Saturday, April 30

Lucy has discovered a novel but effective form of calming your child during a tantrum. Handy explanatory illustration included.

Friday, April 29

Euro-Skepticism Vindicated?
I admit, I am not a fan of the EU. I'm not a European citizen, so my opinion doesn't really matter.

Then again, if I were a European citizen, my opinion still wouldn't matter.

I remember reading, as the current European constitution debate began, in each article, that "every nation would have to ratify this constitution." Every nation, every nation, each nation.

I became suspicious when the primary concern over a French no vote was "the effect it would have on subsequent referendums." Huh? Subsequent? As in, more votes after a "no" vote?

The EU has now announced that the French vote Does Not Matter.
"'If France is the only exception the other countries will go on' with referendums, he said."

"The more laws, the less justice." I hope the Germans do remember their own proverb when it comes time to vote on a 300 page constitution -- not that it will matter. Most of the Germans I've spoken with hate the EU, but their country's elites will keep pushing it anyway.

Thursday, April 28


More debate, on the American Heraldry Society's web forum, over the Pope's new coat of arms, along with yet another hypothetical variant from Fr. Selvester's talented pen (above). It looks like the tinctures have changed from, to put it in heraldese, predominantly or and azure to or and gules. My guess is that thing (the schizophrenic mitre/tiara) on top of the current unofficial design was Archbishop Montezemolo's attempt to hedge his bets without knowing for sure the future of the tiara.

What makes this even stranger is that the pamphlet on which the "mitre version" appears is for the installation mass, and at that mass, there was a relief of a papal tiara on the back of the throne Benedict used. Furthermore, the pallium on the arms resembles the one actually used by John Paul II rather than the "new" (actually ancient) design revived for Benedict XVI, which to me suggests the design was thrown together at the last minute, without knowledge of the new pallium. It seems the mitre and pallium were wholly Archbishop Montezemolo's idea; it's difficult to say whether it will be adopted wholesale. John Paul II occasionally used both tiara and mitre interchangeably in coats of arms, so that remains a remote possibility.

So far, there's been no official pronouncement, just a few comments in German newspapers and a French-language article from Zenit which probably derive from the possibly inaccurate drawing. There are rumors of something appearing in L'Osservatore Romano tomorrow (also only a semi-official publication, mind you), but no word for sure.

The fact that there is no word from the Vatican makes me think that Benedict himself hasn't decided what heraldic insignia will top his arms, and may also still be jiggling with the insignia on his shield. (The Moor insignia, for example, may yet prove problematic to the non-initiated). There's still a tiara on the Vatican webpage. I would find it a puzzling gesture, abolishing the heraldic tiara, because the only people who are likely to really notice such a gesture will be traditionalists who are into heraldry, and they're likely to be dismayed by such a move. Since Benedict is trying to promote reunion with conservative schismatic elements, such a movement seems counter-intuitive, especially since neither the liberals nor the Orthodox will put much stock in such a gesture. To progressives, heraldry itself is pretty anachronistic, tiara or no; and the Eastern churches have no history of heraldic insignia and thus probably will not be interested in such a change.

Furthermore, as an attempt to show collegiality with the bishops, the mitre doesn't quite work as the bishops themselves no longer place the mitre over their arms (since the simplifications of Paul VI) but instead use the flat, tasselled Italian gallero. That being said, I'm sure whatever choice Benedict makes will be for the best in the long run. I may be puzzled, but then I'm a 22-year-old American layman, and he's the Vicar of Christ.
They grow up so fast...

My little sister's blog is the #1 Google hit for "Cooperatores Veritatis," the new Papal motto.

P.S. Happy Birthday, Holly! It's a good year to be XVI, apparently!

Wednesday, April 27

...the end is near...

Finals (and final assignements) are beginning at Notre Dame.
Wish us luck.
All you holy bloggers and readers, pray for us.

I'm working on a paper explaining why side altars are the ultimate fulfillment of Vatican II's theology of popular piety. Any suggestions or awesome pictures of side altars (or pictures of new churches conspicuously lacking side altars), please post links in the comment box!!
So that's where it went

Apparently, not all of the Berlin Wall was sold to second-rate American museums:
Some of it remains in German webspace.
I enjoyed this
(from Wuzzadem

I enjoy the Orange Alert caption the most, but to be honest I personally strive for all-out red.
Nazi monkeys to appear at Russian circus. (You still think I'm kidding.)
A full-color pic of Benedict XVI's new arms, with the tiara. And the pallium, which I still find somewhat puzzling, even more so because it doesn't resemble the one he actually uses. Also, another (hypothetical) variation on the papal arms from the webpage of a true heraldic artist, Fr. Guy Selvester. Fr. Selverster's one is prettier, I think.

Monday, April 25

But I Digress explains Cardinal Ratzinger's coat of arms and links to some thoughts on what the Papal coat of arms will look like.

Sunday, April 24

Papal Installation Mass Tonight

Despite several requests (it's nice to have fans), finals season has left me without the time to translate this morning's installation Mass. Believe me, I'd rather be doing that...

Never fear, though! Reader Jimmy G. has sent me a link to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications translation of the Mass, for those of you who are also crazy enough to stay up and watch it. (And, I suppose, the saner ones who will be taping it.) The text of the homily will also become available on this site as the time draws closer.

Saturday, April 23

Zadok gives us a sneak peek at Sunday's Papal installation mass. While there's no tiara in sight (chalk it up to steps, baby steps), it looks potentially very promising: they've brought back the old Greek deacon (to my knowledge a rare sight in Papal liturgy since the sixties) and the ancient Laudes Regiæ litany, and even better, they're using the Roman Canon. Now if we could just get him to use the fanon and falda and the flabellæ...'s Jonah Goldberg on the telos of Cookie Monster and Marcus Aurelius, with a guest appearance by Jodie Foster. (You think I'm kidding).
Reason #1,247 to love the Catholic Church and Papa Benedict

From Men in traditional costumes in Marktl, Germany, fire six shots in salute of the new Pope Benedict XVI, who was born in the southern Bavarian town.

The Pope, Bavarians and firearms. What more can one ask for?

Friday, April 22

More on Bestsellers

See the top bestsellers in the last 24 hours for Germany here, via bad Google translation.

Ratzinger's books are selling and are getting pretty good reviews. I don't think the Church could have asked for too much more. Praise God, and may his thought introduce many there to a vibrant Christianity -- and inspire those many to accept the challenge.
Of... Bestsellers?

Cardinal Ratzinger's election has made him a best-selling author.

Here at Notre Dame, all of the bookstore's copies of his works sold the day of his election.

But, this is Notre Dame, so that's not so surprising.

MORE surprising: Pope Benedict is now the best-selling author in Germany. His works occupy SEVEN of the current top ten sellers:

1. Salz der Erde (Salt of the Earth)
2. Werte in Zeiten des Umbruchs (Values in Time of Upheaval)
3. Einfuhrung in das Christentum (Introduction to Christianity)
5. Aus meinem Leben (Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977)
6. Erklarung Dominus Iesus
7. Glaube, Wahrheit, Toleranz (Truth and Tolerance)
10. Skandaloser Realismus?

His latest work, Values in Time of Upheaval, is already sold out, with publishers Herder planning a reprint of 20,000 to follow the initial 3,000 copies."

Source: BBC News.

Thursday, April 21


Ok, now I believe it.

Wednesday, April 20

Of Ecumenism
What can we expect?

The choice of a driving principle behind one’s actions is both interesting and, in a sense, boring. It’s “boring” in the sense that driving principles don't really tell us what someone is going to DO. They need to be translated into actions to really make headlines. So, here is an attempt to figure out how does “ecumenism” translates into specific actions.

At Notre Dame, we recently had a beautiful Eucharistic Procession. This is an ancient Catholic devotion, pictures of which are located below. It was the first procession held on campus in 40 years, and it was held with a twist: it was specifically a multi-cultural procession, and this is important for many reasons. It was necesary to show unity among various ethnic traditions -- and to show that real unity occurs through the Eucharist. It was necesary to remind Caucasian Catholics, through the rituals of traditionally Catholic countries, of the reality of Christ's presence in the Eucharist. It was necesary because often minorities on campus are, rather than looked down upon, simply ignored. A multi-cultural procession worked for all those things. In the past, Eucharistic processions did none of that because they were not needed to do any of that.

