Saturday, May 14, 2011

Updates on Instruction on the Application of Summorum Pontificum- a small commentary

These will be posted on the original post- news stories, comments and analysis from various sources.

Catholic Church Conservation: Instruction on the Application of Summorum Pontificum- a small commentary

Church takes action against mafia

AFP: Kirche von Neapel verweigert Mafiosi Sakramente

Church of Naples denies mafiosi sacraments
Rome - The Catholic Church in the region of Naples will in the future deny sacraments to mafiosi. For unrepentant members of organized crime, there will be no more church burials, and they will not any more be able even to be godparents and marriage witnesses, said Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe.

It was "inconceivable" that the "anti-Christ" should participate in organised Christianity, he said in the statement. A dead Mafiosi will be directly buried at the cemetery, the church being barred to him. If a Mafia member, however, shows repentance, this will not be the position. The cardinal said this the day before the new regulations were to be published and welcomed the blow the church has dealt to the Camorra.

Instruction on the Application of Summorum Pontificum- a small commentary

INSTRUCTION on the application of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI given Motu Proprio
1. The Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of the Sovereign Pontiff Benedict XVI given Motu Proprio on 7 July 2007, which came into effect on 14 September 2007, has made the richness of the Roman Liturgy more accessible to the Universal Church.

2. With this Motu Proprio, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI promulgated a universal law for the Church, intended to establish new regulations for the use of the Roman Liturgy in effect in 1962.

Universal law- stresses bishops cannot claim exemption.

3. The Holy Father, having recalled the concern of the Sovereign Pontiffs in caring for the Sacred Liturgy and in their recognition of liturgical books, reaffirms the traditional principle, recognised from time immemorial and necessary to be maintained into the future, that "each particular Church must be in accord with the universal Church not only regarding the doctrine of the faith and sacramental signs, but also as to the usages universally handed down by apostolic and unbroken tradition. These are to be maintained not only so that errors may be avoided, but also so that the faith may be passed on in its integrity, since the Church's rule of prayer (lex orandi) corresponds to her rule of belief (lex credendi)."1

In theory, the Catholic Church adopts the liturgy of the Bishop of Rome- which after the Council has been a rather exclusive concept- and many don’t consider this important given the increased jurisdiction given at the Council to local bishops in matters liturgical.

4. The Holy Father recalls also those Roman Pontiffs who, in a particular way, were notable in this task, specifically Saint Gregory the Great and Saint Pius V. The Holy Father stresses moreover that, among the sacred liturgical books, the Missale Romanum has enjoyed a particular prominence in history, and was kept up to date throughout the centuries until the time of Blessed Pope John XXIII. Subsequently in 1970, following the liturgical reform after the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI approved for the Church of the Latin rite a new Missal, which was then translated into various languages. In the year 2000, Pope John Paul II promulgated the third edition of this Missal.

The implication here is that the Pope also wishes the Missale Romanum of 1962 to be also updated- the benefits of this idea depend on who is doing the updating and in which way.  The changes to the Missale Romanum over the years were nothing compared to the radical changes required by the Novus Ordo.

In my view, it is difficult to describe Novus Ordo Masses as part of a Rite, as there is so much diversity of form and content.    The attempt is made to say that there is one Rite in two forms.   The reality is that the Novus Ordo has many forms.  There is, of course, the amusing idea that the Latin Mass is the extraordinary form, given the venerable place that it occupies in Catholic life through the centuries and the Novus Ordo is the ordinary form, given the many extraordinary forms in which it is found.

5. Many of the faithful, formed in the spirit of the liturgical forms prior to the Second Vatican Council, expressed a lively desire to maintain the ancient tradition. For this reason, Pope John Paul II with a special Indult Quattuor abhinc annos issued in 1984 by the Congregation for Divine Worship, granted the faculty under certain conditions to restore the use of the Missal promulgated by Blessed Pope John XXIII. Subsequently, Pope John Paul II, with the Motu Proprio Ecclesia Dei of 1988, exhorted the Bishops to be generous in granting such a faculty for all the faithful who requested it. Pope Benedict continues this policy with the Motu ProprioSummorum Pontificum regarding certain essential criteria for the Usus Antiquior of the Roman Rite, which are recalled here.

The opening sentence is moving away from the idea that provisions for the Latin Mass are just for those who were formed spiritually prior to the Council-an excuse often made by uncooperative bishops and who have been anything but generous.   The formation referred to here has not necessarily taken place prior to the Council. 

