Archive for the ‘Joseph Ratzinger’ 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 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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