Pope John XXIII
The Conclave of 1958 lasted four days and 11 ballots before the election of Angelo Roncalli, Patriarch of Venice, was elected as a compromise candidate. No one was more surprised than the 77 year old Roncalli at his election. He had purchased a round trip ticket and hoped that the Conclave would be a short one so that he could get home quickly. He decided to reign as Pope John XXIII.
Roncalli was born in 1881 to a family of peasants, the fourth child and first son, in a family that would grow to 13 kids. He was ordained a priest in 1904. In 1905 he became secretary to the Bishop of Bergamo, working in that capacity until 1915 while lecturing at the local seminary. He served in the Italian Army during World War I as a sergeant, assigned as a stretcher bearer and a chaplain. Of his experiences during the War he wrote: “I thank God that I served as a sergeant and army chaplain in the First World War. How much I learned about the human heart during this time, how much experience I gained, what grace I received.”
After the War he was appointed spiritual director of the seminary in Bergamo. In 1921 Pope Benedict named him the director of the Italian society for the propagation of the faith. In 1925 Pope Pius XI made him Apostolic Visitor for Bulgaria where he served for a decade. His perpetual sunny demeanor behind which a very shrewd mind lurked made him a natural diplomat. In 1935 he was made Apostolic Delegate to Greece and Turkey. During the war he saved thousands of lives of those, especially Jews, under threat from the Nazis. One of his tactics was to issue “baptismal certificates of convenience” to priests to fill out to falsely assert that Jews were actually baptized Catholics. When he was praised for his activity after the War he said that all praise should be directed towards Pope Pius XII who made it clear that the lives of innocents suffering persecution were to be saved. For his activities alone during the War I think the canonization of Roncalli today is fully justified.
In 1953 the Pope made him cardinal and Patriarch of Venice. No doubt at his age Cardinal Roncalli assumed that he had reached the pinnacle of his career and only retirement awaited. Continue reading
SACERDOTII NOSTRI PRIMORDIA
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE JOHN XXIII ON ST. JOHN VIANNEY
AUGUST 1, 1959
To Our Venerable Brethren, the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, and other Local Ordinaries in Peace and Communion with the Apostolic See.
Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.
When We think of the first days of Our priesthood, which were so full of joyous consolations, We are reminded of one event that moved Us to the very depths of Our soul: the sacred ceremonies that were carried out so majestically in the Basilica of St. Peter’s on January 8, 1905, when John Mary Baptist Vianney, a very humble French priest, was enrolled in the lists of the Blessed in Heaven. Our own ordination to the priesthood had taken place a few short months before, and it filled Us with wonder to see the delight of Our predecessor of happy memory, St. Pius X (who had once been the parish priest of the town of Salzano), as he offered this wonderful model of priestly virtues to all those entrusted with the care of souls, for their imitation. Now as We look back over the span of so many years, We never stop giving thanks to Our Redeemer for this wonderful blessing, which marked the beginning of Our priestly ministry and served as an effective heavenly incentive to virtue.
2. It is all the easier to remember, because on the very same day on which the honors of the Blessed were attributed to this holy man, word reached Us of the elevation of that wonderful prelate, Giacomo M. Radini-Tedeschi, to the dignity of Bishop; a few days later, he was to call Us to assist him in his work, and We found him a most loving teacher and guide. It was in his company that, early in 1905, We made Our first pious pilgrimage to the tiny village called Ars, that had become so famous because of the holiness of its Cure. Continue reading
Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Today is the Feast Day of Saint Joseph the Worker and Victims of Communism Day. Pius XII instituted the feast in 1955. In 1949 he issued the Decree Against Communism which excommunicated all Catholics collaborating with Communist organizations. Continue reading
Edward Cardinal Mooney added a bit of tragic drama to the Conclave of 1958. Born in 1882 in Mount Savage, Maryland, the seventh child in his family, he moved with them to Youngstown, Ohio at the age of 5. His father was a tube mill worker and died in the early 1890’s. His mother opened a small baking shop to support the family, and George and his brothers and sisters delivered the goods to customers. He began his studies for the priesthood at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore and concluded them at the North American pontifical college. Ordained in 1909, he taught dogmatic theology at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Cleveland until 1916. He was the founding principal of the Cathedral Latin School in Cleveland from 1916-1922.
