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Perspective from the Piazza: Bishop Francis of Rome

The only problem with being in Piazza San Pietro for the announcement and presentation of the new bishop of Rome is that the cell networks and internet access all jam. Maybe I can reconstruct the impressions and my perspective from Rome tonight, as they came as pithily as possible:

[c.18:30] – just finished giving a conversational English lesson. Pretty sure there will be black smoke in half an hour. Maybe I should run over there anyway? Nah… I’ll just miss the smoke, it’s wet, and I’ve got work to do.

[c.18:50] – hm. I think Philippa Hitchen is on Vatican Radio, they should have the chimney on livecam. At least I can say I saw the black smoke ‘from a distance’ tonight if anyone asks. Heh heh.

[18:52] – a seagull on the chimney, says Msgr. Mark Langham on Facebook. Kinda reminds me of that ND game where the squirrel took to the field sophomore year…

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[19:06] – working on editing a friend’s article. Smoke! Hm… looks pretty dark grey. Really dark… e’ nero? E’ bianco? E’ nero. Maybe go back to editing… ok, one last look. Still grey… hey, is that bell moving? [commentator: “looks pretty grey, but wait, the bells!”]. Elected on the fifth ballot?? I thought it would be tomorrow at the earliest! This is only one more than Ratzinger.

[19:07] – knocking on doors. “Habemus papam!” start ringing our bell.

[19:08] – I’m going down there, now. Anyone wants to join me, I’m taking a taxi.

[c.19:20] – five of us went, after waiting forever (five minutes) for some people to change. Halfway to the cab stand, three jumped on the 81. Alex and I got in a cab. At about 19.40, near Chiesa Nuova, we see a group from the Russicum walking by, and we decided to ditch the traffic and join them.

[c.19:50] – arrive in Piazza San Pietro, someone in the group knows one of the security guys and we get into the square, all the way up to the obelisk. I’m wedged between U.S. college students from New York, an Italian sister with a robust singing voice, three Eastern Catholics and a prolific contributor to the New Liturgical Movement.

[time ceases to have meaning]

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Cardinal Protodeacon Tauran: Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: habemus Papam!
People of God: wild cheering and applause
Cardinal Tauran: Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum dominum, dominum Georgium
Me: Giorgio? George… maybe George Alencherry, the Syro-Malabar Major Archbishop?
Cardinal Tauran: Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Bergoglio qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum.
People of God: Huh? Who? – polite applause, much checking of smart phones –
Me: Bergoglio? Which one was he? Italian? Pope Francis? Assisi or Xavier? or both? Can I be cautiously optimistic?
Overheard nearby: Francis? *shudder* That’s not good: All innovation is BAD.

Pope Francis appears a short time later, my impressions:

Hm. Almost nobody seems to recognize him. I remember being told the second election of 1978 was like this, the piazza was almost silent. Nobody knew Wojtyla, and they do not know Bergoglio, apparently. From Argentina, according to someone with web-access…

He reminds me of Papa Luciani, John Paul I, for some reason. Someone nearby says he looks like Pius XI. Simple, severe maybe, but simple. Am I smiling?

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“Buona Serra”? Simple, good start…

“bishop emeritus of Rome Benedict…” how much better that sounds than Pontifex emeritus! Could we have an ecclesiologist pope?

His inclusive language seems to offend the more traditional minded among us…

That’s “bishop of Rome” at least three times now. Not pope, not pontificate, but bishop, bishop of Rome. Be still, my ecclesiologist’s beating heart! I think I really am smiling!

He seems so… humble. Almost awkward, these pregnant pauses, but I get the feeling he really did not expect to be there. Not an actor, not a professor… a pastor? A reformer? An introvert? Not sure what it means.

You know… Marini has not looked up from his shoes this entire time. In fact, he looks a little, um, how do I put this…

“He looks like he’s updating his CV, A.J., that’s what he looks like…”

I think he just said, “before a bishop blesses the people, the people should bless – that is, pray for – the bishop. so, I invite you to pray for me, as we start this journey together.”

“Buona notte!” – I cannot get over how refreshing his simplicity is, his somewhat akward honesty, and I do keep being reminded of Luciani. Francis, indeed. 😀

As we began to leave the Piazza, I ran into a Jesuit friend who supplied some details and reflections of his own: He’s Jesuit! He’s from Buones Aires. He said some very promising things tonight – his choice of name, the ecclesiological awareness of focus on the “bishop of Rome” rather than “universal pastor” or “supreme pontiff”, etc. But, a hesitation: “he brought some division to the Jesuits in Argentina; some see him as too conservative. Personally austere, yes, simple, yes, but we shall see”…

So, in summary: First Francis. First Jesuit. First from the Western Hemisphere. First non-European bishop of Rome in almost 1300 years (Gregory III from Syria). Chose a casual, informal greeting. Asked for the blessing of the assembly before he offered his own, and bowed to receive it from us. Clearly knows the pope is first and fundamentally the “bishop of Rome” (and the pope emeritus is really the bishop emeritus of Rome). He chose the simplest of the vestment options in which to appear (no lace, wooden pectoral cross) He will spend his first day visiting a shrine of Our Lady. He took his name in honor of Francis of Assisi, perhaps the most universally accessible saint we have, known for humility, care of creation and the poor, dialogue with Islam, and “rebuilding” a corrupt and failing Church. I think as we left the Piazza, most people still had no idea who had been elected – or perhaps they were just in a sort of joyful shock, the kind you get when something you have wanted for so long seems to be coming true, but you are not sure whether to believe it or not.

And, well, one of the guys I was with posted this when he got home tonight:

“Re, Sandri, Hummes and Kasper [sic] were on the balcony with him as he winged his way through the appearance. Traddies, get ready to bury your cassocks and black covered liturgical books in the yard.”

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Beards for Bishops Campaign: Rome Edition

In the fall of 1997, I remember standing at the door to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame, as I was congratulated several times on my appointment as auxiliary bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

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A.J. Boyd, Bishop Daniel Jenky, 1997

Of course, it was not me, but Daniel Jenky, CSC, rector of the basilica who had been so nominated. I was merely serving as vimpa for Bishop John D’Arcy, who was on hand to make the announcement. I was also jokingly referred to among the other servers and basilica staff as Fr. Jenky’s body double, so alike we looked with beard and glasses. Vested in alb and vimp veil, it is no surprise I was mistaken for the bishop-elect on more than one occasion that day.

We decided to dub his excellency as poster-bishop for our newly founded “Beards for Bishops” campaign. We – seminarians, servers, and theology students – felt it was high time for the lingering prejudice against hirsute hierarchs in the Latin church to come to an end.

