The Vatican has begun its two day mayor conference, where leftist mayors around the world have been invited to attend a stacked conference at the Vatican:
Dozens of environmentally friendly mayors from around the world are meeting at the Vatican Tuesday to bask in the star power of eco-Pope Francis and commit to reducing global warming and helping the urban poor deal with its effects.
It’s the latest — and perhaps most important — Vatican initiative to keep the momentum alive after Francis released his landmark environment encyclical and as governments head into crucial climate negotiations in Paris in December.
Already, the Vatican has engaged Nobel science laureates, global faith leaders, the U.N. leadership, eco-friendly businesses and even the self-described “secular Jewish feminist” and environmental advocate Naomi Klein to promote Francis’ message that caring for the Earth — and humanity — is an urgent moral imperative.
Now, the pope is turning to mayors, some 60 of whom signed up to attend the two-day meeting at the Vatican. Several belong to the new Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance, whose members have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050 or sooner.
Attending is Gov. Jerry Brown of California, which has enacted the toughest greenhouse gas emissions standards in North America, as well as the mayors of New York City, Boston, Oslo, Vancouver and Boulder, Colorado. Continue reading
Faithful readers of this blog will recall the interview that Stefano Gennarini conducted with Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, go here to read all about it. The interview has developed into a larger controversy following a First Things article by Gennarini. Go here to read it. Mahound’s Paradise sets the stage for us:
The President of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS), appointed by Pope Francis in 2014, just publicly dropped the “H” word on a pro-life writer at First Things.
The full saga involves the First Things writer, Stefano Gennarini, the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo and Margaret Archer, the president of PASS. It was in the context of initial criticism by Gennarini of the Vatican working closely with “population control” advocates Ban Ki-moon and Jeffrey Sachs.
Is your sole concern with human dignity confined to the period between conception and live-birth?…If so, this is a travesty of Catholic Social Teaching. [Gennarini of course never says anything of the kind, but this is a standard move.]
Why are you so totally uninterested in vicious practices, such as human trafficking that are an offence to the human dignity and right to life that you purport to defend? [Ditto.]
In the last two weeks of April in question, mass graves were found in Malaysia and Thailand of those killed by their intended traffickers; tens of thousands were set adrift at sea without food or water by those intending to traffic them before they feared for their own lives through the ‘civilized’ solution of a ‘blockade’. Is this of no concern to you? [Ditto again.]
Of course, your comments imply that you are a climate change denier… [Burn him!]
Why do you direct a hate message to Bishop Sánchez Sorondo alone? [There’s that H-bomb.] Various Cardinals were present at different meetings. Instead, blame me, blame PAS. [Well, yeah, but Sorondo is the Chancellor.] We are respected academics who take full responsibility for our actions and have, according to our Statutes, the duty and privilege of advising the Church on matters of Social Doctrine and its application. I am appointed by the Pope and responsible directly to him. I’m afraid that leaves you and your cohort out in the cold. Moreover, we work pro bono and are therefore are (sic) self-supporting, which makes me wonder which lobbyists meet your salary bill? [You dare to disagree with us? Who’s paying you?]
Why are we not allowed to speak to Jeffrey Sachs or the Secretary General of the UN? [It’s a bit more than that.]…Well, that was not the attitude of Pope Francis who invited him to a private Audience, immediately prior to our joint PAS/PASS meeting on 28 April – to discuss climate change and human trafficking. Do you really have a higher moral standard than the Pope? Or is your own minimalistic version of the Creed, consisting of the single item: ‘’We believe in the ethical depravity of abortion’ considered to be an improvement? [Ditto for the third time.]
It seems as if abject poverty, malnutrition, no schooling, and the prospect of no employment are of little concern to you after (children) have been born. [Well, personally, I also deeply care about employment opportunities for the unborn. But that’s just me.]
There have been a number of pre-emptive strikes against Francis and his imminent encyclical. So…
This time, they messed with the wrong woman – Margaret Archer, world-renowned social theorist and president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. In the context of an all-too-typical hit piece from First Things, she issued a defiant response. She asks a sequence of questions, starting with this one:
“Is your sole concern with human dignity confined to the period between conception and live-birth? If so, this is a travesty of Catholic Social Teaching, whose concern is not confined to the newborn but extends to the development of all those potentialities and powers that exist only in potentia at birth (such as walking and talking) that develop or can be irreparably damaged throughout life.”
I’ve had people get mad at me when I’ve pointed out that things like the death penalty gun violence, unjust war, torture, or poverty are prolife issues too. One reader furiously demanded to know why prolife activists were expected to drop everything and go protest some shooting in Detroit that killed a couple of people while a million and a half were dying from abortion, etc. I was, I was told, placing an impossible demand on people with limited resources to do everything and be everywhere.
