Archive for the ‘Benedict XVI’ Tag

Feast of Penny Lernoux (October 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Latin America

Image in the Public Domain

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PENNY LERNOUX (JANUARY 6, 1940-OCTOBER 9, 1989)

U.S. Roman Catholic Journalist and Moral Critic

Penny Lernoux–journalist, defender of the poor and oppressed, and advocate for Liberation Theology–comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via two books.  The first one is Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997).  The other volume is Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday, editors, Cloud of Witnesses, second edition (2005).

Lernoux, born in California on January 6, 1940, was a cradle Roman Catholic.  She became a journalist.  In 1962, as an employee of the United States Information Agency (U.S.I.A.), she traveled to Latin America for the first of many times.  After leaving the U.S.I.A., she went to work for the Copley News Service in the early 1960s.  Our saint, an employee of that news service for about a decade, continued to travel professionally in Latin America.

The Cold War made for nasty bedfellows, all in the name of fighting communism.  The United States Government usually supported Latin American right-wing military dictatorships that sent death squads to execute innocent civilians.  The United States Government even installed some of these dictatorships, all in the name of fighting communism.  These governments were not communist, at least.  Most Roman Catholic bishops in Latin America supported these repressive governments, which were not communist, at least.  Lernoux became disenchanted with her Church and her country in the 1960s.  She remained so for the rest of her life.

Yet our saint found grassroots heroes of faith who renewed her faltering faith.  Maryknoll Sisters helped to renew Lernoux’s faith.  She also met Roman Catholic priests and missioners who worked and identified with the poor and oppressed, despite great risks to themselves.  Lernoux began to tell these stories.  Her first book, Cry of the Poor:  The Struggle for Human Rights in Latin America–The Catholic Church in Conflict with U.S. Policy (1977), was part of that endeavor.  She really lowered the boom on the Vatican and the United States Government in In Banks We Trust:  Bankers and Their Close Associates:  The C.I.A., the Mafia, Drug Traders, Dictators, Politicians, and the Vatican (1984).  She also wrote for The Chronicle of Higher Education and the National Catholic Reporter.  Furthermore, our saint spoke in North American churches, telling the stories of their Latin American counterparts.

Lernoux found another reason to criticize the Vatican.  The Church had betrayed the promise of the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), she alleged.  For example, Pope John Paul II and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) were busy silencing dissent in the 1980s.  People of God:  The Struggle for World Catholicism (1989) did nothing to make Lernoux less unpopular at the Vatican.

At the end of her life, Lernoux was writing her fourth book, a history of the Maryknoll Sisters.  In September 1989, Lernoux received her diagnosis of cancer.  On October 8, she aged 49 years old, died in Mount Kisco, New York.  She left behind a husband (Denis Nahum) and a daughter (Angela).  

Robert Ellsberg and Arthur Jones completed Lernoux’s last book.  Hearts on Fire:  The Story of the Maryknoll Sisters debuted in 1993.

Lernoux understood the divine preference for the poor in the Bible.  She, in her words, walked

in solidarity with the poor.

So did many Latin American Roman Catholic priests, lay people, and religious.  So did Brazilian Archbishop Helder Camara (1909-1989), who challenged his fellow Latin American bishops to identify with the poor and the oppressed, not the rich and the powerful.  And so did El Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980), who became a martyr.

The poor and the oppressed need more advocates of the calibre of Penny Lernoux.

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God of the poor and oppressed,

thank you for the work and legacy of your servant Penny Lernoux,

a journalist, an advocate for the poor and oppressed, and a faithful dissident.

Help us, we pray, shake off the barriers to recognizing oppression and exploitation,

and our roles in perpetuating those sins.

May we, in the name of performing righteousness,

not commit and perpetuate evil.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 4:1-10

Psalm 15

Revelation 18:1-24

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 29, 2021 COMMON ERA

MONDAY IN HOLY WEEK

THE FEAST OF CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD, COMPOSER, ORGANIST, AND CONDUCTOR

THE FEAST OF DORA GREENWELL, POET AND DEVOTIONAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH RUNDLE CHARLES, ANGLICAN WRITER, HYMN TRANSLATOR, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN KEBLE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JONAS AND BARACHISIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 327

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Feast of Venerable John Paul I (August 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  Venerable John Paul I

Image in the Public Domain

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ALBINO LUCIANI (OCTOBER 17, 1912-SEPTEMBER 28, 1978)

Bishop of Rome

Venerable John Paul I comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via the Roman Catholic Church.  This Ecumenical Calendar is my project, one of my hobbies.  Therefore, I reserve the right to establish feast days as I see fit.  I see fit to set this feast on August 26, for Albino Luciani became Pope John Paul I on August 26, 1978.

