Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Ad-Lib Pope

Given the nature and work of the Holy See, scrutinizing the volumes of texts, speeches and statements that pour out of its offices and officials is an all-consuming task -- one that often leads to gut-wrenching parsing of single words and, just as frequently, reviewing slight disparities between an address' prepared text and how it's actually delivered.

While the world will soon learn that one high-level curialist is hissy-fitting over Navarro-Valls' analysis that B16's is "a pontificate of concepts and of words," B16 has proven yet again that his is, well, a pontificate of concepts and of words.

Remember the speech the Pope gave to the Ecumenical Delegation during his trip to Cologne? Magister blasts back from vacation to report that the text we all saw was but a shadow of what Ratzinger really said. As he likes to do, the Pope spontaneously doubled the text that was prepared for him (at one point, doing six straight paragraphs on justification extemporaneously).

This is huge. And our dear friends at www.chiesa have presented the whole kit-n-caboodle for our parsing pleasure.

Here are some luscious snips -- the ad-libbed text is underlined:
Permit me to remain seated after such a strenuous day. This does not mean I wish to speak "ex cathedra". Also, excuse me for being late. Unfortunately, Vespers took longer than foreseen and the traffic was slower moving than could be imagined.
Why did Vespers "unfortunately" take "longer than foreseen"? Oh, that's right -- the tribal-chief sems couldn't control themselves and mistook prayer for a powwow. Don't mess with the schedule of the German Pope.
I feel the fact that we consider one another brothers and sisters, that we love one another, that together we are witnesses of Jesus Christ, should not be taken so much for granted. I believe that this brotherhood is in itself a very important fruit of dialogue that we must rejoice in, continue to foster and to practice.
At one point, he refers to the (presumably Lutheran) prelate who greeted him in the name of the group when he says, "As you just said, bishop".... Not "Reverend," not "Sir," not "Herr," but "bischof" -- "bishop."

Be reminded that the Holy See didn't refer to the schismatic Bernard Fellay as "bishop" the other day.
Based on this essential foundation of baptism, a reality comes from him which is a way of being, then of professing, believing and acting. Based on this crucial foundation, dialogue has borne its fruits and will continue to do so.
But the most interesting of all passages, noted particularly by Grande Sandro as well, is about what catholicity is, and its germaneness to the ecumenical context:
On the other hand, this unity does not mean what could be called ecumenism of the return: that is, to deny and to reject one's own faith history. Absolutely not! It does not mean uniformity in all expressions of theology and spirituality, in liturgical forms and in discipline. Unity in multiplicity, and multiplicity in unity: in my homily for the solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul on 29 June last, I insisted that full unity and true catholicity in the original sense of the word go together. As a necessary condition for the achievement of this coexistence, the commitment to unity must be constantly purified and renewed; it must constantly grow and mature.
"It does not mean uniformity in all expressions of theology and spirituality, in liturgical forms and discipline...." Note to self-anointed orthodoxy police....

And the Pope of Hope offers a touching, unscripted tribute to Roger Schutz. While many here and elsewhere debate the communion given Frere Roger by Ratzinger at John Paul's funeral, or put too much interest into whether and when the martyred Taize founder swam the Tiber, Benedict XVI says, simply:
He is now visiting us and speaking to us from on high.
For those who scream about apostasy, this marks the second time this Pope has implied that he believes Roger already "has arrived at eternal joy," i.e. heaven, i.e. sainthood.

The problem with a pontificate of words is that people actually have to listen for the statements to have some kind of impact.

Ears to the ground, people, ears to the ground.



Blogger Jeff said...

There may be evidence that Br. Roger CONVERTED TO Catholicism before his death. I haven't seen any evidence that he APOSTASIZED FROM it!

But I suppose you think the point is, the Pope thinks there's nothing in particular that Catholics have to believe. Is that what telling protestants that ecumenism with them isn't just an attempt at immediate conversion or that they don't have to accept every Catholic spiritual practice is supposed to mean according to you? Trouble is, he's never said anything like that in any of his writings or in what you quoted today. He's said many, many things that are incompatible with that.

A very confused post...

1/9/05 08:34  
Blogger Jeff said...

For HEAVEN'S SAKE, Rocco, didn't you read the whole thing? What about the passage below, which you may have glossed over because of it's density.

Benedict says that the real division between Protestants and us is that we must be true to the Scriptures, yes, but in combination with the hierarchical constitution of the Church and Her doctrinal synthesis. This is an eccesiological issue and this is what divides us. Not as much fun to quote that part is it?

"However, at the same time the Church has formulated an apostolic succession, the episcopal ministry, in the awareness that the Word and the witness go together; that is, the Word is alive and present only thanks to the witness, so to speak, and receives from the witness its interpretation. But the witness is only such if he or she witnesses to the Word.

Third and last, the Church has added the "regula fidei" [rule of faith] as a key for interpretation. I believe that this reciprocal compenetration constitutes an object of dissent between us, even though we are certainly united on fundamental things.

Therefore, when we speak of ecclesiology and of ministry we must preferably speak in this combination of Word, witness and rule of faith, and consider it as an ecclesiological matter, and therefore together as a question of the Word of God, of his sovereignty and humility inasmuch as the Lord entrusts his Word, and concedes its interpretation, to witnesses which, however, must always be compared to the "regula fidei" and the integrity of the Word. Excuse me if I have expressed a personal opinion; it seemed right to do so."

1/9/05 10:01  
Blogger John Hearn said...

At one point, he refers to the (presumably Lutheran) prelate who greeted him in the name of the group when he says, "As you just said, bishop".... Not "Reverend," not "Sir," not "Herr," but "bischof" -- "bishop."

As Aslan said (from memory):

"We will not quibble over a noise. All names will be restored to their proper owners shortly."*

*The Lion the Which and the Wardrobe.

1/9/05 17:41  

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