Tag Archives: Pope Benedict XVI

Ratzinger’s precedent for a kind of co-papacy?

Recall is diminishing for me regarding my browsing through the stacks of the Canon Law collections of the various campuses of the North American College in Rome. I’m not a Canon Lawyer. But I was interested at the time in figuring out Ratzinger’s controversial opinions and apparent flip-flopping after ferocious corrections by others on the topic of, say, a layman becoming Pope, and whether or not he would have, after a verified election, the capacity to posit valid legislative acts that of themselves involve any differences in munus and ministry, that is, without that new Supreme Pontiff becoming a bishop. Yes, then, No, or, kind of? I found such articles / commentary in various volumes of a still-being-published series of commentaries (blue hard cover edition). I may not remember that correctly, so don’t beat me up too badly. In light of the weird circumstances that surrounded the resignation / abdication (whatever) of Benedict XVI, in light of the strange statements of his secretary about a kind of bifurcated papacy, in light of there being such insistence on there being but one pope (Francis) but another kind of spiritual pope (Benedict), etc., I’m just wondering if there is some sort of vague precedent in the academic ruminations of Ratzinger for what happened in 2013 and is still haunting us today.

Just my own scenario: what if you divide the mandates of governing, sanctifying and teaching, so that the “active” pope takes the governing and sanctifying (regardless of whether he actually does that), while the other retains the teaching capacity, that is, the burden of being infallible. Francis didn’t get the memo on that, at all. In his speech on the 50th anniversary of the Synods of Bishops he said he fully intends to pronounce an ex-cathedra infallible statement, which I think he will attempt to do at the end of the Synod on Synods. He lead up to that by his own specious re-write of Vatican Council II’s Lumen gentium, having it that everyone is infallible (definitely more than was stated by that Constitution).

Regardless of my failing memory of briefly glancing over articles that were out of my wheelhouse so many decades ago, and regardless of whatever Ratzinger intended then or in 2013, I’m not saying this has anything to do with the confusing situation in which we find ourselves. But maybe there is some connection, some line of thought, that can be followed through the academic opinions of Ratzinger, then Benedict, then someone “emeritus.” I don’t know. If I had the chance to browse through the stacks of Canon Law rooms of dedicated libraries I would do it again. But none of those exist in the back ridges of Appalachia.

Perhaps someone has the wherewithal to find those articles one way or another…

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Ministry vs munus: Benedict XVI reigns or resigns? A discussion ever more relevant.

[[[ This following is a transcript of a talk by Alexis. I don’t know him. Some attack him. Whatever. I’m just interested in the argument he has here about the technical terms “ministry” and “munus.” Does it make a difference? Leave your comments. I’m no Canon Lawyer, but I’m willing to be schooled either way. Before you kill this guy, read the comments exchange at the end. ]]]

Munus and Ministerium: A Textual Study of their Usage in the Code of Canon Law of 1983 by Br. Alexis Bugnolo (31 October 2019)

[…] Though popularly many Catholics are amazed that after 6 years there can still be questions and doubts about the validity of the Act of Renunciation declared by Pope Benedict XVI on February 11, 2013, it actually is not so surprising when one knows just a little about the complexity of the problems presented by the document which contains that Act.

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Lighten up! More on humor. Being a fool for Christ’s sake. Benedict XVI a jackass!

Only in America would some kid think that wearing a dog collar would be privilege.

For those keyboard warriors wanting to tell me that that was merely humor, well, what I responded with is humor on top of the humor! Lighten up!

On a more serious note, there are those who can treat clergy as the scum of the earth, expendable for the sake of protecting their own little protected worlds. It is impossible, they think, that anything bad happens, ever.

I guess they also think that Saint Paul is a fool:

  • “We work hard with our own hands. When we are vilified, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer gently. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. (1 Corinthians 4:12-13)

Paul waxes nostalgic about his time with the Lord Jesus…

  • “…in harder labor, in more imprisonments, in worse beatings, in frequent danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea. In my frequent journeys, I have been in danger from rivers and from bandits, in danger from my countrymen and from the Gentiles, in danger in the city and in the country, in danger on the sea and among false brothers, in labor and toil and often without sleep, in hunger and thirst and often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from these external trials, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not burn with grief? (2 Corinthians 11:24-28)

Saint Paul calls himself not merely a fool, but a fool for Christ’s sake. I know plenty of priests who would think that Paul is a fool for not being a man of consensus, that he foolishly brought all that upon himself. The real fools never once think about witnessing for Christ’s sake, that risking all for Jesus is impossible, and that anyone who does that is a fool. I see it, actually, all the time, especially when there is danger from false brethren. NO! they shriek. You’re just a fool.

