Month: July 2008


We begin with the salutation “Father.” Reinhold Schneider writes apropos of this in his exposition of the Our Father: “The Our Father begins with a great consolation: we are allowed to say “Father.” This one word contains the whole history of redemption. We are allowed to say “Father,” because the Son was our brother and has revealed the Father to us; because, thanks to what Christ has done, we have once more become children of God” (Das Vaterunser, p. 10). It is true, of course, that contemporary men and women have difficulty experiencing the great consolation of the word father immediately, since the experience of the father is in many cases either completely absent, or is obscured by inadequate examples of fatherhood.

We must therefore let Jesus teach us what father really means.

Pope Benedict XVI. Jesus of Nazareth, p. 135-6.


"He ventured forth to bring light to the world …"

He ventured forth to bring light to the world — The anointed one’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land is a miracle in action – and a blessing to all his faithful followers”, says Gerard Baker (Times of London July 25, 2008):

And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness.

The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical white person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: “Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?” … Read More

Gerard Baker’s column is now televised in its entirety, courtesy of FoxNews.

Of course, See for a chronological history of the Obama-Messiah phenomenon.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Journey to Sydney (Australia) / World Youth Day 2008

[NOTE: This post will be continually updated throughout Benedict XVI’s visit to Australia July 12-21, 2008].


Pope Benedict XVI waves to pilgrims after the Final Mass at Southern Cross Precinct during World Youth Day Sydney 2008 [Source: Getty Images]

Spoken Words / Addresses by Benedict XVI

Message of the Holy Father to the Young People of the World on the Occasion of the XXIII World Youth Day, 2008 Lorenzago, 20 July 2007.

Pope Benedict XVI travels in his Pope mobile through the Southern Cross Precinct as part of the motorcade preceding his Final Mass at Randwick Racecourse [Source: Getty Images]

Coverage by John Allen, Jr.

  • 7-24-08: Four Sfumature from the Pope’s trip to Sydney “While the trip produced no earthquakes, it did offer a few of what the Italians would call sfumature … small nuances that can be meaningful. This week, I offer four such “Sfumature from Sydney.” These are by no means the main points of the trip, but rather smaller matters around the edges where something unexpected or revealing broke through.”
  • 7-20-08: WYD: Pope meets with sex abuse victims According to a Vatican statement released early Monday morning in Australia, Pope Benedict XVI has met with four victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, listening to their stories and celebrating Mass for them.
  • 7-19-08: WYD: ‘New Age’ spirituality, Benedict XVI style In language that was at turns almost lyrical, Pope Benedict XVI today offered a paean to “new age” spirituality – though, to be sure, certainly not of the “tune in, turn on and drop out’ variety.
  • 7-19-08: WYD: Benedict the theologian offers seminar on Spirit Benedict XVI delivered what amounted to a theological exposition on the Holy Spirit – sometimes, as the pope put it, the “neglected person of the Blessed Trinity” – to a throng of young pilgrims estimated at 235,000 gathered for a vigil at Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse.
  • 7-18-08: WYD: Pope on sex abuse: ‘I am deeply sorry’ Pope Benedict XVI today offered a direct apology for the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests and religious, saying he is “deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured,” assuring them that “as their pastor, I share in their suffering.”
  • 7-18-08: WYD: Benedict paints his own shade of green Pope Benedict XVI continued to paint his distinctive shade of green in Australia yesterday, repeatedly voicing environmental concerns while linking them to a broader range of Christian doctrines and moral teaching.
  • 7-16-08: WYD: Novelty in the air, but a classic ‘Ratzingerian’ message Novelty was in the air in Sydney tonight, as Pope Benedict XVI kicked off his first-ever trip Down Under by arriving in Sydney harbor aboard a cruise ship, accompanied by a 13-vessel “boat-a-cade.”
  • 7-16-08: WYD: Pope lauds reconciliation with aborigines In his first public act since arriving in Sydney on Saturday, Pope Benedict XVI today praised Australia’s efforts to reconcile with its indigenous population, saying it offers “hope to peoples all over the world who long to see their rights affirmed and their contribution to society acknowledged and promoted.”
  • 7-14-08: In Sydney, ‘Ratzinger rules’ but controversy persists Sometimes dubbed the “Catholic Woodstock,” World Youth Day is the largest youth gathering held on a regular basis anywhere in the world. The event was founded by the late Pope John Paul II as a way of evangelizing young people and reenergizing the Catholic church.
  • 7-13-08: WYD: Benedict XVI’s family ties to Australia One Australian woman is watching Pope Benedict XVI’s arrival in Australia with special interest this week: 83-year-old Erika Kopp of Melbourne is first cousin to the pontiff, and says that while others may address him as “Holy Father” or “Your Holiness,” to her he will always be “Joseph.”
  • 7-12-08: WYD: Down Under, Benedict continues to ‘go green’ Pope Benedict XVI has barely arrived Down Under, and already environmentalism is emerging as one key theme of his visit to Australia for the 2008 edition of World Youth Day.
  • 7-12-08: WYD: Once again, papal flight features talk of abuse crisis For the second time in a row, Benedict XVI has opened a papal trip by tackling the issue of sexual abuse in comments to reporters aboard the papal plane.

Pope Benedict XVI (R) embraces an Australian Aboriginal elder after arriving at a World Youth Day welcoming ceremony at Barangaroo [Source: Reuters]

Coverage from Catholic Bloggers

Pope Benedict XVI enters St Mary’s Cathedral for Holy Mass with Australian bishops, seminarians and male and female novices [Source: Getty Images]


Catholic News Service

Thousands of World Youth Day pilgrims hold candles at an outdoor evening vigil [Source: Getty Images]

Zenit News

Spanish pilgrims rejoice after Madrid was announced as the next venue for World Youth Day [Source: Getty Images]

  • 7-18-08: Sydney and WYD wrapped in beauty and Via Crucis prayers The Stations of the Cross were placed across the city in front of the city’s better know monuments. One hundred young actors silently mimed the Passion of Christ. Music and commentaries as well as symbols and lights guaranteed the silent participation of 200,000 young people.

