The Church Around the World

The Church Around the World


Vatican II liturgy reform: flawed implementation

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, identifies a flawed understanding of Vatican II's teachings and the influence of secular ideologies as causes for today's liturgical problems.

He advances this in his Foreword to a new book, True Development of the Liturgy, by Msgr Nicola Giampietro, who serves on the staff of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

The book, which will be available in September from Roman Catholic Books, is based on the diaries and notes of Cardinal Fernando Antonelli, a key figure in the liturgical reform movement before and after Vatican II.

The writings of Cardinal Antonelli, Archbishop Ranjith says, help the reader 'to understand the complex inner workings of the liturgical reform prior to and immediately following the Council.'

Archbishop Ranjith writes that implementation of the Council's suggested reforms often veered away from the actual intent of the Council Fathers: 'Some practices which Sacrosanctum Concilium had never even contemplated were allowed into the Liturgy, like Mass versus populum [facing the people], Holy Communion in the hand, altogether giving up on the Latin and Gregorian Chant in favour of the vernacular, songs and hymns without much space for God, and extension beyond any reasonable limits of the faculty to concelebrate at Holy Mass. There was also the gross misinterpretation of the principle of 'active participation'.'

Archbishop Ranjith argues that in order to carry out a 'reform of the reform,' it is essential to recognise how the liturgical vision of Vatican II became distorted, including through the work of Consilium, the Vatican agency assigned to implement the Council's liturgical changes.

Catholic World News


New York's new Archbishop

On 23 February Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee to become the next Archbishop of New York. He succeeds Cardinal Edward Egan.

He was formerly Auxiliary Bishop of St Louis in 2001 and then Archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002.

He was installed as Milwaukee's 10th Archbishop following the controversial leadership of Archbishop Rembert Weakland, whose resignation was accepted less than 24 hours after its submission to the Vatican, after he admitted having a sexual relationship with an adult man in the 1980s.

During his years in Milwaukee, the Archbishop-elect of New York showed himself capable of building a good relationship with the priests of the archdiocese, while at the same time restoring a sense of authority and fidelity to Church teachings.

Vatican Information Service


Catholic doctors sound alarm on President Obama

The World Federation of the Catholic Medical Associations sounded an alarm in February about new threats to human life under the administration of US President Barack Obama.

In its statement on the Obama presidency and the culture of life, the Federation noted that the new president 'has begun his term with actions that will undermine respect for human life, human dignity and religious freedom.'

The statement recalls the ominous message already sent during Obama's political career and campaign, including his 100% approval rating from Planned Parenthood; his opposition to every limitation on abortion; his support for the Freedom of Choice Act; and 'shockingly,' his opposition as a senator to 'any protections for infants born alive after failed abortion procedures.'

Now that he is president, the Federation statement continued, he has already engaged in 'a series of actions that indicate that he is prepared to implement his prior support for abortion.'

The Federation noted Obama's overturning of the Mexico City policy, which denied federal funding to international agencies that promote or perform abortion as a means of birth control; and his willingness to provide financial support to the United Nations Population Fund, an organisation that lost US government funding after it collaborated with the Chinese government's 'one child' population policy.

The statement also noted Obama's choice of pro-abortion staff members and his opposition to a rule that protects the conscience rights of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care workers.

Zenit News Agency


Vatican halts ecumenical Pentecost service

The Holy See has vetoed a joint Pentecostal service planned by the Newcastle and Maitland Catholic and Anglican bishops (see March AD2000, World News).

The confirmation service was scheduled for 31 May 2009 at the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral, and promoted as a 'very exciting and special' event, the Newcastle Herald reports, with parishes encouraging church members to consider being confirmed on that day.

However, the Vatican has intervened, forcing its cancellation with the request made by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

In a joint statement, Bishop Brian Farran, the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, and Bishop Michael Malone, the Catholic Bishop of Maitland- Newcastle, said the Vatican had 'expressed concern about a simultaneous celebration and the possibility of confusing messages being given to the people.'

In the statement, Bishop Malone said he believed that since a similar celebration was held in England in 1989, a precedent had been established, and he apologised to those who would have been involved.


No Communion for public sinners: US Bishop

Bishop Joseph Martino - who has emerged during the past year as the US bishop most determined to call pro-abortion politicians to account - issued an order on 26 February that in his Scranton, Pennsylvania, diocese, 'Those whose unworthiness to receive Holy Communion is known publicly to the Church must be refused Holy Communion in order to prevent sacrilege and to prevent the Catholic in question from committing further grave sin through unworthy reception.'

All ministers of Holy Communion, ordinary and extraordinary, are reminded of their obligation in this regard.

