Apr 302012

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….by Anura Guruge

Pope Benedict XVI (#266), a doctrinal and liturgical practices purists since his May 1968 conversion on the quad in Tübingen, has never made a secret of his zeal to roll back some Vatican II innovations – particularly those related to the Latin Mass. He made his commitment to the Latin Mass quite clear with his July 7, 2007 Summorum Pontificum motu proprio and his subsequent May 13, 2011 letter outlining how the Latin Mass can be reintroduced if so requested by a congregation. In January of this year, ahead of the February 18, 2012 cardinal creating consistory, the Vatican, with the pope’s blessing, also announced some liturgical changes to the consistory process to realign them with pre-Vatican II norms.

On Saturday, April 14, 2012, with Easter behind him and his 85th birthday looming, the pope took another step to eradicate Vatican II innovation and revert back to pre-conciliar norms. This change had to do with the vernacular wording used in the Eucharistic Anaphora prayer during the consecration of the wine, for transubstantiation. The prayer contains the phrase:qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum‘. The pre-conciliar translation of this was: ‘which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins‘, the ‘pro multis‘ translated as ‘for many‘.

The first post-conciliar translation came out as: ‘which will be shed for you and for all men, so that sins may be forgiven’ — the word ‘men‘ soon dropped because of protests. In this translation, approved in 1973, ‘pro multis‘ had become ‘for all‘. This was controversial from the start. In 2006, on this pope’s watch, the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments sent out a letter requesting that in future translations the ‘for all’ should be changed back to ‘for many’. The latest English translation that came out in 2011 contains this change. The Hungarian translation fixed it in 2009, followed shortly afterwards by the translations for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. Italy has yet to make the change, while some German translation expected to be released soon appeared to be reluctant to make the change. So on April 14, 2012, the pope sent this 2,002-word letter, in German, to the Chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference urging him to make sure that this change is implemented across the board.

Click to access the original at the Vatican. Use Google to translate.

Apr 292012

During the last few days I keep running into articles and posts claiming that the pope’s pontificate officially began following the April 24, 2005, inaugural Mass in St. Peter’s Square.


Pope Benedict XVI’s (#266) pontificate started sometime around 5pm (Rome time) on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 when he responded in the affirmative to the Acceptasne electionem de te canonice factam in Summum Pontificem? (Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?) that would have been posed to him as soon as it was confirmed that he had exceeded the requisite two-thirds majority following the 3rd ballot of that day (the 4th of the conclave).

There are NO if and buts about this. It is not open to negotiation, discussion, interpretation or debate.

John Paul II’s (#265) 1996 Universi Dominici Gregis THE Apostolic Constitution that solely governed the 2005 conclave that elected Benedict XVI is emphatic on this point, in its clause #88.

Universi Dominici Gregis with Anura Guruge

Click image to access Universi Dominici Gregis at the Vatican

The days when a pontificate only started after a formal consecration are long gone – now that, post Gregory XVI (#255) in 1831, all popes, when elected, have already been bishops.

To claim that the pope’s pontificate started at any other time, other than right at the conclave (just before it was concluded) is just plain ignorant.

There is really one question that we may ask as to when the pontificate started. And that is … who posed the question to Cardinal Ratzinger since this is one of the duties of the Dean of the College (if present in the conclave) and Cardinal Ratzinger was THE Dean. In theory it should have been the next most senior Cardinal Bishop. Angelo Sodano the Vice-Dean was present and he most likely did the honors. [Can somebody confirm that? Thanks.]

Apr 282012

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

….by Anura Guruge

Related post:
Darien N. Clark: Cardinal Bertone’s Statement Re. Certain Nationalities For Some Curial Jobs — April 11, 2012.

Curial cardinals by Anura Guruge

Extract from Anura Guruge's Cardinals Excel spreadsheet. Click to ENLARGE.

Number curial cardinals = 27.

% College = 12.9%; % Electors = 22%.

Cardinal Bishops = 1 (Lord Bertone), Cardinal Priests = 5 (1 jus optionis, Zenon Grocholewski), Cardinal Deacons = 21.

Average age = 69.6 years (cf. College = 77.5 years, Electors = 71.7 years). Youngest = Kurt Koch, 62; Oldest = Raffaele Farina, SDB, 78. Past ’75’ retirement age = 5.

Average time as cardinals = 3.4 years. Longest = Zenon Grocholewski (72 years), 11 years; Shortest = 8 created at the February 18, 2012 consistory.

Created by John Paul II = 7 (25.9%); Created by Benedict XVI = 20 (74%).

Consistories = 2/2001 = 1; 10/2003 = 6; 3/2006 = 2; 11/2007 = 4; 11/2010 = 6 (22.2%); 2/2012 = 8 (29.6%).

Religious = 4; Salesians = 3 (Lord Bertone, Farina & Amato), Sulpicians = 1 (Lord Ouellet).

Europe = 20 (East Europe =2) 74%, Americas = 5 (Latin America = 2), Africa = 2; Asia = 0, Oceania = 0.

Italy = 14 (51.8%), Poland = 2, USA = 2; Germany = 0, Mexico = 0.

Apr 282012

Last night I was doing some research into all the controversies that this pope has been involved in; ‘controversy’ being one of the apt words to sum-up his pontificate. In the course of this I had revisit his May 28, 2006 visit to Auschwitz. I was reading his speech there when these words (underlined in red), which I know were widely reported in the media at the time, literally jumped off the screen:

Click image to access the original transcript at www.vatican.va

These words seems awfully incongruous coming from THIS pope — supposedly quite an expert on theology and an ardent supporter of faith.

