Red Dawn

Over the past days the rumours that Pope Benedict XVI would be calling a consistory for the Feast of Christ the King (20 November) were on a significant increase, and today they were proved true. At the end of his general audience of today, which ended only a few minutes ago, the Holy Father read the list of 24 cardinals-designate, who will receive the red hat next month. Some designates are the heads of important archdioceses, others have valuable roles in the Roman curia, and there are also those who receive the title as a recognition of their work. On the whole, these men reflect Pope Benedict’s own values and wishes for the future of the Church. It is not unlikely that among these cardinals-designate is his successor.

Here is the list of the 24, in alphabetical order:

  • Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.D.B. (Italian, 72), prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints
  • Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli (Italian, 75), head of the Apostolic Penitentiary
  • Monsignor Domenico Bartolucci (Italian, 93), Emeritus director of the Sistine Chapel choir
  • Monsignor Walter Brandmuller (German, 81), Emeritus president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences
  • Archbishop Raymond Burke (American, 62), head of the Apostolic Signatura
  • Archbishop Raul Eduardo Vela Chiriboga (Ecuadorean, 76), Emeritus Archbishop of Quito
  • Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis (Brazilian, 73), Archbishop of Aparecida
  • Archbishop Velasio De Paolis (Italian, 75), president of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See
  • Archbishop José Manuel Estepa Llaurens (Spanish, 84), Emeritus military ordinary of Spain
  • Archbishop Kurt Koch (Swiss, 60), president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
  • Archbishop Medardo Joseph Mazombwe (Zambian, 79), Emeritus Archbishop of Lusaka
  • Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya (Congolese, 71), Archbishop of Kinshasa
  • Archbishop Francesco Monterisi (Italian, 76), archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls
  • Patriarch Antonios Naguib (Egypt, 75), patriarch of Alexandria
  • Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz (Polish, 60), Archbishop of Warsaw
  • Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don (Sri Lankan, 62), Archbishop of Colombo
  • Archbishop Reinhard Marx (German, 57), Archbishop of Munich and Freising
  • Archbishop Mauro Piacenza (Italian, 66), prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy
  • Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi (Italian, 68), president of the Pontifical Council for Culture
  • Archbishop Paolo Romeo (Italian, 72), Archbishop of Palermo
  • Archbishop Robert Sarah (Guinean, 65), president of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”
  • Archbishop Paolo Sardi (Italian, 76), pro-patron of the Knights of Malta
  • Archbishop Elio Sgreccia (Italian, 82), Emeritus president of the Pontifical Academy for Life
  • Archbishop Donald Wuerl (American, 69), Archbishop of Washington
Cardinal-designate Raymond L. Burke

There are some very recent appointments to the curia among these 24, such as Archbishops Koch, Piacenza and Sarah, who have all taken over from their predecessors in the last few months or even weeks. Others are not surprising at all. Archbishops Burke, Ranjith, Monsengwo Pasinya and Amato were all generally expected to become cardinals.

The Italian contingent is relatively large, which is somewhat unusual considering the trend of the past years of non-Italians  being appointed heads of councils and congregations. The non-western designates are again few in number. Personally, I had expected that to be different. Especially Asia has a number of major archdioceses which could be headed by a cardinal. Maybe next time.

Archbishop Wim Eijk, not a cardinal yet

As for the Low Countries, neither Archbishop Eijk of Utrecht nor Léonard of Brussels is on the list. Undoubtedly various people (bitter bloggers among them) will point out that this is due to them being out of favour with Rome. I expect the explanation is far simpler: both archdioceses still have active electors – Cardinals Simonis and Danneels respectively – and Pope Benedict XVI generally tends not to create new cardinals in a diocese or Church province that already has a cardinal able to participate in a conclave. Cardinal Simonis won’t turn 80 until November of next year, and Danneels won’t until June of 2013.

All the cardinals designate are now theoretically papabile, meaning they could be chosen to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, but not all of them can participate in a conclave. Bartolucci, Brandmuller, Estepa Llaurens and Sgreccia  are all over 80, and so they can’t vote. They could conceivably still be elected by their brother cardinals, but the chances of that are slim indeed.

Advertisements

Translation on Archbishop Ranjith’s ‘Year of the Eucharist’

Upon the request of several people I have made a Dutch translation of the article on Rorate Caeli that discusses the liturgical plans of Archbishop Ranjith in Colombo. The translation can be found on the Translation page here and on Catholica.

Archbishop Ranjith gets to work

Archbishop Ranjith presents the Year of the Eucharist

As mentioned in a previous post, I’ll pay some attention to the great plans that Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo has revealed for the coming year in his archdiocese. The text of the letter introducing and explaining the plans for a Year of the Eucharist can be found on the archdiocesan website.