On the same day as the directive's release, the Scranton Diocese posted an open letter from Bishop Martino to Pennsylvania's Catholic Senator Robert Casey reminding him for a second time of his moral obligation 'to oppose abortion and other clear evils.'

In his first rebuke, Bishop Martino warned that the senator's vote against an extension of the Mexico City policy, prohibiting US taxpayer funding of abortion advocacy abroad, was a violation of the legislator's moral obligation. 'Your failure to reverse this vote will regrettably mean that you persist formally in cooperating with the evil brought about by this hideous and unnecessary policy,' the bishop wrote.

Catholic World News


Catholic college honours pro-abortion politician

A Melbourne Catholic secondary school, St Bernard's College, Essendon, has included Victorian Labor politician Justin Madden MLC in its list of 12 inductees for the College's inaugural Hall of Fame. This was to be celebrated during a cocktail party at Melbourne's Eureka Tower Southbank on 24 March.

The Hall of Fame acknowledges the achievements of past students and those associated with St Bernard's.

Justin Madden, a former student of the college from 1973-1978, last year voted in favour of the notorious Victorian abortion law reform bill which decriminalised abortion, effectively removing all barriers to abortion on demand, while allowing for no conscience exemption for Catholic medical professionals and hospitals opposed to abortion.


UK Anglican bishops call for Lenten 'carbon fast'

The Guardian newspaper of 24 February reported that the UK's energy and climate change minister Ed Miliband joined church leaders in calling for a Lenten 'carbon fast'. Along with Anglican Bishops James Jones of Liverpool and Richard Chartres of London, Miliband is encouraging the British public to cut their carbon footprints during the 40-day fast by taking steps like removing a light bulb at home.

Bishop Jones plans to install a solar hot water system at his home and has pledged to ensure his computers, telephones and televisions are turned off, and not left on standby every night.

'There is a moral imperative for those of us who emit more than our fair share of carbon to rein in our consumption,' said the Bishop, who devised the carbon fast idea.

Suggested carbon-cutting actions include eating no meat for a day, avoiding products with excess packaging and sharing car journeys with friends.

The year 2009 is seen as crucial for reducing greenhouse gas emissions as international climate negotiations come to a head in Copenhagen this December.


African bishops: poverty the result of corruption

Bishops of the central African region have denounced corruption in their countries as a major cause of poverty.

In their joint report in February, the bishops denounce the increase in corruption through the exploitation of energy sources such as oil, and underline 'the need for greater transparency in economic activities.'

They point out, 'If the riches from the soil and subsoil contrast with the misery of the people, this happens because of corruption, which obstructs the functioning of our government and our economy, of our investments, of our educational system and health.'

The bishops call for 'a review of existing illegitimate contracts and, above all, of those not yet signed, so that our communities are not impoverished by the activities of dishonest exploiters.'

The association of bishops had previously publicly denounced the corruption in this region of Africa in 2002. After a meeting in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, they published a pastoral letter in which they stated that, despite the abundance of oil, 'the inhabitants of Central Africa are among the poorest of the earth.'

Zenit News Agency


Toowoomba Bishop under Vatican scrutiny

What was widely known in some Catholic circles but not officially revealed became public in a Brisbane Courier Mail report in February.

Two years ago Bishop William Morris of Toowoomba received an apostolic visitation on behalf of the Vatican by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver who interviewed many Catholics around the diocese.

The visitation was prompted by release of an Advent Pastoral Letter in late 2006 in which Bishop Morris canvassed, among other things, the possibilities of ordaining women and recognising Protestant orders as a means of relieving the serious priest shortage in Toowoomba.

Bishop Morris had also permitted widespread use of general absolutions, despite a Vatican directive that it be stopped.

The Courier Mail reported: 'In the wake of rebel South Brisbane priest Father Peter Kennedy's dismissal, Toowoomba Bishop William Morris has admitted he's also under investigation after discussing the prospect of women or married priests in a pastoral letter ...

'The 65-year-old said the investigation had been going for two years, but a decision had not yet been made. 'The ultimate outcome is I'd be sacked and have to stand down,' he said.

'Bishop Morris, who has held the Toowoomba post for 16 years, said the church couldn't stifle debate and that's what the letter was promoting. 'I will continue to fight for what I believe is the truth,' he said.

'Bishop Morris said there was a group of very conservative Catholics dubbed the 'temple police' who travelled around parishes dobbing in priests who didn't toe the line. 'There are plenty of temple police around at the moment,' he said.

'Bishop Morris said he hoped the investigation would be concluded this year, but even if he was sacked, he would still retain his title.'

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