THE MIDDLE EAST TO BE CONSECRATED TO HOLY FAMILY DURING YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH

As I looked for an image of St Joseph and the Holy Family, I chanced across this one on Pinterest! If this does not make you smile, perhaps even laugh, nothing will!

THE MIDDLE EAST TO BE CONSECRATED TO HOLY FAMILY DURING YEAR OF ST. JOSEPH

Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, announced in a letter to Catholic bishops, priests, men and women religious and the lay faithful of the Middle East that, in this special year dedicated to St. Joseph, the Middle East will be consecrated to the Holy Family.

Prepared by the “Justice and Peace” committee of the Council of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in the Middle East, the consecration will take place during Mass for the annual “Peace Day for the East” on Sunday, June 27.

Patriarch Pizzaballa wrote that, “a Mass should be celebrated in each one of the countries belonging to the Council of the Catholic Patriarchs in the Middle East, and thus all the patriarchs and bishops are invited to participate in this intense prayer, and to be in a profound Communion of prayer together during this blessed day.

“On the occasion of the Year of Saint Joseph,” he added, “we will also proceed in the consecration of our beloved Middle East to the Holy Family, and for this reason, a special gesture will be included in the Mass which will be celebrated in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth on Sunday, June 27, 2021, at 10:00 am, with the participation of all the Ordinaries of the Holy Land.” (picture NC Register)

“We will bless a specially painted Icon of the Holy Family inlaid with relics from the same Basilica of the Annunciation. The icon represents the painting of the Holy Family of Nazareth, which rests above the altar of St Joseph Church, in Nazareth, where, according to tradition, the Carpenter’s house was.

“Once blessed,” noted Patriarch Pizzaballa, “the Icon will go on a pilgrimage, starting from Lebanon, to the countries of the East, until its arrival to Rome towards the end of the year of St. Joseph, on December 8, 2021. From Rome, the Icon will travel back to the Holy Land where it will remain. In Rome as well, the Holy Father Pope Francis will give his special Apostolic Blessing for the ‘Peace Day for the East’.”

 

DEAR BISHOPS: CLEAR YOUR MINDS OF CANT – AND CAN’T

Unless it has become part of the ‘cancel culture,’ today is Flag Day in America!

(from eagleflag.com)

Are you flying the flag at your home or wearing a flag pin? Here’s some history from Flag Day Celebrated (americaslibrary.gov)

On June 14, 1777, John Adams spoke about the flag at a meeting of the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. He said, “Resolved, that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.” There have been twenty-seven official versions of the flag so far; stars have been added to it as states have entered the Union. The current version dates to July 4, 1960, when Hawaii became the 50th state.

On May 30, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation establishing a national Flag Day on June 14.

According to American legend, in June 1776, George Washington commissioned Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress, to create a flag for the new nation in anticipation of a declaration of its independence. (Flag Day Celebrated (americaslibrary.gov)

DEAR BISHOPS: CLEAR YOUR MINDS OF CANT – AND CAN’T

Robert Royal

Monday, June 14

The American bishops will begin their regular June meeting (virtually) the day after tomorrow. High on the agenda: a “Catholic” president who not only flouts teachings on abortion, sex, and marriage but whose administration is hell-bent on curtailing religious liberty when it resists the sexual revolution. Or in formal language: the question of “Eucharistic coherence.” For the uninitiated, this abstract term raises a simple question: Should persons like Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi and hundreds of others who promote the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocents yearly, and give grave public scandal, present themselves to receive Communion?

The answer is: No.

The term “Eucharistic coherence” was first used in a 2007 document issued by the Latin American bishops at Aparecida, Brazil. The chair of the drafting committee: Jorge Bergoglio, then cardinal archbishop of Buenos Aires, now Pope Francis. The Aparecida Document (click here) says clearly and forcefully:

We hope that legislators, heads of government, and health professionals, conscious of the dignity of human life and of the rootedness of the family in our peoples, will defend and protect it from the abominable crimes of abortion and euthanasia; that is their responsibility. Hence, in response to government laws and provisions that are unjust in the light of faith and reason, conscientious objection should be encouraged. We must adhere to “eucharistic coherence,” that is, be conscious that they cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act with deeds or words against the commandments, particularly when abortion, euthanasia, and other grave crimes against life and family are encouraged. This responsibility weighs particularly over legislators, heads of governments, and health professionals. (¶ 436)

What answer will our bishops give to this very question? Ironically, certain members of the American episcopate (Cardinals Cupich and Tobin notably), who have not been elected by their fellow bishops to positions of authority, have gone to Rome to try to block the American bishops from saying precisely what Cardinal Bergoglio and the Latin American bishops’ conference said.

Those who are in authority at the bishops’ conference decided, through regular procedures, to look into this question again, given our current president and speaker of the house. It’s remarkable that controversies have already erupted over the mere fact that this meeting will discuss the Communion question. Any statement – if one does appear – will be issued only after a second round of discussion and voting at the bishops’ annual meeting in November.