Let’s turn to a post of yore about coats of arms. In that post, Cardinal Burke’s article on the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI is cited at length, emphasizing the joys of being a total jackass.


benedict xvi coat of arms

Recall that Saint Corbinian’s bear on the coat of arms of Benedict XVI was actually a donkey, that is, fulfilling the role of the donkey after he killed the donkey. Benedict called himself that “donkey”. No, really. A Pope who is a jackass. Luther, with great malice, called the Pope of the time a jackass. Benedict is from Germany. Anyway, see the outrageously wonderful 2005 article of Archbishop Raymond Burke about the newly elected Pope Donkey, Benedict XVI. And then, to those of you who are fuming mad and flinging the rest of us into hell in all the mortal sin you suppose I and Ratzinger and Burke are in for speaking of the papacy being filled with the likes of a jackass, to you I say, lighten up. Have some Christian mirth. Some irony. Rejoice! The Lord is good and kind. Again, I will say it: Rejoice! My coat of arms, breaking all the rules of heraldry, as any donkey might do, so far:

GEORGE DAVID BYERS - COAT OF ARMS - revision

This recalls the Discalced Carmelite coat of arms:

discalced-carmelite-coat-of-arms

I think Tom Clancy wrote on the etiquette of sword ceremonial. What is the military symbolism of the sword held high as with Elijah or with Saint Michael atop Castel Sant’Angelo who is sheathing his sword? What of ceremonial stuff, like the the sword being held straight up or pointed upward or straight down or pointed downward? Anyone?

Benedict XVI was Pope. Cardinal Burke could well be Pope soon. I’ll never be, but I’m happy to have a donkey on my coat of arms anyway! Just in case that article by Cardinal Burke disappears, I include the bit towards the end commenting on Pope Benedict XVI as being a Jackass:

[…] In his memoirs published in 1997, then-Cardinal Ratzinger commented on his life as a bishop, reflecting upon the image of the bear of St. Corbinian, founding bishop of Freising, the ancient see which is now the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, to which Cardinal Ratzinger was called to serve as archbishop. He relates the story to a meditation of St. Augustine on the text of verses 22 and 23 of Psalm 73 (72). St. Corbinian’s bear:

As the story goes, St. Corbinian was on his way to Rome when a bear attacked and killed his pack animal, his donkey. St. Corbinian rebuked the bear and placed the load of the donkey upon his back to carry to Rome. The story of the bear of St. Corbinian reminded the cardinal of St. Augustine’s meditation on the verses of Psalm 73 which he translates thusly: “A draft animal am I before you, for you, and this is precisely how I abide with you” (Psalm 73:22-23; Joseph Ratzinger, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, page 155). The cardinal, like St. Augustine, had chosen the life of a scholar, but God called him to take up the burdens of the episcopal office, eventually serving the Holy Father as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He comments on the frustrations which St. Augustine experienced in dealing with the many practical concerns of a pastor of souls, when he had in mind to carry out great intellectual and spiritual works. The text of the psalm reminded the saint and reminded Cardinal Ratzinger that God chose to keep them close to Him by having them serve as His “draft animals,” carrying out the humble tasks of the pastoral office, rather than the exalted service which they had in mind for themselves. Relating the meditation of St. Augustine to the story of St. Corbinian’s bear, Cardinal Ratzinger comments: “Just as the draft animal is closest to the farmer, doing his work for him, so is Augustine closest to God precisely through such humble service, completely within God’s hand, completely His instrument.He could not be closer to his Lord or be more important to Him. The laden bear that took the place of St. Corbinian’s horse, or rather donkey — the bear that became his donkey against its will: Is this not an image of what I should do and of what I am?”A beast of burden have I become for you, and this is just the way for me to remain wholly yours and always abide with you” (Milestones, pages 156-157). Tonight, we thank God for Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, who has found his happiness in serving as Christ’s “donkey,” His “draft animal,” who has given his entire self to working humbly and steadfastly with Christ in the vineyard of the Father. When we see the image of the bear of St. Corbinian on his coat-of-arms, may we be reminded of how he has given and gives his life in service to Christ and His Church. Assisting our Holy Father with his burdens Conscious of the many and heavy burdens which our Holy Father carries, with Christ, for us, let us assist him, offering him the joy of our faithful prayers, loyal affection and unfailing obedience. Our Holy Father, in continuity with the teaching and direction of his much beloved predecessor Pope John Paul II, has already given us an indication of his desires for our growth in holiness of life.In his first address to the College of Cardinals on the day after his election, Pope Benedict XVI stated that the Holy Eucharist “cannot but be the permanent center and the source of the petrine service entrusted to [him]” (Benedict XVI, a pope of Christ, communion, collegiality, Vatican Information Service, April 20, 2005, page 2). Reflecting upon Divine Providence, which called him to the office of St. Peter during the Year of the Eucharist, he has asked that the Solemnity of Corpus Christi “be celebrated in a particularly special way.”He reminded us that the celebration of World Youth Day in Cologne in August will center on the Holy Eucharist, and that the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, to be held this coming October, will devote itself to the theme: “The Eucharist, Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.”He concluded with a solemn request addressed to us all: “I ask everyone to intensify in coming months love and devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus and to express in a courageous and clear way the real presence of the Lord, above all through the solemnity and the correctness of the celebrations” (Benedict XVI, a pope of Christ, communion, collegiality, Vatican Information Service, April 20, 2005, page 3). As we thank God tonight for the gift of Pope Benedict XVI, let us help him shoulder his heavy burdens by deepening and strengthening our knowledge and love of the Holy Eucharist, above all by the piety with which we participate in Holy Mass, and adore and worship the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass. As we are now united sacramentally to the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, let us lift up to His glorious and open Heart the intentions of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Placing our Holy Father and his intentions into the all-merciful and all-loving Heart of Jesus, we trust that no grace will be lacking to our Holy Father as he pours out his life, with Christ, as Christ’s “donkey”for our salvation and the salvation of our world. We ask the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, and the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul to pray with us for our Holy Father: “The Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies” (Enchiridion of Indulgences, June 29, 1968, no. 39). Conclusion I hope that the text of my homily has helped you in some way to understand the office of St. Peter and the deep trust in Divine Providence with which Pope Benedict XVI has accepted the office from our Lord.He is the humble worker in the vineyard, Christ’s “draft animal” who seeks only to do God’s will. Let us continue to assist our Holy Father by our daily prayers.I ask especially that you remember the intentions of our Holy Father when you pray the rosary. […]

