Nevertheless, it is clearly unjust to visit upon all pedophiles a vengeance appropriate to the tiny minority who are also murderers. Priestly abuse of children is nowadays taken to mean sexual abuse, and I feel obliged, at the outset, to get the whole matter of sexual abuse into proportion and out of the way For all sorts of reasons I dislike the Roman Catholic Church. But I dislike unfairness even more, and I can't help wondering whether this one institution has been unfairly demonized over the issue, especially in Ireland and America. I suppose some additional public resentment flows from the hypocrisy of priests whose professional life is largely devoted to arousing guilt about 'sin'.
Then there is the abuse of trust by a figure in authority, whom the child has been trained from the cradle to revere. Such additional resentments should make us all the more careful not to rush to judgement. We should be aware of the remarkable power of the mind to concoct false memories, especially when abetted by unscrupulous therapists and mercenary lawyers There's gold in them thar long-gone fumbles in the vestry - some of them, indeed, so long gone that the alleged offender is likely to be dead and unable to present his side of the story.
The Catholic Church worldwide has paid out more than a billion dollars in compensation. You might almost sympathize with them, until you remember where their money came from in the first place. Once in the question time after a lecture in Dublin, I was asked what I thought about the widely publicized cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Ireland.
Benedict XVI: Essays and Reflections on His Papacy
I replied that, horrible as sexual abuse no doubt was, the damage was arguably less than the long-term psychological damage inflicted by bringing the child up Catholic in the first place. But who can protect them from Ratzinger? The Catholic church has long pursued a no-condoms policy AIDS, Ratzinger says, "cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems".
That is a lie. Not a fantasy, like virgin birth and all the other magical, mystical nonsense, but a dangerous lie. And that, in turn, is why Ratzinger constantly asks the contemporary West to reconsider its hyper-secularist reading of the past, in which black legends of Christian perversity dominate the historical landscape and the dignity of man is asserted only with effective cultural and political force in the Enlightenment. Thus, in his lecture to the Italian Senate, Ratzinger, echoing the opening sequence in Kenneth Clark's TV series, Civilisation , reminded his audience that Christian monasticism saved European culture when it was in grave danger of losing hold of its classical and biblical heritage.
In remote places such as Iona and Lindisfarne, the monks of St Benedict, he recalled, were the agents of a rebirth of culture, and did so precisely as "a force prior to and superior to political authority" which, in the Dark Ages, had largely disappeared from the scene. Moreover, Ratzinger proposed, it was Christianity itself that initially suggested and defended that "separation" of religious and political authority or, in the vulgate, the "separation of Church and state" so prized by modern secularists: in the first instance, when the late-fifth-century Pope Gelasius I drew a crisp distinction between priestly and political authority.
Remove Gelasius I and Gregory VII, Ratzinger suggested, the rich social pluralism of European life in the first centuries of the second millennium would have been much less likely to develop — and, to bring the point home in terms of Britain, there would have been no Magna Carta and all that flowed from there. It was the Church, in other words, that made the first arguments for the "separation of Church and state", not the philosophes of the continental Enlightenment.
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Which, as Ratzinger surveys contemporary European high culture, brings us to yet another irony: the inability of the rationalism proclaimed by the Enlightenment to sustain Europe's confidence in reason. That civilisational project rests on three legs, which might be labelled "Jerusalem", "Athens", and "Rome": biblical religion, which taught Europe that the human person, as child of a benevolent Creator, is endowed with inalienable dignity and value; Greek rationality, which taught Europe that there are truths embedded in the world and in us, truths we can grasp by reason; and Roman jurisprudence, which taught Europe that the rule of law is superior to the rule of brute force.
If Jerusalem goes — as it has in much of post-Enlightenment European high culture — Athens gets wobbly: as is plain in the sandbox of post-modernism, where there may be your truth and my truth, but nothing properly describable as the truth. And if both Jerusalem and Athens go, then Rome — the rule-of-law — is in grave trouble: as is plain when coercive state power is used throughout Europe and within European states to enforce regimes of moral relativism and to punish the politically incorrect.
Another outstanding post in the Catholic blogosphere today Both the contribution and Deacon Nick's comments are exceptional.. The Holy Spirit appointed Joseph Ratzinger Pope so that he could among other things bring this particular teaching to a world audience. If we can take note of its content and consider its implications as an international community of human persons, then the papacy of Benedict XVI will be the divine gift to humanity in this present generation.
