The Fisichella Initiative

Yesterday’s post on the assembly of archbishops under the auspices of the Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation seems to lead to far more concrete steps than the piece in the Vatican Insider led us to believe.

Archbishop Fisichella himself explains as much in a piece in l’Osservatore Romano.

Benedict XVI, speaking to the first plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, said that it was of decisive importance to go beyond the fragmentation of society and offer concrete answers to the great challenges of today. To fill this need, a “metropolitan mission” has been put into action. The goal is simple: to give a sign of unity among the diverse dioceses present in the largest European cities that have been particularly affected by secularization.

At the moment, the initiative is limited to some of the larger European dioceses in order more concretely test its effectiveness. The project, however, should eventually extend beyond the borders of the old continent, albeit with modalities which respect the different cultural and ecclesial traditions.

Regarding concrete action, the following passages are most significant:

[T]he “metropolitan mission” intends to be a first step. It will be achieved through common and contemporaneous initiatives, in ordinary pastoral work with special attention to formation, and through public activities offered to the city during Lent 2012.

[…]

The cathedral will be the place of these activities. Firstly, through a continual reading of the Gospels, to place the Word of God at the center. Then, three catechisms of the bishop dedicated to young people, to families and to catechumens on the themes of faith; then, a celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation to draw attention to confession and for its high anthropological value. An activity of charity will complete the experience to demonstrate that faith that is professed and prayed is also witnessed. Finally, a sign of spirituality of a cultural character will be given by the reading of various significant texts, such as excerpts from the Confessions of St. Augustine.

As I concluded in yesterday’s post, this will be an ideal opportunity to learn from the past experiences of individual dioceses. Msgr. Fisichella concludes his article editorial as follows:

Thanks to this initiative, the dioceses work together on a common project, strengthened by their individual experiences of the past, they sustain each other in the common difficulties they encounter. They look to the future with the hope of unity and with the intention of recuperating a sense of involvement and responsibility, favoring the creative and credible contribution of Christians.

Read the full text via the link provided above.

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All the news in one place

Keep an eye out today for the much-anticipated launch of the new Vatican news site. From the sneak preview that came online last week, it would seem that News.va combines most of the (social) media – l’Osservatore Romano, Vatican Radio, video streams and recordings, Flickr, the Vatican Information Service, and so on – used by the Vatican into one place. Pope Benedict XVI will officially open the website, which was first heralded at the Vatican blogmeet in May, tomorrow.

Let me say once more…

(picture courtesy of Father John Boyle’s blog Caritas in Veritate)

As misleading headlines continue to appear left, right and centre (even in Christian newspapers such as the Nederlands Dagblad), the best source to find out anything sensible is still the pope himself. Numerous Catholic news sites offer full texts and quotations to counter the damage done by L’Osservatore Romano, who broke the embargo that was supposed to have stayed in place until tomorrow.

In a previous post I already linked to Jimmy Akin’s post about the subject, and I also have a Dutch translation of the same available here.

In closing I quote Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver:

In the context of the book’s later discussion of contraception and Catholic teaching on sexuality, the Pope’s comments are morally insightful. But taken out of context, they can easily be inferred as approving condoms under certain circumstances. One might reasonably expect the Holy Father’s assistants to have an advance communications plan in place, and to involve bishops and Catholic media in a timely way to explain and defend the Holy Father’s remarks.

Instead, the Vatican’s own semi-official newspaper, l’Osservatore Romano, violated the book’s publication embargo and released excerpts of the content early. Not surprisingly, news media instantly zeroed in on the issue of condoms, and the rest of this marvelous book already seems like an afterthought.

Don’t let that happen. Don’t let confusion in the secular press deter you from buying, reading for yourself, and then sharing this extraordinary text. It’s an astonishing portrait of an astonishing man.

From Open, Disarming, and Inevitably Misunderstood.

Jimmy Akin’s excellent analysis of a media mess-up

Jimmy Akin

Sometimes other people write about things far better than I could ever hope, so in this post I gladly limit myself to linking to Jimmy Akin’s excellent analysis on a massive mess-up by l’Osservatore Romano: The Pope Said WHAT about Condoms???.

I heard people talking about this at church today, with many nodding in agreement about the sensibility of what they thought the pope said. Of course, the pope said something different – and actually sensible – altogether.

I may whip up a Dutch translation of Akin’s article later. I’m getting a bit sick of how even Catholic media continue to fail at proper reporting.