Made the spiritual director of the North American Pontifical College in Rome in 1923, he received the unique assignment of being the Apostolic Delegate to India and made a Titular Archbishop. In India he helped found 15 missions and three parishes. In 1931 he was made Apostolic Delegate to Japan. In 1933 he was made fourth Bishop of Rochester with the personal title of Archbishop. In 1937 he was named the first Archbishop of Detroit, receiving a Cardinal’s cap from Pope Pius XII in 1946.
Like most Catholic clergy of his generation, he was very pro-labor unions which stood him in good stead in the heavily unionized Detroit. He immediately clashed heads with Father Charles Coughlin, the fiery controversial radio priest who operated from Royal Oak, Michigan. The clashes continued until Father Coughlin agreed to end his radio program in 1942.
During World War II he was a strong supporter of the war effort viewing Nazi Germany as a mortal adversary of Christianity.
At the Conclave of 1958 he had a massive heart attack in Rome and died at age 70 just three hours before the Conclave began. The more deranged sedevacantists claim that Mooney was murdered to help deny Cardinal Siri the papal throne, which is pure, unadulterated one hundred percent bunk. Continue reading
There are some whom denigrate soldiers and policemen and the plan God has for them in Salvation. I disagree completely and there are many examples of saints and popes who have honored the soldier and policeman in defense of justice and peace.
“The great French Lacordaire once said the vocation of a soldier is next in dignity to the priesthood, not only because it commissioned him to defend justice on the field of battle and order on the field of peace, but also because it called him to the spirit and intention of sacrifice.”
The so-called American conservative movement is not conservative in the sense that many of its proponents would suggest. In reality, American conservatism, in many ways seeks to preserve and reassert classical liberalism. In fact, the entirety of the American political spectrum is liberal in different ways and varying degrees—but it is unmistakably and manifestly liberal.
This should come as no surprise since many of the Founding Fathers were men of the Enlightenment and there is no more obvious case than that of Thomas Jefferson, the author of that quintessential Enlightenment masterpiece The Declaration of Independence. The philosophical paradigm by 1776 had already shifted—anthropology was evolving toward an increasingly false view of man and the natural law (because the philosophical concept of “nature” was changing) was something different than that articulated by classical philosophers, which had been incorporated into the Christian tradition.
The American legal tradition seeking to adhere to the letter of the social contract, i.e. The Constitution of the United States of America, seems to have individual liberty at issue in every question of law. This, to be sure, is not something to be regarded as a problem in and of itself, insofar as the operative definition of liberty is not philosophically false and the norms of justice, in the classical sense, are not contradicted.
To the learned mind, it is patently clear that the predominant philosophical paradigm, anthropological assumptions on human nature, concept of the nation-state, view of society, of freedom, of responsibility, and so forth found in the Western world is undoubtedly borne of Enlightenment thinking. The United States is most certainly no exception. In America, across the political spectrum, there is a dubious philosophical premise, that of an abstract ideal of autonomy, which, no matter how admirable or attractive it may seem, is radically incomplete. Indeed, man does possess a free will, but the form of freedom requires content. Continue reading
In the closing days of December 2009, Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree of “heroic virtues” of Pope Pius XII, which places him on the path to sainthood. This decision has caused a worldwide uproar among Jews, dissident Catholics, and others who believe that Pius was silent, or worse yet, complicit, in the Holocaust.