It is, however, inconsistent with the idea that the Motu Proprio was issued for the benefit of the whole church.

6. The Roman Missal promulgated by Pope Paul VI and the last edition prepared under Pope John XXIII, are two forms of the Roman Liturgy, defined respectively as ordinaria and extraordinaria: they are two usages of the one Roman Rite, one alongside the other. Both are the expression of the same lex orandi of the Church. On account of its venerable and ancient use, the forma extraordinaria is to be maintained with appropriate honor.

This reminds me of the Anglican notice in Westminster Abbey saying that the tomb of St Edward the Confessor has ever been held in honour in that place.  Not by Anglicans- Catholics with long memories know all to well that there was a deliberate attempt to suppress the Latin Mass in the years after the Council.

7. The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum was accompanied by a letter from the Holy Father to Bishops, with the same date as the Motu Proprio (7 July 2007). This letter gave further explanations regarding the appropriateness and the need for the Motu Proprio; it was a matter of overcoming a lacuna by providing new norms for the use of the Roman Liturgy of 1962. Such norms were needed particularly on account of the fact that, when the new Missal had been introduced under Pope Paul VI, it had not seemed necessary to issue guidelines regulating the use of the 1962 Liturgy. By reason of the increase in the number of those asking to be able to use the forma extraordinaria, it has become necessary to provide certain norms in this area.
Among the statements of the Holy Father was the following: "There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the Liturgy growth and progress are found, but not a rupture. What was sacred for prior generations, remains sacred and great for us as well, and cannot be suddenly prohibited altogether or even judged harmful."2

Maybe not contradictions as such, but inconsistencies of form, content and intent, giving rise to the idea that some celebrations of the Novus Ordo are putatively invalid and some are certainly invalid. 

8. The Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum constitutes an important expression of the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff and of his munus of regulating and ordering the Church’s Sacred Liturgy.3 The Motu Proprio manifests his solicitude as Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church,4 and has the aim of:

a.) offering to all the faithful the Roman Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, considered as a precious treasure to be preserved;

There is a danger in this phraseology that the Latin Mass becomes something for the liturgical museum, visited from time to time by a few specialists.

b.) effectively guaranteeing and ensuring the use of the forma extraordinaria for all who ask for it, given that the use of the 1962 Roman Liturgy is a faculty generously granted for the good of the faithful and therefore is to be interpreted in a sense favourable to the faithful who are its principal addressees;

Bishops take note- don’t loose sight of the good of the faithful.

c.) promoting reconciliation at the heart of the Church.

Reference here to the possibility of reconciling the Society of St Pius X, inter-alia.  As much as the Extraordinary Form flourishes within the Church, so the influence and importance of the Society decreases.

The Responsibilities
of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
9. The Sovereign Pontiff has conferred upon the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei ordinary vicarious power for the matters within its competence, in a particular way for monitoring the observance and application of the provisions of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (cf. art. 12).

Vicarious- means that they are representing the Pope.  They are to be his eyes and ears!

10. § 1. The Pontifical Commission exercises this power, beyond the faculties previously granted by Pope John Paul II and confirmed by Pope Benedict XVI (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, artt. 11-12), also by means of the power to decide upon recourses legitimately sent to it, as hierarchical Superior, against any possible singular administrative provision of an Ordinary which appears to be contrary to the Motu Proprio.

This means that they can over-rule individual bishops in specific cases but a potential loop-hole depending on whether a general ruling can be interpreted as a singular administrative provision.

§ 2. The decrees by which the Pontifical Commission decides recourses may be challenged ad normam iuris before the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.
11. After having received the approval from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will have the task of looking after future editions of liturgical texts pertaining to the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.

Given Cardinal Burke is the prefect probably a waste of time and trouble for Bishops to appeal.  Let us hope so- although perhaps the tribunal members are on a roster and the Prefect has no influence.

Announcing that there will be a new book to supersede the 1962 edition- see comment above.

Specific Norms
12. Following upon the inquiry made among the Bishops of the world, and with the desire to guarantee the proper interpretation and the correct application of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, this Pontifical Commission, by virtue of the authority granted to it and the faculties which it enjoys, issues this Instruction according to can. 34 of the Code of Canon Law.