We are at a crossroads, no less vital than years ago before war broke out in Europe. Communism has been exposed, capitalism has failed with devasting collateral damage inflicted in its wake. And now, the philosopher advocates of both ideologies are presently searching for something to put their faith in. Young people so easily see the contraditions in mid 20th century liberal thought and are not taken in by the cheap promise of superficial happiness.
It will most likely mean a form of martyrdom for those who will stand for the truth of human existence to be upheld and cherished. Athanasius was to the 4th century at the time of the Arian Heresy. At that time, even the Pope was being bullied into accepting that Christ was not God. It was Athanasius who, despite all the odds, never flenched from repeating the simple truth that Jesus was God among us. In our time we see Benedict being bullied by the 21st century forces of expediency. In ways, he is showing us what 21st century Western martyrdom is going to look like. It is going to be the joy-filled knowledge that Jesus will protect and bring us inner peace and secure freedom from all falsehoods and inadequate compromises about the truth of human and divine natures.
Here's a nice sidebar and photograph from a Palermo blog And more photos of the youth event with the Pope from the Palermo edition of La Repubblica The gratitude is for the liberalization through the Motu Proprio of the traditional Mass also called the Latin Mass or the Gregorian Mass. In some Sicilian cities, the traditional Mass is celebrated every Sunday with the participation largely of young people who have received the Pope's Motu Proprio very favorably. But apparently, some people in the building who do not welcome Summorum Pontificum used their influence with the authorities, because eventually, some men from the city's special operations division showed up to demand that the streamer be removed!
All they needed was a gesture, a word said in the right tone, and all it took were the words 'Take courage' said by the Holy Father for them to explode into shattering applause, as though they had been liberated. The young people of Sicily - or their representative present on Sunday afternoon - showed that they believe in being agents of change, despite all the troubles of their land. Piazza Politeama was a tide of people by the early hours of the afternon. They enjoyed performances by Sicilian groups, until their emcee announced the arrival of the Holy Father in the Popemobile for the last event of his day in Palermo.
Benedict XVI made the rounds of the crowd to greet them before taking to the stage. He embraced emcee Massimo Minutella who appeared to be in seventh heaven but nonetheless articulated a plea for the Pope not to forget the young people of Sicily and to carry them in his heart.
The Impact of Benedict XVI’s Resignation on Papal Politics
Two very enthusiastic young people, David and Giorgia - like the rest of the crowdm, they had attended the two-day regional conference on and for young people and families held Friday and Sunday - bounded onstage, and a few steps away from the Pope, they mastered their emotions enough to speak to him in behalf of all the others about their dreams. But we also have a lot to give if anyone wishes to accept us, to listen to us, to make us even more enamored of Jesus Christ". The audience was silent, listening and agreeing - she was speaking for them. Then it was the turn of David Roccaro, a law student who said he believed in formation and study as 'an opportunity for rescue and renewal'.
Therefore, it is time to reinforce our commitment in defense of Christian and human values, which should also guide us in our studies, our education, our work - which we do not now have". Before the Pope came to join the young people, he had spoken to some 2, priests, male and female religious, deacons and seminarians, whose enthusiasm was overwhelming.
They left the Cathedral thankful for the Holy Father's call to prayer and to spiritual nourishment, said with the severity of a good father. He also sent a message of spiritual closeness to the boy's family who are hospitalized for injuries, and asked Archbishop Paolo Romeo to visit them after he saw off the Pope for Rome on Sunday evening.
Romeo has asked the diocesan Caritas to attend to the immediate needs of the stricken family. They are poor and now homeless. Wednesday, Oct. He was born in Cologne, Germany, became a famous teacher at Rheims and was appointed chancellor of the archdiocese at age He supported Pope Gregory VII May 25 in his fight against the decadence of the clergy and took part in the removal of his own scandalous archbishop. As he had always dreamed of living in solitude and prayer, he persuaded a few friends to join him in a hermitage and they eventually settled in Chartreuse near Grenoble under the protection of the Bishop of Grenoble, the future St.