But that’s not what I’m saying. I get that people have their focuses and can’t be everywhere doing everything. Well and good. If you are devoted to working against abortion full time and can’t fit anything else into your schedule then thank you for your hard work and may God bless and prosper it. You are one of my heroes.
Yet here’s the thing. An awful lot of the “prolife” subculture, protesting that it has no time to expand its energies beyond protesting abortion, *does* have a huge amount of time and energy to work *against* the clear and obvious guidance of the Church on the issues I mention above. Indeed, they often give every indication of having more time and energy for working against the Church on such issues than for actually doing prolife work.
Go here to read the rest.
Father Z brings us the news that some men at the Vatican have apparently lost their marbles:
I have sometimes offered that, were I Pope, I would create two new dicasteries (while axing a bunch of others). Firstly, there would be a Sacred Congregation for the Dusting of the Holy Doors. After all, the major basilicas all have Holy Doors, to be opened in Jubilee years. They get dusty. This would be a great role for prelates from around the world who have proven their worth in their previous posts. Secondly, We would create a Sacred Congregation for Thinking Stuff Through Before Doing It. The brief of this SCTSTBD is pretty straight forward. You will remember the guffaw inducing filmette that the Pontifical Council for Culture put out a while back? That strange video about women? It stirred a lot of controversy. HERE You would have thought that they had learned something from that episode. But no. And now we see this on page of the Pontifical Council for Culture…. (See image at beginning of post) Continue reading
Among the powers that be at the Vatican there are apparently some using gangster tactics. Father Z brings us the news:
Remember the Five Cardinals Book™? Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church helped to turn the tide – in a good way – during last October’s Synod of Bishops. It was simultaneously released in English, Italian, French, German and Spanish. It is going to be issued in: Polish, Portuguese, Hungarian, Croatian, Slovak, and Czech. It contains essays of five cardinals, of the archbishop secretary of the Vatican congregation for the Oriental Churches, and of three scholars direct at the notions suggested by Walter Card. Kasper in the opening discourse of the consistory in February 2014. It blew the Kasper proposals and arguments out of the water.
You will also remember that Synod members were up in arms because of the manipulations and machinations of the staff of the Synod office. Remember all the controversies about whether texts of speeches would be released? About what could be reported? About how the mid-term report was produced? About certain strange paragraphs that didn’t reflect the discussions of the Synod?
Here is something of the story that you don’t know, because at the time it couldn’t be told.
The people who crafted the Five Cardinals Book™ wanted to make sure that Synod members had copies, at least in English or Italian, as the Synod was starting up. Therefore, they sent copies to every member of the Synod (quite a few) through the Italian post to each member’s personal mailbox near the Synod Hall which was set up individually by the Vatican Post. Remember, Vatican Post is the postal service of a sovereign nation that has laws. The Book was sent in individually addressed and franked envelopes. They weren’t just envelopes with someone’s name on them shoved into the slots by whomever. They were properly sent postal items.
When the organizers of the Synod realized what had been sent to the members of the Synod, someone removed all the envelopes from the members’ mail boxes!
That’s called theft. That’s called illegal. They stole people’s mail. Please correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t that a crime in, I think, every country? The Vatican City State… that’s a country… isn’t it.
That’s how frightening the Book is to those who want to overturn the Church’s practice and, therefore, teaching.
The Kathnet piece, by Manfred Ferrari, indicates that the heist was ordered by Card. Baldisseri, who is the head of the office of the Synod of Bishops.
At the end of the piece, Ferrari adds:
“This episode took place in the Vatican and not in the Kremlin. As I told it to a friend who, in those days, traveled back to Africa, he smiled at me mildly and said, “Manfred, what’s bothering you. Here in South Sudan things aren’t any better … “
There were inquiries made about what happened to the Book. Only a few of the Synod participants out of the some 200 received their copies… before they were boosted. The Governor of the Vatican City State would have a legal obligation to look into the situation. No?
I cannot underscore enough how important the Five Cardinals Book™ was during the Synod. It is still important. It is still under attack.
The Five Cardinals Book™ addressed the foundations of the odd proposals made about Communion for the divorced and remarried, and it demolished them. Since then, pretty much everything that has come out in favor of the Kasper proposal has not actually dealt with the arguments in the Book.
