It's Friday, and You Know What That Means....
We did the year-end issue two weeks back (Guess who did the mozzetta piece?), last week was off, and today we're up again.
For the first time, your humble narrator has made the website with a brief on last week's ID ruling in Harrisburg with all the usual bells and whistles of Rock in Print.
Elsewhere -- and much more notably -- the eminent Robert Mickens in Rome surveys the road ahead in Benedict XVI's New Year:
[N]ow as the world gets set to ring in 2006, many people are wondering if the new calendar year will be the point at which Benedict XVI resolves to stop being the caretaker of the John Paul II legacy and sets about putting his own mark on the papacy. One thing is for certain: he will have the opportunity to do so in the coming months when he issues his first encyclical, creates a dozen or more new cardinals, and makes two or three journeys around Europe.Yeah, buzz is spreading that a consistory could be called for 22 February; then again, it could be called for 3pm today if Papa Bear wanted to do that.
All I'm saying is that there's no way on Earth the Loggiameister could be in San Fran on the 15th for Niederauer's Love Parade and then find myself a Roma eight days later -- that just ain't happening unless somebody (WHO?!) sends me to cover the red hats. Extant that, I don't need to put up with all my countrymen's kicking to get through crowds. Unless John Foley gets it, in which case I'll swim the Atlantic, of course. Anything for Foley, always.
But I digress from the Mickens Magic:
Pope Benedict XVI will have been Bishop of Rome for nearly nine months when his first encyclical letter is finally issued some time in January. Though many people have become mercilessly impatient with the wait, they should remember that even though the first three popes of the past century (Leo XIII, St Pius X and Benedict XV) issued their introductory encyclicals within two months of assuming the papacy, Pope Paul VI only published his 14 months after his election. The five months it took Pope John Paul II to produce his first encyclical in 1979 is, only relatively, fresher in memory. While these popes used their first encyclicals to outline the programme of their pontificates, Vatican officials who have seen Pope Benedict’s letter say he does not do so.As reported here, Cordes had dinner with B16 last week....
The initial draft of the document – Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) – was supposedly signed on 8 December (see Church in the World, The Tablet, 29 October), though recent news reports said that the Pope revised the text and re-signed it on Christmas Day. The encyclical is due for release some time after 6 January, and is reportedly a meditation on the different meanings of the word “love” found in the First Letter of St John. Archbishop Paul Cordes, the president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” (which oversees the Pope’s charitable donations), is reportedly the new encyclical’s ghost writer.
This will be the Pope’s first major document. But if inside reports are reliable, the encyclical is likely to be as anti-climactic as his message for tomorrow’s World Day of Peace, which he entitled, “In truth, peace”. Although the papal message condemns terrorism and makes a bold call for total nuclear disarmament, the media largely ignored it when it was released two weeks ago. The manuscript that has generated the most discussion thus far has been the Congregation for Catholic Education’s Instruction on the admission of homosexuals to seminaries, and that is not even a papal document.If you had read most of St. Blog's, you'd have thought the homosems doc was written with the Hand of God.
Alberto Gasbarri, the Italian layman who was recently named as organiser of papal journeys, has indicated that Benedict XVI will travel much less than his globetrotting predecessor. Yet there are already plans for a three-day visit to Poland in May and a five-day visit to Bavaria in Germany in mid-September (10-15). Officials in Spain have intimated that the Pope will visit their country for two days in July (8-9) to bring to a conclusion the fifth World Meeting of Families. The Vatican has not yet formally confirmed the dates for any of these journeys, but bishops in the host countries have said the visits will take place. There is also strong speculation that Benedict XVI will go to Istanbul for the 30 November celebration of St Andrew, the patronal feast of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Other governments – including Israel, the Palestinian Authority, the Czech Republic and Brazil – have asked the Pope to visit, but there has been no indication whether he might accept those invitations.We'll have to wait and see if B16 holds to the "neither East nor West" line on big travel, which he gave a US cardinal at the conclave's close....