Posts Tagged ‘Pope Benedict XVI’

Francis’s New Saints

May 12, 2013

The new pope, Francis I, just canonized hundreds of new saints for the Roman Catholic Church, some of whom are martyrs. I found the story I read in the Associated Press interesting.

Pope Francis on Sunday gave the Catholic Church new saints, including hundreds of 15th-century martyrs who were beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, as he led his first canonization ceremony Sunday in a packed St. Peter’s Square.

The “Martyrs of Otranto” were 813 Italians who were slain in the southern Italian city in 1480 for defying demands by Turkish invaders who overran the citadel to renounce Christianity.

Their approval for sainthood was decided upon by Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, in a decree read at the ceremony in February where the former pontiff announced his retirement.

Christian martyrs are people who died rather than renounce the faith, unlike Islamic martyrs which are people who have murdered as many innocent infidels as possible. This is where the article gets a little interesting.

Shortly after his election in March, Francis called for more dialogue with Muslims, and it was unclear how the granting of sainthood to the martyrs would be received. Islam is a sensitive subject for the church, and Benedict stumbled significantly in his relations with the Muslim community.

I am not sure whether it is the Catholic Church that is at fault for any problems it may be having with the Muslim community. It seems to me that everything is a sensitive subject with the Muslim community. Why shouldn’t the Pope honor Catholics who refused to convert to Islam even when threatened with death? Christians are often called upon to apologize for acts done centuries ago. When is a Muslim authority going to apologize for atrocities such as the attack on Otranto, not to mention the centuries of aggressive warfare various Muslim states have waged against Christendom? Persecution of Christians isn’t something that only in the distant past, as Pope Francis noted.

Francis told the crowd that the martyrs are a source of inspiration, especially for “so many Christians, who, right in these times and in so many parts of the world, still suffer violence.” He prayed that they receive “the courage of loyalty and to respond to evil with good.”

The pope didn’t single out any country. But Christian churches have been attacked in Nigeria and Iraq, and Catholics in China loyal to the Vatican have been subject to harassment and sometimes jail over the last decades.

Christians in Saudi Arabia must worship out of the public eye because the ultraconservative kingdom does not officially permit churches and non-Muslim religious sites.

In fact, all over the Middle East, Christians are afraid for their lives and fleeing the lands dominated by the Religion of Peace.

The other new saints include a Mexican and a Columbian.

The first pontiff from South America also gave Colombia its first saint: a nun who toiled as a teacher and spiritual guide to indigenous people in the 20th century.

With Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos among the VIPS, the Argentine pope held out Laura of St. Catherine of Siena Montoya y Upegui as a potential source of inspiration to the country’s peace process, attempted after decades-long conflict between rebels and government forces.

Francis prayed that “Colombia’s beloved children continue to work for peace and just development of the country.”

He also canonized another Latin American woman. Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, a Mexican who dedicated herself to nursing the sick, helped Catholics avoid persecution during a government crackdown on the faith in the 1920s.

Also known as Mother Lupita, she hid the Guadalajara archbishop in an eye clinic for more than a year after fearful local Catholic families refused to shelter him.

Francis prayed that the new Mexican saint’s intercession could help the nation “eradicate all the violence and insecurity,” an apparent reference to years of bloodshed and other crime largely linked to powerful drug trafficking clans.

The pope also hailed the Mexican saint for renouncing a comfortable life to work with the sick and poor, even kneeling on the bare floor of the hospital before the patients to serve them with “tenderness and compassion.”

Mother Lupita’s example, said Francis, should encourage people not to “get wrapped up in themselves, their own problems, their own ideas, their own interests, but to go out and meet those who need attention, comprehension, help” and other assistance.

Francis noted that the crowd included participants in an anti-abortion march of several thousand people, who walked a few kilometers (miles) from the Colosseum, crossing a bridge over the Tiber river to end near the Vatican while Mass was being celebrated in St. Peter’s Square.

He drew attention to a signature-gathering drive in many Italian churches to push for a European initiative to “guarantee legal protection for embryos, protecting every human being from the first instant of existence.”

Vatican teaching forbids abortion.

I doubt if that petition will get anywhere in the European Union.

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Pope Francis I

March 13, 2013
English: Cardinal Jorge M. Bergoglio SJ, Archb...

The New Pope (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, that didn’t take long. Somehow, I thought the process of choosing the new Pope would take longer than two days. The new Pope is Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio from Buenos Aires, Argentina and he has taken the name Francis I. Francis is the first Pope from the New World and the first Pope from outside Europe in many centuries.