My point is that totally different motivations can lead to unexpected outcomes.

Ecumenism does not, in Pope Benedict’s parlance, mean ignoring doctrinal differences with other Churches. There will be no inter-communion with Lutherans or joint-ordinations with Anglicans in the forceable future – indeed, in any future, until the doctrinal underpinnings of these disagreements are resolved.

The driving principle of ecumenism will instead play out in the following ways:
(1) Intra-Church
(2) Inter-Church, Western
(3) Inter-Church, Eastern

Intra-Church Ecumenism. For those of you who are unaware, there is currently a schism or quasi-schism within the Catholic Church, and has been for some years. Many Catholics rejected the liturgical changes (and doctrinal articulations) of the Second Vatican Council; some of these Catholics have cut off union with Rome in word and in deed. More significantly, many of these Catholics have cut off union with Rome in deed, such as the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). The SSPX is a group of priests dedicated to pre-Vatican II ways of doing things, who recognize the Pope but refuse to obey him. Ratzinger is calling on them to obedience.

The primary reason that the SSPX (and other schismatic or quasi-schismatic) Catholics are not fully united with Rome is because they want all priests to be able to celebrate the sacraments the “old way” (as was done before Vatican II) without getting any sort of special permission. Until the Pope gives all priests this ability, the intra-Catholic Church schism will continue. Pope Benedict’s address thus strongly suggests that a universal indult (permanent grant of permission) to celebrate the sacraments according to ancient rites is coming. That’s the only way to seriously address intra-Church ecumenism, which he has now made his top priorty.

Western Inter-Church Ecumenism. This might take the form of unions of disaffected Anglicans with the Catholic Church may begin to take place at a serious level. If such unions really are the top priority of Pope Benedict, it is not unreasonable to expect that he may do the following:

- Seeking out Anglicans interested in united with Rome and make that union happen. For many years, Anglicans in Australia have expressed interest in uniting with Rome, but under JP2 this was not overtly encouraged. Pope Benedict may be more willing to actively encourage such conversions.

- Creating a sub-Church (a rite) for these Anglo-Catholics to allow them some self-governance and to allow them to use their own rituals

- Allowing Anglo-Catholic priests (but certainly not bishops) to marry in this new rite – not just converts, but new priests.

Eastern Inter-Church Ecumenism. If the Pope is able to successfully address Catholics who celebrate the sacraments according to the ancient pre-Vatican II rites, this will look very good to the Eastern Churches. The Eastern Churches use ancient rites as well, and Rome’s focus on using revised rituals has worried some Eastern Churches. Eastern Orthodox Churches are also convinced that Rome tries to make all rituals look like the Roman rituals; if the Pope allows a plurality of rituals, this may show the Eastern Churches that he will protect their individual identity and rituals. Also, if the Pope is able to create a sub-Church (a sui-iuris rite) for Anglican converts to Catholicism, which would be more indirectly connected to Papal Authority, this act would instill confidence in the Eastern Churches that union with Rome doesn’t automatically mean taking lots of orders from Rome.

As Cardinal, Ratzinger continually stressed both of these points. With the chance to prove his theories by actions, he can show the Eastern Churches that he really meant what he said. He has said that union with Rome does not require the Eastern Churches to change their beliefs of practices, saying “what was sufficient for union in the first millennium will be sufficient in the third.” If he is able to handled the Catholic Traditionalists and the Anglican questions well, the East will have confidence that union with Rome is possible.

Thus, we may see some actions (married priests, many more Old Latin Masses, emphasis on conversions) which do not belong together under a “liberal/conservative” dichotomy, but animated by the principle of “ecumenism” as he understands it, are natural partners.
By popular demand...

March 11, 2004

Tuesday, April 19

Of... "baggage"

As was well-documented, the biggest obsticle to Ratziner's election was his public perception as a the "panzerkardinal," or the dogmatic enforcer. Those who only know the name "Ratzinger" in connection with the enforcement of doctrinal orthodoxy are under this impression exactly because the public has only known him as the enforcer of orthodoxy: his sole occupation the last 25 years has been as the head of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. For 25 years, he was often called to play "bad cop" to the John Paul the Great's "good cop," as far as the public eye was concerned. His image was his job.

This public perception of Ratzinger is unbalanced. Ratzinger was at the head of the Vatican's meaningful reaction to the child-abuse scandal. Ratzinger has done a lot of very fruitful work both with Christian-Jewish dialogs but also with Protestant-Catholic theological dialog and Eastern-Western reunification talks. He is a concert pianist and a university profesor. A theologian in his own right, Ratzinger's work does not simply re-hash centuries of papal condemnations; as head of the Congregation for Doctrine, that may have been his job, but as a theologian he is often quite original.

As Pope, these many other attributes, skills, concerns, nuances, and charisms will come into play. Further, I firmly believe that Benedict XVI was elected for his strong desire to pass on the faith in a compelling way to Europe, which is currently committing continental apostasy. Ratzinger-as-enforcer-of-doctrine served the Church beautifully, and for that service we are greatful. But I would venture to suggest that Benedict XVI is more aptly regarded Ratzinger-as-evangelizer-of-Europe.
Of Nazis

Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have many things in common -- victimization by the Nazis is one.

As one blogger, rather on the progressive side, is reminding us, the same article which reported on Ratzingers "Nazi connections" reports that his involvement in the Nazi's "Hitler Youth" movement was compulsory. Indeed, the Ratzinger family was itself persecuted by the Nazis.

As the article details:

"The son of a rural Bavarian police officer, Ratzinger was six when Hitler came to power in 1933. His father, also called Joseph, was an anti-Nazi whose attempts to rein in Hitler’s Brown Shirts forced the family to move home several times.

"In 1937 Ratzinger’s father retired and the family moved to Traunstein, a staunchly Catholic town in Bavaria close to the Führer’s mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden. He joined the Hitler Youth aged 14, shortly after membership was made compulsory in 1941.

"He quickly won a dispensation on account of his training at a seminary. “Ratzinger was only briefly a member of the Hitler Youth and not an enthusiastic one,” concluded John Allen, his biographer."

Aside from providing fodder to the intellectually-simplistic hateful, the lack of any real substance in the Pope's coerced connection to (and indeed, persecution by) the Nazi party hopefully means focus on these connctions will not last long.
Of Names

A fair amount of the Shriners' papal discussion had focused in recent days on names. The first difficult task facing any pope, afterall, is the choice of a name.

As the Pope's first real public act, it gives significant insight into the path that a given Pontiff will pursue -- especially since the name is the very identity which the Pope assumes.

There are three ways of which I can think to interpret the choice of a name:

1) With reference to last pontiff who bore that name.
This was the case with John Paul I and John Paul II, who choose the names of popes of Vatican II (John XXIII and Paul VI) as a sign that they would continue the work of the Council.

2) With reference to the origin of the name.

3) Simple personal regard for the name itself.
This is the reason John XXIII picked "John" -- there was no (positive) history associated with Pope Johns in a millenium.

What does "Benedict XVI" say?
In the first sense, Pope Benedict XV was a theological moderate following the anti-modernist campaigns of St. Pius X. He considered Catholics "spiritually Semites," and indeed Ratzinger wrote books on the relationship of Catholics and Jews. Pope Benedict XV was also a strong advocate of peace.

In the second sense, St. Benedict essentially Christianized Europe and, through perfecting human arts for the liturgy, began high culture in Europe. The culture and evangelization of Europe is certainly the halmark of much of what Ratzinger said before the conclave.

The new pope had to choose a name that wasn't John, Paul, or John Paul: we've had a LOT of John and Paul, and John Paul III would be totally eclipsed by John Paul the Great. At the same time, names like Pius or Clement would sound very awkward today, like it or not. Since there have only been about 12 papal names in the last 800 years, the field of choices was narrow. I think Benedict XVI did a good job with that issue.


