Thank you Papa!

Today I want to share with you a written thank you to Pope emeritus Benedict XVI, it was written by the priest of my local parish and included in yesterday’s parish newsletter and I think it is a fitting tribute to a great and inspirational Pope:

We stand before you with folded hands of prayer and gratitude for your humble, faithful service to the Church and to the whole humanity. We value very much of your wisdom and holiness reflected in all your writings and preaching. We now appreciate your humility, love and responsibility expressed in renouncing or sacrificing the greatest of all positions, of being at the Seat of St. Peter. That too in a world where nobody likes to renounce anything. We pray you may have a quiet, peaceful, restful retired life. You deserve it at this age of 85. And we hope we will all the more be strengthened and guided by your future life of  “prayer and meditation” Thankyou Papa!

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Benedict XVI was a great leader of our Church and during this time we pray for him in his retirement and also for the Cardinals, as they begin the first of their General Congregations before the Conclave to elect the new Pope. May the Holy Spirit guide them to elect a Pope to follow in the great and inspirational legacy Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo. His final public appearance as Supreme Pontiff.

Pope Benedict XVI at Castel Gandolfo. His final public appearance as Supreme Pontiff.

Habemus Papam! Benedict XVI shortly after being elected in 2005

Habemus Papam! Benedict XVI shortly after being elected in 2005

God Bless!

Viva il Papa!

Dominus Lux Mea

“…next pope will ‘rock’ our world”

It is official. Pope Benedict has resigned as Shepherd of Church. A sad day as his pontificate has come to an end but over the next while (not sure how long it will be..) we will be praying and waiting for a new pope. That’s exciting!!!

I was sent an email written by the “CatholiCity” founder Bud Macfarlane that is really awesome so I have posted it today for you all! Definitely worth reading!Pope Benedict bids farewell to cardinals

“Dear CatholiCity Citizen,

I am certain our next pope will be one of the greatest in history, and I hope to explain why in a way you have not read online or heard on the news. Earlier today, when I received Holy Communion, literally, from the hand of my own bishop, His Excellency and fellow Red Sox fan, Richard Lennon, in the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in downtown Cleveland, we had a pope. By the time you read this, for the two hundred and sixty-sixth time, the world will no longer have a pope. During the Eucharistic Prayer, Bishop Lennon led us in intercessory prayer for Pope Benedict XVI. Tomorrow, he will not. In a sense, temporarily not having a pope is a normal part of the life of the Church, a bittersweet reminder that we are all mortal. Next week I will send you a more typical CatholiCity Message, but today I will only address the former Pope Benedict XVI’s momentous renunciation of the papacy.

THE MODERN DYNAMIC PAPACY
There is a false view that the papacy, to some degree due the very fact of the unending line of succession directly back to Jesus and Saint Peter, is a static institution. In fact, the Chair of Peter is always adapting and changing. In the beginning, to be elected pope was tantamount to receiving a death sentence. You know those popes listed in the First Eucharistic Prayer at Mass: Linus, Cletus, Sixtus? Martyrs all, hearts pumping their own blood out their bodies to the last beat. (I named my fourth son after Cletus and pray to Sixtus I, who is a reliable intercessor.) After the fall of the Roman Empire, Popes Leo the Great and Gregory the Great literally became massively influential figures in the great telling of human history.

Virtually all popes in recent centuries have been decent, holy men. Over the past two hundred years in particular, our popes have been exceptional men, if not saints. This occurred by design. Disgusted by the corrupt, local control of the papacy, which had degenerated at times during the Renaissance into what Church historians have called a “pornocracy,” the devout kings and noblemen of Europe applied pressure over time to reform the College of Cardinals, effectively distributing the authority to elevate a papal successor around the Christian world.

The majority of the 117 or so Cardinals who will elect our next pope were chosen by Benedict, the rest by John Paul. Both popes refined the election rules of the College to further resist the formation of voting blocks. The small number of liberals who might remain, even closeted, have virtually no hope of knowingly electing one of their own. Rest assured: our best, brightest, most experienced leaders will select Benedict’s successor, and do so with a formidable two-thirds majority support that will extend after his election.

I have written before about how the priesthood worldwide consists of over 400,000 admirable men who (with the exception of a miniscule percentage consisting of converted married priests from Protestantism and a few ancient or orthodox rites) have demonstrated their zeal to imitate Christ by forsaking marriage. Over two millennia, the priesthood has always attracted the best and the brightest, and the Church long ago learned how to channel the most talented into leadership positions. It is a uniquely and gruelingly efficient system.

