INSIDE THIS WEEK’S PAPER
CRITIC PETER BRADSHAW JOINS US AS WE REVEAL YOUR TOP 100 FILMS PAGE 8
CARDINAL PELLON SPEAKING OUT FOR THE TRUTH INTERVIEW PAGE 6
Priests need true sense of Vatican II, says Pope
March 202009£1.20 (Republic of Ireland €1.70)
POPEBENEDICTXVI called for a young generation of priests who embrace a “correct” interpretation of the Second Vatican Council as he announced a “year for priests” on Monday. Continuing the work of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, in consolidating the work of the Council, the Pope explicitly supported Vatican II’s reforms but insisted that they should not be exaggerated or understood as a complete rupture with the past. He also said that lay structures could not replace the ministry of the priesthood. His comments coincided with the announcement of a year for priests beginning on June 19 and marking the 150th anniversary of St John Vianney, patron saint of the clergy. He told the Congregation for the Clergy that an indispensable struggle for moral perfection must dwell in every priestly heart. The Pope warned Church leaders against creating lay structures as solutions to a vocations crisis. He said: “The centrality of Christ leads to a correct valuation of priestly ministry, without which there would be no Eucharist, no mission, not even the Church. “It is necessary, then, to ensure that ‘new structures’ or pastoral organisations are not planned for a time in which it will be possible to ‘do without’ ordained ministry, on the basis of an erroneous interpretation of the promotion of the laity, because this would lay the foundations for a further dilution in priestly ministry, and any supposed ‘solutions’ would, in fact, dramatically coincide with the real causes of the problems currently affecting the ministry.” Pope Benedict stressed the sacramental nature of the ordained priesthood. “The missionary dimension of the priest arises from his sacramental configuration to
Christ the head”, he said, which requires “total adherence to what ecclesial tradition has identified as apostolica vivendi forma , which consists in participation... in that ‘new way of life’ which was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus and which the Apostles made their own.” Benedict XVI also underlined the importance of priestly formation and called for a younger generation of priests to be encouraged towards a “correct reading of the texts of the Vatican Council, interpreted in the light of all the Church’s doctrinal inheritance”. He urged priests to be “present, identifiable and recognisable for their judgment of faith, personal virtues and attire –in the fields of culture and of charity which have always been at the heart of the Church’s mission”. The Pope added that the priesthood is indispensable to the Church. Explaining the different dimensions essential to the mission of the priesthood, he named the ecclesial, communial, hierarchical and doctrinal aspects. St John Vianney’s relics will be brought to St Peter’s Basilica by the Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars to inaugurate the celebrations and the Pope will close the year by presiding over a “world meeting of priests” in St Peter’s Square. To mark the year for priests, which has “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests” as its theme, the Congregation for Clergy will promote spiritual and pastoral exercises to highlight the role of the clergy in the modern world. Pope Benedict will also publish a collection of texts which deal with the aspects of the life and mission of priests in the modern world. This year’s Annuario Pontificio indicated a gradual increase in the number of vocations to the priesthood, although the number of vocations has been on a steady decline.