Some American prelates seem in a near panic that the Church will actually do something about wayward brothers and sisters who have put partisan politics above their faith. And who promote a false view of what Catholics can and cannot do in a pluralistic country like ours.

Why that’s happened is a question for another day. But some 67 bishops signed a letter (here) to USCCB President Archbishop Gómez opposing not only discussion among the bishops but committee work to draft texts. Cardinal Dolan, initially a signer, withdrew his name when he was later sent the actual text. And there are rumors that other bishops were misled into signing before they saw what it proposed.

But the discussion is going ahead. So herewith, some brief suggestions for how the bishops should proceed, if they’re really serious.

The great Dr. Samuel Johnson once advised his brilliant biographer James Boswell: “My dear friend, clear your mind of cant. You may talk as other people do. . . .it is a mode of talking in Society: but don’t think foolishly.”

Relevant instances of cant:

Dialogue. Some bishops try to delay or even prevent action against anti-Catholic Catholics by saying that we need to be “in dialogue” with them about mutual interests. To be sure. But that’s beside the point. Everyone, for example, wants a clean environment, help for the poor, proper treatment of authentic refugees. But who needs “dialogue” for that? A serious Catholic may think that the slaughter of nearly 1 million human beings in the womb every year, which is going on right now, might be more urgent than, say long-term domestic and foreign policy positions.

Calling for “dialogue” on abortion is classic “cant”; it has gone nowhere, is going nowhere, and will go nowhere with political offenders. We know that to a moral certainty. Continue talking with the wayward for the sake of their souls, but please don’t think – or try to convince the rest of us – that such dialogue will produce public results. Conversion is what’s needed here, and it won’t come by political “dialogue.”

Weaponization of the Eucharist. The bishop of San Diego, Robert McElroy, has said that sanctions against Biden-like politicians would be “weaponization of the Eucharist.” I agree, in the sense that it’s employing the Eucharist against the wickedness and snares of the devil. I disagree that it’s an attempt to beat the dissenters into submission. That’s pure cant. Does anyone think Joe or Nancy or others will feel threatened by the withholding of Communion, or will change their ways? I wish they would, but they’ve talked themselves out of this part of Catholicism long ago. And are even proud of it.

 “What about. . .?” When people in the Church try to highlight the massacres of innocents in abortion, we’re accused of not caring about women, the poor, the environment, refugees, etc., which are also Catholic concerns. Indeed, they are. But they’re normal political questions with multiple possible responses. How, say, do we best fight poverty – antipoverty programs or economic growth? The answer will always be a mix, and the mix will change over time, as does the problem.

 Dialogue, weaponization, other concerns – it’s all cant, and we shouldn’t take our eyes off the real issue. A Catholic in public life can’t hide behind these dodges when you’re vigorously promoting policies that Aparecida called “unjust in the light of faith and reason.”

The death of the innocents is the pre-eminent issue in Catholic social concerns today. Our bishops, singly and together, must say so and act like they believe it.

LINK TO ARTICLE IN THE CATHOLIC THING: Dear Bishops: Clear Your Minds of Cant – and Can’t – The Catholic Thing

VATICAN INSIDER – AND ROME! – WELCOME TERESA TOMEO – KOREAN BISHOP LAZARUS YOU HEUNG-SIK IS THE NEW PREFECT OF THE CLERGY

A remarkable appointment was made by Pope Francis today who named a Korean bishop as the new head of the Congregation for Clergy, accepting the resignation of Cardinal Beniamino Stella who turns 80 in August. Cardinal Stella is five years over the mandatory age of 75 for a prelate to present his resignation to the Pope, although, as can be seen in Stella’s case, the Pope does not always accept resignations immediately. That story is below.

Link to the English weekly edition of L’Osservatore Romano: ING_2021_024_1106.pdf (osservatoreromano.va)

VATICAN INSIDER – AND ROME! – WELCOME TERESA TOMEO

My special guest this week in the interview segment of Vatican Insider is the indomitable, ever knowledgeable and enthusiastic Teresa Tomeo. I’ve turned the tables on her. I’m her guest on Catholic Connection on EWTN and Ave Maria radio on Wednesdays but now she is in Rome and is my guest for Vatican Insider. For years we’ve wanted to do her show and mine live and together and this week we had the chance to do both. So don’t miss a minute of our fun conversation.

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: go to https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive and write the name of the guest for whom you are serarching in the SEARCH box. Below that, will appear “Vatican Insider” – click on that and the link to that particular episode will appear.

KOREAN BISHOP LAZARUS YOU HEUNG-SIK IS THE NEW PREFECT OF THE CLERGY

Vatican News
Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Cardinal Beniamino Stella and appointed 69-year-old Lazarus You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejeon, Korea, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. The new Prefect knows the Pope and welcomed him to his diocese during the Pope’s trip to Korea in August 2014.

