Posts Tagged ‘Rome’

Pope Francis: The Immaculate is the Fruit of the Love of God

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on December 10, 2013

Pope Francis: The Immaculate is the Fruit of the Love of God

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Pope Francis to students: Respond to the Challenges of the Time

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on December 10, 2013

Pope Francis to students: Respond to the Challenges of the Time

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The Feast of Christ the King

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on November 24, 2013

Jsus Christ the King

From the dawn of civilization, kings have arisen who have dreamed of possessing a world-wide dominion, a universal kingdom that would last forever.  Some have come close to conquering much of the known world–Alexander, Genghis Khan, Augustus Caesar, and Adolf Hitler, to name a few.  And some kingdoms have lasted a very long time, such as Rome whose Eastern half lingered on for 2000 years.

Christ the King

But despite all their machinations, pretensions, and self-glorifying monuments, the great rulers of the earth all proved mortal like anybody else. The had their day in the sun only to disappear.  Their kingdoms, too, ultimately passed away, leaving abundant ruins for generations of tourists and archeologists to explore.

There is another thing that these great ones of the earth had in common–they jealously guarded their glory, sharing it with no one.  Their ascent to the pinnacle of power was made over the backs of others, and they did not hesitate to eliminate any and all rivals.

This Sunday’s feast celebrates the fact that there is one who is remarkably different.  He came to serve all, even his enemies.  He truly was a Son of Man, with a vulnerable human nature.  But he was also truly Son of God.  Not in some mythological sense, like the Pharaohs, or the wishful-thinking sense, like the Caesars, but really and truly, the Immortal, the Eternal, taking the form of a mortal man in a specific time in history.

Rather than executing his opponents, he forgave them.  Rather than dominating his subjects, he exalted them.  He even called them not servants, but friends, and bestowed on them a share in his own priesthood and kingship.  Though he died, like other kings, it was for a different purpose than Augustus in his bed or Hitler in his bunker.  He died willingly to save his people, and his death was not a result of a battle lost or a plan gone awry, but of a glorious victory planned before the world began.

He rose in glory, which can’t be said for the rest of them.  And at his heavenly coronation, when he ascended to his Father, he was given what all the rest lusted for–a worldwide dominion that will not pass away.

But the world goes on oblivious, with corporate executives and statesmen still jockeying for position, exalting themselves at the expense of others.  Still others crowd the cover of People magazine competing for other glories like the King of Rock’n roll.

The true King, however, is biding his time.  He will return and suddenly things will be seen as they truly are.  His coming will sweep away ambition, vanity, and pretensions, and much of what now appears important will look very empty.  No longer will oppression be allowed to stand; the innocent will finally be liberated from those who victimize them.

This dominion will truly be universal–there will be nowhere left where he is not recognized as Who He is, though in some quarters, that acknowledgment will be made with consternation and gloom.

For his coming means doom. . . judgment for those who have for so long resisted him.  They will be allowed, of course, to cling to the evil that they have chosen, and hold it close to themselves for all eternity.  But they may no longer afflict others with it.

This judgment, this kingdom, will have the last word.  No election will overturn it in four years or four million years.  There is no one stronger who can wrest the dominion from his Almighty hand.

The Church instituted this feast of Christ the King during bleak days, when fascist and communist clouds were darkening the earth with their ominous shadow.  The feast serves as a reminder to us that we know the end of the story and should not be fooled by the braggarts who strut and the bullies who gloat.  They’ll be gone soon.  And He’ll be here soon.  How soon no one knows.

Prayer to Christ the King

Christ Jesus, I acknowledge You King of the universe. All that has been created has been made for You. Make full use of Your rights over me.

I renew the promises I made in Baptism, when I renounced Satan and all his pomps and works, and I promise to live a good Christian life and to do all in my power to procure the triumph of the rights of God and Your Church.

Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You my efforts in order that all hearts may acknowledge Your Sacred Royalty, and that thus the Kingdom of Your peace may be established throughout the universe.
Amen.

The Solemnity of Our Lord  Jesus Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man’s thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ’s royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.

Today’s Mass establishes the titles for Christ’s royalty over men: 1) Christ is God, the Creator of the universe and hence wields a supreme power over all things; “All things were created by Him”; 2) Christ is our Redeemer, He purchased us by His precious Blood, and made us His property and possession; 3) Christ is Head of the Church, “holding in all things the primacy”; 4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as His special possession and dominion.

Before the reform of the Roman Calendar in 1969, this feast was celebrated on the last Sunday of October.

Christ the King as Represented in the Liturgy
The liturgy is an album in which every epoch of Church history immortalizes itself. Therein, accordingly, can be found the various pictures of Christ beloved during succeeding centuries. In its pages we see pictures of Jesus suffering and in agony; we see pictures of His Sacred Heart; yet these pictures are not proper to the nature of the liturgy as such; they resemble baroque altars in a gothic church. Classic liturgy knows but one Christ: the King, radiant, majestic, and divine.

With an ever-growing desire, all Advent awaits the “coming King”; in the chants of the breviary we find repeated again and again the two expressions “King” and “is coming.” On Christmas the Church would greet, not the Child of Bethlehem, but the Rex Pacificus — “the King of peace gloriously reigning.” Within a fortnight, there follows a feast which belongs to the greatest of the feasts of the Church year — the Epiphany. As in ancient times oriental monarchs visited their principalities (theophany), so the divine King appears in His city, the Church; from its sacred precincts He casts His glance over all the world….On the final feast of the Christmas cycle, the Presentation in the Temple, holy Church meets her royal Bridegroom with virginal love: “Adorn your bridal chamber, O Sion, and receive Christ your King!” The burden of the Christmas cycle may be summed up in these words: Christ the King establishes His Kingdom of light upon earth!

If we now consider the Easter cycle, the luster of Christ’s royal dignity is indeed somewhat veiled by His sufferings; nevertheless, it is not the suffering Jesus who is present to the eyes of the Church as much as Christ the royal Hero and Warrior who upon the battlefield of Golgotha struggles with the mighty and dies in triumph. Even during Lent and Passiontide the Church acclaims her King. The act of homage on Palm Sunday is intensely stirring; singing psalms in festal procession we accompany our Savior singing: Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit, Rex Christe, “Glory, praise and honor be to Thee, Christ, O King!” It is true that on Good Friday the Church meditates upon the Man of Sorrows in agony upon the Cross, but at the same time, and perhaps more so, she beholds Him as King upon a royal throne. The hymn Vexilla Regis, “The royal banners forward go,” is the more perfect expression of the spirit from which the Good Friday liturgy has arisen. Also characteristic is the verse from Psalm 95, Dicite in gentibus quia Dominus regnavit, to which the early Christians always added, a ligno, “Proclaim among the Gentiles: the Lord reigns from upon the tree of the Cross!” During Paschal time the Church is so occupied with her glorified Savior and Conqueror that kingship references become rarer; nevertheless, toward the end of the season we celebrate our King’s triumph after completing the work of redemption, His royal enthronement on Ascension Thursday.

Neither in the time after Pentecost is the picture of Christ as King wholly absent from the liturgy. Corpus Christi is a royal festival: “Christ the King who rules the nations, come, let us adore” (Invit.). In the Greek Church the feast of the Transfiguration is the principal solemnity in honor of Christ’s kingship, Summum Regem gloriae Christum adoremus (Invit.). Finally at the sunset of the ecclesiastical year, the Church awaits with burning desire the return of the King of Majesty.

We will overlook further considerations in favor of a glance at the daily Offices. How often do we not begin Matins with an act of royal homage: “The King of apostles, of martyrs, of confessors, of virgins — come, let us adore” (Invit.). Lauds is often introduced with Dominus regnavit, “The Lord is King”. Christ as King is also a first consideration at the threshold of each day; for morning after morning we renew our oath of fidelity at Prime: “To the King of ages be honor and glory.” Every oration is concluded through our Mediator Christ Jesus “who lives and reigns forever.” Yes, age-old liturgy beholds Christ reigning as King in His basilica (etym.: “the king’s house”), upon the altar as His throne.

