Tuesday, February 14, 2012

No Panic Please !! Recent Vatican "Scandals", Pope Benedict, and Our Lady of Fatima

As to the recent Vatican "Scandals" I just posted a article at Cardinal Kasper - There Is A Mean Streak With Some In Vatican Curia . This is the second of those post today.

I quite agree with reporter John Allen's piece here at Facing the elephant in the room of Vatican disarray as to this subject .

In many ways I am getting bored of this. That is partly because there is so much Italian dramatics associated with this. As Allen correctly notes :

First, some of this is the usual Italian melodrama, not necessarily to be taken seriously. Speculation about Machiavellian plots is a favorite indoor sport in Italy, in every walk of life. It goes on about secular politics, business, even sports, and over the last few days it’s just been the Vatican’s turn.

Second, there’s little atmosphere of crisis inside the Vatican itself. When you walk into most Vatican offices, you’ll find people calmly going about their business. Personnel are aware of the storms brewing around them, and many are worried about what it all means, but it’s not as if panic is in the air.

On this page we see an example of that from a translated article. Italian bishop claims 'death plot' is a ploy to prepare for the Pope's eventual resignation . Umm OK yeah right.

But Allen is correct to note that nonsense is really distracting from the great good the Holy See and the Pope are doing in various areas. For instance it appears sadly petty stuff like makes the headlines, but a groundbreaking Global Vatican organized conference on Sexual abuse does not.

However Allen , like Cardinal Kasper in the above link, sees well another major problem.

...Third, the harm done by the Vatican’s woes is felt all over the Catholic world. When a real bomb explodes, damage is most intense closest to the blast zone. When a PR bomb explodes in Rome, however, those closest to the scene often don’t feel it, but Catholics in far-off locales can be heavily scarred. Senior Vatican personnel often move in a bubble, surrounded by subordinates and well-wishers, insulating them from the effects of negative public impressions. Catholics who live out in the real world aren’t so lucky. They have to face the fallout in the media, among their friends, and around the water cooler. Getting things under control thus isn’t exclusively, or even primarily, about helping the pope or the Holy See. It’s about not putting unnecessary obstacles in the path of the Catholic rank-and-file, who just want to live their faith and, maybe, share it with others.
On Friday, the cardinals are supposed to be talking about the “new evangelization.” Perhaps taking a hard look at the Vatican’s disarray might be a place to start

Well that is very true. In the USA with a not a very savvy news media as to religious matters this comes out in spades.

Which brings us to this good article translated here. (note I am leaving out the translators commentary for simplicity purposes but go to the page and read it if you like)

No hysterics please: The healing is under way translated from the José Luis Restán piece in the Spanish Iglesia Digital en la página web de Libertad Digital.

February 14, 2012

I confess I have no idea who could be the crows, the moles and the wild boars inhabiting the Apostolic Palace. But I feel nauseous going through the cataract of interpretations, hypotheses, lamentations and scandalized expressions of the past several days. It pains me all, but on the other hand, has this not been part of the Church's history in the past twenty centuries?

It is a fact that for some time now, there are people within the Vatican have been occupied with the old and dirty job of feeding confidential files to the media not to shed light on anything but to generate confusion and to paint a depressing image of the Church from within.

Their final objective could be trivial or of great consequence. Settling personal accounts. demolishing the image of Cardinal Bertone, opposition to the clean-up and transparency measures inspired by Pope Benedict, preventive war against some cardinals looking to the next Conclave...

But let us not be deceived. The Vatican offices have not always been a model of holiness, nor was the Far West. And if there is anyone who knows the light and shadows of that world, it is Joseph Ratzinger, who this month marks 30 years of service at the Vatican.

Once, when he was Prefect for the Faith, he was asked about the Roman Curia, with the expectation that, considering his spiritual nature and his reformist impulses, he would fulminate against the structure so demonized by fiction writers, and which had not always made his life easy at the Vatican.

