Rorate Caeli

The Pope and the Cross

The strength the Lord on high has granted to this old man placed by Him as Successor of Peter is unbelievable, while the Judases of the episcopate betray the Bishop of Rome every single day, in words and deeds, from Austria to Australia.

Address in full:
Dear Brother Bishops,

I thank God for giving me this occasion to meet all of you here at the Shrine of Fatima, the spiritual heart of Portugal, where multitudes of pilgrims from all over the world come looking to discover or to reinforce their certainty in the truths of Heaven. Among them has come from Rome the Successor of Peter, accepting the oft-repeated invitations and moved by a debt of gratitude to the Virgin Mary, who herself transmitted to her seers and pilgrims an intense love for the Holy Father which has borne fruit in a great multitude which prays, with Jesus as its guide: Peter, “I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren” (Lk 22:32).

[The Papal Ministry]

As you see, the Pope needs to open himself ever more fully to the mystery of the Cross, embracing it as the one hope and the supreme way to gain and to gather in the Crucified One all his brothers and sisters in humanity.

Obeying the word of God, he is called to live not for himself but for the presence of God in the world. I am comforted by the determination with which you too follow me closely, fearing nothing except the loss of eternal salvation for your people, as was clearly expressed in the words of greeting spoken by Archbishop Jorge Ortiga upon my arrival in your midst, and which testify to the unconditional fidelity of the Bishops of Portugal to the Successor of Peter. From my heart I thank you. I thank you as well for all the attention that you have given to organizing my Visit. May God reward you, and pour out the Holy Spirit in abundance upon you and your Dioceses so that, with one heart and with one soul, you may bring to completion the pastoral work which you have begun, that is, offering each member of the faithful an exacting and attractive Christian initiation, one which communicates the integrity of the faith and genuine spirituality, rooted in the Gospel, and capable of forming free and generous labourers in the midst of public life.

[Lay Witness]

In truth, the times in which we live demand a new missionary vigour on the part of Christians, who are called to form a mature laity, identified with the Church and sensitive to the complex transformations taking place in our world. Authentic witnesses to Jesus Christ are needed, above all in those human situations where the silence of the faith is most widely and deeply felt: among politicians, intellectuals, communications professionals who profess and who promote a monocultural ideal, with disdain for the religious and contemplative dimension of life. In such circles are found some believers who are ashamed of their beliefs and who even give a helping hand to this type of secularism, which builds barriers before Christian inspiration. And yet, dear brothers, may all those who defend the faith in these situations, with courage, with a vigorous Catholic outlook and in fidelity to the magisterium, continue to receive your help and your insightful encouragement in order to live out, as faithful lay men and women, their Christian freedom.

[Bishops and silence]

You maintain a strong prophetic dimension, without allowing yourselves to be silenced, in the present social context, for “the word of God is not fettered” (2 Tim 2:9). People cry out for the Good News of Jesus Christ, which gives meaning to their lives and protects their dignity. In your role as first evangelizers, it will be useful for you to know and to understand the diverse social and cultural factors, to evaluate their spiritual deficiencies and to utilize effectively your pastoral resources; what is decisive, however, is the ability to inculcate in all those engaged in the work of evangelization a true desire for holiness, in the awareness that the results derive above all from our union with Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit.

[Faith: the 'movements']

In fact, when, in the view of many people, the Catholic faith is no longer the common patrimony of society and, often, seen as seed threatened and obscured by the “gods” and masters of this world, only with great difficulty can the faith touch the hearts of people by means simple speeches or moral appeals, and even less by a general appeal to Christian values. The courageous and integral appeal to principles is essential and indispensable; yet simply proclaiming the message does not penetrate to the depths of people’s hearts, it does not touch their freedom, it does not change their lives. What attracts is, above all, the encounter with believing persons who, through their faith, draw others to the grace of Christ by bearing witness to him. The words of Pope John Paul II come to mind: “The Church needs above all great currents, movements and witnesses of holiness among the ‘Christifideles’ because it is from holiness that is born every authentic renewal of the Church, all intelligent enrichment of the faith and of the Christian life, the vital and fecund reactualization of Christianity with the needs of man, a renewed form of presence in the heart of human existence and of the culture of nations (Address for the XX Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Conciliar Decree “Apostolicam Actuositatem”, 18 November 1985). One could say, “the Church has need of these great currents, movements and witnesses of holiness…, but there are none!”

In this regard, I confess to you the pleasant surprise that I had in making contact with the movements and the new ecclesial communities. Watching them, I had the joy and the grace to see how, at a moment of weariness in the Church, at a time when we were hearing about “the winter of the Church”, the Holy Spirit was creating a new springtime, awakening in young people and adults alike the joy of being Christian, of living in the Church, which is the living Body of Christ. Thanks to their charisms, the radicality of the Gospel, the objective contents of the faith, the living flow of her tradition, are all being communicated in a persuasive way and welcomed as a personal experience, as adherence in freedom to the present event of Christ.

