Liturgy of the Hours

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Papal Homily for Quebec Congress

"The Eucharist Is Not a Meal Among Friends"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 23, 2008 ( Here is a translation of the homily Benedict XVI gave via satellite Sunday at the closing Mass of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress. The congress was held in Quebec City. The homily was given in English and French.

* * *

Lord Cardinals,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

While you are gathered for the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, I am happy to join you through the medium of satellite and thus unite myself to your prayer. I would like first of all to greet the Lord Cardinal Marc Ouellet, archbishop of Quebec, and the Lord Cardinal Jozef Tomko, special envoy for the congress, as well as all the cardinals and bishops present. I also address my cordial greetings to the personalities of civil society who decided to take part in the liturgy. My affectionate thought goes to the priests, deacons and all the faithful present, as well as to all Catholics of Quebec, of the whole of Canada and of other continents. I do not forget that your country celebrates this year the 400th anniversary of its foundation. It is an occasion for each one of you to recall the values that animated the pioneers and missionaries in your country.

"The Eucharist, gift of God for the Life of the World," this is the theme chosen for this latest International Eucharistic Congress. The Eucharist is our most beautiful treasure. It is the sacrament par excellence; it introduces us early into eternal life; it contains the whole mystery of our salvation; it is the source and summit of the action and of the life of the Church, as the Second Vatican Council recalled ("Sacrosanctum Concilium," No. 8).

It is, therefore, particularly important that pastors and faithful dedicate themselves permanently to furthering their knowledge of this great sacrament. Each one will thus be able to affirm his faith and fulfill ever better his mission in the Church and in the world, recalling that there is a fruitfulness of the Eucharist in his personal life, in the life of the Church and of the world. The Spirit of truth gives witness in your hearts; you also must give witness to Christ before men, as the antiphon states in the alleluia of this Mass. Participation in the Eucharist, then, does not distance us from our contemporaries; on the contrary, because it is the expression par excellence of the love of God, it calls us to be involved with all our brothers to address the present challenges and to make the planet a place where it is good to live.

To accomplish this, it is necessary to struggle ceaselessly so that every person will be respected from his conception until his natural death; that our rich societies welcome the poorest and allow them their dignity; that all persons be able to find nourishment and enable their families to live; that peace and justice may shine in all continents. These are some of the challenges that must mobilize all our contemporaries and for which Christians must draw their strength in the Eucharistic mystery.

"The Mystery of Faith": this is what we proclaim at every Mass. I would like everyone to make a commitment to study this great mystery, especially by revisiting and exploring, individually and in groups, the Council's text on the Liturgy, "Sacrosanctum Concilium," so as to bear witness courageously to the mystery. In this way, each person will arrive at a better grasp of the meaning of every aspect of the Eucharist, understanding its depth and living it with greater intensity. Every sentence, every gesture has its own meaning and conceals a mystery. I sincerely hope that this Congress will serve as an appeal to all the faithful to make a similar commitment to a renewal of Eucharistic catechesis, so that they themselves will gain a genuine Eucharistic awareness and will in turn teach children and young people to recognize the central mystery of faith and build their lives around it. I urge priests especially to give due honor to the Eucharistic rite, and I ask all the faithful to respect the role of each individual, both priest and lay, in the Eucharistic action. The liturgy does not belong to us: it is the Church's treasure.

Reception of the Eucharist, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament -- by this we mean deepening our communion, preparing for it and prolonging it -- is also about allowing ourselves to enter into communion with Christ, and through him with the whole of the Trinity, so as to become what we receive and to live in communion with the Church. It is by receiving the Body of Christ that we receive the strength "of unity with God and with one another" (Saint Cyril of Alexandria, In Ioannis Evangelium, 11:11; cf. Saint Augustine, Sermo 577).

We must never forget that the Church is built around Christ and that, as Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Albert the Great have all said, following Saint Paul (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:17), the Eucharist is the sacrament of the Church's unity, because we all form one single body of which the Lord is the head. We must go back again and again to the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, where we were given a pledge of the mystery of our redemption on the Cross. The Last Supper is the locus of the nascent Church, the womb containing the Church of every age. In the Eucharist, Christ's sacrifice is constantly renewed, Pentecost is constantly renewed. May all of you become ever more deeply aware of the importance of the Sunday Eucharist, because Sunday, the first day of the week, is the day when we honor Christ, the day when we receive the strength to live each day the gift of God.

I would also like to invite the pastors and faithful to a renewed care in their preparation for reception of the Eucharist. Despite our weakness and our sin, Christ wills to make his dwelling in us, asking him for healing. To bring this about, we must do everything that is in our power to receive him with a pure heart, ceaselessly rediscovering, through the sacrament of penance, the purity that sin has stained, "putting our soul and our voice in accord," according to the invitation of the Council (cf. "Sacrosanctum Concilium," No.11). In fact, sin, especially grave sin, is opposed to the action of Eucharistic grace in us. However, those who cannot go to communion because of their situation, will find nevertheless in a communion of desire and in participation in the Mass saving strength and efficacy.

The Eucharist had an altogether special place in the lives of saints. Let us thank God for the history of holiness of Quebec and Canada, which contributed to the missionary life of the Church. Your country honors especially its Canadian martyrs, Jean de Brebeuf, Isaac Jogues and their companions, who were able to give up their lives for Christ, thus uniting themselves to his sacrifice on the Cross.

They belong to the generation of men and women who founded and developed the Church of Canada, with Marguerite Bourgeoys, Marguerite d'Youville, Marie of the Incarnation, Marie-Catherine of Saint Augustine, Mgr Francis of Laval, founder of the first diocese in North America, Dina Belanger and Kateri Tekakwitha. Put yourselves in their school; like them, be without fear; God accompanies you and protects you; make of each day an offering to the glory of God the Father and take your part in the building of the world, remembering with pride your religious heritage and its social and cultural brilliance, and taking care to spread around you the moral and spiritual values that come to us from the Lord.

The Eucharist is not a meal among friends. It is a mystery of covenant. "The prayers and the rites of the Eucharistic sacrifice make the whole history of salvation revive ceaselessly before the eyes of our soul, in the course of the liturgical cycle, and make us penetrate ever more its significance" (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, [Edith Stein], Wege zur inneren Stille Aschaffenburg, 1987, p. 67). We are called to enter into this mystery of covenant by conforming our life increasingly every day to the gift received in the Eucharist. It has a sacred character, as Vatican Council II reminds: "Every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of His Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others; no other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree " ("Sacrosanctum Concilium," No. 7). In a certain way, it is a "heavenly liturgy," anticipation of the banquet in the eternal Kingdom, proclaiming the death and resurrection of Christ, until he comes (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:26).

In order that the People of God never lack ministers to give them the Body of Christ, we must ask the Lord to make the gift of new priests to his Church. I also invite you to transmit the call to the priesthood to young men, so that they will accept with joy and without fear to respond to Christ. They will not be disappointed. May families be the primordial place and the cradle of vocations.

Before ending, it is with joy that I announce to you the meeting of the next International Eucharistic Congress. It will be held in Dublin, in Ireland, in 2012. I ask the Lord to make each one of you discover the depth and grandeur of the mystery of faith. May Christ, present in the Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit, invoked over the bread and wine, accompany you on your daily way and in your mission. May you, in the image of the Virgin Mary, be open to the work of God in you. Entrusting you to the intercession of Our Lady, of Saint Anne, patroness of Quebec, and of all the saints of your land, I impart to all of you an affectionate Apostolic Blessing, as well as to all the persons present, who have come from different countries of the world.