Instead, they just repeat the same ol’ same ol’ and then suggest that anyone who doesn’t agree is the enemy of mercy and of Pope Francis. [CUE DIABOLICAL SURPRISE MUSIC HERE] Continue reading
One of the more obvious misinterpretations of the Pope is regarding him as some sort of jolly, smiling pontiff in the model of John XXIII. The reality, as Father Z tells us, is somewhat different:
Pope Francis listed 15 “ailments” of the Vatican Curia during his annual Christmas greetings to the cardinals, bishops, and priests who run the central administration of the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church. Here’s the list.
1) Feeling immortal, immune or indispensable. “A Curia that doesn’t criticize itself, that doesn’t update itself, that doesn’t seek to improve itself is a sick body.”
2) Working too hard. “Rest for those who have done their work is necessary, good and should be taken seriously.”
3) Becoming spiritually and mentally hardened. “It’s dangerous to lose that human sensibility that lets you cry with those who are crying, and celebrate those who are joyful.”
4) Planning too much. “Preparing things well is necessary, but don’t fall into the temptation of trying to close or direct the freedom of the Holy Spirit, which is bigger and more generous than any human plan.”
5) Working without coordination, like an orchestra that produces noise. “When the foot tells the hand, ‘I don’t need you’ or the hand tells the head, ‘I’m in charge.’”
6) Having ‘spiritual Alzheimer’s.’ “We see it in the people who have forgotten their encounter with the Lord … in those who depend completely on their here and now, on their passions, whims and manias, in those who build walls around themselves and become enslaved to the idols that they have built with their own hands.”
7) Being rivals or boastful. “When one’s appearance, the color of one’s vestments or honorific titles become the primary objective of life.”
8) Suffering from ‘existential schizophrenia.’ “It’s the sickness of those who live a double life, fruit of hypocrisy that is typical of mediocre and progressive spiritual emptiness that academic degrees cannot fill. It’s a sickness that often affects those who, abandoning pastoral service, limit themselves to bureaucratic work, losing contact with reality and concrete people.”
9) Committing the ‘terrorism of gossip.’ “It’s the sickness of cowardly people who, not having the courage to speak directly, talk behind people’s backs.”
10) Glorifying one’s bosses. “It’s the sickness of those who court their superiors, hoping for their benevolence. They are victims of careerism and opportunism, they honor people who aren’t God.”
11) Being indifferent to others. “When, out of jealousy or cunning, one finds joy in seeing another fall rather than helping him up and encouraging him.”
12) Having a ‘funereal face.’ “In reality, theatrical severity and sterile pessimism are often symptoms of fear and insecurity. The apostle must be polite, serene, enthusiastic and happy and transmit joy wherever he goes.”
13) Wanting more. “When the apostle tries to fill an existential emptiness in his heart by accumulating material goods, not because he needs them but because he’ll feel more secure.”
14) Forming ‘closed circles’ that seek to be stronger than the whole. “This sickness always starts with good intentions but as time goes by, it enslaves its members by becoming a cancer that threatens the harmony of the body and causes so much bad — scandals — especially to our younger brothers.”
15) Seeking worldly profit and showing off. “It’s the sickness of those who insatiably try to multiply their powers and to do so are capable of calumny, defamation and discrediting others, even in newspapers and magazines, naturally to show themselves as being more capable than others.”
Sort of, “Merry Christmas, you vain, hypocritical, funeral faces!”
Mind you, these are just the bullet points. Every point was explained, with citations, in the address of over 3100 words, which took about 32 minutes. There are 20 footnotes. HERE
The Holy Father then went around the room to greet all the Cardinals present.
Veteran Vatican watcher John Allen reported:
“I have to say, I didn’t feel great walking out of that room today,” one senior Vatican official said, who had been in the Vatican’s Sala Clementina for the speech and who spoke on the condition he not be identified.
“I understand that the pope wants us to live up to our ideals, but you wonder sometimes if he has anything positive to say about us at all,” the official said, who’s been in Vatican service for more than two decades.
For the record, this was an official who describes himself as an “enthusiast” over the direction being set by Pope Francis.
The body language on Monday among the cardinals and archbishops who make up the Vatican’s power structure suggest that reaction wasn’t isolated. There were few smiles as the pope spoke and only mild applause; since Francis delivered the address in Italian, it wasn’t because his audience didn’t understand.
Having watched the video, I too thought that the reception of the speech and, afterward, of the Pope himself as he went around the room, was muted and even tense.
One can only guess what fruits this examination of conscience will produce. Time will tell. Continue reading
Number one. From Radio Vaticana. “The Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, criticizes offers to “heal” homosexuality. There is no official church support for such initiatives, Ackermann said on Wednesday evening in Saarbrücken….Ackermann expressed at the Lesbian and Gay Association (LSVD) Saar organized public discussion, attended by around 100 people took part. The two-hour meeting was the first of its kind in Germany.”
