Category: Vatican

In today’s Times of London, William Rees-Mogg writes about the Vatican and its apparent rejection of intelligent design.

Rees-Mogg also makes this provocative claim about Pope Benedict and some possible surprises from this new pontificate:

His critics had expected him to be more conservative than his predecessor. I tended to share this expectation myself, but refrained from expressing it because new leaders always surprise one; they move in directions no one had previously foreseen. We should have been more conscious of differences between the national traditions of the Catholic Church in Poland and in Germany. The Polish Church, which trained John-Paul II, had always combined conservative theology with support for the national claims to liberty. The German Church has always been challenged by the modernism of German theology.

In the 16th century Germany was the region where the Reformation happened. German theologians on the Roman Catholic side had to understand the arguments of the Reformers if they were to reply to them. In the 18th century Germans were fully exposed to the French Enlightenment. In the 19th century they were exposed to German philosophers such as Hegel, and to the challenge of German biblical scholarship. Modernism itself in the late 19th century had a great influence on German Catholic opinion.

Martin Heidegger

Anyone who has spent some time around theology or philosophy faculties in Rome can attest to this influence, but it hasn’t always been a positive one for the Church. (I’ve met Heideggerian priests!)

It should make for an exciting first encyclical, which some media reports say will be published December 8.

The Verona-based Van Thuan Observatory has recently launched its website, reports the Zenit news service. The Observatory’s namesake, the late Cardinal Van Thuan, was the recipient of the the Acton Institute Faith and Freedom Award in 2002 (read the details in our new 15 Year Report).

On first glance, I think this resource has a long way to go. The ‘sources and documents’ page links you to only two documents. I don’t quite know how to repond to assemblies like this. It seems to me that if one wanted to dive into Catholic social thought, all the major encyclicals and other documents are on-line already at the Vatican (i.e. Centesimus Annus, Rerum Novarum, and many others).

However, hopefully sites such as this will serve as a starting points for many, leading them back to the source documents.

Blog author: mvandermaas
posted by on Monday, October 3, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI:

“A tolerance which allows God as a private opinion but which excludes him from public life, from the reality of the world and our lives, is not tolerance but hypocrisy,” the pope said in the homily he gave at a three-week-long synod’s opening mass in St Peter’s Basilica. “When man makes himself the only master of the world and master of himself, justice cannot exist. Then, arbitrariness, power and interests rule.”

Via Considerettes

Blog author: kjayabalan
posted by on Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Is there a columnist anywhere in the world more in line with Pope John Paul II’s social teachings than Mark Steyn?

All the more amazing as he regularly writes for the extremely secularist British press!

First, Mark has re-posted this gem he wrote for The Spectator in 1998 about the relationship between abortion and euthanasia, a.k.a. the culture of death. See also John Paul II’s Evangelium Vitae.

Then, in today’s Daily Telegraph, he writes about the importance, indeed the centraility, of human culture over nature, even in light of the devastation brought on by hurricane Katrina.

If you aren’t a regular visitor of SteynOnline, you should be.

Blog author: kjayabalan
posted by on Thursday, August 25, 2005

There have been countless analyses of Pope Benedict’s recent trip to World Youth Day in Cologne. But when it comes to looking at what the Pope actually says and does, no one compares to Sandro Magister, who writes for the Italian publication L’Espresso.

Check out his latest post, “After Cologne: The Remarkable Lesson of Professor Ratzinger” here. It concludes with links to the texts of the Pope’s speeches, all of which are worth reading.

Unlike most other journalists, Magister focuses on what the Pope wants us to focus on: the Eucharist and Jesus Christ as the Truth. And he does it without any ironic smart-quotes or snide asides.

Must reading for those who want to keep up with Vatican happenings.

What does the face of a miracle look like?

The case is open. Today marks the first day the canonization of John Paul II is officially underway. (Read BBC’s account.) To those for whom the procedures of the Catholic Church in matters such as these seem alien, I point to the lucid explanation of the Reverend Giuseppe D’Alonzo (the man in charge of verifying the claims of John Paul’s miracles):

Asked what he thought about making John Paul II a saint, the Rev D’Alonzo replied that it was not for him to decide, only to "verify the truth".

Of the many things that have deepened my faith, one is certainly the Catholic Church’s comfort in recognizing the miraculous. Fr. D’Alonzo’s statement is precisely what I mean. His job is not to conjure fantastic stories, but to acknowledge the supernatural that was always before our eyes, here on this earth, in the person of a frail, aged, international superstar.

Rev. Robert Sirico responded over the weekend in the Detroit News to a letter disputing one of his previous columns. In “Catholic social teaching embraces markets,” (May 21) Rev. Sirico writes that “the fact that the church has no economic models to propose is not the same as saying all economic models are the same. Some have greater moral potential than others.”

You can read Rev. Sirico’s initial piece, “Pope Benedict XVI will turn out to be a real liberal,” (April 30) as well as the letter in reply from Michael W. Hovey, Director of the Office for Catholic Social Teaching, Archdiocese of Detroit, “John Paul had reservations about capitalism” (May 5).

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, in his former role as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was more focused on the theological implications of political heresies such as liberation theology than he was on questions of economics. Yet Benedict has written eloquently on the subject of markets and morality, as this 1985 presentation at a Rome conference amply shows. In a paper titled Market Economy and Ethics, he affirms that “market rules function only when a moral consensus exists and sustains them.”

Benedict rejects a capitalism that advances a radically deterministic view of economic life guided purely by market forces. Yet, he reserves his harshest condemnation for the equally deterministic Marxist economic philosophy that makes the “fundamental error to suppose that a centralized economic system is a moral system in contrast to the mechanistic system of the market economy.”

Benedict concludes by calling for a “self-criticism of the Christian confessions” on political and economic ethics:

A morality that believes itself able to dispense with the technical knowledge of economic laws is not morality but moralism. As such, it is the antithesis of morality. A scientific approach that believes itself capable of managing without an ethos misunderstands the reality of man. Therefore, it is not scientific. Today, we need a maximum of specialized economic understanding, but also a maximum of ethos so that specialized understanding may enter the service of the right goals.

In an excellent survey of the writings of Cardinal Ratzinger, Michael S. Horton explores some of the implications of the election of Pope Benedict XVI for Protestantism. After providing a brief background of the relationship between Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II, Horton addresses “some of the representative statements by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, to obtain a better idea of what we might expect from his pontificate. Hopefully we will see that there is much to appreciate in an age of increasing pressure to conform the church’s message to the spirit of the age, while also recognizing the distance that remains between genuinely evangelical churches and the Bishop of Rome.”

I find that the heart of the matter lies in the observation that “those who argue for orthopraxis over orthodoxy forget that with this ‘facile’ and ‘superficial slogan,’ that ‘the contents of orthopraxis, the love of neighbor, radically change (always, but today above all) in keeping with the manner and way orthodoxy is understood’ (23).” In this way, the proper understanding of the relationship between orthodoxy and orthopraxis acts as a check on the tendency to understand unity purely in practical terms, at the expense of doctrinal concord.

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Friday, April 22, 2005

In a special edition of Acton Commentary from Rome, Rev. Robert Sirico writes that “insofar as the new papacy has implications for economics and politics, it is in the direction of a humane and unifying liberalism. I speak not of liberalism as we know it now, which is bound up with state management and democratic relativism, but liberalism of an older variety that placed it hopes in society, faith, and freedom.”

Read the full text here.