Dear friends, as this significant event in the life of the Church draws to a conclusion I invite you all to join me in praying for the success of the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2012 in the city of Dublin! I take this opportunity to greet warmly the people of Ireland, as they prepare to host this ecclesial gathering. I am confident that they, together with all the participants at the next Congress, will find it a source of lasting spiritual renewal.

[Translation of the French portions by ZENIT]

Orthodox Patriarch to Attend Opening of Pauline Year

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 24, 2008 ( The ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, will attend the inauguration of the Pauline Jubilee Year and Mass celebrated by Benedict XVI the next day.

According to reports Monday and today from the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff, Bartholomew I will participate in Saturday's celebration of vespers at the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside the Walls. With this event, Benedict XVI will officially inaugurate the Pauline year.

Representatives of other Christian communities are also scheduled to attend.

On Sunday, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Bartholomew I will participate in the Mass celebrated by the Pope in St. Peter's.

The patriarch and the Holy Father will pronounce the homily; together they will recite the profession of faith and impart the blessing.

The Pope will concelebrate Mass with the new metropolitan archbishops, upon whom he will impose the pallium during the course of the ceremony.

The "Ultimatum"

For those who are keeping track with the news of the Vatican's "Ultimatum" to the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX) . . .

The translation of the document from Rorate Caeli.

Pontificia Commissio
"Ecclesia Dei"
Conditions which result from the meeting of June 4, 2008,
between Cardinal Darío
Castrillón Hoyos and Bishop Bernard Fellay

1. The commitment to a response proportionate to the generosity of the Pope.
2. The commitment to avoid every public intervention which does not respect the person of the Holy Father and which may be negative to ecclesial charity.
3. The commitment to avoid the claim to a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not propose the Fraternity in contraposition to the Church.
4. The commitment to display the will to act honestly in full ecclesial charity and in respect for the authority of the Vicar of Christ.
5. The commitment to respect the date - fixed for the end of the month of June [2008] - to respond positively. This shall be a condition necessary and required as an immediate preparation for adhesion to accomplish full communion.

[Signed] Darío Card. Castrillón Hoyos

Rome, June 4, 2008

O God, our common Father who knows us better than ourselves,
pour graces through the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the members of the SSPX
to bend what is rigid and warm what is cold,
that in union with the Vicar of Christ,
to whom Your Son our Lord gave His own authority to bind and to loose
and whom He gave as a gift to the Church as a visible point of of unity,
we may together in ecclesial charity strive in grace and zeal to renew
Your people in our Holy Catholic Church

(see Fr. Z's (WDTPRS) comments)

TLM at the 4th National Convention of Diocesan Chancellors

(repost from prodeoetpatria)

The 4th National Convention of Diocesan Chancellors, that started yesterday, June 24th 2008, began with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite with Msgr. Moises Andrade, chancellor of the Diocese of Malolos, as celebrant. As the servers prepared the plenary hall of Pius XII Catholic Center, Msgr. Andrade gave a short cathecisis and explained briefly the different parts of the Traditional Mass to his fellow chancellors and guests. The chancellors and guests followed the Traditional Mass, from beginning to end, attentively and reverently and even received the Body of our Lord kneeling in adoration and awe.

During the second day of the convention, Msgr. Moises Andrade will give a talk on the Holy Father's Apostolic Letter given motu proprio Summorum Pontificum.

The 4th National Convention of Diocesan Chancellors is a three day event from June 24 to June 26, 2008 originally in Corregidor Island but moved to Pius XII Catholic Center in UN Avenue Manila due to high waves.

Monday, June 23, 2008

From our Diocesan Bishop. . .


(Address of Most Rev. Luis Antonio Tagle, Bishop of the Diocese of Imus on June 19, 2008 at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec.)

We have come to the part of the Congress devoted to a reflection on the Eucharist, the Life of Christ in our Lives. These past days we have been affirming that the Church lives by the gift of the life of Christ. This essential part of our faith is experienced in a unique and special way in the Eucharist where the Church receives again and again the life of Christ to become its very own life.

What a wonderful mystery it is to live by the life of Christ. Jesus' mission is to give his life so that others may live. In John 6:51 he says, "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." Jesus the Bread of Life is a gift from the Father. Those who eat this Bread, who receive Jesus into their persons, will have life. He will lay down his life, so that others "may have life and have it abundantly" (Jn.10:10).

Every Eucharist proclaims, "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life" (Jn 3:16). Because the life of Christ is oriented towards others, the Church must share this life with the world. The Life of Christ is his gift to the Church that is meant to be the Church's gift to the world. In the Eucharist we don't only receive the life of Christ. Beholding this most precious gift, we are moved as well to worship and adore the Triune God.

The Eucharist does not fail to evoke from grateful hearts the worship and adoration that God deserves. But as we worship and adore we realize that it is Jesus who guides us on the way of true worship and adoration. We will dwell on these two elements of living the Eucharist: spiritual worship and authentic adoration. But first let us describe the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ

The Catholic Tradition refers to the Eucharist as the sacrament of Jesus' sacrifice. In the Judaic Tradition, the offering of ritual sacrifices occupied a central place in the worship of God's people. Was the sacrifice of Jesus no different from other Temple sacrifices like the pouring of the blood of animals and the burning of offerings? What made up the sacrificial worship of Jesus? It is time to consider the unique worship of Jesus contained in His unique sacrifice.

For this we turn to the letter to the Hebrews. In Hebrews 7:27 it is stated, "Unlike the other high priests, he has no need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for those of the people; this he did once for all when he offered himself." He offered himself! "He entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption" (Heb 9:12). Jesus offered his blood, his very life and not any animal substitute.

The letter further says, "It is by God's will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb 10:10). The sacrificial worship of Jesus Christ, therefore, consists in the offering of his body, his blood, and his life. The apex of this sacrifice of self-oblation occurs on the Cross and reaches its completion in the Heavenly Sanctuary or in Jesus' glorification. We have gone beyond mere ritual sacrifice to the living sacrifice of self-giving.

Jesus' worship culminates in the surrender of his humanity and its entry into God's presence for the sake of the world. At this point we draw our attention to the question of how the self-offering of Jesus becomes true sacrifice and worship. We know many people who offer themselves to something or someone, such as parents, teachers, public servants, or even hardened criminals. Does every self-offering qualify as a sacrificial worship? So we ask, how does Jesus' offering of his body and blood acquire the quality of genuine sacrifice?

The letter to the Hebrews gives two elements of Jesus' self oblation. First, we hear in Hebrews 5:7-8, "In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered." This is the first aspect that makes his self offering an act of worship, namely his obedience or reverent submission to the Father who willed that people be saved and brought to glory (Heb 2:10). Self-offering motivated by the desire to prove oneself, to achieve success or to promote self-interest falls short of being a moment of worship.

Jesus' sacrifice of his life was not focused on himself or his agenda but rather was a response to the Father who had sent him. The fulfillment of His saving will pleases the Father more than any burnt sacrifices (Heb 8:9). Thus obedience to God makes the gift of self an act of worship. Secondly, his worship includes his solidarity with feeble sinners. In Hebrews 4:15-16 it is stated, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need."

His oneness with weak humanity was essential to his priestly service or worship on behalf of the people. Hebrews 2:17-18 states eloquently, "Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested." Here the image of priestly service or worship is applied to the redemptive mission of Jesus.