Born in 1951 and ordained a priest for the Diocese of Daejeon, Lazarus You Heung-sik became a coadjutor in the same diocese in 2003 and two years later assumed full responsibility. The new Prefect was the head of the Korean Bishops’ Conference’s Peace Committee and traveled to North Korea four times.

The appointment of a Korean bishop to the Congregation for the Clergy follows that of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at the head of Propaganda Fide and testifies to Pope Francis’ attention to the Asian continent.

In recent days, the bishop of Mondovi, Egidio Miragoli, wrote a letter to the clergy of his diocese to inform them that he had received from the Pontiff the task of “making a visit, on his behalf, to the Congregation for the Clergy,” on the eve of the announcement of the change in the leadership of the Dicastery.

The visit follows the one made by Archbishop Claudio Maniago to the Congregation for Divine Worship, after the acceptance of the resignation of Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah. It is very likely that this from now on will be the practice adopted by Pope Francis also for the other Dicasteries on the occasion of the turnover of the person in charge.

The appointment to the Clergy was long overdue: the current Prefect, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, is in fact about to turn eighty years old next August 18. An apostolic nuncio and then president of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, Stella had been appointed to the Clergy in September 2013, a few months after the new Pope was elected.

Francis ruled that Cardinal Stella “remain in charge” of the Congregation “until the new Prefect takes office.”

FIRST AMERICAN NAMED RECTOR OF PONTIFICAL UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS – VATICAN PEDIATRIC HOSPITAL PERFORMS HISTORIC HEART TRANSPLANT

As you know from my column yesterday, I spent part of the afternoon at the Angelicum university, my alma mater for a course on Canon Law, with Teresa Tomeo and Fr. Benedict Croell, director of development at the Ang. I was thus delighted to learn today that, for the first time in its history an American Dominican was named Rector! Read more below. There’s also the exciting story of an historic heart transplant at the Vatican administered pediatric hospital Bambino Gesu!

FIRST AMERICAN NAMED RECTOR OF PONTIFICAL UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS AQUINAS

The Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (known as the Angelicum) in Rome today announced the appointment of a new Rector Magnificus, Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P.

St. Thomas Aquinas was called “the Angelic Doctor,” thus the affectionate nickname for this university.

Fr. White, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, is the first ever American named to this post. (photo from op.org)

The Congregation for Catholic Education gave approval for the appointment by Fr. Gerard Timoner OP, Master of the Order of Preachers. Fr. White, a member of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph (USA), is currently the director of the Angelicum’s Thomistic Institute and professor of theology.

In its announcement of the appointment, the Dominican Order noted that the university currently has approximately 1,000 students from nearly 100 countries, with representation of seminarians, priests, religious and lay students alike. As Fr. White notes, “The Angelicum is a school of future missionaries, where students can study theology so as to be in the service of a missionary Church. Growth in knowledge of the mystery of Christ is meant to lead to growth in love, and the two together form an integral witness to the Catholic faith.

“This aim,” wrote Fr. White, “resonates deeply with what Pope Francis wrote recently in a letter addressed to the Dominican Order on the occasion of the 800- year anniversary of St. Dominic’s death: ‘In our own age, characterized by epochal changes and new challenges to the Church’s evangelizing mission, Dominic can …serve as an inspiration to all the baptized, who are called, as missionary disciples, to reach every ‘periphery’ of our world with the light of the Gospel and the merciful love of Christ’.”

The announcement included a biography of Fr. White, noting he graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in religious studies (1993) and completed his Masters and Doctorate of Philosophy at Oxford. In 2003 he entered the Dominican Order’s Province of St. Joseph, where he was ordained to the priesthood in 2008 in Washington, D.C. He completed an S.T.L. at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies, where he also served as a professor of theology for 10 years. He was the founding director of the Thomistic Institute in Washington D.C, an institute for intellectual evangelization on secular university campuses, now present on over 60 campuses across the US and Europe.

Fr. White came to the Angelicum in 2011.

VATICAN PEDIATRIC HOSPITAL PERFORMS HISTORIC HEART TRANSPLANT

Italian news agency ANSA) reported today that Italy has performed the world’s first heart transplants from COVID-positive donors to virus-negative recipients in Bologna and Rome.

A 64-year-old man got a new heart at Bologna’s Sant’Orsola Hospital and a 15-year-old boy received one at Rome’s Bambino Gesù Hospital. The recipients did not get COVID after the transplants, hospital sources said.

The man got his heart at the end of April and the boy in mid-May.

The recipients suffered from very serious and potentially life-threatening heart conditions. Both benefitted from an exemption for the two hospitals granted by the national transplant centre (CNT), which has banned other transplants from COVID-positive donors.

The Bambino Gesu hospital headlined on its website, “Covid: first pediatric transplant in the world from positive donor to negative recipient.”

