Saturday, April 30, 2005

Defying the stereotypes

The Vaticanisti would like to direct your attention here for a rather interesting news item by a fellow Vatican observer, discussing the important role in the Ratzinger-Benedict XVI household played thus far and to be played in the future by his "housekeeper," Ingrid Stampa. Seems that, yet again, our new Holy Father defies the uncritical mischaracterizations and misinformed categorizations of the Garry Willses, Andrew Sullivans and Maureen Dowds of the world. Rather than listening to these types, read the article for yourself and you decide.

In addition, if you would like to know more about what John Paul II had to say about the role of women in the Church, look at this. We must dispel the myth, propogated by groups like this, that women are second-class citizens in the Church because they cannot be ordained to the ministerial priesthood. One needs only look at the example of Our Blessed Mother, to whom JP II dedicated his pontificate (see, e.g., his spiritual testament, in this regard), the writings of JP II such as are linked above, as well as his writings on the laity, for example this, to see that such claims simply do not state the truth. Nevertheless, the Vaticanisti anticipate that many of our readers, especially our female readers, are better able to speak to this issue than we are.

Fiat veritas et caritas!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Ratzinger, Heraldry, and Education cont'd

Commenting in Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977 on his episcopal coat of arms, which is nearly identical to his coat of arms as Pope, Joseph Ratzinger explained:


As my episcopal motto I selected the phrase from the Third Letter of John, "Co-Worker of the Truth". For one, it seemed to be the connection between my previous task as teacher and my new mission. Despite all the differences in modality, what is involved was and remains the same: to follow the truth, to be at its service. And, because in today's world the theme of truth has all but disappeared, because truth appears to be too great for man and yet everything falls apart if there is no truth, for these reasons this motto also seemed timely in the good sense of the word. For about a thousand years the coat of arms of the bishops of Freising has borne a crowned Moor, but no one is quite sure what it means. For me it is a sign of the universality of the Church, which knows no distinction of races or classes, since all of us "are one" in Christ (Gal. 3:28). I selected for myself two additional symbols. The first of these was the shell, which first of all is simply a sign of our pilgrimage, of our being on the road: "We have here no lasting city." But it also reminded of the legend according to which one day Augustine, pondering the mystery of the Trinity, saw a child at the seashore playing with a shell, trying to the put the water of the ocean into a little hole. Then he heard these words: This hole can no more contain the waters of the ocean than your intellect can comprehend the mystery of God. Thus, for me the shell points to my great master, Augustine, to my own theological work, and to the greatness of the mystery that extends farther than all our knowledge. The second symbol was the bear, which I took from the legend of Corbinian, founder-bishop of Freising. The story has it that, on the way to Rome, a bear tore the saint's horse to pieces. Then Corbinian reprimanded the bear sternly for its crime and as punishment loaded on it the pack that the horse had been carrying. The bear had to haul the pack all the way to Rome, and only there was it released by the saint. The bear weighed down with the saint's burden reminded me of one of Saint Augustine's meditations on the Psalms. In verses 22 and 23 of Psalm 72 (73), he saw expressed both the burden and the hope of his life. What he finds in these verses and then comments is like a self-portrait, made before the face of God, and therefore, not just a pious but an exegesis of his life and a light upon his road. . . .

Following this beautiful passage, the former Cardinal Ratzinger continues by drawing a parallel between his own life and ministry and that of Saint Augustine, while at the same time yet again weaving in the themes conveyed through his episcopal coat of arms and acknowledging his own service to Rome:

Just as the draft animal is closest to God precisely through such humble service, so is Augustine closest to God precisely through such humble serve, completely within God's hand, completely his instrument. He could not be closer to his Lord or be more important to him. The laden bear that took the place of Saint Corbinian's horse, or rather donkey--the bear that became his donkey against its will: Is this not an image of what I should do and what I am? "A beast of burden have I become for you, and this is just the way for me to remain wholly yours and always abide with you." What else could I say in detail about my years as a bishop? It is said of Corbinian that, once in Rome, he again released the bear to its freedom. The legend is not concerned about whether it went up into the Abruzzi or returned to the Alps. In the meantime I have carried my load to Rome and have now been wandering the streets of the Eternal City for a long time. I do not know when I will be released, but one thing I do know: that the exclamation applies to me too: "I have become your donkey, and in just this way am I am with you."


Thoughts?