The necessary condition, naturally, is that these new realities desire to live in the one Church, albeit with spaces in some way set aside for their own life, in such a way that this life becomes fruitful for all the others. The bearers of a particular charism must feel themselves fundamentally responsible for communion, for the common faith of the Church, and submit themselves to the leadership of their Bishops. It is they who must ensure the ecclesial nature of the movements.

[The responsibility of Bishops]

Bishops are not only those who hold an office, but those who themselves are bearers of charisms, and responsible for the openness of the Church to the working of the Holy Spirit. We, Bishops, in the sacrament of Holy Orders, are anointed by the Holy Spirit and thus the sacrament ensures that we too are open to his gifts. Thus, on the one hand, we must feel responsibility for welcoming these impulses which are gifts for the Church and which give her new vitality, but, on the other hand, we must also help the movements to find the right way, making some corrections with understanding – with the spiritual and human understanding that is able to combine guidance, gratitude and a certain openness and a willingness to learn.

[Bishops as Fathers]

This is precisely what you must foster or confirm in your priests. In this Year for Priests now drawing to a close, rediscover, dear brothers, the role of the Bishop as father, especially with regard to your priests. For all too long the responsibility of authority as a service aimed at the growth of others and in the first place of priests, has been given second place. Priests are called to serve, in their pastoral ministry, and to be part of a pastoral activity of communion or oneness, as the Conciliar Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis reminds us, “No priest is sufficiently equipped to carry out his mission alone and as it were single-handed. He can only do so by joining forces with other priests, under the leadership of those who govern the Church” (No. 7). This is not a matter of turning back to the past, nor of a simple return to our origins, but rather of a recovery of the fervour of the origins, of the joy of the initial Christian experience, and of walking beside Christ like the disciples of Emmaus on the day of Easter, allowing his word to warm our hearts and his “broken bread” to open our eyes to the contemplation of his face. Only in this way will the fire of charity blaze strongly enough to impel every Christian to become a source of light and life in the Church and among all men and women.

[Bishops and service]

Before concluding, I would like to ask you, in your role as leaders and ministers of charity in the Church, to rekindle, in yourselves as individuals and as a group, a sense of mercy and of compassion, in order to respond to grave social needs. New organizations must be established, and those already existing perfected, so that they can be capable of responding creatively to every form of poverty, including those experienced as a lack of the meaningfulness in life and the absence of hope. The efforts you are making to assist the Dioceses most in need, especially in Portuguese-speaking countries, is praiseworthy. May difficulties, which today are more deeply felt, not make you shrink from the logic of self-giving. Let there continue and flourish in this country, your witness as prophets of justice and peace, and defenders of the inalienable rights of the person. Join your voice to the voices of the least powerful, whom you have wisely helped to gain a voice of their own, without ever being afraid of raising your voice on behalf of the oppressed, the downtrodden and those who have been mistreated.

I entrust all of you to Our Lady of Fatima, and I ask her to sustain you with her maternal care amid the challenges which you face, so that you will be promoters of a culture and a spirituality of charity, peace, hope and justice, faith and service. To you, to the members of your families and to your diocesan communities I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing.
Benedict XVI
Address to the Bishops of Portugal
Fatima, May 13, 2010

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

On another subject, do you know what's happening in the diocese of San Antonio, TX? The Latin Mass for Ascension Thursday was canceled this evening, and the Pastor of the parish said later that an announcement will be made on Sunday reflecting "some changes in the diocese".
Let's pray for Fr. Donald Kloster (he was quoted recently on your blog).

Long-Skirts said...

Anonymous said...

"The Latin Mass for Ascension Thursday was canceled this evening, and the Pastor of the parish said later that an announcement will be made on Sunday reflecting "some changes in the diocese"."

...AND THE PURSUIT

Ascension Thursday's Sunday.
Corpus Christi got the boot.
And this year, since it's Saturday,
All Saints' Day will be moot.

'Cause Saturday's by Sunday.
And Monday just won't scoot
And two days in a row for God
That's yielding too much fruit.

So if we play our cards right,
Let money trump all suits,
We'll end all militant Sundays
Obliging happy pursuits.

Paul Haley said...

Reams and reams of platitudes signifying nothing...but the term "new springtime" is given prominence. Really, Your Holiness, do you not see that the crowds in the esplanade are crying out for that which has been taken from them, that which Holy Mother Church has always held, taught and professed to be true since the days of the apostles?

I'm sorry but I'm really fed up to the gills with these modernist-sounding platitudes. There will come a time when those who refuse to follow the explicit instructions of the Mother of God will pay dearly for their negligence.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Haley,

My feeling when reading this address was similar. This has same tone as the kind of stuff John Paul II said when he made his first visit to the United States. I am so tired of hearing this talk from the Holy See...