Sydney Morning Herald

Misc. Media

  • Bella the cat keeps Pope Benedict company July 14, 2008:

    A special cat has been brought in to make the devout animal lover feel completely at home during his stay at the Kenthurst retreat. It is hoped the 11-month-old kitten, named Bella, will ease any bout of homesickness the Pontiff would have felt being away from his most beloved of all pets.

Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI on the American Founding

From the dawn of the Republic, America’s quest for freedom has been guided by the conviction that the principles governing political and social life are intimately linked to a moral order based on the dominion of God the Creator. The framers of this nation’s founding documents drew upon this conviction when they proclaimed the “self-evident truth” that all men are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights grounded in the laws of nature and of nature’s God. The course of American history demonstrates the difficulties, the struggles, and the great intellectual and moral resolve which were demanded to shape a society which faithfully embodied these noble principles. In that process, which forged the soul of the nation, religious beliefs were a constant inspiration and driving force, as for example in the struggle against slavery and in the civil rights movement. In our time too, particularly in moments of crisis, Americans continue to find their strength in a commitment to this patrimony of shared ideals and aspirations. …

Historically, not only Catholics, but all believers have found here the freedom to worship God in accordance with the dictates of their conscience, while at the same time being accepted as part of a commonwealth in which each individual and group can make its voice heard. As the nation faces the increasingly complex political and ethical issues of our time, I am confident that the American people will find in their religious beliefs a precious source of insight and an inspiration to pursue reasoned, responsible and respectful dialogue in the effort to build a more humane and free society.

Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility. Americans know this from experience – almost every town in this country has its monuments honoring those who sacrificed their lives in defense of freedom, both at home and abroad. The preservation of freedom calls for the cultivation of virtue, self-discipline, sacrifice for the common good and a sense of responsibility towards the less fortunate. It also demands the courage to engage in civic life and to bring one’s deepest beliefs and values to reasoned public debate. In a word, freedom is ever new. It is a challenge held out to each generation, and it must constantly be won over for the cause of good (cf. Spe Salvi, 24). Few have understood this as clearly as the late Pope John Paul II. In reflecting on the spiritual victory of freedom over totalitarianism in his native Poland and in eastern Europe, he reminded us that history shows, time and again, that “in a world without truth, freedom loses its foundation”, and a democracy without values can lose its very soul (cf. Centesimus Annus, 46). Those prophetic words in some sense echo the conviction of President Washington, expressed in his Farewell Address, that religion and morality represent “indispensable supports” of political prosperity.

Excerpts from the White House Welcoming Ceremony Pope Benedict XVI (Apostolic visit to the United States April 16, 2008).

* * *

You represent a nation that plays a crucial role in world events today. The United States carries a weighty and far-reaching responsibility, not only for the well-being of its own people, but for the development and destiny of peoples throughout the world. With a deep sense of participation in the joys and hopes, the sorrows, anxieties, and aspirations of the entire human family, the Holy See is a willing partner in every effort to build a world of genuine peace and justice for all. …

The Founding Fathers of the United States asserted their claim to freedom and independence on the basis of certain “self-evident” truths about the human person: truths which could be discerned in human nature, built into it by “nature’s God.” Thus they meant to bring into being, not just an independent territory, but a great experiment in what George Washington called “ordered liberty”: an experiment in which men and women would enjoy equality of rights and opportunities in the pursuit of happiness and in service to the common good. Reading the founding documents of the United States, one has to be impressed by the concept of freedom they enshrine: a freedom designed to enable people to fulfill their duties and responsibilities toward the family and toward the common good of the community. Their authors clearly understood that there could be no true freedom without moral responsibility and accountability, and no happiness without respect and support for the natural units or groupings through which people exist, develop, and seek the higher purposes of life in concert with others.

The American democratic experiment has been successful in many ways. Millions of people around the world look to the United States as a model in their search for freedom, dignity, and prosperity. But the continuing success of American democracy depends on the degree to which each new generation, native-born and immigrant, makes its own the moral truths on which the Founding Fathers staked the future of your Republic. Their commitment to build a free society with liberty and justice for all must be constantly renewed if the United States is to fulfill the destiny to which the Founders pledged their “lives . . . fortunes . . . and sacred honor.”

Respect for religious conviction played no small part in the birth and early development of the United States. Thus John Dickinson, Chairman of the Committee for the Declaration of Independence, said in 1776: “Our liberties do not come from charters; for these are only the declaration of preexisting rights. They do not depend on parchments or seals; but come from the King of Kings and the Lord of all the earth.” Indeed it may be asked whether the American democratic experiment would have been possible, or how well it will succeed in the future, without a deeply rooted vision of divine providence over the individual and over the fate of nations.

John Paul II on the American Experiment – excerpts from Pope John Paul II’s words to the Honorable Lindy Boggs as Ambassador to the Holy See on December 16, 1997.

Charles Carroll – Catholic Signer to the Declaration

How Charles Carroll Influenced U.S. Founding Fathers Part I | Part II – From 2005, a Zenit News interview with Scott McDermott on the Catholic Signer of Declaration of Independence.

McDermott authored a biography of Carroll (Charles Carroll of Carrollton Faithful Revolutionary, and gave a talk to the Thomas More Society of Dallas, TX on the subject (“Guest lecturer reminds of America’s Catholic Roots”, by Monica Tomutsa. University of Dallas News Nov. 2, 2005).