Wednesday, January 13, 2010

In Fort Wayne, the Nuncio's "New Deal"

Sure, it's no secret that B16's lead hand on these shores doesn't mind stirring the pot.

Yet still, as if his ternae weren't raising enough eyebrows, a comment from Archbishop Pietro Sambi at today's installation of Bishop Kevin Rhoades (above) in Fort Wayne bears note.

Eight months after (amid great controversy) a Democratic POTUS received an honorary doctorate and delivered the commencement speech at the Michiana diocese's most prominent Catholic institution -- registering a protest and boycott from the new ordinary's much-admired predecessor (and, indeed, Rhoades himself) -- and two months after making his own presence unusually clear at Notre Dame's annual reception for the US bishops in Baltimore, Sambi pointedly slipped the following jaw-dropper (emphases added) into his introductory remarks:
"Your Excellency, Bishop-designate Rhoades, as you are installed as the ninth bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, we congratulate you for accepting the call to serve, and we assure you of our spiritual solidarity and moral support as you begin your service to this local church. Indeed, we are confident that through your zealous episcopal ministry, and the prayerful intercession of St Hilary [of Poitiers], you will be an effective proclaimer of the saving truth of the Gospel, and a faithful witness to Christ, our hope, bringing many blessings to your clergy, religious, and laity, and also to the community at large -- for in the words of the 32nd President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, 'No greater blessing could come to our land today than a revival of the spirit of faith.'"
Ready... set... parse.

For purposes of context, the FDR quote was taken from the New Dealer's greeting to a 1938 Eucharistic Congress in New Orleans, the afore-cited line continuing thus: "I doubt if there is any problem in the world today—social, political or economic—that would not find happy solution if approached in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount."

Three years before the statement, Roosevelt became the first of nine Commanders-in-Chief to receive a Notre Dame degree.

A formal Fighting Irish welcome for Rhoades is still in the works; in the meanwhile, the campus' installation contingent was led by Domer Nation's three living chiefs -- the current president, Holy Cross Fr John Jenkins, and his two immediate predecessors, Frs "Monk" Malloy and the legendary Ted Hesburgh.

For all the rest, here's fullvid of the Fort Mass' top half, featuring Sambi's address and Rhoades' homily (the end of which runs into Part Two):

Two final notes: first, as opposed to last week's Milwaukee surprise, today's bull returned to its stock formula -- i.e. that, in tapping Rhoades, B16 was "accepting the recommendation of the Congregation for Bishops."

And, lastly, hours before Sambi's invocation of Roosevelt, the global church's "chief justice" made new waves at a Red Mass in Phoenix; Archbishop Raymond Burke warned last night that a certain society "which is abandoning its Judeo-Christian foundations... is embracing a totalitarianism which masks itself as the 'hope,' the 'future,' of our nation."

And, well, fill in the blanks.

SVILUPPO: Here below, Rhoades' homily in full....
PHOTO: Santiago Flores/South Bend Tribune