Monday, April 18


and so it begins...

Sunday, April 17

Secular Germany discovers St. Blog's

We know about the awesome CatholicismWow German blog, but now the German media is starting to find out about St. Blog's.

Read the articla here in badly-translated German.

Holy Whapping is one of the six blogs mentioned (!)
Some reactions from Notre Dame students who (apparently) hadn't read our posters advertising the procession and were caught off-guard. Kinda cool, I thought.

1 Crucifer, 2 Candle-bearers
3 Missionaries of Charity
9 Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
2 Thurifers
9 Concelebrants
... under an awesome canopy
4 Torch-bearers
1 MC & 1 Bell Ringer
4 Fransiscan Friars
250+ Attendees

Outside the Basilica

Filipino Club Altar at Bond Hall

Jesus' First Visit to South Quad

Altar dedicated to the memory of John Paul the Great

Benediction at South Dining Hall

Processing deom South Dining Hall

Onward to North Quad

Crossing Main Quad again

A very long procession in front of North Dining Hall

40 years ago...

And yesterday afternoon:

Friday, April 15

Hey! We made the front page!

Saturday's Eucharistic Procession is currently prominently featured on the Notre Dame homepage. It shows up in the section next to the large main picture. You may have to hit "refresh" a few times before it shows up; the site randomly cycles through news stories. Look for the really POD early-60's picture.

I really like how the headline reads "Students restore tradition of Eucharistic Procession." It sounds as if it's assumed that we'll be making this an annual event (which, while the goal, isn't a total certainty at this point). Ora pro nobis.

Thursday, April 14

Once again... Catholicism doesn't fit the mold

I was interviewed by Newsweek last week (!). You won't read anything about it, though.

Newsweek wanted me to be an angry conservative (I'm neither) or an angry liberal (I'm neither). My careful explanation that these terms really can't be applied to Catholicism which is rooted in the fullness of the Christian tradition was not what the reporter was looking for -- and I could tell it at the time, because by the end of the interview (after I'd refused to be attributed to a dumbed-down or simplistic stand on stem cells, the role of women, the next pope, etc.) she was audibly irritated. I think she quit when I mentioned "Eucharistic procession" and "Debt relief" in the same sentence... Why do those have to be irreconciliable? I can only envision them as part of the same "seamless garment," if you would.

By the time I hung up, I regretted giving the interview because it was clear she wanted someone who was upset and a rightie or a leftie, I knew I wasn't giving her what she was looking for: I just hoped she wouldn't make me look like either in her article. Fortunately, I was spared that unhappy fate.


Wednesday, April 13


Eucharistic Procession Restored at Notre Dame

View the official press release here.
April 16, 2005
Basilica Crypt
You're Invited.
Peggy Noonan chronicles, in her usual brilliant poignancy, Papa's 1979 trip to Poland.

John Paul the Great's tomb open to the public today.
John Paul the Great's Tomb Now Open

Democratic Strategists Issue Memo on Loss of Catholics

Culture & Cosmos
April 12, 2005 Volume 2, Number 36

A memo authored by a prominent Democratic strategy organization calls
the decline in support of white Catholics for Democrats "striking" and "a
big part of the 2004 election story." One of the analysis' key findings is
that Catholic voters are becoming more pro-life which the authors called
"a factor in the recent losses and one of the blockages for Democrats, at
least in the Midwest." The data also reveals that young Catholics are more
pro-life than their parents and that bishops who speak out against
pro-abortion politicians help bolster the pro-life vote.

The abortion issue is particularly potent for a group called
"Democratic defectors" who either identified themselves as Democrats or
voted for Bill Clinton in 1996 but voted for President Bush in the last
election. Among this group, "26 percent believe that abortion should be
illegal in all cases, nearly three times the number for all Catholic

The memo was issued by Democracy Corps, a research and tactical
advice organization founded by Democrat strategy virtuosos James Carville,
Stanley Greenberg and Bob Shrum. Titled "Reclaiming the White Catholic
Vote," it is based on data from a nationwide survey of more than a 1,000
white Catholic voters. The decline in the white Catholic vote has been
steady over the last decade. Clinton won it by seven percentage points; Al
Gore lost it by seven points; and Sen. John Kerry lost it by 14 points.
The data provided in the report provides a fascinating window into the
much discussed Catholic vote and makes it clear Democrats are losing
ground because of their stance on a range of cultural issues.

It turns out that one of the most contentious and visible issues in
the 2004 election, the denial of the Eucharist to pro-abortion
politicians, did not hurt the pro-life side as many said it would. The
poll found that when white Catholics were asked whether or not they were
more or less likely to vote for a Democrat that "is denied communion by
the area's bishop for voting to support abortion rights" 49 percent said
they were less likely while 33 percent said they were more likely.

The memo also made it clear that the abortion issue is not going
away. "Although the pro-life position is strongest among seniors,
Catholics current pro-life position does not appear likely to lessen with
time. While middle-age Catholics lean toward keeping abortion legal,
voters under 30 are more pro-life: 53 percent believe abortion should be
illegal in most cases." The pro-life position could be a winning one for
Democrats according to the study. Fifty-nine percent of white Catholics
say they are more likely to support a Democratic candidate who is pro-life
and 35 percent say they are less likely, giving a pro-life Democrat a 24
point advantage. Even on the East Coast where Catholics are less pro-life,
a pro-life Democrat has a 12 point advantage over a pro-abortion

The memo advises Democrat candidates to get around the issue by
presenting themselves as one who "[b]elieves in a woman's right to choose
but believes all sides should come together around the common goal of
preventing and reducing the number of abortions, with more sex ed,
including abstinence, access to contraception and more adoption." This
common ground approach is reminiscent of a recent speech given by New York
Senator and likely presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton, in
which she softened her approach to abortion by calling it a "tragic
choice." In the speech she said faith-based abstinence should be embraced
but also called on increased funding for "family planning services," a
euphemism for contraception, abortifacients and abortions.

Copyright 2005---Culture of Life Foundation. Permission granted for
unlimited use. Credit required.

Culture of Life Foundation
1413 K Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington DC 20005
Phone: (202) 289-2500 Fax: (202) 289-2502

Tuesday, April 12



This time, Russia is up to bat...

"President Putin Worshipped as New Apostle Paul"

"The Rus Resurrecting affiliation looks like a typical parish, with regular church services and people coming to be baptized and married. Its patron saint is the Mother of God, but in addition the head of the affiliation has included some alternative members into the Orthodox tradition."

"Among them is President Putin, whom the followers of Rus Resurrecting believe to be the new Apostle Paul. Putin, just like Apostle Paul, has come to the world to convert as many people as possible to the real faith, says Mother Photinia. She teaches her flock that the Second Coming has already happened, and that there are seven Sons of God and seven antichrists on the planet currently."


Anti-EU Nuttiness Fr. Sibley Himself Would Envy!

Regardless of your opinions on the EU, this display of intellectual muscle is entirely too enjoyable.

Revelation 12:1
"A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head"

"The EU flag's symbolism is actually based on the Roman Church's interpretation that the symbolic "woman" in the verse above is the Virgin Mary. This interpretation is reflected in that Church's statues and images of Mary, but not as a symbol of Israel or the Christian Church. Within the Roman Church's doctrines, the Virgin Mary is also a symbol of "perfection and entirety" and so we see at last the hidden double meaning."


Notice how the EU building in Strasbourg blends SEAMLESSLY with the Tower of Babel!!!!!!!

Oh, read more!

Monday, April 11

And now, by popular demand (or maybe because we just won't go away), here's the April edition of Advocata Nostra for your reading pleasure.

Sunday, April 10

Reason #132 to love the Dappled Things Blog: Don Jim doesn't like Woodrow Wilson.
Shirt slogans seen in the dining hall this morning:

CATHOLIC RADICAL - On a redheaded girl in jogging equipage... Could be good, could be bad. I guess it all depends on what radex means.