The Feast of Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King (in the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, properly the Solemnity of Christ the King) is a relatively recent addition to the western liturgical calendar, having been instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. In 1970 its observance was moved to the last Sunday of Ordinary Time and adopted by Anglicans, Lutherans, and many other Protestants along with the new Revised Common Lectionary, as well as by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.[1]

Contents

Origin and history in the Catholic Church

art of a series of articles on
Roman Catholic
Devotions to Christ
Christ Hagia Sofia.jpg
Devotions
Prayers to Jesus

Pope Pius XI instituted the Feast of Christ the King in his 1925 encyclical letter Quas Primas, in response to growing nationalism and secularism[2] and in the context of the unresolved Roman Question. The title of the feast was “D. N. Jesu Christi Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ the King), and the date was “the last Sunday of the month of October – the Sunday, that is, which immediately precedes the Feast of All Saints“.[3] In Pope John XXIII‘s 1960 revision of the Calendar, the date and title remained the same and, in the new simpler ranking of feasts, it was classified as a feast of the first class.

In his 1969 motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis, Pope Paul VI gave the celebration a new title: “D. N. Iesu Christi universorum Regis” (Our Lord Jesus Christ King of the Universe). He also gave it a new date: the last Sunday in the liturgical year, before a new year begins with the First Sunday in Advent, the earliest date for which is 27 November. Through this choice of date “the eschatological importance of this Sunday is made clearer”.[4] He assigned to it the highest rank, that of “Solemnity”.[5]

As happens with all Sundays whose liturgies are replaced by those of important feasts,[6] the prayers of the Sunday on which the celebration of Christ the King falls are used on the ferias (weekdays) of the following week. The Sunday liturgy is thus not totally omitted.

In 2013, this feast day falls on November 24.[7] The liturgical vestments for the day are colored white or gold, in keeping with other joyous feasts honoring Christ.

Observance in other churches

Those churches that use the Revised Common Lectionary observe Christ the King Sunday (titled Reign of Christ Sunday by some) as the last Sunday of the liturgical year.[8] These churches include most major Anglican and mainline Protestant groups, including the Church of England and the Episcopal Church as well as the Anglican Church in North America, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and other Lutheran bodies, the United Methodist Church and other Methodist bodies, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ, and the Moravian Church.

In Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Sweden, this day is referred to as the Sunday of Doom, previously centred about the final judgement, though from the Lectionary of 1983 and forwards, the topic of the day is the Return of Christ. The Church in Wales, part of the Anglican Communion, the four Sundays before Advent are called the Sundays of the Kingdom and Christ the King is kept as a season and not just as a single festival.

References

  1. Jump up ^ Fraternity of St. Gregory the Great calendar
  2. Jump up ^ Churchyear.net, a Catholic blog
  3. Jump up ^ Encyclical Quas Primas, 28
  4. Jump up ^ Calendarium Romanum (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1969), p. 63
  5. Jump up ^ motu proprio Mysterii Paschalis
  6. Jump up ^ Examples are Pentecost and Trinity Sunday. Indeed before the reform of Pope Pius X most Sundays gave way to any feast that had the rank of Double, and these were the majority (Missale Romanum, published by Pustet, 1862)
  7. Jump up ^ “Liturgical Calendar for the Dioceses of the United States of America”. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 2013.
  8. Jump up ^ Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings Proposed by the Consultation on Common Texts, Augsburg Fortress, 2005, p.p. 304-305, ISBN 0806649305

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Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on October 17, 2013

Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye is an Institute in Kerala, India, which is predominantly an inter-ritual Faculty. One can learn theological and philosophical discipline as well as culture, heritage and tradition of the Kerala Church. “The Pontifical Institute, Alwaye” was erected by the Holy See at Alwaye, Kerala State, India in 1972. On 15th February 1973, the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye, was officially inaugurated by His Excellency, the Most Rev.Dr.John Gordon, then Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to India. On 25th April 1997, through a decree the Congregation for Catholic Education separated the Pontifical Institute from the Pontifical Seminary. At present the Pontifical Institute functions at two separate campuses – Mangalapuzha and Carmelgiri, and offers simultaneously courses of theology and philosophy in both campuses. It is entrusted to the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council and is under the overall supervision of the Congregation for Catholic Education. It has at present the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy and may open new Faculties with the approval of the Holy See.

A Brief History of  The Pontifical Institute of Theology & Philosophy, Alwaye

The Beginnings

The Carmelite Missionaries, who were sent to Malabar by Pope Alexander VII, started a small Seminary at Verapoly in 1682 for the formation of both the Latin and the Syrian clergy.  Due to the lack of conveniences the Seminary at Verapoly was shifted to the new buildings at Puthenpally in 1866.  In 1888, the Seminary at Puthenpally was constituted the Major Central Seminary for the whole of Malabar, and was placed under Congregation of Evangelization of Peoples.  Owing to the increase in the number of students, a new Seminary with better accommodation was built at Mangalapuzha, Alwaye.  The new Seminary was officially inaugurated on 28th January 1933.  The increase in the priestly  vocations  necessitated  further extension.  On 24th November 1955  the new philosophical college at Carmelgiri was solemnly blessed and inaugurated by His Excellency Most Rev.Martin Lucas, then Apostolic Internuncio to India.  In 1964 the Seminary was raised to the ‘Pontifical’ status by the Holy See.  On June 12,1976, the direction and administration of the Pontifical Seminary was entrusted to the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council.

Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy

  The first step towards the realization of the plan for a Faculty had been taken on October 7, 1959, when the Congregation issued a decree affiliating the theology department of the Seminary with the Lateran University, Rome.  With this, the theology department of the Seminary became “Studium Theologicum” which was governed by norms given by the University and a convention between the Rector of the Lateran University and the Rector of the Seminary.  In April 1971, the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council sent a petition to the Congregation for the erection of an autonomous Faculty.  On February 24, 1972, the Congregation for Catholic Education issued the decree erecting the Theological Faculty in the Pontifical Seminary.  The decree granted the new Faculty all the rights and privileges which were enjoyed by Theological Faculties.  It also empowered the Faculty to confer suitable degrees to students who are successful in their studies and research.  The power of conferring the degrees of Bachelor and Master (Licentiate) in theology was explicitly granted.  On 15th February 1973, the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy, Alwaye, was officially inaugurated by His Excellency, the Most Rev.Dr.John Gordon,  then Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to India.  On 25th April 1997, through a decree the Congregation for Catholic Education separated the Pontifical Institute from the Pontifical Seminary.  At present the Pontifical Institute functions at two separate campuses – Mangalapuzha and Carmelgiri, and offers simultaneously courses of theology and philosophy in both campuses.

Patron of the Institute

Saint Joseph

Joseph (Hebrew יוֹסֵף, “Yosef”; Greek: Ἰωσήφ) is a figure in the Gospels, the husband ofMary the mother of Jesus and the guardian of Jesus. In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodoxand Anglican Christian traditions he is regarded as Saint Joseph.

