Potpourri of Popery, St. Bernard Edition

It's the feast of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, charismatic Cistercian preacher and coiner of popular sayings such as "Hell is full of good intentions" and "Love me, love my dog." (Gotta love a saint who both trounces Peter Abelard in debate and inspires white-trash t-shirts!)

St. Bernard gets a mention in this morning's Audience, text not yet available, but broadly excerpted here. The main idea is that holiness is not for exceptional Christians, but is the universal Christian vocation, as the numerous saints prove.

The pope has been praying for you! See, he says so right here, in last week's Audience, the first since vacations began.
I can assure each and all of you of my remembrance, especially in the daily celebration of Holy Mass and in the recitation of the holy rosary. I know well that the first service I can render the Church and humanity is, in fact, prayer, because by praying I confidently place in the Lord's hands the ministry that he himself has entrusted to me, together with the destiny of the whole ecclesial and civil community.
He goes on to say
those who pray never lose hope, even when they find themselves in difficult and even humanly desperate situations
and invokes the scriptures and the witness of Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein --the saints of Auschwitz-- as evidence.

Here's the Angelus address on the Assumption, and the previous week's Angelus re-capping WydSyd, calling for peace in Georgia, and offering this reflection on the status of the Church. Commenting on the passage in Mark where a storm whips up while the apostles are on the sea, he says:
We too can see this as an image of the Church of our time which in many parts of the earth finds herself struggling to make headway in spite of the contrary wind, and it seems the Lord is very remote. But the Gospel gives us an answer, consolation and encouragement and at the same time points out a path to us. It tells us, in fact: yes, it is true, the Lord is with the Father but for this very reason he is not distant but sees everyone, for whoever is with God does not go away but is close to his neighbour. And, in fact, the Lord sees them and at the proper time comes towards them. And when Peter, who was going to meet him, risks drowning, the Lord takes him by the hand and brings him to safety on the boat. The Lord is continuously holding out his hand to us too. He does so through the beauty of a Sunday; he does so through the solemn liturgy; he does so in the prayer with which we address him; he does so in the encounter with the Word of God; he does so in many situations of daily life - he holds his hand out to us. And only if we take the Lord's hand, if we let ourselves be guided by him, will the path we take be right and good.

Here's that wonderful Q&A session in official translation. And sometimes the simplest things are indicative of so much. Read the short remarks the Holy Father gave to the people of Bressanone, his favorite vacation spot, when they conferred honorary citizenship on him. So many lovely qualities in this man --and yet, as I learned reading Benedict of Bavaria, he's not necessarily naturally gentle. As a kid he talked back to teachers at a time when such a thing was unheard of and he admits he can be hot-headed in debate still. See his goodness and you are seeing how prayer transforms a person.
  • The pope's headed for Lourdes in September for the sesquicentennial.
  • And his recording of the rosary for Vatican Radio is out. (I still use my JP II version.)


Vatican: The head of the Vatican's highest court says there is an obligation to deny communion to pro-abortion politicians:
A person who commits sin in this way should be publicly admonished in such a way as to not receive Communion until he or she has reformed his life," the archbishop said. "If a person who has been admonished persists in public mortal sin and attempts to receive Communion, the minister of the Eucharist has the obligation to deny it to him. Why? Above all, for the salvation of that person, preventing him from committing a sacrilege," he added. [Emphasis mine.]

And finally: The Ineffables. And: The Lament of St. Espressus, with plainchant version. And: ninme ties the knot!