Tuesday, 21 April 2009
The Vatican fights back!
The Vatican is marking the fourth anniversary of the Pope's election this week (Friday is the day for the official commemoration of his installation) with something of a fightback against recent attacks. It is good to see!
And the picture above reflects another notable anniversary worth celebrating - 800 years since the Franciscan Rule was formally approved.
In terms of the fightback, first came a blistering response to a motion by the Belgium Parliament on the Pope's African comments. Catholic World News reports:
"The Vatican response "deplores the fact that a Parliamentary Assembly should have thought it appropriate to criticize the Holy Father on the basis of an isolated extract from an interview, separated from its context, and used by some groups with a clear intent to intimidate, as if to dissuade the Pope from expressing himself on certain themes of obvious moral relevance and from teaching the Church’s doctrine."
Reiterating the fundamental message that the Pope had intended to convey, the Vatican said that efforts to curb the AIDS epidemic must include clear moral guidance, and without that guidance "the battle against AIDS will not be won." The statement pointed out that the Catholic Church has also been in the vanguard of efforts to help AIDS victims, showing "true friendship and willingness to help persons who are suffering."
And now Damian Thompson is reporting a demand that the Times print a retraction of a 'completely untrue story' about a purported gift to Charles and Camilla of 'a "luxury facsimile" of the 1530 appeal by English peers to Pope Clement VII asking for the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon'. Hmm, I quite like the idea - the hoaxer certainly has a nice sense of humour!
A couple of recent appointments also seem to be proving positive choices (so far at least!), with Archbishop Dollan of New York garnered a standing ovation last week at his installation mass for some strong pro-life statements. American Papist reports:
"... the Resurrection goes on, as His Church continues to embrace and protect the dignity of every human person, the sanctity of human life, from the tiny baby in the womb...
[here a deafening applause interrupted his delivery, lasting for perhaps 30-45 seconds, and eventually included almost the entire assembly standing]
... to the last moment of natural passing into eternal life. As the Servant of God Terrence Cardinal Cooke wrote, “Human life is no less sacred or worthy of respect because it is tiny, pre-born, poor, sick, fragile, or handicapped.” [note that, in the eyes of the Church, all these conditions are simply unique challenges to protecting human dignity.]
Yes, the Church is a loving mother who has a zest for life and serves life everywhere, but she can become a protective “mamma bear” when the life of her innocent, helpless cubs is threatened...
[here, for a second time, strong sustained applause]
... Everyone in this mega-community is a somebody with an extraordinary destiny. Everyone is a somebody in whom God has invested an infinite love. That is why the Church reaches out to the unborn, the suffering, the poor, our elders, the physically and emotionally challenged, those caught in the web of addictions..." "
And Archbishop Nichols, newly appointed to Westminster, has garnered cautious approval so far for his initial forays into the media in his new role from British bloggers.
All of this is sorely needed - as the remarkable Bishop Finn of Kansas City has said, 'we are at war'.
And there are lots of collaborators with the enemy, most notably at the moment many of the 'catholic' universities, which in the US are busily covering up the symbols of our religion in order to accommodate presidential sensibilities (Georgetown) or even proposing to confer honorary law degrees (Notre Dame) on a President who is busily implementing the culture of death, even to the point of abolishing conscious objection clauses relating to performing abortions. And then there is our very own school for heresy, the Australian Catholic University, which seems to be the prime source for Acatholica commentators...