donkey blessed sacrament

And… and… if Chesterton still has anything to say about it, behold:

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

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Popes and anti-Popes

Richard Bonomo sent in a question:

Reading one of your recent blog posts on the the Pope (Kryptic call for assassinating the Pope?) this reminds me of the times I’ve said similar things: if a sitting Pope was on the verge of formally declaring something that is not true, to BE true, God would intervene — one way or the other — to prevent this from happening, including, possibly, killing the man (heart attack, collapsing ceilings, meteor, etc.).

However, the case of a potential anti-pope is different. I am no expert on Church history, but I do seem to recall that there have been times when there were multiple claimants to the See of Peter, and that men of good will were to be found lined up behind all of them, believing the one they supported was in fact the Pope, and the other(s) was(were) not

There is no shortage of people who claim that “Pope Francis” is an anti-Pope, and that either Pope Emeritus Benedict continues to reign as Pope, or the See is vacant. I am fairly sure you have read all of the variations of this, so I will not waste your time summarizing them.

Most of this smells like wishful thinking to me. I assume that “Pope Francis” really is Pope Francis, and that Pope Benedict meant what he wrote in his letter of resignation, and that he is treating his retirement in a manner appropriate to an academic such as himself, retaining some of the trappings of being a professor (Pope) without actually BEING a professor (Pope).

However, I DO find myself wondering if a man accepts an office validly who accepts that office with the intention of sabotage.

If your theory that Pope Francis has been (if I understand correctly) putting on an act with the intention of baiting people with the plan of doing a long-overdue house cleaning once malefactors and the confused are out in the open, then this is, of course, not a concern.

However, what if your theory is wrong?

Well, if Pope Francis is a dupe of a cabal of immoral men who wear the robes of cardinals who seek to take over the Church for their own purposes, or to impose a moral regimen that is not of God, then, assuming the election was otherwise conducted properly, I imagine he would still be Pope, that is assuming that his intentions were, in fact, to fulfill the office as it is supposed to be fulfilled.

On the other hand, if Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was a willing member of that cabal, and he accepted his election to the papacy for the occult purpose of enacting an agenda which is perverse, then did he accept office validly? Is he Pope Francis, or “Pope Francis” in such a case?
I, for one, do not know how to work this out, nor do I know whom to ask who could give a definitive opinion. Of course, if this last possibility turns out to be true, I really have no idea what I could do, except to pray and be aware.

In any case, our personal holiness, and the sacrificial and sacramental life of the Church must be maintained and not neglected while these matters are sorted out.

============

Answer: Benedict XVI is surely after all this time to be held to be willingly NOT the bishop of Rome, therefore not Pope. That’s why Francis rightly called himself Bishop of Rome. Everyone thought he was demeaning the papacy, but only because they are heretics about the papacy.

Even if one is malicious in accepting the election, it is valid. It’s not ordination. Infallibility is not something positive. It will get you dead right quick if you intend to do something supremely wrong.

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IOR Vatican Bank: extortion of a crisis

In this video, Dr Marshall provides a very helpful timeline of events.

What is said in this video is entirely consistent with what was known of the situation. Things have developed of course in the years of Pope Francis’ pontificate. People have taken it upon themselves to manipulate things. This aspect of the crisis is an important key to understanding unintelligible actions from on high.

Extortion is not impossible. Consider that the Holy See and Vatican City State are two entities. If descriptions of the same and laws regarding the same, both internally and internationally, were to be conflated one with the other, what kind of extortion might that permit?

Again, this is a homosexualist crisis. Considering the players behind the scenes, some of whom who have not yet been named, I’m guessing that the idea is to use this as a method of extortion to change the teaching of the Church regarding homosexuality. We have already seen proposed changes. Settlements for “pedophilia” cases, and eventual litigation with much longer tentacles, are merely leverage to push for a change in the teaching of the Church.