It will be interesting to see how national Bishops’ Conferences interpret this document who were given powers over the liturgy by the Council.    Doubtless there will be clerics even as I write looking for loopholes.  Hopefully the Pope won’t have to issue another document on the intrepretation of the interpretation of the Motu Proprio! It will probably be between them and Rome that the battles will be fought.  An individual bishop will not have enough power to overcome decisions taken in Rome.

The Competence of Diocesan Bishops
13. Diocesan Bishops, according to Canon Law, are to monitor liturgical matters in order to guarantee the common good and to ensure that everything is proceeding in peace and serenity in their Dioceses5, always in agreement with the mens of the Holy Father clearly expressed by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.6 In cases of controversy or well-founded doubt about the celebration in the forma extraordinaria, the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will adjudicate.

The intention of the legislator is crucial in canon law and the intention of the Pope in this document cannot be clearer.

14. It is the task of the Diocesan Bishop to undertake all necessary measures to ensure respect for the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite, according to the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Many Diocesan Bishops will have to start by disciplining themselves into respect for the Motu Proprio.

The coetus fidelium (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 5 § 1)
15. A coetus fidelium ("group of the faithful") can be said to be stabiliter existens ("existing in a stable manner"), according to the sense of art. 5 § 1 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, when it is constituted by some people of an individual parish who, even after the publication of the Motu Proprio, come together by reason of their veneration for the Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, and who ask that it might be celebrated in the parish church or in an oratory or chapel; such a coetus ("group") can also be composed of persons coming from different parishes or dioceses, who gather together in a specific parish church or in an oratory or chapel for this purpose.

No numbers, stability is the only criterion.   There was even one German bishop who wanted to collect details of the faithful from their identity cards and do a head count.

16. In the case of a priest who presents himself occasionally in a parish church or an oratory with some faithful, and wishes to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria, as foreseen by articles 2 and 4 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the pastor or rector of the church, or the priest responsible, is to permit such a celebration, while respecting the schedule of liturgical celebrations in that same church.

No more begging for the celebration of the Latin Mass, wandering from parish to parish.

17. § 1. In deciding individual cases, the pastor or the rector, or the priest responsible for a church, is to be guided by his own prudence, motivated by pastoral zeal and a spirit of generous welcome.

This will be a new experience for some

§ 2. In cases of groups which are quite small, they may approach the Ordinary of the place to identify a church in which these faithful may be able to come together for such celebrations, in order to ensure easier participation and a more worthy celebration of the Holy Mass.

Given the prevalence of church closures, this should not be too difficult.  The preference of some bishops for closing churches rather than making them available for the Latin Mass does have to come to an end.

18. Even in sanctuaries and places of pilgrimage the possibility to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria is to be offered to groups of pilgrims who request it (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 5 § 3), if there is a qualified priest.

Well remember having to creep around in the dead of the morning to attend a Latin Mass during a Knights of Malta pilgrimage to Lourdes, as no permission was asked as it would not have been given.

19. The faithful who ask for the celebration of the forma extraordinaria must not in any way support or belong to groups which show themselves to be against the validity or legitimacy of the Holy Mass or the Sacraments celebrated in the forma ordinaria or against the Roman Pontiff as Supreme Pastor of the Universal Church.
Sacerdos idoneus ("Qualified Priest") (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art 5 § 4)

Note the Society of St Pius X neither denies the validity of the new Mass nor the role of the Pope as Supreme Pastor- hopefully the clause will not be used against them.

20. With respect to the question of the necessary requirements for a priest to be held idoneus ("qualified") to celebrate in the forma extraordinaria, the following is hereby stated:

a.) Every Catholic priest who is not impeded by Canon Law7 is to be considered idoneus ("qualified") for the celebration of the Holy Mass in the forma extraordinaria.

b.) Regarding the use of the Latin language, a basic knowledge is necessary, allowing the priest to pronounce the words correctly and understand their meaning.

c.) Regarding knowledge of the execution of the Rite, priests are presumed to be qualified who present themselves spontaneously to celebrate the forma extraordinaria, and have celebrated it previously.

This attempts to remove the excuse of Bishops that clergy need more training to say the Latin Mass.   Terrible to think of priests that know no Latin- but by the time of the Council, even the Bishops were loosing their grasp of Latin.   How many of the treasures of the Catholic Church remain obscure without Latin!?