The 76-year-old – now known as Pope Francis I — was the archbishop of Buenos Aries and was appointed by Pope John Paul II.

Bergoglio became the first pope from the Americas elected and the first from outside Europe in more than a millenium.

“I thank you for this greeting you give me,” Francis told thousands gathered in St. Peter’s Square.

“Let us pray always, not just for ourselves, but for others and everyone in the world because there is a great brotherhood among us,” Francis said.

CBS News papal consultant Monsignor Anthony Figueiredo said Bergoglio “did not want to be pope.”

“This man did not expect to be pope,” Figueiredo said, adding that Bergoglio’s selection is an “incredibly courageous choice.”

The new pope, who had a lung removed when he was a teenager due to a lung infection, reportedly got the second most votes after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election to replace Pope John Paul II. Bergoglio is the first Jesuit to become pontiff.

CBS News reports that Bergoglio is not a favorite of the Vatican curia.

“This man now has a clear mandate from 115 cardinals to come in and clear out the curia,” Monsignor Figueiredo said.

Cardinals overcame deep divisions to select Pope Francis I – the 266th pontiff — in a remarkably fast conclave.

Tens of thousands of people who braved cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel jumped in joy when white smoke poured out, many shouting “Habemus Papam!” or “We have a pope!” — as the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica and churches across Rome pealed.

Chants of `’Long live the pope!” rose from the throngs of faithful, many with tears in their eyes. Crowds went wild as the Vatican appeared on the square, blaring music, followed by Swiss Guards in silver helmets and full regalia. At least 50,000 people jammed into the square.

I can’t imagine why anyone would want to be Pope. It seems to be a lot of trouble to me, though maybe the job pays well. Anyway I wish the new Pope well and I hope he is successful.

By the way, why do they keep picking old men as Pope? Francis I is 76. Benedict XVI was 78 when he was made Pope. Why not a younger, more vigorous man. Maybe not as young as Benedict IX, was either 20 or 11 depending on the source, ( it was nepotism), but maybe someone in their fifties.

 

Pope Benedict XVI to Resign

February 11, 2013

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition

I was a little surprised to learn that the Pope is planning to resign at the end of the month. Here are some details from the Wall Street Journal.

VATICAN CITY— Pope Benedict XVI said Monday he planned to step down at the end of this month because of his deteriorating physical strength, a move that hasn’t happened in the Roman Catholic Church in centuries and that is likely to pave the way for a new pontiff by Easter.

In a speech in Latin to cardinals, the 85-year-old German pontiff, who has been in office since April 2005, said that leading the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics was a job that required strength of both mind and body. But the pope said his strength had “deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

A papal spokesman added during a briefing with reporters that Pope Benedict had been thinking about the move for some time, saying it wasn’t due to an illness. Father Lombardi, the spokesman, said the pope would retire to a life of prayer and writing. He also said the pontiff had “no fear” of any potential schism in the church as a consequence of the pope’s resignation.

The resignation, which the Vatican said would take place as of 8 p.m. on Feb. 28, will give way to a conclave, a gathering of cardinals who will elect the new pope. Normally, after a pope dies, there is a nine-day mourning period before the selection his successor. This time, the process can begin right away, said Greg Burke, the Vatican’s media adviser. “This means we’ll have a new pope by Easter,” he added. The holiday falls on March 31 this year.

That’s too bad, though I thought he was too old for the job when he was first selected to be pope. Even though I am no longer Catholic, I always rather like Benedict XVI aka Joseph Ratzinger, if only because the liberals and the secularists hated him.  I hope the next pope is a younger, more dynamic man who is up to defending the faith in an increasingly hostile world.

I didn’t know that a pope was allowed to resign and it certainly isn’t common. The last pope to resign was Gregory XII, in order to end the Great Schism in which two or more men claimed to be the legitimate pope. From 1378 until 1414, there were rival popes at Rome and Avignon, with eventually a third pope at Pisa. All of Europe was divided between allegiance to one or the other pope until the issue was finally resolved by the Council of Constance, after which all of the popes were made to resign in favor of a new pope, Martin V who became pope in 1417.

That was a completely different situation, of course, and I don’t imagine there will be any trouble of that sort today. In fact, I would imagine that by resigning, Benedict will have more influence in the selection of his successor than he otherwise might have had.


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