Archive for September 2009
Pope Benedict said that his journey to the Czech Republic last week was both a pilgrimage and a sign “for all of Europe, for our continent, which needs to fall in love with Christ afresh and to draw hope for the true life” in his weekly general audience in Rome today.
During his stay in the Czech Republic, the Holy Father visited important holy sites and churches. He addressed the Czech Catholics, who make up 30 per cent of the population (though only a small fraction of that is practicising), spoke to ministers, diplomats, and engaged with the academics at the Charles University.
Although the general population was fairly indifferent to the Pope’s visit—in the Czech Republic the Communist regime was extremely effective promoting atheism in an already religiously ambiguous country—the Pope’s visit has been judged a success, both by commentators and by journalists. If the Czech Republic is one of the most atheistic countries in Europe, then perhaps the modest success of the Pope’s visit can be read as a good sign. Read the rest of this entry »
Austria’s most senior churchman, Pope Benedict XVI’s former pupil, Cardinal Schoenborn has said he does not see a viable alternative to the country’s much Church contested membership fee. Brought in by the Nazis after the Anschluss as a bid to de-stabilise the Church, the membership fee has in the recent past been used as a leveraging tool by lay people against the hierarchy. (Cf Dr Wagner affair)
During the Dr Gerard Wagner saga at the beginning of this year, “We are Church” urged members to leave the Church and stop their fee payments in order to show their displeasure with the “established Church”.
Speaking in an interview with APA last Sunday, Cardinal Schoenborn said: “There are alternatives [to the Church membership fee] but the political will is lacking for them.” Read the rest of this entry »
Was Colonel Muammar Gaddafi being willfully malicious when he compared the Vatican to the Taliban during his rant at the United Nations last week?
“Why are we against the Taliban? Why are we against Afghanistan?” he asked leaders of more than 120 nations attending the annual General Assembly debate.
“If the Taliban wants to make a religious state, okay, like the Vatican. Does the Vatican constitute a danger against us? No.”
It was the first time the Libyan leader had addressed the 192-member body for the first time in his 40 years in power.
“If the Taliban wants to create an Islamic emirate, who said they are the enemy?” he added.
It seems a bit of a strange analogy coming from the eccentric revolutionary who has ruled Libya with an iron fist for the last 40 years. For those who were subjected to Word Analogies at school, what would this look like?
The Vatican : Taliban :: __________ : Colonel Gaddafi
(Vatican is to Taliban as __________ is to Colonel Gaddafi)
Also check out Vanity Fair’s Colonel Gaddafi- A Life in Fashion
After the rumours, non-committal non-denials, and speculation that have been circulating re the Pope’s visit to Great Britain, Fr Lombardi just stopped short of an official confirmation yesterday, when he briefed the press at the end of the Holy Father’s trip to the Czech Republic.
NCR’s John Allen Jr has the dirt, as always:
News broke earlier this week of a possible outing to Great Britain and Ireland, which could include a beatification ceremony for Newman, the 19th century intellectual and convert to Catholicism who has long been slightly controversial for his ambivalence about the doctrine of papal infallibility.
Nonetheless, Pope Benedict XVI has frequently praised Newman’s life and work, seeing in him a kindred intellectual spirit.
Lombardi said this evening that a trip to the U.K. is a “good hypothesis,” that it would likely take place in September (rather than January as some news outlets had suggested), and that “it would be an obvious occasion” to beatify Newman.
When a reporter noted that Benedict XVI has previously expressed a preference to allow beatifications to be carried out by the local church rather than by the pope, Lombardi responded: “We have a year to figure that out.”
Got stuck in gridlock as the city is still full of foreign heads of state and diplomats from top to bottom because of the big UN meetings. It looks like I’ve just missed Cardinal Keith O’Brien who’s been here as the head of a climate change delegation.
There’s a scaffolding up at St Patrick’s Cathedral at the moment.
The official statement of the Bishops’ Conference:
“We are encouraged and pleased at the news which has emerged about the possible official visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the UK next year.
“We are glad the Holy Father is giving such consideration to the invitations he has received from Her Majesty’s Government, which accord closely to the wishes and requests also expressed by the Bishops of England & Wales.
“The prospect of a visit by Pope Benedict fills us with joy.”
So….what does it mean? Will he? Won’t he?
Meanwhile Fr Tim does the round-up.