The site continued: “This is the first pediatric case, one of the first two cases ever authorized by the National Transplant Center. The 15-year-old boy, who received a new heart, was treated with monoclonal antibodies. In the hospital of the Holy See, in 2 weeks, 6 heart transplants were performed.

“An organ transplant from a SARS-CoV-2 positive donor to a negative patient was carried out for the first time in the world in the pediatric field. The 15-year-old boy, who received a new heart, was treated with monoclonal antibodies to eliminate the risk of developing Covid-19. The intervention required special authorizations from both the National Transplant Center (CNT) and the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA). Over two weeks, from May 4 to 19, the teams of professionals of the Department of Cardiac Surgery, Cardiology and Heart-Lung Transplantation of the hospital carried out a total of 6 heart transplants.”

THE “CATHOLIC CONNECTION” CONNECTS IN ROME

THE “CATHOLIC CONNECTION” CONNECTS IN ROME

Teresa Tomeo’s “Catholic Connection” radio show, a joint EWTN and Ave Maria program, has been connecting this week in Rome as Teresa airs her show from a different place each day in the Eternal City. If you listen to her daily on “Catholic Connection” from 8 to 10 am ET, you know that Teresa and I connect on Wednesdays at about 9:40 am (3:40 pm in Rome).

Today was something we have talked about for a few years – actually doing the show live and together!

I joined Teresa and John Hale of Corporate Travel Service at the Angelicum, the Domincan university in Rome whose full name is the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Thomas Aquinas was known as the “Angelic Doctor,” thus the nickname for this prestigious university. Parts of this building in the center of Rome go back 451 years!

Fr. Benedict Croell, head of the Ang’s development office and Sr. Maria Silva, OP, preceded me as Teresa’s guests this afternoon with great information and stories about the university.

Teresa set up her recording system in Aula 11 (aula means hall or a very large classroom), the very hall where on June 19, 1948 Fr. Karol Wojtyla (St. Pope John Paul), a student for two years at the Angelicum, defended his doctoral thesis on faith according to St. John of the Cross.

I’m sure a few things have changed but here are a few photos of Aula 11, mainly the stunning tile floor:

 

MYANMAR: A SIXTH CATHOLIC CHURCH ATTACKED BY ARMY

There are so many stories from around the world that deserve our attention and yet rarely make front page, above-the-fold, news. If they are not of strategic interest or importance to our country’s civilian, diplomatic and military leaders, we may never know of certain events.

There have been countless stories over the years about religious persecution around the world. There are so many of our brothers and sisters we should pray for daily and Myanmar, as you will read, is a spot that should be at the top of our prayer list.

MYANMAR: A SIXTH CATHOLIC CHURCH ATTACKED BY ARMY

Fides News agency, an information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, has reported that Sunday’s attack on Our Lady of Peace church in Demoso, Kayah State in eastern Myanmar, was perpetrated by the Burmese army, the sixth church to be attacked by the country’s military.

Pope Francis tweeted today: Today at 1:00 pm International Catholic Action is calling for the dedication of “one minute for peace,” each according to his or her own religious tradition. Let us pray in particular for the Holy Land and for Myanmar.

The Pope has asked for prayers for Myanmar a number of times recently and on Sunday, May 16, he presided over a special Mass for Burmese Catholics living in Rome as they all prayed for peace in this nation. There have been months of violence since a military coup overthrew the country’s elected government in February.

In its report on the Demoso bombing, Fides said a local priest said no victims were reported but damage to the church was severe  Several nearby buildings were also damaged. (photos from catholicarena.com).

“For weeks now,” says Fides, “the local Church has made its facilities available to the displaced people fleeing the bombings: next to the church complex, there is a nursing home run by the Sisters of Reparation where, together with the older nuns, there are about 150 vulnerable people from Dongankha village, including women, the elderly and children.”

Father Francis Soe Naing, another local priest, told Fides: “We have appealed to the military not to attack churches because many people, especially the most vulnerable, are taking refuge in them. But the appeal has fallen on deaf ears.”

Acording to Jesuit Fr. Wilbert Mireh, “One of the reasons they are attacking the Catholic Church is that, by collaborating with many donors, the Catholic Church has taken initiatives to help more than a third of the total population of Kayah State (more than 300,000 people) who have been forcibly displaced due to indiscriminate attacks by the military regime. Another reason why they attack churches is because they no longer have a shred of humanity or heart.”

 

DISASTER LOOMS IF POPE FRANCIS RESTRICTS THE TRADITIONAL MASS

I have been following the numerous recent reports, most of which started in Italian publications and blogs, about the possible abrogation, or at least a major revision of Pope Benedict’s 2007 Apostolic Letter motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, that spelled out the conditions and circumstances in which priests of the Latin Church could celebrate what Benedict called “the missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.” That is, how to celebrate Mass and the sacraments in the manner used before the liturgical reform that was a result of Vatican Council II. Benedict was very clear that that 1962 missal had never been “juridically abrogated.”