The Pauline epistles, generally considered the earliest extant Christian records, make no reference to Jesus’ father; nor does the Gospel of Mark, generally considered the first of the gospels.[2] The first appearance of Joseph is therefore in the gospels of Matthew andLuke. Each contains a genealogy of Jesus tracing his ancestry back to King David, but the two are from different sons of David; Matthew follows the major royal line from Solomon, while Luke follows a minor line from Nathan, another son of David and Bathsheba. Consequently all the names between David and Joseph are different. According to Matthew “Jacob was the father of Joseph,” while according to Luke, Joseph, or possibly Jesus, is said to be “of Heli.” Some scholars reconcile the genealogies by viewing the Solomonic lineage in Matthew as Joseph’s major royal line, and the Nathanic lineage in Luke to be Mary’s minor line.[3][4]

MISSION

The Institute is entrusted with “the task of preparing with special care students for the priestly ministry for teaching the sacred sciences, and for the more arduous task of the Apostolate”. It is also the task of the Institute “to explore more profoundly the various areas of the sacred disciplines so that day by day a deeper understanding of the Sacred Revelation will be developed, the heritage of Christian wisdom handed down by our ancestors will be plainly brought into view.

PROFILE

The Institute erected by the Holy See at Alwaye, Kerala State, India, shall be called “The Pontifical Institute, Alwaye”. It functions in St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary Mangalapuzha and Camelgiri. It is entrusted to the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council and is under the overall supervision of the Congregation for Catholic Education. It has at present the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy and may open new Faculties with the approval of the Holy See.

Academic Degrees 

According to the Statutes drawn up for the Faculty, the institutional cycle leading to the degree of Bachelor of  Theology consists of two stages.  The first stage comprises three years of Philosophy with languages and subsidiary subjects on Religion and Social Sciences.  A Diploma in Philosophy used to be given to the students who successfully completed this course.  On 1st October 1974 the Congregation for Catholic Education issued a decree authorising the Pontifical Institute of Theology and Philosophy  to confer the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. At present the Institute is empowered to confer the following degrees:

1) Bachelor of Philosophy

2) Bachelor of Theology

3) Master of Theology

4) Doctor of Theology

The degree of Bachelor of Philosophy is conferred on those who  successfully complete the three years course in Philosophy.  Those students who hold a University Degree prior to their joining the Institute can follow a two year cylce leading to the Degree of Bachelor in Philosophy. The degree of Bachelor of Theology is conferred on those who successfully complete the three and a half years course in Theology.  The degree of Master of Theology is conferred on those who successfully complete the four semesters of specialization in a prescribed branch of Theology. At present Spiritual Theology, Dogmatic Theology,  Pastoral Theology & Counselling and Biblical Theology are offered by the Institute as branches of specialization.The degree of Doctor of Theology is conferred after two semesters of the doctoral course and on fulfilment of the conditions stipulated by the Institute.

CONTACT INFORMATION

PONTIFICAL INSTITUTE ALWAYE
Mangalapuzha, P.B. No.1, Alwaye
Kerala, India – 683 102
Phone  :  0484-2606745
E-mail  :  info@mangalapuzha.org

Mangalapuzha Campus, Aluva 683102  

Tel:  0484-2606745,  2606746
Fax:  0484-2604729

E-mail: mangalapuzhaseminary@gmail.com

Website: http://www.mangalapuzha.org

Carmelgiri Campus, Aluva  683102 

 Tel:  0484-2604120,  2606632
Fax:  0484-2606520

E-mail: carmelgirialuva@gmail.com

Website: http://www.carmelgiri.com

Click here for the Official Website of Pontifical Institute

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Fr Joy Thottankara MCBS with Pope Francis

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on August 24, 2013

Fr Joy Thottankara is an active Pro-life promoter and the founder of First Tabernacle, an MCBS center of the Ministry of Pro-life. He is the First MCBS priest who could make a personal visit to Pope Francis.

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Fr Joy Thottamkara
First Tabernacle
Millupadi
East VELIYATHUNADU
UC College PO
Kerala, India-683102

0091 9447667566

0091 8129239125

0091 484 2608620

Click here for the Official site of First Tabernacle

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Corpus Christi Adoration for the Faith Year വിശ്വാസ വർഷ ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യ ആരാധന

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on May 3, 2013

Here  is  the circular of the KCBC President His Grace Most Reverend Dr. Mar Andrews Thazhath regarding the observation of a Holy Hour on the Feast of Corpus Christi 2013. His Holiness Pope Francis invites the Cathedrals and parishes around the world to join in an hour of Eucharistic Adoration as part of the Year of Faith, on Sunday, 2 June 2013, at 5:00 pm Rome Time (8.30pm Indian Time). The Holy Father will preside an hour of Eucharistic Adoration in St. Peter’s Basilica in communion with all the bishops of the world and their local diocesan communities. “The universal scope of this moment is to be a gesture of spiritual sharing.”

In this context, KCBC Executive Committee decided to extend this initiative to all our parishes, monasteries, convents and institutions and it would be a grace filled hour of solidarity with our Holy Father to share in adoration during the same hour as in Rome.

Corpus Christi Adoration for the Faith Year

വിശ്വാസ വർഷ ദിവ്യകാരുണ്യ ആരാധന

INTENTIONS FOR PRAYER (Malyalam)

The Holy Father has asked that this time of Eucharistic Adoration be offered in particular:

1. For the Church dispersed throughout the world, gathered today as a sign of unity in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. The Lord makes her ever more obedient in listening to his word to present her to the world as ever “more glorious, without speck or wrinkle, but holy and faultless” (Eph. 5:28). By means of its faithful proclamation, may this saving word resound once more as the bearer of mercy and may it stimulate a renewed commitment of love, to provide pain and suffering with full meaning and to re-establish joy and peace.

2. For all of those who, in different parts of the world, live the suffering of new forms of slavery and who are victims of wars, of the trafficking of human beings, of drugs, of ‘slave’ labour, for children and women who suffer any form of violence. May their silent cry for help find the Church alert, so that, with her eyes fixed upon Christ Crucified, she may not forget so many of her brothers and sisters left at the of mercy of violence.

For all those, too, who find themselves in economic insecurity, especially the unemployed, the elderly, immigrants, the homeless, those in prison, and the marginalised; may the prayer of the Church and her active endeavours to be close to them be a source of comfort to them, of support to their hope, of strength and courage in defending the dignity of the person.

Each particular Church, attentive to its own particular needs, is encouraged to put forward other intentions in harmony with this appeal of the Holy Father

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Pope Francis I

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on March 14, 2013

Newly elected Pope Francis, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina appears on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican

Born in Argentina, Pope Francis is the first Latin American to lead the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the first Jesuit.

“It seems my brother cardinals went almost to the end of the world” to choose a pope, he told the crowd in St Peter’s Square in his first address – a joke which belied his image as the cardinal who never smiles.

Up until 13 March, he was Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires.

Analists did not see him as a favourite for the job of succeeding Benedict XVI and his advanced age – at 76, he is just two years younger than Benedict at the time of his election in 2005 – may have surprised those expecting a younger man as the 266th Pope.

However, he appeals to both Church conservatives and reformers, being seen as orthodox on sexual matters, for instance, but liberal on social justice – through far from being a “liberation theologist”.

Argentina's Jorge Bergoglio, elected Pope Francis I

Humble lifestyle

He was born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires, of Italian descent.

According to his official Vatican biography, he was ordained as a Jesuit in 1969 and went on to study in Argentina and Germany.

Who are the Jesuits?

  • The Society of Jesus is a male order of the Catholic Church, with 19,000 members worldwide
  • It was established in 16th Century Europe as a missionary order and members swear vows of poverty, chastity and obedience
  • The order became so powerful that it was suppressed at the end of the 18th Century but later restored
  • Have reputation as expert communicators

He became a bishop in 1992 and Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998. At the 2005 conclave, he was seen as a contender for the papacy.

His election took many by surprise in his home city, where many had thought his age ruled him out, says the BBC’s Marcia Carmo in Buenos Aires.

But any surprise soon gave way to the jubilant blaring of car horns on the streets.

As Cardinal Bergoglio, his sermons always had an impact in Argentina and he often stressed social inclusion, indirectly criticising governments that did not pay attention to those on the margins of society, our correspondent says.

