SHOULD CATHOLICS CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN? SCOTT RICHERT SAYS THE FESTIVAL HAS DEEPLY CATHOLIC ROOTS PAGE 12
October 22 2010 £1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)
Pope writes to world’s seminarians Pontiff reflects on his own difficult path to the priesthood Being a priest is still a great calling despite scandals, he says Pope tells seminarians: ‘You have done a good thing’
BY ED WEST
POPE BENEDICT XVI has told seminarians that they face similar challenges to those in Nazi Germany in an unprecedented and personal letter to the world’s seminarians.
And in the letter, to mark the end of the year of priests, the Holy Father also said that scandals of clerical sexual abuse “cannot discredit the priestly mission, which remains great and pure”.
The Pope compared the “difficult times” of today with the climate in the final months of Nazi regime in Germany when he was a young man. He recalled that when he was drafted for military service in December 1944 the commander asked him about his plans for the future.
“I answered that I wanted to become a Catholic priest,” the Pope wrote. “The lieutenant replied, ‘Then you ought to look for something else. In the new Germany priests are no longer needed’.”
But Benedict XVI recalled: “I knew that this ‘new Germany’ was already coming to an end, and that, after the enormous devastation which that madness had brought upon the country, priests would be needed more than ever.”
Although the situation today was very different to that of his youth, he said: “In different ways, though, many people nowadays also think that the Catholic priesthood is not a ‘job’ for the future, but one that belongs more to the past.
“You, dear friends, have decided to enter the seminary and to prepare for priestly ministry in the Catholic Church in spite of such opinions and objections.
“You have done a good thing,” he said, “because people will always have need of God, even in an age marked by technical mastery of the world and globalisation: they will always need the God Who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, the God Who gathers us together in the universal Church in order to learn with Him and through Him life’s true meaning and in order to uphold and apply the standards of true humanity. Where people no longer
The Pope is greeted by British seminarians at St Mary’s College, Oscott, on the day that he beatified Cardinal John Henry Newman PA
perceive God, life grows empty; nothing is ever enough.”
The Pope’s letter included a detailed and often personal exhortation to seminarians on the nature of the priesthood and the spiritual maturity that it requires.
The priest must first and foremost be a “man of God” who is willing to grow in self-knowledge and humility through prayer, the Pope said. He encouraged seminarians to cultivate an “inner closeness” with Jesus through the sacraments, especially the sacrament of Penance, which is vitally important to the spiritual formation of priests.
“It teaches me to see myself as God sees me, and it forces me to be honest with myself,” the Pope said. “Moreover, by letting myself be forgiven, I learn to forgive others. In recognising my own weakness, I grow more tolerant and understanding of the failings of my neighbour.”
The Pope also urged seminarians to foster “the right balance of heart and mind, reason and feeling, body and soul, and to be humanly integrated”.
“This also involves the integration of sexuality into the whole personality,” he said. “Sexuality is a gift of the Creator yet it is also a task which relates to a person’s growth towards human maturity. When it is not integrated within the person, sexuality becomes banal and destructive.”
The Holy Father, whose visit to Britain was initially overshadowed by the Church’s sexual abuse scandal, spoke about the damage done by priests in the past. “Recently we have seen with great dismay that some priests disfigured their ministry by sexually abusing children and young people. Instead of guiding people to greater human maturity and setting them an example, their abusive behaviour caused great damage for which we feel profound shame and regret.
“Yet even the most reprehensible abuse cannot discredit the priestly mission, which remains great and pure,” he said: “Thank
God, all of us know exemplary priests, men shaped by their faith, who bear witness that one can attain to an authentic, pure and mature humanity in this state and specifically in the life of celibacy.”
The Pope also urged tomorrow’s priests to “love” canon law, and to “love the study of theology”. Without the Church, “theology would cease to be itself and instead it would become a medley of different disciplines lacking inner unity,” he noted.
The Pope finished his letter with a message to the priests of the new movements, urging them work in harmony with the wider Church.
He said: “The movements are a magnificent thing. You know how much I esteem them and love them as a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church. Yet they must be evaluated by their openness to what is truly Catholic, to the life of the whole Church of Christ, which for all her variety still remains one. The seminary is a time when you learn with one another and from one another.”