His embrace of the trials and sufferings of human beings has made him a brother who can now truly intercede for them before the Father's mercy rather than judge them harshly. He worships through supplications to God welling up from his compassion for erring sinners. In other words, Jesus' prayer to the Father gives voice to humankind's laments and hopes that he has made his own. In summary, we can say that the worship of Jesus is the sacrifice of his own life offered to fulfill the Father's will to save sinners, whose weaknesses he shares in order to lift them to the mercy of God as a compassionate High Priest and Brother. Obedience to God and compassionate action on behalf of sinners form one unitary act of worship.

They cannot be separated from each other. Jesus' intercessory life for weak humanity before God is his priestly worship that fulfills God's will. Ultimately, we see in Jesus' worship the embodiment of loving God with one's whole being and loving one's neighbors as oneself. Every time we come to the Eucharist, Jesus renews his unique sacrifice and invites us to share in his worship of self-oblation.

The Spiritual Worship of the Baptized

In baptism, we begin sharing in Jesus' sacrifice of obedience to the Father in solidarity with sinners. Baptism unites us to Jesus' sacrificial death and newness of life. Saint Paul tells us in Romans 6:3-4, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." In union with Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we are enabled to offer our life for God that involves dying to sin. Renunciation of sin and faith in God form the fundamental worship and sacrifice of the baptized, made possible by our sharing in the sacrifice of Jesus. In this light we can understand Saint Paul's words in Romans 12:1, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."

Like Jesus we are to offer a living sacrifice not made up of calves, goats and grain but of lives dedicated to God. This living sacrifice united with Christ's sacrifice builds up the Christian community as well. 1 Peter 2:4 rightly states, "Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God's sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God though Jesus Christ." It is evident that the living sacrifice of the baptized includes ethical demands.
Saint Paul tells us that offering our bodies as a living sacrifice will happen only if we are not conformed to this world but are transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom 12:2). Conformity to the will of God is a key to the sacrifice of life. It also involves living in genuine love, contributing to the needs of others, rejoicing with those who rejoice, weeping with those who weep (Rom 12:9-21). We are back where we started.

Jesus' sacrifice of obedience to the Father and communion with weak sinners is the same sacrifice that the baptized are asked to offer as a gift to the world. This is so because we have received his life in baptism. And in every Eucharistic memorial of Christ's sacrifice, we are taken up into its life-giving power so that we can share it for the life of the world. It is ironic that during the public ministry of Jesus, he was not always perceived as someone who offered a sacrifice pleasing to God. Instead of being praised for being obedient, he was frequently accused of transgressing the law of God. No wonder, some people attributed his miracles to the power of the prince of demons rather than to Divine intervention. His critics even took his repeated claims of oneness with God as blasphemy rather than as revelation of God's truth.

They concluded that God was as displeased with him as they were. He was dangerous for the nation and the Temple. For indeed Jesus' sacrifice of obedience took on a seemingly disobedient or irreverent expression. It is interesting to note that quite often, Jesus was denounced as a violator of God's law when he showed compassion for the weak, the poor, the sick, the women, and public sinners. He offered new life to those considered impure by eating and mingling with them. He assured them that God was not distant and there was hope in God's loving mercy. But he himself got no mercy from his adversaries, only ridicule for disobeying laws that were supposed to embody God's will. Jesus suffered on account of his self-offering for those loved by God. But he never wavered in his sacrifice. In the process he exposed the false gods that people worshipped, erroneous notions of holiness and the blindness of righteous people to the visitations of God. Jesus' sacrifice uncovered the link between the worship of false gods and insensitivity to the needy.

An idolater easily loses compassion for the weak. Though he was judged, Jesus was the one actually judging the untrue worship that kept people blind and deaf to the true God and the poor. The Church that lives the life of Christ and offers his living sacrifice cannot run away from its mission to unearth the false gods worshipped by the world. How many people have exchanged the true God for idols like profit, prestige, pleasure and control? Those who worship false gods also dedicate their lives to them. In reality these false gods are self-interests.

To keep these false gods, their worshippers sacrifice other people's lives and the earth. It is sad that those who worship idols sacrifice other people while preserving themselves and their interests. How many factory workers are being denied the right wages for the god of profit? How many women are being sacrificed to the god of domination? How many children are being sacrificed to the god of lust? How many trees, rivers, hills are being sacrificed to the god of "progress"? How many poor people are being sacrificed to the god of greed? How many defenseless people are being sacrificed to the god of national security?

The Church, however, must also constantly examine its fidelity to Jesus' sacrifice of obedience to God and compassion for the poor. Like those who opposed Jesus in the name of authentic religion, we could be blind to God and neighbors because of self-righteousness, spiritual pride and rigidity of mind. Ecclesiastical customs and persons, when naively and narrowly deified and glorified, might become hindrances to true worship and compassion. I am disturbed when some people who do not even know me personally conclude that my being a bishop automatically makes me closer to God than they could ever be. My words are God's words, my desires are God's, my anger is God's, and my actions are God's. If I am not cautious, I might just believe it and start demanding the offerings of the best food and wine, money, car, house, adulation and submission.

After all, I am "God!" I might take so much delight in my stature and its benefits that I might end up being callous to the needs of the poor and the earth. I remember an experience in the market of our town of Imus, the seat of our diocese. One Saturday morning I went to monitor the prices of goods and the condition of the simple market vendors. I saw a woman selling fruit and vegetables in a corner. She was one of those who went to Sunday Mass regularly. It was only 10 o'clock in the morning but she was already closing her store. So I asked her the reason. She told me, "I belong to a prayer group. We have a big assembly this afternoon. Some tasks were assigned to me. So I want to be there early." Upon hearing this, the pragmatic side of me surfaced. I responded, "The Lord will understand if you extend your working hours. You have a family to support. You can benefit from additional income. I am sure the Lord will understand." With a smile, she said, "But Bishop, the Lord has been faithful to me. The Lord has always been there for us. We may not be rich but we have enough to live by. Why will I fear?" Then looking at me tenderly, she said, "Are you not a Bishop? Are you not supposed to be encouraging me in faith?" I was quite embarrassed. But for me it was an experience of spiritual worship. I, the religiously and culturally accepted presence of God was revealed to be a faltering representation of God.
That simple woman, offering herself to God in trust for love of her family, became for me the manifestation of the presence of God. She had brought the Eucharistic sacrifice and Jesus' spiritual worship from the elegant Cathedral to the noise and dirt of the market place. God must have been well pleased.

Authentic Adoration

This leads me to the final part of my conference. Let us briefly reflect on adoration. Worship is so intimately related to adoration that they could be considered as one.
The sacrifice or spiritual worship of Jesus on the cross is his supreme act of adoration. In the Eucharist, the Church joins Jesus in adoring the God of life. But the practice of Eucharistic adoration enlivens some features of worship. We believe that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist continues beyond the liturgy. At any time we can adore the Blessed Sacrament and join the Lord's self-offering to God for the life of the world.

Adoration connotes being present, resting, and beholding. In adoration, we are present to Jesus whose sacrifice is ever present to us. Abiding in him, we are assimilated more deeply into his self-giving. Beholding Jesus, we receive and are transformed by the mystery we adore. Eucharistic adoration is similar to standing at the foot of the Cross of Jesus, being a witness to his sacrifice of life and being renewed by it.

