Semitism. The church will always and everywhere protest against the persecution of the Jews protest.

The Long and Boring Goodbye

Archbishop Marini on the liturgy wars :

"Alas, even as a tale of Vatican intrigue, 'A Challenging Reform' is dull, duller, dullest. The excruciating detail of who-went-to-what-meeting is one problem. Another, and worse, is that Marini's characters are cartoons: good reformers, wicked reactionaries, all seemingly devoid of ideas and arguments. Not only does Marini fail to give an account of the so-called reactionaries' ideas; he doesn't explore the ideas and personalities of the reformers, the party in which he was then a junior subaltern."

Requiem for Cardinal Stickler


Goodnight Canterbury

Rowan Williams' authority is in tatters

National dress instead of priestly vestments


For Mass on National Day in Vietnam.

The Parochial Life of the Parisians


The Church of St Merri, and its congregation of cardboard cut-outs, who have some strange messaging system consisting of brightly coloured pieces of paper.

And we are, oh, so so, radical. Principal altar a table facing at right angles to the nave.