21. Ordinaries are asked to offer their clergy the possibility of acquiring adequate preparation for celebrations in the forma extraordinaria. This applies also to Seminaries, where future priests should be given proper formation, including study of Latin8 and, where pastoral needs suggest it, the opportunity to learn the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite.

This will, over time increase the numbers of priests sympathetic to the Latin Mass and reduce those who are very much opposed.   Although, the phrase where pastoral needs suggest it is already being used as a get out by the Archbishop of Westminster.      And the German Bishops' Conference responds in their usual style.    The French Bishops' Conference have not issued any statement- it will be interesting to see if they do on Monday-  this is after all the weekend.

22. In Dioceses without qualified priests, Diocesan Bishops can request assistance from priests of the Institutes erected by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei,either to the celebrate the forma extraordinaria or to teach others how to celebrate it.

In theory, relatively few dioceses will be without qualified priests given the above requirements, but an excellent opportunity for the Institutes. 

23. The faculty to celebrate sine populo (or with the participation of only one minister) in the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite is given by the Motu Proprio to all priests, whether secular or religious (cf. Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, art. 2). For such celebrations therefore, priests, by provision of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, do not require any special permission from their Ordinaries or superiors.

Makes life much easier for monks and individual secular priests

Liturgical and Ecclesiastical Discipline

24. The liturgical books of the forma extraordinaria are to be used as they are. All those who wish to celebrate according to the forma extraordinaria of the Roman Rite must know the pertinent rubrics and are obliged to follow them correctly.

There is nothing worse than to introduce novelties by ignoring rubrics.  Happens all the time with the Novus Ordo, given the diminishing of the number of rubrics and their authority.

25. New saints and certain of the new prefaces can and ought to be inserted into the 1962 Missal9, according to provisions which will be indicated subsequently.

The Missal is to be revised to allow for the insertion of new saints into the 1962 Missal. 

The Pope has often commented on the paucity of the prefaces in the 1962 book- something he must have clearly felt since he first said Mass.   I think, from memory, he wants to use some of the new prefaces in translation.

There is no reference to using the new lectionary or to making a new revision of the lectionary for the revision. The Novus Ordo lectionary on a three year cycle (using the variant accounts in the Gospels) has much more substance that the 1962 on a one year cycle albeit containing the whole of salvation history, but it does have the appalling habit of just taking out sections and also challenging verses. Trying to add the new lectionary onto Latin Missal would rightly cause uproar.

26. As foreseen by article 6 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, the readings of the Holy Mass of the Missal of 1962 can be proclaimed either solely in the Latin language, or in Latin followed by the vernacular or, in Low Masses, solely in the vernacular.

Given the variability of the quality of the translations in hand Missals, it is surely preferable for the Latin to be always used.   There is an argument that the Latin readings are actually part of the Rite.

27. With regard to the disciplinary norms connected to celebration, the ecclesiastical discipline contained in the Code of Canon Law of 1983 applies.

28. Furthermore, by virtue of its character of special law, within its own area, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum derogates from those provisions of law, connected with the sacred Rites, promulgated from 1962 onwards and incompatible with the rubrics of the liturgical books in effect in 1962.

Prevents Bishops from introducing innovations into the use of the 1962 Missal by the back-door.

Confirmation and Holy Orders

29. Permission to use the older formula for the rite of Confirmation was confirmed by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (cf. art. 9 § 2). Therefore, in the forma extraordinaria, it is not necessary to use the newer formula of Pope Paul VI as found in the Ordo Confirmationis.

This strengthens the sense of solidarity of groups attached to the Latin Mass, if use of the older formula is possible for confirmations.

30. As regards tonsure, minor orders and the subdiaconate, the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum does not introduce any change in the discipline of the Code of Canon Law of 1983; consequently, in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life which are under the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, one who has made solemn profession or who has been definitively incorporated into a clerical institute of apostolic life, becomes incardinated as a cleric in the institute or society upon ordination to the diaconate, in accordance with canon 266 § 2 of the Code of

Canon Law.

31. Only in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life which are under the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, and in those which use the liturgical books of the forma extraordinaria, is the use of the Pontificale Romanum of 1962 for the conferral of minor and major orders permitted.

This is the only retrograde step in the document, as occasionally Bishops have been using the 1962 books for ordinations- probably an idea emanating from the French Bishops’ Conference.

Breviarium Romanum
32. Art. 9 § 3 of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum gives clerics the faculty to use the Breviarium Romanum in effect in 1962, which is to be prayed entirely and in the Latin language.