Francesca Ambrogetti, who co-authored a biography of him, told Reuters news agency that part of his public appeal lay in his “sober and austere” humble lifestyle.

“That’s the way he lives,” she said. “He travels on the underground, the bus, when he goes to Rome he flies economy class.”

In Buenos Aires, he lived in a simple flat in the building of the Archdiocese.

When in Rome, BBC Latin America analyst Eric Camara writes, he often preferred to keep his black robe on, instead of the cardinal’s red and purple vest he is entitled to wear.

He is also said to have re-used the cardinal’s vest used by his predecessor.

According to a profile in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, when he was appointed a cardinal in 1998, he urged Argentines not to travel to Rome to celebrate but to give their money to the poor instead.

newpope

‘Balancing force’

According to Ms Ambrogetti, he is a moderate in all things.

“He is absolutely capable of undertaking the necessary renovation without any leaps into the unknown,” she said.

“He would be a balancing force. He shares the view that the Church should have a missionary role, that gets out to meet people… a church that does not so much regulate the faith as promote and facilitate it.”

For the Church establishment, it will be a novelty to have a Jesuit in charge – members are supposed to avoid ecclesiastical honours and serve the Pope himself.

Continue reading the main story

Pope Francis

  • Born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936 (age 76) in Buenos Aires, of Italian descent
  • Ordained as a Jesuit in 1969
  • Studied in Argentina, Chile and Germany
  • Became Cardinal of Buenos Aires in 1998
  • Seen as orthodox on sexual matters but strong on social justice
  • First Latin American and first Jesuit to become pope, the 266th to lead the Church

As a Jesuit, he is a member of perhaps the most powerful and experienced religious order of the Catholic Church, known as expert communicators, writes David Willey, the BBC’s Rome correspondent.

It appears that few who know him doubt his conservative credentials.

This is how Monsignor Osvaldo Musto, who was at seminary with him, described him in a BBC News article back in 2005: “He’s as uncompromising as Pope John Paul II, in terms of the principles of the Church – everything it has defended regarding euthanasia, the death penalty, abortion, the right to life, human rights, celibacy of priests.”

His views have been put to the test in Argentina, the first Latin American country to legalise same-sex marriage with a President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who promotes free contraception and artificial insemination.

When he argued that gay adoptions discriminated against children, the president said his tone harked back to “medieval times and the Inquisition”.

However, she welcomed the election to the papacy of a fellow countryman, noting his choice of name appeared to be “in reference to St Francis of Assisi, the saint of the poor” and boded well for unifying “all humans as equal, with fellowship, with love, with justice and equity”.

Aside from his universal significance, the former cardinal appears to be a strong Argentine patriot, telling Argentine veterans of the Falklands War at a Mass last year: “We come to pray for all who have fallen, sons of the Homeland who went out to defend their mother, the Homeland, and to reclaim what is theirs.”

Junta years

One subject of controversy is his role under the Argentine military dictatorship of 1976-1983, and particularly the abduction of two Jesuits secretly jailed by the military government, suspicious of their work among slum-dwellers.

As the priests’ Provincial Superior at the time, he was accused of having failed to shield them from arrest. It is a charge his office flatly denies.

Quoting his official biographer, Sergio Rubin, AP news agency writes in its profile of the new Pope: “Both men were freed after Bergoglio took extraordinary, behind-the-scenes action to save them. His intervention likely saved their lives.”

Another accusation levelled against him from the “Dirty War” era is that he failed to follow up a request to help find the baby of a woman kidnapped when five months’ pregnant pregnant and killed in 1977. It is believed the baby was illegally adopted.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio in 1973 Here is Jorge Mario Bergoglio as a priest in 1973

The cardinal testified in 2010 that he had not known about baby thefts until well after the junta fell – a claim relatives dispute.

“Bergoglio has a very cowardly attitude when it comes to something so terrible as the theft of babies,” said the baby’s aunt, Estela de la Cuadra. “He doesn’t face this reality and it doesn’t bother him.”

Like other Latin American churchmen of the time, he had to contend, on the one hand, with a repressive right-wing regime and, on the other, a wing of his Church leaning towards political activism on the left.

During Argentina’s economic crisis of 2001, Cardinal Bergoglio protested at police brutality during the unrest which saw President Fernando de la Rua swept from power.

“We live in the most unequal part of the world, which has grown the most yet reduced misery the least,” he was quoted as saying by the National Catholic Reporter at a gathering of Latin American bishops in 2007.

“The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.”

One issue for the Vatican may be the state of the new pope’s health. He lives with only one lung, since having the other removed as young man because of an infection. Nonetheless, he is said to be in good shape.

He is said to be a football fan, supporting Buenos Aires team San Lorenzo de Almagro.

Life without Luxury

With Bergoglio, they have elected an unpretentious, down-to-earth man who is close to the people. Instead of using the luxury sedan supplied to bishops, he uses public transportation. Rather than living in the bishop’s residence, he has a simple apartment. He even does his own grocery shopping and cooking. And, at meetings of the cardinals, he prefers to sit in the second row rather than the first.

In 2005, Bergoglio waved his candidacy to become pope, which benefited Joseph Ratzinger, who went on to become Pope Benedict XVI. In the third round of voting, up to 40 cardinals reportedly chose Bergoglio. With roughly one-third of cardinals supporting him, Bergoglio could have theoretically blocked any other candidate. But by withdrawing from the running he ultimately allowed Ratzinger’s election.

Quiet and Media-Shy

Bergoglio is thought to be quiet and media-shy, but his rare public pronouncements carry enormous weight in his home country. He avoids politics and takes on injustices such as corruption, poverty and inequality with clear statements.

But Bergoglio had hardly been identified as a favorite in recent weeks, having already failed to be selected back in 2005. His health has also been an issue. Since childhood he has struggled with lung problems, and after a fierce bout of the flu in 2005, he made a slow recovery. During the last conclave, critics said he lacked adequate passion to take on the position.

Still, Bergoglio must have been seen as a viable candidate back then, because his opponents brought forward all manner of allegations against him. Just three days after the conclave began, a lawyer pressed charges against the Buenos Aires archbishop for allegedly acting as an accomplice in the kidnapping of two Jesuit priests in 1976. Bergoglio was repeatedly accused of failing to take an appropriate position during Argentina’s military dictatorship from 1976 to 1983. He denies all such charges to this day.

One of five children, Bergoglio was born on Dec. 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, the son of Italian immigrants from Turin. He holds citizenship in both Argentina and Italy — a fact that qualified him as a papal candidate. While his home is Latin America, Bergoglio is also at home in Europe. A man of the world church, his humility and modesty are said to be admired by other cardinals.

Time in Germany

Bergoglio studied chemical engineering before he went to seminary and joined the Jesuit order. He taught philosophy, psychology and literature courses, and became a priest in 1969, going on to lead Argentina’s Jesuit province. In 1985, his doctoral studies brought him to a seminary in Frankfurt, which is why he now speaks German. In 1998, Pope John Paul II named him archbishop of Buenos Aires, and in 2005 he became the head of Argentina’s bishops’ conference. He enjoys cooking, opera, Greek classics, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky and swimming.

He is known as a moderate and open theologian. Conservatives prize his role as a Jesuit, in addition to his church work with the poor and in developing countries. Bergoglio is an intellectual, but also a charismatic ascetic. He is well-read but grounded, well-travelled but deeply rooted to his home.

Far from being a theorist, he ventures out into the favelas to visit the people. He seldom seeks a large audience, but when he does, it’s because he has something to say. His main concerns are globalization and the divide between rich and poor. “The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers,” he reportedly told a gathering of Latin American bishops in 2007.

Conservative on Sexual Issues

Francis is conservative on questions related to sexual morals. He opposes abortion, gay marriage and contraception. In 2010 he got into a dispute with Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. The then-archbishop said that the adoption of children by gay couples would be child discrimination. The president said Bergoglio’s statements were reminiscent of the “medieval times and the Inquisition.”

