Tuesday, June 30, 2009

John Ayscough On Jesuit Martyr Robert Southwell

I have often heard it urged that ' Lead, kindly Light' should not be sung in church because it is not a hymn, but a poem; and this has always struck me as being the most scathing, because wholly unconscious and unintentional, satire upon hymns. Certainly there are innumerable hymns (and hymn-books), though there is only one' Lead, kindly Light.' But I must say the same line of criticism ought to bar the ' Dies Irae,' the ' Urbs Caelestis Jerusalem,' and ever so many of the breviary hymns, which are poems if any exist.

Apart from the breviary and missal Latin hymns, the finest I know, of which the inspiration is Catholic doctrine, are those of Father Robert Southwell, the Jesuit martyr. I often wish some of our excellent Catholic magazines, on both sides of the Atlantic, would reproduce some of them instead of ' original' Catholic poetry. Of one of them Ben Jonson said that he would willingly have burnt much of his own work if it could have given him the authorship of that poem.

As for Milton's most glorious ode and hymn, ' On the Morning of Christ's Nativity,' I would give all' Paradise Lost' and all' Paradise Regained' for it. It is as exquisite as Perugino's ' Prophets and Sibyls,' with the super-added stateliness and majesty of Michelangelo.

Link (here) to the portion of the book entitled Pages from the Past, by famous English Catholic prelate and writer John Ayscough. More literary works by Ayscough are; French Windows, Catesby's Story, John Ayscough's Letters to his Mother and Discourses and Essays

Ignatian Weekend At Fordham

An excerpt from Michele's post at Quantum Theology

I left early Friday morning on a train to New York City -- with plan to see my brother midday (and give the lunch talk where he works), then out to Fordham for a weekend conference on Ignatian spirituality - organized by the Jesuit Collaborative. I elected the theology track, the focus of the conference was on the Foundation and Principle, which more or less frames Ignatius' pre-requisites for giving the Exercises.

Link (here) to the full post and read the blog Quantum Theology (here)

Tilley's 3 Piece Dilley

The One and Only Theological Impasse

by Dr. Jeff Mirus, June 26, 2009

An excerpt from Catholic Culture.

In his presidential address to the annual meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America on June 7th, Terrence Tilley discussed “Three Impasses in Christology”. Tilley is Chair of the Theology Department at Jesuit-run Fordham University in New York. For Tilley, a theological “impasse” is a theological problem which admits of no easy solution, in which two or more sides harden their positions against one another to the point of stalemate, thereby preventing theological progress. The catch in Tilley’s argument is that he identifies one of these “sides” as the Magisterium of the Church!

The Problem of Fidelity

The exclamation point at the end of that last sentence may not be justified for such a predictable statement. Tilley’s address exemplifies exactly the kind of thorough-going rejection of the Magisterium which we have come to expect in the Western Catholic theological mainstream. The tactic is always the same: Identify the Vatican as simply one of many voices to be heard and then, if it chooses to act decisively, dismiss it as authoritarian and obscurantist. The mind boggles that this attitude can still be found at the core of a presidential address to the CTSA after so many years of utter failure on the CTSA’s part to contribute to any sort of authentically Catholic theological renewal.

That Tilley is still occupied with the going out of business sale at the same old theological store is immediately obvious from the examples he uses in his introduction to illustrate what he means by an impasse hardening into a stalemate. To set the stage for understanding the seriousness of it all, he identifies three larger ecclesial impasses before moving on to his specific Christological concerns. These are:

  • ”a shrinking and in some places demoralized presbyterate that cannot be enlarged significantly under present rules”
  • ”a laity that loves the church but has stopped listening to the bishops”
  • ”a hard-working and loyal body of religious women who are disgusted and discouraged by repeated investigations of religious life and attempted reversals of self-governance”
Read the rest of Dr. Jeff Mirus's article (here)
Photo is of Terrence Tilley

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Bad Wing

Listen to a lengthy in context phone conversation between President Richard Nixon and Rev. Billy Graham, they discuss the Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 shot down by Isreal, the World Council of Churches and Nixon staffer the former Jesuit John McLaughlin of the famous TV news show The McLaughlin Group

They’re split right down the middle. They sure are. You’ve got the good guys like Krol and Cooke in New York. And then there’s this bad wing, the Jesuits, who used to be the conservatives and have become now become the all-out, barn-burning radicals.
Listen (here)

America magazine on the subject (here)

Link (here) to a real Jesuit radical Fr. Daniel Barrigan, S.J. that actually did participate in a soft terrorist action of arson against the government.

The Jesuit Press Of Beirut: 1894

Oriental scholars everywhere are greatly indebted to the Jesuit Press of Beirut for its beautiful and accurate editions of classical Arabic authors, and for the excellent auxiliaries to assist them in reading the same. The same remarks, in the main, in regard to the cheapness of the publications of the Jesuit Press may be made as were made with reference to those of the Protestant Press.
Link (here)
Micheal Sean Winters is taken to task (here) at the Catholics in the Public Square blog.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jesuit, “This Is The Only Way Of Life For Me”

Father Martin Rock, S.J. celebrates his 50th anniversary At St. Mary's in Ogden Utah

by Christine Young
Intermountain Catholic

OGDEN ­— “This is the only way of life for me,” said Jesuit Father Martin I. Rock as he concelebrated the Mass for his 50th anniversary.

Fr. Rock wanted the children to be a part of his Mass, so he moved the children’s Mass to the 5 p.m. Mass Saturday, June 13.

“Jesus said let the children come to me,” said Fr. Rock, as he gathered them around the altar. He explained to them there are many angels surrounding the altar. He also told the children "Jesus loves us, and Saint Joseph loves us. Our Mother Mary loves us, too. So let us pray the Hail Mary.” “Today we are focusing on one possible vocation which God could call you to, which is the priesthood,” said Jesuit Father Leo Prengaman in his homily. “Because it requires too much faith and trust, and so much self-denial so we are honoring today Fr. Rock for 50 years on the job,” said Fr. Prengaman. “A priest is called father, by the way, because in some respects his work is similar to that of a father of a family. He leads, he teaches, he corrects, and he provides a good example of the right way to live – what Christian adulthood is all about. These qualities are wonderfully available in Fr. Rock,” said Fr. Prengaman.

Link (here) to the full story at Intermountain Catholic

Link (here) to more history about the Jesuit history at St. Mary's


Carthusian Or The Order Of St. Bruno, Meet Saint Ignatius

I think Ignatian spirituality is a particular way of living Carthusian/monastic contemplative life “outside the walls”. Ignatian spirituality stands on the line of development of bringing monastic spirituality into daily, ordinary life for many of us. Ignatian spirituality is ideally being contemplative in action, being contemplative even in action.