Pope Benedict, who might be the most intellectually gifted pope in history, is personally demonstrating the culmination of this modern dynamic papacy. Having suffered first-hand the Culture of Death under the Nazis during his youth, as a major theological contributor to Vatican II (and personal witness to the courage of John Paul XXIII to adapt not just the Church, but the papacy, to modern times), and as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for over two decades as Blessed Pope John Paul’s right-hand man, he was the most qualified, experienced, and informed man to ever become pope. His life stands astride the post-Christian, morally relativistic world he has spoken and written about so cogently.

And remember, the most surprising aspect of Benedict’s reign was not his renunciation of the office, but his manifest holiness. The entire world was expecting a mean-spirited tyrant, based on ridiculous secular reports after his elevation. Instead, we Catholics and the people of the world have literally witnessed a humble saint who focused on Jesus in his published papal works. Yet even holy men have personal or situational limitations. Joseph Bottum, one of our most gifted contemporary Catholic writers, who I respect implicitly, explains his reservations about Benedict’s abdication and some of his failings or the Vatican’s failings during his reign in the following article published by the Weekly Standard:

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/papal-abdication_701317.html

Consider Bottum’s critique without fear while considering the thematic arc of the papacy over the past fifty years:

Pope John XXIII radically altered the Church’s orientation to the modern world, and therefore the papacy, forever. Risk taker.

Pope Paul VI, based on Humane Vitae alone, prophetically and clearly outlined the battle lines of the post-Christian world. Brave.

John Paul I symbolically gave the papacy a profoundly electric new double name (both early Church evangelists!) and a reassuring smile foreshadowing God’s bigger plans for our lives as Catholics. A surprise.

John Paul II over a particularly long reign transformed the papacy into a personal, international vocation. Just as we cannot participate in the sacrament of Confession over the phone, by leveraging technology and modern air travel, he demonstrated to all future popes that they are obliged to make Jesus personally present in our lives. The great innovator.

In the context of this arc, rather than settling for “caretaker” status, we have experienced today Benedict the Bold, resister of Nazis, Vatican II whiz kid from the Old School of Breaking Tradition by Making Tradition. By taking the calculated risk of abdication, he more demonstrates courage than humility. We do not normally think of octogenarians as gamblers, but that is what Benedict has done. He fired himself, for the love of God.

I have not been able to substantiate rumors that Benedict resigned shortly after discovering details about the machinations of a cabal of homosexuals in the Vatican, and even if this were true, I do not think it would explain his resignation. Although I take him at his word that a lack of vitality brought on by old age was a factor, I do not personally believe that this was a deciding factor. After all, he made it clear he believed he was too old for the papacy before he became pope. We know facts about Benedict:

He is holy.
He is an intellectual genius.
He is as tough as decade-old leather.
He is the most experienced pope in history.

As a supreme ruler actively placing the Church’s future into the hands of the College of Cardinals, Benedict is manifesting John Paul’s reassuring admonition to Be Not Afraid. He is betting the Holy Spirit and our Cardinals will give the world the definitive Pope of the New Evangelization. Aware that modern medicine vastly expands the possibility of popes living into decades of dotage, he is literally indicating he believes that younger older guys are needed to take on the enormous modern responsibilities of an internationalist, personalistic, and vigorous Petership.

As a young man, and student of history, and in baptismal hope that God wants me to go to heaven, I always imagined that the first person I would make a beeline to in eternity would be George Washington, who I have always believed was the most influential person in modern history. Not anymore. If there is hanging out in heaven, I’m hanging with Joe Ratzinger if he’ll let me. Until then, may he live to be 110 to advise our next pope, and the one after, starting yet another bold tradition of traditional tradition-breaking.

So expect our next pope to “rock” the world, pun intended. Benedict seems to expect someone extraordinary. Therefore, so do I. Fully in context and in parallel with his most recent forebears, former Pope Benedict has taken a particularly bold action on our behalves, and has indicated by his very act that he expects our Cardinals to require full-throttle greatness on any potential papal resume, seemingly unaware that he himself has become Benedict the Great.

Thanks for being a part of our work. I will return next week with a regular CatholiCity Message. Until then, we remain yours, forever…

With Joseph and Mary,

Bud Macfarlane
Founder

Grazie Santita!