On Catholic holy days, Bergoglio visited hospitals and prisons and washed the feet of patients and inmates. He stood up for those infected with HIV and for the baptism of children born out-of-wedlock, two stances that carried a lot of weight in a staunchly Catholic country like Argentina. In 2012 he criticized priests who refused to perform such baptisms as exhibiting a “hypocritical neo-clericalism.” Bergoglio is considered to be close to the conservative and socially engaged movement Communion and Liberation.

“We have to avoid the spiritual sickness of a self-referential church,” Bergoglio said recently, according to the National Catholic Reporter. “It’s true that when you get out into the street, as happens to every man and woman, there can be accidents. However, if the church remains closed in on itself, self-referential, it gets old. Between a church that suffers accidents in the street, and a church that’s sick because it’s self-referential, I have no doubts about preferring the former.”Pope Francis I

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A SHORT HISTORY OF LITTLE FLOWER CONGREGATION (CST FATHERS)

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on March 6, 2013

LITTLE FLOWER CONGREGATION (CST FATHERS)

The Little Flower Congregation (CST Fathers) is a Congregation of religious priests that traces its beginning on 19th March, 1931 in the Archdiocese of Ernakulam, Kerala. It was started as a society of Brothers under the name Little Flower Brotherhood by Very Rev. Fr. Thomas Panat later known as Father Basilius. It was re-organized into a religious institute (thereafter called Little Flower Congregation) with an approved constitution. The Canonical approval was given by the Archbishop of Ernakulam, Mar Augustine Kandathil for starting and reorganisingonDecember 27, 1945

The congregation was bifurcated to form a Congregation of Priests (CST Fathers) and a Congregation of Brothers (CST Brothers). His Holiness Pope John Paul II raised this Congregation of the Priests to the status of a Religious Institute of Pontifical Right on December 21, 1995. Little Flower who was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in Rome on October 19, 1997 by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, is the Patroness of this Congregation.

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The Little Flower Congregation, under the Patronage of St.Therese of Lisieux, has its origin on 19th March 1931 at Mookannur, a village 7 kilometers north east of Angamaly, Kerala, India. Father Thomas Panat started the Congregation out of his God-experience in Christ enhanced by his very personal devotion to St.Therese of Child Jesus. Simplicity and child-like surrender of the Little Flower to the will of God the Father had struck deep roots in his heart when he translated the four chapters of her autobiography entitled Navamalika. Fr. Basilius in his memoirs says: “With that (translation) I became enamoured of the life and the spirit of the Little Flower that erupted within and overflowed from the interior of my heart”. He intensely desired to share this experience with a few dedicated young men whom he eventually formed as the Little Flower Brotherhood (Cherupushpa Sahodara Sangham).

 On December 27, 1945 Archbishop Mar Agustine Kandathil accepted the formal petition of Fr. Thomas Panat seeking permission to admit candidates for priesthood into the ‘Cherupushpa Sahodara Sangham’ which then became a clerical religious institute known as Little Flower Congregation

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Pope Benedict XVI: Farewell discourse to College of Cardinals (full text)

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on March 2, 2013

Pope: Farewell discourse to College of Cardinals (full text)

(From Vatican Radio) “The Church is in the world but not of the world and it is a living body,” therefore it is not an institution designed and conceived according to pre-set plans, but of God. Wednesday’s audience is proof of this, it has shown the “awakening of the Church in souls”.

Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of the Holy Father’s words to the College of Cardinals Thursday morning:

Dear beloved brothers,

I welcome you all with great joy and cordially greet each one of you. I thank Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who as always, has been able to convey the sentiments of the College, Cor ad cor loquitur. Thank you, Your Eminence, from my heart.

And referring to the disciples of Emmaus, I would like to say to you all that it has also been a joy for me to walk with you over the years in light of the presence of the Risen Lord.

As I said yesterday, in front of thousands of people who filled St. Peter’s Square, your closeness, your advice, have been a great help to me in my ministry.

In these 8 years we have experienced in faith beautiful moments of radiant light in the Churches’ journey along with times when clouds have darkened the sky.

We have tried to serve Christ and his Church with deep and total love which is the soul of our ministry.

We have gifted hope that comes from Christ alone, and which alone can illuminate our path.

Together we can thank the Lord who has helped us grow in communion, to pray to together, to help you to continue to grow in this deep unity so that the College of Cardinals is like an orchestra, where diversity, an expression of the universal Church, always contributes to a superior harmony of concord.

I would like to leave you with a simple thought that is close to my heart, a thought on the Church, Her mystery, which is for all of us, we can say, the reason and the passion of our lives. I am helped by an expression of Romano Guardini’s, written in the year in which the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council approved the Constitution Lumen Gentium, his last with a personal dedication to me, so the words of this book are particularly dear to me .

Guardini says: “The Church is not an institution devised and built at table, but a living reality. She lives along the course of time by transforming Herself, like any living being, yet Her nature remains the same. At Her heart is Christ.”

This was our experience yesterday, I think, in the square.

We could see that the Church is a living body, animated by the Holy Spirit, and truly lives by the power of God, She is in the world but not of the world.

She is of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, as we saw yesterday.

This is why another eloquent expression of Guardini’s is also true: “The Church is awakening in souls.”

The Church lives, grows and awakens in those souls which like the Virgin Mary accept and conceive the Word of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. They offer to God their flesh and in their own poverty and humility become capable of giving birth to Christ in the world today.

Through the Church the mystery of the Incarnation remains present forever. Christ continues to walk through all times in all places. Let us remain united, dear brothers, to this mystery, in prayer, especially in daily Eucharist, and thus serve the Church and all humanity. This is our joy that no one can take from us.

Prior to bidding farewell to each of you personally, I want to tell you that I will continue to be close to you in prayer, especially in the next few days, so that you may all be fully docile to the action of the Holy Spirit in the election of the new Pope.

May the Lord show you what is willed by Him. And among you, among the College of Cardinals, there is also the future Pope, to whom, here to today, I already promise my unconditional reverence and obedience. For all this, with affection and gratitude, I cordially impart upon you my Apostolic Blessing.

 

Below please find a Vatican Radio translation of the farewell discourse by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals to Pope Benedict XVI.

Holiness,

With great trepidation the cardinals present in Rome gather around you today, once again to show their deep affection and express their heartfelt gratitude for your selfless witness of apostolic service, for the good of the Church of Christ and of all humanity.

Last Saturday, at the end of the Spiritual Exercises in the Vatican, you thanked your collaborators from the Roman Curia, with these moving words: My friends, I would like to thank all of you not only for this week but for the past eight years, during which you have carried with me, with great skill, affection, love and loyalty, the weight of the Petrine ministry.

Beloved and revered Successor of Peter, it is we who must thank you for the example you have given us in the past eight years of Pontificate.

On 19 April 2005 you joined the long line of successors of the Apostle Peter, and today, 28 February 2013, you are about to leave us, as we wait for the helm of the Barque of Peter to pass into other hands.

Thus the apostolic succession continues, which the Lord promised His Holy Church, until the voice of the Angel of the Apocalypse is heard proclaim on earth : “Tempus non erit amplius … consummabitur mysterium Dei” (Ap 10, 6-7) “there is no longer time: the mystery of God is finished.”

So ends the history of the Church, together with the history of the world, with the advent of a new heaven and a new earth.

Holy Father, with deep love we have tried to accompany you on your journey, reliving the experience of the disciples of Emmaus who, after walking with Jesus for a good stretch of road, said to one another: “Were not our hearts burning [within us] while he spoke to us on the way?” (Luke 24:32).

Yes, Holy Father, know that our hearts burned too as we walked with you in the past eight years. Today we want to once again express our gratitude.

