January 4, 2015, Sunday — Message from Rome

“The glory of God is man alive; but the life of man is the vision of God.” —Irenaeus of Lyons, in the territory of France, c. 180 A.D.

“At the dawn of a new year, we are all called to rekindle in our hearts an impulse of hope, that should result in concrete works of peace.” —Pope Francis, noon Angelus today in Rome

The life of the Capuchin convent in Manoppello unfolded today in its usual way, with one new thing: Father Paolo returned. He is a boisterous, joyful, younger friar, from Pescara, and has a place at the table between me and Father Vito. So now we are five: Carmine, Crispin, Vito, Paolo, and myself.

(Father Crispin went out today to purchase some cough syrup for my cough.)

Today in Rome, Pope Francis spoke at his noon Angelus in St. Peter’s Square about building the conditions for peace.

Dear brothers and sisters,

A few days ago we began the new year in the name of the Mother of God, celebrating World Peace Day on the theme: “No longer slaves, but brothers.” My hope is that the exploitation of man by man would be overcome… Each person, and every people hungers and thirsts for peace; therefore, it is necessary and urgent to build peace!

Certainly, peace is not only the absence of war, but a general condition in which the human person is in harmony with himself, with nature, and with others. First of all, to silence arms and to extinguish the outbreaks of war remain the unavoidable conditions to begin a journey that leads to the achievement of peace in its different aspects…

From the Old Testament, peace has been attached to the promise of God: “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again” (Is 2:4). Peace is proclaimed, as a special gift of God, in the birth of the Redeemer: “Peace on earth to those on whom His favour rests (Lk 2:14).”

Such a gift requires that we seek it incessantly in prayer and welcome it every day with commitment, in the situations in which we find ourselves.

At the dawn of a new year, we are all called to rekindle in our hearts an impulse of hope, that should result in concrete works of peace, reconciliation, and fraternity… These small gestures have great value: they can be the seeds that give hope, they can open paths and prospects of peace…
Also at today’s noon Angelus, Pope Francis announced the names of 15 Archbishops and Bishops whom he will raise to the dignity of the Cardinalate on February 14, 2015.

In addition, the Holy Father announced that five retired Archbishops and Bishops “distinguished for their pastoral charity in the service of the Holy See and of the Church” would also be made Cardinals.

“As was already announced, on February 14 next I will have the joy of holding a Concistory, during which I will name 15 new Cardinals who, coming from 13 countries from every continent, manifest the indissoluble links between the Church of Rome and the particular Churches present in the world,” Francis said.

“On Sunday February 15 I will preside at a solemn concelebration with the new Cardinals, while on February 12 and 13 I will hold a Consistory with all the Cardinals to reflect on the orientations and proposals for the reform of the Roman Curia.”

And then the Pope read the names of the new cardinals, stumbling a bit himself over the difficulty of some of their names:

“The new Cardinals are:

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura

Archbishiop Manuel José Macario do Nascimento Clemente, Patriarch of Lisbon (Portugal)

Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, C.M., of Addis Abeba (Ethiopia)

Archbishop John Atcherley Dew of Wellington (New Zealand)

Archbishop Edoardo Menichelli of Ancona-Osimo (Italy)

Archbishop Pierre Nguyên Van Nhon of Hà Nôi (Viêt Nam)

Archbishop Alberto Suàrez Inda of Morelia (Mexico)

Archbishop Charles Maung Bo, S.D.B., of Yangon (Myanmar)

Archbishop Francis Xavier Kriengsak Kovithavanij of Bangkok (Thailand)

Archbishop Francesco Montenegro of Agrigento (Italy)

Archbishop Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, S.D.B., of Montevideo (Uruguay)

Archbishop Ricardo Blázquez Pérez of Vallodolid (Spain)

Bishop José Luis Lacunza Maestrojuán, O.A.R., of David (Panamá)

Bishop Arlindo Gomes Furtado, of Santiago de Cabo Verde (Archipelago of Cape Verde)

Bishop Soane Patita Paini Mafi of Tonga (Island of Tonga)

“Additionally, I will join to the Members of the College of Cardinals five Archbishops and Bishops Emeriti who are distinguished for their pastoral charity in the service of the Holy See and of the Church. They represent so many Bishops who, with the same pastoral solicitude, have given witness of love for Christ and for the people of God in particular Churches, in the Rome Curia, and in the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See.

“They are:

José de Jesús Pimiento Rodriguez, Archbishop Emeritus of Manizales

Archbishop Luigi De Magistris, Major Pro-Penitentiary Emeritus

Archbishop Karl-Joseph Rauber, Apostolic Nuncio

Luis Héctor Villaba, Archbishop Emeritus of Tucumán

Júlio Duarte Langa, Bishop Emeritus of Xai-Xai

“Let us pray for the new Cardinals, that, renewed in their love for Christ, they might be witnesses of His Gospel in the City of Rome and in the world, and with their pastoral experience they might support me more intensely in my apostolic service.”

The only English speaker among the group is Archbishop John Dew of Wellington, New Zealand.

Later, Father Federico Lombadi, head of the Vatican Press Office, issued the following note on the new cardinals:

Note on New Cardinals

by Father Federico Lombardi S.J.

With respect to the number of 120 electors, there were 12 places “open” in the College today or in the coming months. The Pope has slightly exceeded this number, but remained very close to it, such that it is substantially respected.

The most evident criteria is evidently that of universality. Fourteen different countries are represented, including some that do not currently have a Cardinal, and some that have never had one. If the retired Archbishops and Bishops are counted, 18 countries are represented.

There are no new Cardinals from North America (the USA or Canada) because they already have a significant number, and that number has remained stable during the past year. (There is a new Mexican Cardinal).

The presence of countries that have never had a Cardinal (Capo Verde, Tonga, Myanmar) is noteworthy. These countries have ecclesial communities that are small or that represent a minority within their country. (The Bishop of Tonga is the President of the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific; the Diocese of Santiago de Cabo Verde is one of the most ancient African Dioceses; the Diocese of Morelia in Mexico is in a region troubled by violence.)

The fact that only one of the new Cardinals is from the Roman Curia is also notable, while “Roman” Cardinals remain about a quarter of the electors. It is evident that the Pope intends to consider the posts of Prefects of the Congregations and of some other very important institutions within the Curia – as, in this case, the Tribunal of the Signatura – as Cardinalatial posts.

The new nominations confirm that the Pope is not bound to the traditions of the “Cardinalatial Sees” – which were motivated by historical reasons in different countries – in which the Cardinalate was considered almost “automatically” connected to such sees. Instead, we have several nominations of Archbishops and Bishops of sees that in the past have not had a Cardinal. This applies, for example, to Italy, Spain, Mexico, Panama…

With regard to the retired nominees, the words of the Pope in his brief introduction should be noted: “They represent so many Bishops who, with the same pastoral solicitude” have served as pastors of Dioceses, but also in the Curia and in the diplomatic service. The cardinalatial nominations are intended, then, as a recognition given symbolically to some, but recognizing the merits of all.

The youngest of the new Cardinals is Archbishop Tafi of Tonga (b. 1961), who will become the youngest member of the College of Cardinals.

A Message from Rome

Early this evening, I received a third Skype phone call from Moscow.

“Bob,” my Russian friend said. “How are you? I was just wondering whether you had contacted Rome with the proposal for a concert…”

“Not yet,” I said. “I’ll send a note this evening.”

“Please do it,” he said.

So, I wrote an email, explaining the idea of a great Requiem concert to commemorate all of those who died in World War II, with the intent not only of remembering all of them, but also of signifying our hope that no such war will again engulf us. And I sent the email to someone in the Vatican, asking if it might be possible to bring the matter to the attention of Pope Francis himself.

Within moments, to my surprise, I received a response.

It said: On January 6, the Feast of Epiphany, I had already planned to come to Manoppello. We can meet there at the shrine…

Pope Benedict XVI’s Prayer to the Holy Face

Lord Jesus,
As the first apostles,
Whom you asked: “What do you seek?”,
Accepted your invitation to: “Come and see,”
Recognizing you as the Son of God,
The Promised Messiah for the world’s redemption,
We too, your disciples in this difficult time
Want to follow you and be your friends,
Drawn by the brilliance of your face much desired yet hidden.

Show us, we pray you, your face ever new,
That mirror, mystery laden, of God’s infinite mercy.
Grant that we may contemplate it
With the eyes of our mind and our hearts:
The Son’s face, radiance of the Father’s glory
And the imprint of his Nature (cf. Hb 1,3),
The human face of God that has burst into history
To reveal the horizons of eternity.
The silent face of Jesus suffering and risen,
When loved and accepted changes the heart and life.
“Your face, Lord, do I seek,
Do not hide your face from me” (Ps. 27, 8ff).

How many times through the centuries and millenia has not resounded
The ardent invocation of the Psalmist among the faithful!
Lord, with faith, we too repeat the same invocation:
“Man of suffering, as one from whom others hide their faces” (Is. 53, 3),
Do not hide your face from us!
We want to draw from your eyes,
That look on us with tenderness and compassion.
The force of love and peace which shows us the way of life,
And the courage to follow you without fear or compromise,
So as to be witnesses of your Gospel,
With concrete signs of acceptance, love and forgiveness.

O Holy Face of Christ,
Light that enlightens the darkness of doubt and sadness,
Life that has defeated forever the force of evil and death,
O inscrutable gaze
That never ceases to watch over men and people,
Face concealed in the Eucharistic signs
And in the faces of those that live with us,
Make us God’s pilgrims in this world,
Longing for the Infinite and ready for the final encounter,
When we shall see you, Lord, “face to face”(1 Cor. 13, 12),
And be able to contemplate you forever in heavenly Glory.

Mary, Mother of the Holy Face,
Help us have “hands innocent and a heart pure,”
Hands illumined by the truth of love
And hearts enraptured by divine beauty,
That transformed by the encounter with Christ,
We may gift ourselves to the poor and the suffering,
Whose faces reflect the hidden presence
Of your Son Jesus,
Who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen!

—Benedict XVI, Rome, September 1st 2007, written and sent to the Guardian of the Basilica of the Holy Face in Manoppello (Italy) in memory of his pilgrimage to the Sanctuary a year before, on September 1st, 2006

Here are three more images.

The first shows Father Carmine with Pope Benedict on September 1, 2006, looking at the image f the Holy Face above the altar in the church at Manoppello.

The second is a close-up of the Pope looking at the image.

And the third is another image of the Holy Face, as it apears in a certain light. The colors seen behind the face are from the stained-glass in the church. In other words, the image is trasparent in these places…. (Note: the images I used in yesterday’s email were photographs taken and sent to me by my friend, Paul Badde, who has written a book about the Holy Face.)
(to be continued)

The Anthropological Question

“You live in a deranged age, more deranged than usual, because, in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.” —Walker Percy (1916-1990), American Catholic convert and writer, author of The Message in the Bottle and Lost in the Cosmos

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