When differences become polarized divisions, extreme positions are taken in reaction to “the other” that would not be considered in an objective, balanced mindset. Thus Reformed churches become iconoclastic and whitewashed, while Catholic churches spew baroque excess, each extreme fueling an even more extreme reaction. Similarly, as Eastern and Oriental churches maintained and promoted a manful and manly beardliness for its clergy. in the wake of division, the Latin west insisted on the clean shaven route. Perhaps in the wake of that move, clean-shavenness was purported to be too effeminate for the orders of the East, and so on.

In law, starting in the twelfth century, Latin clergy were discouraged and sometimes forbidden from growing their beards. The Council of Toulouse, in 1119, apparently threatened excommunication for those whos facial hair grew (or merely grew unruly, it is not clear), and Pope Alexander III (1159-81) ordered his archdeacon (think vicar general/chief of staff) to ensure that all Roman deacons and presbyters were clean shaven, by force if necessary. Gregory IX incorporated Alexander’s decree into canon law, and there it remained into the twentieth century. In 1866, the second plenary council of Baltimore explicitly outlawed beards for clergy in the U.S. The 1917 Code of Canon Law said merely to keep a simple hair style (CIC 136 §1), so the local law and cultural taboo remained. No legislation regarding facial hair remains in the 1983 code, Deo gratias.

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Innocent XII

It was not a consistent ban, despite the attitude and cultural assumptions during the Pian papacies of the 19th and 20th century. The popes from Clement VII (1523) to Inocent XII (d.1700) certainly had beards (as did, if the mosaics at San Paolo fuori le Mura are to be believed, most bishops of Rome from Peter through the first millennium  In fact, it was 800 years before we had the first beardless pontiff, in the person of Pope Valentine).

Nevertheless, the late pre-conciliar climate had ossified the  ban on barbarous appearance, and even after the apparent change with Vatican II, a bearded bishops was still barely to be found in the western Catholic church. From those humble beginnings in 1997, the Beards for Bishops campaign is now even more humble, and ready to tackle the next challenge: a bearded bishop of Rome.

Quod non fecerunt Barberini fecerunt barbari, anyone?

A sadly small number of cardinal electors willingly wear wisdom-witnessing whiskers:

  • George Allencherry, 69,
    Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
  • Moran Mor Baselios Cleemis, 53,
    Major Archbishop of the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
  • Reinhard Marx, 59,
    Archbishop of Munich
  • Antonius I Nagueb, 77,
    Patriarch emeritus of the Coptic Catholic Church
  • Sean O’Malley, 68,
    Archbishop of Boston

One could add to that the hairier heads of the other Catholic Churches sui iuris, whether patriarch or major archbishop, given their office as heads of churches, and whether created cardinal or not, equivalent (at least) to the cardinal-bishops in dignity:

  • Ibrahim Isaac Sidrak, 57,
    Patriarch of Alexandria for the Coptic Catholic Church
  • Gregory III Laham, 79,
    Patriarch of Antioch for the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church
  • Mar Ignatius Joseph III Younan, 68,
    Patriarch of Antioch for the Syrian Catholic Church
  • Nerses Bedros XIX Tarmouni, 73,
    Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenian Catholic Church
  • Sviatoslav Shevchuk, 42,
    Major Archbishop of Kyiv–Halyč of the Ukranian Catholic Church

(Their Beatitudes, Patriarchs Bechara Boutrous al-Rahi of the Maronites and Raphael I Louis Sako of the Chaldeans are clean-shaven; rumors of Latinization have neither been confirmed, nor denied.)

Of these ten, then, who is papabile? The retired Coptic patriarch is already a patriarch emeritus and unlikely to succeed another. The Antiochene may be seen as too old. The Ukranian major archbishop, de facto patriarch of the second largest of the Catholic Churches (after the Roman), is seen as the most likely of the non-cardinals, but as more than a decade younger than the youngest cardinal, it is still a long shot. And, the idea of electing an eastern patriarch as bishop of Rome may still be too great a change for too great a number of cardinal-electors, though there is a sort of precedent (thirteen Greeks, four Syrians, and two from modern day Israel/Palestine, if you count Peter himself).

Though I might personally welcome such a move, let us assume it is unlikely. That leaves only two villous vescovi among the princes of the Roman Church.

ImageArchbishop Reinhard Marx of München serves on the pontifical council for peace and justice and the congregation for catholic education, and is president of the German bishops’ conference Committee for Social Issues. He was elected a year ago as President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences in the European Union. He has published books on Catholic Social Teaching, and has been a bishop since 1996. When he was appointed, German news agency Deutsche-Press Agentur, described him as “left of center” in general, but “moderately conservative” on doctrinal issues. There have been seven or eight German popes, depending on whether you count Stephen IX, born in Lorraine (now France).

ImageArchbishop Seán Patrick O’Malley of Boston is an Irish American Capuchin, with a record of cleaning up dioceses damaged by the sex abuse scandal (and the bigger scandal of their cover-ups by bishops). He was born in Lakewood, OH (where I lived for all of three months in the wake of the abuse scandal-induced hiring freeze on the diocese there in 2002). His doctorate is in Spanish and Portuguese literature and he was the first cardinal to start a personal blog and podcast, in 2006. He serves on the Congregations for Clergy and Consecrated Life, and on the Council for Family. There has never been a capuchin pope, an American pope, or indeed, a genuinely Western pope (that is, a pope from the western hemisphere!)

Could one of these two men be elected bishop of Rome later this week? If so, the Beards for Bishops Campaign will rejoice in the return of the razorless pontificate after centuries of suppression.  Join us in prayer, invoking the patron saints of facial hair, St. Brendan the Navigator and St. Wilgefortis the bearded virgin and martyr.

Honoring the Council Fathers: A Modest Proposal

CardinalsWe are in the midst of an extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, called at the end of the celebrations commemorating the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council, capping commemorations that started with the Year of Faith. For the last four years, the Church has marked this anniversary in a number of ways.

In October 2012, Pope Benedict presided over a solemn liturgy commemorating the opening of the Council, with Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop Rowan Williams in places of honor at his side. Also honored during the event 16 Council Fathers, any of the approximately 3000 bishops who participated in at least one of the four sessions of the Council. (At the time, there were several dozen still living).

They were joined by eight Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, 80 Cardinals, 191 Archbishops and Bishops participating in the XIII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, together with 104 Presidents of Episcopal Conferences from throughout the world.

Today, a few months after celebrating the anniversary of the close of the Council, there are about 35 living Council Fathers; 19 of whom lived through all four sessions.

In this Jubilee of Mercy, i repeat a proposal i first made during the Year of Faith:
Make the remaining Council Fathers members of the College of Cardinals.
At the least, those who were Council Fathers for all four sessions.

