Jul 312011

by Anura Guruge

I did not know this, but it is being claimed that the Vatican and the Philippines are the only remaining states that do not have laws permitting divorce — though I have since found that there are at least two caveats to this in the case of the latter; Muslims in the Philippines are permitted some latitude and marriages can be annulled. [I know that there are prominent Catholics in this country, Sen. Edward Kennedy and Sen. John Kerry immediately comes to mind, that have re-married after their Catholic marriages were annulled by the Church (no doubt greased by large amounts of largess to a local cardinal or bishop, most likely the aptly named ‘OutLaw‘ given that both these wealthy Catholics were from Boston).]

Malta, another predominantly Catholic country, on July 25, 2011 (yes, just under a month ago), enacted a parliamentary law permitting divorce. This law, however, needs to be ratified by the President before it is expected to become the law of the land in October of this year.  << link 1. link 2 >>

The new nuncio to this very Catholic, but grossly under-represented country when it comes to Cardinal electors, is 59-year-old Italian Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, who was previously the nuncio to Chile (where divorce was legalized in 2004, three-years prior to Pinto’s sojourn there). [Did you know that Ireland, grudgingly, only permitted divorce in 1997? Those poor suffering women!] Pinto, recently, has stated that it is a ‘point of honor for the Philippines’ that they do not permit divorce — though a bill to legalize it has been in the works for a few years.

As is to be expected, the Philippines also has draconian laws when it comes to reproductive rights, and predictably the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines is strongly opposed to any relaxation of these — though I have to wonder, a loud, how many of these bishops (not to mention Filipino Catholic priests) have fathered bastards. [I don’t even want to think of the nuns.] Come on, give those lovely women a break.

What is ironic is that though they kowtow the Vatican, the Vatican has treated them with off-hand disdain. Maybe the Vatican will respect them more if they showed a bit more resolve! From what I have seen the meek have never done too well at the Vatican. Yes, I know that the expectations are that they will get at least one cardinal at the next consistory — but it is POSSIBLE that the Vatican could make such a creation conditional; i.e., you change the laws no cardinal.



Jul 292011

by Anura Guruge

An elongated 360 degree panorama of Rome taken from the top of St Peter's Basilica.

The above picture, which is stretched out, kind of distorts perception given that you are seeing parts of the Vatican garden on the right. The Domus Sanctae Marthæ is more or less in the ‘middle’ in the immediate foreground [i.e., at the bottom]. It is the H-shaped (on its side) building with the flat orange roof with four ‘utility’ boxes on it. The distinctive, ‘curved’ grayish roof is that of the Paul VI (#263) Papal Audience Hall. The Sistine is clearly visible on the other side of the Basilica. The imposing curved building, with the two wings, in a garden setting, is the Vatican Government Palace.

I noticed quite a few searches in the last three days on ‘Benedict XVI’s room in Domus Sanctae Marthæ’. Since I had just written about it for ‘The Next Pope 2011’ book which will supersede the 2010 edition, I thought I will just post what I had.

Another view of the Domus Sanctae Marthæ, this time from outside the Vatican walls

In case you were wondering, it was indeed Cardinal Ratzinger that was allocated a room, prior the 2005 conclave. But, Pope Benedict XVI (#266), also stayed at the Domus Sanctae Marthæ. So this is the story.

On Thursday, April 14, 2005 [the 12th full day of the sede vacante and four days ahead of the conclave], the cardinal electors were assigned rooms at the Domus Sanctae Marthæ by lot — as required by Universi Dominici Gregis. [page 71]

By tradition, going back to the days when the accommodation was improvised ‘cells’ in the Apostolic Palace, the allocation of accommodation (other than for the possible exception of the Camerlengo) is done on an egalitarian basis irrespective of precedence.

That, in 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger, the Dean, was assigned one of the smaller rooms attests to the random allocation.

Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope around 5 pm on April 19th.

Per a custom started by John XXIII (#262) when he was elected in 1958, the new pope asked his electors to have dinner with him and spend the night in the conclave ‘setting’ – this, however, being the first time the extra night would be spent in the relative comfort of the Domus.

It is said that the pope was invited (most likely by the Camerlengo) to move to one of the suites, supposedly the Patriarchal Suite (probably the ‘grandest’ of the suites given its name). The new pope, who had a reputation for humility, politely declined. It is probable that this was the suite automatically assigned to the Camerlengo given that he might need to have meetings with the particular congregation or support staff [e.g., the electronics technicians] in his room.

Jul 282011

Vatican endorses Appleby Anura Guruge

We know that the Vatican uses Microsoft Windows given that we learned in December 2010 that it uses pirated Avast! anti-virus software developed for Windows.