Fr. Bosco Peters is an Anglican Priest with Catholic sensibilities; blogs about prayer, liturgy and faith. His section on Ignatian Spirituality can be found (here) and blog Liturgy can be found (here)

Ontologism And The German Swiss Jesuit

Among the theistic champions of Ontologism Professor Casimir Ubaghs of Louvain (died 1854), whom we have already met with as a defender of Traditionalism, was perhaps the most prominent. " Ubaghs thinks that we are born with the idea of the infinite God, and that this idea is in the beginning unformed, but becomes formed by reflection, to which we are led by our education in human society." Ontological errors were also propagated by Pere Gratry," Abbe Branchereau, Bishop Hugonin of Bayeux, Abbe Fabre, by an unknown author under the pseudonym "Sans-Fiel," and by a number of other writers in France, Belgium, and Italy. There is also, or was until recently, a small school of Ontologists in the United States. German writers, with the sole exception of P. Rothenflue, S. J., never grew enthusiastic over Ontologism; but such among them as were tainted with it (notably Karl Christian Friedrich Krause and Franz Xaver von Baader) drifted straightway into Pantheism, which is after all only a logical — if covert — sequel of Ontologism.

Link (here) to the book entitled, "God His Knowability, Essence and Attributes,"
by Fr. Joseph Pohle

More on Rosminian Ontologism (here)

Blogger Note: "You learn something new every day!"

Saturday, June 27, 2009

America Magazine And Calumny

America Mag's Calumny in Service of a Human Master
A number of recent editorials by Catholic Obama partisans have sought to discredit the U.S. Bishops and the pro-life movement as a whole by grossly misappropriating the words of Kansas City – St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn.

Sometimes with attribution, sometimes without, but never in context, they have ripped four words, “We are at war,” from a 3,981 word address Bishop Finn made to a pro-life convention April 18, and given it meaning and context of their own making.

None have been so egregious as the Jesuit editors of America. This week’s Current Comment editorial in America disgraces the paper and the Society. It is vicious calumny in service to wicked ends.

Link (here) to the Diocese of Kansas', Catholic Key blog to read the full rebuttal of America editorial

Some in depth analysis at Ignatius Press blog on the subject (here)

Photo is of the Editor-in-Chief Fr. Drew Christiansen, S.J.

The editors of America Magazine are:

Drew Christiansen, S.J., Editor in Chief

Robert C. Collins, S.J., Managing Editor

Karen Sue Smith, Editorial Director

Maurice Timothy Reidy, Online Editor

James Martin, S.J., Culture Editor

Patricia A. Kossmann, Literary Editor

James S. Torrens, S.J., Poetry Editor

Joseph A. O'Hare, S.J., Associate Editor

George M. Anderson, S.J., Associate Editor

Dennis M. Linehan, S.J., Associate Editor

James P. McDermott, S.J., Associate Editor

Matt Malone, S.J., Associate Editor

James T. Keane, S.J., Associate Editor

Peter Schineller, S.J., Associate Editor

Francis W. Turnbull, S.J., Assistant Editor

The Soul Is Of Paramount Importance

The eminent Jesuit, Father Judde, says no science is so necessary to man as self-knowledge. No one will deny that self-knowledge is valuable. By this means man learns to know his evil inclinations. This science teaches him which inclinations he must foster. Self- knowledge discloses to man what he has acquired, as well as what is yet to be attained, in the fulfilment of his duties and obligations. It must be evident to every one that self- knowledge is a great aid to man in all his undertakings. For is it not encouraging to know our capabilities? Self-knowledge is equally valuable in guarding against our shortcomings. If self-knowledge is valuable in general, it is necessary in the spiritual life. Everything that relates to the soul is of paramount importance.
Link (here)
More on Fr. Claude Judde, S.J. (here) , (here) and (here)
Woodcut Weighing the Soul (here)

Indian Jesuit, "Priests Need Books"

JAKARTA : Indonesian priests say the recently launched Year for Priests is a time for them to acquire greater knowledge to help them in their pastoral ministries.

"A priest does not only deal with rituals but also with people. And to be able to serve people today, a priest must keep updating his knowledge," said Jesuit Father Yohanes Nikolaus Haryanto, secretary general of the Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace.

Father Haryanto, who also heads the pastoral ministry for university students in Jakarta archdiocese, said: "We priests must not be satisfied with the theology and philosophy that we learnt in the seminary. Nowadays, many laypeople also learn theology."

Noting that parishioners often give gifts to priests on their birthdays, he advised: "Don't give your priest a shirt but a book, because priests need to increase their knowledge in order to bring innovation to their pastoral ministry."

Link (here)

Georgetown Broadcasting System

WGTB was founded as the Georgetown Broadcasting System in 1941. In 1959, it applied for an FM license and became the first educational radio station in Washington. Initially, WGTB primarily aired news and public affairs shows but, over time, shifted to more music-oriented programming. In 1972, the station began broadcasting twenty-four hours day and could reach listeners within a sixty mile radius.

During the course of the 1970s, the station’s increasingly counter-culture perspective lead to clashes with the University’s administration, rumblings from the FCC, and a series of shut-downs. A rise in the number of non-Georgetown staff at the station lead to charges that WGTB was no longer Georgetown’s radio station and no longer served the student body. A 1975 poll of students found 412 in favor of shutting the station, with 293 opposed.

WGTB-FM ceased broadcasting on January 31, 1979, when its 1978-1979 budget ran out, and Georgetown asked the Federal Communications Commission to assign the station license to the University of the District of Columbia. The license was later sold by UDC to C-SPAN.

Link (here)

Blogger Note: Georgetown radio was resurrected in the 80's and is currently operated as an internet only operation. Link (here) for more information.

Photo and an intersting fact about the closing of WGBT (here)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Novices From North America Converge At Regis University In Denver

The 9 current US provinces of the Jesuits, as well as the Canadian novices and the Jamaican novices have all converged on Regis University. We'll be spending the next several weeks here as different distinguished presenters regale us with Jesuit history.

I'm more than a little excited. The historian in me is downright giddy about the actual content of the course-the Jesuits have a rich, storied history that is deeply revealing of many different periods of the Church, the history of the world and, if it's not overstating, of humanity itself. The course content is also exciting to me as a novice-in the midst of my continued discernment, nothing could be more important than to learn more about the origins of the Society and the shape it's taken over time. If the novitiate can be (crudely) likened to an engagement, this is a little like meeting the in-laws and hearing the some of the stories.
Link (here) to the full post by Matthew Spotts nSJ, his blog is entitled And Wither then? I can not say.