The senior-most, Bishop Jan van Cauwelaert, CICM, of Inongo, Congo has been a bishop for more than 62 years. The junior of those present throughout the Council is Seattle’s Archbishop emeritus Raymond Hunthausen, ordained bishop mere weeks before the opening of the first session. (Full disclosure: Hunthausen confirmed me)

Of the 35, four are already cardinals, Francis Arinze, Jose de Jesus Pimiento Rodriguez, Serafim Fernandes de Arujo, and Sfeir (of those, only Arinze was not at all four sessions of the Council).

So, that means 15 new cardinals, if only those from all four sessions, or 31 if all of them.

All are over 80, so none would be voting. This is not about who selects the next pope or appointing people whose work lies in the future.

This would be an honorary step, something to mark a half-century of episcopal ministry and leadership in the rarest and most solemn exercise of their ministry of governance over the universal church. This is about honoring the Council, and the entire church. A small, but symbolic gesture.

Most likely, most would not be able to attend a consistory to receive the red hat and ring, but simpler may be better.

I think it would be a nice way to close out the Year of Mercy, a final way to mark the 50 years of blessing brought by the Holy Spirit through the universal and extraordinary magisterium of the Church, expressly in a spirit of synodality.

Granted: any credibly accused of sexual abuse of children, covering up the same, or other similarly grave matters should be excluded. 

Full list of those surviving Council Fathers from all four sessions, via:

http://www.catholic-hierarchy.org/bishop/sordb2.html

Ordained
Bishop
Years as Bishop Name Current Title
25 Mar 1954 62.13 Bishop Jan van Cauwelaert, C.I.C.M. Bishop Emeritus of Inongo, Congo (Dem. Rep.)
28 Aug 1955 60.71 José de Jesús Cardinal Pimiento Rodriguez Archbishop Emeritus of Manizales, Colombia
9 Sep 1955 60.68 Bishop Dominik Kalata, S.J. Titular Bishop of Semta
22 Sep 1957 58.64 Archbishop José Maria Pires Archbishop Emeritus of Paraíba, Paraiba, Brazil
27 Apr 1958 58.05 Archbishop Bernardino Piñera Carvallo Archbishop Emeritus of La Serena, Chile
7 May 1959 57.02 Serafim Cardinal Fernandes de Araújo Archbishop Emeritus of Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
21 Jun 1960 55.90 Archbishop Arturo Antonio Szymanski Ramírez Archbishop Emeritus of San Luis Potosí, México
25 Jul 1960 55.80 Bishop Eloy Tato Losada, I.E.M.E. Bishop Emeritus of Magangué, Colombia
16 Apr 1961 55.08 Bishop Mario Renato Cornejo Radavero Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Lima, Peru
22 Apr 1961 55.06 Bishop Albert-Georges-Yves Malbois Bishop Emeritus of Evry-Corbeil-Essonnes, France
16 Jul 1961 54.83 Nasrallah Pierre Cardinal Sfeir Patriarch Emeritus of Antiochia {Antioch} (Maronite), Lebanon
24 Aug 1961 54.72 Bishop William John McNaughton, M.M. Bishop Emeritus of Incheon {Inch’on}, Korea (South)
8 Sep 1961 54.68 Bishop José de Jesús Sahagún de la Parra Bishop Emeritus of Ciudad Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán, México
15 Oct 1961 54.58 Bishop Andrés Sapelak, S.D.B. Bishop Emeritus of Santa María del Patrocinio en Buenos Aires (Ukrainian), Argentina
29 Oct 1961 54.54 Archbishop Antônio Ribeiro de Oliveira Archbishop Emeritus of Goiânia, Goias, Brazil
6 Jan 1962 54.35 Bishop José Mauro Ramalho de Alarcón Santiago Bishop Emeritus of Iguatú, Ceara, Brazil
19 Mar 1962 54.15 Bishop Roberto Reinaldo Cáceres González Bishop Emeritus of Melo, Uruguay
25 Jul 1962 53.80 Bishop Jacques Landriault Bishop Emeritus of Timmins, Ontario, Canada
30 Aug 1962 53.70 Archbishop Raymond Gerhardt Hunthausen Archbishop Emeritus of Seattle, Washington, USA

Very brief thought on popes emeritii

[Found in the archives of half-written posts, from shortly after the election of Pope Francis, the third anniversary of which we have just celebrated]

When your pastor retires, he is not called Father Emeritus John Smith.
Rather, Father John, Pastor emeritus of St. Whatshisname Parish.

When your bishop retires, he is not called Bishop Emeritus Sean Patrick Murphy.
Rather, His Excellency, Bishop Sean, Bishop emeritus of Brigadoon.
Or, His Eminence, Cardinal Sean, Bishop emeritus of Brigadoon
(if also has a Roman suburbicarian see, titulus, or diaconiae).

When the pope retires, he ought not be called Pope Emeritus Benedict.
Rather, His Holiness, Pope Benedict, Bishop emeritus of Rome.

This seemed to be clear, we may recall, when suddenly it was not.
But then it was, at least to the new pope.

From such a good ecclesiologist as Ratzinger, the style Pope Emeritus always struck a discordant note. He knows better than most that there is no office of pope, and therefore no emeritus pope, only the office of bishop of Rome to which the style of “pope” adheres. (Like the priest who is styled “father”).

Roman Pontiff emeritus, also offered in the official statement, never really took off, either (can’t imagine why…).

Turns out, it apparently was not his idea, and he would have been happy with “Father Benedict” (or Pope Benedict, since “pope” just means “father” anyway), as a style. This also recalls and reminds us of the practice that all clergy – bishop, deacon, presbyter – can be addressed as “Father”, not only the presbyterate.

That would have made a lot more sense: Father Benedict, Bishop emeritus of Rome.

The cross of Pope Benedict XVI

 

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2014 (Rome)

WPCU2014

The schedule of events that i could collect to be celebrated here in Rome for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This excludes several parishes which dedicate daily liturgy and/or devotions to the theme. 

Settimana di preghiera per l’unità dei Cristiani

Has Christ Been Divided? Cristo non può essere diviso! (I Cor 1.1-17)

General information on the Week of Prayer can be found here.