Together we repeat a typical expression of your dear native land “Vergelt’s Gott” — God reward you!

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Pope’s February 14 Talk to the Clergy of Rome

Posted by Fr Nelson MCBS on February 19, 2013

The Vatican Radio Transcription of the Pope’s February 14 Talk

to the Clergy of Rome (Slightly edited for clarity)

 (No official text of the talk has yet been made available — because there was no official written text to begin with — but Vatican Radio today published a transcription of nearly all of the Pope’s talk)

 “It is a special and providential gift,” began the Pope, “that, before leaving the Petrine ministry, I can once again meet my clergy, the clergy of Rome. It is always a great joy to see how the Church lives, and how in Rome, the Church is alive: there are pastors who in the spirit of the supreme Shepherd, guide the flock of Christ.”

 “It is a truly Catholic and universal clergy,” he added, “and is part of the essence of the Church of Rome itself, to reflect the universality, the catholicity, of all nations, of all races, of all cultures.”

“At the same time, I am very grateful to the Cardinal Vicar who is helping to reawaken, to rediscover the vocations in Rome itself, because if, on the one hand, Rome is the city of universality, it must be also a city with its own strong, robust faith, from which vocations are also born. And I am convinced that, with the help of the Lord, we can find the vocations He Himself gifts us, guide them, help them to develop and thus help the work in the vineyard of the Lord.”

“Today,” continued the Pope, “you have confessed the Creed before the Tomb of St. Peter: in the Year of the Faith, I see this as a very appropriate, perhaps even necessary, act, that the clergy of Rome meet at the Tomb of the Apostle of which the Lord said, ‘To you I entrust my Church. Upon you I build my Church.’ Before the Lord, together with Peter, you have confessed: ‘you are Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Thus the Church grows: together with Peter, confessing Christ, following Christ. And we do this always. I am very grateful for your prayers that I have felt, as I said Wednesday, almost physically. Though I am now retiring to a life of prayer, I will always be close to all you and I am sure all of you will be close to me, even though I remain hidden to the world. “

“For today, given the conditions of my age,” he said, “I could not prepare a great, real address, as one might expect, but rather I thought of chatting about the Second Vatican Council, as I saw it.”

The Pope began with an anecdote: “In 1959, I was appointed professor at the University of Bonn, which is attended by students, seminarians of the diocese of Cologne and other surrounding dioceses. So, I came into contact with the Cardinal of Cologne, Cardinal Frings. Cardinal Siri of Genoa — I think it was in 1961 — had organized a series of conferences with several cardinals in Europe, and the Council had invited the archbishop of Cologne to hold a conference, entitled: ‘The Council and the World of Modern Thought.’ The Cardinal invited me — the youngest of the professors — to write a project; he liked the project and proposed this text, as I had written it to the public, in Genoa.”

“Shortly after,” he continued, “Pope John invited him to come [to Rome] and he was afraid he had perhaps said maybe something incorrect, false, and that he had been asked to come for a reprimand, perhaps even to deprive him of his red hat… (priests laughing). Yes… when his secretary dressed him for the audience, he said: ‘Perhaps now I will be wearing this stuff for the last time…’ (the priests laugh). Then he went in. Pope John came towards him and hugged him, saying, ‘Thank you, Your Eminence, you said things I have wanted to say, but I had not found the words to say’… (the priests laugh, applaud) Thus, the Cardinal knew he was on the right track, and I was invited to accompany him to the Council, first as his personal advisor, then — in the first period, perhaps in November ’62 — I was also appointed as an official peritus [expert] for the Council.”

Benedict XVI continued: “So, we went to the Council not only with joy, but with enthusiasm. The expectation was incredible. We hoped that everything would be renewed, that a new Pentecost really would come, a new era of the Church, because the Church was not robust enough at that time: the Sunday practice was still good, even vocations to the priesthood and religious life were already somewhat fewer, but still sufficient. But nevertheless, there was the feeling that the Church was going on, but getting smaller, that somehow it seemed like a reality of the past and not the bearer of the future. And now, we hoped that this relationship would be renewed, changed, that the Church would once again source of strength for today and tomorrow.”

The Pope then recalled how they saw “that the relationship between the Church and the modern period was one of some ‘contrasts’ from the outset, starting with the error in the Galileo case, “and the idea was to correct this wrong start” and to find a new relationship between the Church and the best forces in the world, “to open up the future of humanity, to open up to real progress.”

The Pope recalled: “We were full of hope, enthusiasm and also of good will.”

 “I remember,” he said, “the Roman Synod was considered as a negative model” where — it was said — they read prepared texts, and the members of the Synod simply approved them, and that was how the Synod was held. The bishops agreed not to do so because they themselves were the subject of the Council. So — he continued — even Cardinal Frings, who was famous for his absolute, almost meticulous, fidelity to the Holy Father, said that the Pope has summoned the bishops in an ecumenical council as a subject to renew the Church.

Benedict XVI recalled that “the first time this attitude became clear, was immediately on the first day.”

 On the first day, the Commissions were to be elected and the lists and nominations were impartially prepared. And these lists were to be voted on. But soon the Fathers said, “No, are not simply going to vote on already made lists. We are the subject.”

 They had to move the elections — he continued — because the Fathers themselves wanted to get to know each other a little, they wanted to make their own lists. So it was done.

 “It was a revolutionary act,” he said, “but an act of conscience, of responsibility on the part of the Council Fathers.”

So, the Pope said, a strong activity of mutual understanding began. And this, he said, was customary for the entire period of the Council: “small transversal meetings.” In this way he became familiar with the great figures like Father de Lubac, Danielou, Congar, and so on. And this, he said “was an experience of the universality of the Church and of the reality of the Church, that does not merely receive imperatives from above, but grows and advances together, under the leadership, of course, of the Successor of Peter.”

He then reiterated that everyone “arrived with great expectations” because “there had never been a Council of this size,” but not everyone knew how to make it work. The French, German, Belgian, Dutch episcopates, the so-called “Rhineland Alliance,” had “the most clearly defined intentions.”

 And in the first part of the Council, he said, it was they who suggested the road ahead, then it’s activities rapidly expanded and soon all participated in the “creativity of the Council.”

The French and the Germans, he observed, had many interests in common, even with quite different nuances.

 Their initial intention, seemingly simple, “was the reform of the liturgy, which had begun with Pius XII,” which had already reformed Holy Week; their second intention was ecclesiology; their third the Word of God, Revelation, and then also ecumenism. The French, much more than the Germans, he noted, still had the problem of dealing with the situation of the relationship between the Church and the world.

Referring to the reform of the liturgy, the Pope recalled that “after the First World War, a liturgical movement had grown in Western Central Europe,” as “the rediscovery of the richness and depth of the liturgy,” which hitherto was almost locked within the priest’s Roman Missal, while the people prayed with their prayer books “that were made according to the heart of the people,” so that “the task was to translate the high content, the language of the classical liturgy, into more moving words, that were closer to the heart of the people. But they were almost two parallel liturgies: the priest with the altar servers, who celebrated the Mass according to the Missal, and the lay people who prayed the Mass with their prayer books.”

 “Now,” he continued, “the beauty, the depth, the Missal’s wealth of human and spiritual history” was rediscovered, as well as the need more than one representative of the people, a small altar boy, to respond “Et cum spiritu tuo” etc., to allow for “a real dialogue between priest and people,” so that the liturgy of the altar and the liturgy of the people really were “one single liturgy, one active participation.

 “And so it was that the liturgy was rediscovered, renewed.”

The Pope said he saw the fact that the Council started with the liturgy as a very positive sign, because in this way “the primacy of God” was self-evident.

 Some, he noted, criticized the Council because it spoke about many things, but not about God: instead, it spoke of God and its first act was to speak of God and open to the entire holy people the possibility of worshiping God, in the common celebration of the liturgy of the Body and Blood of Christ.