16th Century Jesuit Fr. Thomas Sanchez

An excerpt of an original article by Al Heath

Over the centuries, the Church has not held that women who have abortions should be executed, and this is because the Church has held that they have not committed murder. Aquinas held that the embryo does not even have a soul during the first few weeks of pregnancy (a view later adopted by the Council of Vienne in 1312). By the 15th century, a line of moral reasoning had developed which held that a woman has a "prior right" in decisions relating to abortion. A variant of the argument was the fetus could be considered an "unjust transgressor" toward which a woman should be allowed, when necessary, a defense. (The theologian was Thomas Sanchez, a Jesuit. Ronald Reagan once expressed a version of this theory.) For most of Christian history, the status of "person" was denied an embryo or fetus, so that a fetus could not be baptized, given a Christian burial or interred in consecrated ground.
Link (here) to the full article in the Coloradoan

The a history of the Churches teaching on abortion (here)

More on Fr. Thomas Sanchez, S.J. (here) , (here) , (here) and (here)
(Spanish: 1550-1610) was an erudite moral theologian whose authority on moral questions was quite impressive. He won wide recognition particularly for his frequently re-edited 1602 book The Holy Sacrament of Matrimony . Thomas Sanchez expressed himself with clarity and precision, especially regarding distinctions needed regarding the principle of Probabilism. For example he stated that a genuine probable opinion required that "it does not rest on superficial grounds; the view of a wise and learned man is, however, not a superficial but, rather, a material ground." (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som). Link (here)

Blogger Note: I do not agree with the implications, the facts of this article, by Al Heath nor its tenor. The links refute the accusations

Jesuit On Calumnies Against Convents

By The Rev. Sydney FENN Smith, S.J.

From time to time, though less often now than formerly, readers of the daily papers are regaled with a thrilling story of cruelty in a Catholic convent, happily brought to light through the successful or attempted escape of the victim.
Generally the scene of these stories is laid in a distant country—in Spain, or Brazil : most commonly the names and the dates are so far suppressed as to render inquiry hopeless : and if, with a view to inquiry, further information is demanded, the answer is invariably the same. Names and dates cannot be given without exposing the victim to the wrath of her pursuers : but the informant can vouch for the complete accuracy of the facts, which, after all, are in keeping with what has been brought home to hundreds of similar Romish institutions.
Occasionally, however, the story ventures within reach of investigation, and then is wont to be followed in the same journal, either by a flat contradiction, or byan explanation, supported by evidence of a convincing character, and putting the facts in a very different and more reasonable light. In that case the assailant's purpose is thwarted for the moment, but he has an ulterior purpose in view which he can still hope to accomplish.
He puts carefully away the copy of the paper in which the charge is made, and waits till a new generation has sprung up. Then he reproduces it as a fact, publicly told and recognized at the time as authentic, taking care not to whisper a syllable of the opposing evidence with which its first appearance was met, and which then divested it of public credence.
Few Catholics are aware of the extent to which in this way exploded charges against our convents are treasured up and perpetuated through the agency of the various periodicals and pamphlets which circulate under the auspices of the Protestant Alliance, emanating either directly from their press.

Link (here) to read the full article published 1884 by the Catholic Truth Society by Fr. Sidney F. Smith, S.J.

Blogger Note: Fr. Smith is talking about the precursors to the Jack Chick tracts.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Father Z On America Magazine

They are at it again with the same old tricks. They are losing on the issues, so they try to silence people by saying that they aren’t being civil or reasonable or tolerant. Link (here)

Fr. Thomas Mulvilhill King, S.J. "Rest In Peace"

Read Jesuit Joe's post Ave atque vale (here) Read Fr. King's biography (here)

The funeral will be held at Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart on the Georgetown campus at 9:00 AM on Saturday, June 27. A wake will be held at Wolfington Hall, the Jesuit residence, from 3:00 to 5:00 PM and from 7:00 to 9:00 PM on Friday, June 26. In September, with the return of students and faculty a campus-wide memorial Mass will be celebrated for Fr. King. Link (here)

The Washington Post obituary (here)

Funeral Of Former Jesuit Included Three Jesuits

Vincente Ferrer the former Jesuit priest, who worked among the poor in southern India for more than 40 years, died of old age on June 19. More than 500,000 people in all paid homage to the former priest.

The 89-year-old missioner, popularly known as Father Ferrer, was buried in Bathlapalli, a village near Anantapur town in Andhra Pradesh state where he started his work among mostly dalit people.

Dalit are former "untouchables" in the Indian caste system.

He is survived by his Protestant wife Anne, son Moncho and daughters Tara and Yamuna.

Father Mummadi Joji Reddy, former vicar general of Kurnool diocese, led the funeral Mass along with 10 priests, including three Jesuits. Christian, Hindu and Muslim scriptures were read during the service.

Link (here)

Photo link (here)

Vietnam Jesuit

Jesuit Father Thomas Vu Quang Trung, provincial superior of the local Jesuits, told UCA News that priests face many tribulations. "We badly need prayers," he said, as local priests are overworked. The priest is based in Thu Duc district, home to tens of thousands of migrant workers. He said many of them engage in premarital sex, have unwanted pregnancies, abuse drugs and work in the sex industry.
Link (here)
Read a Vietnamese-American Catholic blogger Chris (here) at Mass Excitement

Does This Bother You?

Repellant Coercion

This is from the Cardinal Newman Society (here)

Boston College theology Professor Rev. Michael Himes, Ph.D. spoke at the “Faith and Reason: A Dialogue at the Heart of Jesuit Education” conference hosted by Fordham University’s Center on Religion and Culture on June 17. “To achieve their purpose of higher education, Catholic universities must choose inclusiveness over a ‘type of coercion’ that is often present among some Church teaching,” a Fordham news release reports Himes as having said.
“I suspect that very often the so-called conflict between faith and reason is actually a conflict between church and autonomy, and that the reason faith appears repellant is the [view] of a church that supports, forces and—quite honestly—profits from faith,”
said Himes. He continued, “It seems to imply that there is a coercive aspect to faith, like, ‘Ya gotta believe this and ya gotta believe it the way we tell you to believe it.’” Himes simultaneously argued that the university should act as a “guardian of tradition” of religion and faith against those who would seek to dismiss faith as silly or even dangerous. Source: Fordham University

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Father Aulneau, Wounded By An Arrow, Fell Upon His Knees

All that Father Felix Martin, S.J., that indefatigable laborer in the field of historical research, could glean, thirty years ago, from various sources, is summed up in the short account found on a stray sheet among his notes, and which we here translate and place on record to save it from oblivion : " We are not in possession of the details relating to Father Jean-Pierre Aulneau's family, education and vocation to the religious life. He came to Canada in 1730, and six years subsequent to his arrival he was chosen to accompany an important expedition of discovery westward, undertaken by Monsieur de La Veranderie. The latter commanded a party of twenty determined men, one of his own sons being among the number.

The explorers had reached the Lake of the Woods, and had lauded on an island for their morning meal. Their camping fires, however, betrayed their presence to a band of Sioux warriors who were prowling about in the neighborhood. These Indians, notorious for their cruelty and for the implacable war they waged on all those who gave them"

The correct date of his arrival is, as we have seen, Aug. 12, 1734.

umbrage, resolved to attack the French. They stealthily landed on the island without attracting notice, and rushed upon the explorers who were off their guard. Many were pierced with arrows or were felled with the tomahawk. Some sought safety in flight only to perish in the waves. Father Aulneau, wounded by an arrow, fell upon his knees, when an Indian coming up behind him dealt him the death blow with his tomahawk.