THE REPUBLIC OF CHAD - With a list of obviously fictive 'nicknames' ("Mr. Peepers"? "Pointdexter"?) for the Republic on the back. Which makes me wonder, if a guy named Chad and a girl named Brittany got married, would they name their firstborn daughter Lorraine? Or Mozambique? On the other hand, there was a girl at my high school named Tunisia, so all bets are off.
From Fr. Johansen: It looks like what could well be repeat of the Schiavo travesty is in the works in Georgia in the case of Mae Magouirk, 85, neither vegetative nor comatose, who is being deprived of food and water in direct contravention of her living will by persons with no standing to do so under state law. This one may be even more outrageous than the Schiavo case, folks.

UPDATE: It looks like Mae Magouirk has been moved to a nursing home and is receiving nourishment and IV fluids. Incidentally, some commentators have remarked that while she has not been receiving via a feeding tube, she has not been deprived of sustenance via mouth. I honestly don't know what to make of this question, but whatever the case it looks like she is safe now.

Saturday, April 9

Something Kinda Cool at CNN

I found this at and thought it was kinda cool, especially for CNN.

Friday, April 8


Thursday, April 7

Here's my own shoddy translation of the first few paragraphs of the document mentioned in the previous post. If you have any help or corrections to offer, I'd be more than glad to hear them. More to follow:



Funeral Mass

and intombation of the body

of the Roman Pontiff






1. In the rite of funerals the Church manifests her faith in the victory of the risen Christ over sin and death. Such faith is expressed in a particular way in the funeral of the Roman Pontiff, which from the motive of his ministry, carried out in the Church, confirmed the faith of all the pastors and the faithful.

2. At the announcement of the death of the Supreme Pontiff, the Church which is in Rome and in the various parts of the world raises to the Father, the Lord of life and of death, an intense prayer of gratitude, for the good which the dead Pontiff has carried out for the good of the Church and of humanity, of suffering and of supplication, that he be welcomed by the Lord into the dwelling of light and of peace together with all the saints, in attesta which fulfills the blessed hope.

3. In prayers he the Holy Church, deprived of the Roman Pontiff is commended to God , because it is entrusted with trustful abandon to Christ, the Supreme Pastor, who has promised to her his unending presence and assistance.

They recall also those who, by reason of kinship, of service, or of collaboration are very close to the dead Supreme Pontiff. For everything, then, which is an occasion to revive the hope of eternal life and to testify to the faith in the future resurrection with Christ.

4. The body of the dead Supreme Pontiff, which with the sacraments of Christian initiation became a temple of the Holy Spirit and with the Sacrament of Episcopal Ordination was totally dedicated to the service of the people of God, is rendered its due honor, according to custom and Christian tradition, but above all from the motive of faith in eternal life and in the resurrection of the body. This is done in any significant moment: in the verfication of death, in the exposition of the body in the Pontifical House, in his solemn transferral to the Vatican Basilica, in the deposition into the coffin, in the funeral Mass with the last commendation and the leave-taking, in the transferral to the tomb and the inhumation.


The funeral Mass, in which occurs the intombation of the Roman Pontiff John Paul II is preceeded by the deposition of the body of the dead Pontiff into the coffin; after the Mass occurs the transferral of the sepulchre and the intombation. To these two parts of the rite are provided the participation of a restricted number of people.



Before the funeral Mass, the body of the dead Pontiff arrives laid on a bier of cypress wood. This comes, closed, to the presence of the Cardinal Camerlengo, the Cardinals Capi d' Ordine, the Cardinal Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica, the Cardinal Secretary of State, the Prefect of the Pontifical Household, the Elemosiniere of the Supreme Pontiff, the Vice Camerlengo, a representative of the Canons of the Basilica of Saint Peter, and the Secretary of the Supreme Pontiff, vested in choir dress, and the familiars of the Deceased.

The Cardinal Camerlengo introduces the rite of closing the coffin with these words:

(Latin, then repeated in Italian)

Dearest brothers and sisters, in the name of the Lord we convene to this pious office carried out before a funeral Mass for the Roman Pontiff John Paul.

His mortal body deposited in the coffin, let us entrust our petitions for the dead Pontiff, keeping in mind his life and especial works, for which we pay thanks to God the Father.

We reverently cover the face of the Dead, supported by the hope that he be able to contemplate the face of the Father, and the blessed Virgin Mary and all the Saints, to enjoy their company.

The Master of Liturgical Ceremonies of the Supreme Pontiff gives the book of petitions, in which are written examples of those who will come to be present.

Between each is sung the antiphon:

My soul thirsts for the living God: when shall I come, and appear before the face of the Lord?

And, if there is opportunity, an added psalm is sung.

The Cardinal Camerlengo invites those present to pray, saying:

Let us pray.

And all pray for some time in silence.

Then the Cardinal Camerlengo continues:

All-powerful and ever-living God, Lord of life and death, we hope and believe that the life of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul is now hidden in you.

Let his face, which has disappeared from this world, flow with true light from you, the unfailing font, continually made bright.

Let his face, which has searched high and low for the way to be shown to the Church, may see the face of your homeland.

Let his face, which has departed from our view, contemplate your beauty and be commended to your flock, eternal Shepherd. Who lives and reigns forever and ever.

The Master of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff and the Secretary of the Supreme Pontiff lay a veil of white silk over the face of the Deceased. Then the Cardinal Camerlengo sprinkles the body with holy water.

The Master places in the coffin the bag with the medals coined during the Pontificate of the dead Pontiff and the tube with the Deed, after he has sealed it with the seal of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.

While the coffin is closed, Psalm 41 is said.

PSALM 41: 2-6

As the deer longs for streams of water,* so my soul longs for you, O God.
My being thirsts for God, the living God;* When can I go and see the face of God?
My tears have been my food day and night, *as they ask daily,"Where is your God?"
Those times I recall as I pour out my soul; † when I went in procession with the crowd, *I went with them to the house of God,
Amid loud cries of thanksgiving, *with the multitude keeping festival.
Why are you downcast, my soul,* why do you groan within me?
Hope in God, whom I shall praise still,* my savior and my God.

Glory to the Father.


The funeral Mass is celebrated by the Cardinals and the Patriarchs of the Eastern Church. The Dean of the College of Cardinals [Ratzinger. - ed.] presides over the concelebration. They use sacred vestments of the color red.



Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord: and let perpetual light shine upon him.

PSALM 64: 2-6

1. A hymn, O God, becometh thee in Sion:* and a vow shall be paid to thee in Jerusalem.
Ant. Requiem...
2. O hear my prayer: all flesh shall come to thee. R/
3.The words of the wicked have prevailed over us: and thou wilt pardon our transgressions. R/
4. Blessed is he whom thou hast chosen and taken to thee: he shall dwell in thy courts. R/
5.We shall be filled with the good things of thy house; holy is thy temple, R/
6.Wonderful in justice. Hear us, O God our saviour, who art the hope of all the ends of the earth, and in the sea afar off. R/

The celebrant:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R/. Amen.

... greets the assembly:

Peace be with you.
R/. And with your spirit.

... he invites them to an act of penance:

Brothers, let us acknowlege our sins, that we may be worthy to celebrate these sacred mysteries.

After a brief silence, all say together:

I confess ...

The celebrant:

May almighty God ...

The schola and the assembly sing, alternating, the



The celebrant:

Let us pray.

God, shepherd and guide of all the faithful, who willed that John Paul be placed over your Church as Shepherd and now appointed him to depart from this age, grant, we beseech thee, that in the kingdom of heaven he be included in the eternal fellowship of your shepherds.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns ...


First Reading

Christ is appointed by God to judge the living and the dead

(Spanish, then Italian) A reading from the Acts of the Apostles: 10:34-43

34. And Peter opening his mouth, said: in very deed I perceive that God is not a respecter of persons.
35. But in every nation, he that feareth him and worketh justice is acceptable to him.
36. God sent the word to the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all).
37. You know the word which hath been published through all Judea: for it began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached.
38. Jesus of Nazareth: how God anointed him with the Holy Ghost and with power, who went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
39. And we are witnesses of all things that he did in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem: whom they killed, hanging him upon a tree.
40. Him God raised up the third day and gave him to be made manifest,
41. Not to all the people, but to witnesses preordained by God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him, after he arose again from the dead.
42. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God to be judge of the living and of the dead.
43. To him all the prophets give testimony, that by his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him.

