Sunday, 27 June 2010

Confession time

This is to let you know that I've not been well for the last couple of weeks. I had hoped to avoid bothering you with it, but feel I should explain recent lack of postings. Basically I'm having dizzy spells and vertigo and as a result am having to walk with a stick. There has been a slight improvement over the last two days. Will post again as soon as I can. In the meantime, God bless all my readers. Please pray for me.

In Christo pro Papa

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Pope Benedict's teaching on priestly celibacy

Sandro Magister has an article which gives full text of the Holy Father's answer to the question about celibacy that he was asked on Thursday evening. The article also traces Pope Benedict's teaching on the subject, going back to 2oo6. Here is the link.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Closure of the Year for Priests: Build-up in Rome

10,000 priests from 91 countries have gathered in Rome to be with Pope Benedict when he closes the Year for Priests with a Mass from St. Peter's Square tomorrow at 10am (Italian/French time).

1. Yesterday morning kto tv began a joyful series of 'flash' news items which have included brief interviews with French speaking priests currently in Rome . There are over 700 of them, including 30 bishops. (Does anyone know how many priests from England, Wales and Scotland are there? I've just checked the E & W Conference site and there is nothing readily to be found about this three days of events. My apologies if it is there and I just haven't been able to ferret it out.)

Three features stand out in the interviews with the French priests: first their love for and gratitude to Pope Benedict, second their fraternal joy in being together in such large numbers, and third their commitment to a deep internal renewal of their priestly vows and sense of mission, individually and as a body.

Yesterday one of them spoke of an accidental meeting with another priest on the Roman metro and of how wonderful it was for them to chat to each other in French.

In the evening flash the Bishop of Pontoise described the 760-strong march of French Priests along the Appian Way before Vespers at St. John Lateran. The bishop said that during the march he had met a young priest from Provence who normally lives and works alone. The bishop then recounted the joy on that young priest's face at being with so many of his brothers.

This morning the interview was with a priest from Gabon. When asked why he had come to Rome, he said that he had responded to Pope Benedict's invitation as a cry from the heart. In the difficult times we have been going through, the Pope himself has need of comfort in his mission. "I have come to show the Pope how much I love him and how much I love the Church." He concluded by avowing that he wished to renew his own sense of mission, and that it will bear fruit in his own country.

And this afternoon a priest from Togo was asked why he had come. Referring to Pope Benedict, he said, "Because Papa called me." Had this been a year of interior renewal for him? "Yes." And what will remain for him now the year is ending? "Joy in being a priest."

As for us, over at 'Clerical Reform' our vocation is mentioned with gratitude; and at yesterday's General Audience the Holy Father invited the faithful throughout the world to participate with prayer in these closing events.

Have a holy vigil everyone.

In Christo pro Papa

2. Yesterday afternoon in the Paul VI Audience hall Cardinal Bertone addressed several thousand of the priests. For a report on this please see the Zenit report

Monday, 7 June 2010

The Litany of Loreto: Further thoughts

First of all thanks to epsilon for his suggestions, and to several people who have written to me privately encouraging me not to give up hope. One of these echoed epsilon's suggestion that I mount a petition. I am doubtful of my own ability to do such a thing as my blogs are not sufficiently widely read, but will wait until the end of this week and the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart, before reconsidering the matter.

Secondly, I omitted to mention in my last post that my PCED correspondent also said, "We do not know what initiative(s) the Holy Father may take in the closing of the Year for Priests." This encouraged me to continue praying that he may do something special in any case. We now know that in Fatima he consecrated all priests to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the spoken prayer with which he did it was very special indeed. (He even mentioned the many who are consecrated to spiritual motherhood of priests.) In a very important respect, what he did was much more than I had asked for in the letter that never reached him. On the other hand, having this added invocation in the Litany, would be a perpetual reminder of the Year of the Priest and of his consecration in Fatima, a reminder to us all to continue to pray to Our Blessed Mother for all our priests.

Finally a word about the Holy Father's continued promotion of modern communication. The Vatican has moved amazingly rapidly over the past year in response to his lead. However, they have tended to concentrate on outgoing information, and appear to have done little yet about streamlining RECEPTION of information and responding to it. If the response to my letter, and the explanation I received, are anything to go by, Secretariat officials are still operating an old-fashioned system, which does not cope at all satisfactorily with the increased amount of mail received by the Holy Father, and which has the effect of making the flock feel cut off from their shepherd who has inspired them in the first place. Perhaps the next twelve months will see them giving some attention to this side of the communication process. As for emails, those of us who have tried that system to contact the Holy Father, only do so now to register their support for him. There is absolutely no point in asking questions or making suggestions because you simply will not receive a reply.

As for the General Audience epsilon, I never miss it!!!! God bless and thanks again.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

email from from my contact in Rome

You may recall that in March I wrote to the Holy Father, humbly suggesting that perhaps a new invocation could be added to the Litany of Loreto, which would name Our Lady as Mother and Queen of priests. I received a reply signed by the Assessor at the Secretariat of State. His letter made no mention of my request and I felt that it was simply a standard letter, and strongly doubted that the idea had been presented to the Holy Father. Others were in accord with this feeeling and I was given two contacts to write to, one at Ecclesia Dei and the other at the Congregation for Clergy. The former has replied to me by email and I wish to share with you the burden of what he says. It is not good news I'm afraid, in the sense that it tends to confirm my own suspicions and those of several of you who have emailed me privately.

Based on what my contact tells me, here is a brief description of how the Holy Father's daily mountain of incoming mail is filtered by the Secretariat of State. In a case like mine, where a suggestion is being made, the letter will not get past the Assessor (No. 3 in the pecking order) unless there have been several thousand, if not millions of letters suggesting the same thing. If you do break through this barrier your letter goes to the Substitute (No. 2) and beyond that, to the Secretary of State himself (No. 1). I apologise to those of you who already know of this system. I repeat it here only because I know that it will be news to some of you. (All this being said, the Holy Father seems to know how much support he receives in his mail, and therefore without any proof at all, I think the system must divide letters into pro and anti, so I know you will not stop writing to tell him how much you pray for him, support him and love him.)

Of course there has to be a system of this kind. It would be ridiculously naive to imagine that the Holy Father sees every letter that is written to him. The problem is that the reply I received from the Assessor did not even mention my suggestion. So therefore I must assume that mine was the only letter of its kind. I am left utterly in the dark about whether that assumption is correct. Fortunately I know that prayer and penance is the only true and reliable recourse. Nevertheless I felt driven, as one of their resutlts, to write the letter, in which I said as much. I did what I felt I must do. It has come to nothing for the time being and I accept that with no difficulty at all and continue to pray all the while that this addition willl be made to the Litany.

My contact acknowledges that he is a mere official at the PCED and although he is himself of longstanding in that capacity, and sympathetic to my request, he is painfully honest that he cannot help me to further the cause, because he has absolutely no hope at all, in his position, of getting through to the Holy Father. He hopes that I may receive a more positive and authoritative response from Archbishop Piacenza at the Congregation for Clergy. (As yet I have heard nothing from the Congregation.) His reply to me was gentle, kind and painstaking. I have replied, letting him know of my gratitude and that he has made a friend for life. (We are more or less the same age.) And that I believe is the most important thing.

In Christo pro Papa