Rorate Caeli

New volume of "Jesus of Nazareth" and possible encyclical

The Holy See Press Office made public today the news that the Pope has concluded the third and final volume of his "Jesus of Nazareth" - focused on the childhood of the Lord -, that is now being translated in major languages for publication. ]

Vatican Insider reports today that the "great gift" the Pope prepares for the "Year of Faith" could be, according to Cardinal Bertone, a new encyclical, "on Faith".


The Postmodernist said...

Hmnn, my opinion - a greater gift might be a Papal Mass in accordance to the 1962 Missal; or an encyclical, yes, affirming full-communion with the SSPX. Or an even greater one - anathema to all heretics and liberals! It's nice to dream, but I'm not God. In His time. Sancta Dei Genitrix, ora pro nobis qui confugimus ad te. Amen.

Alan Aversa said...

Si è ipotizzato che … Benedetto XVI voglia dedicare un’enclica alla fede.

Interesting, possibly an encyclical on faith, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Vatican II.

Prof. Basto said...

I liked it when Encyclicals were issued to deal with the then current problems of the day, restating teachings that were under attack, quashing errors, or dealing with the major disciplinary issues.

The Encyclicals were shorter, and more to the point. Think of the encyclicals of Leo XIII: several were issued each year.

Saint Pius X also issued more Encyclicals than the number of years in his pontificate, with 16 Encyclicals in 11 years, if I'm not mistaken.

The same is valid for other Popes of the early 20th century: Benedict XV issued 13 Encyclicals from 1914 to 1922. Pius XI issued 32 Encyclicals from 1922 to 1939. Also more encyclicals than the years of his pontificate.

Pius XII and even bl. John XXIII in his shortlived pontificate issued a good number of encyclicals.

Then came Paul VI. After a normal number of Encyclicals issued in the early part of his pontificate, the first being published in 1964 and the last in 1968, no more new encyclicals.

It is as if he decided to abandon that tool of teaching and disciplinary action. A decade passed, from 1969 until 1978, without one single encyclical.

Then John Paul II decided to ressurect the issuing of Encyclicals. But the product of that ressurection were encyclicals in altered form.

Encyclicals now became somewhat rare. Often with years between them. Bl. John Paul II gave the world 14 encyclicals during his 27 year pontificate.

And the Encyclicals themselves are now something different. They are true and proper books. As verbose as the documents of Vatican II.

Benedict XVI's second encyclical is the sole exception in terms of length.

But in terms of numbers, the reigning Pope has decided to keep the slow pace: three Encyclicals in seven years.

And not dealing with the current major issues, but being theological essays: two encyclicals on the virtues of charity/love and hope, and one social encyclical.

The major issues facing the Church need the Encyclicals back. The Pope has to pronounce on them formally and solemnly. The restoration of the Encyclicals to what they formerly were is a necessary part of the needed restoration of the Teaching Church.

Manfred said...

I have read that Paul VI was shattered by the indignant responses and the dissent to his 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae. This might explain why he never wrote another.

New Catholic said...

So instead of a new Encyclical, he punished his conservative supporters by publishing the New Mass in the following year...

Thanks, Paul VI!

Mike said...

Prof. Basto,

I respectfully disagree with you in regard to the timing and purpose of encylicals. True enough, if there is a major single issue facing the Church, an encyclical is a good way--one of many, I gather--of dealing with it. I realize you're not specifically advocating this, but the danger of issing specific encyclicals for specific moments and problems is that the problems of today aren't usually the problems of tomorrow--except in their universal dimension--on the level of the virtues, of the moral life, the life of the intellect, and most importantly, on the level of the supernatural virtues, and the nature and implications of the Incarnate Word among us.

This JPII and Benedict XVI have, in my view, done quite well, each in their own way. For example, "Veritatis Splendor" speaks not only to the "fundamental option" heresy of the 1990s, but to Catholics of all time, as it authoritively sets forth the nature of the moral act, based on reason, and Faith.

When is that not relevant?

Jason C. said...

Encyclicals on Love, Hope, and now Faith?

Our Pope rules.

Jason C. said...

