THE SILENCE OF GOD IS ONLY APPARENT
VATICAN CITY, 14 SEP 2011 (VIS) - This morning the Holy Father travelled by helicopter from the Apostolic Palace at Castelgandolfo to the Vatican, where he held his weekly general audience in the Paul VI Hall. In his catechesis he dwelt on the first part of Psalm 22, focusing on the theme of prayers of supplication to God. (IMAGE SOURCE: RADIO VATICANA)
The Psalm, which remerges in the narrative of Christ's Passion, presents the figure of an innocent man persecuted and surrounded by adversaries who seek his death. He raises his voice to God "in a doleful lament which, in the certainty of faith, mysteriously gives way to praise".
The Psalmist's opening cry of "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" is "an appeal addressed to a God Who appears distant, Who does not respond", said the Holy Father. "God is silent, a silence that rends the Psalmists heart as he continues to cry out incessantly but finds no response". Nonetheless, he "calls the Lord 'my' God, in an extreme act of trust and faith. Despite appearances, the Psalmist cannot believe that his bond with the Lord has been severed entirely".
The opening lament of Psalm 22 recurs in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark in the cry the dying Jesus makes from the cross. This, Benedict XVI explained, expresses all the desolation the Son of God felt "under the crushing burden of a mission which had to pass through humiliation and destruction. For this reason He cried out to the Father. ... Yet His was not a desperate cry, as the Psalmist's was".
Sacred history, the Pope continued, "has been a history of cries for help from the people, and of salvific responses from God". The Psalmist refers to the faith of his ancestors "who trusted ... and were never put to shame", and he describes his own extreme difficulties in order "to induce the Lord to take pity and intervene, as He always had in the past".
The Psalmist's enemies surround him, "they seem invincible, like dangerous ravening beasts. ... The images used in the Psalm also serve to underline the fact that when man himself becomes brutal and attacks his fellow man, ... he seems to lose all human semblance. Violence always contains some bestial quality, and only the salvific intervention of God can restore man to his humanity".
At this point, death begins to take hold of the Psalmist. He describes the moment with dramatic images "which we come across again in the narrative of Christ's Passion: the bodily torment, the unbearable thirst which finds an echo in Jesus' cry of 'I am thirsty', and finally the definitive action of his tormenters who, like the soldiers under the cross, divide among themselves the clothes of the victim, whom they consider to be already dead".
At this point a new cry emerges, "which rends the heavens because it proclaims a faith, a certainty, that is beyond all doubt. ... The Psalm turns into thanksgiving. ... The Lord has saved the petitioner and shown him His face of mercy. Death and life came together in an inseparable mystery and life triumphed. ... This is the victory of faith, which can transform death into the gift of life, the abyss of suffering into a source of hope". Thus the Psalm leads us to relive Christ's Passion and to share the joy of His resurrection.
In closing, the Pope invited the faithful to distinguish deeper reality from outward appearance, even when God is apparently silent. "By placing all our trust and hope in God the Father, we can pray to Him with faith at all moments of anguish, and our cry for help will turn into a hymn of praise".
VATICAN CITY, 14 SEP 2011 (VIS) - In his greetings to pilgrims at the end of his general audience this morning, the Pope recalled how Poland is currently celebrating Education Week. "Education, the aim of which is the integral development of man", he said, "requires the collaboration of parents, teachers and pastors, as well as of the various State and local authorities. May this Week arouse a sense of responsibility in everyone, so as to ensure high-quality formation of the minds and hearts of the young".
"Today", he went on addressing Italian-speaking pilgrims, "the liturgy invites us to meditate on the Lord's Cross, and tomorrow on the sufferings of His Mother. May the Cross of Christ and the example of Mary, Virgin of Sorrows, illuminate your lives". In this context he also mentioned today's beatification in the Italian city ofCosenza of Elena Aiello, Italian foundress of the Minim Sisters of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
"In the immediate wake of the Italian National Eucharistic Congress in Ancona, the Church in Italyrejoices at the elevation to the altars of such an eminently Eucharistic soul. Sr. Elena used to say that the 'the Eucharist is the essential nourishment of my life, ... the Sacrament that gives meaning to ... my daily activities'. May the example and intercession of the new blessed increase everyone's love for the Sacrament of the altar".