Aside from the Blessed Mother and the Beloved Disciple who kept vigil with the dying Jesus, the Roman centurion who had been watching over Jesus when he died could also be a model of adoration. Probably the centurion guarded Jesus from his arrest to his death. Seeing Jesus betrayed, arrested, accused, humiliated, stripped, and brutally nailed to the cross, he surprisingly concluded, "This man is innocent" (Lk 23:47), and "Truly, this is the Son of God" (Mt 27:54; Mk 15:39). Already hardened by many crucifixions he had supervised, he must have seen something new in Jesus.

At the conclusion of a routine execution came a profession of faith in Jesus. It was not just another crucifixion after all. It was the manifestation of innocence and of the Son of God. We learn from the centurion's "adoration" that Jesus' sacrifice of life cannot be appreciated for what it truly is unless the horror of the cross is confronted. Mark's gospel says the centurion stood facing Jesus. Like any leader of guards, he kept careful watch over this criminal Jesus. He did nothing but look at Jesus. Physical nearness was not enough however. He had to be intent, vigilant and observant so that he could account for every detail.

We learn from the centurion to face Jesus, to keep watch over him, to behold him, to contemplate him. At first the centurion spent hours watching over Jesus out of duty but ended up contemplating him in truth. What did the centurion see? We can assume that he saw the horror of suffering that preceded Jesus' death. He was an eyewitness to the torment, humiliation and loneliness inflicted on Jesus when friends betrayed and left him. He must have been shocked to see Judas planting a seemingly caressing kiss that was in fact an act of treachery. He probably wondered how swiftly a band of friends could abandon their teacher to preserve their lives.

He heard the lies fabricated in the Sanhedrin and Pilate's surrender to the crowd, despite the lack of a case against Jesus. He beheld people ridiculing Jesus, spitting on him, stripping him and crucifying him. He heard the painful cry, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Mk 15:34). The centurion saw incredible cruelty from friends, leaders, and even from a distant God. Betrayal, inhumanity, and viciousness continue up to our time in the many crucifixions of the poor and of creation. We cannot help but wonder why friends, leaders, and God are unresponsive.
But I also believe that in Jesus the centurion saw incredible love, love for the God who had failed to remove this cup of suffering from him, and love for neighbors. For his enemies, he begged the Father's forgiveness (Lk 23:34). To a bandit he promised paradise (Lk 23:43). For his mother he secured a new family (Jn 19:26-27). And to the God who had abandoned him, he abandoned himself, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit" (Lk 23:46).

The centurion saw love blooming in the aridity of inhumanity. Amidst the noise of ridicule and lies, this man Jesus uttered words of fidelity and truth. Everywhere people were shouting "no" to Jesus, but the centurion heard from Jesus only "yes" to the Father, "yes" to neighbors, "yes" to mission. In this horrible cross of hatred and violence, the centurion found love, unwavering love, a love that refused to die, a love that was strong as steel against evil, yet tender before the beloved.
Jesus remained faithful to his mission. Thus his death was transformed into life. When we adore the Triune God in praise of the sacrifice of Jesus, we are called to cry for the victims of the indifference of sinful humanity and the helplessness of God. But we also cry in gratitude for the hopeful unfolding of pure love in a broken world. The cross, where the guilt of criminals was sealed, confirmed the innocence of Jesus, the true worshipper of God. His sacrificial worship was his untarnished love of God and profound compassion for sinners. Jesus, who survived such horror with hope and conquered such evil with tenderness and love, was not only innocent. He also showed that he came from above. The centurion believed that Jesus could have come only from God, his Father.

I visited a poor section of a parish that opened a feeding program for malnourished children. The parents were required to supervise the meal of their children. As I went around the crowded noisy hall, a teenage girl who was gently feeding a young boy caught my attention. She must be his elder sister, I thought to myself. I approached them and asked where their mother was. She was looking for a job that day, I was told. So she sent her teenage daughter to feed the boy.

Thinking that she must be as hungry as her brother, I asked, "Have you eaten?" "No," she said, "I am not part of the program. I am already thirteen." I was surprised at her honesty. For hungry children, this was an opportunity to cheat in order to fill one's stomach. But she remained honest. I responded, "I will instruct a volunteer to give you lunch, if some food is left after all the children have eaten." Thankful but embarrassed she said, "No, Bishop. There are many other hungry children in this village. Give the extra food to them." I was drawn into deep silence. "My God, my God, why are these children going hungry?" I prayed. Yet I also exclaimed, "I did not expect to see sharing and integrity in this place of death.

Truly these are innocent children of God. There is hope for the world." In Eucharistic adoration, let us join the centurion in watching over Jesus and see what he has seen. Let us cringe in horror at the sight of destructive evil. Let us marvel at the reality of spotless love, of pure sacrifice and worship. I wish that Eucharistic adoration would lead us to know Jesus more as the compassionate companion of many crucified peoples of today. Let us spend time too with the multitudes of innocent victims of our time.

We might be able to touch Jesus who knows their tears and pain for he has made them his own and has changed them into hope and love. Watching over our suffering neighbors, we could be changed like the centurion into discerners of truth and heralds of faith. And hopefully when people behold how we bear others' crosses in love, they too would see the face of innocence and the Son of God in us. Let us adore Jesus who offered his life as a gift to the Father for us sinners. Let us adore him for ourselves, for the poor, for the earth, for the Church and for the life of the world.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Church marks Sin’s death anniversary

MANILA, June 19, 2008 (CBCP News) —The late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin will be remembered anew on a memorial Mass for his 3rd death anniversary on June 21.

Described as the country’s conscience and moral touchtone, Cardinal Sin’s memory will again be cherished with fondness by the Catholic community he served.

Ranking Catholic bishops are now preparing to hold this Saturday a concelebrated Mass for Cardinal Sin to presided by his successor Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales.

The Eucharistic celebration will be held at 7:30 a.m. at the Metropolitan Manila Cathedral-Basilica in Intramuros, Manila.

Cardinal Sin died on June 21, 2005, two months before his 77th birthday. He was archbishop of Manila for 29 years.

Concelebrants at the Mass will include Sin’s former protégé and now Bataan Bishop Socrates Villegas and other bishops, priests based in Manila archdiocese.

It is expected that other priests who will not be able to make it to the 7:30 a.m. Mass will be holding the liturgical celebration at other times during the day at the crypt, which is open for visitors.

During his pastoral stewardship of the archdiocese, he erected 109 parishes in Metro Manila with a Catholic population of almost 12 million.

He also ordained 530 men to the priesthood and was principal consecrator for 15 bishops.

Cardinal Sin was appointed as Manila archbishop on Jan 21, 1974, where he played a key role in the ouster of presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Estrada.

The prelate fought with then president Fidel Ramos over the population control issue, being one of the most vocal critics of the Ramos government's liberal approach to population management.

He served as president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines for two terms, from 1977 to 1981.

At the time of his retirement in 2003 on reaching his 75th birthday as mandated by Canon Law, the archdiocese had been subdivided to five new dioceses, namely, Cubao, Pasig, Parañaque, Kalookan and Novaliches. (Roy Lagarde)

Orthodox leader suggests "dual unity" for Eastern Catholics

Constantinople, Jun. 19, 2008 ( - The Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople has responded favorably to a suggestion by the head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church for a system of "dual unity" in which Byzantine Catholic churches would be in full communion with both Constantinople and Rome.

Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople welcomed the proposal in an interview with the magazine Cyril and Methodius, the RISU news service reports. The acknowledged leader of the Orthodox world suggested that the "dual unity" approach would produce something akin to the situation of the Christian world in the 1st millennium, before the split between Rome and Constantinople.