I liked it when Encyclicals were issued to deal with the then current problems of the day, restating teachings that were under attack, quashing errors, or dealing with the major disciplinary issues.

I know you're not saying the Holy Father's encyclicals aren't relevant, but it's clear to me that his three so far have been (1) right on in affirming or deepening Christian teaching, (2) absolutely vitally needed, and (3) offer concrete proposals.

They may be too long for our day of Executive Summaries and sound-bites, and they may be indirect and lack a final anathema, but they are great works.

dmw said...

I like the biblical precedent set by St. Paul and St. Peter. As a theologian Paul wrote 27% of the New Testament, or 37,360 inspired Greek words. As the first Roman Pontiff, however, Peter wrote only 2% of the New Testament, or 2,783 inspired Greek words. Let's leave the massive tomes to the theologians and catechists; those who have the supreme authority to bind and loose, those who posses the keys to the kingdom, they should limit their words, as Blessed Peter did, to confirming the brethren and making binding decisions.

Interestingly, Bl. John Paul II's famous encyclical Fides et ratio has almost 28,000 words in its Latin edition. That's more than Paul's NT corpus in one encyclical!

sam said...

This book will permit us to compare the thinking of the Pope with that of Muller.

His previous Jesus of Nazareth books reveal traces of modernistic thoughts. And his explanation of the so-called "Blood Curse" shows either a complete lack of understanding of Semitic thought and culture, or an attempt at political correctness.

Matt said...

We can only imagine what would be in that possible Encyclical. As Alan alluded to, perhaps some grand extolling of the Second Vaican Coucil, and that there "was no hermeneutic of rupture, dammit!" Yeah, okay. In humble anticipation, let's wait and see.

Prof. Basto said...

They may be too long for our day of Executive Summaries and sound-bites, and they may be indirect and lack a final anathema, but they are great works.

But almost no one reads them. We read them, you and me, because we already have an advanced interest in things ecclesiastical, as the fact that we are frequent readers of a Catholic blog shows.

But those who have a less profound engagement with or knowledge of things ecclesiastical, those who are not visitors of the Vatican website, they will not read the book-size Encyclicals.

Several Church-going Catholics are not engaged to the level of reading magisterial documents.

But if the Encyclicals were short, then the Holy See could order that they be read from the pulpit, as was often done in the old days.

Being asked to stay in Church for an extra half an hour once a year to rear the new Encyclical read is not much.

So, size is a relevant concern, and one should aim for Encyclicals that could be read from the pulpit.

That, if one really wants the voice of the Magisterium to reach wider audiences. To reach us, you and me, they can write Encyclicals of any size.

Marla said...

Oh I love to read the Encyclicals of the popes from when I was little. They really clear out the fog. I get a real clear picture of what is expected of Catholics and the entire world.

P.K.T.P. said...

Another book on Jesus. Another encyclical on Faith. More admonitions churned out every single day by the Vatican on why we should follow a balanced diet, drive safely and follow planned schedules. Nobody reads anything they write, and nobody cares.

Meanwhile, the Church continues on her downward path to perdition. This Pope is 85 years old. The S.S.P.X is not reconciled, his S.P. apostolic letter has been obstructed, needed reforms to the New Mass have been postponed indefinitely. The only cause for cheer is that the old liberal ideologues are finally retiring and the new lot cannot be worse if only because nobody could be worse.


Hugh said...

Having read the first two books I have to admit that there are many of his musings on Our Blessed Lord that are unclear from the Catholic perspective. The problem therefore with books is that they invite individualised perceptions which may not accord in the strictest sense with the expected clarity of an encyclical. However, later encyclicals themselves often require further elucidation to make their meaning clearer. Unfortunately, this is so numerous times with those of Pope John paul II. This is a common weakness with modern ecclesiastical works in the vernacular. Also, as an author the Pope can wrirte in a manner that lacks the necessary authority. What the church needs most at present is a clear statement and restatement of its teachings on faith and morals. This would be the greatest gift to Catholics and the secular world right now.

NIANTIC said...

What the Church needs from the Pope is an encyclical which clears up the ambiguities, confusing statements, contradicting statements etc.,etc., found in the Vatican Council's documents. And an immediate correction of false interpretations and instituted actions since Vll etc.,etc.