Luciani was the third son and the fourth child of Bortola Tancon (c. 1879-1947) and bricklayer Giovanni Luciani (c. 1872-1952).  Our saint, born in Forno di Canale (now Canale d’Agordo), Belluno, Italy, perceived his priestly vocation as a boy.  After graduating from seminary and getting turned away from the Society of Jesus, Luciani received the sacrament of Holy Orders on July 7, 1935.

Father Luciani spent the next 35 years serving in various capacities.  He was a curate in his hometown until 1935.  Next, our saint served as a professor of several subjects (from theology to sacred art) and vice-rector of the Belluno seminary, his alma mater.  Luciani worked on his Doctorate of Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, from 1941 to 1947.  Then, in 1947, our saint began to serve on the diocesan level in the Diocese of Belluno.  He was the chancellor (1947-1954) then the Vicar General (1954-1959).  Opportunities for promotion to bishop came and went.  Luciani’s fragile health was one reason for his delayed promotion.  In the meantime, our saint developed ideas he carried forward in his ministry in the subsequent years.  For example, Luciani argued for proper catechesis, in language and methods all people can understand.

Pope St. John XXIII appointed Father Luciani the Bishop of Vittorio Veneto.  This appointment took effect on January 11, 1959.  Bishop Luciani vowed on that day to be both a teacher and a servant.  As the Bishop of Vittorio Veneto, our saint participated in the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).

Pope St. Paul VI appointed Bishop Luciani the Patriarch of Venice, effective February 1969.  As the Patriarch of Venice and, as of March 5, 1973, Cardinal Luciani, our saint affirmed Roman Catholic social teaching.  He acknowledged that the developed world owed the Third World a financial and moral debt.  Therefore, in 1971, he suggested that dioceses in the developed world give one percent of their income to dioceses in the developing world as “reparation for social sin.”  Cardinal Luciani also opposed the liberalization of divorce laws, as well as the participation of priests in the Italian Communist Party.  Furthermore, our saint led by example when he sold a gold cross and its gold pectoral chain to raise funds to help disabled children.  The cross and chain, formerly property of Pope Pius XII, had been a gift from Pope St. John XXIII.  Cardinal Luciani, generally on the side of the poor, was not on their side as much as he should have been, though.  For example, he opposed the worker priest movement and labor strikes.

Pope St. Paul VI died on the Feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 1978.  He was the first of three Popes that year.  Cardinal Luciani expressed his desire that the conclave not elect him.  He even said that he would refuse election.  Yet the conclave elected him on that August 26, and he accepted election.

The new Pope was too conservative for some and too liberal for others.   A conspiracy theory grew up around his election.  Yet the consensus position became that Venerable John Paul I was “God’s candidate.”  The new Supreme Pontiff, also known as the “Smiling Pope” and “the Smile of God,” had a down-to-earth style.  He spoke of himself as “I,” eschewing the royal “we.”  He refused the Papal crown and referred to his installation as an inauguration, not a coronation.

Pope John Paul I was an orthodox Roman Catholic.  (This should not surprise anyone.)  His change was one of style; he was more pastoral than his illustrious immediate successor had been.  Divine mercy, manifested by people in society, was the new Pope’s main theme.  He encouraged the faithful to behave mercifully and to transform society for the better.

Upon election on August 26, 1978, Pope John Paul I had said his papacy would be brief.  He was objectively correct.  He died on September 28, 1978.  His papacy had lasted a mere 33 days.  The application of Ockham’s Razor has established that he died of natural causes.  Conspiracy theories have continued to flourish, though.

According to reports, Pope John Paul I died with a smile on his face.

Pope Francis declared Pope John Paul I a Venerable in 2017.

Pope Francis seems to have modeled himself after Pope John Paul I.  The current Supreme Pontiff is an orthodox Roman Catholic, despite what some very conservative Roman Catholics claim.  Like Pope John Paul I, Pope Francis’s major difference relative to his immediate predecessor is stylistic–smiling.  I mean no disrespect to Pope St. Paul VI and Pope Benedict XVI, by the way.