Cardinal Lubomyr Husar of Kiev, the Major Archbishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Church-- the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches-- had offered the possibility that Byzantine Catholics might seek communion with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, without giving up their communion with the Holy See. Patriarch Bartholomew expressed distinct interest in the idea, saying that "the mother Church in Constantinople holds the doors open for the return of all her former sons and daughters."

Patriarch Bartholomew acknowledged that a restoration of unity would require study, and important differences would have to be overcome. However, he observed that major steps have already been taken to resolve disagreements-- most importantly the revocation of the mutual decrees of excommunication issued by Rome and Constantinople against each other in 1054.

While Catholic and Orthodox theologians continue their efforts to reach agreement on doctrinal questions, Patriarch Bartholomew said, "the people at the grass roots have to come together again." He pointed to the "dual unity" idea as a possible step toward practical unity.

Cardinal Husar, the Ukrainian Catholic leader, has suggested in the past that the Orthodox and Byzantine Catholics of Ukraine should unite under the leadership of a single patriarch. That provocative suggestion is particularly interesting for two reasons.

First, Byzantine Catholics in Ukraine argued for years-- particularly since emerging vigorously from the shadow of Communist repression-- that the Ukrainian Catholic Church should be accorded the status of a patriarchate. Both the late Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have expressed some sympathy for that suggestion. The Byzantine-rite Ukrainian Catholic Church is substantially larger than other Catholic churches that are recognized as patriarchates, including the Maronite, Melkite, Chaldean, Syrian, Armenian and Coptic Catholic churches. However, Kiev is not a historical patriarchal see like Antioch or Alexandria. And the recognition of a Ukrainian Catholic patriarchate would be sure to provoke outrage from the Russian Orthodox Church, which has complained frequently and bitterly about the activities of Byzantine Catholics in Ukraine.

Second, the Orthodox Church in Ukraine is badly split, with three different groups competing for recognition as leaders of the Byzantine faithful. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Kiev Patriarchate is led by Patriarch Filaret, who was once acknowledged by Moscow but broke with the Russian Orthodox Church after Ukraine gained political independence. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Moscow Patriarchate retains ties to Russian Orthodoxy. The Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine, smaller than the other two, has frequently sided with the Kiev patriarchate in efforts to form a single, unified Orthodox Church in Ukraine, independent from Moscow.

Latin Mass in every parish?

London, Jun. 16, 2008 ( - Pope Benedict XVI hopes to see the extraordinary form of the Latin liturgy used in every parish, a senior Vatican official told an audience in England.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the president of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, told a June 14 press conference in London that the traditional Latin Mass should be reintroduced throughout the Catholic world. Asked whether the old liturgy would eventually be used in many parishes, the Colombian prelate replied: "Not many parishes; all parishes."

Cardinal Castrillon said that English seminaries should train priests to celebrate the pre-conciliar liturgy. In many parishes, he pointed out, there will be few Catholics who remember the old liturgy. Priests should re-introduce them to the extraordinary form, he said.

Polish teen aborts child in controversial case

Gdansk, Jun. 18, 2008 ( - The 14-year-old Polish girl whose pregnancy provoked a storm of debate on the country's abortion law has terminated her pregnancy, health minister Ewa Kopacz reports.

The abortion was performed in Gdansk. Kopacz told reporters: "This was the decision of the minor and her mother."

The local prosecutor in the girl’s hometown of Lublin determined that the girl’s pregnancy was not the result of rape-- a theory that had been set forth by Poland’s largest newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. Also it is now clear that the pregnant girl did, indeed, request the assistance of the priest-director of a local home for unwed mothers, Father Krzysztof Podstawka. Father Podstawka is also the head ot the Lublin archdiocese’s pro-life office.

Gazeta Wyborcza, whose editor is the well-known former anti-Communist activist and center-left political publicist Adam Michnik, attacked the person of the local priest for his efforts to help the girl continue her pregnancy.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Overseer of murder: He must resign

Catholic Charities of Richmond, Inc, an agency of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, first provided a "contraceptive device" to a poor 16-year-old Guatemalan girl. Then, according to Federal authorities, Catholic Charities' "members signed the consent form necessary for a minor to have an abortion and had someone drive her to and from the abortion clinic" in January 2008.

This is much more scandalous than the child abuse crisis. This is murder! Heads must roll, and not just those of the employees, but mainly that of the overseeing Bishop. He must resign.

Catholic Charities of Richmond is obviously out of control; the overseer (επίσκοπος) of all Catholic activities related to the Diocese of Richmond is its Bishop, Francis Xavier DiLorenzo. What took place under his watch was no mere "incident". It was the death of an innocent human being, placed by Divine Providence under the care of a Church agency, whose overseer was and is the Bishop. He must resign.

The national network of Catholic Charities, Catholic Charities USA, rightly identified the responsible authority, Bishop DiLorenzo, noting that "[Catholic Charities of Richmond] is incorporated under the leadership of the Richmond Diocese and that the bishop serves on [its] board". This Bishop is responsible for the great tragedy and sinful death that took place under his authority. He must resign.

The culture of death is entrenched in the main work of "outreach" of his diocese. An apologetic letter to his fellow Bishops - a secret letter! - is certainly not enough. This Bishop is the overseer of a murderous organization. This Bishop is a shame to the Catholic Church. He must resign.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cardinal: If They Understand the Mass, They'll Come

International Eucharistic Congress Opens in Quebec

QUEBEC, JUNE 16, 2008 ( If Catholics really understood the meaning of Sunday Mass, they wouldn't miss it, Cardinal Josef Tomko said at the opening of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress.

Cardinal Tomko, the Pope's special envoy for the event, presided Sunday at the opening mass of the weeklong congress in Quebec. He will also preside at the closing Mass on June 22, during which Benedict XVI will address the participants live via satellite.

Some 11,000 pilgrims, 50 cardinals and more than 100 bishops have gathered for the inaugural Mass of the congress titled, "The Eucharist, the Gift of God for the Life of the World."

"The Eucharist is a gift of God," said Cardinal Tomko. "Not as an object, as the other gifts of God, but a very special one, because the gift of God himself.

"The Eucharist is Christ himself, a Person with his divine and human nature, given to us. It is the body and blood of the Risen Christ present with us under the sacramental signs of the bread and wine."

Life of the world

The cardinal explained: "Before leaving this world, Jesus wanted to leave to his Church and to the whole humanity the gift of his Presence. He has chosen the form of the bread and wine. Since the beginning of his public life, in Capernaum, he has promised the bread of life: 'The bread I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.'

"On the eve of his passion, in the Cenacle he took the bread and solemnly declared: 'This is my body given up for you.' And he said over the wine: 'Drink from it, all of you, this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.'

"He has accomplished only a few hours in advance of and in a bloodless, sacramental manner, the sacrifice offered in bloody way on the Cross at Calvary. Jesus therefore instituted the Eucharist as his redemptive sacrifice. The Eucharist is a sacramental form of the sacrifice of Jesus on cross, Cenacle and Calvary are just one sacrifice 'for the life of the world.'"

"This sacrifice happened only once," added the papal legate, "but Jesus wanted to apply and to perpetuate it through the centuries. Therefore he gave a commandment to his apostles: 'Do this in memory of me.'

"It is a memorial and a command: not only to remember him with speeches and words, but to do what he has done."

2,000 Years

"From that time," said Cardinal Tomko, "the priests of his Church accomplish this sublime command doing the same action and pronouncing the same words. Through 2,000 years the same words of Jesus consecrating the bread and wine resounds."