Just my opinion. But when you see who is as thick as thieves with who, and with what connections, and the power they have even over the Holy Father, I would say that my opinion is well founded, enough to try to break things open. Oh, I forgot! I’m on my way to Rome today to try to do just that.

 

 

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Gina Haspel and Cardinal Ratzinger

gina haspel cartoon

Gina Haspel, by far the most prepared candidate ever for Director of the CIA inasmuch as she was able to follow just about every important case for decades. That reminds me, in a good way, of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, by far the most prepared papabile ever, who followed perhaps every single important case in the Roman Curia for decades. Why wouldn’t you choose the most capable?

In the past, the CIA was nicknamed the Catholic Intelligence Agency, with good reason, on so many levels.

Yesterday I took the CIA aptitude indicator for a bit of recreation. I’ve done that a few times before. Always fun. This time, emphasizing different things, as they recommend, I ended up being most apt as counterintelligence working out of the Directorate of Operations. Haha. Recreation is important! So much so, in fact, that the Cardinal wrote of the Sacred Liturgy as “playing” before the Lord. A good analogy, if we understand the purity of heart and agility of soul of child learning to pray in all wonder and awe before the Lord.

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7 7 7 – Summorum Pontificum: the 10th anniversary in Lourdes. “Just wear dental guards, Father George!”

LOURDES-GROTTO

Things are never as they seem. After Pope Benedict XVI came out with Summorum Pontificum on 7 July 2007, the permanent chaplains in Lourdes, including myself, were called to a special meeting announced by the rector of the time on behalf of the bishop of the time. We were going to be the very first to implement S.P. even before the start date.

The rector asked: “Who knows how to offer Mass in Latin? The bishop wants to know because of the Pope’s letter.” Three of us raised our hands, one who may have known it but didn’t want to offer it but was willing to fake it by saying the Novus Ordo in Latin (he didn’t last long), one who didn’t care one way or the other (and would soon regret raising his hand and quit), and myself. I was put in charge of bringing Summorum Pontificum to fruition, being naive enough to think for a little while that all this was actually sincere. It wasn’t. This was all a way to look cooperative with the Holy See but it was instead a way to control and smack down anything to do with Summorum Pontificum.

lourdes

Generally speaking, only chaplains were allowed to offer this Mass (there were a few exceptions such as when the SSPX would come with all four bishops, etc.) which meant that many other priest-pilgrims were regularly denied or given the run around, creating chaos, frustration and bad feelings on the part of the pilgrims. Priests and even bishops were simply treated like trash. Tempers flared. It was all so very unnecessary. So sad.

Places allowed for this Mass were thrown around all over the sanctuaries so that no schedule at a set place could be established for a long time, which also meant that I had to prepare rolling suitcases filled with the necessary items to drag all over the sanctuaries, up and down staircases, in the rain (sometimes all the way to the front gate at Saint Joseph’s), etc. No advertisements were allowed for this Mass either on the internet or at the info office, though finally, sometimes, it would be put on the roster, though often with the wrong time and place. I would put up notices on doors around the sanctuaries to announce the inevitable change of time and venue, only to find the notices immediately ripped down, etc. Mockery for saying this Mass coming from other chaplains was extremely intense. The last thing they wanted was to actually permit this Mass to be offered. One of the worst ones to mock was the priest who had almost single-handedly throughout the last decades reduced the “Youth Mass” to a McDonald’s picnic and irrelevant theater and total screaming from one end to the other throughout “Mass.” Yep. I say “Mass” in quotes because they did do the consecration, I guess, but everything else was ip for grabs, including whether laity could participate in the consecrations.

LOURDES-MICHAEL

Finally, with clever chess moves, Masses were allowed in a half dozen chapels for pilgrimages of up to dozens of people (offered by myself, rarely by another priest) and finally were allowed in the hidden side chapels in the crypt of the upper Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for priests coming with one or two others. Never in the grotto. A Sunday Mass was allowed, usually in the smallish Immaculate Conception upper Basilica, but, of course, the Mass times were changed wildly and sometimes scheduled at the same time and place as other Masses, or so closely back to back that chaos ensued. Unending, unending, unending.

The mockery coming from the other chaplains (and some others) was vicious, loud, public, and, truly unending. It’s hard to imagine more hateful attitudes, because, after that, people go into uncaring, zero conscience mode, which I suppose is the ultimate hate. I guess our Lord wanted to introduce me to just how bad it can get, and how bad it was throughout Europe as it all was concentrated and put into a package for me at Lourdes. A special gift, really.