In his Letter to the bishops that accompanied the motu proprio, Benedict XVI established that “in the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”

Called by most the Traditional Latin Mass, the TLM is fast-growing and flourishing wherever it is experienced.

I grew up in the pre-Vatican Council II years (1962-65), and thus well remember the Latin Mass – the only language universally used for Mass until the vernacular was allowed following the council. International travel was wonderful in the pre-council years because no matter where you were, you understood the Mass and knew the responses in Latin. You may not have understood the homily in Paris or Prague, but the Mass was clear. (NCRegister photo)

Certainly, Mass in the vernacular was a new idea but gradually took over and now just seems normal to anyone born after the council ended in 1965.

What seemed to be missing to many of us who grew up when I did was a certain solemnity that identified the Latin Mass.

That solemnity is present in the Traditional Latin Mass and what is truly fascinating is the fact that it is that solemn beauty that is now attracting younger generations. The TLM is not merely a nostalgic look at the past for older generations.

If you recall, a March 12 unsigned instruction from the Secretary of State, approved by Pope Francis, banned the celebration of individual masses by priests in St. Peter’s Basilica at one of its dozens of chapel altars. Limits were specifically set on the Latin Mass and priests wishing to celebrate the TLM could use only the Clementine Chapel in the Vatican grottoes and celebrate Mass at 7am, 7:30, 8 or 8:30. Otherwise, priests wishing to say Mass could concelebrate in two chapels and only those chapels where they face the faithful.

By the way, the Clementine Chapel is the smallest in the basilica yet sumptuous in décor and historical to boot. Behind the grate on the wall in front of the altar is the tomb of the first Pope, the Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter!

As I have been reading about the possible changes the Pope will make to Summorum Pontificum, I have been wondering about the number of vocations born within a TLM settting. Has anyone researched this?

I offer two very interesting articles about what seem to be looming changes in Summorum Pontificum.

In Crisis magazine, Eric Sammons looks at possible changes in the Traditional Latin Mass and lays out the TLM history of the last 60 years: Pope Francis Sets His Sights on the Latin Mass (crisismagazine.com)

Sammons starts by noting, “The rumors appear to be true: Pope Francis is planning to rescind Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict’s 2007 motu proprio liberalizing the celebration of the traditional Latin Mass (TLM), which Benedict dubbed the “Extraordinary Form” of the Latin Rite. This at a time when the TLM has been flourishing while most of the Church is experiencing significant declines. Before exploring why Pope Francis is considering this radical move, it might be helpful to briefly review the history of the TLM over the past 60+ years.”

Among other things, he asks the question on most lips: “No matter what we guess the impact might be, the question remains: Why would Pope Francis do this? If a CEO decided to shut down the fastest-growing division in his company, it would be a head-scratcher for sure. So why would Pope Francis look to limit the reach of what is, in terms of growth, the most successful movement in the Church today?”

On June 10, the third Summorum Pontificum Convention will commence in Mexico. According to its website, this will be “an international Catholic gathering in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico – land of the Cristeros – dedicated to promoting the liturgical, spiritual, theological, and artistic traditions of the Church. The convention takes its name from Pope Benedict XVI’s Motu Proprio from 2007 in which he wrote about the traditional Roman Rite, “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too.”

And here is an excellent piece by Philip Lawler in Catholic Culture:

DISASTER LOOMS IF POPE FRANCIS RESTRICTS THE TRADITIONAL MASS

By Phil Lawler (catholiculture.org) | Jun 02, 2021

The rumors are true. My sources in Rome—too many and too reliable to be doubted—confirm that a document is circulating at the Vatican which, if given papal approval, would significantly restrict use the “extraordinary form” of the liturgy, the traditional Latin Mass (TLM).

This document is in draft form. It could be amended. It might never be released. But it would not even be under discussion without at least tacit approval (if not active support) from Pope Francis. And if it is released in anything like its current form, it would be a pastoral and doctrinal disaster. It would thwart a powerful movement for reform in the Church, and it would—paradoxically—undermine the Pope’s own authority.

Let me explain.

In Summorum Pontificum, his apostolic letter of 2007, Pope Benedict XVI gave the Catholic faithful much wider access to the TLM. With this new document, styled as an “instruction” for the “implementation” of Summorum Pontificum, Pope Francis would in effect repudiate the work of his predecessor, and at the same time cut off the blood supply to the fastest-growing part of the universal Church.

Pope Benedict wrote Summorum Pontificum because he recognized, in the growing demand for the traditional liturgy, an authentic movement of the Holy Spirit within the Church. The desire for the TLM is not prompted by nostalgia; the overwhelming majority of people in the pews are not old enough to remember the liturgy that was universal before Vatican II. At a time when the Catholics are leaving the Church by the thousands, and young people especially are deserting the faith, traditionalist parishes are seeing explosive growth, marked in particular by an influx of young families.

