Category: Vatican

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.

Notre Dame Professor John O’Callaghan offers salutary advice: to get a sense of the new pope, we should actually read what he has written (which is a lot) rather than rely on media reports. It’s part of an insightful piece posted yesterday at the Center for Ethics and Culture blog. Long, but worth the read.

Blog author: jcouretas
posted by on Thursday, April 21, 2005

If you follow the current controversy surrounding the role of religion in American society, you might conclude that the country faces but two options: throwback theocracy or take-no-prisoners secularism. The following lines sum up an admirably clear and concise understanding of faith and politics:

The state is not the whole of human existence and does not embrace the whole of human hope. Men and women and their hopes extend beyond the thing that is the state and beyond the sphere of political activity. This does not only apply to a state that is Babylon but to any and every state. The state is not the totality: that takes the load off the politician’s shoulders and at the same time opens up for him or her the path of rational politics.

For man, the political animal, these may be hard words. For man made in the image and likeness of God, these words recognize the commands made on us that find their source in ultimate truths. The author of the lines quoted above had more to say on the subject of faith and politics. Read a homily written by Pope Benedict XVI delivered in 1981 in Bonn, Germany, at a service for Catholic members of the Bundestag in the church of St. Wynfrith (Boniface).

Blog author: jballor
posted by on Thursday, April 21, 2005

Rev. Sirico gives a brief survey of the continuity on economic thought between John Paul II and Benedict XVI in this excerpt of an interview on yesterday’s EWTN show Live from the Vatican.