The Word of the Lord. R/. Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Psalm

The psalmist: Psalm 22
1 The Lord ruleth me: and I shall want nothing.
R/. He hath set me in a place of pasture.
2. He hath brought me up, on the water of refreshment: He hath converted my soul. R/
3. He hath led me on the paths of justice, for his own name's sake. R/
4. For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for thou art with me. R/
5. Thy rod and thy staff, they have comforted me. R/
6. Thou hast prepared a table before me against them that afflict me. R/
7. Thou hast anointed my head with oil; and my chalice which inebreateth me, how goodly is it! R/
8. And thy mercy will follow me all the days of my life.R/
9. And that I may dwell in the house of the Lord unto length of days.R/

Second reading

Christ will transform our bodies and will conform them to his glorious body

(English, then Italian) A reading from the letter of Paul to the Philippians. 3,20-4, 1

As you well know, we have our citizenship in heaven; it is from there that we eagerly await the coming of our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will give a new formto this lowly body of ours and remake it according to the pattern of his glorified body, by his power to subject everything to himself.

For these reasons, my brothers, you whomI so love and long for, you who are my joy and my crown, continue, my dear ones, to stand firm in the Lord.

The Word...

Gospel Acclamation

Schola, then assembly: Alleluia...

Schola (Jn 6:40): And this is the will of my Father that sent me: that every one who seeth the Son and believeth in him may have life everlasting.

Assembly: Alleluia...


Follow Me.

The Lord be with you...

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.

He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs.

He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep.

Amen, amen, I say to thee, When thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee and lead thee whither thou wouldst not.

And this he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had said this, he saith to him: Follow me.

The Word of the Lord
Praise to You, O Christ



Cantor: Credo, credo. Amen.
R/. Credo, credo. Amen.

Schola: I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. R/.

Universal Prayers

The Celebrant: Brothers, let us beg God, the father of all, who today gathers us to his Only-begotten Son to celebrate the paschal mystery in the funeral rites of the Pastor of the Universal Church, that he be taken up in his peace and that every good thing be granted to the Church and to the world.

The Deacon: Together let us all pray: We ask you, hear us.

French: For our deaceased Pope John Paul, that the supreme Pastor, who always lives to intercede for us, welcomes him benignly into his reign of light and peace, we pray to the Lord. R/

Swahili: For the holy Church of God, that faithful to His command, it be firm in renewing in Christ the human family, we pray to the Lord. R/

Filippino: For the people of all nations, that in respect of justice, they form only one family in peace and be united in fraternal sentiment, we pray to the Lord. R/

Polish: For the soul of the deceased Roman Pontiff and of all who announce the Gospel in the Church and excercize the sacerdotal ministry: that they be made participants in the liturgy of heaven, we pray to the Lord. R/

German: For all the faithful departed: that they be admitted to participate in the reign of heaven, we pray to the Lord. R/

Portugese: For us gathered here: that, after we have celebrated these holy mysteries, we be able to be called one day by Christ into his glorious reign, we pray to the Lord. R/

The Celebrant: Hear us, God, our salvation, praying together with all the Saints, and the souls of your servant our Pope John Paul, who relied on the prayer of the Church, together with the company of your saints. Through Christ our Lord.

Offertory Song

Schola: R/ You illumine my lamp, Lord, my God, you illumine my darkness.


1. I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. * The Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer. R/.
2. The sorrows of hell encompassed me: and the snares of death prevented me. R/.
3. In my affliction I called upon the Lord, and I cried to my God: R/.
4. And he heard my voice from his holy temple: and my cry before him came into his ears. R/.

Prayer over the Gifts

We humbly implore your boundless compassion, Lord, that this sacrifice, which your servant our Pastor John Paul, when he was in the body, offered to your majesty for the salvation of the faithful, that he himself now come to grace. Through Christ our Lord.



The hope of resurrection in Christ.

The Lord be with you. &c...

Truly it is right and just, fair and beneficial, for us to give you thanks always and everywhere: Lord, holy Father, all powerful and eternal God: through Christ our Lord.

In him, who rose from the dead, our hope of resurrection dawned. The sadness of death gives way to the bright promise of immortality.

Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.

And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven, we proclaim your glory and join in their unending hymn of praise:



Mysterium Fidei

Savior of the world, save us, You who by your cross and resurrection has freed us.

Prayer of Intercession for the Dead

A Concelebrant: Also remember, Lord, the Roman Pontiff our Pope John Paul, whom today you call from this earth, and your servants N. and N., who go before us with the sign of faith , and sleep in the sleep of peace.

We pray that you may grant to these, Lord, and all who rest in Christ, that place of rest, light and peace.

Communion Song

Eternal rest grant unto him, Lord, with your saints in eternity, because you are holy.


1. Out of the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord: * Lord, hear my voice. R/
2. Let thy ears be attentive* to the voice of my supplication. R/
3.If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities:* Lord, who shall stand it? R/
4. For with thee there is merciful forgiveness:* that we might fear you. R/
5. I have waited for thee, O Lord.* My soul hath relied on his word: R/
6. My soul hath hoped in the Lord, * from the morning watch even until night R/
7. From the morning watch even until night, *let Israel hope in the Lord. R/
8. Because with the Lord there is mercy: *and with him plentiful redemption. R/
9. And he shall redeem Israel* from all his iniquities. R/

Prayer after Communion

The Celebrant: Let us pray.

Approaching the eternal banquet table, we humbly implore your mercy, Lord, on behalf of the soul of your servant Pope John Paul, that he might at last rejoice together by the possession of truth, in which your faithful people are strengthened. Through Christ our Lord.



Having said the prayer after Communion, the Dean of the College of Cardinals completes the rite of final recommendation and leave-taking. He stands near the casket with the other concelebrants, inviting those presten to pray with these words:

Dearest brothers and sisters, let us commend to the most sweet mercy of God the soul of our Pope John Paul, who, as Bishop of the Catholic Church, strengthened his brothers in the faith of the resurrection.

For the deceased Pope I beseech God the Father that through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit, that he, redeemed from death, might be taken up into his peace, and his body be reawakened on the last day.

Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of apostles and Health of the people of Rome, intercede before God that He might show the face of his Son to our blessed Pope and console the Church with the light of his resurrection.

All pray for some time in silence.


The Cardinal Vicar for the Diocese of Rome comes near the casket.

The cantor chants the Litany of the saints and all respond to the invocations.

The Litany having ended, the Cardinal Vicar concludes the supplications of the Church of Rome with the following prayer:

God, faithful recompense of souls, keep your servant our Pope John Paul, whom you placed as successor of of Peter and pastor of your Church, the grace and compassion of your mysteries, which he faithfully dispensed on earth, may he enjoy happiness with you forever in heaven. Through Christ our Lord.

Then the Cardinal Vicar returns to his place.

(from the Office of the Dead of the Byzantine Liturgy)

The supplications of the Church of Rome having finished, the Patriarchs, the Major Archbishops and the Metropolitans of the Eastern Catholic Metropolitan Churches "sui iuris," come before the the casket, and turn to face the altar.

The chorus:

Grant rest to the soul of your Servant, our Father and Bishop John Paul Pope of Rome, O saving God, together with the souls of the just, lead him to the blessed life with you, friend of men.

Lead into the place of your rest, Lord, where your Saints rest, also the soul of your Servant, our Father and Bishop John Paul Pope of Rome, because you alone are immortal.

Glory to the Father ...

You are our God, who descended to hell and freed the prisoners from punishment; grant that rest also to the soul of your Servand, John Paul Pope of Rome, O Savior.

Now and forever. Amen.

Blessed Virgin Mary, the only pure and immaculate, who without seed has conceived God, interceed for the salvation of the soul of your Servant.