So why would any Catholic prelate, intent on evangelization, want to interfere with the growth of traditional Catholicism? Why mess with success? Could it be because the obvious pastoral health of the traditionalist communities makes for an unpleasant contrast with the failures of the rapidly shrinking parishes in the Catholic mainstream? As I observed just a few weeks ago, it is revealing “that the one liturgical option liberal Catholics cannot abide is the option for the ancient liturgy.”

In Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict declared that any priest has the right to celebrate the traditional liturgy, without requiring an “indult” or special permission from his bishop. The draft document would reportedly rescind that permission. To be perfectly honest, in practice this change would not have too much impact on the availability of the TLM, because any prudent diocesan priest already knows that if he displeases the bishop by offering the TLM without his approval, he will likely suffer reprisals. In that way, contrary to the spirit of Summorum Pontificum, many bishops have continued to smother the demand for the traditional liturgy.

However, the requirement of episcopal approval (which is only one of several new restrictions being proposed) would have a very significant effect in another way. In Summorum Pontificum Pope Benedict also made it clear that—contrary to a widespread impression—the TLM had never been abrogated. “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful,” Pope Benedict explained.

Clearly, if Pope Francis now effectively forbids the celebration of the TLM, and/or says that the traditional liturgy is harmful—or gives diocesan bishops the power to do so—then he is directly contradicting his predecessor. And if Pope Francis can contradict the teaching of Pope Benedict, what is to prevent a future Pontiff from contradicting Pope Francis? Anyone who is genuinely interested in preserving papal authority (as opposed to gaining a temporary advantage in intramural debates) should recognize the mischief this draft document could cause.

Ironically, the Catholic leaders who are lobbying for a heavy-handed use of papal power in this instance have spent the past several generations railing against the invocation of papal authority in other cases—including the case of Summorum Pontificum. But the rightful authority of the Roman Pontiff is severely limited. He can only proclaim the truths passed down in the Catholic Tradition. If he contradicts the teaching of previous Pontiffs—if he suggests that what was once sacred is sacred no longer—he attacks the base on which his own authority rests.

This draft document, then, represents not just a problem for traditionalists, but a grave danger for the Church. It should be vigorously resisted by anyone who cares about the mission of evangelization, the integrity of doctrine, and the preservation of papal authority.

 

THE FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI – THEN AND NOW

THE FEAST OF CORPUS CHRISTI – THEN AND NOW

The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, known in many countries as Corpus Christi or Corpus Domini, is a holiday in the Vatican and only one public event is usually on the papal schedule on this day – an evening Mass and procession to celebrate this feast which commemorates the Real Presence of Christ – Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity – in the Eucharist.

This annual celebration here in Rome traditionally starts with Mass at 7 p.m. in the square outside the Pope’s cathedral church of St. John Lateran, a procession with the Blessed Sacrament down Via Merulana to St. Mary Major Basilica and a blessing of the crowd gathered at this Marian basilica. This tradition has always taken place on a Thursday.

From 2013 to through 2017 Pope Francis celebrated Mass at St. John Lateran, joined the Eucharistic procession to St. Mary Major and blessed the faithful there. In 2018, he celebrated this feast in a parish in Ostia, a seaside town, and in 2019 he marked Corpus Christi in Casal Bertone. (vatican photo 2018)

In 2017, in what was seen as an unprecedented change, Francis announced that the traditional Roman Corpus Christi procession that has taken place for decades on a Thursday would henceforth be celebrated on Sunday.

It is on a Thursday, Holy Thursday, that the Church celebrates the institution of the Eucharist

Last year, however, 2020, because of the restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis celebrate Mass on Sunday, June 14, at the Altar of the Chair in St. Peter’s Basilica at 9:45 am in the presence of about 50 faithful. He did so again in 2021, marking the June 6 solemnity in the basilica. (Vatican photo 2019)

Via Merulana, originally called Via Gregoriana, was laid out by Pope Gregory XIII during the Holy Year 1575. There is a Via Gregoriana in Rome today but it is located near the famed Spanish Steps. Among Pope Gregory’s achievements: He reformed the calendar, founded the papal observatory, as well as several colleges and seminaries, including the Gregorian University, and built the Quirinale Palace, for years the summer residence of Popes and now home to the president of Italy.

The procession between the two Roman basilicas began in the 1400’s. Its current itinerary began in 1575 when Pope Gregory XIII built the street that links the two churches and was originally named Via Gregorian, now called Via Merulana. This route was followed for more than 300 years until the procession fell into disuse until 1979 when St. John Paul revived the custom, He processed the distance on foot every year except 1981, after the attack on his life in St. Peter’s Square, and 1994 following hip surgery. Starting in 1995 he rode in an open, canopy-covered vehicle, seated before a small altar bearing the monstrance and host.