The letter was published a few days after it was announced Ushaw College will likely close next June.
The County Durham college is home to St Cuthbert’s Seminary, as well as conference and event facilities and accommodation, but its 26 students will transfer to another seminary next year.
Ushaw can trace its roots back to Douai College, which was founded in 1568 in the Spanish Netherlands, now northern France, to support priests during a period of persecution. It transferred to Ushaw in 1808.
Mgr John Marsland, president of the college, said: “Words cannot express how sad we are that we are considering such a drastic step. We have long tried to find a development partner and it would be nice to believe that a partner will still come forward with a viable business plan, but unfortunately time is running out and we have to face the reality of the situation we are in.”
Editorial Comment: Page 15
Benedict XVI says new cardinals reflect universality of the Church
BY ANNA ARCO
POPE BENEDICT XVI announced on Wednesday that he will create 24 new cardinals at a consistory on November 20.
The newly announced curial cardinals include the Pope’s new chief ecumenist the Swiss Archbishop Kurt Koch, the newly appointed prefect for the Congregation of Clergy, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, and the prefect of the Congregation for the
Causes of Saints, Archbishop Angelo Amato. Pope Benedict will also elevate Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, Archbishop Paolo Romeo of Palermo, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo in Sri Lanka, Archbishop Monsengwo Pasiya of Kinshasa from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw and his fellow countryman Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising.
There were other high-profile churchmen on the list: Archbishop Velasio dePaolis, who is the prefect for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, and the newly appointed president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum Archbishop Robert Sarah from Guinea. Archbishop Sarah was the papal emissary to the Central African Republic and recommended the dramatic reform of the local Church.
Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the
Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest judicial authority, was also among the names. The Pope said the new cardinals reflected the universality of the Church and asked the faithful to pray for them.
Of the newly named cardinals, 20 are potential cardinal-electors if Pope Benedict XVI were to die and a conclave of cardinals were called. Cardinals under the age of 80 are allowed to vote for the Pope.
Rome priest opens pub beneath church
Homer Simpson is a Catholic, says paper
THE BIRMINGHAM ORATORY SHRINE OF BLESSED JOHN HENRY NEWMAN
THE CHAPEL OF BLESSED
JOHN HENRY NEWMAN THE NEWMAN MEMORIAL CHURCH
EXHIBITION OF NEWMAN’S LIFE
BOOKSHOP & REPOSITORY
WEEKLY PILGRIM MASS
Saturdays at 11am followed by prayers in the shrine
SOLEMN MASS Sundays at 10.30am
Sunday, 17th October Missa Simile est regnum – Guerrero
Exspectans Expectavi – Lassus
Sunday, 24th October Mass for four voices – Byrd O sacrum convivium – Guerrero
O quam Suavis – Byrd
BY NICK PISA IN ROME
A PUB named after Pope John Paul II has opened in Rome.
The John Paul II bar is run by a priest and is set in the crypt of a church.
On the walls are crucifixes and phrases from the Bible and although there is is beer on draught and in bottles, plus wine, spirits are banned along with getting drunk.
The John Paul II pub is in the Basilica of San Carlo in the centre of Rome and has the backing of officials from the Diocese of Rome and regulars include several priests.
Landlord Fr Maurizio Mirilli said: “The aim is to offer young people an opportunity to express themselves, to listen, to be listened to, to drink something but in a healthy way, in a nice way.
“The important thing is that anyone who comes here should know they can’t get drunk. There are rules... there’s no need to go crazy to have fun.’’
BY ED WEST
HOMER SIMPSON is a Catholic L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, has claimed.
In an article headlined “Homer and Bart are Catholics”, the newspaper said: “The Simpsons are among the few TV programmes for children in which Christian faith, religion, and questions about God are recurrent themes.”
The family “recites prayers before meals and, in their own peculiar way,
believes in the life thereafter”, the paper said, adding: “Few people know it, and he does everything he can to hide it, but it is true: Homer J Simpson is a Catholic.”
The article quoted an analysis by Jesuit Fr
Francesco Occhetta of an episode of The Simpsons, “The Fa-
ther, the Son and the Holy Guest Star”, in which Homer converts to Catholicism after the local church hosts special pancake suppers.
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