So no using a pre-1911 Breviary- yes, Pope St Pius X was a liturgical reformer- of the Breviary.

The Sacred Triduum
33. If there is a qualified priest, a coetus fidelium ("group of faithful"), which follows the older liturgical tradition, can also celebrate the Sacred Triduum in the forma extraordinaria. When there is no church or oratory designated exclusively for such celebrations, the parish priest or Ordinary, in agreement with the qualified priest, should find some arrangement favourable to the good of souls, not excluding the possibility of a repetition of the celebration of the Sacred Triduum in the same church.

The 1956 reform of the Tridium by Annibale Bugnini was the prototype for the later reform of the liturgy, cutting back to four the number of prophecies and rather obscuring the history of salvation.   The original Tridiuum is of a length that the Orthodox would be proud of.

The Rites of Religious Orders
34. The use of the liturgical books proper to the Religious Orders which were in effect in 1962 is permitted.

Excellent- presumably one has to be a member of the appropriate religious order. 

Pontificale Romanum and the Rituale Romanum
35. The use of the Pontificale Romanum, the Rituale Romanum, as well as the Caeremoniale Episcoporum in effect in 1962, is permitted, in keeping with n. 28 of this Instruction, and always respecting n. 31 of the same Instruction.

The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, in an audience granted to the undersigned Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei on 8 April 2011, approved this present Instruction and ordered its publication.

Given at Rome, at the Offices of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, 30 April, 2011, on the memorial of Pope Saint Pius V.

Could not be a better day for a defence of the Latin Mass- although the traditional calendar gives the Feast Day as May 5.
William Cardinal LEVADA
Mons. Guido Pozzo
1 BENEDICTUS XVI, Litterae Apostolicae Summorum Pontificum motu proprio datae, I, AAS 99 (2007) 777; cf. Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, tertia editio 2002, n. 397.
2 BENEDICTUS XVI, Epistola ad Episcopos ad producendas Litteras Apostolicas motu proprio datas, de Usu Liturgiae Romanae Instaurationi anni 1970 praecedentis, AAS 99 (2007) 798.
3 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 838 §1 and §2.
4 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 331.
5 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canons 223 § 2 or 838 §1 and §4.
6 BENEDICTUS XVI, Epistola ad Episcopos ad producendas Litteras Apostolicas motu proprio datas, de Usu Liturgiae Romanae Instaurationi anni 1970 praecedentis, AAS 99 (2007) 799.
7 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 900 § 2.
8 Cf. Code of Canon Law, Canon 249; Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36; Declaration Optatum totius,


Criticism of the provisions came from the leader of "We Are Church," Sigrid Grabmeier: It has become clear that "the Vatican prefers the alliance with the traditionalist to bold progress in the future," she said.


Made the news in Dominica 


New Liturgical Movement- Part I of their commentary

Two Masses for a Single Church  How many years before there is One Mass for One Western Church (excepting of course, various specific Rites)?  It is not going to be the Novus Ordo!

Former head of German Catholic laity gets banned from church premises for supporting abortion


The Bishop of Regensburg Gerhard Ludwig Müller has forbidden the use of church premises for a presentation of the former president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, Professor Hans Maier. Maier was on Monday due to present his memoirs in a diocesan centre. The diocese was not generally opposed to an appearance by Maier said a diocese spokesman. "But this is specifically about the memoirs, in which Maier supports for the pregnancy counselling , which includes the option to kill the child."

The Bavarian Radio had reported that the reason for the cancellation was the involvement of the former Education Minister in the organization 'Donum Vitae'.

On the scandal of earlier episcopal support for Donum Vitae, see this article. The Cardinal Lehmann inheritance.   Link previous down- another description of the scandal.

Maier deplored the cancellation of the invitation. He had presented his memoirs in rooms of the Catholic Academy in Berlin, Cologne and Hamburg. He was 'very surprised' that the Diocese of Regensburg was more 'petty' than other dioceses, he told the radio station. He did not envisage a deeper conflict with Müller.

What a world, when a Catholic diocese is accused by a leading "Catholic" layman of being petty for opposing abortion. Lay participation gone completely wrong- all because no safeguards were maintained after the Council. Such layman have been constantly appeased rather than confronted over decades.

