Of different priorities – or, what actually matters most?

With Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone at his side, Pope Benedict poses with the diplomats accredited to the Holy See

I don’t know how it is from  different nationality’s point of view, but from mine it certainly seems that the secular media have latched on to the pope’s New Year’s address to the diplomatic corps, given yesterday. A shame they didn’t latch on to all of it, or they might have discovered such interesting topics as the financial crisis, the youth, world stability and peace, education, development, religious freedom, and respect for the environment. Instead, far too many reporters and editors took (parts of) the following passage to make into headlines:

“In addition to a clear goal, that of leading young people to a full knowledge of reality and thus of truth, education needs settings. Among these, pride of place goes to the family, based on the marriage of a man and a woman. This is not a simple social convention, but rather the fundamental cell of every society. Consequently, policies which undermine the family threaten human dignity and the future of humanity itself. The family unit is fundamental for the educational process and for the development both of individuals and States; hence there is a need for policies which promote the family and aid social cohesion and dialogue. It is in the family that we become open to the world and to life and, as I pointed out during my visit to Croatia, “openness to life is a sign of openness to the future” (Address at National Day for Families, Zagreb, Croatia, 5 June 2011). In this context of openness to life, I note with satisfaction the recent sentence of the Court of Justice of the European Union forbidding patenting processes relative to human embryonic stem cells, as well as the resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe condemning prenatal selection on the basis of sex.”

“Pope condemns same-sex marriage” they screamed, and “Gay marriage destroys society”. That’s certainly one way to completely miss the point and misrepresent the Holy Father and what he said. And, I fear, it is indicative of the modern obsession with liberal sexuality in which everything is allowed, as long as it feels good and doesn’t immediately harm anyone.

Anyway, if you want to know what the pope actually says, go read his words.

Photo credit: Stefano Carofei-Pool/Getty Images

From the north to the south

Lost amid the Christmas celebrations, the onset of the new year and the announcement of a consistory, is the news that, on 5 January, the Holy Father appointed Archbishop Emil Paul Tscherrig to be the new Papal Nuncio to Argentina. In the past four years, Archbishop Tscherrig was Nuncio to the Nordic countries: Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Sweden and Finland. In Argentina, the Swiss-born prelate succeeds Archbishop Adriano Bernardini, who was called to Italy last November.

The diplomatic mission of the Holy See in Scandinavia dates from 1960, when it was established as an apostolic delegation. In 1966, Finland got a Nunciature, followed ten years later by Iceland. In 1982, the Nunciatures to Norway and Denmark were branched off and the remainder of the Apostolic Delegation to Scandinavia became the Nunciature to Sweden. Although each Nunciature is its own entity with its own diplomatic relations with the state it resides in, a single Nuncio has always been appointed to all of them, a reflection of the fact that the Nordic countries are home to relatively few Catholics.

In Argentina, Archbishop Tscherrig will begin his fifth diplomatic mission, after having represented the Holy See in Burundi, the Antilles, Korea and Mongolia and Scandinavia.

Photo credit: Korea Times

Recommended: the CDF Note for the Year of Faith

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has produced an extensive Note with recommendations for the upcoming Year of Faith, scheduled to open in October of this year. The Note gives practical hand and feet to the overriding theme of the Year and links it firmly with Pope Benedict’s XVI efforts to promote the new evangelisation. Also important in this respect is the Second Vatican Council and its 50th anniversary, later this year.

The Note gives recommendations in several levels – international and local – which are also applicable to us individual faithful and bloggers, too.

I have translated the Note, and suggest everyone give it a good read.

And as far as that translation, which took several days, is concerned, I want to mention the excellent resource of RKdocumenten.nl, which offers translations of many Catholic documents, and the translation efforts of Father Chr. van Buijtenen, the Sorores Christi, Drs. H.M.G. Kretzers, who translated documents which are extensively quoted in the Note. I used their translations as they are featured on RKdocumenten.nl.