VATICAN CITY, 14 SEP 2011 (VIS) - At midday today the Holy See Press Office released the following communique concerning the postion of the Society of St. Pius X:
"On 14 September at the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the congregation and president of the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei'; Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer S.J., secretary of the congregation, and Msgr. Guido Pozzo, secretary of the pontifical commission, met with Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, who was accompanied by Fr. Niklaus Pfluger and Fr. Alain-Marc Nely, respectively first and second assistant general to the society.
"Following the appeal of 15 December 2008, addressed by the superior general of the Society of St. Pius X to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father decided to remove the excommunication against the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre. At the same time, he approved the opening of discussions with the society in order to clarify doctrinal problems and to heal the existing rift.
"In order to put the Holy Father's instructions into effect, a joint study commission was set up, composed of experts from the Society of St. Pius X and from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who met in Rome on eight occasions between October 2009 and April 2011. Their discussions, which aimed to identify and study the essential doctrinal difficulties in the controversial issues, had the result of clarifying the positions of the two sides and their respective motivations.
"While bearing in mind the concerns and demands presented by the Society of St. Pius X about protecting the integrity of the Catholic faith against Vatican Council II's 'hermeneutic of rupture' with Tradition (a theme addressed by Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the Roman Curia on 22 December 2005), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith maintains that the fundamental basis for achieving full reconciliation with the Apostolic See is the acceptance of the text of the Doctrinal Preamble, which was handed over during a meeting on 14 September 2011. The Preamble defines certain doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation Catholic doctrine, which are necessary to ensure faithfulness to the Church Magisterium and 'sentire cum Ecclesia'. At the same time, it leaves open to legitimate discussion the examination and theological explanation of individual expressions and formulations contained in the documents of Vatican Council II and later Magisterium.
"At the same meeting, certain suggestions were made for a canonical solution to the position of the Society of St. Pius X, with a view to achieving the desired reconciliation".
U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, gave the statement to Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the society, Sept. 14 during a meeting at the Vatican that lasted more than two hours.
Although the Vatican did not give the society a deadline, in order to move toward full reconciliation, leaders are expected to study and sign the preamble "within a few months," said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman.
The cardinal and bishop also discussed possible "elements of a canonical solution" for the society after "the eventual and hoped-for reconciliation," said a statement issued by the Vatican after the meeting.
Father Lombardi said, "Today the most likely solution would be a personal prelature," which is a church jurisdiction without geographical boundaries designed to carry out particular pastoral initiatives. It is headed by a prelate, who is appointed by the pope; currently the church's only personal prelature is Opus Dei.
The document given to Bishop Fellay to sign "states some doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary to guarantee fidelity" to the formal teaching of the church, said a statement issued by the Vatican after the meeting.
At the same time, the statement said, the preamble leaves room for "legitimate discussion" about "individual expressions or formulations present in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the successive magisterium" of the popes who came after the council.
Father Lombardi would not respond to questions about specific church teachings and developments listed in the preamble, but said church tradition always has held there are varying degrees of church teaching; some require an absolute assent while others are open to interpretation.
The talks were launched in late 2009 in an effort by Pope Benedict XVI to repair a 21-year break with the society. The pope said that full communion for the group's members would depend on "true recognition of the magisterium and the authority of the pope and of the Second Vatican Council."
The Vatican statement did not mention any of the specific areas where Bishop Fellay's group has said the Catholic Church and the popes since the Second Vatican Council had broken with true Catholic tradition. They object to the reform of the Mass, to much of the church's work in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and to the council's stand on religious freedom.
Bishop Fellay had said his society went into the talks aiming to show the contradictions between the church's traditional teachings and its practices since Vatican II. That is "the only goal that we are pursuing," he had said, adding that the dialogue with the Vatican is not a search for compromise but "a question of faith."
In addition to the society's rejection of many Vatican II teachings, members also objected to the beatification of Pope John Paul II and, particularly, to Pope Benedict's convocation of another interreligious meeting for peace in Assisi.
Pope Benedict cleared the way for reconciliation talks with the Society of St. Pius X in early 2009 when he lifted the excommunications of Bishop Fellay and three other society bishops ordained against papal orders in 1988. The Vatican said the dialogue was designed to restore "full communion" with members of the society, which was founded by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
The Vatican said the talks were to focus on the concept of tradition, liturgical reform, interpretation of Vatican II in continuity with Catholic doctrinal tradition, church unity, ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and non-Christian religions, and religious freedom.