Anonymous said...

The Hermaneutic of Moral Relativism

Jordanes said...

"The Hermaneutic (sic) of Moral Relativism . . . ."

". . . is that against which this Pope has determinedly set himself . . . ."

Anonymous said...

Paul Haley and Anon 15:14:


Right on! Why is he suddenly starting to sound like JPII?

Do you ever wonder if we all live in the same world?

Delphina

Anonymous said...

Also the current Pontiff shows no sign and endeavour to conquer the fatal crisis of the church in europe. On the contrary the crisis is perpetuating and already beyond control under the eyes of a Rome, which seem to be incapable of acting. In the meantime at an assembly of members of the parrochial councils, also attended by Schoenborn and his unlucky fellowos in the austrian episcopacy, some delagates, including also priests, call for a new Martin Luther.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Haley, You are right on the money with your comment. Seems like they just keep shoveling it and way too many "catholics' keep swallowing it. Well, I've drawn the line, and I will not back up one more inch. The counter-revolution is ON! Here is an excellent compilation of the events and statements which are supposed to make up the "New Springtime of Vatican II." http://www.fatimaperspectives.com/sv/tocsv.asp Fight on!

Anonymous said...

the church phone number is 210 824 0139 email is stpiusx@stpiusx.cc very disappointing that they cancelled this mass...archdiocese # is 210 734 2620

Tom Piatak said...

Another excellent address by our esteemed Holy Father, of which there have been several during this visit to Portugal.

Anonymous said...

Paul Haley

Right on the money as usual.

I could not agree more.
Platitudes and ideas of orthodoxy are doing absolutely nothing for the tens of thousands of parishes around the world that are sunk in the morass of liberal pablum, and are only sinking deeper.
What is needed are Papal mandates and autoritative implementaions.
D.P.H.

Anonymous said...

san antonio archdiocese has not been supportive of the Latin mass

John McFarland said...

"As you see, the Pope needs to open himself ever more fully to the mystery of the Cross, embracing it as the one hope and the supreme way to gain and to gather in the Crucified One all his brothers and sisters in humanity."

Gather all his brothers and sisters in humanity? But aren't many called, but few chosen?

"Obeying the word of God, [the Pope]is called to live not for himself but for the presence of God in the world."

For the presence of God in the world? Is it not for God in heaven, and in the souls of the just, for the greater glory of God, and the salvation of souls as a manifestation of that glory?

"People cry out for the Good News of Jesus Christ, which gives meaning to their lives and protects their dignity."

But isn't the Good News not generic "meaning," but that we are called to share in the divine nature, here and eventually in eternity by loving the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves? And who has any dignity to protect if he is in mortal sin?

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"What is needed are Papal mandates and autoritative implementaions."

Yes, right. An 83 year old who has no idea how long he might live, and who has little real support from the hierarchy, should launch a major offensive that will take decades to properly implement, and that will surely elicit the opposition of the great majority of the episcopate.

I think you guys are gluttons for punishment. The path you are proposing is the surest way to provoke a liberal reaction that will make the past 4 decades look like a picnic. If you think the news we sometimes report on Rorate as indicative of the liberal push-back is bad, these merely form the tip of the iceberg. In many places only the formalities of schism are missing.

I sometimes wonder what kind of dreamworld the "usual crowd" in these comboxes live in. Things are so bad that not even a "top-down" Counter-Reformation can fix things, and will in all likelihood only worsen them.

No one should ever have expected Pope Benedict XVI to inaugurate a new Counter-Reformation, a massive reform of the Church to turn back the tide of modernism and liberalism. It was never possible from the very beginning, in a Church where rightful obedience has all but disappeared.

However, we should grasp the reign of Benedict XVI for what it is: a breather, a necessary respite, an opportunity for the Catholics who have been so battered and marginalized in the previous 40 years to at least make their voices heard, and to be able to articulate their position for everyone else to hear, without the official opprobrium of previous years.

I wouldn't be surprised if, after Benedict XVI, things will get worse. There are certainly signs that some liberals -- not all of them "old" -- are preparing for a reaction. Let's do what we can in the time remaining, instead of seemingly spending so much time denouncing, alienating, and making new enemies.

Jordanes said...

Gather all his brothers and sisters in humanity? But aren't many called, but few chosen?

Yes -- and yet Jesus still died for all sinners, not just for the elect. And Jesus doesn't want just some of His brothers and sisters to be saved, but all of them.

For the presence of God in the world?

Yes, for the presence of God in the world.

We are Catholics, Mr. McFarland, not Manichees.

Is it not for God in heaven, and in the souls of the just, for the greater glory of God, and the salvation of souls as a manifestation of that glory?