"All the baggage was pillaged, but the Indians dared not touch the body of the missionary. Three weeks after the occurrence, a party of Indians of the Sault passing by the spot, found his body unmutilated. Not being able to dig a grave for it, as the island was all rock, they raised over the body a cairn one or two metres in height.

Link (here) to the book entitled "The Aulneau Collection", By Fr. Authur F. Jones, S.J.

Photo is of Fort Saint Charles located in Minnesota the alter of this chapel marks the grave of Fr. Jean-Pierre Aulneau, S.J. Read more about it (here)

Itchy Jesuit Scholastics And The Apostleship Of Prayer

A spiritual organization called the Apostleship of Prayer. As members of the Apostleship of Prayer, these individuals begin their day with the recitation of the Morning Offering.
According to historians, it all began in the mid 1800's at a Jesuit seminary in Vals, France. There, a group of Jesuit seminarians (called Scholastics, from the Greek word for 'learner') were getting itchy to get out of the seminary and begin the spiritual apostleship for which they were receiving training.
The Scholastics came to the conclusion that if their studies and other daily activities indeed had spiritual value, each Scholastic could consecrate all of each day to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary as a daily offering.

Link (here)


Rendering Unto Caesar
At the request of the White House, Georgetown University covered up all the symbols in Gaston Hall, before the Great Man spoke, including IHS, the millennia-old monogram for the name of Jesus Christ.

Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus, had adopted the monogram in his seal and it became an emblem of the Jesuit order.

When it comes to rendering unto Caesar, Georgetown is not going to be outshone by Notre Dame, which stole a march by offering the nation's avatar of abortion a doctorate of laws degree, honoris causa.

Actually, it is regrettable the IHS in Gaston Hall was not covered up in shame the first week of Lent. For that week Georgetown's feminist and h*m*s*xual clubs, such as GU Pr*de, put on a G*morrah festival about alternative lifestyles called "S*x Positive Week."

Link (here) to frank confrontation of the issues that are faced in higher education by the Jesuit educated Pat Buchanan.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Jesuit And The Hidden Picture

On February 7, 1863, Fr. Francis Blosi, a Jesuit priest gave a sermon about the famous picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. He described the picture of Our Lady, and said, “I hope that someone in this crowd of faithful listening to me today, knows where this picture is! If so, please tell that person who has kept the picture hidden for seventy years, that the Mother of God has commanded that this picture be placed between the Basilicas of St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran. Hopefully the person will repent of his thoughtless act and will have the picture placed on the Esquiline Hill once again, so that all the faithful may honour it.”

Soon the Redemptorists at St. Alphonsus heard about Fr. Blosi’s sermon. Knowing that their church was located close to the site of the old St. Matthew’s Church they hurried to bring the news to Fr. Mauron, Superior General of the Redemptorists. Fr. Mauron was in no hurry. He prayed for almost three years to know the Holy Will of God, in this important matter.

Link (here) to read the full blog post at the blog entitled Credidimus Charitati

Predicator Jesuit

Father Peter Gumpel, the priest in charge of the beatification dossier, suggested that Pope Benedict XVI did not want to sign the beatification decree for Pius for fear of compromising relations with the Jews. Gumpel's statement has already provoked a sharp response from the Vatican. The former pope, previously known as Eugenio Pacelli, has been accused of staying silent and doing too little to resist the Nazi genocide of the Jews during World War II. Speaking at a conference in Rome Friday, Gumpel said
Pope Benedict "is absolutely not" against Pius XII, whom he "admires and esteems, particularly for what he did for the Jews." The pope "wants to do the maximum to improve relations with the Jews" said Gumpel, who holds the role of predicator, which means he is responsible for the beatification file on Pius.
Gumpel said Benedict had been impressed by the stand taken by the Jewish community over the issue of Pius's beatification. "Representatives of Jewish organisations explained to him clearly that if he did something in favour of Pope Pacelli relations between the Catholic Church and the Jews would be permanently and definitively compromised," he added. Following Gumpel's comments, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi issued a statement insisting that the pope had to be "left completely free in his evaluations and decisions." It added: "If the pope thinks that the study and the reflection on the cause of Pius XII must be further prolonged, this position must be respected without interfering with unjustified and inopportune interventions." Only the pope had the power to sign the beatification decree, added Lombardi.
The process of the beatification of Pius XII -- which is the first stage on the path to being granted sainthood -- opened in October 1967. The Vatican has already, on several occasions, called on Gumpel not to put pressure on the pope over the matter. Several historians and members of the Jewish community believe Pius kept silent during the Nazi Holocaust. But Benedict XVI has regularly spoken out in defence of his predecessor. The Vatican has pointed to the fact the pope saved many Jews by having them hidden religious institutions in Rome and abroad.
They say his silence was born out of a wish to avoiding aggravating their situation. But the dossier for Pius' beatification cannot advance further without the pope's signature. In April, the Vatican granted selected US researchers access to the archives of Father Robert Graham, a former Vatican specialist on the Pius's wartime role.

Link (here) to the full article.

Notre Dame Grad Is A Jesuit

Wearing his white shirt and tie, Fr. Christopher Devron, S.J. looks very much like the lawyer he seemed destined to be after graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 1989.

"At Notre Dame, when you're a liberal-arts major, everyone went to law school, it seemed," says Devron, who grew up in Palatine, took the train to his summer internship at a downtown law firm and was on the path to being a partner in a top firm with a corner office sporting a mahogany desk and view of the lake.

That's not the life he chose.

"I can't imagine anything as exciting and grace-filled as my journey as a Jesuit," says a beaming Devron, 41, having changed into his priestly collar as he sits in his makeshift office with peeling paint and furniture that was cheap when it was new in the 1970s. "This is really what being a Jesuit is about."

Father Devron, ordained as a Catholic priest in 2001, just finished his inaugural year as president of Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School, a revolutionary new high school in the West Side community of Austin, one of the poorest and most crime-ridden neighborhoods of Chicago. Modeled after the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, which opened in 1996 in the Pilsen neighborhood where Devron lives, Christ the King partners puts students to work five days a month in the corporate world as a way to offset the cost of their education.

"It costs $13,000 to educate one student," Devron notes. "Through their work, each student earns more than half of that."

Standing next to a chart showing how his job earned $7,200 for his school, the aptly named Deon Hope, 15, says he's proud of his part-time work. His mom, Diane, drives at least 30 minutes in traffic to bring Deon from their home in Bellwood to the school by 8 a.m. She picks him up when school ends at 4 p.m. On Fridays, Deon gets out of school at 6 p.m. or later after a long bus ride from his job at the prestigious insurance brokerage firm of Arthur J. Gallagher in Itasca.

"How many kids get to put that on their college applications?" Devron quips.