German Catholic Bishops respond to the Instruction

Deutsche Bischofskonferenz: Aktuelle Meldung: 13. 05. 2011 - 13.05.2011: Veröffentlichung der Kommission Ecclesia Dei

Publication from the Ecclesia Dei Commission

Implication is that it is not the express will of the Pope- even though he signed it.

Today the instruction prepared by the Pontifical Commission on the implementation of the Apostolic Letter "Summorum Pontificum" was published. It presents the functions of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei and includes specific standards including the competence of the diocesan bishops, on the necessary conditions for the celebrant of the Extraordinary Rite professor, on liturgical and ecclesiastical discipline, on Confirmation and Holy Orders and on the celebration of the Easter Triduum. The Permanent Council will confer about the instruction at its next meeting in June . On initial screening, it is assumed that the guidelines for the German dioceses adopted by the German Bishops' Conference at the Autumn General Assembly in 2007 will have only to be changed slightly.

In Germany,the liturgy in the extraordinary rite is celebrated in 128 locations at irregular intervals.

These are not parish communities. For comparison: In Germany there are over 11,300 parishes

Many of whom are amalgamated and/ or dying- if current trends of decline which set in after World War 2 continue, there will not be a Catholic Church in Germany in 30 years time)

Amnesty International hits out at Vatican

Amnesty International named the Vatican in its annual report on human rights' concerns for not sufficiently complying with international mandates on protecting children from abuse.

It marked the first time the Vatican was named in the group's Annual Report on the state of human rights around the world. The 2011 Annual Report covered human rights in 157 countries, looking particularly at rights abuses and restrictions and at failures to implement international rights' agreements.

The report, released May 13, said, "The Holy See did not sufficiently comply with its international obligations relating to the protection of children," specifically regarding sex abuse.

Cathcon-Amnesty could not wait to attack the Vatican given the spat between them in 2007, which lost Amnesty quite an amount of funding. Amnesty will also know that the Vatican issues a document on Monday on how to deal with the scandal of sexual abuse.

Big birthday party for Cardinal Lehmann in Mainz

Kardinal Karl Lehmann: Nicht immer ein Mann des Papstes | Echo Online - Nachrichten aus Südhessen

Catholic Church: The Mainz Cardinal Karl Lehmann is seventy five years old - the Diocese will celebrate in style on 22 May

Certainly, Karl Lehmann would know how to use his time differently. The Cardinal would have liked to dedicate his remaining years to theological studies. But the Pope decided otherwise.The Bishop of Mainz who next Monday will be seventy five years old, is required to remain in office. One consolation for Lehmann: The great Diocesan birthday party on 22 May in Mainz Cathedral will not now be a farewell party.

Lehmann, who was for over twenty years Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, has dominated the Catholic Church in Germany in recent decades. His warm manner, treating others as equals, his openness to change and his courage in the repeated struggles with the Vatican to discover the limits of possible reforms have brought him high esteem with many in Catholic circles.

In Rome, however, the bishop of Mainz, who was appointed in 1983, with his moderate liberal, dialogue-oriented ways, has not made friends."Purple makes him uncomfortable," wrote a German newspaper, as Pope John Paul II made Lehmann a Cardinal quite late in the day in 2001.

Whether it was about the ecumenism close to Lehmann’s heart - the association with Protestant Christians - advising pregnant women, the prohibition of contraceptives or the exclusion of divorced and remarried Catholics from the sacraments - Lehmann has not always prevailed.

Originally from Sigmaringen in Baden-Wuerttemberg, the theologian, initially prior to his appointment as bishop, was a full professor dogmatics and ecumenical theology in Mainz, and then later in Freiburg. He is marked by the optimism of the Second Vatican Council (1962 to 1965). The decisions of the meeting convened by Pope John XXIII opened the Catholic Church to modernity.

Central were the cautious steps towards recognition of other religions and liturgical reform. From that time on, it became common for church services to be no longer in Latin, but to be celebrated in the respective national language, and the priest no longer turned his back on the faithful at the Mass , but he faced them. Lehmann witnessed at first hand the council as a consultant at the side of reforming theologian Karl Rahner.

Lehmann's reform hopes have not always met, but he has not given up the readiness to compromise and to balance over the years. "I'm not a guy who throws in the towel quickly," the bishop once said almost 20 years ago. That has not changed, although Lehmann must now preserve his powers. At seventy-five he is finally no longer a young man.

Cathcon- an interview will appear tomorrow about his relationship with Roman authority.