The Deacon: Have mercy on us, O God, according to your great compassion, we pray to you, hear and have mercy.

The Chorus: Lord, have mercy (Three times)

The Deacon: We pray also for the repose of the soul of this Servant of God our Father and Bishop John Paul the Pope of Rome and also forgive every sin, voluntary or involuntary.

The Chorus: Lord, have mercy (Three times)

Deacon: May the Lord place his soul there, where the just rest. We call on Christ, the immortal king and our God, his divine mercy, the king of heaven, and the pardon of his sins.

The Chorus: Hear us, O Lord.

The Deacon: We pray to the Lord.

The Chorus: Lord, have mercy.

The Patriarch incences the body of the Pontiff, while a priest says in a loud voice this prayer:

God of souls and of every body, who has stamped out death, has defeated the devil and has given life to the world, grant the repose of the soul of this your Servant, the deceased John Paul Pope of Rome in a place of light and joy, in a verdant place, in a place of blessing where there is no more suffering, saddness, or pain.

Pardon his every fault committed in word, deed, thought, you who are the one good God and friend of men, because no man lives and does not sin, you alone were actually without sin, you were righteous and righteous forever, and your word is truth.

The Papal funeral rite (text in Italian).

POD pictures of the faithful at St. Peter's.
JPtG Sightings

The official version of Cardinal Sodano's Sunday Homily

Fox News

NY Post
Totus Tuus

The Holy Father's will was released today. The original Polish and official Italian translation are available on the Vatican website. The Guardian has an unofficial English translation, which may be will find below with some edits I did to clean up the rather hasty translation and add the marginal notes which were left out. I left what was written in Latin in Latin, with my translations and notes in brackets like this: {}. All other formatting, including parentheticals and brackets, are as found in the Italian text.

The testament of 6.3.1979
(and the successive additions)

Totus Tuus ego sum
{I am totally yours}

In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen.

“Keep watch, because you know not in which day when your Lord will come'' (cf. Mt. 24:42) - These words recall to me the final call, which will come to pass in the moment that the Lord will choose. I desire to follow Him and desire that all that is part of my earthly life prepares me for this moment. I do not know when it is to come, but, like all else, this moment too I place into the hands of the Mother of My Master: Totus Tuus. In the same maternal hands I leave everything and All those with whom my life and vocation are bound. Into these Hands I leave above all the Church, and also my Nation and all of humanity. I thank everyone. I beg forgiveness of everyone. I also beg prayers, so that the Mercy of God will show itself to be greater than my weakness and unworthiness.

During spiritual exercises I reread the testament of the Holy Father Paul VI. This reading has prodded me to write the present testament.

I do not leave behind me any property of which it is necessary to dispose. Regarding those items of daily use which served me, I ask that they be distributed as may appear opportune. My personal notes are to be burned. I ask that Don Stanislaw oversees this, whom I thank him for the collaboration and help so prolonged over the years and so understanding. All other thanks, instead, I leave in my heart before God himself, because it is difficult to convey them.

For that which regards the funeral, I repeat the same disposition which was given by the Holy (in this place is a note in the margin: the sepulcher in the ground, not in a sarcophagus, 13.3.92.)
“apud Dominum misericordia
et copiosa apud Eum redemptio”

{“with the Lord is mercy,
and with him fullness of redemption” cf. Ps. 129:7}
John Paul PP. II

Rome, 6.III.1979

After my death I ask for Holy Masses and prayers



A page without a date:
I express the deepest faith that, despite all my weakness, the Lord will grant me every necessary grace to face, according to His will, whatever task, trial and suffering that He will wish to require of His servant, in the course of my life. I also have faith that never will it be permitted that, through some of my behavior: words, actions or omissions, I should betray my obligations in this holy Seat of Peter.


24.II - 1.III.1980

Also during these spiritual exercises I have reflected upon the truth of the Priesthood of Christ in the perspective of that Crossing which, for each one of us, is the moment of his own death. In taking leave of this world – in order to be born into the other, into the future world, an eloquent (added above: crucial) sign is for us the Resurrection of Christ.

I therefore read the copy of my testament of the last year, also made during spiritual exercises - I compared it with the testament of my great Predecessor and Father Paul VI, with that sublime testimony to the death of a Christian and of a pope - and I renewed in myself consciousness of the questions, to which the entry of 6.III.1979 refers, prepared by me (in a rather provisional way).

Today I desire to add to it only this, that each one of us must bear in mind the prospect of death. And must be ready to present himself before the Lord and Judge - and contemporaneously Redeemer and Father. Then I too can take this into consideration continuously, entrusting that decisive moment to the Mother of Christ and of the Church - to the Mother of my hope.

The times in which we live are indescribably difficult and troubled. Difficult and tense has become the life of the Church as well, characteristic trial of these times - as much for the Faithful, as for the Pastors. In some Countries (as, for example, in that of which I was reading during the spiritual exercises), the Church finds itself in a period of persecution that is not inferior to those of the first centuries; in fact, they surpass them in the degree of cruelty and of hatred. Sanguis martyrum - semen christianorum. {The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church} And beyond this - so many people disappear innocently, even in this Country, in which we live...

I desire once more to entrust myself totally to the mercy of the Lord. He himself will decide when and how I must finish my earthly life and pastoral ministry. In life and in death Totus Tuus by means of the Immaculate. Accepting already this hour of death, I hope that Christ gives me the grace for the final passage, which is [my] Easter. I hope, too, that it shall be rendered useful also for this most important cause in which I seek to serve: the salvation of men, the safeguarding of the human family, and, in it, of all the nations and the peoples (among these I refer also in a particular way to my earthly Country), useful for the persons, who in a particular way he has entrusted to me, for the questions of the Church, for the glory of God himself.

I do not desire to add anything to that which I wrote a year ago - only express this readiness and at the same time this faith, to which the present spiritual exercises have prepared me anew.
John Paul II

Totus Tuus ego sum

In the course of the spiritual exercises of this year I have read (several times) the text of the testament of 6.III.1979. Notwithstanding that even now it is to be considered as provisional (not definitive), I leave it in the form in which it exists. I change (for now) nothing, nor do I add anything, as regards the arrangements contained within it.

The attempt on my life of 13.V.1981 in some way has confirmed the exactness of the words written in the period of the spiritual exercises of 1980 (24.II - 1.III).

All the more profoundly I feel that I find myself totally in the Hands of God - and I remain continually at the disposition of my Lord, entrusting myself to Him and to His Immaculate Mother (Totus Tuus).

John Paul PP. II

In connection with the final phrase of my testament of 6.III.1979 (“About place/the place, that is, of the funeral/may the College of Cardinals and Countrymen'') - I clarify what I have in mind: the metropolitan of Krakow or the General Council of the Bishops of Poland - I ask in the meantime the College of Cardinals to satisfy to the extent possible the eventual questions which are listed above.


1.III.1985 (in the course of the spiritual exercises).

Again - concerning the expression "College of Cardinals and the Countrymen": the “College of Cardinals'' has no obligation to consult "the Countrymen" on this matter; it can, in any case, do so, if for some reason it considers it right to do so.


The spiritual exercises of the Jubilee year 2000
[for the will]

1. When, on the day of 16 October 1978, the conclave of cardinals chose John Paul II, the Primate of Poland Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski told me: "The task of the new pope will be to introduce the Church into the Third Millennium." I do not know if I am repeating the phrase exactly, but at least such was the sense of what I heard then. It was said by the Man who has passed into history as the Primate of the Millennium. A great Primate. I was witness to his mission, to His total entrusting. To His struggles; to His victory. “Victory, when it will come, will be a victory through Mary” - the Primate of the Millennium was wont to repeat these, the words of his Predecessor, Cardinal August Hlond.

In this way I was to some manner prepared for the task which was placed before me on the day of 16 October 1978. At the moment in which I write these words, the Jubilee Year 2000 is already a reality, in action. The night of 24 December 1999, the symbolic Door of the Great Jubilee in the Basilica of St. Peter was opened, and following that of St. John Lateran, then that of St. Mary Major -- on New Year's Eve, and on the day of 19 January, the Door of the Basilica of St. Paul “Outside the Walls.” This last event, by way of its ecumenical character, has remained impressed in memory in a particular way.

