‘Ignore Islamic ultimatum’ Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja has called on Nigerians to ignore the latest threat of the Islamist group Boko Haram. Earlier this week the terrorist group, which claimed responsibility for deadly Christmas Day church bombings, gave Christians a three-day ultimatum to leave the predominantly Muslim north. “I think that Boko Haram does not represent the authentic voice of the Muslims of Nigeria,” the archbishop said,
Accountability urged over flooding Bishop Broderick Pabillo, an auxiliary in Manila and chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace, has blamed the Philippines Government for flooding during a tropical storm in northern Mindanao which killed more than 1,200 people before Christmas. He said government officials who have allowed illegal logging and mining should be held accountable for silted rivers and deforested hillsides that have exacerbated flooding impacts.
Pilgrimage city defies Church Council officials in the Polish city of Czestochowa, which houses the Jasna Gora national sanctuary, have become the country’s first to pledge funding for in vitro fertilisation, despite condemnations of the practice by Catholic Church leaders. The project was condemned as a “provocation against humanity” by Czestochowa’s Archbishop, Mgr Stanislaw Nowak.
Chaput to sell mansion The Archbishop of Philadelphia, Charles Chaput, has announced plans to sell the 10,000-sq.-foot mansion that has served as the residence of the city’s archbishops since 1935. The house, which sits on over eight acres, is located across the street from St Joseph’s University and is likely to be sold to the institution. According to a statement by the archdiocese, “proceeds from the sale would go to help struggling inner-city parishes in the archdiocese”.
26 pastoral workers killed in 2011 Twenty-six Catholic pastoral workers – including 18 priests, four sisters and four laity – were murdered during 2011, according to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. The Americas, with 13 priests and two laypeople murdered, suffered the highest number of victims.
Pope ordains new nuncio Pope Benedict XVI was due yesterday to preside personally at the episcopal ordination in St Peter’s Basilica of Ireland’s new apostolic nuncio, Mgr Charles Brown.
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28 | THE TABLET | 7 January 2012
Letter from Rome
By next Wednesday’s general audience, and if not, the following week, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to announce a consistory for 18-19 February. If he decides to keep the “electors” at or around 120 members, 15 to 17 men under the age of 80 should be created cardinals.
There are more eligible candidates than there are openings. Once again, about half of the red hats will go to Roman Curia officials, mostly Italians. Heading the list is Archbishop Fernando Filoni, 65, prefect of Propaganda Fide. Others include Archbishops Giuseppe Bertello, 69, “governor” of Vatican City; Domenico Calcagno, 68, president of the Holy See’s administrative office (Apsa); Giuseppe Versaldi, 68, head of the economic affairs office; and Rino Fisichella, 60, president of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation.
Archbishop João Bráz de Aviz, 64, the Brazilian prefect of the Congregation for Religious, is one of the few non-Italians based in Rome destined to be cardinal. Others include Archbishops Edwin O’Brien, 72, an American who is grand master of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, and Santos Abril y Castelló, 76, a Spaniard who is archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Look for the Archbishops of Berlin (Woelki, 55), Utrecht (Eijk, 58) and Prague (Duka OP, 68) to be among Europe’s new residential cardinals, while the Archbishops of Toronto (Collins, 65) and New York (Dolan, 61) should also get the honour.
Asian candidates include the Archbishop of Cebu, Philippines (Palma, 61) and Bishop of Hong Kong (Tong, 72); and the Maronite Patriarch in Lebanon (Rai, 71). African archbishops with a faint chance hail from Lusaka (Mpundu, 64) and Kampala (Lwanga, 59). Thus, the College of Cardinals will remain dominated by Europeans.
The upcoming consistory is only one of many appointments and activities that will fill Pope Benedict’s calendar in 2012, a year specifically dedicated to exploring new ways for revitalising the faith among Catholics.
The single most important event to this end will be the Synod on the New Evangelisation from 7-28 October. The Pope will formally induct a Year of Faith On the 11th of that month, which marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65). And he is expected make his own contribution to the year-long celebration by issuing a new encyclical on faith in late 2012 or early 2013. This would complete his “triptych” on the theological virtues, which began with the publication of Deus Caritas Est (on love) in 2005 and Spe Salvi (on hope) in 2007.
Despite turning 85 in April, Pope
Benedict has decided not to cut back on his global travels. He is making the long journey to Cuba and Mexico in March, while dates are still pending for visits to Lebanon, the Principality of Monaco and possibly Ukraine.
One of the major international events the Pope will preside at this year is the World Meeting of Families in late May and early July in Milan. And, of course, he still has important administrative business he must take care of back at the Vatican – especially making major appointments. These include selecting a new Patriarch of Venice, a diocese that produced three popes in the last century, and finding a replacement for Cardinal William Levada, who is expected to retire as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith within the next several months. There also promise to be surprises. As always, stayed tuned!
Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: we have translations! For the first time ever, the Vatican simultaneously published versions of the Pope’s New Year homilies in five modern European languages along with the original Italian.
The Secretariat of State, which oversees the official translations of papal speeches, has long been providing multi-language versions for the principal liturgies of Christmas and Easter, as well as many of his major addresses and documents. But it has never done so for his New Year celebrations. So it was quite a pleasant surprise to find Pope Benedict’s homilies for the “Te Deum” Vespers service on 31 December and the Mass for Mary, Mother of God on 1 January available in official versions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and German.
Even the booklet for the Mass, which also marked the World Day of Peace, was officially translated. One side of the libretto featured the prayers and responses in Latin (which was almost exclusively used for the Mass), while the facing pages provided official renderings in English and Italian.
The purpose of providing translations, of course, is to make the Pope’s words and the Church’s liturgies more accessible and comprehensible to the broader public. And the exercise should also help counter any equivocation over the meaning of certain words and phrases in papal texts. Now the question is whether the Secretariat of State has finally decided to make a major commitment to always offering all of the Vatican’s major texts and documents in several languages. Unfortunately, the Sunday Angelus and the Holy See’s daily bulletin are still only in Italian. But maybe multi-language versions of those will also appear one day. Let’s hope it was one of the Vatican’s New Year resolutions.