In this sense, he observed, beyond the practical factors that advised against immediately starting with controversial issues, it was actually “an act of Providence” that the Council began with the liturgy, God, Adoration.

The Holy Father then recalled the essential ideas of the Council: especially the paschal mystery as a center of Christian existence, and therefore of Christian life, as expressed in Easter and Sunday, which is always the day of the Resurrection, “over and over again we begin our time with the Resurrection, with an encounter with the Risen One.”

 In this sense, he observed, it is unfortunate that today, Sunday has been transformed into the end of the week, while it is the first day, it is the beginning: “inwardly we must bear in mind this is the beginning, the beginning of Creation, the beginning of the re-creation of the Church, our encounter with the Creator and with the Risen Christ.”

 The Pope stressed the importance of this dual content of Sunday: it is the first day, that is the feast of the Creation, as we believe in God the Creator, and an encounter with the Risen One who renews Creation: “its real purpose is to create a world which is a response to God’s love. “

The Council also pondered the principals of the intelligibility of the Liturgy, instead of being locked up in an unknown language, which was no longer spoken, and active participation.

“Unfortunately,”  he said, “these principles were also poorly understood.”

 In fact, intelligibility does not mean “banalizing,” because the great texts of the liturgy,  even in the spoken languages, are not easily intelligible, he said. “They require an ongoing formation of the Christian, so that he may grow and enter deeper into the depths of the mystery, and thus comprehend.”

 And also concerning the Word of God, he asked, who can honestly say they understand the texts of Scripture, simply because they are in their own language?

 “Only a permanent formation of the heart and mind can actually create intelligibility and participation which is more than one external activity, which is an entering of the person, of his or her being into communion with the Church and thus in fellowship with Christ,” he said.

The Pope then addressed the second issue: the Church.

 He recalled that the First Vatican Council was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War and so had emphasized only the doctrine on primacy, which was described as “thanks to God at that historical moment” and “it was very much needed for the Church in the time that followed.”

 But, he said, “it was just one element in a broader ecclesiology,” already in preparation.

 So a a fragment remained from the Council. So from the beginning, he said, the intention was to realise a more complete ecclesiology at a later time.

 Here, too, he said, the conditions seemed very good, because after the First World War, the sense of Church was reborn in a new way.

 A sense of the Church began to reawaken in people’s souls and the Protestant bishop spoke of the “century of the Church.”

 What was especially rediscovered from Vatican I, was the concept of the mystical body of Christ. The aim was to speak about and understand the Church not as an organization, something structural, legal, institutional, which it also is, but as an organism, a vital reality that enters my soul, so that I myself, with my own soul as a believer, am a constructive element of the Church as such. In this sense, Pius XII wrote the encyclical Mystici Corporis Christi, as a step towards a completion of the ecclesiology of Vatican I.

“I would say the theological discussion of the 1930s-1940s, even 1920s, was completely under the sign of the words Mystici Corporis,” the Pope said.

 “It was a discovery that created so much joy in this time and in this context the formula arose: ‘We are the Church, the Church is not a structure, something … we Christians, together, we are all the living body of the Church.’

 “And of course this is true in the sense that we, the true ‘we’ of believers, along with the ‘I’ of Christ, the Church. Each one of us, not we, a group that claims to be the Church. No: this ‘we are Church’ requires my inclusion in the great ‘we’ of believers of all times and places.

So, the Pope said, this was the first idea: to complete the [Vatican I] ecclesiology in theological way, but progressing in a structural manner, that is, alongside the succession of Peter, his unique function, to even better define the function of the bishops of the episcopal body.

 To do this, he said, the word “collegiality” was found, “which provoked great, intense and even – I would say – exaggerated discussions.”

 “But it was the word (it might have been another one), but this ord was needed to express that the bishops, together, are the continuation of the Twelve, the body of the Apostles.

 “We said: only one bishop, that of Rome, is the successor of one particular apostle, Peter. All others become successors of the apostles entering the body that continues the body of the apostles. And just so the body of bishops, the college, is the continuation of the body of the Twelve, so it is necessary, it has its function, its rights and duties.

“It appeared to many,” the Pope said, “as a struggle for power, and maybe some did think about power, but basically it was not about power, but the complementarity of the factors and the completeness of the body of the Church with the bishops, the successors the apostles as bearers, and each of them is a pillar of the Church together with this great body.”

“These,” he continued, “were the two fundamental elements in the search for a comprehensive theological vision of ecclesiology. Meanwhile, after the 1940s, in the 1950s, a little criticism of the concept of the Body of Christ had already been born: ‘mystical body,’ some said, is too exclusive and risks overshadowing the concept of the ‘people of God.’ And the Council,” he observed, “rightly, accepted this fact, which in the Fathers is considered an expression of the continuity between the Old and New Testaments. We Gentiles, we are not in and of ourselves the people of God, but we become the children of Abraham and therefore the people of God, by entering into communion with Christ who is the only seed of Abraham. And entering into communion with Him, being one with Him, we too are ‘people of God.’ That is, the concept of ‘people of God’ implies continuity of the Testaments, continuity of God’s history in the world, with men, but also implies a Christological element. Only through Christology do we become the ‘people of God,’ and the two concepts are combined. And the Council,” said the Pope, “decided to create a Trinitarian construction of ecclesiology: the People of God-the-Father-Body of Christ-Temple of the Holy Spirit.

“But only after the Council,” he continued, “was an element that had been somewhat hidden, brought to light, even as early as the Council itself, that is, the link between the People of God, the (mystical) Body of Christ, and their communion with Christ, in the Eucharistic union.

 “Here we become the body of Christ, that is, the relationship between the people of God and the Body of Christ creates a new reality, that is, the communion.”

 “And the Council,” he continued, “led to the concept of communion as a central concept. I would say philologically that it had not yet fully matured in the Council, but it is the result of the Council that the concept of communion becomes more and more an expression of the sense of the Church, communion in different dimensions, communion with the Triune God, who Himself is communion between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, sacramental communion, concrete communion in the Episcopate and in the life of the Church.

“The problem of Revelation provoked even greater discussion: at issue was the relationship between Scripture and tradition, and above all this interested exegetes of a greater freedom, who felt somewhat, shall we say, in a situation of negativity before Protestants, who were making great discoveries, while Catholics felt a little ‘handicapped’ by the need to submit themselves to Magisterium. There was therefore a very concrete issue at stake: how free are exegetes? How does one read Scriptures well? What is meant by tradition?

 “It was a pluri-dimensional battle that I can not outline now, but certainly what is important is that Scripture is the Word of God and the Church is subject to the Scriptures, obeys the Word of God, and is not above Scripture. Yet, Scripture is Scripture only because there is the living Church, its living subject; without the living subject of the Church Scripture is only a book, open to different interpretations, but which does not give any final clarity.

“Here, the battle, as I said, was difficult and the intervention of Pope Paul VI was decisive. This intervention shows all the delicacy of the Pope, his responsibility for the outcome of the Council, but also his great respect for the Council.

 “The idea had emerged that Scripture is complete, everything can be found therein, so there was no need for tradition, and that Magisterium has nothing to say to us. Then the Pope sent the Council, I believe, 14 formulas of a sentence to be included in the text on Revelation and gave us, gave the Fathers, the freedom to choose one of 14 (formulas), but said: ‘One has to be chosen to complete the text.’

 “I remember, more or less, that the formula spoke of the Church’s certainty of the faith not being based solely on a book, but needing the illuminated subject of the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit. Only in this way can Scripture speak and bring to bear all of its authority.

 “We chose this phrase in the Doctrinal Commission, one of the 14 formulas. It is crucial, I think, to show the indispensability, the necessity of the Church, and to understand what tradition means, the living body in which the Word lives from the beginning and from which it receives its light, in which it was born.

