Saturday, March 11, 2006

Ignatius Bible: RSV 2nd Catholic Edition

I recently purchased the 2nd edition of the Ignatius Bible (Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition, paperback). The type setting for this one is excellent, and I love the fact that the scriptural notes are actually on the pages to which they apply, rather than in a section in the back. Not to mention that this is a very good translation that includes all of the canonical books of the Old Testament. For whatever it's worth, I give it the Ad Altare Dei stamp of approval!
Wedding Cake Blues

Saw this on
A young and nervous bride planning her wedding was increasingly terrified about her upcoming marriage. To calm her nerves, she decided to have a Bible verse which had always brought her comfort (1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love; for perfect love casts out fear") engraved on her wedding cake. So she called the caterer and all arrangements were made.

About a week before the wedding, she received a call from the catering company. "Is this really the verse you want on your cake?" they asked. Yes, she confirmed, it was the one she wanted, and after a few more questions they said they would decorate the cake as requested.

The wedding day came, and everything was beautiful ... until the reception, when the bride walked in to find the cake emblazoned with John 4:18: "For you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband."
Of course, a responsible caterer would have also probably read the verse aloud to her to make sure that's what she wanted, but it's a story with a good note of caution, just the same...
Rev. Lovejoy

Reverend Lovejoy after he, Marge, and Ned Flanders kidnap Bart to keep him from becoming Catholic:
"Bart, we're here to bring you back to the one TRUE faith -- the Western Branch of American Reformed Presbylutheranism."
From Episode #356: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Guest Star

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Patriarch of the West

It has been spreading around for a while now that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has apparently decided to drop his papal title Patriarch of the West. Some have suggested that this is being done in an effort to bring into focus what is proper to the pope's role as Patriarch and bishop of Rome, rather than of the West. This would then allow us to focus on what is absolutely essential to our understanding of papal primacy with respect to the Petrine ministry and rest of the universal church, both East and West.

As whapster Andrew discusses, the pope doesn't have to concern himself with the administrative jurisdiction of other regions in, for example, appointing bishops and establishing liturgical laws and rites for certain regions. This move could make easier the construction of separate patriarchates in regions such as Asia and Africa that would be detached from the Latin church, while still in union with her and recognizing the Petrine primacy that truly belongs to the pope.

What this will exactly mean for the Eastern Orthodox remains to be seen. There are still many issues to consider, most certainly. Eastern Orthodox theologian Olivier Clement, in his book, You Are Peter: An Orthodox Reflection on the Exercise of Papal Primacy (written as a response to John Paul II's encyclical, Ut Unum Sint), puts forth very fair challenges to both the Eastern and Western churches with regard to the proper understanding of papal primacy in a potential unified church. He puts forth a very good argument, but among many things he brings up, one of Clement's primary concerns for the West is that its notions of primacy and jurisdiction have gotten too wrapped up in notions of power and administrative authority over that of individual bishops. Clement notes, however, that this may eventually be largely a thing of the past, as he praises efforts on the part of the Latin church in recent decades to refocus its understanding of papal primacy with respect to its understanding of collegiality among bishops and their true and proper authority -- efforts that stem, in particular, from the Second Vatican Council.