But in the midst of all this, the Lord was doing what He wanted, and so there were simply some of the most beautiful moments that Lourdes had seen in dozens of years. One I remember had to do with me taking the oaths of new European Boy Scouts down in front of the Rosary Basilica after a Traditional Mass in the Immaculate Conception Basilica. Another was the pilgrimage of soon to be Cardinal Burke:

cardinal burke lourdes

Another was just over a year later on the National Feast Day of France, August 15, 2008, during the National Pilgrimage, when I was able to arrange for and offer the Mass in the underground Basilica of Saint Pius X. A solemn high Mass with a good 7000 people assisting:

Mass Lourdes Pius X Basilica

That Mass was a nuclear explosion and caused no end of troubles for me, with accusations being made against me from near and far, with letters of complaint being sent near and far. What a nightmare. “You told people that the new Mass is invalid and they are obliged to go to the traditional Mass!” It never happened. But the same higher-ups insisted that this was the case until I finally departed for the USA (at a time foreseen before I went to Lourdes in the first place). What to do with such slander? I’m only telling you just a fraction of what went on.

I once said that I don’t know any priest who has suffered more for the re-establishment of the Traditional Mass in living memory – and I know a lot of priests who have suffered for this – and I still think that that is true. I include bishops in that assessment. I don’t say that to toot my own horn, but rather to give encouragement to those who suffer. And yet, so many among the traditional-ism-ists on the far end of the spectrum are so bitter and angry with me, I suppose because I am not bitter like them. Why be bitter? That gets no one anywhere. It only hurts oneself. We can be faithful sons of the Church and not be bitter. In fact, we can be joyful.

Anyway, I was being so smashed down that I was grinding my teeth at night so that dentists noticed that my teeth were being worn down and cracked. One recommended dental guards at night such as one might wear for American football. I didn’t, but I have to say that this was at the same time the worst time in my entire life and also the most glorious. I wouldn’t change any of it. And there was joy in the midst of this.

Through it all I got to know Jesus and Mary so very much better. I was told by many priests I talked to at the time – friends on pilgrimage – that surely this time in Lourdes was providential for me, to bring me closer to Jesus and Mary.

And I was happy to do what I could to be a good son of the Church in the best way I knew how, trying to fulfill the wishes of Pope Benedict and, indeed, the Holy See of the time. I was doing my best to make friends with the pilgrimage groups that came, with the priests, with the FSSP, with the SSPX who have a house up the hill across the river. I regret nothing. I would do it all over again. After my requested two year sojourn in Lourdes was completed, I was felicitously replaced by a great young priest of the FSSP. Here’s a changing of the guard picture in the sacristy:

lourdes traditional mass chaplains

I was saying that I was willing to do it all over again. In fact, I did do it all over again in re-establishing the traditional Mass in the Pontifical seminary in Columbus, Ohio, the Josephinum. There were some bishops saying that they would pull out their seminarians unless classes were taught for this. I, of course, volunteered, but it was the same permit so as to control and smash down effort by the powers that be, much of that not seen by the seminarians. I taught the Mass and all the sacraments and even exorcism and blessings in the old ritual, and also liturgical Latin. It was a strictly optional course but, whatever. The traditional Mass was back and it all took on a life of its own. Great! Novus Ordo Latin Mass also became very frequent after this. ;-)

When you really want something you have to be willing to suffer for it, and not be bitter about it, because it’s a matter of love. And I love being a priest. Didn’t Jesus encounter difficulties? Unimaginably worse, and so many priests have actually suffered right around the world right through the centuries, making my ruminations almost seem blasphemous. But, when you’re going through something, it can be kinda rough. We’re all pretty weak, whatever protestations we might otherwise make about ourselves. But we learn. As the Master, so the mere disciple. We learn that it’s all about Jesus’ love and Jesus’ truth and Jesus’ goodness and kindness and all the rest doesn’t matter, as it won’t matter in heaven, and, so as to praise Jesus, that’s where we want to go, where we must go. No bitterness. Just wear a dental guard. Save your teeth for a good smile. I love being a priest!

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Forcing Vatican regime changes and…

assange

The rather well connected Thomas D Williams (son in law of an acquaintance of mine) wrote the other day about a conspiracy to force Benedict out and to replace him with someone a bit more malleable[!], hinting at this, among other things, by way of tidbits from Julian Paul Assange’s Wikileaks about John David Podesta, and from hints from Archbishop Luigi Negri, close friend of Pope Benedict XVI: HERE.

edward arsenault

But hey! What do I know? All I know is that the little tidbits that keep coming in are consonant with and answer the most questions about various developments, including the double-murder of Pope Francis’ pregnant “Front of House” “Receptionist” at the time of the gay-marriage referendum in Italy, when enormous pressure was put on the Catholic Hierarchy not to say anything about it, or else. I mean, really, the repeated tantrum like public protestations of the porporati that they didn’t say anything were apoplectic. Some pieces haven’t yet come into the spotlight, and need to be aired. The pressure isn’t just about moral topics and the manipulation of voters’ consciences.