A Bishop saying that the Church does not believe in ‘healing’ those who suffer from an intrinsic disorder which can be so destructive in the lives of people, seems at odds with Catholicism. That is not to say that all methods are created equally and that quackery should not be avoided, but if we love them we must help to heal them.
Number two. As if this wasn’t bad enough, Radio Vaticana in their report on the Bishop’s statement used this picture on the Vatican website..
Yes, this picture on the Vatican website.
The Miracle of Caring and Sharing – Mark Shea, National Catholic Register
Permanent Deacons Taking Role Away From Priests – Father John Zuhlsdorf
Infiltration Evangelization – Giuseppe Ambrose, The Three Bs
Of All the Rutten Ideas (Tim Rutten of the LA Times) – Phil Lawler, CC/OTC
If JP2 Can Be a Saint, Really, Anybody Can – John Norton, Our Sunday Visitor
Getting Off the Misery-Go-Round of Scrupulosity – Trent Beattie, Cthlc Lane
Vatican Surprises Bloggers with Successful Meeting – Father Tim Finigan
On Infertility and Adoption – This Cross I Embrace
Things are Getting Airbrushed – Rich Leonardi, Ten Reasons
Why Religion Matters – Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service
If you liked this roundup of the best posts from around the Catholic blogosphere, visit ThePulp.it for daily updates twice a day.
Wikileaks information has been disclosed by Rome Reports that the U.S. intelligence services were completely caught off guard and surprised at the election of then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
[Found another YouTube video that works]
Updated as of 10:40am Central time, 11-30-2010 AD:
U.S. intelligence was expecting a Latin American as the next pope, and predicted that then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger would have lost in the first round voting.
The rest from Father Zuhlsdorf:
Before the election the staff of the US embassy to the Holy See sent speculations to Washington about the one to be elected.
“The first factor will be age, the cardinals will seek someone who is neither too young nor too old, because they don’t want to have another funeral and conclave quickly” but “they also want to avoid having a long pontificate like that of John Paul II.” Furthermore, “it will be a person in reasonably good health”. Another element will be “linguistic ability” and he will have to know Italian.
Obviously, you read or watch the speech in its entirety, but I will present a few highlights for readers:
And yet the fundamental questions at stake in Thomas More’s trial continue to present themselves in ever-changing terms as new social conditions emerge. Each generation, as it seeks to advance the common good, must ask anew: what are the requirements that governments may reasonably impose upon citizens, and how far do they extend? By appeal to what authority can moral dilemmas be resolved? These questions take us directly to the ethical foundations of civil discourse. If the moral principles underpinning the democratic process are themselves determined by nothing more solid than social consensus, then the fragility of the process becomes all too evident – herein lies the real challenge for democracy.
by Jeff Ziegler
On June 17, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo expressed “grave concern over the FDA’s current process for approving the drug Ulipristal (with the proposed trade name of Ella) for use as an ‘emergency contraceptive.’ Ulipristal is a close analogue to the abortion drug RU-486, with the same biological effect — that is, it can disrupt an established pregnancy weeks after conception has taken place.”
Cardinal DiNardo expressed these concerns as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, the latest in a line of responsibilities he has assumed in recent years. As recently as 1997, he was simply “Father Dan,” a 48-year-old Pittsburgh parish priest, before he was appointed coadjutor bishop of a small Iowa diocese. At the age of 54, he was appointed coadjutor bishop of Galveston-Houston, and at 58, Pope Benedict created him a cardinal — the first cardinal from a diocese in the South, and the youngest American cardinal since Cardinal Roger Mahony received his red hat in 1991.
Following the consistory of 2007, Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal DiNardo a member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (2008) and the Pontifical Council for Culture (2009). In the fall of 2009, he assumed the leadership of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life efforts. He will take part in any conclave that occurs before his eightieth birthday in 2029 and appears destined to be one of the leading American ecclesial figures of the next two decades.
The Catholic News Agency reports on this new development:
Monsignor Charles Scicluna took part in a press briefing on Thursday for the release of modified Vatican norms on how to examine and punish cases involving the “most serious sins.” He fielded a number of questions as to its content but underscored the importance of ongoing action for successfully bringing about change in the Church.
Journalists in the Holy See’s Press Office spoke of the encounter as “unseen since the days of Cardinal Ratzinger.” The Maltese promotor of justice of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith fielded questions on complex matters with apparent ease, answering journalists’ queries regarding many aspects of the updates to the Motu Proprio of 2001 in both English and Italian.