The Vatican and the society appointed a commission to discuss the issues and members met eight times between October 2009 and April 2011, the Vatican said.
The meetings "reached the aim of clarifying the respective positions" of the two sides, it said.
Cardinal Levada's meeting with Bishop Fellay "is an important step in this process," which has moved from the work of a study commission to direct talks between the doctrinal congregation chief and the head of the society "with the obvious intent of arriving at positions and conclusions in this process of searching for reconciliation," Father Lombardi said.
Announcing the September meeting, the superior of the society in Germany, Father Franz Schmidberger, said on the group's website that Cardinal Levada and Bishop Fellay would discuss the results of the commission's dialogues from the past two years, but also would focus on questions concerning the canonical status of the society and its members.
While the pope lifted the excommunication of the four bishops, he said that "until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the society has no canonical status in the church, and its ministers ... do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the church."
On its U.S. district website Sept. 6, the Society of St. Pius X published parts of an interview Bishop Fellay gave in June. In it, he said, contacts were ongoing, although "we have probably reached the end of a period of discussions. It is not yet totally clear. What is going to happen? What is going to be the result of this phase?"
"We cannot deceive ourselves: We are truly in a crisis of the church. It is certainly not over," he said. "We work for the restoration of the church, but it may still last a decade or two. We need much courage and perseverance. Our situation might be solved tomorrow and it might be solved after tomorrow. Everything is in the hands of the good Lord. Let us simply remain faithful."
On the website of its international headquarters Sept. 14, the society posted a copy of the Vatican's statement, with a note that an interview with Bishop Fellay would appear on the website later.
.- Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, says he has begun the process of appealing his suspension from active ministry outside the Diocese of Amarillo.
In a letter to the United States bishops, Fr. Pavone denied charges made by Bishop Patrick J. Zurek of Amarillo—whose jurisdiction he is under—that he had disobeyed the bishop and had failed to allow the Priests for Life to undergo auditing.
Bishop Zurek announced in a Sept. 9 letter to his fellow bishops that he had suspended Fr. Pavone from public ministry outside the diocese, beginning Sept. 13.
The bishop cited “deep concerns regarding his stewardship of the finances of the Priests for Life (PFL) organization.” The 990 Forms submitted to the IRS from 2008, the most recent date available, show Priests for Life had income totaling $10.8 million.
He said that persistent questions have been raised about the way millions of dollars in donations made to the pro-life organization were handled. These questions have remained unanswered, the bishop said, because Fr. Pavone “has consistently refused to subject the PFL to a transparent and complete auditing of all expenditures.”
In addition, Bishop Zurek expressed concerns about Fr. Pavone’s obedience. “Father Pavone has gradually lost his need to show appropriate obedience to his Bishop,” he said. “It seems that his fame has caused him to see priestly obedience as an inconvenience to his unique status and an obstacle to the possible international scope of his ministry.”
In an official response, Fr. Pavone said that he was “perplexed” by Bishop Zurek’s demand.
“I have begun a process of appeal to the Vatican,” Fr. Pavone said. “This process aims to correct any mistaken decisions of the bishop in my regard and to protect my commitment to full-time pro-life activity for my whole life. We are very confident that the Vatican will resolve this matter in a just and equitable fashion.”
Fr. Pavone also responded to Bishop Zurek in a Sept. 12 letter to the American bishops. “Priests for Life has provided the diocese of Amarillo with full and complete annual audits of the finances of the Association every year since I have been incardinated in Amarillo,” he said in the letter.
Fr. Pavone stated that independent audits were conducted on Priests for Life between 2005 and 2010, but that the diocese never acknowledged the receipt of those audits.
He added that he does not receive a salary from either Priests for Life or the Diocese of Amarillo. He acknowledged that the organization does provide for his residence and ministry-associated expenses, but said that “these expenses are very small,” around $2,000 per month.
In addition, Fr. Pavone denied the charges of disobedience in connection with his ministry, saying, “I acted at all times in full obedience to my Ordinary.”
Fr. Pavone also noted that, according to the Church’s canon law, his appeal to Rome has effectively put his bishop’s order that he return to Amarillo on hold.