I think I should go have a chat with Julian. I do, after all, have a number of ulterior motives to go to London. The Embassy of Ecuador is just a stroll away from where I would stay, which is just on the other side of Hyde Park (with some 40 volumes of materials to analyse there…), and a bit closer to the American Embassy [!], and a stone’s throw from Tony Blair’s back yard. I’ve been waiting to have a certain chat with Tony since early 2010 about a certain televised debate I would like to set up. He would be the moderator. It’s on a topic he’s spent his retirement facilitating one way or the other. A best friend of mine who is also a best friend of his would boil the billy for the encounter. I don’t think it’s illegal to speak to Assange, or slip a message to him, since he hasn’t been formally charged with anything as far as I know. If you know differently, let me know.

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Filed under Holy See, Intelligence Community, Military, Politics, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, Terrorism

Vultum Dei quaerere: SS Precedent? Natural Family Planning anecdote.

vatican gardens web cam-

Pope Francis has issued a new Apostolic Constitution, Vultum Dei quaerere, establishing the foundation of a change in the law for the monasteries of cloistered nuns.

Mater Ecclesiae monastery is seen in the extreme lower left of this morning’s web-cam shot taken from the perspective of an office of Vatican Radio in the gardens of Vatican City. The monastery was established by Saint John Paul II in order to have cloistered nuns praying away within Vatican City State. The monastery has a short lived history:

  • Order of Saint Clare (1994–1999)
  • Discalced Carmelites (1999–2004)
  • Benedictine nuns (2004–2009)
  • Visitation nuns (2009–2012)

The problem was not that there was a monastery in the gardens of Vatican City – although that in itself had a multitude of difficulties – but that oversight of the monastery was given to the SS, that is, the Secretariat of State. That in itself is surely because of the keen interest of Pope John Paul in contemplative life, particularly that of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns whose more traditional form of life he himself personally defended as the Pope. And while the SS is the arm of the Pope himself, none of those working there could be equated with the sainted Pontiff. The interventions of these men into the lives of these generous women were far reaching.

There was talk of a surreal ideology, a desire to combine religious not only of different houses of the same religious Order (which was already being done), but also from different religious orders so as to make Mater Ecclesiae monastery a kind of Catholic and cloistered Taizé. Of course, this was not at all the idea of either JPII or BXVI. The nuns would have none of it. So much for respecting the genius of women! They didn’t seem to know, therefore, what their “sign value” was.

Benedict XVI resides in the monastery since the renovations were accomplished after the quick departure of the Visitation nuns. He himself has taken over their work of praying for the papacy.

I’m willing to bet that all of this was a precedent for Vultum Dei quaerere, with those whose idea it was to generate such a document already interfering back in the day.

In the new regulations, the “sign value and participation in life of the local Church” is paramount, so much so that if it is judged by say, the local ordinary, to be lacking, they are to be subjected to a four member “ad hoc commission” which includes the local ordinary as one of those four ex-officio members. “The purpose of this intervention is to initiate a process of guidance for the revitalization of the monastery, or to effect its closure.” I note that the bishop cannot be wrong in all of this. It’s do or die. Perhaps two other members of the commission can convince him to back off.

I remember an Archbishop who was putting outrageous pressure on a fully alive monastery of Discalced Carmelite nuns, wanting them to take over the Natural Family Planning apostolate of the entire Archdiocese from their monastery. “Either fill your minds with thoughts of types of mucous or your monastery will be closed for having no sign value or participation in the local church!” They didn’t do it. They were still protected by Pope John Paul II at the time. But no longer.

This touches me deeply as I have a number of cloistered nuns praying for yours truly.

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Pope Jackass (some instructive humor)

Pope ByersHah! As soon as you saw that title to this post, admit it, you thought I was referring to Pope Francis, whom I love to pieces. Instead, it seems there is a movement in the Church to elect a new Pontiff, for which action, I contend, the world and the Church is not now prepared, not until Pope Benedict clarifies what it is that his Archbishop Secretary said a while back about his sharing the Petrine Ministry. It would not do to have three Popes, two of whom are, you know…

Elizdelphi has, nevertheless, taken matters into her own hands, and has gone as far as to begin a design on, of all things, my own papal coat of of arms. Hah! It being that I’m a simple priest in the tiniest parish in North America, I’m hoping that people will not take this as a serious campaign and condemn me as a mortal sinner for such shenanigans as these. My detractors don’t seem to realize that I’ve done much worse in crucifying the Son of the Living God with my sin. But let’s get on with some art appreciation!

I note the triple crown regarding prophet (the unvarnished glorious truth), priest (the only Priest being Jesus) and king (the latter involving fatherly governance) has returned. She regrets not finding a way immediately to add Saint Michael. I’m thinking that the white background can be filled with vertically placed feathers representing the Holy Spirit and the messengers sent to instruct us in that fiery truth of love.

The motto is wonderful. You will see these words together throughout the Scriptures, and my dad liked to repeat them to me a lot: “Goodness and kindness, George, goodness and kindness.”