Pope Benedict XVI's Episcopal Coat of Arms

If you have not yet seen our new Holy Father's episcopal coat of arms, go here. That article also provides an outstanding explanation of the significance of each element of Benedict XVI's heraldry. If you would like to know a bit more about St. Corbinian, hagiography of whom is important to the symbolism of the coat of arms, feel free to look at this. The Vaticanisti take particular note of the pedagogical function served by the Holy Father's coat of arms, as it presents an opportunity to remind us one of the many memorable stories regarding St. Augustine, a holy doctor of the Church, as well. Finally, if you would like to know more about the archdiocese of Munchen-und-Friesing, the Christian history of which figures prominently in the Holy Father's episcopal heraldry, and whence Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger went when he responded to the call of John Paul II to minister at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, you can look here. In this coat of arms, one can see how the Holy Father takes every opportunity to enrich our understanding of the Church's tradition and appreciation for our elder brothers and sisters in the Faith, the saints who were models of holiness and devotion to the Truth throughout their earthly existence.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

"Reform of the Reform" has already begun

Pope Benedict has already begun the "reform of the reform" of the liturgy. His first act was his Installation Mass. He is entirely conscious of the great and beautiful liturgical tradition he inherits -- especially that of liturgical texts, music, rituals and symbolic places. Our esteemed colleague in Rome, Sandro Magister, eloquently relates these facts in his lastest column.

In this photo made available by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI meets with Chilean Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, second left, and First Deputy President of the Latin American Episcopal Conference Mons. Carlos Aguiar Retes of Mexico, Second Deputy President Mons. Geraldo Lyrio Rocha from Brazil, and General Secretary Mons. Andres Stanovnik of Argentina, (from left to right) in the Paul VI study at the Vatican, Thursday, April 28, 2005. Vaticanisti takes note that the papal apartments are still being refurbished, so His Holiness takes care of business in an alternative reception room. We hope the newly refurbished papal apartments will include a healthy dose of Renaissance artwork instead of the oftentimes modernist drab that once occupied those historic walls.
Posted by vaticanisti

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Pope Benedict while still Cardinal Ratzinger -- in full pontificals! Notice the exquisitely brocaded Roman chasuble placed over the dalmatic along with the lacey alb. Perhaps the best part is the jeweled mitre. But when all things are considered, dearest friends, it's the gloves...you gotta love the gloves. We pray Benedict will set the pace with liturgical fashions. This photo is evidence of marvelous things to come.
Posted by vaticanisti

Albacete on Benedict XVI

If you love the wit, humor and insight of Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete as much as the vaticanisti do, make sure to read the transcript of his interview with Charlie Rose.

Here's just a little taste of what the interview contains--an excerpt from a colloquy regarding Pope Benedict XVI's "agenda":

CHARLIE ROSE: What else do you think is on the top of his agenda that we haven't spoken to?
LORENZO ALBACETE: Taking a nap, because it's been a long day. Other than to drive a nice—to wonder where he can buy a German beer or something?
Having satisfied those...
CHARLIE ROSE: The pope, yeah.
LORENZO ALBACETE: ... no, no, I think he will promote—I don't think he has a very high opinion of the pope's ability to really change the world. I think he sees the pope more as a facilitator that would provoke, that would move, prompt creative initiatives. Again, he uses that term. We need creative minorities to establish ways of life that are attractive to the people who experience the cruelty of today's world.

Bring 'em home, Benedict!

Perhaps we will see a return of some traditional Anglicans to unam, sanctam Catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam under the guiding hand of our Supreme Pontiff and the Patriarch of the West, Pope Benedict XVI.

Monday, April 25, 2005


Pope Benedict XVI visiting the Major Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. Posted by Hello

PapaRatzi is no transitional Pope!

Just because he's 78, doesn't mean that Benedict is a caretaker pope. Quite the contrary. Just thinking about the possibilities of this pontificate incite within us feelings of "Ratzenfreude" -- the unabashed expression of joy at others' dismay over the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

Our esteemed colleague in Rome, John Allen, adds to these uber-feelings in his rather insightful article.

You may be wondering who "we" are?

Well, its rather straightforward. We are vaticanisti. We have the pulse on all things papal.

Vaticanisti will be keeping the universe up to date on Church politics and culture. Buckle yourself in. It's going to be a crazy ride.

Habemus Papam!

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