With his usual suavity and intelligence, and that special instinct for not allowing himself to be borne by any current, Cardinal Ratzinger replied that many honorable and exemplary men also work in that much reviled 'machine', men who have dedicated their lives to the service of the Church with enthusiastic diligence despite scarce resources, besides whom their counterparts in the corporate world and government would pale.

But it is obvious Benedict XVI also knows the risks the Lord runs in having his will translated to practical measures by men of flesh and blood and all their weaknesses. There's good and bad in families, among priests, among intellectuals, in any human society. Why should the Curia be different? I am reminded of what he said to newsmen enroute to Portugal in May 2010 about the persecutions the Church has to suffer, when he was asked about the 'prophecy' of Fatima:

The attacks against the Pope and the Church do not just come from outside the Church. The sufferings of the Church come from within, from the sin which there is within the Church. This has always been the case, but today we see it in a really big way: that the larger persecution of the Church does not come from her external enemies but it is born from the sin inside the Church, and that is why the Church has a profound need to relearn penitence, to accept purification, to learn forgiveness, on the one hand, but also the need for justice [he was referring to the sexual abuse of minors by priests] We are realists, knowing that evil will always be on the attack, from within and from the outside, but we also know that the forces for good are present, and that in the end, the Lord triumphs over evil.

And he was not just talking the talk. Contemplating what is happening at the Vatican today, one also remembers the priest of Tarcy, in George Bernanos's Diary of a coutnry Preist, who tells his colleague Ambricourt, that in the Church, asses, mules and billygoats coexist, some so savage that one wishes to kill them, but you can't do that "because the Master wants to receive them all at the Last Judgment in good condition".

I have been writing that there is a silent opposition to the fundamental line of Benedict XVI's Magisterium and governance, which is composed of persons one cannot necessarily classify into the usual categories of left-right or conservative-progressive. If that is happening in so many Catholic sectors (the media, intellectuals, some bishops), how can it not happen in the Curia itself - within the machinery that is intended to help the Pope govern, and therefore, where it is also easiest to trip him up?

I repeat: It is natural to feel profound sadness at all this, but let us not pull out our hair and rend our garments! Those who engage in these strategies of confusion play on emotions, in trying to paint a grotesque image on the basis of small truths or half truths. The image of a Pope who is isolated and powerless, devoted only to his writings and catecheses, while the world is collapsing around him is clearly targeted to discredit him, but it is also a great lie.

First of all because Benedict XVI has given more than enough proof of his idea of governing the Church: To preach with wisdom, to indicate the urgent priorities of the Church's mission, to establish the channels of purification, to call for a Year of Faith, to dialog with the secular world... As well as placing qualified and competent men of proven loyalty in essential positions, even if this is not always easy. It would be stupid to think that in a team that counts with eminences like Bertone, Ouellet, Levada, Amato, Canizares, Piacenza, etc., the Pope is alone!

What's also true is that Benedict XVI has not sought to put together a team of clones or of servile collaborators. Each of his 'ministers' has their own strength and style, they may be deficient in something or other, and we may not even like all of them. But it is simply ridiculous to sell the idea of a Pope sequestered in his apartment and unable to cope with events.

That pus is now coming out from the wound within the Church only means that healing has begun. I am really looking forward to what Benedict XVI will have to say later this week before and during the Consistory for new cardinals - it will be a message to all of us. Meanwhile, I believe that this wave of negative publicity has to do with the Holy Father's most insistent concern: the weakness of the faith, the fatigue with faith, the risk that the light of faith could be extinguished.

It would be stupid to think that the problem of faith is only external and not within our own home.

In one of his last discourses in Germany last September, Benedict XVI left us these words of wisdom and guidance: It is not a question here of finding a new strategy to relaunch the Church. Rather, it is a question of setting aside mere strategy and seeking total transparency, not bracketing or ignoring anything from the truth of our present situation, but living the faith fully here and now in the utterly sober light of day, appropriating it completely, and stripping away from it anything that only seems to belong to faith, but in truth is mere convention or habit.

No comments: