Just a heads-up for the next few days and weekend. Thursday afternoon and all day Friday are days off for EWTN employees to attend Holy Week Liturgies, so this page may be quite, although I may repost some stories on Facebook and Twitter.
I am handicapped by a cold that seems to have taken over my body and life and is not getting better as fast as I’d normally expect. I have a doctor’s appointment Holy Thursday at 6 pm, of all things, but will, as Mom used to teach me, “offer that up for the poor souls in purgatory.” An unexpectedly long appointment last night kept me from posting.
Today I offer some highlights of Pope Francis’ catechesis at the general audience this morning. I think these would be wonderful points to reflect on in silent prayer or while saying the rosary.
The other news story about China installing a Catholic bishop is both maddening and sad.
CATECHESIS. “THE CRUCIFIX, WELL-SPRING OF HOPE”
At today’s general audience, Pope Francis gave a preview of Holy Week saying “we prepare to celebrate the mystery of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection,” And he focused on two aspects of Good Friday.
“Firstly,” he said, “let us see Jesus stripped of his clothing. In fact, ‘And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. God is stripped – He who has everything allowed Himself to be stripped of everything. But that humiliation is the path of our redemption. This is how God overcomes our appearances. Indeed, we find it difficult to bare ourselves, to be truthful. We always try to cover the truth because we do not like it. We clothe ourselves with outward appearances that we look for and take good care of, masks to disguise ourselves and to appear better than we are.”
“Let us direct our second glance to the Crucifix and we see Jesus who is wounded,” continued the Pope.!. The cross displays the nails that pierce his hands and feet, his open side. But to the wounds in his body are added those of his soul. How much anguish, Jesus is alone, betrayed, handed over and denied by his own – by his friends and even his disciples – condemned by the religious and civil powers, excommunicated, Jesus even feels abandoned by God… In the end, Jesus is wounded in body and in soul. I ask myself: In what way does this help our hope? In this way, what does Jesus, naked, stripped of everything, of everything, say to my hope, how can this help me?
We too are wounded – who isn’t in life? And they are often hidden wounds we hide out of embarrassment. Who does not bear the scars of past choices, of misunderstandings, of sorrows that remain inside and are difficult to overcome? But also of wrongs suffered, sharp words, unmerciful judgements? God does not hide the wounds that pierced his body and soul, from our eyes. He shows them so we can see that a new passage can be opened with Easter: to make holes of lights out of our own wounds.”
“Brothers and sisters, the point is not whether we are wounded a little or a lot in life, the point is what to do with my wounds –the little ones, the big ones, the ones that leave their mark forever on my body, on my soul. What can I do with my wounds? What can you, you, you, do with your wounds? “No, Father, I don’t have any wounds” – “Be careful, think twice before saying this”. And I ask you: what do you do with your wounds, with the ones only you know about? You can allow them to infect you with resentment and sadness, or I can instead unite them to those of Jesus, so that my wounds too might become luminous.”
“Our wounds can become springs of hope when, instead of feeling sorry for ourselves or hiding them, we dry the tears shed by others; when, instead of nourishing resentment for what was robbed of us, we take care of what others are lacking; when, instead of dwelling on ourselves, we bend over those who suffer; when, instead of being thirsty for love, we quench the thirst of those in need of us. For it is only if we stop thinking of ourselves, that we will find ourselves again. But if we continue to think of ourselves, we will not find ourselves anymore. And it is by doing this, the Scriptures say, that our wound is healed quickly (cf. Is 58:8), and hope flourishes anew.”
The Pope leaves us with hope when he says that, “the cross, which first seems a sign of defeat and despair, proves instead to be the tree of life and the source of undying hope.”
CHINESE BISHOP SHEN BIN TRANSFERRED TO SHANGHAI, HOLY SEE LEARNS OF MOVE FROM MEDIA
The prelate was transferred from the Diocese of Haimen. The director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, has said, “The Holy See was informed a few days ago of the Chinese authorities’ decision. For the moment there is nothing to say about the Holy See’s assessment.”
Bishop Shen Bin, until now Bishop of Haimen, was installed in the Diocese of Shanghai, China, this morning. “The Holy See had been informed a few days ago of the decision of the Chinese authorities” to transfer the Bishop and “learned from the media of the installation this morning”, the director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, reported in a communication to journalists. “For the moment, I have nothing to say about the Holy See’s assessment of the matter.”
I posted this on October 20, 2022: VATICAN TO RE-SIGN CONTROVERSIAL AGREEMENT WITH CHINA OCTOBER 22: Amid increased controversy as a trial against a prominent Chinese cardinal continues to move forward in Hong Kong, the Vatican and China will for the second time renew their provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops. Speaking to Crux, a high-ranking Vatican official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the renewal publicly, said “the agreement with China is scheduled to be renewed on (the) 22nd of October 2022, with no changes to the terms.” The official stressed that this was not an official statement, and that a formal announcement would be made “in due time” by the Holy See Press Office. Though the terms of the agreement have never been made public, the deal, brokered in September 2018, is believed to be modeled after the Holy See’s agreement with Vietnam, allowing the Holy See to pick bishops from a selection of candidates proposed by the government. Vatican-China deal to be renewed, with no changes to terms | Crux (cruxnow.com)
The original 2018 agreement, about which we know nothing, basically allows (we have been told in Vatican interviews) the communist government of China to name bishops for the Catholic Church and the Pope would be able to approve or not. No man can become a bishop without a papal mandate.
As you can see in the Shanghai case, the Chinese government went it alone.
No papal mandate.
What will the Vatican do?