A good friend–a devout Presbyterian in Athens, Georgia–died in early 2013.  His epitaph has remained engraved on my memory:

God’s love smiled through him.

God’s love smiled through Pope John Paul I.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 20, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SEBASTIAN CASTELLIO, PROPHET OF RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH, HYMN WRITER AND ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF ELLEN GATES STARR, U.S. EPISCOPALIAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL ACTIVIST AND REFORMER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA JOSEFA SANCHO DE GUERRA, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SERVANTS OF JESUS

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL RODIGAST, GERMAN LUTHERAN ACADEMIC AND HYMN WRITER

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant Venerable John Paul I,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the full stature

of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.   Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3;14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Feast of Blessed Antonio Rosmini (July 1)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Antonio Rosmini

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ANTONIO FRANCESCO DAVIDE AMBROGIO ROSMINI-SERBATI (MARCH 25, 1797-JULY 1, 1855)

Founder of the Institute of Charity

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Pray that God in his mercy may give me patience to carry my cross though it be to the end of my life, and that I may never think hardly of those have brought it on me.

–Blessed Antonio Rosmini, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 284

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Blessed Antonio Rosmini, a priest, a scholar, a philosopher, and an Italian patriot, was usually embroiled in ecclesiastical controversies.

Our saint, born in Rovereto, Italy, Holy Roman Empire (when it was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire, to quote Voltaire), on March 25, 1797, came from wealth and lower aristocracy.  His family’s money came from silk manufacturing.  Rosmini, a graduate of the University of Padua, joined the ranks of priests in 1821.  Then he wrote and studied at Rovereto (1821-1826) and Milan (1826-1828).

Rosmini started getting into trouble immediately.  He opposed state interference, such as the nomination of bishops, in ecclesiastical matters.  The Church, our saint insisted, must be independent of all states and an arm of none.  That position offended many powerful people.

Nevertheless, Rosmini had powerful allies, too.  One of these was Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari (1765-1846), also known as Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846).  Gregory XVI approved Rosmini’s new order of priests, the Institute of Charity, founded on February 20, 1828.  St. Magdalena of Canossa (1774-1835), foundress of the Daughters of Charity, had, in 1820, invited our saint to found a similar order for men.  He accepted, eight years later.  The founding of the Institute of Charity was a response to one of the church’s problems–the inadequate education of priests.

Rosmini, a capable philosopher, countered John Locke.  In particular, our saint wrote in response to Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding.  Rosmini’s rebuttal was A New Essay Concerning the Origin of Ideas (1830).  Another major work that proved to be more controversial was Treatise on Moral Conscience (1839).  Rosmini was in trouble with elements of Holy Mother Church for that work from 1839 to 1854, when the Church exonerated him.

[NOTE:  I choose not to paraphrase Rosmini’s philosophy.  Instead, I refer you, O reader, to the article about our saint at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for those details.]

Two other controversial works were Five Wounds of the Church (1832) and A Constitution Based on Social Justice (1848).  The latter work anticipated Catholic social teaching that Pope Leo XIII (reigned 1878-1903) established.  The five self-inflicted wounds of the church were:

  1. The separation of the priests and the people at Mass.  Rosmini favored liturgical renewal that entailed the transition to vernacular language in the Mass.
  2. The Inadequate education of priests.  Rosmini addressed this problem in the Institute of Charity.
  3. The disunity of bishops.
  4. The nomination of bishops by secular authorities.
  5. The enthrallment of the Church to wealth.

Rosmini’s reputation in the Church was improving until 1848.  Pope Pius IX (reigned 1846-1878) was initially a liberal and a reformer.  During the first two years of his pontificate, our saint’s support for Italian unification was not a liability either.  In 1848, however, Pio Nono became a reactionary.  The following year, the Church listed Five Wounds of the Church (1832) and A Constitution Based on Social Justice (1848) on the Index.

Rosmini, 58 years old, died in Stressa, Piedmont, Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, on July 1, 1855.

Rosmini’s official ecclesiastical reputation has varied postmortem.  He was officially exonerated from 1854 to 1888-1889.  Then Pope Leo XIII condemned some of our saint’s propositions.  The Vatican exonerated our saint again in 2001, during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.  Then Pope Benedict XVI declared Rosmini a Venerable in 2006 and beatified him the following year.