The feast of Corpus Christi is due in part to the visions of a 13th century Augustinian nun, Julianna of Lièges, known for her devotion to the Eucharist. In one vision, Our Lord appeared to her, reminding her there was no solemnity honoring the Blessed Sacrament and she began to promote such a feast. Pope Urban IV, who also wished to honor the Eucharist, wrote a Bull in 1264 in which he spoke of the love of Our Lord and Savior as expressed in the Holy Eucharist, ordering Corpus Christi to be celebrated annually on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Indulgences could be gained, he wrote, by attendance at Mass and reciting the Office composed at Urban’s request by St. Thomas Aquinas, which many say is the most beautiful office of the breviary.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, about this same time in history – which was a period of infrequent communion – the elevation of the chalice and host came into being at Mass as well as placing the host in a monstrance for Eucharistic adoration. Corpus Christi is a moveable feast and in some countries is observed on the first Sunday following Trinity Sunday.

I am often asked: What is the difference between a solemnity and a feast day in the Church? Liturgy is, of course, the Church’s public worship and includes all rites and ceremonies by means of which the Church expresses her worship of God. The principal acts of liturgy that would immediately come to mind to all of us would be the seven sacraments, called sacramental liturgies.

There are also categories of liturgical days. The three technical categories are, in descending order: Solemnity, Feast and Memorial.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a feast is “technically, one category of liturgical day, a lesser rank than ‘solemnity’ and a higher rank than ‘memorial’. In popular usage, however, ‘feast’ is applied indiscriminately by the faithful to all liturgical days on which the Church commemorates a mystery of Our Lord or Our Lady, or keeps the memory of a saint.” Thus, these days mark an event in the life of Jesus or Mary or a saint. The Vatican is very careful to make the distinction between solemnity, feast or memorial: Corpus Christi is a solemnity.

Often the observance starts on the vigil, that is, the evening prior to the actual date. Many solemnities occur on fixed dates such as January 1 – Mother of God; January 6 – Epiphany; March 25 – the Annunciation; June 29 – Sts. Peter and Paul; August 15 – the Assumption; and December 8 – the Immaculate Conception. Others are movable dates: Easter, the Ascension, Pentecost and Corpus Christi.

A memorial refers to the so-called lowest type of feast found in the Church’s liturgical calendar. There is the obligatory memorial that must be celebrated and the optional memorial that is celebrated at Mass at the priest’s discretion. May 10th is, for example, an optional memorial of Saint Damien de Veuster of Molokai, the priest who treated lepers.

VATICAN INSIDER WELCOMES ARCHBISHOP RINO FISICHELLA – CARDINAL MARX, 67, OFFERS RESIGNATION TO POPE

If you have some time over the weekend, you might want to read this column when I bring you the great story of Sunday’s big feast of Corpus Christi.

Weekly edition of L’Osservatore Romano in English: ING_2021_023_0406.pdf (osservatoreromano.va)

VATICAN INSIDER WELCOMES ARCHBISHOP RINO FISICHELLA

In Part II of our conversation, my guest this week in the interview segment is Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the very busy and very multi-lingual president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. Last week we looked at some of the important work of the Council: New Evangelization, Catechesis, Shrines, Fridays of Mercy, Missionaries of Mercy, 24 Hours for the Lord, Sunday of the Word of God, World Day of the Poor, Jubilee of Mercy and Year of Faith.

We ended Part I with a reference to the May rosary marathon at shrines around the world for an end to the pandemic and go into detail this weekend. We also talk about Pope Francis’ apparent plans to merge the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples with the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization.

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CARDINAL MARX, 67, OFFERS RESIGNATION TO POPE

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich und Freising and one of the cardinal advisors to Pope Francis on the permanent body of cardinal advisors that the Pope set up in 2013, offered his resignation to the Holy Father in a letter written on May 21 and made public today. The age for mandatory retirement for residential bishops is 75, thus for Cardinal Marx to resign at 67, and not do so for reasons of health, is quite extraordinary. In fact, the reasons for his offer to resign are quite extraordinary in themselves.

Pope Francis has not accepted the resignation as of this date. Cardinal Marx has been a priest for 42 years and a bishop for almost 25.

There was no indication of his resignation as a cardinal advisor nor from his role as head of the Council for the Economy. He resigned last year as head of the German Episcopal Conference.

The full text of his letter to the Pope – a letter that Francis said he could make public, is on the website of the diocese of Munich: Microsoft Word – Letter Holy Father_ENGLISCH_210521.docx (erzbistum-muenchen.de)

The diocese also published the cardinal’s Declaration: Microsoft Word – KM_Declaration_Final_ENGLISCH_210604.docx (erzbistum-muenchen.de)

Cardinal Marx’s Letter begins, “Without doubt, these are times of crisis for the Church in Germany. There are, of course, many reasons for this situation – also beyond Germany in the whole world – and I believe it is not necessary to state them in detail here. However, this crisis has also been caused by our own failure, by our own guilt. This has become clearer and clearer to me looking at the Catholic Church as a whole, not only today but also in the past decades. My impression is that we are at a ‘dead end’ which, and this is my paschal hope, also has the potential of becoming a ‘turning point’. Of course, the ‘paschal faith’ also applies to our pastoral care as bishops: For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will find it!”