Prior to the council, it was not uncommon to speak of the pope alone as the true Vicar of Christ. Nevertheless, the council took great steps to broaden this focus by noting that every bishop is also, in a sense, a vicar of Christ for his local church and has an authority that is properly invested in him by Christ. Note paragraph 27 from Lumen Gentium:
Bishops, as vicars and ambassadors of Christ, govern the particular churches entrusted to them by their counsel, exhortations, example, and even by their authority and sacred power, which indeed they use only for the edification of their flock in truth and holiness... This power, which they personally exercise in Christ's name, is proper, ordinary and immediate, although its exercise is ultimately regulated by the supreme authority of the Church...
Several years ago, I mentioned this fact in a Catholic mailing list once, and it just about incited a riot. I was surprised at how many Catholics simply refused to accept it. Lumen Gentium continues:
The pastoral office or the habitual and daily care of their sheep is entrusted to [the bishops] completely; nor are they to be regarded as vicars of the Roman Pontiffs, for they exercise an authority that is proper to them, and are quite correctly called "prelates," heads of the people whom they govern. Their power, therefore, is not destroyed by the supreme and universal power, but on the contrary it is affirmed, strengthened and vindicated by it, since the Holy Spirit unfailingly preserves the form of government established by Christ the Lord in His Church.
Note this fact: The bishops are not to be thought of as vicars of the pope. They have an authority that belongs to them individually that is affirmed by the supreme authority of the Church by virtue of their unity with the See of Rome, not annulled by it. Pope John Paul II was also very keen to latch on and develop the importance of collegial ministry. In paragraph 95 of his encyclical, Ut Unum Sint, he underscores the Second Vatican Council's teaching:
When the Catholic Church affirms that the office of the Bishop of Rome corresponds to the will of Christ, she does not separate this office from the mission entrusted to the whole body of Bishops, who are also "vicars and ambassadors of Christ". The Bishop of Rome is a member of the "College", and the Bishops are his brothers in the ministry.
It is well that he should have had this in mind, for the encyclical does concern itself with the question of reunion with the East and the proper understanding of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. All of this begins to make more sense when we consider these words of our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, from an essay written several years ago entitled Primacy and Episcopacy:
Rome must not require more from the East with respect to the doctrine of primacy than had been formulated and was lived in the first millennium. When the Patriarch Athenagoras, on July 25, 1967, on the occasion of the Pope's visit to Phanar, designated him as the successor of St. Peter, as the most esteemed among us, as one also presides in charity, this great Church leader was expressing the essential content of the doctrine of primacy as it was known in the first millennium. Rome need not ask for more. Reunion could take place in this context if, on the one hand, the East would cease to oppose as heretical the developments that took place in the West in the second millennium and would accept the Catholic Church as legitimate and orthodox in the form she had acquired in the course of that development, while, on the other hand, the West would recognize the Church of the East as orthodox and legitimate in the form she has always had... Finally, in the not too distant future one could consider whether the churches of Asia and Africa, like those of the East, should not present their own forms as autonomous 'patriarchates' or 'great churches' or whatever such ecclesiae in the Ecclesia might be called in the future.
So gradually things are coming into focus. There are still many issues to hammer out with our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters, but one day, we will be one.

Monday, March 06, 2006

What Lies Beneath

The Scavi of St. Peter's and the Grittiness of Catholicism

by George Weigel, from Chapter 2 of Letters to a Young Catholic:
The remarkable sites beneath St. Peter's are known today as the scavi (excavations). A walk through them is a walk into some important truths about what it means to be a Catholic...

Digging under the papal high altar of the basilica was something like peeling an onion or opening one of those nested Russian matrushka dolls. Eventually the excavators found a shrine, the Tropaion (the Greek word for trophy or victory monument): a classic structure with columns supporting what may have been an altar, surmounted by a pediment. The floor of the Tropaion, which has an opening delineating the boundaries of the grave over which the monument was built, defined the level of the floor of Constantine's basilica. At the back of the Tropaion was a red wall; exposed to the elements, it began to crack, necessitating the construction of a buttressing wall to support the whole structure. When archaeologists unearthed the buttressing wall, they found it covered with graffiti. And it contained a secret, marble-lined repository. One piece of graffiti, decoded, seemed to say, "Peter is [here!]"
I long to visit Rome and the Scavi one day...
Via Crucis: Good Lenten Practice

The Stations of the Cross from Rome, from Good Friday 2005, with meditations and prayers from Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI). If you're looking for healthy spiritual practices to engage in this Lent, check it out. For each station, click on the corresponding picture to display the corresponding reading from Scripture and the meditation.


Related Posts with Thumbnails