In his suburban cubicle with a view out the floor-to-ceiling windows on the 22nd floor of the plush Gallagher building, Deon jokes with Gloria Lozano, an administrative assistant from Mount Prospect.

Link (here) to the full story.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Profound Silence

The little Shrine of St. Joseph's Church in Troy, New York was never so beautiful. It was laden with flowers brought by the sodalists, and where the statue of the Sorrowing Mother as she bends over the body of the dead Christ rests, the folds of her garment were hidden under masses of fragrant bloom.
There were 2,000 persons kneeling in the open air under the blue sky before this humble Shrine. There were 1,700 communicants. No cathedral ever held a silence more profound than was here.
The choirs, under the direction of Thomas F. Healey and Miss Mary Higgins, did most excellent service. At the conclusion of the Masses there was a brief intermission for lunch, and after it came the sermon of the day preached by Rev. Father Denis T. O'Sullivan, S.J., Professor of Natural Sciences, Woodstock College, Maryland: " Who shall separate us from the love of Christ f Shall tribulation, or famine, or distress, or nakedness, or danger, or persecution, or the sword.

Link (here)

Heavenly Embrace

Josemaria Escriva had a great devotion to St. Ignatius Loyola. What a big embrace they must have given each other in heaven! Link (here) to Monk's Hobbit

Fr. James Kubicki, S.J. On The Two Hearts

The feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary used to be celebrated on August 22 but was moved to the day after the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That makes sense. These two Hearts were physically close as Jesus developed in Mary’s womb and they were spiritually united in surrendering completely to the will of God the Father for the salvation of the world.
Link (here) to his post and his blog entitled Offer It Up!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

You Want To Help The Society Of Jesus? Get On Your Knees

The gift of Sacred Indulgences which the Apostolic Penitentiary, with this Decree issued in conformity with the wishes of the August Pontiff, graciously grants during the Year for Priests will be of great help in achieving the desired purpose in the best possible way.
Justify Full
A. Truly repentant priests who, on any day, devoutly recite at least morning Lauds or Vespers before the Blessed Sacrament, exposed for public adoration or replaced in the tabernacle, and who, after the example of St John Mary Vianney, offer themselves with a ready and generous heart for the celebration of the sacraments, especially Confession, are mercifully granted in God the Plenary Indulgence which they may also apply to their deceased brethren in suffrage, if, in conformity with the current norms, they receive sacramental confession and the Eucharistic banquet and pray for the Supreme Pontiff’s intentions.

Furthermore the Partial Indulgence is granted to priests who may apply it to their deceased confreres every time that they devoutly recite the prayers duly approved to lead a holy life and to carry out in a holy manner the offices entrusted to them.

B. The Plenary Indulgence is granted to all the faithful who are truly repentant who, in church or in chapel, devoutly attend the divine Sacrifice of Mass and offer prayers to Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest, for the priests of the Church, and any other good work which they have done on that day, so that he may sanctify them and form them in accordance with His Heart, as long as they have made expiation for their sins through sacramental confession and prayed in accordance with the Supreme Pontiff’s intentions: on the days in which the Year for Priests begins and ends, on the day of the 150th anniversary of the pious passing of St John Mary Vianney, on the first Thursday of the month or on any other day established by the local Ordinaries for the benefit of the faithful.

It will be most appropriate, in cathedral and parish churches, for the same priests who are in charge of pastoral care to publicly direct these exercises of devotion, to celebrate Holy Mass and to hear the confession of the faithful.

The Plenary Indulgence will likewise be granted to the elderly, the sick and all those who for any legitimate reason are confined to their homes who, with a mind detached from any sin and with the intention of fulfilling as soon as possible the three usual conditions, at home or wherever their impediment detains them, provided that on the above-mentioned days they recite prayers for the sanctification of priests and confidently offer the illnesses and hardships of their lives to God through Mary Queen of Apostles.

Lastly, the Partial Indulgence is granted to all the faithful every time they devoutly recite five Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glorias, or another expressly approved prayer, in honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to obtain that priests be preserved in purity and holiness of life.

This Decree is valid for the entire duration of the Year for Priests. Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given in Rome, at the Offices of the Apostolic Penitentiary on 25 April, the Feast of St Mark the Evangelist, in the year of the Incarnation of our Lord 2009.
Link (here) to the full letter in regards to the Indulgence.

One Billion Dollars

Boston's Mayor Thomas M. Menino and its zoning commission formally approved Boston College’s $1 billion expansion plan June 10, with an amendment requiring that an undergraduate residence hall be the first project undertaken, city and school officials said Thursday.

The approved institutional master plan, which includes new residence halls for nearly 800 students and a baseball stadium, excludes the proposed 150-student dormitory on the former property of the Archdiocese of Boston in Brighton, said BC spokesman Jack Dunn.

Menino’s approval was the final step in a process that included four years of public meetings with city officials and community residents, and formal approvals by both the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Boston Zoning Commission, the university said in a statement Thursday.

The master plan calls for the construction of a university center, recreation complex, fine arts district and playing fields for baseball, softball and intramurals, as well as new residence halls to enable BC to meet 100 percent of demand for undergraduate housing, the school said.

Link (here)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Watch the Iranian revolution and insurrection unfold in real time (here)
Read Jesuit Joe's spot on commentary (here)

Expelled Jesuit

Spanish politicians and other personalities on Friday paid tribute to Vicente Ferrer, a former Jesuit who died in India after dedicating his life to helping more than 2 million poor people there. Ferrer passed away Friday at age 89 in Anantapur, in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
Born in Barcelona, Ferrer participated in the Spanish Civil War without firing a single shot, and later abandoned law studies to become a Jesuit. He arrived in Mumbai in 1952. "I never spoke to (the poor) about God. There were other priorities," Ferrer once said. Such ideas contributed to his expulsion from the Society of Jesus later on.
Ferrer also had problems with the Indian authorities, which expelled him in 1968. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in favour of his staying in India, and he was allowed to return the following year.

Link (here)

An interview of Vincente Ferrer at a Spanish blog En profundidad , translated with Google translate.

Question: You were Jesuit (1950 to 1969) and left them to become involved in social problems.
Answer: All men have an original vocation to do good to others. The priesthood is the profession they choose, for excellence, be a brother of the other. I wanted the original priesthood and discovered that before the liturgical vocation, had a humanistic.

Question: That sounds very close to socialism or communism.
Answer: No. They are approaching us. Its principles contain all these values of brotherhood. Though Christianity and Buddhism, for love, do not have sisters to humanity, communism, by force, either. Therefore, we must return to the former.

Link (here) to the original in Spanish

Blogger Note: A reader has done a great job transcribing the original Spanish, that transcription is in the comments section.

Lima Jesuit

Fr. Juan Perez de Menacho, S.J.