He then writes: “Since last year, I have thought about this more thoroughly and have asked myself what this means for me personally and I have decided – encouraged by the Easter period – to ask you to accept my resignation as Archbishop of Munich and Freising.”

“In essence,” writes the archbishop of Munich, referring to what is the main reason for his offer to retire, “it is important to me to share the responsibility for the catastrophe of the sexual abuse by Church officials over the past decades. The investigations and reports of the last ten years have consistently shown that there have been many personal failures and administrative mistakes but also institutional or ‘systemic’ failure.”

His Declaration, on the other hand, ends: “This decision is not easy for me. I like being a priest and bishop and hope that I can continue to work for the Church in the future. My service for this Church and the people does not end. However, to support a new beginning that is necessary, I would like to bear my share in the responsibility for past events. I believe that the ‘dead end’ we are facing at the moment can become a ‘turning point’. This is my paschal hope and I will continue praying and working for it to happen.”

 

POPE APPOINTS NEW APOSTOLIC NUNCIO IN ISRAEL AND CYPRUS – U.S. RECOGNIZES VATICAN’S FINANCIAL REGULATIONS ON CLIENT VERIFICATION

I posted a rapid tweet yesterday that I translated from the Italian language story on Vatican news about the IRS recognizing Vatican financial regulations. Below you will find the story now posted in English.

Also, an important diplomatic appointment today by the Holy Father. As you can well imagine with the Middle East being such a hot spot for decades, the naming of a papal ambassador to that part of the world is seen as particularly important, even urgent. Abp. Yllana, like Cardinal Tagle, is from the Philippines.

POPE APPOINTS NEW APOSTOLIC NUNCIO IN ISRAEL AND CYPRUS

Pope Francis appoints Archbishop Tito Yllana as the new Apostolic Nuncio in Israel and Cyprus and Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine.

By Vatican News staff writer

On the day the Vatican celebrates the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Pope Francis appointed Filipino Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana as Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.

The prelate has represented the Holy See on four continents: Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Now Pope Francis is calling him to carry out an important mission in the Holy Land. (photo from CatholicLeader.au)

Prior to this appointment, 73-year-old Archbishop Yilana had been serving as Apostolic Nuncio to Australia. He succeeds Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, who was appointed Apostolic Nuncio to India last March.

Born on 6 February 1948 in Naga City, Philippines, Adolfo Tito Yllana was ordained a priest on 19 March 1972. He graduated as Doctor juris utriusque (Doctor of Both Laws) at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. After completing his studies at the Ecclesiastical Academy, in 1984 he entered the diplomatic service of the Holy See, serving successively at Pontifical Representations in Ghana, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Lebanon, Hungary and Taiwan. In December 2001, Pope St. John Paul II appointed him as Apostolic Nuncio to Papua New Guinea and consecrated him Bishop on 6 January 2002 in St. Peter’s Basilica (titular archbishop of Montecorvino). Subsequently he entrusted him with the leadership of the nunciature in the Solomon Islands. Pope Benedict XVI appointed him as Apostolic Nuncio to Pakistan in 2006 and Apostolic Nuncio to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010. In February 2015, Pope Francis appointed him as Apostolic Nuncio to Australia.

U.S. RECOGNIZES VATICAN’S FINANCIAL REGULATIONS ON CLIENT VERIFICATION

According to the website of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the Holy See and the Vatican City State have just been listed among the equivalent jurisdictions in terms of financial security and know-your-customer rules.

By Vatican News

The laws of the Vatican City State and the Holy See that have strengthened transparency and financial oversight in recent years continue to gain international recognition, including from the United States.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. government agency responsible for collecting federal taxes, published its recognition in recent days on its website.

The Vatican is now listed among the jurisdictions that have auditing rules for financial security that conform to the best international standards. The United States has therefore recognized that the Vatican’s know-your-customer rules are equivalent to its own.

The specific annex dedicated to the Holy See and the Vatican City State explicitly mentions the laws and regulations that govern the requirements to obtain documentation to unequivocally confirm the identity of account holders in the Vatican.

It also cites Law No. XVIII of 8 October 2013, amended by Law No. CCXLVII of 19 June 2018, and Decree No. CCCLXXII of 9 October 2020 (“Transparency Law”), as well as Article 421 bis of the Criminal Code, amended by Article 5 of Decree No. CCCXXIX, dated 1 October 2019, on money laundering, and Regulation No. 4 of the Supervisory and Financial Information Authority.