Elizdelphi says that the blue is water in honor of Lourdes where I was a chaplain for a couple of years at my request. Perhaps she knows that Lourdes is connected with Our Lady of Mount Carmel with which I have a long and far reaching history, throwing me, time and again, in front of those at the top of the Order. The Immaculate Conception appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel to Saint Bernadette. The water can refer to the bitter sea after which our Lady is named, Our Lady of Sorrows. That follows from the clear vision she had as the Immaculate Conception, seeing clearly what we needed when seeing her Son crucified in front of her. She perfectly saw our horror and could perfectly intercede for us. I’m going to say that the blue is the rain coming down upon Elijah’s seven fold prayer on Mount Carmel after the great sacrifice and conversion of the people. The rain cloud came up out of the sea to end the 3 1/2 years drought of punishment. I say that the water is flowing down Mount Carmel. It’s in the form of Mount Carmel, no?

She says that the Star of David represents Mary. O.K. In that case, the Blessed Sacrament is the seventh point of that star, found in the womb of the star as it were. The donkey, kneeling before Jesus, makes up the three stars of the Discalced Carmelite Order, and  the donkey, you have to know, has for many thousands of years been the symbol of the Jewish people. By the way, I’m Jewish! Christ is the Head of the Body and we the members, as Saint Paul says. Mary is our mother.

There is only a couple of changes I would make with the donkey, and that’s to ditch the bridle, to change the color to gray, and to add the cross which is borne by all palestinian donkeys.

For those of you new to such “don’t follow the rules of heraldry” papal coats of arms, perhaps a reminder is needed that this donkey has been resurrected from the dead. You should remember that Corbinian’s bear on the coat of arms of Benedict XVI was actually a donkey, that is, fulfilling the role of the donkey after he killed the donkey. Benedict called himself that “donkey”. See the outrageously wonderful 2005 article of Archbishop Raymond Burke about the newly elected Pope Donkey, Benedict XVI. And then, to those of you who are fuming mad and flinging the rest of us into hell in all the mortal sin you suppose I and Ratzinger and Burke (who may well be the next Roman Pontiff) are in for speaking of the papacy being filled with the likes of a jackass, to you I say, lighten up. Have some Christian mirth. Rejoice! The Lord is good and kind. Again, I will say it: Rejoice!

donkey blessed sacrament

And, just to say it:

(1) Donkeys are intelligent, only doing what they understand, which really is smart. They are not “stubborn as a mule.” Mules are stubborn as mules as they have a reason to be belligerent.

(2) Donkeys can sing: their braying is their praying, as it were.

(3) Donkeys are always with the Holy Family, carrying Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem, warming Jesus with donkey-breathing at the crib, carrying the Holy Family down to Egypt and then all the way back to Nazareth, carrying Jesus into Jerusalem. I’m happy to be a donkey!

P.S. If I place the donkey in adoration before Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, what with salvation coming from the Jews, I am not thereby bringing the Jews to Auschwitz. I’m Jewish. That’s me and any Christian and any Jew who would like to share this greatest love the Jews have given to the entire human race. Jesus, the Jew, is the best, as is His mom.

And… and… if Chesterton still has anything to say about it, behold:

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

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Filed under Humor, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis

65th Blue Sapphire Priestly Anniversary for Pope Benedict XVI

pope bendict pope francis

RomeReports reports from Rome that “Benedict XVI will go back to the Apostolic Palace for the first time after his resignation. He will be honored at Clementine Hall for the 65th anniversary of his priestly ordination. Joseph Ratzinger was ordained priest on June 29, 1951, in Freising,Germany. He was 24-years-old. The event is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28th. Pope Francis will be joining the Pope Emeritus.”

I’m guessing now, but surely that’s an icon of “Our Holy Father Benedict” as the Benedictines call their sainted founder, with the statue being that of Saint Michael, I guess. There is some stomping on the crescent moon in any case. This seems to be a most pleasant conversation.

The blue sapphire, lapis lazuli, found with the first river of paradise in the Book of Genesis, and found with the most sacred places throughout the Scriptures, reminds me of Benedict’s Angelus message of September 14, 2008 in Lourdes, France, where he said the most extraordinary words of his priestly life about the Immaculate Conception.

Angelus, 14 September 2008, Prairie – Lourdes

[ Croatian  – English  – French  – German  – Italian  – Polish  – Portuguese  – Spanish ]

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Scraps falling from the Master’s table (Corpus Christi edition)

eucharist pope john paulToday’s the Solemnity of Corpus Domini, the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ. I remember many times walking in procession with Pope John Paul II from the Lateran Basilica to Saint Mary Major down and then up the Via Merulana. In the early years of his Pontificate, the sainted Pontiff would, on foot, himself carry the monstrance with our Lord, no mean feat for any man for such a distance. Pope John Paul spoke much about his prayer life. He wanted so very much to encourage his priests right around the world. I looked forward to his messages, his letters to priests on Holy Thursday (the special day for priests what with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper), which were good to get out again on this Thursday, when the joy of the feast is fully expressed. Let’s take a couple of snippets from his letter of 2005, published just ten days before he died:

Jesus said: “Do this in memory of me”. The Eucharist does not simply commemorate a fact; it commemorates Him! Through his daily repetition in persona Christi of the words of the “memorial”, the priest is invited to develop a “spirituality of remembrance”. At a time when rapid social and cultural changes are weakening the sense of tradition and leading the younger generation especially to risk losing touch with their roots, the priest is called to be, within the community entrusted to him, the man who faithfully remembers the entire mystery of Christ: prefigured in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the New, and understood ever more deeply, under the guidance of the Spirit, as Jesus explicitly promised: “He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (Jn 14:26).