 

 

 

Thursday, 16 January:  Day of Jewish-Christian Dialogue and Reflection

 18.00      Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Fifty Years after Nostra Aetate: A Latin-American Perspective
Rabbi Abraham Skorka at the Pontifical Gregorian University
Moderated by Cardinal Kurt Koch

 Saturday, 18 January

16.30       Incontro di preghiera dei consacrati/e della Diocesi di Roma
Basilica San Lorenzo fuori le Mura

 17.30       Vespers at Capella di Santa Brigida, Piazza Farnese  96
Cardinal Kurt Koch, Archbishop Leo (Chiesa di Finlandia), Bishop Makinen (Luterano),
Bishop Sippo (Diocesi Cattolica di Helsinki),  and Bishop Brian Farrell

[invite]      Vespers at Pontifical Beda College, Viale San Paolo 18
Very Rev. Ken Howcroft preaching

20.00      Ukrainian Catholic (Byzantine Rite) Divine Liturgy – Basilian Fathers, Santa Maria in Via Lata, Via del Corso 306

 Sunday, 19 January

 11.00       Catholic Eucharist with Archbishop David Moxon Preaching
Caravita Community, Via del Caravita 7

12.00       Angelus with Pope Francis, Piazza San Pietro

16.00      Celebrazione Ecumenica Finlandese
Bishop Teemu Sippo, SCI (Catholic), Bishop Kari Mäkinen (Lutheran), Archbishop Leo (Orthodox)
Santa Maria Sopra Minerva ,Piazza del Minerva 42

18.00      Incontro di preghiera del Gruppo Romano del SAE
Capella delle Suore Francescane di Maria, Via Macchiavelli 32

18.30       Celebrazione Ecumenica Tedesca with German/Hungarian College, S. Maria dell’Anima
At Christus Kirche Via Sicilia 70

20.00      Roman Catholic (Latin Rite) Eucharist– Archbishop Piero Marini, presiding
Santa Maria in Via Lata, Via del Corso 306

 Monday, 20 January

18.00      Anglican Choral Evensong  with Ven. Jonathan Boardman Preaching
Basilica San Paolo fuori le mura

18.30       Santa Messa at Parocchia di S. Maria delle Grazie alle Fornaci
19.30       Conferenza “Il movimento ecumenico, la santità”, Padre Ciro Bova

20.00      Greek Catholic (Byzantine Rite) Divine Liturgy – Pontifical Greek College
Santa Maria in Via Lata, Via del Corso 306

Tuesday, 21 January

11:45       Anglican Center Eucharist, Piazza Collegio Romano 2

18.30       Santa Messa, Parrocchia S. Maria delle Grazie alle Fornaci
19.30       Conferenza: L’ecumenismo, il punti di vista dei fratelli ortodossi”, P. Vladimir Zelinsky

 20.00      Syro Malankara Catholic (Antiochene Rite) Holy Qurbana – Damascene College

Santa Maria in Via Lata, Via del Corso 306

Wednesday, 22 January

10.30       General Audience with Pope Francis, Sala Audienza Paolo VI

[Invite]   Vespers at Pontifical Irish College, Archbishop David Moxon preaching

18:30    Venerable English College, Rev. Keith Pecklers, SJ, preaching

18.30       Santa Messa at Parrocchia di S. Maria delle Grazie alle Fornaci
19.30 Confronto e dibattito sul tema della santita nell/’ecumenismo: P. Ciro Bova, P. Vladimir Zelinsky

20.00      Armenian Catholic (Armenian Rite)  Divine Liturgy – Armenian College
Santa Maria in Via Lata, Via del Corso 306

 Thursday, 23 January

16.30    Mixed Salad Ecumenism in the Caribbean: Is there a Future? 
Archbishop Donald Reece, Archbishop Emeritus of Kingston, Jamaica;
Followed by a Celebration of the Word with
Rev. Willie McCulloch presiding, and Very Rev. Ken Howcroft preaching
At Centro Pro Unione, Via S. Maria dell’Anima 30 (Cosponsored by Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas)

18.30       Diocesan vespers at with Ven. Jonathan Boardman preaching,
SS. Martiri dell’Uganda, Via Adolfo Ravà 31

20.00      Maronite Catholic (Antiochene Rite) Divine Liturgy – Maronite Order of the BVM
Santa Maria in Via Lata, Via del Corso 306

Friday, 24 January

 20.00      Gruppo Incontro at Chiesa Valdese, Piazza Cavour

20.00      Romanian Catholic (Byzantine Rite) Divine Liturgy – Romanian College
Santa Maria in Via Lata, Via del Corso 306

 Saturday, 25 January

 17.30       Papal Vespers, Basilica San Paolo fuori le mura (tickets required)

20.00      Ethiopian Catholic (Alexandrian Rite) Divine Liturgy – Pontifical Ethiopian College
Santa Maria in Via Lata, Via del Corso 306

 Sunday, 26 January

16.00      Churches Together in Rome Unity Service
Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, Secretary General of Canadian Council of Churches
Basilica San Silvestro in Capite, Piazza di San Silvestro 17A

Monday, 27 January

14:30     Il concilio e ecumenismo: Lectio Conclusiva di ‘Il Concilio Vaticano II: Storia e Sviluppi
Bishop Charles Morerod, OP,  bishop of Lausanne, Genève et Fribourg
at Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum)

 

BrotherApostles

After 35 Years: A Return to Reform?

My friends can tell you that I have a bad habit. Actually, more than one, but only this one is relevant at the moment. When going through my email inbox, I tend to scan everything, then work from the least important first ‘saving the best for last’, so to speak. Especially after a busy week, I might spend an hour just sorting through quasi-spam and quick reply messages, clearing the space so I can respond to the really important ones. The problem is that I too often run out of time, and messages from my closest friends or strongest ecumenical contacts languish a little too long awaiting attention. The same logic has log-jammed my blog lately.

Since about two weeks after Pope Francis was elected as bishop of Rome, I have sat down several times to start a reflection on his fledgling papacy. The problem is, every time I do this, I get distracted reading about whatever exciting new thing he has done. Often they are little changes, gestures and actions, but they paint a picture of humility and commitment to reform, openness to dialogue and noble simplicity of faith and its expression.

By now the litany of these little things is well known: He appears on the balcony dressed in the simple white simar, like John Paul I, rather than the mozetta and stole of JPII and BXVI. He asks for our blessing before offering his own. He makes personal phone calls. He demonstrates astute ecclesiological acumen by referring to himself as the bishop of Rome, and his predecessor as bishop emeritus of Rome, exclusively. He stops by to pay his hotel bill in person. He moves an entire liturgy out of St. Peter’s and into a juvenile prison. He washes the feet of women and Muslims. He calls the Patriarch of Constantinople ‘my brother Andrew’. He’s formed a representative committee of cardinals to reform the governance of the Catholic Church – or at least the Roman curia. He has unblocked the path to sainthood of one of the 20th century’s great martyrs, Oscar Romero. And so on…

A couple weeks after he was elected, one veteran vaticanist noted that “suddenly, everyone around here is laughing and smiling.” A senior colleague said “I had forgotten what it was like to be so encouraged and inspired.” A fellow student commented that it “felt as if a burden has been removed that I did not know I had been carrying my whole life [c.35 years]”

Although great joy truly has the reaction of the vast majority of people to Francis, not all have been positive. It took the traditionalist fringe all the way until Holy Thursday (15 days after election) to retreat into the old safeholds of disrespect and antagonism. First, they blame the press for creating a false Francis vs. Benedict comparison, and leap on every fan’s expression of praise for Francis as though it were an insult to Benedict.  Some immediately decried his humility as false, a kind of stage prop, and held up as a paragon of true humility the faithful master of ceremonies of Benedict XVI, novus Marini, for ‘suffering’ the loss of his lace. They have accused him of being a slob, of undermining the office of the papacy. Basically, they are afraid of change, hurt that the first pope since Pius XII to actually like all the neo-baroque nonsense resigned, and afraid of a return to the days when people were excited about the changes that Vatican II promised. [e.g.]

