Friday, November 30, 2007







SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey. Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?...

Halifax Gets a "Tony"

Up North in the Canadian Maritimes, yesterday saw the installation of Halifax's new archbishop, the Italian-born Anthony Mancini.

The Anglophone auxiliary and vicar-general of Montreal until his appointment to Nova Scotia last month, Mancini, 62, leaves behind a flood of friends and devotees in his adopted Quebec, where he's spent the last four decades. (In a unique "full-circle" angle to the story, when the archbishop's family emigrated to Canada in 1947, they entered the country through Halifax.)

Topping the new archbishop's schedule of emotional farewells before his departure was his final "Monday with Mancini" last week at Montreal's McGill University Newman Center. For the last few years, most Monday nights saw "Bishop Tony" -- a pastoral theologian by training -- keep a standing commitment for two hours of pizza and casual conversation. The free-flowing meet-ups quickly became one of the center's most popular activities.

Inheriting a local church of 165,000 whose profile and energy-level were significantly upped by his predecessor -- Terry Prendergast, now the archbishop of Ottawa -- Mancini will continue the practice of recent years in serving, by papal appointment, as apostolic administrator of Yarmouth. The diocese of 36,000 at the province's southern tip has been without a resident bishop since 2001, at which time its oversight was given to the Halifax prelate.

* * *
In addition to the formal announcement of the reported-below -- i.e. Marx to Munich, Tighe and Scotti to Social Communications -- this morning's Roman news-drop also reveals the naming of Fr John Corriveau, the longtime Minister General of the Capuchins, as bishop of Nelson, British Columbia.

Corriveau, 66, succeeds Bishop Eugene Cooney, whose age-induced retirement was accepted. The bishop-elect held the Caps' top post from 1994 until last year, having served the maximum tenure of two six-year terms.

And, lastly -- for you ritual fans out there -- don't forget Crookston later today.

PHOTO: Andre Forget/
Halifax Daily News


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tomorrow: Hope, Munich and Media... All By Noon

The top line of tomorrow's Vatican News will be the release of Benedict XVI's second encyclical, Spe Salvi ("Saved By Hope"). The 65-pager's Roman Noon unveiling won't, however, be the only noteworthy drop of the day as the Pope takes care of two of the longest-held items in his personnel queue.

First, the Bavarian pontiff appears set to formally name Bishop Reinhard Marx of Trier as archbishop of Munich and Freising.

First reported on these pages yesterday, implied confirmation was given earlier today by Bishop Gerhard Muller of Regensburg before a media scrum. For his part, Marx (shown above in a Francis George moment) was more circumspect, telling a reporter in Würzburg that "the Pope names bishops, not the press."

(Reality check: the Bavarian government -- whose pacts with the Holy See required its consent to the appointment -- had more to do with it than any arm of the media.)

The German media has gone into overdrive, with the national wire's headline blaring "Joy Over Marx." From Social Democratic politicians to Protestant clergymen, the air appears to be near-exuberant, with only the liberal reformist group "We Are Church" registering ill feeling toward Benedict's choice. Recalling Marx's 2003 suspension of a theologian who invited Protestants to the Eucharist, the activists used the occasion to issue a laundry list of demands for the presumptive appointee.

But that's not all.

After a record 36-month long holdup, the Pope is also expected to finally name a secretary for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, with the choice reported to have fallen on Msgr Paul Tighe, currently director of Public Affairs for the archdiocese of Dublin.

The choice of Tighe -- a moral theologian who studied in Rome -- correlates with prior indications seeking a native Anglophone to hold the #2 post in the Vatican office that interfaces with the worlds of entertainment and media. Precedent holds that the holder of the post is accordingly elevated to the episcopacy.

The new secretary will succeed Bishop Renato Boccardo, who was named Vatican City's "deputy mayor" by John Paul II in February 2005. Since that time, the council has moved into a new pontificate, a new presidency, and -- as of earlier this month -- new offices on the Via della Conciliazione, in the shadow of St Peter's.

In addition, burnishing longstanding buzz that the PCCS will take on an enhanced portfolio, the superior rank at the junior council is to be beefed up with the appointment of an adjunct secretary -- namely, Msgr Giuseppe Scotti, the veteran Milanese staffer in the Secretariat of State. As the whole of its top tier has arrived within the last five months, the Irishman will find himself in the middle of a fresh Italian sandwich.


When They Were Kings

They'll get a new Father-General in just over five weeks, but the latest high-profile Jesuit acquisition 'round these parts came with Boston College's $164 million pickup of two parcels (65 acres in all) of the old Brighton Chancery, the fabled "powerhouse" of American Catholicism's psychological flagship.

Even though the cardinal's traded in the palazzo (above) to return to the cathedral rectory and the offices are headed for a nondescript suburban officepark, the legacy of the plot is of no small significance... and not just for the history buffs: in little more than a century, you see, it was the place where an ecclesiastical empire rose and fell, all with impact on the world both far beyond Boston and well outside the church's walls.

To help the new masters get acquainted with the digs, BC turned to Jim O'Toole -- a former archivist of the archdiocese, now on the college's history faculty -- to lead a historic tour of the grounds.

Video of the walk is up. It's well worth watching -- and not just because those who do will be able to link the following: an apple grove, William O'Connell, dead Sulpicians and a horde of cement trucks.

Remember your history, church... and always remember with it that you couldn't make it up if you tried.


OK Bishop: "Suffering Faces" of Immigrants = "Suffering Face of Christ"

Reacting to a new state immigration law which, he said, would "create an atmosphere of repression and terror" among undocumented workers reminiscent "of the atrocities of the last century," Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa released a 22-page pastoral letter on Christ the King Sunday.

Only Slattery's second pastoral of his 13 years in the Oklahoma diocese, the bishop said that the legislation -- HB 1804 -- is intended "to deny those who have entered our country illegally the right to work... and the right to find shelter for their families in our communities. Thus they are forced to flee our state."

"The right to earn one’s living and the right to shelter one’s family securely are basic human rights, the fundamental building blocks of a just society, and to deny these rights is immoral and unjust," Slattery wrote. "Since the intention of HB 1804 is immoral, when it is implemented, the effects will be an intolerable increase in the suffering endured by the families of illegal immigrants, plus the spiritual suffering of those who must enforce it."

"It is to Christ’s Suffering Face, seen in the faces of Oklahoma’s immigrant population" that the bishop wrote he "would draw the gaze of all those who - in whatever manner - find themselves responsible for the passing, the enforcement, or in support" of the new law, which would mandate a minimum one-year jail term or fines for anyone who transports, harbors or shelters an illegal immigrant. In early 2006, Slattery said that he "would become a criminal" if legislation forbidding aid to undocumented workers were ever enacted.

Among the new law's emergent effects, the bishop cited the arrival of law enforcement at a diocesan parish before a mid-November weekend Mass.

The police, he said, "knew that Hispanic Catholics trust the church and come to Mass, even when they would not otherwise venture out of their homes for fear of deportation. That makes a Catholic church an easy place to ‘round up’ illegals, so arriving before the 5:30 Spanish Mass, they began to ask the members of the faithful for their papers as they came to offer Christ’s sacrifice.

