Archive for the ‘Benedict XVI’ Tag

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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