Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Love"... Lost in Translation?

As B16 prepares to preside over Monday's celebration of Rome's twin patrons -- and with it, his 58th anniversary as a priest -- the feast of Saints Peter and Paul won't be what it usually is: namely, the "period ending" to another Vatican year.

On the morning of the solemnity, the Pope will reportedly sign his long-awaited social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate ("Love in Truth"), a text repeatedly delayed due to snags in the drafting, the revolving door of advisers who lent a hand and, indeed, the evolution of the global economic crisis.

With the author having teased out his themes over two years of his talks, all that remains to be seen is what's made the final cut. As of this writing, though, the Holy See has still to announce the press conference that invariably accompanies an encyclical's publication.

Since a week's notice is customarily given for the late-morning session to herald a major text's noontime release, odds would indicate an early July doc-drop....

That is, at the earliest.

Yesterday, a report from UCA News said that the pontiff's third encyclical "will be published" before the 8 July start of the G8 Summit in L'Aquila, prior to which the pontiff will receive the Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, the post's first Catholic holder to visit the Vatican.

As reports are popping up of difficulties with preparing Caritas' translations, however, there might just be one final delay.

* * *
Against this backdrop, another "impending" document has taken center-stage in some circles: a motu proprio placing the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei -- the Vatican liaison to the traditionalist communities (most notably the Society of St Pius X) -- under the oversight of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and its prefect, SoCal's own Cardinal William Levada.

Said to be "imminent" by both the SSPX's Bishop Bernard Fellay (who said he was told to expect it before June 20) and the Holy See itself in its prior declaration that the Swiss fraternity's currently underway priestly ordinations would be considered "illegitimate," the move is seemingly experiencing a hold-up of its own... and in one of his recent "Newsflashes" from Rome, Inside the Vatican's Bob Moynihan offers one possible reason why:

According to one friend here, "Behind the pretext of changing Ecclesia Dei, and merging it into the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pope wants to reopen a theological dialogue concerning Vatican II."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"The Second Vatican Council provoked an earthquake in the Church," my friend said. "The clergy, the laity, and the Vatican itself — everything was shaken. And now, 45 years later, there is only one group which wants a thorough debate on the meaning of the conciliar documents: the Society of St. Pius X. And the purpose of moving Ecclesia Dei under the CDF is to prepare the way for a thorough debate on the conciliar documents."

"So what is the problem with that?" I asked.

"Look," my friend said. "The document regulating the role of Ecclesia Dei is all written. It has three parts: 1) some technical points concerning how it will function; 2) some measures about its relationship to the CDF, within the CDF; and 3) an outline of a program for discussing Vatican II and how the Council should be interpreted in keeping with the perennial tradition of the Church."

"And?" I asked.

"That's the problem."

"What's the problem?" I asked.

"Some people don't want these questions opened up again."...

Benedict, knowing that the Second Vatican Council was a watershed in the history of the Church, and knowing also that the interpretation of the Council has led in some unexpected and erroneous directions, has decided to face the basic problem — the problem of the interpretation of Vatican II — by placing the Ecclesia Dei commission in the heart of the most important doctrinal office in the Church, in the CDF.

And yet, for some reason, the implementation of that decision is being delayed.

Delays and all, as always, stay tuned.