Peruvian clergyman, b. in Lima in 1565 ; d. there, 20 Jan., 1626. He studied in the University of Lima, was graduated in Latin and philosophy in 1582, and entered the Jesuit order.
He was graduated as doctor in theology at the University of San Marcos in 1601, and obtained the chair of theology, which he held during twenty-seven years, gaining a wide reputation. During the earthquake that occurred in Lima in 1609 he suffered a fall, the results of which obliged him to keep his bed for sixteen years. During this long period, and notwithstanding his sufferings, he wrote many of his works.
These are now in the library at Lima, and include "Summa theologian Sancti Thomas" (6 vols.); "Theologiipo moralis tractatus" (2 vols.); "Tractatus precepti ecclesin>e"; " Privilejios de la Compañía de Jesús" (2 vols.); "Privilejios de los indios"; "El Decálogo "; " Consciencia errónea"; and " Vida, virtudes y revelaciones de Santa Rosa."

Link (here)

Photo of the University of San Marco in Lima
More in the original Spanish (here) some translations into English (here)

The Unbridable Gap

"The Jesuits were educators who did not see an unbridgeable gap between academic and humanistic education," Father John W. O’Malley, S.J. said. "They brought to schooling … a coherent program of spiritual development for students derived from the Spiritual Exercises [of St. Ignatius Loyola]." Link (here)

The War Against Latin

Rome should switch from Latin to English, Thomas G. Casey, SJ, argues in this America essay, "Ave atque Vale." Casey, an Irish Jesuit and professor of philosophy at the Gregorian University in Rome, notes that Italian is understandably the Vatican argot, but Latin is its official language--despite the fact that fewer and fewer church officials can speak or read or write it.

Link (here) to David Gibson's full post

What did Fr. Z have to say? (here)

"Oh brother, this tired old chestnut. I am sure he is going to try to convince you that because there was a change from Greek to Latin… blah blah blah..."

The Holy Father's Summorum Pontificum (here)

An excerpt

Since time immemorial it has been necessary - as it is also for the future - to maintain the principle according to which 'each particular Church must concur with the universal Church, not only as regards the doctrine of the faith and the sacramental signs, but also as regards the usages universally accepted by uninterrupted apostolic tradition, which must be observed not only to avoid errors but also to transmit the integrity of the faith, because the Church's law of prayer corresponds to her law of faith.'

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI And The "Year For Priests" And The "Dialogue Of Salvation"

Dear Brother Priests,

On the forthcoming Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Friday 19 June 2009 – a day traditionally devoted to prayer for the sanctification of the clergy –,

I have decided to inaugurate a “Year for Priests” in celebration of the 150th“dies natalis” of John Mary Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests worldwide.1
anniversary of the This Year, meant to deepen the commitment of all priests to interior renewal for the sake of a more forceful and incisive witness to the Gospel in today’s world, will conclude on the same Solemnity in 2010. The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus”, the saintly Curé of Ars would often say.2
This touching expression makes us reflect, first of all, with heartfelt gratitude on the immense gift which priests represent, not only for the Church, but also for humanity itself. I think of all those priests who quietly present Christ’s words and actions each day to the faithful and to the whole world, striving to be one with the Lord in their thoughts and their will, their sentiments and their style of life.
How can I not pay tribute to their apostolic labours, their tireless and hidden service, their universal charity? And how can I not praise the courageous fidelity of so many priests who, even amid difficulties and incomprehension, remain faithful to their vocation as “friends of Christ”, whom he has called by name, chosen and sent?

I still treasure the memory of the first parish priest at whose side I exercised my ministry as a young priest: he left me an example of unreserved devotion to his pastoral duties, even to meeting death in the act of bringing viaticum to a gravely ill person. I also recall the countless confreres whom I have met and continue to meet, not least in my pastoral visits to different countries: men generously dedicated to the daily exercise of their priestly ministry.

Yet the expression of Saint John Mary also makes us think of Christ’s pierced Heart and the crown of thorns which surrounds it. I am also led to think, therefore, of the countless situations of suffering endured by many priests, either because they themselves share in the manifold human experience of pain or because they encounter misunderstanding from the very persons to whom they minister.
How can we not also think of all those priests who are offended in their dignity, obstructed in their mission and persecuted, even at times to offering the supreme testimony of their own blood?

There are also, sad to say, situations which can never be sufficiently deplored where the Church herself suffers as a consequence of infidelity on the part of some of her ministers. Then it is the world which finds grounds for scandal and rejection. What is most helpful to the Church in such cases is not only a frank and complete acknowledgment of the weaknesses of her ministers, but also a joyful and renewed realization of the greatness of God’s gift, embodied in the splendid example of generous pastors, religious afire with love for God and for souls, and insightful, patient spiritual guides. Here the teaching and example of Saint John Mary Vianney can serve as a significant point of reference for us all.

The Curé of Ars was quite humble, yet as a priest he was conscious of being an immense gift to his people: “A good shepherd, a pastor after God’s heart, is the greatest treasure which the good Lord can grant to a parish, and one of the most precious gifts of divine mercy”.3
He spoke of the priesthood as if incapable of fathoming the grandeur of the gift and task entrusted to a human creature: “O, how great is the priest! … If he realized what he is, he would die… God obeys him: he utters a few words and the Lord descends from heaven at his voice, to be contained within a small host…”.4 Explaining to his parishioners the importance of the sacraments, he would say:
“Without the Sacrament of Holy Orders, we would not have the Lord. Who put him there in that tabernacle? The priest. Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life? The priest. Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey? The priest. Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ? The priest, always the priest. And if this soul should happen to die [as a result of sin], who will raise it up, who will restore its calm and peace? Again, the priest… After God, the priest is everything! … Only in heaven will he fully realize what he is”
.5 These words, welling up from the priestly heart of the holy pastor, might sound excessive. Yet they reveal the high esteem in which he held the sacrament of the priesthood. He seemed overwhelmed by a boundless sense of responsibility: “Were we to fully realize what a priest is on earth, we would die: not of fright, but of love… Without the priest, the passion and death of our Lord would be of no avail. It is the priest who continues the work of redemption on earth… What use would be a house filled with gold, were there no one to open its door? The priest holds the key to the treasures of heaven: it is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of his goods … Leave a parish for twenty years without a priest, and they will end by worshiping the beasts there … The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you”.6

He arrived in Ars, a village of 230 souls, warned by his Bishop beforehand that there he would find religious practice in a sorry state: “There is little love of God in that parish; you will be the one to put it there”. As a result, he was deeply aware that he needed to go there to embody Christ’s presence and to bear witness to his saving mercy:

“[Lord,] grant me the conversion of my parish; I am willing to suffer whatever you wish, for my entire life!”
: with this prayer he entered upon his mission.7 The Curé devoted himself completely to his parish’s conversion, setting before all else the Christian education of the people in his care. Dear brother priests, let us ask the Lord Jesus for the grace to learn for ourselves something of the pastoral plan of Saint John Mary Vianney! The first thing we need to learn is the complete identification of the man with his ministry.
In Jesus, person and mission tend to coincide: all Christ’s saving activity was, and is, an expression of his “filial consciousness” which from all eternity stands before the Father in an attitude of loving submission to his will. In a humble yet genuine way, every priest must aim for a similar identification. Certainly this is not to forget that the efficacy of the ministry is independent of the holiness of the minister; but neither can we overlook the extraordinary fruitfulness of the encounter between the ministry’s objective holiness and the subjective holiness of the minister.
The Curé of Ars immediately set about this patient and humble task of harmonizing his life as a minister with the holiness of the ministry he had received, by deciding to “live”, physically, in his parish church: As his first biographer tells us: “Upon his arrival, he chose the church as his home. He entered the church before dawn and did not leave it until after the evening Angelus. There he was to be sought whenever needed”.8

The pious excess of his devout biographer should not blind us to the fact that the Curé also knew how to “live” actively within the entire territory of his parish: he regularly visited the sick and families, organized popular missions and patronal feasts, collected and managed funds for his charitable and missionary works, embellished and furnished his parish church, cared for the orphans and teachers of the “Providence” (an institute he founded); provided for the education of children; founded confraternities and enlisted lay persons to work at his side.

His example naturally leads me to point out that there are sectors of cooperation which need to be opened ever more fully to the lay faithful. Priests and laity together make up the one priestly people9 and in virtue of their ministry priests live in the midst of the lay faithful, “that they may lead everyone to the unity of charity, ‘loving one another with mutual affection; and outdoing one another in sharing honour’” (Rom 12:10).10 Here we ought to recall the Second Vatican Council’s hearty encouragement to priests “to be sincere in their appreciation and promotion of the dignity of the laity and of the special role they have to play in the Church’s mission. … They should be willing to listen to lay people, give brotherly consideration to their wishes, and acknowledge their experience and competence in the different fields of human activity. In this way they will be able together with them to discern the signs of the times”.11

Saint John Mary Vianney taught his parishioners primarily by the witness of his life. It was from his example that they learned to pray, halting frequently before the tabernacle for a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.12One need not say much to pray well” – the Curé explained to them – “We know that Jesus is there in the tabernacle: let us open our hearts to him, let us rejoice in his sacred presence. That is the best prayer”.13 And he would urge them: “Come to communion, my brothers and sisters, come to Jesus. Come to live from him in order to live with him…14 “Of course you are not worthy of him, but you need him!”.15 This way of educating the faithful to the Eucharistic presence and to communion proved most effective when they saw him celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Those present said that “it was not possible to find a finer example of worship… He gazed upon the Host with immense love”.16

“All good works, taken together, do not equal the sacrifice of the Mass”
– he would say – “since they are human works, while the Holy Mass is the work of God”.17 He was convinced that the fervour of a priest’s life depended entirely upon the Mass:
“The reason why a priest is lax is that he does not pay attention to the Mass! My God, how we ought to pity a priest who celebrates as if he were engaged in something routine!”
.18 He was accustomed, when celebrating, also to offer his own life in sacrifice: “What a good thing it is for a priest each morning to offer himself to God in sacrifice!”.19

This deep personal identification with the Sacrifice of the Cross led him – by a sole inward movement – from the altar to the confessional. Priests ought never to be resigned to empty confessionals or the apparent indifference of the faithful to this sacrament.

In France, at the time of the Curé of Ars, confession was no more easy or frequent than in our own day, since the upheaval caused by the revolution had long inhibited the practice of religion.
Yet he sought in every way, by his preaching and his powers of persuasion, to help his parishioners to rediscover the meaning and beauty of the sacrament of Penance, presenting it as an inherent demand of the Eucharistic presence. He thus created a “virtuous” circle. By spending long hours in church before the tabernacle, he inspired the faithful to imitate him by coming to visit Jesus with the knowledge that their parish priest would be there, ready to listen and offer forgiveness. Later, the growing numbers of penitents from all over France would keep him in the confessional for up to sixteen hours a day. It was said that Ars had become “a great hospital of souls”.20 His first biographer relates that
“the grace he obtained [for the conversion of sinners] was so powerful that it would pursue them, not leaving them a moment of peace!”
.21 The saintly Curé reflected something of the same idea when he said: “It is not the sinner who returns to God to beg his forgiveness, but God himself who runs after the sinner and makes him return to him”.22 “This good Saviour is so filled with love that he seeks us everywhere”.23
We priests should feel that the following words, which he put on the lips of Christ, are meant for each of us personally: “I will charge my ministers to proclaim to sinners that I am ever ready to welcome them, that my mercy is infinite”.24 From Saint John Mary Vianney we can learn to put our unfailing trust in the sacrament of Penance, to set it once more at the centre of our pastoral concerns, and to take up the “dialogue of salvation” which it entails. The Curé of Ars dealt with different penitents in different ways. Those who came to his confessional drawn by a deep and humble longing for God’s forgiveness found in him the encouragement to plunge into the “flood of divine mercy” which sweeps everything away by its vehemence.
If someone was troubled by the thought of his own frailty and inconstancy, and fearful of sinning again, the Curé would unveil the mystery of God’s love in these beautiful and touching words: “The good Lord knows everything. Even before you confess, he already knows that you will sin again, yet he still forgives you. How great is the love of our God: he even forces himself to forget the future, so that he can grant us his forgiveness!”.25
But to those who made a lukewarm and rather indifferent confession of sin, he clearly demonstrated by his own tears of pain how “abominable” this attitude was: “I weep because you don’t weep”,26 he would say. “If only the Lord were not so good! But he is so good! One would have to be a brute to treat so good a Father this way!”
.27 He awakened repentance in the hearts of the lukewarm by forcing them to see God’s own pain at their sins reflected in the face of the priest who was their confessor. To those who, on the other hand, came to him already desirous of and suited to a deeper spiritual life, he flung open the abyss of God’s love, explaining the untold beauty of living in union with him and dwelling in his presence: “Everything in God’s sight, everything with God, everything to please God… How beautiful it is!”.28 And he taught them to pray: “My God, grant me the grace to love you as much as I possibly can”.29

In his time the Curé of Ars was able to transform the hearts and the lives of so many people because he enabled them to experience the Lord’s merciful love. Our own time urgently needs a similar proclamation and witness to the truth of Love: Deus caritas est (1 Jn: 4:8).

Thanks to the word and the sacraments of Jesus, John Mary Vianney built up his flock, although he often trembled from a conviction of his personal inadequacy, and desired more than once to withdraw from the responsibilities of the parish ministry out of a sense of his unworthiness. Nonetheless, with exemplary obedience he never abandoned his post, consumed as he was by apostolic zeal for the salvation of souls. He sought to remain completely faithful to his own vocation and mission through the practice of an austere asceticism: “The great misfortune for us parish priests – he lamented – is that our souls grow tepid”; meaning by this that a pastor can grow dangerously inured to the state of sin or of indifference in which so many of his flock are living.30 He himself kept a tight rein on his body, with vigils and fasts, lest it rebel against his priestly soul.
Nor did he avoid self-mortification for the good of the souls in his care and as a help to expiating the many sins he heard in confession. To a priestly confrere he explained: “I will tell you my recipe: I give sinners a small penance and the rest I do in their place”.31 Aside from the actual penances which the Curé of Ars practiced, the core of his teaching remains valid for each of us: souls have been won at the price of Jesus’ own blood, and a priest cannot devote himself to their salvation if he refuses to share personally in the “precious cost” of redemption.