“Nevertheless, because of my great respect for this Bishop and my commitment to be fully obedient at all times, I am reporting to Amarillo this Tuesday, in hopes that I can sort this problem out with the Bishop in a mutually agreeable and amicable way,” he said.
Fr. Pavone has been featured for several years on EWTN’s audio series, “Defending Life.” EWTN responded to the news of Fr. Pavone’s suspension by saying that it is “in ongoing conversations with both the Diocese of Amarillo and Father Pavone to clarify the exact nature of the restrictions and their potential impact on EWTN's ability to continue to air programming featuring Fr. Frank.
“While these discussions are continuing, the Network encourages our EWTN Family to keep this matter in your prayers.”
Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
13 Sep 2011
Technology is bringing the Gospels and discussion of the scriptures to an increasing number of people with eConferences reaching thousands of people.
An estimated 30,000 took part in the Broken Bay Institute's sixth eConference last week which explored St Matthew's Gospel and included participants at schools, parishes and dioceses across Australia and from as afield as Israel, Vietnam, Britain, the US and China.
The second eConference for 2011 was titled "Following Jesus - Matthew" and shedding light on the evangelist who lived some 50 years after Christ's death, and his Gospel, were leading two Australian theological scholars, Fr Chris Monaghan CP, the Reverend Dorothy Lee and Britain's Fr Nicholas King SJ.
Well known authorities on the Scriptures, Fr Mongahan is President of the Yarra Theological Union and with the Rev Lee is Dean of Trinity College Melbourne gave two of the key note addresses. The third was given by Fr King who lectures at Oxford University and is renowned for his ground breaking translation of the New Testament from the original Greek.
Between each of the key note addresses, participants were encouraged to discuss what they had just heard via trained facilitators and also sent questions via email which were addressed by the three speakers at a panel discussion in the afternoon.
When the first eConference was first streamed live in June 2009, just over 5000 Catholics logged on. Back then there were 120 sites set up across Australia with a few additional sites participating at centres in New Zealand.
Today the number of sites in Australia has topped the 200 plus mark and overseas Catholics keen to learn more about their faith continue to increase with groups in more and more countries setting up their own sites and joining in the discussions.
"We are always thrilled when new groups and sites are added but are also delighted that so many groups who took part in our first eConference three years ago have become 'regulars.' What might have been just five or six in a group back then, has grown in size with everyone bringing along more and more of friends so often the original group now numbers 100 or more," says Annie Carrett, Communications Manager for the Broken Bay Diocese.
From the start the response to eConferences has exceeded expectations.
"Modern technology has meant we have been able to reach thousands of people who would not normally have the opportunity to hear such outstanding speakers or to be able have discussions with a facilitator after each speaker, and to ask a panel questions in real time," says Dr Gerard Goldman, Director-Principal of the Broken Bay Institute (BBI). "Technology has also enabled us to share the incredible richness of our tradition so people can deepen their faith and learn more about the Gospels, the Church and the Scriptures."
Since the BBI's first eConference, the twice annual teachings of the Gospel and the Church have become much anticipated events and have not only enabled Catholics worldwide to participate, but even more importantly, have allowed schools and parishes in remote rural and regional areas to take part.
"There has always been talk about the tyranny of distance in Australia. But eConferences have changed all that. With an eConference it doesn't matter where people live as long as they are at a centre that has access to the internet," Dr Goldman says.
An initiative of the BBI in conjunction with the Australian Catholic Bishops Commission for Mission and Faith Formation, each eConference comprises six sessions of 20 minutes each. The live webcast beings with an opening prayer at 10.30 am followed by an introduction, then the first keynote speaker is heard after which there are local facilitated discussions. Then comes the second key note speaker, a 20 minute facilitared discussion, and then the third speaker. After a break for lunch, there are two more key note speeches and discussions followed by a panel of q and a, and a final prayer at 2.45 pm.
"We always finish around 3 pm to enable schools to participate," Dr Goldman says.
Admitting the decision to make a DVD of each eConference was almost an afterthought, Dr Goldman says the eConference DVDs have become one of the most important aspects of all, and provide an invaluable and ongoing resource for schools, parishes as well as individuals.