"Such intolerable excesses may force the church to go underground," he wrote, "but we somehow will find a way to continue offering the Mass and the Sacraments to our people - for their salvation as well as our own!"

In related news, among those currently facing deportation is a Primitive-Observance Augustinian friar at a Florida monastery. The planned removal of Br Joachim, a native of the Philippines who's been in the States for five years, has aroused the ire of parishioners.


Pope to Muslims: C'mon Down

Last month, a group of 138 Muslim leaders released an open letter to Pope Benedict in response to the pontiff's September 2006 lecture at Regensburg.

Writing that his "is arguably the single most influential voice in continuing to move" Christian-Muslim relations "forward in the direction of mutual understanding," the group said it joined Benedict's "desire for frank and sincere dialogue and recognize[s] its importance in an increasingly interconnected world."

In that light, the writers said their letter was also intended to "point out some errors in the way [Benedict] mentioned Islam as a counterpoint to the proper use of reason, as well as some mistakes in the assertions" advanced by the Pope in the controversial address at the German university.

Presented in London and Washington, the group's letter attracted a significant amount of attention in the global press, as a Vatican response was awaited. The note even came up at last week's pre-consistory meeting of the college of cardinals.

Earlier this week, the newly-elevated Senegalese Cardinal Theodore-Adrien Sarr of Dakar indicated that a "positive" response was at hand. Noted for his own good relations with Muslims -- who comprise 95% of the population at home -- Sarr told Reuters that the church "will not miss this oppportunity."

And this morning, a late announcement from the Holy See revealed the response, signed by the Cardinal-Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone. The letter was addressed to Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal, a Jordanian academic thought to be the leader of the effort.

From the Vatican, November 19, 2007

Your Royal Highness,

On 13 October 2007 an open letter addressed to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and to other Christian leaders was signed by one hundred and thirty-eight Muslim religious leaders, including Your Royal Highness. You, in turn, were kind enough to present it to Bishop Salim Sayegh, Vicar of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in Jordan, with the request that it be forwarded to His Holiness.

The Pope has asked me to convey his gratitude to Your Royal Highness and to all who signed the letter. He also wishes to express his deep appreciation for this gesture, for the positive spirit which inspired the text and for the call for a common commitment to promoting peace in the world.

Without ignoring or downplaying our differences as Christians and Muslims, we can and therefore should look to what unites us, namely, belief in the one God, the provident Creator and universal Judge who at the end of time will deal with each person according to his or her actions. We are all called to commit ourselves totally to him and to obey his sacred will.

Mindful of the content of his Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est ("God is Love"), His Holiness was particularly impressed by the attention given in the letter to the twofold commandment to love God and one’s neighbour.

As you may know, at the beginning of his Pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI stated: "I am profoundly convinced that we must not yield to the negative pressures in our midst, but must affirm the values of mutual respect, solidarity and peace. The life of every human being is sacred, both for Christians and for Muslims. There is plenty of scope for us to act together in the service of fundamental moral values" (Address to Representatives of Some Muslim Communities, Cologne, 20 August 2005). Such common ground allows us to base dialogue on effective respect for the dignity of every human person, on objective knowledge of the religion of the other, on the sharing of religious experience and, finally, on common commitment to promoting mutual respect and acceptance among the younger generation. The Pope is confident that, once this is achieved, it will be possible to cooperate in a productive way in the areas of culture and society, and for the promotion of justice and peace in society and throughout the world.

With a view to encouraging your praiseworthy initiative, I am pleased to communicate that His Holiness would be most willing to receive Your Royal Highness and a restricted group of signatories of the open letter, chosen by you. At the same time, a working meeting could be organized between your delegation and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, with the cooperation of some specialized Pontifical Institutes (such as the Pontifical Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies and the Pontifical Gregorian University). The precise details of these meetings could be decided later, should this proposal prove acceptable to you in principle.

I avail myself of the occasion to renew to Your Royal Highness the assurance of my highest consideration.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Papa Ratzi's Hometown Heir?

After a ten-month wait, Pope Benedict has reportedly chosen a new archbishop of Munich and Freising, the post he held from 1977-81.

According to today's edition of the Bavarian paper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the name of Bishop Reinhard Marx of Trier was forwarded to the state government for its consent earlier this week. Under the provisions of the concordat between the Holy See and the Catholic-heavy southern land, the civil authority enjoys veto power over episcopal appointments.

The paper reported that the Vatican is expected to announce the move on Friday.

Marx, 54, would succeed Cardinal Frederich Wetter, whose retirement was accepted in early February.

While the social scientist with a reputation for mixing it up in the public square is seen as cheerful, "larger-than-life" and a whiz with the media, he's also said to "know no pardon" when church discipline is violated. As Papa Ratzinger's first major appointee in his homeland and head of the 1.8 million-member Munich church, the appointment would catapult Marx into the hierarchy's top rank... and not just in Germany.

Ordained an auxiliary bishop of his native Paderborn on his 43rd birthday in 1996, Marx was named to Trier -- Germany's oldest diocese, founded before the 3rd century -- in 2001. Over the last three years, Marx has been given three new auxiliaries to assist him in the diocese of 1.5 million, two of whom are in their early 40s.

In German church circles, the news is being greeted with "surprise." Benedict was expected to give Munich a nominee with closer personal ties to the papal apartment, and was especially seen as keen to name a Bavarian to lead the church in the nation's Catholic heartland.

Previously cited as a potential successor to Cardinals Joachim Meisner of Cologne or Georg Sterzinsky in Berlin -- with the capital post buzzed due to the rising prelate's policy savvy -- Benedict's choice to send Marx instead to his hometown diocese would further burnish the latter's likelihood to eventually take the helm of the powerful German bishops' conference in succession to its longtime head, Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz.

Apostolic administrator since leaving the archbishop's office, Wetter turns 80 in February. Ergo, the appearance of the cigar-chomping "happy warrior" on his Munich predecessor's next list of new cardinals would seem a safe bet.

SVILUPPO: In its brief, the German news agency DPA dubs the reported appointee "left-of-center," while a "moderate conservative" on matters doctrinal.



The Creator on His Creations

At Saturday's public consistory, Benedict XVI revealed that he made a cardinal of the Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly to express his solidarity with the suffering Christian community in Iraq.

"Calling the patriarch of the Chaldean Church to enter into the College of Cardinals," the Pope said in his homily, "I intended to express in a concrete way my spiritual nearness and my affection for those populations.

"We would like, dear and venerable brothers, together to reaffirm the solidarity of the whole Church with the Christians of that beloved land and to invite and to implore from the merciful God, for all peoples involved, the longed-for coming of reconciliation and peace."

Until he gets the official heads-up of his elevation two days before a papal announcement, a cardinal-to-be doesn't even know he's being considered for the honor. In the days since the freshmen "senators" of the church came to Rome to receive the red hat, others have gotten bits and pieces from their fleeting moments with the pontiff as to why they were chosen.

Two days before Benedict releases his encyclical on the virtue, the billion-plus nation's third resident prince of the church said that the pontiff had India's "hope" on his mind when conferring the biretta:
"India is a great country and there is great hope in” it, Benedict XVI told Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, during the ceremony that made him a cardinal....