Yes.

But isn't the Good News not generic "meaning,"

Yes. But then, as you already know, he didn't say the Gospel isn't generic "meaning."

but that we are called to share in the divine nature, here and eventually in eternity by loving the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves?

Yup. He has never denied it, and has several times affirmed it.

And who has any dignity to protect if he is in mortal sin?

Total depravity is a heresy, Mr. McFarland. Even those who are perishing are created in the image of God.

Sean said...

Mr. Palad,

All that His Holiness need do to launch the Counter Reformation is to create a universal canonical entity for Catholics of tradition: with their own bishops, religious orders and societies, and secular priests. This will level the playing field. Do you think that is too much to ask?

Paul Haley said...

Is it time to lay off the Holy Father because he us 83 years old and has few friends in the hierarchy and struggles to restore anything in Christ? What would Jesus say when presented with such a question? Would he say: "Yes, lay off him and let the Church sink ever more deeply into the abyss?" Or, would he say: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Mt 28:18-20) "And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned." (Mark, Chap 16; 15-16)

Respectfully, if we do not clamor for a return to what the Holy Church has always held, taught and professed to be true, how will it ever occur? Pope BenedictXVI has done some good things but I submit that there is much more to be done. The fact remains that he has power and authority that no one else on earth has and if the liberal-modernists don't respond to his commands, they are the losers, not him.

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

"All that His Holiness need do to launch the Counter Reformation is to create a universal canonical entity for Catholics of tradition: with their own bishops, religious orders and societies, and secular priests. This will level the playing field. Do you think that is too much to ask?"

No, that isn't too much to ask, and is something I completely support.

However, to think that it will suddenly transform the Church, level the playing field, etc. is unrealistic.

The positive effects of a P.A.A will be enormous, but it will take a lot of time. It will not be for the impatient, or for those who expect things to return to normal in a single generation (I'm not saying that you're one of them, Sean).

Carlos Antonio Palad said...

Mr. Haley:

First, where did I say that we should lay off the Pope?

Second, there is much to be said for a firmer response against the current crisis in the Church. However, my comment has to do with what can be realistically expected of this Pope, and what he can actually accomplish even if he behaves according to our desires.

Paul Haley said...

Mr Palad,

I did not say you said "lay off the Pope"; I merely asked the question. In response you took it to mean the question was addressed to you personally. I submit that your remarks about an 83 year old with few real friends in the hierarchy are an apologia for him not having done or not doing what many of us think he should have done - in fact, should still do, while there is time. If I misinterpreted your remarks, then I apologize here and now. Your remarks are quoted here for those interested:
Yes, right. An 83 year old who has no idea how long he might live, and who has little real support from the hierarchy, should launch a major offensive that will take decades to properly implement, and that will surely elicit the opposition of the great majority of the episcopate.

We have a right, indeed, it may be treated as an obligation under canon law (code 212) to make the hierarchy aware of our concerns regarding the Faith. If sometimes these concerns strike a nerve in the members of the hierarchy responsible for governing the church, so be it. Pope BenedictXVI has a huge responsibility in his position - that much is granted but he is the only one IMO that can right the ship in the perilous waters.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Palad said, "Things are so bad that not even a 'top down' Counter-Reformation can fix things." Since the Apostasy in the Church began from the "top down" it seems logical that the corrective must come from the "bottom up". I do not, however, think that Benedict's pontificate should be a respite. Fight on!

John McFarland said...

Anonymous 15:24,

The Church is a top-down institution. The traditional distinction is between the Teaching Church (the Holy Father, the bishops) and the Learning Church (the rest of us).

The necessity of the faithful, in union with faithful bishops and priests without jurisdiction, having to take matters into their own hands for the salvation of their souls, is a necessary aberration, but an aberration.

That is why the SSPX is talking with the Vatican. That is why it teaches its seminarians that the current situation is not the norm, and can never be the norm.

As regards the Pope's obligations, the first step is that he recognize his real obligations. All the evidence suggests that the Pope has a much narrower idea of the required reform than what in fact is needed. If he achieves just that recognition before he dies, he will have done more than any pope after Pius XII.

Neal said...

Carlos Antonio Palad wrote: "Things are so bad that not even a "top-down" Counter-Reformation can fix things, and will in all likelihood only worsen them."

Hmm. Sounds like a crisis to me.

However, according to His Holiness, there is hope to be found in the "new ecclesial communities" which will usher in the long-promised "new springtime" of the Church. Does anybody think he is referring to the FSSP or their similars? John Allen (over at NCR) mentioned that the Neo-Catechumenical Way is following on the Pope's footsteps with a highly visible presence coupled with a vocation drive. Consider that there is presently one "full communion" vetus ordo Mass in all of Portugal; this could be the shape of things to come.