So, since the hot topic all over the world today is the big news from our beloved Pope Benedict, I thought I better put something up here on Faithbook about all the goings on. The news has started the world talking which has no doubt stirred up in you an array of feelings and maybe you have had some interesting conversations in your work places, schools and supermarkets. I didn’t quite know what to make of the news at first. I guess I was shocked and saddened and a little confused. So, I don’t have any words of wisdom myself to share but I found two excellent posts on a blog called The Leading Edge written by Brendan Malone. I hope you find them encouraging and refreshing as I did. The papal resignation survival guide has great advice as to how to avoid all the hype and craziness surrounding the coming events and the second post, Benedict, we are profoundly grateful, is a beautiful tribute to our Holy Father. Enjoy! And thank you Brendan for your posts.

And to our beloved Benedict, Grazie Santita- Thank you Your Holiness!

Blessings all and remember to keep praying for the up coming days.

Habemus Papam!

Pope Benedict’s Letter to Jesus as a 7 year Old

A letter has recently been found written by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) which he wrote to baby Jesus during Christmas when he was just 7 years of age.

The letter, written in 1934, reads:

‘Dear Baby Jesus, quickly come down to earth. You will bring joy to children. Also bring me joy. I would like a Volks-Schott, green clothing for Mass and a heart of Jesus. I will always be good. Greetings from Joseph Ratzinger’

young pope

Joseph Ratzinger at age 5

The Catholic News Agency offers a brief explanation of the young Ratzinger’s requests:

The first thing the Pope wanted was a Schott, one of the first prayer books with the missal in German and a parallel text in Latin. At the time there were two editions in the country, one for adults and one for children.

But little Joseph also asked for “green clothing for Mass.”

The Pope and his brothers used to play the “game of the priest,” and their mother, a seamstress, would help them by making clothes similar to those worn by priests, according to an “Inside the Vatican” interview his brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, gave a few years ago.

He also asked for a heart of Jesus, referring to an image of the Sacred Heart, which his family was very devoted to.

The letter, published online Dec. 18 by the Italian website Korazym.org, was discovered during a renovation of the Holy Father’s former residence in Regensburg. Msgr. Georg Gänswein, the Pope’s personal secretary, said, “The Pope was very glad to find the letter and its contents made him smile.”

Our Holy Father is a holy man who has loved Jesus for a very long time. I think that this letter shows beautifully the faith and reverence which has always lived in the soul of our current Vicar of Christ. A bit of a different post today, but sometimes it’s special to see others in a different and more simple child-like light.

Click here for the full article from CNA

Please pray for the Holy Father.

God Bless

Habemus Papam

Old-fashioned, spiritual Christmas?

What has happened to the old-fashioned, spiritual Christmas? The cause is our disregard of Advent. The church set aside this four-week pre-Christmas season as a time of spiritual preparation for Christ’s coming. It is a time of quiet anticipation. If Christ is going to come again into our hearts, there must be repentance. Without repentance, our hearts will be so full of worldly things that there will be ‘no room in the inn’ for Christ to be born again.…We have the joy not of celebration. Which is the joy of Christmas, but the joy of anticipation.  – John R. Brokhoff

The Nativity

So, we are three days into the season of Advent – a time of preparation and repentance before the celebration of the birth of the child Jesus. This is always a time of excitement and happiness. But do we forget about the importance of Christmas in our Catholic calendar. In this secular and commercialized world many people often forget the true meaning of Christmas and instead of celebrating God becoming Man, people see it as a time of stress and money-spending on extravagant gifts. Businesses see it as a time to sell a lot of products and make heaps of money. It is important to remember the true gift of Christmas which is joy, as Pope Benedict XVI has previously said in one of his homilies:

We could say that the first word of the New Testament is ‘be joyful,’ ‘be happy,’ in other words, ‘joy.’ This is the true meaning of Christmas: God is near us, so near that He became a child. … Joy is the true gift of Christmas, not the expensive gifts that call for time and money. We can communicate this joy simply: with a smile, a kind gesture, a little help, forgiveness. And the joy we give will certainly come back to us.…Let us pray that this presence of the liberating joy of God shines forth in our lives. – Pope Benedict XVI

I pray that during this time of Advent and Christmas we may all experience the true joy of Christ’s birth and not be swept up by all commercialized, worldly desires.

God Bless!

Dominus Lux Mea