In light of the upcoming release of the next papal encyclical on hope, Cardinal Gracias made reference to it, saying that it is “quite clear how much India needs hope. The country has a rich heritage but also a tremendous future. We are making great progress in the economic, technological and educational fields. We have become a world power and need to be united.”

The country must “be conscious of the great hope God gave us. There is pain, intolerance and violence, corruption and hunger, but we must maintain the hope that we can change things, see India become a compass for Asia and the world. I have always known that our country was a land of hope and hearing it said from the Holy Father was moving.”

Before the end of his meeting with the pope, Cardinal Gracias invited him to visit India. “He looked at me and smiled without saying yes or no. Afterwards he greeted me and again gave his blessing for the whole country.”
And at his Mass of Thanksgiving in St Mary Major yesterday morning, Cardinardo related Papa Ratzi's four words that rocked the ancient basilica:
Cardinal DiNardo told them that, when he greeted Pope Benedict XVI after a Nov. 26 audience at the Vatican, the pope said "Texas needs a cardinal."

Cardinal DiNardo said the basilica is a place where one is overwhelmed by beauty and serenity, rather than by majesty and space. It is the beauty of the story of God becoming human in Jesus Christ when Mary said yes, he said.

In the Gospel of Luke, he said, "everyone is always on a journey and traveling," beginning with Mary who goes to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, almost immediately after the angel Gabriel proclaims she will give birth to Jesus.

"Everything about the Virgin Mary in the Gospel of Luke is dynamic. There are people who have said that somehow the Virgin Mary is passive. You could never get that from the Gospel. There is always energetic acceptance" of God's will in her life and her action, he said.

"Mary is our queen and our mother," Cardinal DiNardo said. "She is the energy of the church. I beg you to stay close to her as she keeps pushing us in her Magnificat to magnify the Lord and to do his will."
Earlier this morning, Texas got its cardinal when DiNardo arrived back in Houston.

PHOTO: L'Osservatore Romano


In Crookston, -- Literally

Returning to things Stateside, Friday brings the ordination and installation of Bishop-elect Michael Hoeppner of Crookston.

The 1pm (1900 GMT) liturgy in the Northwest Minnesota diocese's Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception will be streamed at ... a domain name which could pull in quite a mint if they ever thought of leasing it out for future installations elsewhere. Archbishop Harry Flynn of St Paul and Minneapolis will preside.

Until his late September appointment to lead the local church of 36,000, Hoeppner, 58, served as vicar-general of Winona, his home diocese at the state's opposite corner. He succeeds Bishop Victor Balke, the longest-serving head of a US diocese; the departing ordinary arrived in Crookston in September 1976.

In an curious bit of ecclesiastical trivia, the seat of Crookston's bishop lacks a bishop's seat. Balke's liturgical counsel reportedly maintained that each presider's chair across the diocese was the bishop's throne, so the cathedra is conversely used by any celebrant.

The Order for the Mass is posted in pdf ...and now you've all got a free copy of the Rite of Episcopal Ordination.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pharaoh and the Camel

Some might remember the story about the newly-elevated John Cardinal Foley and his 1975 Holy Year pilgrimage with God's Anointed -- John Cardinal Krol, for non-locals -- to the tombs of Philadelphia Catholicism's Egyptian forerunners.

Should've thought of it earlier, but it took a dotCom request for the shot before a quick rummage was made through the Whispers morgue...

...where, per usual, the goods turned up.

Ecco... again:

(Photo removed by order of the Houston Chronicle.)

(Sorry -- wrong post.... here ya go:)

Earlier tonight, the priest-editor behind the shot took possession of his diaconal church, S. Sebastiano al Palatino.

The native son returns home on 11 December, two days before his triumphant Mass of Thanksgiving in the Cathedral-Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul. Given the number of his friends from near and far who couldn't make it over for the Consistory Week circus -- and even many who did -- the hometown leg of "Foleyfest" is quickly taking on the scale of a national event.

In the meantime, the Eminent One won another addition to his global circle of friends at yesterday's audience for the new cardinals.

SVILUPPO: Over at CNS' NewsHub, a Krol-camel close-up... with the original caption.

PHOTO 1: Msgr John P. Foley/
The Catholic Standard & Times
PHOTO 2: AP/Alessandra Tarantino


The Red Hat

In the run-up to the creation of the American South's first-ever prince of the church, it was no small topic of conversation as to what gift Dan DiNardo would get in scarlet: a ten-gallon hat, or the boots.

Well, the H-Town paper's Cardinardo Chronicle reveals that one priest of Galveston-Houston went a step further, allowing the world to see what would happen if a cowboy hat and galero mated.


(Photo removed by order of the Houston Chronicle.)

..."ten-gallero," anyone?

* * *
On another appreciatory note, whilst reporting the church is no easy task for the mainstream press, distilling its sensual overload into snapshots can oft be tougher still.

The Houston media has outdone itself in its all-out coverage of these days. Special mention, however, must be made of the Chron's Smiley Pool, whose photojournalism this week has captured the vivid color, emotion, majesty and humanity of this historic event with a tremendous eye.

(Photo removed by order of the Houston Chronicle.)

The pilgrims have seen Pool "working his butt off," but their hectic schedule and sparse 'net access have been such that most still have yet to view the product.

Suffice it to say, they're in for a huge treat.

It wasn't easy to cancel my own pilgrimage at the last minute... Smiley's shots, though, made the tough call a lot more bearable.

So, as the natives say, "grazie mille" to him for a truly masterful job.

(Photo removed by order of the Houston Chronicle.)

SVILUPPO: As you can see, so much for fair use.

PHOTOS: Smiley N. Pool/(Removed by order of the) Houston Chronicle


Back in Bayern, Pope's Cathedral Smoked Out

Last week's commemoration of the transfer of the relics of St Corbinian -- the 8th century Bavarian bishop -- led some observers to believe that the Pope would mark the feast by revealing his long-awaited appointment of a new archbishop of Munich and Freising, the post Joseph Ratzinger himself held from 1977 to 1981.

Vacant since B16 retired Cardinal Frederich Wetter in early February, no new archbishop materialized. But the fire marshals did.

Excess incense at a weekend liturgy recalling the enshrinement of Corbinian's remains at Freising on 20 November 769 triggered fire alarms in the city's cathedral -- the place where, on his 2006 homecoming trip, B16 recalled being ordained a priest in 1951. A fire brigade rushed to the recently-restored structure, German media reported, leaving without incident as Wetter emerged from the cathedral to lead a procession of the saint's relics.

Keeping with the tradition of his predecessors, Papa Ratzi included the customary emblem of Corbinian -- the pack bear -- on his coat of arms after being tapped to head his hometown church in 1977.

On his return there as Pope, the native son explained the tradition behind the beast:
I hope you will allow me to recall on this occasion a few thoughts which I set down in my brief memoirs with regard to my appointment as Archbishop of Munich and Freising. I was to become, and did become, the successor of Saint Corbinian. From my childhood I was very much taken with the story that a bear had attacked and killed the horse on the saint was riding across the Alps. Corbinian severely scolded the bear and he punished him by loading him down with all his baggage and making him carry it all the way to Rome. So the bear, carrying the baggage of the saint, had to go to Rome, and only there was he allowed by the saint to go free.