But, today, it announced a new iGPII application for World Youth Day 2011, in Madrid, Spain, that only works on iPhones, iPods, iPads and ‘devices that run the (Apple) iOS operating System.’

What about the millions that have devices that have Windows or Google’s Andoid platform.

Don’t get me wrong, though I no longer own any Apple products, I am great fan of Apple stock (which kept me solvent over the last few years) and Steve Jobs is in my Top 5 of ‘Greatest Living Men’ along with Obama and Mandela.

It just seems too partisan on the part of the Vatican. I hope they got a hefty endorsement fee from Apple — and I now remember that the pope used an iPad for his first Tweet. Good for the stock. Thank you, pope. Maybe it goes much deeper than that. Could it be that the Vatican is trying to remind us that Eve ate the Apple (at a time it is fighting battles on many fronts to do with its unconditional ban of women priests)?

The iGPII is said to be an initiative of the John Paul II Youth Foundation. It was developed by ‘Futurtech & Adv Production‘ (sic). It is available in five languages, viz. Italian, French, English, Spanish and Portuguese.

The application will provide Apple-savvy World Youth Day participants with documents relating to the history of previous World Youth Days, program schedules, GPS positioning, and locality information such as lodgings, cafes, restaurants, toilets, drug stores etc. The Vatican also points out that the application might be of use to journalists (provided of course that they have an Apple device).


Jul 282011

Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, currently the tallest TWIN buidlings in the world

by Anura Guruge

Malaysia, whose state religion is Islam and is about the 20th most Islamic of countries in the world, thus becomes the 179th nation to have diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Wikipedia maintains a list.

The relations with Malaysia would be at the Apostolic Nunciature level — basically the highest level possible, and the same as what the Holy See has with the U.S.A., Spain, Germany etc. The Holy See does have Nunciature level relationship with other Islamic counties such as Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria etc. It does not have this level of relationship with mainland China, Saudi Arabia, Libya or Tunisia.

Prior to this, starting in February 1998, there had been an Apostolic Delegation to Malaysia [i.e., a ‘delegation’ or ‘delegate’ is not considered a bona fide diplomatic relationship. Some of you may recall that Bishop Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (the future John XXIII (#262)) was Apostolic Visitor to Bulgaria in 1931; Archbishop Roncalli the Apostolic Delegate to Turkey & Greece in 1935 and in 1944 the Apostolic Nuncio to France. That being the hierarchy of the Holy See diplomatic structure.]

Per the Vatican, which likes to provide its statistical and demographic data on nations that it is interacting with [e.g., Spain], Malaysia has a surface area of 329,750 square kilometres [127,317 square miles] and a multi-racial and multi-cultural population of 28,306,700. [Spain has surface area 195,364.60 square miles and a population of 46,073,000, the U.S.A. has 3,794,101 square miles and a population of 308 million while Sri Lanka has 25,332 square miles into which it manages to squeeze in 20 million people — most of whom invariably have a smile of on their face.]

The religion of state in Malayisa is Islam, professed by 60.4% of the inhabitants. The next largest religious group is the Buddhists (19.2%), followed by Christians (9.1%), Hindus (6.3%), Chinese religions (2.6%) and Animists (2.4%).

Per the Vatican the Catholic Church has had a presence in Malaysia since 1511, when the first Portuguese missionaries reached Malacca. St. Francis Xavier also arrived in that city in 1545.

St. Francis Xavier

Today the Church has nine ecclesiastical circumscriptions centred on the archdioceses of Kuala Lumpur (on the peninsula) and of Kuching and of Kota Kinabalu (on the island of Borneo).

There are eleven bishops, 274 diocesan priests, 119 regular priests, 123 male religious, 759 female religious and 270 major seminarians. Catholics number 850,720, around three percent of the population.

The Vatican goes onto add that the Catholic Church is active in evangelisation and in the pastoral care of families and young people.

On July 18, 2011 Benedict XVI met with Najib Bin Abdul Razak, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, in audience at the Apostolic Palace in  Castel Gandolfo. The agreement to establish diplomatic relation was finalized at that meeting.

This information from Vatican VIS Bulletin: OP/ VIS 20110727 (360)

Sultan Abdul Samad Building in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, decorated with lights for National Day (31 August).

The Small Irish Schism?

 Posted by at 1:47 pm
Jul 272011

by Anura Guruge

1/ July 23, 2011 post on — Ireland’s Magee, Secretary to Three Pope, Now In Very Hot Water, Does Indeed Do A Bolt — Thought To Be Hiding In the USA.
2/ July 25, 2011 post on — Vatican Aggravates Irish ‘John Magee’ Sex Abuse Brouhaha By Recalling Nuncio.
3/ July 26, 2011 post on — Irish Press Openly Accusing John Magee Of Falsehood.