Everyone else had just long since forgotten what it was like to feel excited about the prospect of change in the church.

Earlier this month a Jesuit friend told me how his confreres have noted that the ‘young people’ do not seem to like Francis very much. The problem, though, here in Rome, is that ‘young people’ are judged as is everything else: clerically. The seminarians under 40, the same ones who were drawn to the priesthood as a power structure, certainly are nervous. But everyone else is giddy. The young, the old, the long-suffering and the fair-weather, everyone is happy but for those who invested in birettas and lace surplices (cf. John Allen, Jr.). But even for them, there remains a place in the Church. How could there not? No one is threatening their particular peculiarities and liturgical peccadilloes. But they simply are no longer being championed as the next big thing.

Yesterday, Pope Francis’ comments to the Conference of Latin American Religious were leaked, in which he seems to suggest not taking the CDF investigation of Religious too seriously, bemoans his own lack of administrative organization, acknowledges the problem of a “gay lobby” in the Vatican, and identifies as two of the most significant concerns today the Pelagianism of restorationist/traditionalist movements, and the Gnosticism of certain spiritualist movements.

One is the Pelagian current that there is in the Church at this moment. There are some restorationist groups. I know some, it fell upon me to receive them in Buenos Aires. And one feels as if one goes back 60 years! Before the Council… One feels in 1940…” The Pope is then said to have illustrated this with a joke: “when I was elected, I received a letter from one of these groups, and they said: “Your Holiness, we offer you this spiritual treasure: 3,525 rosaries.” Why don’t they say, ‘we pray for you, we ask…’, but this thing of counting…

(Though, it strikes me now, what will this mean for all the plenary indulgences I have been able to accrue while living in Rome? I have been saving them up for a rainy day, and now the numbers do not matter? Sheesh…)

Yet, lest you fear (or cheer) His Holiness’ critique of the extreme fringe as a radical departure from his predecessor, Andrea Tornielli reminded us of this commentary on the same topic from then-Cardinal Ratzinger:

 …the other face of the same vice is the Pelagianism of the pious. They do not want forgiveness and in general they do not want any real gift from God either. They just want to be in order. They don’t want hope they just want security. Their aim is to gain the right to salvation through a strict practice of religious exercises, through prayers and action. What they lack is humility which is essential in order to love; the humility to receive gifts not just because we deserve it or because of how we act…

Joseph Ratzinger, “Guardare Cristo: esempi di fede, speranza e carità” [Looking at Christ: Examples of faith, hope and charity]. 1986.

The sense now, for most, is that people are hopeful, but hesitate to be too hopeful. More and more, people are reminded of John Paul I, Papa Luciani, who had the same simple, honest way with the Petrine ministry and the hope that he had instilled that the reforms of the Council would continue, only to have those hopes dashed after only 33 days. Three months after Francis’ election, I think some people are still afraid that their hopes will not have the chance to come to fruition. But hope it is.

PopeFrancis2

Pope Francis – Jorge Bergoglio

Pope John Paul I - Albino Luciani

Pope John Paul I – Albino Luciani

Apostolic Blessing “Urbi et Orbi”: Pope Francis’ first public words

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Brothers and sisters, good evening!

 

You know that it was the duty of the Conclave to give Rome a Bishop.  It seems that my brother Cardinals have gone to the ends of the earth to get one… but here we are… I thank you for your welcome.  The diocesan community of Rome now has its Bishop.  Thank you!      And first of all, I would like to offer a prayer for our Bishop Emeritus, Benedict XVI.  Let us pray together for him, that the Lord may bless him and that Our Lady may keep him. 

 

Our Father…

Hail Mary…

Glory Be…

 

And now, we take up this journey:  Bishop and People.  This journey of the Church of Rome which presides in charity over all the Churches.  A journey of fraternity, of love, of trust among us.  Let us always pray for one another.  Let us pray for the whole world, that there may be a great spirit of fraternity.  It is my hope for you that this journey of the Church, which we start today, and in which my Cardinal Vicar, here present, will assist me, will be fruitful for the evangelization of this most beautiful city. 

 

And now I would like to give the blessing, but first – first I ask a favour of you: before the Bishop blesses his people, I ask you to pray to the Lord that he will bless me: the prayer of the people asking the blessing for their Bishop.  Let us make, in silence, this prayer:  your prayer over me. 

[…]

Now I will give the Blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will.

 

[Blessing]

 

Brothers and sisters, I leave you now.  Thank you for your welcome.  Pray for me and until we meet again.  We will see each other soon.  Tomorrow I wish to go and pray to Our Lady, that she may watch over all of Rome.  Good night and sleep well!

Benedict Resigns – Vatican Press Office Update (Day 2)

Today’s press conference focused on Pope Benedict’s schedule for the rest of the month, and some of the same questions i addressed earlier today

The conference can be viewed on Vatican Radio. Official summary here in English.  

An unofficial translation via live tweeting is provided by Father Roderick Vonhogen:

ImageBelow is a summary of my live tweets at @fatherroderick during the press conference by Fr. Lombardi at the Vatican earlier today.

 

The Pope’s Last Work Week

 

Right now, the Pope is working on the things he has to do in the next weeks, like his general audience tomorrow. Until Feb 28, the Pope continues all his work.

 

Ash Wednesday celebration will be at Saint Peter’s Basilica instead of on the Aventine. The reason for this is because of the large crowd expected to show up.

 

The last general audience of Pope Benedict XVI will be at February 27 on Saint Peter’s Square because of the large crowd expected to show up. There will probably not be a specific ‘event’ to say goodbye to pope Benedict XVI, he will use the planned events instead.

 

The pontificate of the Pope ends Feb 28 at 8 pm, because that is normally the hour on which the Pope concludes his working days.

 

The decision of the Pope has a message for us all: one of humility, courage, wisdom to acknowledge his limitations. The Pope is someone of great realism. Knows the problems of the situation of the Church in today’s world. Has a broad view.

 

The Pope’s health and reasons to step down

 

There are no specific illnesses that lead to the Pope’s resignation. Fr. Lombardi says the Pope has had a pacemaker for 10 years. Routine maintenance 3 months ago as reported by newspapers. The trip to Mexico and Cuba was part of the process that led to the Pope’s decision to step back.