In 1977, when I had to face the difficult choice of whether or not to accept my appointment as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, knowing that it would take me away from my usual work at the university and mean new work and new responsibilities, I had to do a lot of reflecting. And precisely then I remembered this bear and the interpretation of verses 22 and 23 of Psalm 73 that Saint Augustine, in a situation much like my own and in the context of his own priestly and episcopal ordination, had come up with and later set down in his sermons on the Psalms. In Psalm 73, the Psalmist asks why in this world good things often happen to bad people, while bad things happen to many good people. And he goes on to say: “I was foolish in my thinking, I stood in your presence like a dumb beast. But then I entered the sanctuary and I understood how even amid my troubles I was close to you and that you were always with me”. Augustine loved this Psalm and often made reference to it, seeing in the words “I stood in your presence like a dumb beast” (in Latin, iumentum) a reference to the beasts of burden used in North Africa to work the land. In this iumentum he saw an image of himself as a beast of burden for God, someone burdened by his responsibility, the sarcina episcopalis. He had chosen the life of a scholar and God had called him to become a “beast of burden”, a sturdy ox drawing the plough in God’s field, doing the heavy labour assigned to him. But he came to realize: just as the beast of burden is very close to the farmer, working under his direction, so I am very close to God, because thus I serve him directly for the building up of his Kingdom, the the building up of his Church.

With these words of the Bishop of Hippo in mind, I have found in Saint Corbinian’s bear a constant encouragement to carry out my ministry with confidence and joy – thirty years ago, and again now in my new task – and to say my daily “yes” to God: I have become for you a beast of burden, but as such “I am always with you” (Ps 73:23).

Saint Corbinian’s bear was set free in Rome. In my case, the Lord decided otherwise.
Despite his election to Peter's chair, Fluffy's arms still bear the bear.


Memory and Reconciliation

In his public apology for the historical faults of Catholic Quebec last week, Cardinal Marc Ouellet cited "indifference to First Nations" -- the province's indigenous people -- among his predecessors' lapses.

Down Under in Australia -- where the plight of its Aboriginal population has been termed a "world-wide scandal" -- a new study finds that its ecclesiastical builders paid similar "lip service" to the community's marginalization, as the church's rank-and-file took up the cause.
The study, by [University of Queensland] PhD recipient Stefano Girola... examined the policies and attitudes of the Catholic hierarchy to Indigenous people from 1885 until 1967.

“I stress the Catholic hierarchy because there were always nuns and missionaries who really were concerned with the plight of Aborigines and also tried to lobby politicians to do something about it,” Dr Girola said.

Dr Girola said the early Catholic hierarchy, with some exceptions such as Perth Bishop Matthew Gibney and Melbourne Archbishop Daniel Mannix, failed in its lack of social policy and in its prophetic role to work against social injustice.

Instead of challenging them, most early bishops mirrored the then widespread, community attitudes to Aboriginal issues.

Dr Girola said the Catholic hierarchy (between 25-30 bishops) were full of public rhetoric and support for Aborigines since 1885 but there was “no real interest” in Aborigines until the 1960s.

His research found that the Church's Home Mission Fund, created in the 1920s to support Aboriginal missions, was often redirected.

“Money from this fund was often used for other purposes that didn't have any thing to do with Aboriginal evangelisation or Aboriginal welfare.”

He said the Catholic hierarchy was more interested in keeping the faith of the mainly Irish “flock” and building churches and the Catholic education system.

Between the 1930s-1950s, Catholic leaders were more worried about containing communism than the plight of Aboriginal people.
Receiving the credentials of the Australian ambassador to the Holy See in May 2006, Pope Benedict noted that "there is still much to be achieved" in the nation's reconciliation efforts with its first occupants.

"Their social situation is cause for much pain," B16 said, as he encouraged the Aussie government to "continue to address with compassion and determination the deep underlying causes of their plight." The Aboriginal question will likely earn further mention from the pontiff on his scheduled trip to Sydney for World Youth Day next year.

Speaking of Sydney, at their Baltimore plenary earlier this month the US bishops were informed that the nation's dioceses -- a traditional bulwark of World Youth Day attendance -- had only amassed 3,000 registrations to date. WYD organizers had expected an American turnout approaching 50,000 for the July event, while Stateside forecasts tip the final total at closer to 20K.

That estimate, however, came before the formal announcement that the Pope would headline an encounter with young people in New York during his springtime visit to the East Coast. No distribution system for tickets to the grounds of St Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie has yet emerged, but the outdoor event on 19 April is being planned for a crowd of 20,000.


"Receive the Ring" -- and Don't Lose It

(Photo removed by order of the Houston Chronicle.)

As if the new reds didn't have enough to juggle through these hectic first days, most are needing to keep a rather close eye on their golden gift from the Pope.

In the days before a consistory, the designates send the biretta and zucchetto they'll receive from the Pope to the Vatican MC's office in in their preferred size. Their rings, however, are ordered by the Holy See without respect to measurements, but with an opening kept at the back of the band. So, even though each of the newly-elevated has paid the customary "tax" to the Papal Household for their ring, it's on them to get it properly fitted after the fact.

And, as one incident at Sunday's Ring Mass illustrates, the sooner, the better.

Given the size of the group, only the four neo-reds given the "speaking parts" in the Eucharistic Prayer ascended the papal altar of St Peter's to flank the Pope. Just as one lifted his right hand to remove his zucchetto from his head, though, onlookers saw a flash... as the weighty ring flew off his finger, and proceeded to roll down the altar steps.

Gratefully, if there's a place you'd want a ring to go missing, this is it. One of the army of observant MCs on-hand quickly snatched up the band, returning it to its rightful wearer at a quieter moment.

* * *

On a related note, while no superstition's attached to flying rings, Roman lore holds it to be a very bad omen if, on his elevation day, a neo-cardinal's headgear falls to the ground.

While no incidences of actual touchdowns -- or their consequences -- are known, one near-miss took place at the consistory of 2001.

As the theological legend Cardinal Avery Dulles steadied himself after receiving the biretta, it slipped off and began to tumble. Luckily, a quick reflex from Connecticut's Msgr Bill Millea, a longtime staffer in the Secretariat of State, saved the Fordham Jesuit from the reputed curse.

PHOTO: Smiley N. Pool/(Removed by order of the)
Houston Chronicle


Monday, November 26, 2007

Amid Papal Pomp, the Kid Makes the Picture

The Pope might've been onstage in the Paul VI Hall, but the young nephew of newly-elevated Cardinal Leonardo Sandri became a star attraction all his own in the front rows of this morning's audience for the neo-reds, their families and pilgrims. (The prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Sandri is seated second from top in the photo.)

Addressing his new appointees before the packed crowd of 6,000, Benedict XVI asked them to "always accompany" him with their "respected human and pastoral experience.

"I rely much on this precious support," the pontiff said. "I need this support."

