Potpourri of Popery, Lighten Up Sunday Edition

Papal Teaching
Still wending my way through Sacramentum Caritatis. Too much is quotable and worthy of study, so I'll stick to a single sentence, in which the Pope resolves the apparent conflict between legalism and the so-called "pastoral approach" that ends up contentless:
one should begin by assuming that the fundamental point of encounter between the law and pastoral care is love for the truth.
There he goes again, bringing reality into it.
  • In Sunday's Angelus, the Holy Father introduced the crowd to SC, highlighting the connection between the Eucharist and the cross. He also made a reference to his visit to a juve detention center --the text for that is here.
  • This morning's Audience has no text yet, but here's the story. It's about St. Justin Martyr, whom B16 says
    marks the decisive option of the ancient Church for Reason rather than the religion of the pagans which Christians viewed as idolatry.

Bush is fighting a war on terror; Benedict is fighting a war on relativism. Two fronts of the same battle, say I.

Sometimes the things the Pope says to smaller audiences are fascinating. Take for example his homage to Paul VI before an audience of Paul VI Institute members. In it, B16 recalls his personal experiences with his predecessor, notes his courage, and opines that his greatness is not yet fully understood. And in an address to the Apostolic Penitentiary, he noted that the loss of the sense of sin has led to an increase in guilt complexes. Story here: I'd sure like to see the whole text.

The Preacher of the Papal Household, he of the apt name Cantalamessa, has a series of reflections on Lent. This one , on meekness, caught my eye because we talked about Gandhi earlier in the week:

For Gandhi the whole sermon might have just as well been considered apart from the historical person of Christ. "It does not matter to me," he once said, "if someone demonstrated that the man Jesus never lived and that what we read in the Gospels is nothing more than a production of the author's imagination. The Sermon on the Mount will always remain true in my eyes."[1] On the contrary, it is the person and life of Christ that make of the beatitudes and the whole Sermon on the Mount something more than a beautiful ethical utopia; they make of them an historical reality, from which everyone can draw strength through mystical union with the person of the Savior. They do not merely belong to the order of duties but to the order of grace.

RTWT --he discusses the inadequacies of modern languages for capturing the full meaning of meekness as a virtue, and has an interesting discussion of Nietzsche, meekness' number one critic.


  • Rome: the Acton Institute held a conference on religious liberty. The Jewish-Catholic Commission released a report on conscience & religious freedom. In which they agree that moral relativism and terrorism are threats to humanity.
  • India: Christians in one of the provinces are asking the government for protection from marauding Hindus.
  • Philippines: new details on al-Q's attempts to assasinate JP the Great.
  • Iraq: Yay, Kurdistan! Parliamentary committee on women's rights proposes law that would ban polygamy. And the Bishop of Kirkuk reflects on the war four years later.
  • China: despite "repeated requests," the Pope won't accept Cardinal Zen's resignation.
  • US (subs to NC Register req): Sen. Brownback & others rise to Gen. Pace's defense.

And Finally: Curtsy to Zadok, Michael Nokes tells us what it was like to paint B16s portrait. And: Catholic Cowboys?