Potpourri Of Popery, Aw, Idn' He Cute Edition

This Munchkin Papa photo shamelessly pinched from American Papist. Today's the feast of The Chair of St. Peter, and there's a marvelous photo of the famed statue of St. Peter in Rome decked out for the occasion at the link. And here.

The Papal Household completed its week-long Spiritual Exercises on Feb. 16. Shortly before starting his retreat, the Pope urged that Spiritual Exercises be offered more frequently, as a particularly apt means of encountering Christ. given this year by. At the close of his retreat, he offered this by way of summary and thanks.
  • Today the Pope met with Jesuits participating in their General Chapter. The Black Pope spoke. B16's somewhat strongly worded address to them is here. Zadok provides English for a sample graf:
    I know and I understand well that this [the call to defend Catholic doctrine in difficult areas] is a particularly sensitive and demanding point for you and for some of your confreres, above all those charged with theological research, interreligious dialogue and dialogue with contemporary culture. Precisely because of this I have invited and again I invite you today to reflection in order to rediscover the fullest sense of your characteristic "fourth vow" of obedience to the Successor of Peter, which does not only involve readiness to be sent on mission to far-off lands, but also in the most genuine Ignatian sense of "thinking with the Church and within the Church", to "love and serve" the Vicar of Christ on earth and with that "effective and affective" devotion which should make you his most precious and irreplaceable collaborators in his service for the universal Church.
  • Audience: Part IV in the Pope's series on Augustine. A section on Augustine's humility has reminded a couple of bloggers, myself included, of Benedict himself, but I'll leave that to your further research since others have it. This is cute. Citing Augustine:
    In the "Confessions" -- which were already largely successful during St. Augustine’s life -- he wrote: "They exercised such action on me while I was writing them and do so even now when I reread them. There are many brothers who like these writings" ("Retractationes," II, 6).
    B16 adds:
    I should also mention that I am one of these "brothers."
  • Angelus: On the Transfiguration.The transfiguration is an event of prayer:
    Praying, Jesus is immersed in God, he is united intimately to him, he adheres with his human will to the Father's will of love, and in this way light invades him and the truth of his being appears visibly: He is God, light from light.
  • Address to the new Serbian envoy (2/21): Just one line about prudence & moderation with respect to Kosovo, and the rest about a civilization of justice & love and religious liberty.
  • Address to Cuban bishops, on the 10th anniversary of John Paul II's visit there.
  • At the beginning of the month, the Pope visited Rome's major seminary on the vespers of Our Lady of Trust, and delivered this homily. His words to the seminarians' parents start humorously and become lovely:

    Dear parents, you are probably the most surprised of all at what is happening in your sons. You probably imagined a different career for them than the mission for which they are now preparing.
    Who knows how often you find yourselves thinking about them: you think back to when they were children, then boys; to the times when they showed the first signs of their vocation or, in some cases on the contrary, to the years in which your son's life seemed remote from the Church. What happened? What meetings influenced their decisions? What inner enlightenment guided their footsteps? How could they then give up even promising prospects of life in order to choose to enter the Seminary? Let us look to Mary! The Gospel gives us to understand that she also asked herself many questions about her Son Jesus and pondered on him at length (cf. Lk 2: 19, 51).

    It is inevitable that in a certain manner, the vocations of children become the vocations of their parents too. In seeking to understand your children and following them on their way, you too, dear fathers and dear mothers, very often find yourselves involved in a journey in which your faith is strengthened and renewed. You find yourselves sharing in the marvellous adventure of your sons.
    Indeed, even though it may seem that the priest's life does not attract most people's interest, it is in fact the most interesting and necessary adventure for the world, the adventure of showing, of making present, the fullness of life to which we all aspire. It is a very demanding adventure; and it could not be otherwise since the priest is called to imitate Jesus, who "came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mt 20: 28).

  • Here's his Ash Wednesday homily, at long last. I am tempted to cite the whole thing, but, it being Lent, I'll exercise restraint and offer just this:
    Prayer is a crucible in which our expectations and aspirations are exposed to the light of God's Word, immersed in dialogue with the One who is the Truth, and from which they emerge free from hidden lies and compromises with various forms of selfishness (cf. Spe Salvi, n. 33). Without the dimension of prayer, the human "I" ends by withdrawing into himself, and the conscience, which should be an echo of God's voice, risks being reduced to a mirror of the self, so that the inner conversation becomes a monologue, giving rise to self-justifications by the thousands. Therefore, prayer is a guarantee of openness to others: whoever frees himself for God and his needs simultaneously opens himself to the other, to the brother or sister who knocks at the door of his heart and asks to be heard...
  • New Rules for saint-making. W/o seeing the documents, I like Amy Welborn's take on what they signify:
    it almost seems as if what he’s saying is, “Stop presenting your candidates and then scrambling around for miracles. Give it time for a more organic devotion to arise.”
    Which she hastens to add is just a guess.
  • Cuba: Vatican Sec. of State Card. Bertone's traveling there this week. Pics and speeches here.
  • East Timor: erecting a statue of John Paul II.
  • Gaza: Muslim extremists trying to drive Christians out, throw Molotov cocktail in retaliation for Danish cartoons.
  • Great Britain: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor cleans house at a Catholic hospital.
  • Qatar: The first Catholic Church there will be ready by Easter-- not without controversy.
  • U.S. :The Pope is coming! Also, convert from Judaism and long-time Catholic apologist Rosalind Moss is founding a new religious congregation. (Curtsy to Curt Jester)
  • Venezuela: Vatican embassy (nunciature) bombed last week. Ho-hum, no one seemed to care.
  • Two Founders of "new movements" passed away. Eduardo Bonnin of the Cursillo Movement on Feb. 6 and Fr. Maciel of the Legion of Christ & Regnum Christi, Jan. 30. To the latter I owe my conversion to Catholicism. It's a sorrow to me that controversy has swirled around him in recent years. I'm content to let the Church sort that out, but we can't help but love the people who give us Christ, and for being the instrument that brought me to the sacraments I am profoundly grateful to him.
And finally: Early Easter means early Holy Week, which means the calendar's all messed up. St. Patrick's Day will be the March 14th; St. Joseph's the 15th; the Annunciation the 31st. More.