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Pope names Cardinal Burke a judge on Vatican supreme court

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis has named U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke a member of the Apostolic Signature, the church’s supreme court, which the cardinal headed as prefect from 2008 to 2014.

Pope Francis has named U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke a member of the Apostolic Signature, the church’s highest court, which the cardinal headed from 2008-2014. Cardinal Burke is pictured leaving a papal audience to exchange Christmas greetings with members of the Roman Curia at the Vatican in this Dec. 22, 2016, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Members of the Apostolic Signature serve as judges in the cases, which mainly involve appeals of lower-court decisions or of administrative decisions by other offices of the Holy See.

The appeals involve everything from challenges to the decisions of marriage tribunals to recourse against the dismissal of a religious, the transfer of a parish priest, the restriction of a priest’s ministry, removal of ministerial faculties, renovation of a parish church and dismissal from a teaching position.

Cardinal Burke’s nomination was met with surprise in some quarters because he continues to speak publicly about issuing a formal “fraternal correction” of Pope Francis over the pope’s teaching in “Amoris Laetitia,” his exhortation on the family. But the public criticism of the pope did not prevent Pope Francis in late 2016 from naming Cardinal Burke the presiding judge in a church trial investigating allegations of sexual abuse leveled against Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of Agana, Guam. The results of the investigation and trial have not been announced.

The pope’s nomination of Cardinal Burke, 69, was announced at the Vatican Sept. 30. Also named to the Apostolic Signature were Cardinals Agostino Vallini, the retired papal vicar of Rome, and Edoardo Menichelli, retired archbishop of Ancona, Italy. Cardinal Vallini was prefect of the court from 2004 to 2008; as a priest, Cardinal Menichelli had worked at the Apostolic Signature for more than 20 years. Two others also were named members: Belgian Archbishop Frans Daneels, who retired as secretary of the court in 2016; and Auxiliary Bishop Johannes Willibrordus Maria Hendriks of Haarlem-Amsterdam, a canon lawyer.

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‘Amoris Laetitia’ is built on Thomist morality, pope says, many ‘respectable’ comments on it are ‘wrong’

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Seeing, understanding and engaging with people’s real lives does not “bastardize” theology, rather it is what is needed to guide people toward God, Pope Francis told Jesuits in Colombia.

“The theology of Jesus was the most real thing of all; it began with reality and rose up to the Father,” he said during a private audience Sept. 10 in Cartagena, Colombia. The Rome-based Jesuit-run journal, La Civilta Cattolica, published a transcript from the meeting Sept. 28. The journal provided its own translations of the original Spanish remarks. Read more »

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Pope names archbishop to succeed Cardinal Muller at doctrine office

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Promoting the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the office of prefect, Pope Francis chose not to ask German Cardinal Gerhard Muller to serve a second five-year term in the post.

Spanish Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, 73, has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Jesuit theologian has served as secretary of the congregation since 2008. He is pictured at a Vatican press conference for the release of Pope Francis' documents on marriage annulments in this Sept. 8, 2015, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Spanish Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, 73, has been appointed by Pope Francis as the new prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Jesuit theologian has served as secretary of the congregation since 2008. He is pictured at a Vatican press conference for the release of Pope Francis’ documents on marriage annulments in this Sept. 8, 2015, file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The Vatican announced July 1 that the pope chose as prefect Spanish Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, 73, a Jesuit theologian who had been appointed secretary of the congregation in 2008 by then-Pope Benedict XVI.

“The Holy Father Francis thanked His Eminence Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller at the conclusion of his quinquennial mandate,” the Vatican announcement said. No new position was announced for Cardinal Muller, who at 69 is still more than five years away from the normal retirement age for a bishop.

Anticipating an announcement of the pope’s decision June 30, both the English Rorate Caeli blog and the Italian Corrispondenza Romana blog presented the pope’s move as a dismissal of the German cardinal, who originally was appointed to the post by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Francis had met that morning with Cardinal Muller, whose five-year term was to end July 2.

Both Rorate Caeli and Corrispondenza Romana implied Cardinal Muller was let go because he insisted that divorced and civilly remarried Catholics could not receive Communion unless they made a commitment to abstain from sexual relations with their new partners. Other bishops and bishops’ conferences have read Pope Francis’ exhortation on the family, “Amoris Laetitia,” as presenting a process of discernment that in certain circumstances could allow some couples to return to the sacraments.

Cardinal Mueller told the German daily, Allgemeine Zeitung, that”There were no disagreements between Pope Francis and me” and that there had been no dispute over “Amoris Laetitia,” the newspaper reported July 2. The cardinal spoke with reporters while he was in Mainz celebrating his 50th high school reunion July 1 and Mass July 2 commemorating the 29th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Hermann Volk of Mainz, who ordained him to the priesthood in 1978.