We need nothing else at this time.
We need clear statements and clear teaching and no more modernist drivel.

Holy Father; you are the Vicar of Christ. We want you to act based upon the powers that you have been given. Teach, pronounce and proclaim with clarity. And yes, where necessary, condemn false teachings and interpretations in clear words. This is your responsibility.
Those who have ears and wish to do so, will hear.

pclaudel said...

"The only cause for cheer is that the old liberal ideologues are finally retiring and the new lot cannot be worse if only because nobody could be worse."

Dear P.K.T.P.: Be wary lest advancing years make a cockeyed optimist of you. I myself would bet my last dime that things will get far worse before they get better. As Damon Runyon sagely wrote, "The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet."

Mythtefied,Myth-taken&Mytherable said...

I'm surprised no-one has expressed concern here that the pope's new book on "the childhood" of Jesus "of Nazareth" will be nothing more than him applying the wisdom of "man" to the incarnation and virgin birth "myths" recorded by the superstitious fools (compared to "modern" man) Dr. Luke, financier Matthew & fisherman John - i.e. to further Lutheranize catholicism in accordance w/the views of his new CDF head. It's a "gift" I can sure do w/out especially during the year of "faith".

Jordanes551 said...

Mythefied, anyone who has read the first two volumes will know that they were not an application of the wisdom of man to the recorded facts of Jesus' life and teaching. Thus, it is impossible that the third volume will be what you fear. And in the end, his books are not acts of his papal magisterium, but rather the fallible and occasionally erroneous thoughts of a private theologian.

James Kohn said...

Dear Fellow Rorate Readers:

Why is it that every time the Holy Father puts forth something that is good, people mock him and berade him?

If the Holy Father is to release an encyclical then glory to God. Even if the Encyclicals were small in size those that dont care (prob 90% of Catholics) would still not read the letter. I have never understood why so many on here are so bitter against the recent Popes who have been dealing with things like modernity which the former Popes were only beginning to see come about. Are they perfect, no. Is everything in their encyclicles perfect, No. For crying out loud even Pius X said (not as part of his infallible teaching office innacurate things. We need to be greatful for the insights they give us. Of course if something is said that is wrong we should point it out, but he hasnt even released the encyclical. In his previous books Pope Benedict begins the book by stating that the works are not part of the infallible office, but personal thoughts.

By the way the SSPX needs to come into communion with the Holy Father not the other way around (something about the Keys)

I am not Spartacus said...

Dear Jordanes. It beggars belief that putting "Pope Benedict XVI" on the cover of his books will lead his readers to think this is not the teaching of The Catholic Church.

When the Pope speaks, the vast majority of his listeners think he is speaking for the entire Church and we all saw what happens with such a reality with the whole condoms fiasco.

I love Our Holy Father but I think he forswear speaking in public about his personal opinions when he accepted his election.

Aged parent said...

Spartacus and PKTP:

Precisely. Perception, as they say, is everything.

mike said...

Give us a break. Stop calling the Holy Father, even in his works as a private theologian, a modernist, without textual proof.

Put up; or shut up.

Gratias said...

Our Pope is a great philosopher. As an intellectual he will not impose his opinions under the color of authority. Benedict XVI seeks to convince modern people, not produce infallible teachings. We are very fortunate to have this Holy Father. His many books will be part of the Church for centuries to come. His first Encyclical was a very profound work. If you did not read it perhaps you should. His first two books on Jesus are dedicated to demonstrate that his existence was a historical reality. Nothing wrong with that. Although a Popefile I am glad to read the freely offered opinions of Prof. Basto, New Catholic, Mike and P.K.T.P. and to argue as their equal, although I am not. CEO gratias.

Jordanes551 said...

I love Our Holy Father but I think he forswear speaking in public about his personal opinions when he accepted his election.

That would be ideal, but unless a pope speaks only in ex cathedra definitions, there is bound to be at least some personal opinion caught up in the things he says.

I don't mind him wanting to finish his books before he dies. He oughtn't, in my opinion, give informal interviews and have those interviews published in book form, though. That's okay as a CDF prefect, but of little help, if any, as pope.