Hugh of Chateauneuf. They lived a monastic life, and their chief work was copying manuscripts. Meanwhile, one of Bruno's former pupils had become Urban II in , and he asked Bruno to come to Rome as an adviser, a job he performed very discreetly.
In , with the Pope's blessings, Bruno and some friends retreated to a hermitage in Calabria, southern Italy, where he eventually died in the first year of the 12th century. His friend Urban II preceded him by a few months. He He was never formally canonized, because the Carthusians were averse to all occasions of publicity. Pope Clement extended his feast to the whole Church in Readings for today's Mass : www.
Gertrude the Great, a contemporary of the 12th-century Mathilde of Hackeborn who was the subject of last week's catechesis.
He reminded the faithful that tomorrow is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and that October is the month of the Rosary. Peter's Basilica. Here's a look at this fall's twin offering Few would have foreseen that such a brilliant, often polemical man could possess these qualities. And why was it necessary to, yet again, bring up a comparison with John Paul II? Contributors tell of their encounters with Benedict the pastoral Pope, as when he came to the United States and reached out to victims of abusive priests. Or when he wrote a pastoral letter to Chinese Catholics, again reaching out and asking for unity within the Chinese Catholic Church fractured into the underground and the governmentally sanctioned parts.
The commentators, Lieven Boeve and Gerard Mannion, argue that Cardinal Ratzinger has not deeply changed his basic positions, even though many others, such as Father Hans Kung, have accused the current Pontiff of just that. Cardinal Ratzinger highlighted a more traditionalist position as the s wore on.
However, this was not so much a reactionary stance as it was the position of a priest who was deeply concerned with the secularization mot only of Western society, but within the Church itself, as many seminaries, religious orders and Catholic schools lost a sense of being Catholic. In one writing, Cardinal Ratzinger calls on the faithful to become more deliberate in the way in which Catholic education or health care is indeed Catholic.
Some of the writings testify to the polemical style with which Cardinal Ratzinger often defended the faith. This reader also indicates why he is becoming so popular with Catholics. Welter is studying for his doctorate in systematic theology and teaching English in Taiwan. Gertrude is the fourth of the great medieval female saints in the Pope's current catechetical cycle that he began when he resumed the General Audiences after the summer break. His first two subjects were Hildegarde of Bingen and Clare of Assisi.
He also reminded the faithful that tomorrow is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and that October is the month of the Rosary. Here is how he synthesized the catechesis in English: Our catechesis today focuses on Saint Gertrude the Great, a remarkable figure associated with the monastery of Helfta, where so many masterpieces of religious literature were born. Saint Gertrude is the only woman of Germanic descent to be called "Great", an honour due to her exceptional natural and supernatural gifts. As a youth, Gertrude was intelligent, strong and decisive, but also impulsive.
With humility she asked others for advice and prayer. Eventually, she experienced a deep conversion: in her studies she passed from worldly pursuits to the sacred sciences, and in her monastic observance she moved from concern with external things to a life of intense prayer. In her writings, she sought to explain the truths of the faith with clarity and simplicity, while not failing to develop spiritual themes associated with Divine Love.
In her religious practice, she pursued prayer with devotion and faithful abandonment to God. Dear friends, may we learn from Saint Gertrude the Great how to love Christ and His Church with humility and faith, and to cultivate our personal prayer through an intense participation in the Holy Mass and the sacred liturgy. Dear brothers and sisters: St. Gertrude the Great, of whom I wish to speak today, brings us this week back to the German monastery of Helfta, which gave birth to some of the masterpieces of religious literature written by women in Latin and German.
To this world belonged St.
Q & A: Fr. Robert Imbelli
Gertrude, one of the most famous of mystics, the only female in Germany to have merited the appellative 'the Great' for her cultural and evangelical status. With her life and thought, she left an incisive impression on Christian spirituality.
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She was an exceptional woman, endowed with special natural talents and extraordinary gifts of grace, with the most profound humility and ardent zeal for the salvation of her neighbor, one who had intimate communion with God in contemplation and in her promptness to aid those in need. In Helfta, she was systematically confronted, so to speak, with the example of her teacher Mathilde of Hackeborn, whom I spoke of last week; she was in the company of another medieval mystic, Mathilde of Magdeburg; and she grew up under the maternal, kind but demanding care of the Abbess Gertrude [ elder sister of Mathilde of Hackeborn ].