Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vatican Council II: "Not a rupture."

In his epoch-making speech of December 22, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI introduced the notion that the documents of the Second Vatican Council must be interpreted only according to what he called the "hermeneutic of continuity" - that is, continuity with Tradition.

Today, the Pontiff developed this notion in his opening address of the Ecclesial Congress (Convegno Ecclesiale) of the Diocese of Rome. Excerpts:

"The Council was not a rupture which brought a new church into life, but a true and deep renewal of a single subject who develops."

According to the Pope, the Council "yielded good fruits", but was distorted by "an interpretive current which, referring to a supposed 'spirit of the Council', intended instead to establish a discontinuity with the Tradition of the Church, confusing, for instance, the objetively existing boundaries between the hierarchy and the lay faithful, observing the Church accordinng to a horizontal cut which excluded the vertical reference to God, in open contrast with Catholic doctrine."

(With special thanks and gratitude to Rorate Caeli.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Marriage: "Lifelong fidelity of a man and a woman"

This stage of my pilgrimage, I am confident, will draw the whole Church’s attention to this town of Nazareth. All of us need, as Pope Paul VI said here, to return to Nazareth, to contemplate ever anew the silence and love of the Holy Family, the model of all Christian family life. Here, in the example of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, we come to appreciate even more fully the sacredness of the family, which in God’s plan is based on the lifelong fidelity of a man and a woman consecrated by the marriage covenant and accepting of God’s gift of new life. How much the men and women of our time need to reappropriate this fundamental truth, which stands at the foundation of society, and how important is the witness of married couples for the formation of sound consciences and the building of a civilization of love!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pope Pius XII: A "Righteous Gentile"

The blessed memory of a great Pontiff who was declared by the Jews a "righteous gentile" following the war because of his great efforts to save their lives.

On the day Pope Benedict XVI visits Yad Vashem, we recall the words of Paul VI:

The Church truly loves you all.

Our great Predecessor Pius XII affirmed this with all strength, and repeatedly, in the course of the last world conflict, and all know what he accomplished in defense and for the rescue of all those who faced difficulties, with no distinction whatsoever. And nonetheless, you are aware, suspicions, and even accusations, have been hurled against the memory of this great Pontiff. We are glad of having the opportunity of affirming it on this day and in this place: nothing is more unjust that this outrage against such a venerable figure.

Those who, like Us, knew this admirable soul closely know just how far his sensibility could go, his compassion for human sufferings, his courage, the sensitivity of his heart.

Those who, just after the war, came, with tears in their eyes, to thank him for having saved their lives also knew it. In truth, following the One whom he represents down here, the Pope wishes nothing else than the true welfare of all men.
Paul VI
Farewell from the Israeli authorities
Mandelbaum Gate (Jerusalem), January 5, 1964

With thanks to Rorate Caeli

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Vatican paper on 'Angels & Demons': 'Harmless entertainment'

The paper suggested moviegoers could make a game out of finding the many historical inaccuracies in the plot.

The Deacons Bench (deacbench.blogspot.com/)

NEW YORK - The first review of Ron Howard's "Angels & Demons" is in from the Vatican:

"L'Osservatore Romano ran a review and an editorial in Wednesday's edition, critiquing the movie based on the Dan Brown best-selling novel of the same name.

"Angels & Demons" had its world premiere Monday in Rome, after director Ron Howard charged that the Vatican interfered with getting film permits to shoot scenes in the city — a contention the Vatican said was a publicity stunt.

The newspaper wrote that the movie was "a gigantic and smart commercial operation" filled with "stereotyped characters." The paper suggested moviegoers could make a game out of finding the many historical inaccuracies in the plot.

However, L'Osservatore praised Howard's "dynamic direction" and the "magnificent" reconstruction of locations like St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. Much of the film was shot on sets that painstakingly recreated church landmarks.

The film offers "more than two hours of harmless entertainment, which hardly affects the genius and mystery of Christianity," L'Osservatore's reviewer wrote. It's "a videogame that first of all sparks curiosity and is also, maybe, a bit of fun."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Vatican breaks silence on "Angels and Demons"

by Philip Pulella, Reuters

The success of books and films like "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" should make the Catholic Church rethink the way it uses the media to present itself, the Vatican newspaper said on Wednesday.

The newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, ran two editorials on last Monday's premiere of "Angels and Demons" in Rome, ending an official institutional silence on the film. The editorials neither panned nor praised the film but rather offered up a mix of positive and negative comments.

One of the editorials called the film "ephemeral" but also conceded that it was "gripping" and called the camera work "splendid." It called the film "pretentious" but added that Ron Howard's direction was "dynamic and alluring."

One of the editorials, headlined "The Secret of His Success," said the Church should ask itself why such a "simplistic and partial" vision of the Church as portrayed in Dan Brown's works is so successful, even among Catholics.

"It would probably be an exaggeration to consider the books of Dan Brown an alarm bell but maybe they should be a stimulus to re-think and refresh the way the Church uses the media to explain its positions on today's burning issues," it said.

The film "Angels & Demons" sees symbologist Robert Langdon return to the big screen to try to help the Vatican rescue kidnapped cardinals who are being killed on the hour.

He also must stop a ticking time bomb by tracking down clues linked to a centuries-old secret society called the Illuminati.

Unlike its reception of The Da Vinci Code, the Vatican was officially silent in the run-up to "Angels and Demons," perhaps because its condemnation of "The Da Vinci Code" prompted an incalculable amount of free publicity that boosted box office sales.

"The Da Vinci Code" upset the Vatican and some Catholics because of its storyline, in which Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children, creating a royal bloodline that Church officials kept secret for centuries.

Howard accused the Vatican of trying to hamper his filming in Rome of "Angels & Demons," which had to recreate scenes of the Vatican and some Rome churches in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

John T. Noonan: "What Can and Cannot Change"

Take a look at these interestingly titled books, highlighted in red, by John T. Noonan, Notre Dame's choice to replace Mary Ann Glendon on the dais 17 May:

Noonan is the author of numerous books, including “A Church that Can and Cannot Change: The Development of Catholic Moral Teaching,” “Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by Catholic Theologians and Canonists,” “Power to Dissolve: Lawyers and Marriages in the Courts of the Roman Curia,” “Bribes,” “The Lustre of Our Country: The American Experience of Religious Freedom,” and “Narrowing the Nation’s Power: The Supreme Court Sides With the States.” He also has contributed essays, articles and reviews to such magazines and journals as Commonweal, The Tablet, The Wilson Quarterly, National Review, America, and The New York Times Book Review.

This information and more is available at the Notre Dame web site here.

Anybody read either of these and can give us the rundown?

Thank you,