 

World Youth Day

 

World Youth Day is in its essence a meeting of the youth with the Pope. So it is very, very likely the new pope will be there. Of course, the new pope can decide what he wants, but it is normal to assume that Benedict XVI’s successor will go to Rio.

 

The Pope’s writings and living quarters after retirement

 

After his retirement, pope Benedict XVI will have no tasks or responsibilities in the Vatican, it’s possible that in the future, he will choose another place to stay, but for the time being, he will live in the Vatican at the monastery of Mater Ecclesiae.

 

The Pope’s planned encyclical letter on Faith won’t be released before Feb. 28, instead it will be released later as reflections. Pope Benedict XVI has often expressed his desire to pray and to write. We hope he might write something for us too.

 

The monastery of Mater Ecclesiae is currently being renovated; the sisters will move out, no new sisters to replace them. The Pope himself made the decision to continue to live at the Vatican. The Pope always walks around in the Vatican to pray the rosary, so he knows the monastery well, and knows what is possible.

 

Fr. Lombardi says he doesn’t know yet how we will have to call pope Benedict XVI after he steps down. A Journalist uses “Papa Emeritus”, “Pope Emeritus” to indicate the Pope after he steps down. Fr. Lombardi says that the Pope will enter history as pope Benedict XVI, but we await instructions about his title after his resignation. Pope Benedict XVI will certainly remain bishop emeritus of Rome, but we’ll have to see if that is the title he prefers to use.

 

The decision to announce the resignation was the Pope’s own, but of course there has been consultation about the calendar.

 

Conclave and Installation Mass

 

The conclave must begin at least 15 and no later than 20 days after the resignation of pope Benedict XVI and Sede Vacante. On March 1, we have the situation of Sede Vacante.

 

Preparations of the Conclave then begin. Several meetings

before the Conclave. Date of the Conclave depends on the Apostolic Constitution. Cardinal Marini is studying this.

This is a new situation, so we will have to see what to do with rituals like the destruction of the Pope’s fisherman’s ring. Pope Benedict XVI will not intervene in the process of the election of the new pope. The cardinals will be autonomous. The Pope is not a cardinal. He will not participate in the Conclave.

 

The new pope

 

It’s up to pope Benedict and the new pope to decide if he will participate during installation Mass of new pope. The fact that Benedict XVI will continue to live in the Vatican will be no obstacle whatsoever for his successor, on the contrary. It will be a great support for the new Pope to have someone around who understands like no other what it means to be Pope. His successor will probably feel supported by the prayer of pope Benedict XVI after he resigns.

 

The Pope doesn’t gather the cardinals for the new conclave; they are smart enough to know that they should be here in March. It’s not a problem if some cardinals arrive early in the Vatican to visit the pope.

 

That’s the end of today’s press conference in the Vatican. Hope you enjoyed my live tweets. I apologize for possible translation errors.

Benedict Resigns – Retired Pope Q & A

[Updates since the writing of this Q & A, usually confirmation of my speculations, are included below in blue.]

The Italians have squelched the discussion of papal resignation in the past by brushing the idea aside with comments like “you cannot have a pope emeritus,” or, “what would you even do with a retired pope?”

Several question, some serious and some mere curiosities  have arisen in recent discussions, both virtually and in person here in Rome: Does the pope abdicate, resign, or retire? How does this compare to Pope John Paul II? When will the conclave be? Which cardinals can participate? What will Benedict’s new title be? What is the protocol and prerogatives for a retired pope? What role does he have in the Vatican, the college of Cardinals, or the Church? Does he retain his infallibility? Does he still wear white?

Official plans of the conclave will be publicized shortly, perhaps even today. It should not be difficult, even in the slow-moving Vatican, when many of the cardinals are already gathered for consistory. Though, at the same time, they may need a couple days to deal with the shock of the announcement. It seems only the dean of the college and a very small handful of others had notice even a day or two in advance of Monday’s announcement.

The following includes official answers where available, and speculation or suggestions where indicated.

Abdication, Resignation, or Retirement?

CIC 332§2   Si contingat ut Romanus Pontifex muneri suo renuntiet, ad validitatem requiritur ut renuntiatio libere fiat et rite manifestetur, non vero ut a quopiam acceptetur.

CIC 332§2   If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.

Though “abdication” is the term used when a monarch leaves, the term has not been used officially since the loss of the papal state, for the resignation of the popes. Though technically still an absolute monarch, as sovereign of the Vatican City-State, the pope is the bishop of Rome above all else, and therefore he “resigns.” Though, in this case, “retires” certainly seems a valid description.

[On 18 February, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, bishop of Springfield and serves on the USCCB Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, with both a JD and an STD, confirmed the correct translation is ‘resignation’ rather than ‘abdication.’]

How does this compare to Pope John Paul II?

We really should not compare the two. John Paul II showed us suffering and ageing in dignity, Benedict XVI teaches us genuine kenosis and leadership with integrity and humility. It is hard to continue a ministry that it seems the Holy Spirit has called you to when your body fails you, it is harder to let go of power so absolute.

Voices that have criticized the Holy Father for resigning, saying things like “a father does not abandon his family,” or, “Wojtyla stayed until the end because one does not come down from the cross” seem to have missed the point.

Being pope is not about suffering, but about serving. A bishop emeritus can give witness to dignified suffering and the value of the elderly, but an impeded pope cannot serve. Benedict has reminded us to separate the office from the person, putting the emphasis on the Petrine ministry, where it belongs.

When will the conclave be held?

The apostolic constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, published by Bl. John Paul II and adapted slightly by Pope Benedict XVI, governs the Conclave, the process for the election of a new pope. According to the constitution, §37,

…from the moment when the Apostolic See is lawfully vacant, the Cardinal electors who are present must wait fifteen full days for those who are absent; the College of Cardinals is also granted the faculty to defer, for serious reasons, the beginning of the election for a few days more. But when a maximum of twenty days have elapsed from the beginning of the vacancy of the See, all the Cardinal electors present are obliged to proceed to the election.

This would seem to put the earliest starting date for the conclave on 15 March, and the latest starting date on 20 March. [This was confirmed by the Vatican Press office on 13 February].

However, since the purpose of this is to allow the cardinals not in Rome to get here, and because they have been given 17 days notice from the announcement to the time the retirement takes effect, perhaps it will be decided that this interregnum could be dispensed with. [A motu proprio to this effect is being considered, as of 22 February.]

Certainly, all hope that there will be a new bishop of Rome by Holy Week, which starts 24 March.

Which cardinals will participate?

The right to elect the Roman Pontiff belongs exclusively to the Cardinals of Holy Roman Church, with the exception of those who have reached their eightieth birthday before the day of the Roman Pontiff’s death or the day when the Apostolic See becomes vacant. (UDG §33)

One cardinal turns 80 on 26 February, and that is Lubomyr Husar, the retired Major Archbishop (de facto patriarch) of the Ukranian Catholic Church. According to the text, he would be excluded from the election, for being too old by less than 48 hours. Two others turn 80 in early March, Walter Kasper (March 5) and Severino Poletto (March 18), but even if the Conclave begins after their birthdays, they would still be admitted.