2. To the degree that the Jubilee Year of 2000 goes forward, day by day the 20th century is closing behind us and the 21st century opens itself. In accordance with the designs of Providence, it was granted to me to live in the difficult century that is going on into the past, and now, in the year in which the age of my life reaches eighty years (“octogesima adveniens”), it is necessary to ask if it is not the time to repeat the words of the biblical Simeon, “Nunc dimittis."

On the day of 13 May 1981, the day of the attempt upon the life of the Pope during the general audience in St. Peter's Square, Divine Providence saved me from death in a miraculous way. He who is the sole Savior of life and of death, Himself prolonged this life, and in a certain way gave it to me anew. From this moment it belongs to Him all the more. I hope that He will help me to recognize the time until when I must continue this service, to which he called me on the day of 16 October 1978. I ask {Him} to call me when He wants. “In life and in death we belong to the Lord ... we are of the Lord” (cf. Rm 14:8). I hope too that throughout the time given me to carry out the service of Peter in the Church, the Mercy of God wishes to lend me the necessary strength for this service.

3. As I do every year during spiritual exercises I read my testament from 6.III.1979. I continue to maintain the dispositions contained in this text. That which then, and also during successive spiritual exercises, has been added constitutes a reflection of the difficult and tense general situation which marked the '80s. From autumn of the year 1989 this situation changed. The last decade of the past century was free of the previous tensions; that does not mean that it did not carry with it new problems and difficulties. In a special way may Divine Providence be praised for this, that the period of the so-called “cold war” ended without violent nuclear conflict, the danger of which weighed on the world in the preceding period.

4. Being on the threshold of the third millennium “in medio Ecclesiae,” I wish once again to express gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of Vatican Council II, to which, together with the entire Church - and above all the entire episcopacy - I feel indebted. I am convinced that for a long time to come the new generations will draw upon the riches that this Council of the 20th century lavished on us. As a bishop who participated in this conciliar event from the first to the last day, I wish to entrust this great patrimony to all those who are and who will in the future be called to carry it out. For my part I thank the eternal Pastor who allowed me to serve this greatest cause in the course of all the years of my pontificate.

In medio Ecclesiae” ... from the first years of my service as a bishop - precisely thanks to the Council - it was given to me to experience the fraternal communion of the Episcopacy. As a priest of the Archdiocese of Krakow I experience what was the fraternal communion of the presbyterate - the Council opened a new dimension to this experience.

5. How many people should I list! Probably the Lord God has called to Himself the majority of them - as to those who are still found in this part, may the words of this testament recall them, everyone and everywhere, wherever they are found.

In the course of the more than 20 years that I am carrying out the Petrine service “in medio EcclesiaeI have experienced the benevolence and even more the fecund collaboration of so many Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, so many priests, so many consecrated persons - Brothers and Sisters - and, lastly, so very many lay persons, within the Curia, in the Vicariate of the Diocese of Rome, as well as outside these milieux.

How can I not embrace with grateful memory all the Bishops of the world whom I have met in visits “ad limina Apostolorum!” How can I not recall so many non-Catholic Christian brothers! And the rabbi of Rome and so many representatives of non-Christian religions! And how many representatives of the world of culture, of science, of politics, and of the means of social communication!

6. As the limit of my earthly life approaches I return with my memory to the beginning, to my Parents, to my Brother, to my Sister (whom I never knew, because she died before my birth), to the parish in Wadowice, where I was baptized, to that city of my love, to my peers, companions from elementary school, high school and the university, up to the time of the occupation when I was worked as a factory worker, and afterwards in the parish of Niegowic, then St. Florian's in Krakow, to the pastoral ministry of academics, to the milieu of ... to all milieux ... to Krakow and to Rome ... to the people who were entrusted to me in a special way by the Lord.

To all I want to say only one thing: "May God reward you.''

“In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum.” {Into Your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.” Cf. Ps. 30:6}



Tuesday, April 5

The plot thickens...

I think by now we've pretty much realized that the date of the Pope's death was:
1) On a first Saturday, which are specially dedicated to Mary,
2) On the Vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast he created,
3) Within the Octave of Easter,
4) In a New Springtime (only 12 days old), and
5) In the Year of the Eucharist

But I just found out that the first day out of the mourning period, April 11, is the feast of St. Stanislas, patron of his beloved Poland, whose name he had considered taking as Pope.

Hat tip: Fr. Sibley
Long Live the Pope

... Holy Whapping style.

Our Anglican friends link both to the lyrics of the most bombastic of Papal hymns, and also to a midi file playing the alternate musical setting which we at Notre Dame have found makes the lyrics much, much more singable.

Try also replacing "300 million" with "1000 million."

Click here

Future Tomb of JP2

The Vatican has announced JP2's funeral plans. It's been decided that he will be buried in the former tomb of John XXIII (picture above). I suspected part of this decision may have been that when John XXIII died, they knew there would be a lot of pilgrims, and so if the location of his tomb worked well to accomodate that, then perhaps they were thinking it would work well for JP2, who will have LOTS of pilgrims to his tomb (me, someday!!).

I do hope some changes are made to the tomb's adornment, both to enrich the grandeur of the tomb but, perhaps more importantly, to make the tomb reflect more this Pope's piety and person.

Monday, April 4


Planning Ahead: April 2, 2006
So, what are *you* doing April 2, 2006?

That's exactly what I want to know. Lucy (of and I are quite enthusiasts of popular piety. On St. John the Baptists day, there is a special ritual for evening bonfires and singing, found in the old Roman Ritual. Did you know that? For St. Michael's day, people plant special Michaelmas flowers to place on his altars or before his statues. My grandpa's favorite, on Pope St. Sylvester's day, people bake kuchen to recall the rich prosperity of his reign.

So what will we do on the Feast of John Paul II, canonized or not?
A recent discussion offered some suggests, and I added my own.

1) Mary Crowning. Make a wreath with four flowers (representing the four "Greats" of John Paul II, see below) and place it on or in front of a statue of Our Lady of Fatima. As the Pope of the Fatima prophecies, and as a son "totus tuus" of Mary, his many merits (represented by the flowers) are his crowing gift to Our Lady, whom he loved and served, and who by her prayers obtained from God the amazing graces which flowed from this man.

2) Eat Polish creme puffs (and a little rum). During his last visit to Poland, John Paul was speaking in a town square when he pointed to a corner shop and recalled having gone there after classes during his student days with his friends for creme puffs. Then he turned off to the side a chuckled -- for reasons we only found out later. Apparently, the Pontiff and some friends had once had a bet or a competition to see who could eat the most creme puffs. The Holy Father lost, only consuming nine. But... they sort of needed the calories: they were all a little tipsy on rum at the time :)

3) Do something special to commemorate the early Spring -- for this Pope has died, not only in the early spring of the year, but in the very beginning of that New Springtime of Evangelization which he himself began.

Your thoughts??

As was observed by some of our numbers yesterday...
We're ALL sede-vacantists, now. :(

The Greatness of John Paul II
I do not have to tell you that the Holy Father has been the primary topic of conversation in these parts. The whole Notre Dame community has been pouring out impressive affection, from all three presidents to the average Joe students. The Basilica has brought out the black drapings (show that black still is the color of real mourning, and everyone knows it), and a lot of daily prayer services have been planned for these novemdiales.

But amongst us, the discussion has focused on a surprising revelation: how truly awesome the Pope, this Pope, really was. Don't get me wrong: we thought he was absolutely amazing on before he passed. But we all have agreed: there is something about John Paul no longer being "the Pope" and instead having entered fully into the eternity of history and of heaven, that has opened our eyes even more.

1) Leo the Great is known for convincing Attila the Hun not to sack Rome, effectively altering the entire balance of barbarian/Church political relations. John Paul II is also comparably great -- having altered the balance of power between the Church and oppressive regimes through his active support and work with Poland's solidarity, hastening the fall of Communism.