It kind of reminded me of Cardinal Ratzinger’s interview in 1997 when he (the future pope) said that the Holy Spirit may not pick out the pope. Refer to my November 28, 2010 post for the exact quote and context.

Why, Lord, did you remain silent?‘ coming from a pope bothers me at multiple levels. If a pope is going to ask this question publicly, why limit it just to the Holocaust? Couldn’t it equally well be applied to the Crusades? But, why even stop there? This question, coming from a pope, to me, opens up a veritable rats nest of issues.

But, the one that bothers me the most, has to do with ‘Free Will’. To me, and I could as ever be wrong especially as I am a rank Philistine when it comes to theology, it would appear as if the pope is implying the God, on certain occasions, should glibly step in and override ‘Free Will’. Wow. Well, if that is the case, maybe it is something that the Pope, as God’s vicar on earth, should have a hand in. I don’t know, but this question by the pope does not sit well with me.

N.B. The Vatican cutely misses out the keyword ‘CONCENTRATION’ when it refers to Auschwitz … just calling it Auschwitz Camp — making it sound like it was a Summer camp for the Polish!

Apr 272012

Related Post:
Vatican Widget To Commemorate Pope Benedict XVI’s (#266) 7th Anniversary As P.M. — April 20, 2012

Remember when the Vatican appointed a Web czar, viz. Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella, and he confessed at his first press conference that he did not have Internet access? It is ‘OK’ if you can’t remember — because here is a link.

Well, they appear to be also having some issues with the Vatican widget.

As I pointed out on April 20, the day they announced it, their process for requesting the widget was flawed — and quite amazingly continues to still be flawed, at least if you happen to be using FireFox (the preferred browser of the tech savvy). Well, given that there are nights when I dream in HTML it didn’t take me long to work out where they screwed up. The grey button that says ‘WIDGET VATICAN.VA’ is meant to be lined to an e-mail request. You can expose the link by putting the cursor over it:

So, later that day, Friday, April 20, 2012, a week ago today, I sent them the requisite e-mail with the URL for this blog, my e-mail, my physical mailing address, my social security number, date of birth, place of birth, time of birth, mother’s maiden name, my Visa credit card number, expiration date and security code. To be on the safe side I gave them the userid and password for my PayPal account. Well, if you can’t trust the Vatican, who can you trust? But, still nothing. Nada.

It is, however, curious that the offer for this holy widget appeared on the same day that the appropriately named Cardinal Burke made this statement: Catholic Communicators Must Obey Church Teaching. Was that really a coincidence or is the Vatican using the offer of the widget to compile a list of all Catholic Web sites so that they can monitor the content. Will they then publish and enforce a Index Weborum Prohibitorum — not that that would bother me since obviously this blog will always pass muster.

Apr 272012

The 3 cardinals, none electors all, two ex-curialist, as they appear in my Excel spreadsheet:

Click to ENLARGE

The ages of these three are hard to miss, but the pope, at 85, must be using his age as a measure as to what men of this age bracket are capable of doing; plus to be sure these cardinals will be relying on younger staff to do nearly all of the heavy lifting. I doubt whether any of these three have the technology skills to try and trace the leaks using hard to eradicate electronic fingerprints such as IP addresses on e-mails passing through mail servers. Maybe they are hoping for guidance and help from up above.

Herranz Casado does have a reputation for getting this done — so at least that is a good sign. It is also possible that the pope wanted to choose three that have been retired from active duty for quite some time to minimize possible conflicts of interests with those currently serving in the curia — the mostly likely suspects of the leaks. Not sure if anything will come from this Commission. It might just be a cover for Lord Bertone who no doubt has his mafia working on this too — unless, of course, the leaks were done at his behest!

Apr 272012

Just 3 days after the stunning announcement that the Vatican is cracking down on U.S. nuns and sisters, this story, with its inescapable headline, appeared in Monday’s [i.e., April 21, 2012] Vatican Information Service (VIS) bulletin.

It does not mention nuns explicitly, but there is the unmistakable nod to ‘Blessed Mother Cope‘ who was a nun.

As soon as I saw the headline (as I was rushing off to a retreat in Las Vegas) I had the distinct impression that the pope was trying to appease the world female population as well as all the males put out by the uncalled for attack on the nuns.

For the last 15 months or so I have been concerned that the pope is not on top of his game in terms of keeping tabs of what is happening at the Vatican. I think this huge faux pas with the U.S. nuns is another example. Yes, of course he approved the report and the appointment of Archbishop Sartain as the Inquisitor General BUT I am not sure whether he gave it much attention let alone thought. That is my concern. He appears to be having too many ‘Senior Moments’ — which he is obviously very entitled to do given his age. Yet, those close to him managed to convey to him the backlash against the attack on the nuns. I think he then realized that this was yet another huge mistake. I have never heard of anyone accusing Dolan of being an intellectual and he, of course, has to take the blame for the timing as well as the entire presentation.

This ‘we don’t hate all women’ headline was a good start but obviously it does not go far enough. The media is still at arms about the attack on the nuns and the appointment of a Inquisitor General implicated in clerical pedophilia.

Apr 222012

This had been on my mind all along, especially once I found out that Grand Inquisitor Sartain is a proven accessory. [To be honest, each time I see his name, the embedded name within it just screams out at me! Scary.] So, it was serendipitous that I found this article in one of my more favored U.S. publications (one that I actually sometimes even purchase). Hallelujah. Thank YOU.

Click image to access excellent "Boston Globe" opinion piece.

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