These range from the first eConference, "Paul - the Man, the Mission and Message for Today" to "The Gospel of St Luke," the subject of the second one. For the third eConference "Mary - First Disciple" was explored and this was followed by the powerful: "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Son of Man - Fully Human, Fully Divine."
The fifth eConference was held in May this year and was titled: "The Holy Spirit - Giver of Life" and was followed by last week's eConference on the Gospel of Matthew.
The next eConference is set for May 2012 with the theme to be announced by November this year.
Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika has opened a new church in St. Joseph Parish in Denpasar, the provincial capital.
The new church, which is named Jesus the Good Shepherd and located in Ubung Kaja, was built because the old church building could no longer meet the needs of more than 2,500 parishioners.
Both church buildings, however, will still be used for Sunday Masses.
In his speech during the formal opening ceremony on September 12, the 76th anniversary of the parish’s establishment, Pastika stressed the importance of promoting inclusiveness in the predominantly Hindu province.
“Modernism has created a new way of thinking within our social, cultural and religious environment, which has resulted in behavioral changes that threaten togetherness. One of them is exclusiveness,” he said.
Exclusiveness prevents people working with others and may also create conflict, he added, referring to sectarian clashes at the weekend in Ambon, capital of Maluku province.
“Thus, I ask all of you to resist exclusiveness. Let us build inclusiveness and adapt it into the philosophy of Balinese culture, such as promoting brotherhood,” Pastika asserted.
Referring to the new church, he said it will serve as a place where people can pray and also a medium for people to promote brotherhood, peace and social welfare in the Island of Gods.
Earlier, Bishop Silvester San of Denpasar blessed the new church building during Sunday Mass, which included traditional dances.
According to a statement sent to Fides, Mgr. Palmer-Buckle said that the initiative is in line with certain propositions of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the 2009 Synod of Bishops, which stressed the need to work for justice, reconciliation and peace in the African continent.
The Archbishop of Accra, said that over the past three decades, the continent has been plagued by violent and prolonged civil wars. Mgr. Palmer-Buckle stressed the importance of the Church’s role to strengthen cooperation at all levels, especially regarding the national, regional and continental structures, to promote the interests of all and to face common challenges, with particular attention to the need to promote good governance, because bad governance is often the source of intimidations, violence and conflict in Africa, during and after the elections.
Mgr. Palmer-Buckle underlined that the Church, in her prophetic mission, must continue to speak out against electoral illegality and all forms of malpractices in the conduct of elections. The Church, he noted, has long assumed the role of being the voice that stands in favor of the voiceless. "For this reason, she cannot afford to free herself from this responsibility. We need to talk and defend what is right, even at the risk of our lives", underlined the Archbishop of Accra.
The main objective of the Seminar, whose participants come from 27 African countries, is to provide an opportunity for the Church to share experiences in the field of peace and the promotion of transparent and credible elections in Africa. (L.M.)
Feast: September 14
The feast of the Exaltation of the Cross sprang into existence at Rome at the end of the seventh century. Allusion is made to it during the pontificate of Sergius I (687-701) but, as Dom Bäumer observes, the very terms of the text (Lib. Pontif., I, 374, 378) show that the feast already existed. It is, then, inexact, as has often been pointed out, to attribute the introduction of it to this pope. The Gallican churches, which, at the period here referred to, do not yet know of this feast of the 14th September, have another on the 3rd of May of the same signification. It seems to have been introduced there in the seventh century, for ancient Gallican documents, such as the Lectionary of Luxeuil, do not mention it; Gregory of Tours also seems to ignore it. According to Mgr. Duchesne, the date seems to have been borrowed from the legend of the Finding of the Holy Cross (Lib. Pontif., I, p. cviii). Later, when the Gallican and Roman Liturgies were combined, a distinct character was given to each feast, so as to avoid sacrificing either. The 3rd of May was called the feast of the Invention of the Cross, and it commemorated in a special manner Saint Helena's discovery of the sacred wood of the Cross; the 14th of September, the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, commemorated above all the circumstances in which Heraclius recovered from the Persians the True Cross, which they had carried off. Nevertheless, it appears from the history of the two feasts, which we have just examined, that that of the 13th and 14th of September is the older, and that the commemoration of the Finding of the Cross was at first combined with it.
13No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up,15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."16For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.17For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.