After ending the audience with his blessing, Benedict began receiving the delegations of the cardinals and their families, along with greeting the bishops present for the weekend's events.

The single mass audience for all consistory pilgrims continues a tradition begun late in the reign of John Paul II; in his haler days, the late Pope would hold more intimate audiences with each language group in attendance. However, one exception was made this time around: B16 privately received a delegation from Iraq, present for the elevation of the Baghdad-based Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel III Delly. While Papa Ratzi offered remarks to welcome the group, further details of the meeting have yet to materialize.

Earlier today, the Pope also met with one of his "brain trust," the Canadian primate Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Quebec.

Just before leaving for Rome last week, the heated debate on the Francophone province's religious identity took a new turn as Ouellet let loose an unexpected apology for past sins and abuses either condoned or perpetrated by the church's leadership.

A "public display of repentance" will take place in Lent, the cardinal said, as Quebec City prepares to host the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in mid-June.

PHOTO: AP/Alessandra Tarantino


The Week Winds Down

After four days of nonstop prayer and pranzi, the pilgrims are quickly approaching the end of the tunnel... or, at least, the tunnels at Fiumicino that'll see 'em to their planes.

This morning, Pope Benedict will receive a group audience of the new cardinals and their pilgrims in the Paul VI Hall. Following his remarks in multiple languages and blessing to the crowd of 6,000-plus, each of the freshmen will be able to bring a small handful of family members and close friends to meet the pontiff. The occasion marks the final "official" function of the consistory, and the last time this weekend's intake will gather as a group.

From there, the pilgrims will begin to trickle out of Rome, while some cheering sections still have another day or two of events on-deck. Later today, Cardinal Foley will offer a 5pm Mass of Thanksgiving in St Mary Major, followed by Cardinal DiNardo at mid-morning tomorrow. On Tuesday evening, Philly's Eminence will be take possession of S. Sebastiano al Palatino, the Roman church symbolically entrusted to his care.

In the days to come, the cardinals' final initiation into their new role will come with the release of their assignments to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

While its membership's activity on the various congregations and councils is the college's primary locus of participation in the universal governance of the church, the appointment list will be closely analyzed to glean the specific aspects of church life where Benedict wants his new "senators" to wield their clout.

PHOTO: AP/Pier Paolo Cito


Sunday, November 25, 2007

"Hail! Hail! The Gang's All Here... For the Cardinalatial Jubilee"

(Photo removed by order of the Houston Chronicle.)

To honor Cardinal Foley, even the Mummers showed up for an unprecedented drill before the Pope's judging stand following the Ring Mass....

Actually, however tremendous the thought, Philadelphians don't have a monopoly on ostrich plumes and sequins:
A little rain did nothing to deter fifteen women who came 6,000 miles to perform the traditional religious dances of Mexico in honor of new Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega. As most people fled in the rain, the dancers of Matachines de Monterrey were as hard to miss as they were exuberant.
A video sampling of the dances -- here performed in honor of St Mark's Day:

Mexican Mummery -- another gift of a universal church... and the perfect reminder that US Catholicism's "new St Patrick's Day" is just around the corner.

PHOTO: Smiley N. Pool/(Removed by order of the) Houston Chronicle


The Color of Blood = "The Gift of Self"

At the last creation of new cardinals in March 2006, the Holy See simultaneously released the text of Pope Benedict's homilies in both Italian and English. The convenience, of course, proved a great aid to the press corps, particularly the large segment of traveling media covering the Anglophone honorees.

This time, the text was shipped out... just without the English rendering.

Life in the Curia might be progressing much the same way these days, but whatever the case, Zenit's issued its own fulltext translation of the homily from yesterday's consistory.

Suffice it to say, for a Pope keen on teaching, it's a huge service... one his own translators should be performing.
Today -- in this Vatican basilica, heart of the Christian world -- is renewed a significant and solemn ecclesial event: the ordinary public consistory for the creation of 23 new cardinals with the imposition of the biretta and the conferral of the title. It is an event that every time awakens a special emotion, and not only in those who with these rites are admitted to the College of Cardinals, but in the whole Church, joyful over this eloquent sign of Catholic unity.

The ceremony itself in its structure discloses the value of the task that the new cardinals are called to perform, closely cooperating with the Successor of Peter, and it invites the people of God to pray that in their service, these brothers of ours always remain faithful to Christ, even unto the sacrifice of life if it is necessary, and let themselves be guided by his Gospel. For this we gather around them with faith and raise up to God, first of all, our prayerful thanksgiving....
I greet and thank Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, who, in your name addressed courteous and devout sentiments to me, emphasizing at the same time the significance and importance of the ecclesial event we are experiencing. I desire, furthermore, to address a dutiful thought to Bishop Ignacy Jez, whom we mourn, whom the God of every grace called to himself, just before his nomination, to offer him a very different crown: that of the glory of Christ. My cordial greeting then goes to the lord cardinals who are present and also to those who were not able to be with us physically, but who are spiritually united with us. The celebration of the consistory is always a providential occasion to offer “urbi et orbi” -- to the city of Rome and to the whole world -- witness to that singular unity that binds the cardinals to the Pope, Bishop of Rome. In such solemn circumstances it is also dear to me to address a respectful and deferential greeting to government representatives and leaders who have gathered here from every part of the world, and to the relatives, friends, priests, religious, and faithful of the particular local Churches from which the new cardinals come. Finally, I greet all those who have come here to pay their respects to the new cardinals and to express in festive joy their esteem and affection for them....
I now think with affection of the communities entrusted to your care and, in a special way, of those that are most tried by suffering, by challenges and difficulties of different sorts. Among these, how can I not turn my gaze with apprehension and affection, in this moment of joy, to the dear Christian communities of Iraq? These brothers and sisters of ours in the faith are experiencing in their own flesh the dramatic consequences of a long conflict and are living in an ever more fragile and delicate political situation. Calling the patriarch of the Chaldean Church to enter into the College of Cardinals, I intended to express in a concrete way my spiritual nearness and my affection for those populations. We would like, dear and venerable brothers, together to reaffirm the solidarity of the whole Church with the Christians of that beloved land and to invite and to implore from the merciful God, for all peoples involved, the longed-for coming of reconciliation and peace.