2) Gregory the Great is known for reforming the Church clergy and practice, renewing the papacy. Surely, John Paul is great in this respect as well. When, as George Weigel recounts, John Paul ascended the throne of Peter, it was fully expected that he would embrace a "first among equals" approach, with little or no curia or governing influence on other diocese. Rather, the Pope, through the force of his will, the brilliance of his diplomacy, the energy of his travels, the appointment of bishops, and his support for flourishing movements faithful to the Catholic tradition, not only renewed the papacy, but began the renewal of the American hierarchy, the global priesthood, and has given new impetus to consecrated life. Since his election, the dignity given to Mary, to the Eucharist, and other sacramental celebrations has increased more than "significantly."

3) Albert the Great (not a Pope) is great for his theological and philosophical writings. John Paul, the only modern pope to write his own encyclicals, was not only a university professor versed in half a dozen languages, but an extremely competent theologian. His own thoughts on Mariology, on the Eucharist, on Ecclesiology, on the theology of marriage and of the body, on human work and art, and on so many other subjects are beyond profound -- they are inspiring scores of academics specializing specifically in his thought.

4) St. Bernard of Clairvaux, great if not "a Great," inspired an entire generation of Europe to dedicate itself to prayer and seeking holiness in Cistercian cloisters. By my own personal witness, and by so many which I have heard in past times and in these few days, one of John Paul II's greatest contributions to the life of the Church was to inspire a generation of committed Catholics. Because of Teresa of Calcutta and especially because of John Paul, we discovered what sanctity looks like, laughs like, talks and prays like. We discovered that sanctity is possible, and we all thought: "I want to be like him!"

Dan pointed out that there is no one in history, save for St. Paul and perhaps for Caesar, whose contribution of writings and of actions have contributed so profoundly the course of human development. Who else has written the caliber and quantity of John Paul II? Who else has had such a concrete impact on the course of global events? Now, who else has done both? Can you think of anyone since St. Paul?

"The Great" is a title that is given, NOT by official capacity of the Church, but instead by popular acclaim. We've decided to pray for the Pope rather than to him until the conclusion of the novemdiales. But we're not seven days from a flutter of petitions and a loud cry: John Paul the Gr---!!!

Saturday, April 2



Consummatum est.

I've just been told the Pope is dead. That he's been dead for an hour.

They say the soul doesn't always leave the body immediately after physical death. An hour or two might pass. But that's done with by now. He's in eternity.

I kept telling myself that this whole thing was just another false alarm, you know. Even yesterday I thought so. We get so anesthetized by the false starts and mistakes we pick up in the media. And there's something grotesque about just staring at a creen and watching continuous coverage; nothing ever changes until they release a new bulletin and the talking heads just weave arabesques of commentary around the old news until they've finally pounded it into our skulls. We're watching someone die on network television before our eyes. I'm not sure if that's more or less desensitizing. Maybe continuous coverage is a security blanket for us, when you can't stop thinking about it and so you get someone else to do it for you. It's the same with Terri Schiavo.

Yesterday they had CNN on in the student lounge, Fox in the study room, and EWTN in the auditorium up on the big screen. Every time they just say the same thing, and we're stuck in real-time limbo.

It's like junk food.

I don't know. You never know what to think about the death of holy men. You're not sure whether to pray for them to rest in peace or ask them to pray for you. That's the odd thing about death: we know him so well in life, from his work, from his prayer, from his suffering, but yet he can't know every one of us individually. But among the blessed he will be able to hear our own prayers, each and every one of them. Death brings universality.

I feel nervous, anxious, but, when I strip that all away, the mere physical impedimentia of emotion, I know what is meant to happen will happen; all we can do is pray for that, whatever it is. The truth is, I feel...ultimately I feel calm about it all, when you get rid of fear that crisis conditions always generate.

My friend Rich says, it's like the death of a father. We're more sorry for ourselves than him. We don't want to admit to it, I guess. We don't want to admit our heroes can die. Maybe it would seem like an admission of weakness, a willful ignorance of the nasty reality of Calvary. I was talking to an agnostic friend of mine this morning, and told her I felt resigned to all this. I said to her, "His whole life has been leading up to this moment." She sort of smiled, and agreed, that the Pope had indeed had a long, full life, but that's not quite what I meant. I meant exactly what I said: that his whole life was a dress rehearsal for when he comes before God's throne and God takes him into His arms and weeps for joy.

I'm sure this is a tough time for all of us. About all I can do right now is just get back to work; it's my way of coping with all this, and I hope that I too can offer it up as a prayer. I'll pray for him, though I don't know if he needs it. All I know is I need him to pray for me. We all do.

There's a song we love to sing round here, with tongue lodged half-way in our cheeks. Too triumphalist, too cocky. But I want to sing it now, as the Pope celebrates his birthday into heaven. And I am, perhaps for the first time in my life, 100% serious.

Long live the Pope!
His praises sound
Again and yet again:
His rule is over space and time:
His throne the heart of men:
All hail! The Shepherd King of Rome,
The theme of loving song:
Let all the earth his glory sing
And heav’n the strain prolong.

Beleaguered by
By the foes of earth,
Beset by hosts of hell,
He guards the loyal flock of Christ,
A watchful sentinel:
And yet, amid the din and strife,
The clash of mace and sword,
He bears alone the Shepherd Staff,
The champion of the Lord.

John Paul, pray for me.
The final document of John Paul II's Pontificate ......

........Is well worth reading closely. In it, he reflects on the "Eucharistic life" of our Lord, and in a sense, I think reflects on what his own life had been. Simply read these characteristics he lists:

1. A life of "profound gratitude
2. A life that is "given"
3. A life that is "saved" in order to save
4. A life that "remembers"
5. A "consecrated" life
6. A life centred on Christ
7. A "Eucharistic life" at the school of Mary

Live Streaming Video from Piazza di San Pietro (mostly in Italian)

via The Pope Blog, which has been doing an excellent job following the news.
S. Joseph, Ora Pro Nobis.

It has occurred to me in these past few days how seldom we pray for a happy death anymore. Perhaps it is the postmodern, nihilistic culture by which we are surrounded, which simultaneously fears death for the wrong reasons and embraces it when it shouldn't. Our Faith teaches that we need only fear being unprepared for our death, and may embrace our new life with joy when it comes in God's own time. Still, as we struggle to live in this world and not of it, we can't help but absorb some of that attitude that would skew our views of life and death.

Another reason might be our natural tendency to desire instant gratification. We pray for what we want, when we want it. "Lord, please heal my sister (now)," "Lord, grant me patience (now)," "Lord, please grant me a happy death ... now?" For as enlightened as we think we are in the 21st Century, or perhaps because of it, we are still rather superstitious, as if speaking of death will bring it. I remember the first time I prayed Compline, several years ago, how I was struck by the conclusion: "May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death." How counter-cultural; maybe even a tad morbid-sounding to our American ears. Why? Because we don't talk about death unless it is either very near, or far removed from us personally. People don't die; we lose them, they pass on, all in very hushed tones. Somehow, we have forgotten how to cry, "O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?"

My point in all of this is that we have, perhaps, been remiss in failing to pray for a happy death for the Holy Father. I have known several good Catholics throughout the years who would refuse, even in the days of his better health, to talk about the death of the Pope, or about a post-JPII Church, as if we would somehow tempt the evil eye by such conversation. Publicly praying for the grace of a happy death for the Pope would certainly have drawn black looks.

"To whom much is given, much will be expected," and certainly there is no one on this earth who has been given such great responsibility. Therefore, while we might feel sheepish at praying for the preparedness of a soul which is almost certainly more ready to enter into eternal life than our own, we are certainly remiss and ungrateful if we do not do so. It is often the greatest saints who need the most graces in their final hours. I have no doubt that Papa will die as he lived, in the grace and peace of Christ, but he would be the first to acknowledge that this has always been done through our prayers.

Let us pray, then, that when the angels come to lead our Holy Father to Paradise, that they might find him ready to walk straight into the arms of his Mother Mary.

Fiat voluntas tua.

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