According to the interview with Allgemeine Zeitung, the cardinal said the pope’s decision had been unexpected since such terms were usually renewed, but that he was not bothered by it.

“I do not mind,” he said, adding that “everyone has to stop” at some point.

“The five-year term had now expired,” he said. The cardinal told the newspaper that Pope Francis wanted, in general, to limit the term of office to five years and he just happened to be the first person to which the new standard applied.

However, he said he regretted losing three staff members of the doctrinal congregation after Pope Francis let them go “a few weeks ago,” according to the German newspaper. “They were competent people,” the cardinal said.

He said he would stay in Rome and continue working in pastoral care and continue scholarly, academic pursuits,”continue my role as a cardinal.” He is a member of the congregations for Eastern Churches, for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and for Catholic Education. He is a member of the pontifical councils for Legislative Texts, for Promoting Christian Unity and for Culture.

“I have plenty to do in Rome,” he said, even though at the age of 69, he said, “I would normally already be retired.”

Cardinal Muller was the first Vatican official formally confirmed in his post by Pope Francis after his election in 2013 and was among the 19 churchmen named cardinals that year by Pope Francis.

The prefect of the doctrinal congregation is responsible for promoting the correct interpretation of Catholic doctrine and theology; his office also is responsible for conducting investigations of clergy accused of sexually abusing minors.

Resigning from the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, Marie Collins, one of the founding members and the last remaining abuse survivor on the commission, said members of the Roman Curia were reluctant to implement the commission’s recommendations and she particularly cited Cardinal Muller.

Speaking to reporters in May on his flight from Fatima, Portugal, to Rome, Pope Francis said Collins was “a little bit right” because of the slow pace of investigating so many cases of alleged abuse.

However, the pope said the delays were due to the need to draft new legislation and to the fact that few people have been trained to investigate allegations of abuse. Cardinal Muller and Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, he added, were looking “for new people.”

As head of the doctrinal congregation, the prefect also serves as president the Pontifical Biblical Commission, the International Theological Commission and the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei,” which is responsible for the pastoral care of traditionalist Catholics and for the ongoing reconciliation talks with the Society of St. Pius X.

The new prefect, Archbishop Ladaria, was appointed congregation secretary by Pope Benedict after having worked with him as a member of the International Theological Commission in 1992-1997, as a consultant to the doctrinal congregation from 1995 to 2008 and as secretary general of the theological commission from 2004 until being named congregation secretary.

Archbishop Ladaria was born in Manacor, Mallorca, April 19, 1944, and earned a law degree at the University of Madrid before entering the Society of Jesus in 1966. After theology and philosophy studies in Spain and Germany, he was ordained to the priesthood July 29, 1973.

He earned a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1975 and began teaching dogmatic theology at the Pontifical University Comillas in Madrid. Nine years later, he began teaching at the Gregorian and served as vice rector of the university from 1986 to 1994.

Before the debate over “Amoris Laetitia,” Cardinal Muller made headlines for his role in the Vatican critique of the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious and for his friendship with Dominican Father Gustavo Gutierrez, considered the father of liberation theology.

In 2004, he co-authored a book, “On the Side of the Poor: The Theology of Liberation,” with Father Gutierrez. In the 1990s, when then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed the congregation before becoming Pope Benedict, Father Gutierrez was asked by the congregation to write and rewrite articles clarifying some of his theological and pastoral points.

In a 2012 interview with the Vatican newspaper, then-Archbishop Muller said he was invited to participate in a seminar with Father Gutierrez in 1988, and he went “with some reservations” because the doctrinal congregation had criticized aspects of liberation theology that it said were too influenced by Marxist ideology.

“One must distinguish between an erroneous and a correct liberation theology,” Archbishop Muller told the newspaper. While a Catholic must reject Marxist ideas and analysis, he said, “we must ask ourselves sincerely: How can we speak about the love and mercy of God in the face of the suffering of so many people who do not have food, water, medical care; who don’t know how to give their own children a future; where human dignity really is lacking; where human rights are ignored by the powerful?”

Before being named prefect of the doctrinal congregation, Cardinal Muller had served five years as one of its members and had been a member of the International Theological Commission from 1998 to 2003. Pope Benedict led both bodies until 2005, when he was elected pontiff.

Cardinal Muller has close ties to retired Pope Benedict and in 2008 helped establish the Pope Benedict XVI Institute, which is publishing a complete collection of works by the German-born pope and theologian.

When he was appointed prefect of the doctrinal congregation by Pope Benedict in 2012, he told the Vatican newspaper his job in Rome would be “to relieve part of his work and not bring him problems that can be resolved” at the level of the congregation.

Cardinal Muller is a native of Mainz, Germany. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1978 and served in his native diocese as a chaplain and high school religion teacher. With degrees in philosophy and a doctorate in theology, he was a professor of dogmatic theology in Munich from 1986 to 2002.

He was named bishop of Regensburg in 2002 and then-Cardinal Ratzinger attended his episcopal ordination. Then-Bishop Muller chose as his episcopal motto “Dominus Iesus” (Jesus Is Lord), which comes from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans and is the title of the 2000 document on salvation through Christ alone, issued by the doctrinal congregation under then-Cardinal Ratzinger.

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Pope’s marriage document not up for personal interpretation, cardinal says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican’s doctrinal chief said some bishops are interpreting Pope Francis’ document on marriage and family in a way that is not in accordance with Catholic doctrine. Read more »

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Pope Francis says he doesn’t lose sleep over his critics’ lack of understanding

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — The church is not a prop for one’s ego, a soapbox for ideas or a suit of armor protecting a sad life, Pope Francis said.

“The church exists only as an instrument for communicating God’s merciful plan to the people,” he said in an interview published in the Nov. 18 edition of Avvenire, an Italian Catholic newspaper.

Pope Francis attends an ecumenical event at the Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden, Oct. 31. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis attends an ecumenical event at the Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden, Oct. 31. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

God doesn’t ask for grand gestures, just for the trustful abandon of a child in a father’s arms and for sharing that divine love and mercy with others, he said.

“Those who discover they are loved very much begin to emerge from terrible solitude, from the separation that leads to hating others and oneself,” he added.

While most of the lengthy interview’s questions touched on ecumenism and the meaning of the Year of Mercy, the pope’s responses revealed his vision of the church and the “bad spirit” or psychological defects that foster division.

For example, he said, some reactions to his apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia,” continue to reflect a lack of understanding about how the Holy Spirit has been working in the church since the Second Vatican Council.

With “Lumen Gentium,” its dogmatic constitution on the church, he said, the church “returned to the source of her nature, the Gospel. This shifted the axis of Christian understanding from a kind of legalism, which can be ideological, to the person of God, who became mercy in the incarnation of the son.””

“Think about certain reactions to ‘Amoris Laetitia’ — some continue to not understand, (seeing) either white or black, even if it is in the flow of life that one must discern.”

Historians, however, say it takes a century for a council’s teachings to fully sink in, which means “we are at the halfway mark,” Pope Francis said.

[On Nov. 14, four cardinals — Cardinals Walter Brandmuller, a former president of the Pontifical Commission for Historical Sciences; Raymond L. Burke, a U.S. cardinal and patron of the Knights of Malta; Carlo Caffarra, retired archbishop of Bologna, Italy; and Joachim Meisner, retired archbishop of Cologne — said they formally asked Pope Francis to clarify his teaching in “Amoris Laetitia” on Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried and, not receiving a response after two months, they released their letter to the press.

“We have noted a grave disorientation and great confusion of many faithful regarding extremely important matters for the life of the church,” the cardinals said. “Even within the episcopal college, there are contrasting interpretations of Chapter 8 of ‘Amoris Laetitia,’” the chapter dealing with ministry to the divorced in his exhortation on the family.]

Pope Francis told Avvenire in the Nov. 18 article that the church and its members are asked to be docile to the Holy Spirit and to let the Spirit do the work because the Spirit knows when “the time is ripe” for things.

Calling the Year of Mercy was an example of that, he said. It was not “a plan” of his own, but something inspired by the Spirit and built on the cornerstones of his predecessors.

“The church is the Gospel, it is the work of Jesus Christ,” the pope said. “It is not a course of ideas, a tool for asserting them.”

“The cancer in the church is giving glory to one another,” he said in response to an observation made by Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who said a worldly mentality within the church was at the root of divisions among Christians.

Someone who has never heard of or encountered Christ can always come to know him someday, Pope Francis said.

But, he said, if someone is already “in the church and moves within it because precisely in the world of the church they cultivate and feed their hunger for domination and self-affirmation, (then) they have a spiritual disease; they believe the church is a self-sufficient human reality where everything proceeds according to the logic of ambition and power.”

There is a “sinful habit of the church to look too much at itself as if it believed it had its own light” — what Bartholomew called an “ecclesial introversion,” the pope said. Divisions are born when the church looks too much too itself and not to the real light of Christ, which the church reflects like the moon does sunlight.

“Looking at Christ frees us from this habit and also from the temptation of triumphalism and rigidity,” the pope said.

The guide for knowing the right path to take is always understanding the importance of following the Holy Spirit, he said when asked about criticisms that his outreach to other Christian communities was a sign of “selling out” Catholic doctrine or “Protestant-izing” the church.

He said he doesn’t “lose sleep” over such critiques because it’s important to see what kind of “spirit” is motivating such opinions.

“When there is no bad spirit” behind the remarks, differing opinions can be helpful for walking the way of the Lord, he said.

Other times, it is immediately obvious when criticism is driven by wanting to “justify a position that’s already been taken,” he said. Such criticisms “are not honest, they are made with a bad spirit to foment division.”

One sees right away that certain forms of strictness “arise from a shortcoming, from the desire to hide one’s own sad discontent within a suit of armor,” he said, adding that the film Babette’s Feast offered a good example of “this rigid behavior.”

As long as the church and its members keep their focus on Christ, they will avoid many of these errors and temptations, he said.

It is walking behind Christ and doing his will by praying together, helping the needy and dying as martyrs together that will unite all Christians who already share the same baptism.

Ecumenism is a process, a walking together, not carving out or “occupying spaces,” or setting aside and ignoring theological differences, he said.

The “grave sin” of proselytism, too, goes against the “dynamic” of authentically becoming and being Christian. “The church is not a soccer team seeking fans,” he said.

 

 

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Rush to guidelines? U.S. bishops should have discussed pope’s marriage document first, new cardinal says

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Cardinal-designate Kevin J. Farrell believes the U.S. bishops as a whole should have discussed pastoral guidelines for implementing Pope Francis’ exhortation on the family before individual bishops began issuing guidelines for their own dioceses. Read more »

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Scripture in the papal exhortation on families

November 4th, 2016 Posted in Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

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Catholic News Service

Pope Francis’ recent apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia,” or “The Joy of Love,” is the result of the work developed at the two synods on the family that were held at the Vatican in 2014 and 2015.

While much of the content of this exhortation is taken from the findings that were voted on by the bishops who attended the synods, the exhortation is firmly rooted in Scripture. Read more »

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The ‘Joy of Love’ is an affirmation worth the read

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Catholic News Service

It probably shouldn’t be necessary to have pastoral letters or papal encyclicals or apostolic exhortations (or any other official church document) to tell us what we should already know: that marriage and the family life it creates are holy and sacred. Read more »

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Families aren’t a problem, they’re an opportunity, pope writes

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Catholic News Service

“No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed; families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love,” Pope Francis writes in his document titled “The Joy of Love.” Read more »

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Vatican newspaper calls pope’s document on family life ‘authoritative church teaching’

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Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family is an example of the “ordinary magisterium,” papal teaching, to which Catholics are obliged to give “religious submission of will and intellect,” said an article in the Vatican newspaper.

A newly married couple hold rosaries in their hands as they leave Pope Francis' general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. The Vatican newspaper is calling Pope Francis's  apostolic exhortation,  "Amoris Laetitia" ("The Joy of Love"), an authoritative church teaching. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See stories to come.

A newly married couple hold rosaries in their hands as they leave Pope Francis’ audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. The Vatican newspaper is calling Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”), an authoritative church teaching. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Father Salvador Pie-Ninot, a well-known professor of ecclesiology, said that while Pope Francis did not invoke his teaching authority in a definitive way in the document, it meets all the criteria for being an example of the “ordinary magisterium” to which all members of the church should respond with “the basic attitude of sincere acceptance and practical implementation.”

The Spanish priest’s article in L’Osservatore Romano Aug. 23 came in response to questions raised about the formal weight of the pope’s document, “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”).

For instance, U.S. Cardinal Raymond L. Burke has said on several occasions that the document is “a mixture of opinion and doctrine.”

Father Pie-Ninot said he examined the document in light of the 1990 instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the vocation of the theologian.

The instruction, issued by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now-retired Pope Benedict XVI, explained three levels of church teaching with the corresponding levels of assent they require.

The top levels are: “Infallible pronouncements,” which require an assent of faith as being divinely revealed; and teaching proposed “in a definitive way,” which is “strictly and intimately connected with revelation” and “must be firmly accepted and held.”

A teaching is an example of “ordinary magisterium,” according to the instruction, “when the magisterium, not intending to act ‘definitively,’ teaches a doctrine to aid a better understanding of revelation and make explicit its contents, or to recall how some teaching is in conformity with the truths of faith, or finally to guard against ideas that are incompatible with these truths, the response called for is that of the religious submission of will and intellect.”

“Amoris Laetitia” falls into the third category, Father Pie-Ninot said, adding the 1990 instruction’s statement that examples of ordinary magisterium can occur when the pope intervenes “in questions under discussion which involve, in addition to solid principles, certain contingent and conjectural elements.”

The instruction notes that “it often only becomes possible with the passage of time to distinguish between what is necessary and what is contingent,” although, as the Spanish priest said, the instruction insists that even then one must assume that “divine assistance” was given to the pope.

Accepting “Amoris Laetitia” as authoritative church teaching, Father Pie-Ninot said, applies also to the document’s “most significant words” about the possibility of people divorced and remarried without an annulment receiving Communion in limited circumstances.

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