I, the eternal cynic, knew that this was coming — and was eagerly scanning Google for the first intimations, which kind of predictably came from the UK — albeit from the much respected Telegraph.

Then today, from the New Rose Standard: ‘Is it time for the Irish church to break from the Vatican?

Even Time (for long considered a reliable Vatican watcher) weighed in today with: ‘The Breakup: Why Ireland Is No Longer the Vatican’s Loyal Follower‘.

The Financial Time, took time out of covering the US debt ceiling shenanigans, to take a swipe at the ‘Arrogant Vatican.’

PBS, referring to Ireland as ‘one of the MOST Catholic countries in Europe,’ had this news clip.

There is plenty more. Just do a Google News search on ‘Bishop John Magee,’ ‘Vatican,’ or ‘The xxxxxx Irish’ — and from what I can see ‘xxxxxx’ can be any adjective of your choice and the string can be as long as you want.

My feeling is that a ‘small’ schism would be good for the Church. It would be truly cleansing and galvanize many to take sides and support a cause.

Given my fascination with popes — it would be great to have multiple, competing popes. More the merrier, though I, never really that greedy, will settle for just three (as in the latter stages of the Great Western Schism). One in Rome, One in Belfast and One in Boston. Yes, I will be so happy with this that I will even endorse the bearded O’Malley as the Pope in Boston. Not sure what name he should take. Maybe Boston Celtic I (#1)? [I am even willing to concede that we could specify that all Boston popes must have a beard.] More than happy with Benedict XVI (#266) continuing in Rome. Note sure who should get Belfast.

But, alack and alas, this is but a pipe dream on my part. Irish pigs will fly first.

Ireland is the last country that will defy the pope — when push comes to shove. They are too Catholic, too religious, too superstitious. Lets face it, they use to worship trees — and appears that they still do!

So, yet again, all this media talk … is nothing but talk. No trousers. A shame. I can only but dream. Three conclaves. Three lists of papabili. Three lists of cardinalabili. What a wonderful world that would be.


Jul 262011

by Anura Guruge

1/ July 23, 2011 post on — Ireland’s Magee, Secretary to Three Pope, Now In Very Hot Water, Does Indeed Do A Bolt — Thought To Be Hiding In the USA.
2/ July 25, 2011 post on — Vatican Aggravates Irish ‘John Magee’ Sex Abuse Brouhaha By Recalling Nuncio.


The Church of Ireland's Cathedral of St. Colman in Disgraced Magee's Cloyne

As the Irish Times points out, ‘In 1978 be was party to one of the more infamous white lies of the 20th century.’

I guess if you lie once for the Church, at the behest of the Church hierarchy, you probably think that they expect you to continue lying, as long as it benefits the Church — even if you know deep down that lying is wrong and that Church never rewarded you for your famous white lie.

This article, entitled “Bishop Magee ‘deliberately misled’ inquiry” was telling.

Then there is this ‘feigned’ outrage from his colleague in Dublin — as if he wouldn’t have known some of this, if not all of this.

There is talk that Magee should be arrested, but no warrants appear to have been issued. I also note that none of the Irish Newspapers have offered a bounty for information on Magee’s whereabouts. I, one of its greatest fans, ALREADY miss the incomparable ‘News of the World.’ All I can hope is that the Sun steps into the breach. As far as I can see the Sun appears not to have covered Magee at all. To be honest, the Sun does indeed have ‘better’ things to cover.

I also just checked Paddy Power — Ireland’s premier bookmaker. NOTHING on Magee. So I sent them an e-mail. Least I can do. I want to know what THEY think the odds are of him being arrested or even becoming the next pope.

I heard back from Paddy Power. [‘Paddy’ and I have chatted before.] You can thank ME if you can, shortly, start making bets on Magee. You can never accuse me of not following through on the important stuff.

Got this today [i.e., Wednesday, July 27]. Basically, PP that has the audacity to have Turkson as their #2 , papabile NOT to mention Bono doesn’t have the gumption to get involved in the Magee ‘debate.’ Well confirms my stereotype.

Jul 252011

by Anura Guruge

1/ July 23, 2011 post on — Ireland’s Magee, Secretary to Three Pope, Now In Very Hot Water, Does Indeed Do A Bolt — Thought To Be Hiding In the USA.

The nuncio on the run -- Giuseppe Leanza

It just popped out at me as I glanced at the headlines in the M-F Vatican Information Service (VIS) newsletter for today.

It said: ‘Apostolic Nuncio in Ireland Recalled for Consultations.’

Given that my father was a diplomat for over 25 years, I kind of immediately knew that this was incongruous — if not downright bad. Yes, I can appreciate that the nuncio’s phones are being monitored — such being the usual travails of diplomacy over the centuries. But, today, more than ever, with Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) communications across the Internet, it is indeed possible to easily have tightly encrypted telephone calls — even video calls. [Yes, I know we are talking about the Vatican and Ireland.] They could have always sent a courier.