A short while ago we heard the Word of God that helps us better to understand the solemn moment we are now experiencing. In the Gospel passage, Jesus had just recalled for the third time the fate that awaits him in Jerusalem, but the ambition of the disciples gets the upper hand on the fear that for a moment assailed them. After Peter’s confession at Caesarea and the discussion along the way about who was greatest, ambition drives the sons of Zebedee to claim for themselves the best positions in the messianic kingdom at the end of time. In the race for privileges, the two know well what they want, just as the other 10 do, despite their “righteous” indignation. In truth, however, they do not know what they are asking for. It is Jesus who makes them understand, speaking in very different terms of the “service” that awaits them. He corrects the coarse conception of merit that they have, according to which man can acquire rights before God.
The Evangelist Mark reminds us, dear and venerable brothers, that every true disciple of Christ can aspire for one thing only: to share in his passion without claiming recompense. The Christian is called to assume the condition of “servant,” following in the footsteps of Jesus, spending his life for others in a gratuitous and disinterested way. It is not the quest for power and success but the humble gift of self for the good of the Church that should characterize each gesture and each word of ours. True Christian greatness, in fact, does not consist in dominating but in serving. Today Jesus repeats to each of us that he “did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life for the many” (Mark 10:45). This is the ideal that must orient your service. Dear brothers, in entering the College of Cardinals, the Lord asks of you and gives to you the service of love: love for God, love for his Church, love for our brothers, with a total and unconditional dedication, “usque ad sanguinis effusionem” [even to the shedding of blood], as is said in the formula for the imposition of the biretta and as is shown in the garments that you will put on.
Be apostles of God, who is love, and witnesses of evangelical hope: The Christian people expects this of you. Today’s ceremony highlights the great responsibility that weighs on each of you, venerable and dear brothers, and which finds confirmation in the words of the Apostle Peter that we have just heard: “Adore the Lord, Christ, in your hearts, always ready to answer whoever asks you the reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Such a responsibility does not exempt you from risks, rather, as St. Peter adds, “It is better, if God wills it, to suffer for doing the good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:17). Christ asks you to confess his truth before men, to embrace and share his cause; and to accomplish all of this “with sweetness and respect, with a good conscience” (1 Peter 3:1-16), that is, with that interior humility that is a fruit of cooperation with the grace of God.
Dear brothers and sisters, tomorrow, in this same basilica, I will have the joy of celebrating the Eucharist of Christ the King of the Universe, together with the new cardinals, and I will give them the ring. It will be a very important and opportune occasion to reaffirm our unity in Christ and to renew our common will to serve him with total generosity. Accompany them with your prayer, so that they will respond to the gift given with complete and constant dedication. To Mary, Queen of the Apostles, we turn our confidence. May her spiritual presence today in this singular cenacle be a pledge for the new cardinals and for all of us a constant effusion of the Holy Spirit that guides the Church on her way in history. Amen!
PHOTO 1: Reuters/Tony Gentile
PHOTO 2, 3, 6: AP/Pier Paolo Cito
PHOTO 4: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi
PHOTO 5: AFP/Christophe Simon


Lord of the Rings

According to the traditional school of thought, the college of cardinals -- the word itself shares its root with "hinge" -- forms more than just the pool of potential Popes, but literally part of the pontiff's very "body."

At this morning's Mass of the Rings, concelebrated with the 23 freshmen of what B16 called the "senate of the church," paramount to his homily was an appeal for the group to exemplify the unity and peace that, he said, is to be the church's image in the world.
The prayer for peace and Christian unity are the “first and main mission” for the new cardinals as it is for the entire Church both of which are called to be in its service....

The Pope reminded the cardinals that the “throne” [of Christ] that was raised is that of the Cross and the “entire hierarchy of the Church, each charisma and ministry, everything and everyone are in the service of His Lordship.”

To those who now belong to the Church’s “Senate,” the Pope talked about the crucifixion that is represented on their ring.

“This for you, dear new Brother Cardinals, will always be a reminder of the King you serve,” he said, “on what throne He has been elevated and how faithful he has been till the end when he defeated sin and death with the strength of divine mercy. Mother Church, Christ’s bride, gives you this insignia as a memento of Her Husband as Christ loved the church and handed Himself over for her (cf Eph 5:25). Thus, wearing the cardinalitial ring, you shall constantly be reminded to give your life to the Church.”

Taking his cue from today’s liturgical feast of Christ the King and from the “Christological hymn from the Epistle to the Colossians,” the Pontiff said that “this text of the Apostle expresses a synthesis of truth and faith that is so powerful that we cannot but admire it deeply. The Church is the repository of Christ’s mystery. It is so with humility and no trace of pride or arrogance because it is the highest gift that it was given, with no merit in getting it, but which it is called to offer freely to humanity in every age as a horizon of meaning and salvation. It is not philosophy, nor gnosis, even though it includes wisdom and knowledge. It is the mystery of Christ, Christ Himself, Logos incarnate, who died and has risen, becoming the King of the universe. How not to feel a wave of enthusiasm filled with gratitude to be allowed to contemplate the splendour of this revelation? How at the same time can we not feel the joy and sense of responsibility to serve this King, bear witness with one’s life and words to His Lordship? This, in particular, is our task, my venerated Brother Cardinals, namely to announce to the world Christ’s truth, hope for every man and for the entire human family.”

“In the wake of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, my venerated Predecessors and Servants of God Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II were true heralds Christ’s regality in today’s world. And it is for me a motive of consolation to always count on you, collegially and individually, in order to accomplish that fundamental task which is the Petrine ministry. In conclusion, closely united to this mission,” said the Pope, “is an aspect that I would like to touch upon and entrust to your prayers: peace among all of Christ’s disciples as a token of the peace that Jesus came to establish in the world.”
As with yesterday's consistory, ovations broke out for each of the new cardinals from their respective delegations as they approached Benedict to receive their rings. However, in another repeat of the conferral ceremony, the loudest ovations were reserved for the Iraqi Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, the Chaldean patriarch, whose faithful made an even more prominent showing today.

The first major Mass conducted under the gaze of the new Master of Liturgical Ceremonies, Msgr Guido Marini, continued the rookie ceremoniere's expected rollout of more traditional flourishes in the Pope's public worship.

For the first time at a routine papal liturgy, two cardinal-deacons -- the Colombian Dario Castrillion Hoyos and Baltimore/Denver's own J. Francis Stafford -- attended the pontiff, both vested in dalmatics. In another first, the large sanctuary cross flanked by six candles were placed across the front of the altar, directly between Benedict and the congregation in the nave. The arrangement reflects the liturgical mindset of the former Cardinal Ratzinger, who wrote of the elements serving as a sort of "iconostasis" in a Mass celebrated facing the people.

For the second day running, as rain fell upon the thousands gathered in the Piazza outside, Benedict returned to the Basilica's front steps following the Mass to greet the overflow crowd.

PHOTO 1, 3: Reuters/Alessandro Bianchi
PHOTO 2: AP/Pier Paolo Cito
PHOTO 4: AP/Alessandra Tarantino


Brady: Red Hat's For the Bunch

The Ring Mass -- or Day Two of what one denizen dubbed "Guido Marini Presents: Restoration" -- has wrapped, and the Pope is now lunching with all the cardinals present for the weekend.

Recap, etc. to come... but in the meantime, among yesterday's standout remarks were the post-consistory reflections of Cardinal Sean Brady of Armagh.

Before an afternoon reception at the Irish College, the newly-elevated primate of All Ireland spoke to the press in attendance (fulltext; snipped below):
I would like to take the opportunity today to pay tribute to the priests and religious of Ireland, including those who work abroad.

These have been difficult, at times traumatic years for the Church in Ireland. Yet in the midst of some of these challenges, not least the appalling and criminal behaviour of some of their colleagues, the overwhelming majority of priests and religious have continued to serve their people with quiet devotion and outstanding generosity.