"In each celebration of the Mass," he said, "Jesus Christ himself is present with us in the situation of sacrifice as the lamb of God who takes away the sins of our world, of our community, our sins."

"It is not a show, not a pure commemoration or remembrance," he stressed, "it is sacramental representation of this salvific event, a persevering memorial bringing its fruits to the faithful."

The cardinal added, "If we understand in depth the meaning of our weekly Eucharist, we will revise our frequentation to it. It will become clear for us why the martyrs of Abitine in Northern Africa declared to the pagan judge: 'We cannot live without the (Sunday) Eucharist' -- "Sine Dominico non possumus vivere" -- and why they offered their lives for this conviction."

Prelate: Faithful Not Mere Bystanders at Mass

Says They Are True Participants in New Passover

QUEBEC, JUNE 16, 2008 ( When Catholics attend Mass they are not mere bystanders, but rather participants in the mystery of Christ's death and resurrection, says the archbishop of Washington, D.C.

Archbishop Donald Wuerl said this today at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress, which is being held through Sunday in Quebec. He spoke on "The Institution of the Holy Eucharist, Gift of God."

Some 11,000 pilgrims, 50 cardinals and more than 100 bishops have gathered in Quebec for the weeklong congress, which is titled "The Eucharist, the Gift of God for the Life of the World."

"This Eucharistic congress is intended to lift up for us once again the events of our salvation," said Archbishop Wuerl, "but to do so in a way that we actually participate in those saving actions. The Church calls us not just to a commemoration of the events of 2,000 years ago, as laudable as that might be, but also to enter the mystery itself today.

"We are not bystanders, but rather participants."

He continued: "Unlike any other form of remembrance or commemoration, the Mass, the Eucharistic liturgy, thanks to God’s gracious gift, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, has the power to make present the very reality it symbolizes.

"In the Eucharist, Jesus has instituted the sacrament in which his Passion, death and resurrection would be made present again in our lives in a way that enables us to share in the benefits of the cross.

"We speak of our dying to sin and rising to new life because we participate in the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection."

"The Church uses the word 're-present' to speak of what is happening in the Mass," the archbishop explained. "The term 'holy sacrifice' of the Mass is also exact because sacramentally, but really and truly, the death and resurrection of Christ are once again made present."


"We are not simply bystanders at this memorial, at this Eucharist. We are participants in the new Passover," said Archbishop Wuerl. "This new ritual instituted at the Last Supper transforms us into God’s new people."

He asked: "What do we bring to this Eucharistic banquet, to this paschal celebration? As guests who have been invited not only to witness the memorial of our redemption but actually
participate in it, what do we bring? Certainly, we do not come empty-handed to the table of the Lord."

"The first gift we bring as we approach this extraordinary memorial is our own lively faith," the archbishop said. "Like Peter, we can reply when Jesus asks us, 'Who do you say that I am?' that 'You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.'

"We can reply as Martha did when Jesus proclaimed that he was the resurrection and the life and asked her, 'Do you believe this?' With her, we proclaim, 'Yes, Lord, I have come to believe.'"

"We also bring the gift of hope," he added. "Because we believe, because we see with the eyes of faith, because we place our trust in the words that Jesus has spoken to us, we can with confidence live out our faith."

The archbishop continued: "We can also approach the altar with hearts filled with love. At that Last Supper Jesus taught us that since we were sharers of his Body and Blood we were members of the same family and brothers and sisters to each other."


"When we look around at this Eucharistic Congress," continued Archbishop Wuerl, "we see an expression of God’s grace at work even though each one of us remains in our uniqueness in what the Holy Father calls our particularity."

He continued: "Each one of us with our own heritage, tradition, ethnic and cultural background, speaks to a pluralism that is part of the human condition and yet in our faith, when we come forward, baptized in one Spirit to receive one Lord in the Eucharist, we are united in one faith in his one Church. We are, in fact, one people -- his people.

"Because we see with the eyes of faith, we see in the Church and in her sacraments Christ continuing to be with us, to touch us, to change us, to transform us.

"The institution of the Eucharist was to ensure that each of us today, here in Quebec in June 2008, is able to enter the mystery of the cross and the resurrection as if we actually were present, not as bystanders but as participants."

The Holy Father in Santa Maria di Leuca and Brindisi (Apulia - Italy)

PAPA RATZINGER FORUM has a splendid visual treat of Pope Benedict's Pastoral Visit in Apulia - Italy.

US bishops vote on embryo research, liturgical translations

US bishops vote on embryo research, liturgical translations

Orlando, Jun. 16, 2008 ( - The US bishops adopted a strong statement of opposition to embryonic stem-cell research, but failed to approve a new set of liturgical translations, at a meeting June 12- 14 in Orlando, Florida.

The bishops were scheduled to vote approval of a 700-page document containing the English-language translations of Proper prayers from the Roman Missal. Debate on the proposed translations was lengthy and sometimes heated, with some bishops charging that the translations-- prepared in response to Vatican directives demanding greater respect for the Latin original-- were at times awkward or stilted in their wording. Bishop Arthur Seratelli, the chairman of the bishops' liturgy committee, which had supervised the translation process, defended his work, saying that the texts were a "marked improvement" over the liturgical translations now in use.

Because of light attendance at the Orlando meeting, the bishops' final vote was inconclusive. Canon law required a vote by two-thirds of the US bishops to approve the translation, or one-third to reject it. Roughly two-thirds of the bishops in attendance voted to accept the translation, but the total fell well short of the standard for final approval. Cardinal Francis George, the president of the US bishops' conference, announced that the vote would be completed by a mail ballot.

Debates over English-language translations of liturgical texts have been common within the US bishops' conference for well over a decade. Led by Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania, the former chairman of the bishops' liturgy committee, critics of the new translations have complained that they use archaic language and defended the earlier work of the International Commission for English in the Liturgy. That group, in turn, has drawn criticism from conservative Catholics-- and from the Vatican-- for making unauthorized changes in the language and meaning of the Latin originals.

The bishops gave overwhelming approval, however, to the document on embryonic stem-cell research. The statement said that hopes for a medical breakthrough cannot justify the cavalier disregard for the lives of human embryos. "In fact," the statement argued, "policies undermining our respect for human life can only endanger the vulnerable patients that stem-cell research offers to help. The same ethic that justifies taking some lives to help the patient with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease today can be used to sacrifice that very patient tomorrow."

Traditional Mass for 'all the parishes'

Traditional Mass for 'all the parishes'
Posted by Damian Thompson on 15 Jun 2008 at 18:04

Yesterday Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, announced in London that Pope Benedict wishes to introduce the "Gregorian Rite" – meaning the former Tridentine Rite – to every parish in the Western Church.

Pope Benedict on a pastoral visit to southern Italy
The Pope wishes to introduce the 'Gregorian Rite' to every parish

This was such a huge announcement that many Catholics can hardly believe their ears. I was one of four journalists present. Here are edited extracts from the press conference, in which the Cardinal completely demolishes liberal interpretations of Summorum Pontificum:

Elena Curti (The Tablet): Your Eminence, I’d like to ask what you make of the response of the Bishops of England and Wales to the Pope's Motu Proprio.

Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos: I think it's a good one. There are some probems because it’s a new way of celebrating liturgy and they need time to prepare priests and catechists on the content of the Extraordinary Form.