In today’s world, as in the troubled times of the Curé of Ars, the lives and activity of priests need to be distinguished by a forceful witness to the Gospel. As Pope Paul VI rightly noted, “modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses”.32 Lest we experience existential emptiness and the effectiveness of our ministry be compromised, we need to ask ourselves ever anew: “Are we truly pervaded by the word of God? Is that word truly the nourishment we live by, even more than bread and the things of this world? Do we really know that word? Do we love it? Are we deeply engaged with this word to the point that it really leaves a mark on our lives and shapes our thinking?”.33 Just as Jesus called the Twelve to be with him (cf. Mk 3:14), and only later sent them forth to preach, so too in our days priests are called to assimilate that “new style of life” which was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus and taken up by the Apostles.34

It was complete commitment to this “new style of life” which marked the priestly ministry of the Curé of Ars. Pope John XXIII, in his Encyclical Letter Sacerdotii nostri primordia, published in 1959 on the first centenary of the death of Saint John Mary Vianney, presented his asceticism with special reference to the “three evangelical counsels” which the Pope considered necessary also for priests: “even though priests are not bound to embrace these evangelical counsels by virtue of the clerical state, these counsels nonetheless offer them, as they do all the faithful, the surest road to the desired goal of Christian perfection”.35 The Curé of Ars lived the “evangelical counsels” in a way suited to his priestly state.

His poverty was not the poverty of a religious or a monk, but that proper to a priest: while managing much money (since well-to-do pilgrims naturally took an interest in his charitable works), he realized that everything had been donated to his church, his poor, his orphans, the girls of his “Providence”,36 his families of modest means. Consequently, he “was rich in giving to others and very poor for himself”.37 As he would explain: “My secret is simple: give everything away; hold nothing back”.
38 When he lacked money, he would say aimiably to the poor who knocked at his door: “Today I’m poor just like you, I’m one of you”.39 At the end of his life, he could say with absolute tranquillity: “I no longer have anything. The good Lord can call me whenever he wants!”.40 His chastity, too, was that demanded of a priest for his ministry. It could be said that it was a chastity suited to one who must daily touch the Eucharist, who contemplates it blissfully and with that same bliss offers it to his flock.
It was said of him that “he radiated chastity”; the faithful would see this when he turned and gazed at the tabernacle with loving eyes”.41 Finally, Saint John Mary Vianney’s obedience found full embodiment in his conscientious fidelity to the daily demands of his ministry. We know how he was tormented by the thought of his inadequacy for parish ministry and by a desire to flee “in order to bewail his poor life, in solitude”.
42 Only obedience and a thirst for souls convinced him to remain at his post. As he explained to himself and his flock: “There are no two good ways of serving God. There is only one: serve him as he desires to be served”.43 He considered this the golden rule for a life of obedience: “Do only what can be offered to the good Lord”.44

In this context of a spirituality nourished by the practice of the evangelical counsels, I would like to invite all priests, during this Year dedicated to them, to welcome the new springtime which the Spirit is now bringing about in the Church, not least through the ecclesial movements and the new communities.

“In his gifts the Spirit is multifaceted… He breathes where he wills. He does so unexpectedly, in unexpected places, and in ways previously unheard of… but he also shows us that he works with a view to the one body and in the unity of the one body”
.45 In this regard, the statement of the Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis continues to be timely: “While testing the spirits to discover if they be of God, priests must discover with faith, recognize with joy and foster diligently the many and varied charismatic gifts of the laity, whether these be of a humble or more exalted kind”.46 These gifts, which awaken in many people the desire for a deeper spiritual life, can benefit not only the lay faithful but the clergy as well. The communion between ordained and charismatic ministries can provide “a helpful impulse to a renewed commitment by the Church in proclaiming and bearing witness to the Gospel of hope and charity in every corner of the world”.47
I would also like to add, echoing the Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis of Pope John Paul II, that the ordained ministry has a radical “communitarian form” and can be exercised only in the communion of priests with their Bishop.
48 This communion between priests and their Bishop, grounded in the sacrament of Holy Orders and made manifest in Eucharistic concelebration, needs to be translated into various concrete expressions of an effective and affective priestly fraternity.49 Only thus will priests be able to live fully the gift of celibacy and build thriving Christian communities in which the miracles which accompanied the first preaching of the Gospel can be repeated.

The Pauline Year now coming to its close invites us also to look to the Apostle of the Gentiles, who represents a splendid example of a priest entirely devoted to his ministry. “The love of Christ urges us on” – he wrote – “because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died” (2 Cor 5:14). And he adds: “He died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them” (2 Cor 5:15). Could a finer programme could be proposed to any priest resolved to advance along the path of Christian perfection?

Dear brother priests, the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of Saint John Mary Vianney (1859) follows upon the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the apparitions of Lourdes (1858). In 1959 Blessed Pope John XXIII noted that

“shortly before the Curé of Ars completed his long and admirable life, the Immaculate Virgin appeared in another part of France to an innocent and humble girl, and entrusted to her a message of prayer and penance which continues, even a century later, to yield immense spiritual fruits. The life of this holy priest whose centenary we are commemorating in a real way anticipated the great supernatural truths taught to the seer of Massabielle. He was greatly devoted to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin; in 1836 he had dedicated his parish church to Our Lady Conceived without Sin and he greeted the dogmatic definition of this truth in 1854 with deep faith and great joy.”
50 The Curé would always remind his faithful that “after giving us all he could, Jesus Christ wishes in addition to bequeath us his most precious possession, his Blessed Mother”.51

To the Most Holy Virgin I entrust this Year for Priests. I ask her to awaken in the heart of every priest a generous and renewed commitment to the ideal of complete self-oblation to Christ and the Church which inspired the thoughts and actions of the saintly Curé of Ars.

It was his fervent prayer life and his impassioned love of Christ Crucified that enabled John Mary Vianney to grow daily in his total self-oblation to God and the Church. May his example lead all priests to offer that witness of unity with their Bishop, with one another and with the lay faithful, which today, as ever, is so necessary. Despite all the evil present in our world, the words which Christ spoke to his Apostles in the Upper Room continue to inspire us: “In the world you have tribulation; but take courage, I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33).
Our faith in the Divine Master gives us the strength to look to the future with confidence. Dear priests, Christ is counting on you. In the footsteps of the Curé of Ars, let yourselves be enthralled by him. In this way you too will be, for the world in our time, heralds of hope, reconciliation and peace!

With my blessing.

From the Vatican, 16 June 2009.


Link (here)