Today I believe, is in some way about them. It is about the quiet acts of kindness, the supportive, prayerful presence in times of tragedy and joy, the effort to build community and bring dignity, comfort and hope those in need. These are the things which have been the hallmark of generations of Irish priests and religious at home and across the world. It is a legacy I believe Ireland can be proud of. These are her sons and daughters and their generosity and commitment is celebrated in many parts of the world.

Being created a Cardinal today is about representing the bonds of affection and unity between the Office of Peter and the Irish Church. So I have no hesitation in saying to the priests and religious of Ireland today: “Take heart! Today is recognition of your service, of your efforts and your generosity. Today the Successor of Peter has not so much honoured me as honoured the people of Ireland and in a special way her priests and religious.”

I also ask the people of Ireland to give fresh heart to their priests and religious. The years ahead will bring a new emphasis on the role of the lay faithful. This is welcome. It is also appropriate and necessary. But you only have to visit the parishes, the youth groups, the schools and the community projects around the country to know the special affection and regard so many people have for their faithful, generous and hard working priests and religious. They have a unique and irreplaceable role in our society. I ask people to continue to give them their support, to encourage many young people to follow their example and to pray that Ireland will always recognise in justice and gratitude the valued role of her faithful priests and religious.

Two weeks ago Father Peter McVerry addressed the priests of the diocese of Armagh that I am so privileged to serve. He told us that the passion of God is compassion, especially for the poor and the vulnerable of our world. My hope is that through God’s grace, Ireland will continue to be known as a country which values and defends the irreplaceable role of faith, a faith which is compassionate and has at its heart a concern for the vulnerable and the poor.

My hope is that we will see our tradition as a country of faith as an asset, something which motivates and inspires our compassion for the world. That out of our new diversity and the particular lessons of our history, we will bring to the great issues of our day the insights and values which flow from faith in a God who has created and loves the world. I pray for a deep renewal of that faith. I pray that many Irish people will rediscover the joy which has brought such fulfilment to my own life, the joy of following Jesus Christ.

Respect for our neighbour, defence of the inherent dignity of the human person, generosity in service of others, concern for those most in need, turning the other cheek, going the extra mile, these are the things which have made Ireland the generous and peace-making country that it is. These are the things which flow from faith.

Finally, for my own part, as I thank his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the great privilege he has bestowed on me today, and through me on the whole Irish Church, I take to myself this prayer of St. Patrick:
‘But what can I say or what can I promise to my Lord, as I can do nothing that He has not given me? May He search my heart and my deepest feelings…. may God never permit it to happen to me that I should lose His people which He purchased in the utmost parts of the world. I pray to God to give me perseverance and to deign that I be a faithful witness to Him to the end of my life for my God.’
In the run-up to the consistory, Brady gave an extended interview to Vatican Radio, as did the new cardinal whose surname is Pirate... in Gaelic, of course.

PHOTO: AP/Andrew Medichini


"Receive the Ring...."

Together with the 23 new cardinals, Pope Benedict will celebrate Sunday Mass beginning at 10.30 Rome time (0930GMT, 4.30 Eastern). Yet again, EWTN's live feeds will broadcast the liturgy from St Peter's Basilica.

The highlight of today's Mass is, of course, the pontiff's conferral of the cardinal's ring on each of the college's new members. Shown above, the modernist design depicts the crucifixion, with the Madonna and St John portrayed at the foot of the Cross; in days past, the cardinal's ring was set with a sapphire, the coat of arms of the Pope who gave it engraved on the inverse of the band.

As each approaches the Pope, B16 will slip the band on the fourth finger of the cardinal's right hand, saying (in Latin), “Receive the ring from the hand of Peter and, with the love of the Prince of the Apostles, may your love to the Church be reinforced.”

When the pontiff created his first batch of cardinals in March 2006, he spoke of the ring in these terms:
The ring is always a nuptial sign. Almost all of you have already received one, on the day of your episcopal ordination, as an expression of your fidelity and your commitment to watch over the holy Church, the bride of Christ.

The ring which I confer upon you today, proper to the cardinalatial dignity, is intended to confirm and strengthen that commitment, arising once more from a nuptial gift, a reminder to you that first and foremost you are intimately united with Christ so as to accomplish your mission as bridegrooms of the Church. May your acceptance of the ring be for you a renewal of your "yes", your "here I am", addressed both to the Lord Jesus who chose you and constituted you, and to his holy Church, which you are called to serve with the love of a spouse.
PHOTO: David Ryan/Boston Globe


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Party in the Palace

It can't be said that the Romans -- for whom this time of year is, traditionally, the calm before the Christmas storm -- are terribly enthused about the disruption of the usual peace by the sudden influx of red-seeking pilgrims.

Then again, the natives do love Consistory Week -- because they get to raid the Pope's House.

(Considering that, not all that long ago, the Eternal Citizens made a centuries-long habit of looting the papal residence whenever its occupant died, keep in mind that "raid" ain't what it used to be.)

In the one element of the celebrations that the city's fulltime residents embrace whole-hog, the only time the pontifical pad ever opens to the public comes on Creation Night as the new cardinals take up spots throughout the building to receive anyone and everyone who wants to express congratulations -- and, of course, get a photo and the traditional prayer cards each has printed up to commemorate the event.

Recent classes of cardinals have been so large that more and more of the palace (and the rest of the city-state) has been used with each ensuing consistory. This time around, seven new red-hats took up places in the Paul VI Audience Hall (on the other side of the Basilica); Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo held court at his office in the Governatorato -- the Vatican's "City Hall" -- and one new cardinal was even cast away at the Vatican Library.

Together with this day's first creation, the veteran curialist Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, Cardinal John Foley shared the choice venue of the Sala Regia -- the "kingly hall" that is the palace's central room. Cardinal Dan DiNardo took up a spot alongside six others in the Hall of Blessings, the room for midsize audiences that stretches above the narthex of St Peter's.

Pushing through hundreds of people in the allotted two hours is a team effort, and so each cardinal found at his place a Swiss Guard and plainclothes officer alongside the customary table for his biretta, stocked with bottles of water, a sign with his name nearby, and a chair, which many of the older Porporati find welcome at the end of the long day.

One aide estimated that close to 800 lined up for his cardinal, including the various cardinals, bishops, diplomats and other high-fliers permitted to cut in front of the patient layfolk and rank-and-file clergy and religious who queue up. In another touch, each new cardinal was visited this year by B16's private secretary, Msgr Georg Ganswein.

Following tomorrow's Ring Mass, the Pope will host a lunch for the entire college of cardinals. The shared meal is an innovation on the part of Benedict, himself a former Cardinal-Dean who wants his successor's electors to know each other better.

PHOTO 1: AP/Andrew Medichini
PHOTOS 2, 3: AP/Alessandra Tarantino


The Land of the Free... and the Home of the Red

With today's elevation of Cardinals John Foley and Daniel DiNardo, the all-time number of US prelates added to the Roman clergy now stands at 47 since John McCloskey of New York received the red hat in 1875.

The new additions, however, set a record -- 17 American cardinals in all, thirteen of whom may vote in a hypothetical conclave.