Rosmini was ahead of his time.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 29, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PETER AND PAUL, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Almighty God, we praise you for the men and women you have sent

to call the Church and renew its life [such as Blessed Antonio Rosmini].

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your Church and proclaim the reality of your kingdom;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Roger Schutz (May 12)   Leave a comment

Above:  Brother Roger

Image Source = Vatican Radio

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ROGER LOUIS SCHÜTZ-MARSAUCHE (MAY 12, 1915-AUGUST 16, 2005)

Founder and First Prior of the Taizé Community

Also known as Brother Roger

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I discovered my Christian identity by reconciling within myself my Protestant origins and my faith in the Catholic Church.

–Brother Roger

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Roger Schütz was an ecumenical pioneer who, even after his death, has continued to arouse the theological ire of both diehard anti-Roman Catholic Protestant and traditionalist Catholic camps while winning the approval of both the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches.

Our saint had Protestant origins.  He, born in Provence, Switzerland, on May 12, 1915, was a son of Karl Ulrich Schütz, a Lutheran minister, and Amélie Henriette Marsauche, a French Calvinist.  From a young age, however, Roger had an interest in Roman Catholic spiritual writers, such as Blaise Pascal (1623-1662).  When our saint studied theology at Lausanne he wrote his thesis on the topic, “Is Saint Benedict’s ideal of the monastic life in conformity with the Gospel?”

The origins of the ecumenical monastery went back to 1940, when Schütz arrived in Taizé, Burgundy, France, on the border of the Nazi-occupation zone and the French State, or Vichy France.  He founded a community that sheltered Jews, orphans, and members of the Maquis.  Schütz, forced to flee from the Gestapo in 1942, returned two years later.  Then he began in earnest to set up the Taizé community.

Brother Roger wrote the community rule, the summary of which was:

Preserve at all times an interior silence to live in Christ’s presence and cultivate the spirit of the Beatitudes:  joy, simplicity, mercy.

On Easter Day 1949 the first brothers took their vows of celibacy, the sharing of possessions, and the acceptance of authority.  The ecumenical community was immediately a target of suspicion from both the Roman Catholic Church and mainstream Protestantism, although both of those camps lightened up over time.  In 1969, for example, the Roman Catholic hierarchy in France permitted Catholics to join the ecumenical monastery.  That community had 12 brothers in 1950, 50 brothers in 1965, and more than 100 brothers (most of them Catholics) in 2005.

Brother Roger was open about his Roman Catholic sympathies, although he never converted to Catholicism.  He defended the celibacy of the clergy and accepted the “universal ministry of the Pope,” for example.  Pope St. John XXIII invited our saint to observe Vatican II.  In 1974, at the Youth Council, which more than 40,000 people attended, an Orthodox bishop and five Cardinals were present.  Pope St. John Paul II visited Taizé in 1986.  Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey led a group of 100 young Anglicans there six years later.  Also, in 2005, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, soon to become Pope Benedict XVI, gave Brother Roger communion at the funeral of Pope St. John Paul II.

Brother Roger, at the age of 90 years, was planning to retire when he died in 2005.  He had already designated a successor, Brother Alois.  On August 16, 2005, at a prayer service with 2,500 young people present, Luminita Ruxandra Solcan, a mentally ill woman from Romania, stabbed the prior fatally three times.  Those who issued their condolences included Pope Benedict XVI; Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams; the Roman Catholic prelates of France and Germany; Nigel McCullough, the (Anglican) Bishop of Manchester; Geneviève Jacques, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches; and Bob Edgar, the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches.  At Brother Roger’s funeral Brother Alois prayed for divine forgiveness of Solcan.

I have written about many saints at this weblog since 2009.  They have been quite a varied group; many of them have been quite different from me.  (Vive a différence!)  Brother Roger has been one of the saints closest to my heart, especially given his zeal for ecumenism.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 14, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CALLIXTUS I, ANTERUS, AND PONTIAN, BISHOPS OF ROME; AND SAINT HIPPOLYTUS, ANTIPOPE

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL ISAAC JOSEPH SCHERESCHEWSKY, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF SHANGHAI

THE FEAST OF THOMAS HANSEN KINGO, DANISH LUTHERAN BISHOP, HYMN WRITER, AND “POET OF EASTERTIDE”

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Roger Schütz,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

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