What is the protocol and prerogatives for a retired pope?

There is nothing in canon law or the apostolic constitution relating this. There are some ancient canons, and the precedent of retired bishops, that will be helpful. We know just a few things at this point, and the rest is speculation. We do know that Benedict XVI will not be involved in the election of his successor, and that he will retire first to Castel Gandolfo, and then to the monastery of cloistered nuns inside the Vatican for a time.

What will Benedict’s new title be?

The pope is the bishop of Rome. That is his title, his office, and the font of all other titles and offices, from Vicar of Christ to Servant of the Servants of God. Therefore the obvious choice would seem to be “bishop emeritus of Rome” just as any other retired bishop. But that is simply this ecclesiologist’s suggestion.

[On 22 February, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, president of the pontifical council for legislative texts, confirmed that after his retirement, he will be known as “His Holiness, Benedict XVI, bishop emeritus of Rome”.]

What role will he have in the Vatican, the college of Cardinals, or the Church?

Effectively none. In terms of protocol and precedence, one can imagine that he will be “ranked” below only the serving pope. Traditionally, popes have been forbidden from participating in the selection of their successors, and we already know he will be excluded from the coming conclave.

When a powerful leader resigns, it always seems the best practice that he or she basically disappear from the public eye for about a year, at least, to allow his or her successor to settle into the role. When the last Jesuit general retired – another office that was until recently ‘for life’ – he became a librarian in the Holy Land, and kept out of even provincial politics.  When Fr. Ted Hesburgh retired as president of Notre Dame after 35 years, he took a year-long road trip and tour, staying away from campus. Mary McAleese, after 14 years as president of Ireland came to Rome and moved into the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas to return to her studies of canon law.

Does he retain his infallibility?

The pope is not infallible. Not personally, anyway: Infallibility is not a possession or power of the pope, but a divine gift attributed to the Church as a whole, and derivatively to the college of bishops as a whole. The bishop of Rome, in communion with and head of the college of bishops, may exercise that authority in some very limited, very precise conditions, but it goes with the office, not the individual.

Will he still wear white?

I have no idea; I would expect not, but it will be curious to see what is deemed appropriate. Perhaps a black cassock or simar with white trim?

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[John Allen, Jr., adds his own Q & A after today’s lengthy press briefing here.]

International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches:

A few weeks ago I mentioned running into Fr. Ron Roberson on the streets of Rome as he was heading into this meeting. This is a repost of the report from Oriental Orthodox Church News and Events  posted by Ibrahim Yuhanon, S O C E ( Editor ) at 2/02/2011 07:49:00 PM

Eighth Meeting Rome, January 25 to 28, 2011

The eighth meeting of the International Joint Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches took place in Rome from January 25 to 28, 2011. The meeting was hosted by His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch, the new President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. It was chaired jointly by Cardinal Koch and by His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette, General Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church.

Joining delegates from the Catholic Church were representatives of the following Oriental Orthodox Churches: the Antiochian Syrian Orthodox Church, the Armenian Apostolic Church (Catholicosate of All Armenians), the Armenian Apostolic Church (Holy See of Cilicia), the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church, and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. No representative of the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church was able to attend.

The two delegations met separately on January 25, and held plenary sessions each day from January 26 to January 28. Each day of the plenary sessions began with a common celebration of Morning Prayer. In his remarks at the beginning of the first session, Cardinal Koch welcomed the group to Rome, and said that “I have had an enduring ecumenical interest in the Oriental Orthodox Churches, and in your history, your life of faith, your liturgy and theology. I have always felt very at home in your presence. Despite our longstanding separation, we share a solid basis of faith and ecclesial order.” With great sadness the Cardinal also informed the group of the death of one of the Ethiopian Orthodox representatives, Father Megabe Biluy Seife Selassie. He has been replaced by Archdeacon Daniel Seife Michael, an instructor at Holy Trinity Theological University College in Addis Ababa. The cardinal also offered congratulations to Father John Matthews who, since the last meeting, was ordained a bishop and given the name Metropolitan Dr. Youhanan Mar Demetrios, Assistant Metropolitan of Delhi, and to His Eminence Nareg Alemezian who has been elevated to the rank of Archbishop. Metropolitan Bishoy took the occasion to congratulate Cardinal Koch on his appointment as President of the Pontifical Council, and to express his gratitude to Cardinal Walter Kasper for his co-chairmanship of the commission until his retirement last year. He also stressed that the official name of his family of churches should always be “Oriental Orthodox Churches.”

At this meeting, the members continued their study – in a very friendly atmosphere – of the ways in which the churches expressed their communion with one another until the middle of the fifth century and the role played by monasticism in this. The papers presented included “The Communion and Communication that Existed Between Our Churches Until the Mid-Fifth Century of Christian History As Well As the Role Played by Monasticism: The Tradition of Antioch,” by Archbishop Theophilus George Saliba; “The Petrine Office and the Question, Who Established the Church of Rome?: Coptic Orthodox Perspective,” by Metropolitan Bishoy of Damiette, “Communion and Communication Among the Churches in the Tradition of Alexandria,” by Father Mark Sheridan, OSB; “The Role of Monasticism in the Development and Communion of the Churches,” by Father Columba Stewart, OSB; “Communion and Communication that Existed Between Our Churches Until the Mid-Fifth Century of Christian History and the Role Played by Monasticism: The Ethiopian Experience,” by Archdeacon Daniel Seife Michael Feleke; “The Reception of the Ecumenical Councils in the Armenian Tradition (VIII-XV cc.)” and “Communion and Communication,” by Archbishop Yeznik Petrossian; “Communion and Communication Between the St. Thomas Christians of India and Other Churches till Mid-Fifth Century A.D. – Indian Orthodox Perspective,” by Metropolitan Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios; “Communion and Communication Between the St. Thomas Christians of India and Other Churches till Mid-Fifth Century A.D. – A Syrian Orthodox Perspective,” by Metropolitan Dr Kuriakose Theophilose; “Communion and Communication Among the Churches: Rome in the Pre-Constantinian Era,” by Prof. Dietmar W. Winkler.