Reuters: In some parts of the world there seems to be resistance on the part of local bishops to allow the faithful their full freedom to celebrate the Extraordinary Form. What do you recommend that the faithful do?

CC: To be informed. Many of the difficulties come out because they don’t know the reality of the Gregorian Rite – this is the just [correct] name for the Extraordinary Form, because this Mass was never prevented, never. Today for many bishops it is difficult because they don’t have priests who don’t know Latin. Many seminaries give very few hours to Latin – not enough to give the necessary preparation to celebrate in a good way the Extraordinary Form. Others think that the Holy Father is going against the Second Vatican Council. That is absolute ignorance. The Fathers of the Council, never celebrated a Mass other than the Gregorian one. It [the Novus Ordo] came after the Council … The Holy Father, who is a theologian and who was in the preparation for the Council, is acting exactly in the way of the Council, offering with freedom the different kinds of celebration. This celebration, the Gregorian one, was the celebration of the Church during more than a thousand years … Others say one cannot celebrate with the back to the people. This is ridiculous. The Son of God has sacrificed himself to the Father, with his face to the Father. It is not against the people. It is for the people …

Damian Thompson (Telegraph): Your Eminence, would the Holy Father like to see ordinary parishes in England with no knowledge of the Gregorian Rite introduced to it?

CC: Yes, of course. We cannot celebrate this without knowledge of the language, of the signs, of the ways of the Rite, and some institutions of the Church are helping in that way.

DT: So would the Pope like to see many ordinary parishes making provision for the Gregorian Rite?

CC: All the parishes. Not many – all the parishes, because this is a gift of God. He offers these riches, and it is very important for new generations to know the past of the Church. This kind of worship is so noble, so beautiful – the deepest theologians’ way to express our faith. The worship, the music, the architecture, the painting, makes a whole that is a treasure. The Holy Father is willing to offer to all the people this possibility, not only for the few groups who demand it but so that everybody knows this way of celebrating the Eucharist in the Catholic Church.

Anna Arco (The Catholic Herald): On that note, would you like to see all the seminaries in England and Wales teach the seminarians how to celebrate in the Extraordinary Form?

CC: I would like it, and it will be necessary. We are writing to the seminaries, we are in accord that we have to make deep preparation not only for the Rite, but for [teaching] the theology, the philosophy, the Latin language …

DT: What would be the practical steps for ordinary parishes [to prepare for the Gregorian Rite]?

CC: If the parish priest selects an hour, on Sundays, to celebrate the Mass, and prepare with catechesis the community to understand it, to appreciate the power of the silence, the power of the sacred way in front of God, the deep theology, to discover how and why the priests represents the person of Christ and to pray with the priest.

EC: Your Eminence, I think many Catholics are rather confused by this new emphasis on the Tridentine Rite, mainly because we were taught that the new Rite represented real progress, and many of us who have grown up with it see it as real progress, that there are Eucharistic ministers, women on the sanctuary, that we are all priests, prophets and kings. This new emphasis to many of us seems to deny that.

CC: What is progress? "Progredire", means [offering] the best to God… I am surprised, because many young people are enthusiastic with the celebration of the Gregorian Rite …

EC: In the Motu Proprio, the Pope's emphasis is on one Rite and two forms, and he describes the Tridentine Rite as "extraordinary". Extraordinary therefore means exceptional, not something that we celebrate every Sunday.

CC: Not "exceptional". Extraordinary means "not ordinary", not "exceptional."

EC: Should it therefore supersede the new Rite? Should we go back?

CC: It is not going back: it is taking a treasure which is present, but was not provided. … But it takes time. The application of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council took years. It takes time to understand the deep profundity of the old Rite. The Holy Father is not returning to the past; he is taking a treasure from the past to offer it alongside the rich celebration of the new Rite. The second Eucharistic prayer of the new Rite is actually the oldest one [in the Church’s entire liturgy]. It’s not a matter of confrontation but of fraternal dialogue.

DT: Will there be a clarification of the Motu Proprio?

CC: Not exactly a clarification of the Motu Proprio, but of matters treated in the Motu Proprio, such as the calendario, ordinations to the sub-diaconate, the way of using vestments, the Eucharistic fast.

DT: What about the "stable group"?

CC: It's a matter of common sense … In every bishop's household there are maybe three or four persons. This is a stable group … It is not possible to give two persons a Mass, but two here, two there, two elsewhere – they can have it. They are a stable group.

DT: From different parishes?

CC: No problem! This is our world. Managers of enterprises don’t live in one place, but they are a stable group.

More on this later. The Cardinal went on to celebrate a traditional Pontifical High Mass at Westminster Cathedral, the first time this has happened since the 1960s. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor was not present, but had a brief (and rather cool) message of welcome read out on his behalf. No Westminster bishop attended this great event.

Prelate urges flock to preserve Filipino devotion to Mary

Prelate urges flock to preserve Filipino devotion to Mary

OZAMIZ CITY, June 16, 2008 (CBCP News) —Ozamiz Archbishop Jesus A. Disado, CM called on his flock to “preserve, purify and strengthen the Filipino heritage of devotion to Mary to enhance what is trule Christian and eliminate what is legendary or false.”

In his Catechism entitled “The Beloved Virgin: Mary in Philippine Life Today” released June 15, the prelate encouraged his flock “to compare our own practices and attitudes with the sources of Revelation and the documents of the Magesterium.”

He said “(we need to preserve) our devotion to Mary in the context of our Filipino society and in confrontation with the needs of the Filipino people today, so that it may be truly our own and may mirror our way of approaching Mary and Christ.”

“In this way too can avoid the deviations against which the Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI warned us: ‘exaggeration that can falsify our devotion to Mary, or a sentimentality that can substitute merely external practices for a serious commitment to the Gospel in action and in life,’” Dosado further said.

Quoting from Apostolic Exhortation “Marialis Cultus” issued on February 1974, the prelate stressed Pope Paul VI calls our attention to the fact that ‘Today it is recognized as a general need of Christian piety that every form of worship should have a biblical imprint.’”

He added a first level of biblical imprint on Marian devotion is attained when scriptural texts that mention Mary or allude to her are used in liturgical worship as well as in popular devotion.

Dosado mentioned that it is useful for the Christian faithful to review the scriptural text regarding the devotion of Mary.

He said the Mother of Jesus is mentioned in Mark 3:31-35 and its parallels in Matthew 12: 46-50 and Luke 8:19-21. There Jesus speaks about the person who does what God wants as His true kinsman.

A reference to her is also made in Galatians 4:4 when St. Paul emphasizes the full humanity of Jesus, son of a human mother. In the Calvary scene John appears to offer—if not to complete—his reflection on Mary as a “woman” who will be the associate of Jesus in renewing mankind.

“Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, ‘Woman, this is your son,’ Mary’s physical motherhood is perfected with the addition of spiritual motherhood,” the archbishop concluded. (Wendell Talibong)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jordan cave may be oldest church

Jordan cave may be oldest church

By Matt McGrath
BBC science correspondent

Church of Saint Georgeous in the northern Jordanian town of Rihab 10 June
The cave is beneath the ancient church of St Georgeous

Archaeologists in Rihab, Jordan, say they have discovered a cave that could be the world's oldest Christian church.

Dating to the period AD33-70, the underground chapel would have served as both a place of worship and a home.

It is claimed that it was originally used by a group of 70 persecuted Christians who fled from Jerusalem.

These early Christians lived and practised their faith in secrecy until the Romans embraced Christianity several hundred years later.