About the concern in the media that sexual abuse against minors was being equated with the attempted ordination of women in the eyes of canon law, Msgr. Scicluna said in English, “They are not on the same level.” Serious sins are divided into those against Christian morality and those committed during the administration of the sacraments, he explained.
The Rome Reports TV News Agency is saying that the seers may appear before the Vatican where they will need to answer certain questions that they have refused to reveal to others.
The most evil inspired man in the world, attorney Jeffrey Anderson, plans to “sue the sh-t out of [the Catholic Church] everywhere”. Because the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from the Vatican, a court case will move forward allowing for the Vatican to be sued.
“I have known for 25 years that all roads lead to Rome,” said Jeff Anderson, the Minnesota attorney who represents the plaintiff. “This is the beginning for us of a new journey, a uniquely difficult odyssey.”
Anderson, who has represented hundreds of abuse victims and has tried for years to sue the Vatican, said he hoped to persuade a judge that he should be allowed to depose Vatican officials.
This past week, Belgian police raided the headquarters of the Catholic Church in Belgian, as well as the home and office of recently retired Archbishop Godfried Danneels, during an investigation into the sexual abuse of children.
Rorate Caeli provides the full text of Pope Benedict’s letter to Abp. André Joseph Léonard, Archbishop of Mechlin-Brussels and President of the Belgian Episcopal Conference, responding to the unfortunate series of events:
I wish to express to you, dear Brother in the Episcopate, as well as to all Bishops of Belgium, my closeness and my solidarity in this moment of sadness, in which, with certain surprising and deplorable methods, searches were carried out in Mechlin Cathedral and in places where the Belgian Episcopate were assembled in plenary session. During that meeting, aspects related to the abuse of minors by members of the clergy were to have been treated, among other things. I have myself repeated numerous times that these grave facts should be treated by the civil order and by the canonical order in reciprocal respect for the specificity and autonomy of each one. In this sense, I wish that justice will follow its course, ensuring the rights of persons and institutions, in respect for victims, with the recognition, without prejudices, of those who wish to collaborate with it and with the refusal of everything that could darken the noble duties that are ascribed to it.
As Rorate Caeli notes, there is a “one-sideness” and “tone-deafness” to the papal remarks. The impression is exacerbated by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone,
I enjoyed the response of one priest in which he told his parents it just became clear to him at the moment. His parents responded by saying that’s how they felt about each other when they first met (and decided to get married)!
For the Rome Reports website click here.
For the Rome Reports YouTube Channel click here.
The Vatican released a working paper during Pope Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage to Cyprus to prepare the way for a crisis summit of Middle East bishops in Rome. What I take away from this- along with the Holy See’s call for lifting the blockade of Gaza- is something of a vindication for my more raw views urging for a sea change in American Catholic opinion and action regarding the overall situation in the Middle East, and in Israel-Palestine in particular.
This past week brings news of yet another fracas involving Swedish cartoon artist Lars Vilks (CNN.com):
When Vilks entered a classroom where he was to deliver a lecture to about 250 people — all of whom had passed through a security checkpoint to gain admission — about five people started protesting loudly, Eronen said.
After Uppsala uniformed and non-uniformed police calmed the protesters, the lecture got under way at about 5:15 p.m. (11:15 a.m. ET), Eronen said.
But as Vilks was showing audiovisual material, 15 to 20 audience members became loud and tried to attack Vilks, he said.
As police stepped in, a commotion started and Vilks was taken to a nearby room; police used pepper spray and batons to fend off the protesters, Eronen said. Vilks did not return to the lecture. [Video footage of the event].
Last March, an American woman who called herself “Jihad Jane,” Colleen LaRose, was indicted in the United States for allegedly conspiring to support terrorists and kill Vilks.
In a 2007 interview with CNN he had drawn the cartoon of Mohammed with a dog’s body in order to take a stand.
“ “I don’t think it should not be a problem to insult a religion, because it should be possible to insult all religions in a democratic way, “ says Vilks from his home in rural Sweden.
“If you insult one, then you should insult the other ones.”
Vilks, who has been a controversial artist for more than three decades in Sweden, says his drawing was a calculated move, and he wanted it to elicit a reaction.
“That’s a way of expressing things. If you don’t like it, don’t look at it. And if you look at it, don’t take it too seriously. No harm done, really,” he says.
When it’s suggested that might prove an arrogant — if not insulting — way to engage Muslims, he is unrelenting, even defiant.
“No one actually loves the truth, but someone has to say it,” he says.
Vilks, a self-described atheist, points out he’s an equal opportunity offender who in the past sketched a depiction of Jesus as a pedophile.