Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The new Pope’s opinions on various and sundry topics



Image from Fr Marco Vervoorst

Benedict XVI on the war in Iraq:

The concept of a 'preventive war' does not appear in the Catechism of the Catholic Church....

There were not sufficient reasons to unleash a war against Iraq. To say nothing of the fact that, given the new weapons that make possible destructions that go beyond the combatant groups, today we should be asking ourselves if it is still licit to admit the very existence of a 'just war'.
On past councils (applicable to Vatican II):

Not all valid councils, after being tested by the facts of history, have shown themselves to be useful councils; in the final analysis, all that was left of some was a great nothing.
On Vatican II specifically:

The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest.
On the eastward-facing celebration of Mass:

When we rise to pray, we turn east, where heaven begins. And we do this not because God is there, as if He had moved away from the other directions on earth …, but rather to help us remember to turn our mind towards a higher order, that is, to God....

The original meaning of what nowadays is called ‘the priest turning his back on the people’ is, in fact–as J. A. Jungmann has consistently shown–the priest and people together facing the same way in a common act of trinitarian worship, such as Augustine introduced, following the sermon, by the prayer
‘Conversi ad Dominum’....

A common turning to the east during the Eucharistic Prayer remains essential. This is not a case of something accidental, but of what is essential. Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord. It is not now a question of dialogue but of common worship, of setting off toward the One who is to come. What corresponds with the reality of what is happening is not the closed circle but the common movement forward, expressed in a common direction for prayer.
On the Roman Mass:

For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is also important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in ... use up to 1970 should be lifted. Anyone who nowadays advocates the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and proscribing the Church's whole past. How can one trust her at present if things are that way?

I am of the opinion that the old rite should be granted much more generously to all those who desire it. It's impossible to grasp what could be dangerous or unacceptable about that. A community that suddenly declares that what, until now, was its holiest and highest possession is strictly forbidden and makes the longing for it seem downright indecent, calls its very self into question.

It is good to recall here what Cardinal Newman observed, that the Church, throughout her history, has never abolished nor forbidden orthodox liturgical forms, which would be quite alien to the Spirit of the Church.
On the Orthodox tradition:

Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of primacy than had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium. When the Patriarch Athenagoras, on July 25, 1967, on the occasion of the Pope’s visit to Phanar, designated him as the successor of St. Peter, as the most esteemed among us, as one also presides in charity, this great Church leader was expressing the essential content of the doctrine of primacy as it was known in the first millennium. Rome need not ask for more. Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the [Roman] Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development, while, on the other hand, the West would recognize the Church of the East as orthodox and legitimate in the form she has always had.
Neither side has defined as doctrine a belief that the other side is heretical.

More from the Holy Father on this topic (posted by Fr Deacon Lance Weakland):

The [Roman] Catholic has to recognize that his own Church is not yet prepared to accept the phenomenon of multiplicity in unity; he must orient himself toward this reality …. Meantime the [Roman] Catholic Church has no right to absorb the other Churches… A basic unity—of Churches that remain Churches, yet become one Church—must replace the idea of conversion, even though conversion retains its meaningfulness for those in conscience motivated to seek it.
This isn’t indifferentism. Note the big C in Church. Clearly Rome recognizes the Churchness of the Orthodox: it can do no other as such is Catholicism in 11th-century Greek theological language.

Here’s still more from the Pope on the subject.

It echoes Metropolitan Joseph (Slipyj) of blessed memory, no liberal himself.

On the attempted ordination of women:

[Is] ‘the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women’, which is presented in the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis to be held definitively... to be understood as belonging to the deposit of faith?

Responsum: In the affirmative.

This teaching requires definitive assent, since, founded on the written Word of God, and from the beginning constantly preserved and applied in the Tradition of the Church.
As I wrote a little earlier, I’m hopeful.

On the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje, condemned by the bishop, who has the final say:
We at the Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] always asked ourselves, how can any believer accept as authentic apparitions that occur every day and for so many years? Are they still occurring every day?

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