'Beautiful things'

Rihab is in Northern Jordan. The cave is beneath the ancient church of St Georgeous, itself one of the oldest known places of worship in the world.

According to Dr Abdul Qader Al-Hassan, the director of the Rihab Centre for Archaeological studies, the cave site shows clear evidence of early Christian rituals that predate the church.


Dr Al-Hassan says that steps lead down into the chapel which is approximately 12m long and seven metres wide.

There is a circular area of worship with stone seats separated from living quarters. This circular element, called an apse, is important says Dr Al-Hassan because there is only one other example of a cave with a similar feature, which was also used for Christian worship.

Dr Al-Hassan said: "We found beautiful things. I found the cemetery of this church; we found pottery shards and lamps with the inscription 'Georgeous'".

In the cave there is also a tunnel that leads to a cistern which supplied water to the dwellers. An inscription in the floor of the church above refers to the "70 beloved by God and the divine" whom the archaeologist believes were refugees from religious persecution in Jerusalem.

Dr Al-Hassan says that excavation of the tunnel and the cistern may yield yet more evidence about the lives of these early Christians.

"From the tunnel to the cistern is very important. We want to clean it and make an excavation inside it. We found a very old inscription beside it and coins also, and crosses made from iron."

Other experts say they are cautious about the claim. They want to examine the artefacts and see clear dating evidence. The earliest confirmed examples of churches date from the third century, they say.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nuncio: US Catholics Have New Concept of Pope

Reports Faithful Returning to Mass After April Visit

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 11, 2008 ( American Catholics have changed their image of Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church after the Pope's April visit to the United States, says the Vatican nuncio in that country.

Archbishop Pietro Sambi told L'Osservatore Romano that the American people "discovered" the Holy Father during his visit, which they viewed in an overwhelmingly positive way.

"Benedict XVI was little and badly known in the United States," Archbishop Sambi said. "Those who expected an 'inflexible policeman of the Holy Office' have been conquered by the pastor, the father, the persuasive teacher.

"The Pope has been 'discovered' as an attentive expert on what happens in the heart of the man of today, as a bearer of substantial and life-giving answers, offered with clarity, with humility, almost with timidity."

And in response to this, the prelate affirmed, "the affection, attention, respect and love of a whole population has exploded."

From among the many details of the visit, Archbishop Sambi emphasized the Pontiff's visit to ground zero, which was "a moment of intense identification of the American people, regardless of their faith, with Benedict XVI."

"Even the press, which normally makes no secret of its sharpness with the Catholic Church, has written of and transmitted the visit of the Pope with interest, respect and liking," explained the nuncio. The secular press "defined the visit as 'an event that exceeded every expectation.' And, given the power and resonance of the U.S. mass media, a success here implies a success in the whole world."


Archbishop Sambi suggested that the Pope was able to connect with the American people because he spoke of hope.

He explained: "In the homily in Nationals Stadium in Washington, the Pontiff said, 'Americans have always been a people of hope […] Hope, hope for the future, is very much a part of the American character.' On Sept. 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Washington were attacked, the American people, just like in all their difficult moments, headed to the churches and the temples, finding in God's presence trust, unity and courage.

"Speaking of hope, the Pope has touched on a theme that is profoundly rooted in the history and the culture of this people, and he has struck a particularly sensitive chord for these times.

"The success of the Pope can be explained by Benedict XVI's capacity to understand the motivations of the American people and to contribute, with humility, the answers they need."

Another important moment, according to the prelate, was the Pope's meeting with President George Bush -- as the Pontiff himself noted later at the general audience of April 30.

Also during that audience, Archbishop Sambi recalled, in which the Holy Father gave a review of the trip, he referred to the "healthy secularism" characteristic of American society, which "was built from the outset on the foundations of a felicitous combination of religious, ethical and political principles."

"The Pope spoke of the 'valid example of healthy secularism' in the United States, describing it as: '[W]here the religious dimension, with the diversity of its expressions, is not only tolerated but appreciated as the nation's "soul" and a fundamental guarantee of human rights and duties' -- a description of 'healthy secularism' that deserves to be attentively studied," Archbishop Sambi affirmed.

Instilling courage

The nuncio said another effect of the trip was instilling new courage in American Catholics.

"On the Catholic radio of the Archdiocese of New York, the Pope said he had come to confirm them in their faith, 'but in reality it is you who have confirmed me, with your response, with your enthusiasm, with your affection.' These spontaneous words have touched the heart of American Catholics, and they have been perceived as appreciation and encouragement," the prelate said.

According to Archbishop Sambi, after the visit, "the Catholic Church has been renewed in courage. We are getting reports from parishes that many of the faithful who had for some time abandoned their religious practices, have returned to confession and Sunday Mass."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

CDF: Automatic excommunication for "ordination" of women

Automatic excommunication for "ordination" of women

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

General Decree

On the delict of attempted sacred ordination of a woman

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in virtue of the special faculty granted to it by the Supreme Authority of the Church (cf. Can. 30, Code of Canon Law), in order to safeguard the nature and validity of the sacrament of Holy Orders, decreed, in the Ordinary Session of December 19, 2007:

In accordance with what is disposed by Can. 1378 of the Code of Canon Law, he who shall have attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, as well as the woman who may have attempted to receive Holy Orders, incurs in a latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.

If he who shall have attempted to confer Holy Orders on a woman or if the woman who shall have attempted to received Holy Orders is a faithful bound to the Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches, he is to be punished with the major excommunication, whose remission remains reserved to the Apostolic See, in accordance with can. 1443 of the same Code (cf. can. 1423, Code of Canons of the Oriental Churches).

The present decree enters in force immediately after its publication in L'Osservatore Romano.

William Cardinal Levada
Angelo Amato, s.d.b.
Titular Archbishop of Sila

(Published in L'Osservatore Romano of May 29, 2008)


Congregatio Pro Doctrina Fidei

Decretum generale

de delicto attentatae sacrae ordinationis mulieris

Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, ad naturam et validitatem sacramenti sacri ordinis tuendam, vigore specialis facultatis sibi a suprema Ecclesiae auctoritate in casu tributae (cfr can. 30 Codicis Iuris Canonici), in Congregatione Ordinaria diei 19 Decembris 2007, decrevit:

Firmo praescripto can. 1378 Codicis Iuris Canonici, tum quicumque sacrum ordinem mulieri conferre, tum mulier quae sacrum ordinem recipere attentaverit, in excommunicationem latae sententiae Sedi Apostolicae reservatam incurrit.

Si vero qui mulieri sacrum ordinem conferre vel mulier quae sacrum ordinem recipere attentaverit, christifidelis fuerit Codici Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium subiectus, firmo praescripto can. 1443 eiusdem Codicis, excommunicatione maiore puniatur, cuius remissio etiam reservatur Sedi Apostolicae (cfr can. 1423 Codicis Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium).

Hoc decretum cum in L'Osservatore Romano evulgabitur, statim vigere incipiet.

Gulielmus Cardinalis Levada
Angelus Amato, s.d.b.
Archiep. titularis Silensis
a Secretis

Reposted from Rorate Caeli.

To Our Lady

In honor of our past pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage in Antipolo City and the last Marian month of May, I am posting some of these picture I got online.

The Antipolo Cathedral

The Sanctuary

The Cathedra

The Nuestra Senora dela Paz y Buenviaje

Our Lord in the Tabernacle

My parents and I visit this Adoration Chapel after the Mass in the Cathedral.

Here are some more images of Our Lady image during a First Saturday procession from a Flicker site.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.