 “Because the simple fact of the Canon (the list of the books included in the Bible) is an ecclesial fact: that these writings are Scripture is the result of the illumination of the Church that found this canon of Scripture within herself, she found (this Canon), she did not make it, but found it. Only and always in this communion of the living Church can one really understand and read the Scriptures as the Word of God, as the Word that guides us in life and in death.

“As I said, this was a difficult discussion, but thanks to the Pope and thanks, let’s say, to the light of the Holy Spirit who was present at the Council, a document that is one of the most beautiful and also innovative of the whole Council was created, which demands further study, because even today  exegesis tends to read Scripture outside of the Church, outside of faith, only in the so-called spirit of the historical-critical method — an important method, but never able to give solutions as a final certainty (which comes) only if we believe that these are not human words: they are the words of God. And only if (we), the living subjects to whom God has spoken, to whom God speaks, are alive, can we correctly interpret Sacred Scripture.

 “And there is still much to be done, as I said in the preface of my book on Jesus, to arrive at a reading of Scripture that is really in the spirit of the Council. Here the application of the Council is not yet complete, it has yet to be accomplished.

“Finally, ecumenism. I do not want to enter into these problems, but it was obvious, especially after the suffering of Christians in the time of National Socialism, that Christians could find unity, at least seek unity, but also that only God can give unity. We are still on this journey.

“Now, with these issues, the Rhine alliance, so to speak, had done its work: the second part of the Council is much broader.

 “Now the themes of ‘the world today,’ ‘the modern era and the Church,’ emerged with greater urgency, and with them, the themes of responsibility for the building of this world, society’s responsibility for the future of this world and eschatological hope, the ethical responsibility of Christians, where they find their guides, and then religious freedom, progress and all that, and relations with other religions.

“Now all the players in the Council really entered into discussions, not only the Americas-United States with a strong interest in religious freedom. In the third session they told the Pope: ‘We cannot go home without bringing with us a declaration on religious freedom passed by the Council.’

 “The Pope [Paul VI], however, had firmness and decision, the patience to delay the text until the fourth session, to reach a maturation and a fairly complete consensus among the Fathers of the Council.

 “I say, not only the Americans had now entered with great force into the Council arena, but also Latin America, knowing full well the misery of their people, a Catholic continent and their responsibility for the situation of the faith of these people.

 “And Africa, Asia, also saw the need for interreligious dialogue: increased problems that we Germans, I must say, at the beginning had not seen. I cannot go into greater depth on this now.

“The great document Gaudium et Spes describes very well the problem analyzed between Christian eschatology and worldly progress, between our responsibility for the society of tomorrow and the responsibility of the Christian before eternity, and so it also renewed Christian ethics, the foundations.

“But unexpectedly, a document that responded in a more synthetic and concrete manner to the great challenges of the time, took shape outside of this great document, namely Nostra Aetate.

“From the beginning, there were our Jewish friends, who said to us Germans especially, but not only to us, that after the sad events of this century, this decade of National Socialism, the Catholic Church had to say a word on the Old Testament, the Jewish people. They also said ‘it was clear that the Church is not responsible for the Shoah. Those who have committed these crimes were Christians, for the most part, we must deepen and renew the Christian conscience, even if we know that the true believers always resisted these things.’ [Note: I believe these lines of the Vatican Radio transcription need to be checked against the Pope’s actual words in his talk, which I am unable to access at this time.]

“And so, it was clear that we had to reflect on our relationship with the world of the ancient people of God. We also understood that the Arab countries, the bishops of the Arab countries, were not happy with this. They feared a glorification of the State of Israel, which they did not want to, of course. They said, ‘Well, a truly theological indication on the Jewish people is good, it is necessary, but if you are to speak about this, you must also speak of Islam. Only in this way can we be balanced. Islam is also a great challenge and the Church should clarify its relationship with Islam.’ This is something that we didn’t really understand at the time, a little, but not much. Today we know how necessary it was.

“And when we started to work also on Islam, they said: ‘But there are also other religions of the world: all of Asia! Think about Buddhism, Hinduism…’

“And so, instead of an initial declaration originally meant only for the ancient people of God, a text on interreligious dialogue was created anticipating by 30 years what would later reveal itself in all of its intensity and importance. I can not enter into it now, but if you read the text, you see that it is very dense and prepared by people who really knew the truth, and it briefly indicates, in a few words, what is essential. Thus also the foundations of a dialogue in diversity, in faith to the uniqueness of Christ, who is One.

“It is not possible for a believer to think that religions are all variations on a theme of ‘no.’

“There is a reality of the living God who has spoken, and is a God, a God incarnate, therefore the Word of God is really the Word of God.

“But there is religious experience, with a certain human light of creation, and therefore it is necessary and possible to enter into dialogue and thus open up to each other and open all peoples up to the peace of God, of all his children, and his entire family.

“Thus, these two documents, religious freedom and Nostra Aetate associated with Gaudium et Spes are a very important trilogy, the importance of which has only been revealed over the decades, and we are still working to understand this uniqueness of the revelation of God, uniqueness of God incarnate in Christ and the multiplicity of religions with which we seek peace and also an open heart to the light of the Holy Spirit who enlightens and guides to Christ.

“I would now like to add yet a third point: there was the Council of the Fathers, the true Council, but there was also the Council of the media. It was almost a Council in and of itself, and the world perceived the Council through them, through the media.

“So the immediate message of the Council that got thorough to the people, was that of the media, not that of the Fathers.

“And while the Council of the Fathers evolved within the faith, it was a Council of the faith that sought the intellectus, that sought to understand, to try to understand the signs of God at that moment, that tried to meet the challenge of God in this time to find the words for today and tomorrow.

“So while the whole Council, as I said, moved within the faith, as fides quaerens intellectum, the Council of journalists did not, naturally, take place within the world of faith, but within the categories of the media of today, that is outside of the faith, with different hermeneutics.

“It was a hermeneutic of politics.

“The media saw the Council as a political struggle, a struggle for power between different currents within the Church. It was obvious that the media would take the side of whatever faction best suited their world.

“There were those who sought a decentralization of the Church, power for the bishops and then, through the Word for the ‘People of God,’ the power of the people, the laity.

“There was this triple issue: the power of the Pope, then transferred to the power of the bishops, and then the power of all… popular sovereignty.

“Naturally they saw this as the part to be approved, to promulgate, to help.

“This was the case for the liturgy: there was no interest in the liturgy as an act of faith, but as a something to be made understandable, similar to a community activity, something profane. And we know that there was a trend, which was also historically based, that said: ‘Sacredness is a pagan thing, possibly even from the Old Testament. In the New Testament the only important thing is that Christ died outside: that is, outside the gates, that is, in the secular world.’

“Sacredness ended up as profanity even in worship: worship is not worship but an act that brings people together, communal participation and thus participation as activity.

“And these translations, trivializing the idea of ​​the Council, were virulent in the practice of implementing the liturgical reform, born in a vision of the Council outside of its own key vision of faith.

“And it was so, also in the matter of Scripture: Scripture is a book, historical, to treat historically and nothing else, and so on.

“And we know that this Council of the media was accessible to all. So, dominant, more efficient, this Council created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed liturgy trivialized… and the true Council has struggled to materialize, to be realized: the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council.

“But the real strength of the Council was present and slowly it has emerged and is becoming the real power which is also true reform, true renewal of the Church.

“It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this Virtual Council is breaking down, getting lost and the true Council is emerging with all its spiritual strength.

“And it is our task, in this Year of Faith, starting from this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and Church is really renewed.

“We hope that the Lord will help us. I, retired in prayer, will always be with you, and together we will move ahead with the Lord in certainty. The Lord is victorious. Thank you.”

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