In the first two decades following World War II, there was certainly no public perception, among Jews, Catholics, or anyone else that Pius had been silent to a fault during the Holocaust, much less that he was “Hitler’s Pope.” Prominent Jewish leaders such as the first Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, as well as Chief Rabbi Isaac Herzog of Palestine praised Pius. TIME Magazine reported in 1953 that Pius was “to Romans and to much of the world, something of a living and familiar saint.” It was widely known that Pius XII, to a greater extent than many secular heads of state, opposed the designs of the Third Reich. When Pius was able to speak to the world, as he did on Christmas in 1942, there was no question as to where he stood on the tragedies unfolding worldwide.
The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism Because The Pope of Christian Unity (Pope Benedict XVI) Is Gathering the Scattered Flocks Left Behind by Those Who Thought They Knew Better Than The Church
The Catholic Church has always had a bull’s-eye attached to it, and in truth many of us wouldn’t want it any other way, for when we are almost universally loved, as has happened a few times in the last 40 years we have become “of the world,” instead of suffering for the world.” Lately, during the pontificates of Pope John Paul II and now Pope Benedict XVI dark forces have gathered at the gates of truth attacking the Church for a variety of long held beliefs. These beliefs can range from the theological to the social. However, following the US Election of 2008 a tidal wave seems to have inundated the Church from the mainstream media, the political realm and even the entertainment world. The Church’s 2,000 year old teachings and beliefs have been attacked in the United States and Western Europe from elected officials, the mainstream media and well known entertainment celebrities. Some of the faithful have become discouraged and questioned me as to how the thesis of my book, The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism, could possibly be true in light of this news.
The truth of the matter is that against this troubling backdrop the Church continues to grow around the world, especially in African and Asia but even in North America, where much of the onslaught against the Church has emanated. Seminaries and Mother Houses often have no room for those pursuing a vocation and those young African and Asian men and women are often sent to the US or Europe to explore their vocation. Even in the US and pockets of Europe seminaries are experiencing a mini boom. One seminary rector told me that in the 40+ plus years of being affiliated with the Church, he has never seen a longer sustained period of top notch orthodox minded young men coming in and being ordained as he has seen in the last 10 years. Perhaps this is why the powers that be are so angry.
It seemed the US midterm Election of 2006 emboldened the cause of those militant liberals and secularists who have contempt for much of what orthodox minded Catholicism holds dear. Following the results of the Election of 2008, many pundits proclaimed the results as a sea change for America. Agnostics and atheists gleefully announced that a world where religion and especially conservative or orthodox minded Catholicism held sway was being replaced by a humanist brand of religion where age old teachings were replaced by the ideas of “enlightened” religious leaders, agnostic thinkers, and pop culture celebrities. It seemed this new brand of liberal thinker was less idealistic than their 1960s peers and displayed an anger and hostility that was a far cry from the utopian idealism displayed some 40 years ago. Yet, beneath the surface and below the radar screens of many news organizations, lies the hope of the Catholic faithful who hold on to the ideas imparted by Christ, His Apostles, Popes, Bishops, Priests, Women Religious, Saints and holy laymen and laywomen throughout the centuries. Continue reading
[Updates at the bottom of this posting.]
The much anticipated new encyclical that Pope Benedict XVI recently signed, his third, on June 29th titled Caritas in Veritate, or Charity in Truth, will be released soon by Ignatius Press (the English version) on July 6th or 7th of 2009 A.D. In searching for information regarding this encyclical I found bits and pieces here and there but nothing exhaustive or concise that came close to satisfying my curiosity. So I’ve gathered all of my information and have presented it the best way possible in this posting. With tongue in cheek I labeled this preview of Caritas in Veritate as an ‘Exclusive Sneak Peek’*.
Caritas in Veritate will be a social encyclical examining some of the social changes that have occurred since Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Populorum Progressio, particularly globalization. The encyclical will have Pope Benedict XVI articulating the need to bolster humanism that brings together the social and economic development of humans and to reduce the disproportionate gap between poor and rich. One other major theme of this encyclical will be that of global justice.
On January 25, 1959, Pope John XXIII announced his intention to call a Church Council. This is a good time to consider the results of Vatican II.