But, ‘recall’ struck ME as ‘extricate.’ Magee is on the run — now lets get the nuncio the heck out of there and pretend that this has nothing to do with US [i.e., the Vatican].

This is what VIS had to say, word-for-word: “Following the release on 13 July of the report by the Irish government commission of enquiry (sic) into allegations of abuse of minors by clergy in the diocese of Cloyne (the Cloyne Report), and in particular in the wake of the subsequent reactions, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, apostolic nuncio in Ireland, has been recalled to Rome for consultations with the Secretariat of State”. OP/ VIS 20110725 (90)

Well, thank God, I am not alone. The Irish see it in the same light that I did (and that is pretty amazing). Here is one take. Some are even shocked.

Then there was this unequivocal headline in MY UK newspaper, the Daily Mail, “Pope recalls ambassador to Ireland after PM damns Vatican for covering up ‘the rape and torture of children.’

I, as ever, have many questions, BUT one of them is pretty basic but fundamental. Where the heck is the bearded cardinal from Irish Boston — O’Malley, who if I am not mistaken was appointed in May 2010 as God’s answer to the Irish sex abuse problem? Is he on the run too? [He better shave that beard off because that is a dead giveaway.] What a team.

All I can do is shake my head in disbelief and sadness. What a master plan!


Jul 242011

The pope, Benedict XVI (#266), will be visiting Spain from August 18 to 21, 2011 for the World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid.

Ahead of the visit, as has become the norm of late, the Vatican published their statistics for the Catholic Church in Spain. See the stats for Croatia made available prior to the June 2011 visit.

This data is accurate as of December 31, 2010 and is from the Central Statistical Office of the Church. 

Spain has a surface area of 505,992 square kilometres [195,364.60 square miles] and a population of 46,073,000 of whom 42,470,000 (92.2 percent) are Catholic.

[The U.S.A. in comparison has 3,794,101 square miles and a population of 308 million; Sri Lanka 25,332 square miles and 20 million people.]

There are 70 ecclesiastical circumscriptions and 22,890 parishes.

Currently there are 126 bishops, 24,778 priests, 54,184 religious, 2,826 lay members of secular institutes and 99,581 catechists.

Minor seminarians number 1,258 and major seminarians 1,866.

A total of 1,461,899 students attend 5,535 centres of Catholic education, from kindergartens to universities.

Other institutions belonging to the Church or run by priests or religious in Spain include 77 hospitals, 54 clinics, 1 leper colony, 803 homes for the elderly or disabled, 391 orphanages and nurseries, 293 family counseling centres and other pro-life centres, 3,323 centres for education and social rehabilitation, and 632 institutions of other kinds.

[From OP/ VIS 20110721 (200)]


Panorama of Madrid from the Buenavista (beautiful view) Hill

Jul 242011

Female Anglican Bishop

by Anura Guruge

The topic of female ordination got discussed quite a bit, along with that of the 300 Austrian ‘dissidents’ (not to mention the 1,000 – 1,200 Austrian Catholic priests that are supposed to be ‘married’ — the ‘marriages’ performed by Austrian priests), in the context of papabile Policarpo’s flip-flop on the issue. Here is the last post — with links to the other related posts.

The New York Times now reports that 150 U.S. Catholic priests have in essence jointed the movement — taking a cue from the Austrians.

Here is the article. These are indeed interesting times.

But, I guess the first priority is to track down Magee.


Jul 232011

A citizen of Benin where the life expectancy is 59

Dear Father John started it all on July 1, 2011 by musing about the possibility of a 2011 consistory — in the November time frame.

Louis Epstein countered by saying that February 22, 2012, Feast of the Chair of Peter, or June 29, 2012, Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, made more sense.

That the pope was scheduled to visit Benin (West Africa) during November 18 to 20, 2011 has been known since the start of this year. See my Jan. 7 post.

Father John, last night had two changes of mind.

1/ This article appearing today in the Vatican News Media is the nail in the coffin of any rumors concerning a November Consistory. (Though I am not sure why this would totally preclude the possibility of a consistory — maybe closer to Christmas.)

So, my gut has been telling me all along that a February one will take place in which 12 to 16 electors will be created. (So now Fr. John and Louis appear to be in ‘agreement’).

2/ Addendum to last email.

A November 2012 makes more sense, he can create 22 electors.

A decision to hold a February consistory will be an indicator of his perceived health. (That is the pope’s health, not that of Louis’.)


Rss Feed Tweeter button Facebook button Technorati button Reddit button Myspace button Linkedin button Webonews button Delicious button Digg button Stumbleupon button Newsvine button