Pope Benedict is welcomed by President Paul Biya on arrival at the airport in Yaoundé, Cameroon, on Tuesday. He heads to Angola today PA Photos
Benedict XVI touches down in Africa
ARRIVING in Africa on Tuesday, Pope Benedict XVI said the Church’s message of hope and reconciliation was sorely needed by a continent suffering disproportionately from poverty, conflict and disease. At a welcoming ceremony in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, the Pope said he was making his first visit to Africa to respond to the many men and woman who “long to hear a word of hope and comfort”. In Africans’ fight against injustice, he said, the Church is their natural ally. “In the face of suffering or violence, poverty or hunger, corruption or abuse of power, a Christian can never remain silent,” the Pope said. The 81-year-old Pontiff stood on a platform at Yaoundé’s airport next to
Cameroonian President Paul Biya, who welcomed the Pope on a hot, humid afternoon. Groups of schoolchildren sang and cheered, waving paper flags with the Vatican’s colours. The Pope said he came to Africa as a pastor, not a politician, to a continent where the saving message of the Gospel needed to be “proclaimed loud and clear”. The encounter with Christianity, he said, can transform situations of hardship or injustice. He cited the regional conflicts in Africa that have left thousands homeless, destitute and orphaned, as well as human trafficking that has become a new form of slavery, especially for women and children. “At a time of global crisis in food shortages, financial turmoil and disturbing patterns of climate change, Africa suffers disproportionately: more
and more of her people are falling prey to hunger, poverty and disease. They cry out for reconciliation, justice and peace, and that is what the Church offers them,” he said. “Not forms of economic or political oppression, but the glorious freedom of the children of God. Not the imposition of cultural models that ignore the rights of the unborn, but the pure healing water of the Gospel of life.” In place of bitter ethnic or interreligious rivalry, the Church offers the righteousness and peace of the “civilisation of love”, he said. The Pope described Cameroon as a “land of hope”, noting that the country has accepted refugees from neighbouring countries and tried to settle border disputes with patient diplomacy. Cameroon is also a “land of life, with a government that speaks out in defence
of the rights of the unborn”, the Pope said. In his remarks on the unborn, the Pope may have been referring to a recent exchange between the Cameroonian government and a UN committee that monitors compliance with a convention on eliminating forms of discrimination against women. In response to a request to liberalise its abortion law, the government responded that abortion was murder and should not be elevated to a right. Media coverage of the first day of the Holy Father’s visit was dominated by the Pope’s remark that condom distribution “increases the problem” of Aids. It is Pope Benedict’s first papal visit to Africa. As a cardinal, he visited the continent in 1987 for a theological conference in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Vatican official criticises ‘hasty’ condemnation of double abortion
ANINE -YEAR -old Brazilian girl and the doctors who performed the girl’s abortion needed the Catholic Church’s care and concern, not its condemnation, a leading Vatican official has said. Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, criticised a “hasty” public declaration of the excommunication of the girl’s mother and the doctors who aborted
the girl’s twins. The girl “in the first place should have been defended, hugged and held tenderly to help her feel that we were all on her side”, he wrote in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano . “Before thinking about excommunication, it was necessary and urgent to protect her innocent life and bring her back to a level of humanity of which we men of the Church should be expert witnesses and teachers,” he said. “Unfortunately, this is not what
happened and it has impacted on the credibility of our teaching, which appears in the eyes of many as insensitive, incomprehensible and devoid of mercy.” Doctors at a hospital in Recife, Brazil, performed an abortion on the girl, who weighed little more than four and a half stone and reportedly had been raped repeatedly by her stepfather from the time she was six years old. Abortion in Brazil is illegal except in cases of rape or if
the mother’s life is in danger. After the abortion Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho of Olinda and Recife said it was “a crime in the eyes of the Church” and that human laws can never override the laws of God. He said that, while it was true the child ran health risks if she continued the pregnancy, “the end does not justify the means. The good aim of saving her life cannot justify the killing of two other lives.”
Papal visit to Britain under consideration
And the winner is... Mel Gibson’s Passion
THE VATICAN has said that “serious consideration” is being given to a papal visit to Britain next year. “But at this stage no firm date has been set and no announcement is imminent,” a Vatican official said. “The stage we are at is the informal pre-talks. The Pope’s diary is not set for 2010 this far in advance but the most
likely dates are late spring or the autumn. But even the late spring looks unlikely as there will be a General Election in Britain so the most likely date is autumn.” There has been some suggestion that Pope Benedict would come to Britain in late 2010 which is when insiders say he could beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman. Within the last five years there have been six visits to the Pope from both Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and each time they have invited His Holiness to visit the country.
MELGIBSON ’ S The Passion of The Christ is the best film of all time, according to a poll of Herald readers. The film beat the Sixties biopic of St Thomas More, A Man For All Seasons , to be the top choice among readers who picked their 100 favourite films online. Other popular films
were It’s A Wonderful Life , The Sound of Music and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The poll was conducted with the help of Soul Food Cinema, a Catholic film website, and St Anthony Communications, a Catholic distributor of books, CDs and DVDs. The winners of our prize draw are announced on Page 8.
Page 8: Poll
ARCHBISHOP KELLY’S LENTEN MEDITATIONPAGE 9
Never lose hope
In times of conflict – war and devastation – priests risk their lives to minister the hope of Christ. With your help, Aid to the Church in Need can enable priests to stand by their people.
Image shows Fr Andrew ministeringinIraq
Speaking from Gaza Fr Manuel Musallam told ACN: “We are testifying to Christ in this terrible situation. The suffering continues but what I preach is the same: never lose hope.”
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