The plans are not small. The section titled ‘Events and matters of general importance’ describes the preparation needed to be done in individual parishes and congregations. What I find striking is that the archbishop not only invites but also expects. “Every parish is expected to participate in this event along with their pastors, without exception”, he writes when discussing the opening of the Year of the Eucharist. As becomes clear from the tone of the rest of the letter, this is an example of the vital importance the archbishop attaches to the Eucharist and the liturgy that revolves around it. In the opening paragraphs of the letter he writes [emphases mine]:

“The Eucharistic Lord sustains the universal Church, and strengthens it so that it could withstand any evil onslaught from both within and without. This is effected by means of our intimate communion with Him. Each time we receive Him, in a state of grace, He draws us into His act of self-oblation; absorbs us unto Himself, and transforms us into His own likeness. That is the life-giving principle of the most Holy Eucharist. The Church is thus powerfully transformed and becomes the continuous presence of Christ in history. Each local Church participating in this mystical heavenly food becomes part of that supreme presence.”

Another very interesting element in the letter is the connection between the Eucharist and our reception and worship with the wider world and our role in it. That is something not often read in publications that chiefly discuss the Eucharist or the Blessed Sacrament.

“I very earnestly request all priests, religious and the laity to combine devotion with animation to show our love for the poor and the less fortunate people in our society by engaging in works of corporal mercy. Let our love extend not only to the poor people, but also towards mother nature so that our Eucharistic spirituality would incorporate also an eco-spirituality. Let us not forget that the bread which becomes the body of Christ, and the wine which becomes the Blood of Christ are God’s gifts and fruits of the earth’s fertility which are produced as food through human labour.”

The better part of the second chapter of the letter, the part titled ‘Specific goals’, is then devoted the eliminating misconceptions, faulty practices and ignorance of the Eucharist – something not unknown to us in the west, to put it mildly. And all this in the vein of Vatican II, which is the opposite of the misappropriated ‘spirit of Vatican II’ that has lead to ignorance, protestantisation, loss of faith here in the west.

I think that this big effort undertaken in the Archdiocese of Colombo can also be inspirational and educational for Catholics, clergy and laity alike, who live outside its borders.

More clarity needed about Communion

Various media have reported on the reactions triggered by a homily from Deacon Edwin Veldman, in which he spoke about homosexual acts being inherently sinful. It caused some people to leave the church before the end of Mass and Fr. Cor Mennen, pastor of the parish in which Deacon Veldman works, to pay attention to it in an article on Catholica.

At the same time, the COC has announced that they want to take their discussion with the parish council in ‘s-Hertogenbosch to a higher level: the bishops. The topic of the discussion is, of course, the question of actively homosexual people receiving Communion. The Church teaches that only people in a state of grace can receive Communion, and with homosexual acts being a sin, those practicing them are not in a state of grace. The Dutch situation is complicated further by the fact that many people apart from homosexuals receive Communion in a state of sin, but the attention is on the latter. A feeling of them being singled out is perhaps understandable in that light. But that, of course, changes nothing about the actual teachings around the reception of Communion.

Judging from the articles I read, the focus of the discussion now revolves around homosexuals ‘feeling welcome’ in parishes and services. That has, of course, never been questioned. The Church welcomes (or should welcome) everyone, but she can not close her eyes to their errors, mistakes and sins. The purpose of the Church is to lead people to God and so also to prepare them for the encounter with Him. Since God transcends us so much (he literally stands outside creation) it is logical to assume that we need to prepare, often even change before we can meet Him. And we meet Him most closely in the Eucharist, when we receive Him at Communion. If we don’t prepare ourselves for Him, by conforming to Him as much as we can (which, admittedly, is not a lot), if we don’t take His commandments and words seriously, Communion is an empty ritual. Worse, since it is the Lord we receive, it becomes a profanation. We place ourselves above Him, consider ourselves more important, better judges of ourselves than He is. In another context, Archbishop Ranjith of Colombo calls this ‘self-idolatry’ (A special circular on the Year of the Eucharist, 2.1*).

Anyway, back to the COC’s plan to take their issues to the bishops. Obviously, they, like everyone else, have a right to contact the bishops about anything they wish, and I think this specific issue deserves an official response from the bishops. That won’t just benefit the Church, but also the faithful, the COC and other parties involved. What we need, everyone who has something at stake here, is clarity. An explanation about Church teachings and the reasons why some things are possible and some are not. And, most importantly, we deserve clear, expansive and thorough education about the Eucharist and Communion.

* I will pay attention to this letter at a later time.

Asian options

Archbishop Okada of Tokyo

Unnamed ‘sources in Rome’ appear to know that four Asian archbishops will be among the new cardinals to be created in October, if UCANEWS.com is to be believed. The buzz for a future consistory certainly seems to be increasing and many options are still open, judging by the lack of overlap in the predictions. Well, the Church does have a fair number of archbishops…   

The four new names of possible future cardinals (cardinalibile?) are those of Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada of Tokyo, Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith of Colombo, Archbishop Thomas Menamparampil of Guwahati, India, and Archbishop Charles Maung Bo of Yangon. Archbishops Okada, Ranjith and Menamparampil all have close ties to Rome, while Archbishop Bo distinguished himself in the aftermath of hurricane Nargil in Myanmar.    

The article further refers to the possibility of a cardinal in Pakistan as a sign of support for the Christian community there. That would then have to be Archbishop Evarist Pinto of Karachi or Archbishop Lawrence Saldanha of Lahore.    

Finally, the article shares my prediction of a new cardinal in the Philippines because of the upcoming retirement of Cardinal Vidal there.