In these various studies, the members of the commission focused more precisely on the concrete expressions of communion and communication among the churches before the separation. Indeed, communion was expressed primarily through various forms of communication. It was noted that in the pre-Constantinian period, there was an intense communication among the churches, especially in times of crisis. There was a common sense of responsibility towards the other churches that was found most clearly in the exchange of letters and synodal decisions. These provided a means of conveying encouragement and challenge to one another, as well as theological clarifications. This exchange was mutual among the various churches. It exemplified a remarkable degree of communion among local communities in a process that lacked central direction after 250 years of expansion throughout the Roman Empire and beyond, including Armenia, Persia, Ethiopia and India. The universal phenomenon of Christian asceticism, present from the earliest times, found expression in the monastic movements, emerging from the late third century in all parts of the Christian world. There was a fruitful exchange of monastic spiritual writings emanating from the Christian Orient, even across doctrinal divisions.

In the evening of January 25, the members attended a Vespers service in the Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls presided over by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In his homily the Holy Father made reference to the presence of the members of the dialogue, and said, “We entrust the success of your meeting to the Lord, that it may be another step forward towards our longed-for unity”. On Thursday evening January 27, Cardinal Koch hosted a dinner for the dialogue members and staff of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity at the Domus Sanctae Marthae in the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI received the members of the commission in private audience on Friday morning January 28. Cardinal Koch and Metropolitan Bishoy thanked the Pope for receiving the commission, and Metropolitan Bishoy presented a Coptic icon of Saint Mary the Mother of God to him on behalf of the members of the commission. The Pope then greeted the members, saying “It is with great joy that I welcome you, the members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Oriental Orthodox Churches. Through you I gladly extend fraternal greetings to my venerable Brothers, the Heads of the Oriental Orthodox Churches. I am grateful for the work of the Commission which began in January 2003 as a shared initiative of the ecclesial authorities of the family of the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. As you know, the first phase of the dialogue, from 2003 to 2009, resulted in the common text entitled Nature, Constitution and Mission of the Church. The document outlined aspects of fundamental ecclesiological principles that we share and identified issues requiring deeper reflection in successive phases of the dialogue. We can only be grateful that after almost fifteen hundred years of separation we still find agreement about the sacramental nature of the Church, about apostolic succession in priestly service and about the impelling need to bear witness to the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the world. In the second phase the Commission has reflected from an historical perspective on the ways in which the Churches expressed their communion down the ages. During the meeting this week you are deepening your study of the communion and communication that existed between the Churches until the mid-fifth century of Christian history, as well as the role played by monasticism in the life of the early Church. We must be confident that your theological reflection will lead our Churches not only to understand each other more deeply, but resolutely to continue our journey decisively towards the full communion to which we are called by the will of Christ. For this intention we have lifted up our common prayer during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity which has just ended. Many of you come from regions where Christian individuals and communities face trials and difficulties that are a cause of deep concern for us all. All Christians need to work together in mutual acceptance and trust in order to serve the cause of peace and justice. May the intercession and example of the many martyrs and saints, who have given courageous witness to Christ in all our Churches, sustain and strengthen you and your Christian communities. With sentiments of fraternal affection I invoke upon all of you the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The ninth meeting of the International Joint Commission will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the invitation of His Holiness Abune Paulos I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Tewahido Orthodox Church. The members will plan to arrive on Monday January 16, 2012, and depart on Monday January 23. The two delegations will meet separately on Tuesday January 17, and in plenary session on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, January 18, 19, and 21. They will participate in the celebration of Epiphany (Timkat) on January 20, and in Sunday liturgies on January 22.

The members concluded with joyful thanks to God, the Father Son and Holy Spirit, for what has been accomplished at this meeting.

* * *

The members of the Commission are:

Representatives of the Oriental Orthodox Churches
(in alphabetical order)

Armenian Apostolic Church— Catholicosate of all Armenians: H.E. Khajag Barsamian, Archbishop of the Eastern Diocese of the USA, New York; H.E. Archbishop Yeznik Petrossian, General Secretary of Bible Society of Armenia, Etchmiadzin, Armenia;

Armenian Apostolic Church— Holy See of Cilicia:
H.E. Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy in the USA, New York; H.G. Archbishop Nareg Alemezian, Ecumenical Officer of the Holy See of Cilicia, Antelias, Lebanon;

Coptic Orthodox Church: H.E. Anba Bishoy (co-chair), Metropolitan of Damiette, Egypt, General Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church; Rev. Fr. Shenouda Maher Ishak, West Henrietta, New York, USA; H.G. Bishop Daniel of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Sydney, Australia (observer);

Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church: Rev. Fr. Kaleab Gebreselassie Gebru, Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Patriarchate, Asmara, Eritrea (unable to attend);

Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church: Archdeacon Daniel Seife Michael Feleke of Holy Trinity Theological University College in Addis Ababa; Mr. Lique Hiruyan Getachew Guadie (unable to attend);

Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church: H.E. Metropolitan Dr. Gabriel Mar Gregorios, President of the Department of Ecumenical Relations, Diocese of Trivandrum, India; H. G. Metropolitan Dr. Youhanon Mar Demetrios, Assistant Bishop of Delhi (co-secretary), Delhi, India.

Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch: H.E. Mor Theophilus George Saliba, Archbishop of Mount Lebanon, Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Syrian Orthodox Church, Beirut, Lebanon; H.E. Kuriakose Theophilose, Metropolitan of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Theological Seminary and President of the Ecumenical Secretariat of the Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church in India, Ernakulam, India;

Representatives of the Catholic Church

His Eminence Cardinal Kurt Koch (co-chair), President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity;

Most Reverend Paul-Werner Scheele, Bishop Emeritus of Würzburg, Germany;

Most Reverend Youhanna Golta, Patriarchal Auxiliary Bishop of the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate, Cairo, Egypt;

Most Reverend Jules Mikhael Al-Jamil, Procurator of the Syrian Catholic Patriarchate to the Holy See and Apostolic Visitator in Europe, Rome;

Most Reverend Peter Marayati, Armenian Catholic Archbishop of Aleppo, Syria;

Most Reverend Woldetensae Ghebreghiorghis, Apostolic Vicar of Harar, Ethiopia, President of the Ecumenical Commission of the Catholic Church in Ethiopia and Eritrea;

Rev. Fr. Frans Bouwen M.Afr., Consultant to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; Jerusalem;

Rev. Fr. Columba Stewart, OSB, Executive Director, Hill Museum and Manuscript Library, St. John’s Abbey and University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA;

Rev. Fr. Ronald G. Roberson, CSP, Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC, USA;

Rev. Fr. Paul Rouhana, OLM, Université Saint-Esprit, Kaslik, Jounieh, Lebanon (unable to attend);

Rev. Fr. Mark Sheridan, OSB, Pontificio Ateneo S. Anselmo, Rome;

Rev. Fr. Mathew Vellanickal, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Changanacherry, India;

Rev. Fr. Boghos Levon Zekiyan, Pontifical Oriental Institute, Rome;

Prof. Dietmar W. Winkler, Consultant to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Salzburg, Austria.

Rev. Fr. Gabriel Quicke, Official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Rome (co-secretary).

Rome, January 28, 2011

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