“Mysterium fidei!” Every time he proclaims these words after consecrating the bread and wine, the priest expresses his ever-renewed amazement at the extraordinary miracle worked at his hands. It is a miracle which only the eyes of faith can perceive. The natural elements do not lose their external characteristics, since the “species” remain those of bread and wine; but their “substance”, through the power of Christ’s word and the action of the Holy Spirit, is changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ. On the altar, then, Christ crucified and risen is “truly, really and substantially” present in the fullness of his humanity and divinity. What an eminently sacred reality! That is why the Church treats this mystery with such great reverence, and takes such care to ensure the observance of the liturgical norms intended to safeguard the sanctity of so great a sacrament.

Beautiful, no? Yes! It is good to remember such good encouragement of priests in these days. Saint John Paul, pray for us!

eucharist pope benedictBenedict, of course, has put great emphasis on the liturgy, being found, if you will, by the Triune God there. Here’s a bit from Sacramentum Caritatis (a most wonderful post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation):

The Eucharist reveals the loving plan that guides all of salvation history (cf. Eph 1:10; 3:8- 11). There the Deus Trinitas, who is essentially love (cf. 1 Jn 4:7-8), becomes fully a part of our human condition. In the bread and wine under whose appearances Christ gives himself to us in the paschal meal (cf. Lk 22:14-20; 1 Cor 11:23-26), God’s whole life encounters us and is sacramentally shared with us. God is a perfect communion of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At creation itself, man was called to have some share in God’s breath of life (cf. Gen 2:7). But it is in Christ, dead and risen, and in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, given without measure (cf. Jn 3:34), that we have become sharers of God’s inmost life. (16) Jesus Christ, who “through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God” (Heb 9:14), makes us, in the gift of the Eucharist, sharers in God’s own life. This is an absolutely free gift, the superabundant fulfilment of God’s promises. The Church receives, celebrates and adores this gift in faithful obedience. The “mystery of faith” is thus a mystery of trinitarian love, a mystery in which we are called by grace to participate. We too should therefore exclaim with Saint Augustine: “If you see love, you see the Trinity.”

Seeing Love: seeing the Trinity. Yes.

eucharist pope francisPope Francis has, as well, given us something upon which to be nourished. Fear not! He has! Behold:

The Eucharist is Jesus who gives himself entirely to us. To nourish ourselves with him and abide in him through Holy Communion, if we do it with faith, transforms our life into a gift to God and to our brothers.

I’ll take that. This goes right to the Sacred Heart of it all. Jesus has come to give Himself as a gift to us so as to give us as a gift, through, with and in Himself to our Heavenly Father.

It’s all about Jesus. We must never forget.

I recall a Cardinal, a good friend, who would always stop me as I was walking away after we said our goodbyes after a bull session high atop San Callisto or up in Saint John’s Tower or at the Casa Santa Maria or wherever. He would say: “George! Remember!” I would turn and stare at him, always wondering to what this could possibly refer. To my great shame – shame I tell you – I have only figured it out, decades later, right now as I type this. He was, of course, speaking to me of the Most Holy Sacrifice during which Christ bids us to remember Him each time we offer the Last Supper. Thank you Jesus! So:

“Remember!”

 

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Expanded Petrine Ministry? Why not an expanded Pontifical Family headship!

Pontifical Family humor

His Grace, the Most Reverend Georg Gänswein, recently spoke of the Petrine ministry as being expanded to include two fully installed Pontiffs, one contemplative (Benedict XVI) and one active (Francis). He said that Benedict did not abdicate as others have done. But, in the rules of the Conclave, this would make the election of Francis invalid. But that’s not what he’s saying. So, what’s this all about? You got me. But I think I had better make it public that I am the other long time diarchical member of the headship of the Prefecture of the Pontifical Family, here pictured in the office that is rightfully mine in conjunction with the Archbishop. Note, please, the donkey in the picture. That would be me.

This picture and this post constitute mere humor. This humor is not intended to have the effect of substantially changing the governance of the Pontifical Family and the transformation of the office of the Prefect that has been brought to this Family in the last number of years. This humor is merely put up for a laugh. I beg the indulgence of no excommunications or recriminations being leveled against me or anyone else, please! Just laugh. We need some humor during these trying times in the Church and the world. “Don’t be a sourpuss” as one member of the expanded Petrine ministry says! Relax, and just get used to the new expanded headship of the Pontifical Family. Just joking, again! Yikes! ;-)

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