DiNardo is the first US cardinal under 60 and the first Italian-American to be named to the college since Roger Mahony and Anthony Bevilacqua respectively brought those distinctions to the table in 1991. Foley is but the second Curial "lifer" from the States to enter the papal senate -- and, just like Cardinal Francis Brennan (the longtime dean of the Roman Rota elevated in 1967) before him, he's a Philadelphian. The River City can now boast of four native sons who've ended up in red, while DiNardo's hometown of Pittsburgh has its second.

Immediately following the consistory, as the rain teemed outside, the American honorees were quickly hustled up the Janiculum Hill to a press conference at the Pontifical North American College, where the "private" afternoon receptions were held for a combined crowd numbering about 2,000.

The National Catholic Reporter's John Allen has rushed a transcript of the meeting -- most of which, in keeping with the exuberant feeling of the day, kept things quite light.
Opening Remarks by Cardinal John Foley: I’ve been told I’m supposed to go first. I think I can speak for Cardinal DiNardo in saying that we’re very grateful to our Holy Father for this great honor, not to us personally but to the church in the United States. We’ve been very well-received by our fellow members of the College of Cardinals, and many of the American members of the College are here today. As one who has worked with the media for so many years, I’m grateful and happy to see so many of you here. It’s a pleasure to see you. Thank you for all the kind things you’ve said about both of us in these days. I said to John Allen yesterday that it’s nice to be canonized without the inconvenience of dying! We’re very grateful for all of your kindness and thoughtfulness and support. We ask you for your prayers. I know that both of us will be available to you as much as we can in these days. Forgive me for asking to be seated at this time, but some bug struck me a couple days ago and I haven’t been in the best possible shape. I’m just trying to survive through the ceremonies. Thank you for your understanding and your patience. I now give you to the man who was my boss here in Rome a number of years ago as director of Villa Stritch, where I live, the residence for American priests who work at the Vatican. Cardinal DiNardo was so kind to me when I celebrated my 25th anniversary as a priest. He had a special dinner for me, and invited other people. He was always very gracious, very thoughtful, so God has rewarded him for his goodness!

Opening Remarks by Cardinal Daniel DiNardo: I think Cardinal Foley has spoken for us both in saying how grateful we all are, first to the Holy Father, and to God’s people. We’re both humbled too by receiving this title, this honor. I would want to add along with Cardinal Foley my gratitude to those of you here with the press. I especially want to thank the press from Houston, if you don’t mind a plug, because they’ve come here from the city of Houston. It is a distinctive honor for not just Texas, but the whole south of the United States, but certainly for Houston. I’m very proud that a cardinal from the south has been named. It’s an honor, a responsibility, and pretty humbling for this kid from Pittsburgh. I’ve been so warmly accepted by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and now to be selected to be a cardinal of the church. I’m delighted. It was a wonderful celebration today, beautiful words of the gospel, beautiful interpretation by the Holy Father today. Thank you.

Cardinal DiNardo, what did you think when the Holy Father put the biretta on your head?

I wanted to be very composed in terms of the sacred moment, but I have to admit at the very moment he put it on, my zucchetto was falling off. I had to push it back up. Once I stood up, he had a great smile when he said Pax Domini, “the peace of the Lord be with you.” That smile, that encouragement, were a great moment for me today.

Cardinal Foley, when you were the editor of the Catholic Standard and Times up there on the ninth floor of 222 17th Street, did you ever think you’d be wearing the red hat of a cardinal?

No, but I thank the members of the Catholic Press Association for having given me the clothes I’m wearing today! Is that your way of slipping that in? Bob Zyskowski is the President of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, and he worked for me in Philadelphia lo these many years ago, so he’s made good. Thank you. Do I look alright, by the way?

Both of you have given your lives to the church. Cardinal DiNardo first and then Cardinal Foley, would you say this is the happiest day of your lives?

DiNardo: It’s a very, very happy day of my life, but I’m going to be as frank with you as I can. The happiest day of my life was the day as a bishop I ordained my first priest. No day will probably ever equal that. I say that [because] it just simply affected me more than anything. But to receive this great title from the Holy Father … it’s really quite special. To have my family present, as well as the family of the church from Houston and Pittsburgh and Sioux City, made it an extremely fine, fine moment. So it’s on the edge of the happiest day of my life.

Foley: I also was on the edge of the happiest, but the happiest day was my ordination as a priest. That’s it. I keep saying that I’ve never had an unhappy day as a priest, and I mean that. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful blessing … including today!...

Cardinal DiNardo, as somebody who came into Texas from the outside, can you talk a little bit about what you’ve learned about Catholicism in Texas and the southwest, and what this day means for Catholics there?

Houston had half the number of Catholics twenty years ago that it has right now. There has been an incredible growth of various nations and peoples, plus people from other parts of the United States who have come in to the southwest, to the south, and specifically to the area around Galveston-Houston-Austin. They bring with them experiences of the Catholic faith, of their respective nations, which has been an enrichment to us. That’s particularly [the case] when you think of those from various parts of South America, and from the Pacific … Vietnamese, Filipinos, Chinese, Koreans. I see that as a great enrichment. What it has allowed us to do, but it’s also a challenge, is to see that the unity of faith can be maintained with a wide variety of cultures around. However, it requires purposive work to do that. The challenge I see in Houston is to celebrate the richness we have, with this great diversity and expressions of Catholicism. That’s also why I’m delighted that there’s a red hat. The unity of faith with the Holy Father is also extremely crucial if we’re going to keep all this working together.

I say this with great pride, that Houston to my mind in the Catholic church there strikes me as ‘happy chaos.’ It’s not the chaos of no one knows what’s going on, but the chaos of great enrichment. Coming from outside, I’ve been delighted and very impressed, particularly with the young people of the archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Let’s not forget, may I also add, that there’s a rich tradition already in Houston of African-American Catholic culture, from Louisiana. That should be noted.

Cardinal Foley, you’ve been known as the voice of the Vatican through your Christmas and Easter commentaries during the televised Masses. Is there any way, with your new duties as a cardinal and with the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, that you’ll be able to continue that?

Foley: The Cardinal Secretary of State told me I could continue that, so God willing, at Christmas you’ll hear the ghost of Christmas past. By the way, not only that, but I had been previously invited to go to Houston for the dedication of their new co-cathedral and do television commentary for that. I said yes, and I’m going to keep that promise … whether he [DiNardo] wants me or not!

DiNardo: We always want you, Cardinal Foley. It’ll be good to see you, and to have a professional who knows what he’s doing.

Do you know when you’ll take possession of your titular churches, and do you know anything about them?...

Foley: My church is San Sebastiano al Palatino. It’s supposed to be the site of the martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, who was first pierced with many arrows and nursed back to health. When they found he had been nursed back to health, they invited him again to worship the emperor, and when he refused to do so, he was beaten to death. His body was thrown into a drain right near where the titular church is. Then his body was taken out and buried at San Sebastiano on the Appian Way. So, San Sebastiano al Palatino is built on the site of the martyrdom, not where the saint is buried. It’s a very ancient church. It was redone in the 16th century, but it goes back much further than that.
A photog for the Philadelphia Inquirer shot video instead as the city's 24-year vigil for Foley's day finally came to an end... the moment is posted.

PHOTO: AP/Andrew Medichini