Ad Te Levávi Ánimam Meam

To Thee have I lifted up my soul (Introit – 1st Sunday of Advent)

Posts Tagged ‘joseph ratzinger’

3 Years Ago Today – Part 3

Posted by james0235 on April 19, 2008

On April 19, 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as the successor to Pope John Paul II on the second day of the papal conclave after four ballots. Cardinal Ratzinger had hoped to retire peacefully and said that “At a certain point, I prayed to God ‘please don’t do this to me’…Evidently, this time He didn’t listen to me.”

At the balcony, Benedict’s first words to the crowd… were:

“Dear brothers and sisters, after the great Pope John Paul II, the Cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble labourer in the vineyard of the Lord. The fact that the Lord knows how to work and to act even with insufficient instruments comforts me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers. In the joy of the Risen Lord, confident of his unfailing help, let us move forward. The Lord will help us, and Mary, His Most Holy Mother, will be on our side. Thank you.”



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81 Years Ago Today

Posted by james0235 on April 16, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI81 years ago today Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany. He was baptized that same day. Ratzinger was ordained a Deacon on October 29, 1950 by Bishop Johannes Baptist Neuhäusler. He was ordained to the Priesthood on June 29, 1951 by Michael Cardinal von Faulhaber. He was consecrated a Bishop by Bishop Josef Stangl on May 28, 1977. And he was created a Cardinal by Pope Paul VI on June 27, 1977.

Since his election on April 19, 2005 Joseph Ratzinger has gloriously reigned as Pope Benedict XVI.

Happy Birthday, Holy Father!

God Bless Our Pope, God Bless Our Pope, God Bless Our Pope, The Great The Good!

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3 Years Ago Today – Part 2

Posted by james0235 on April 8, 2008

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI led the Mass of Requiem on April 8 at 10:00 a.m. CEST (08:00 UTC), by virtue of his office as Dean of the College of Cardinals. He was also one of Pope John Paul II’s closest friends and carried out most of the Pope’s duties during his final illness. Concelebrating in the Mass of Requiem were the College of Cardinals…and the patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches.

After kissing the text of the Book of the Gospels, Cardinal Ratzinger stood before the congregants to offer the homily which included references to the life and service of Pope John Paul…The cardinal’s last words were about the final hours of Pope John Paul II:

None of us can ever forget how in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing Urbi et Orbi. We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the Father’s house that he sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will guide you now to the eternal glory of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.


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Catholic Liturgical Music

Posted by james0235 on February 23, 2008

Last Saturday evening I attended Mass at a parish that I do not typically go to. In fact I think that I had only been there once before for a Holy Day of Obligation. My experience on both occasions was nearly identical – an ugly Church, no obvious Liturgical abuses, a pretty good homily given by the pastor, and bad music performed badly.

The “Gathering Together Song” last weekend (as opposed to the “Sending Forth Song”) was Be Not Afraid. It has been my experience that most people do not like this song – or folk music in general during Mass. The few people who like Folk Music are the same people who liked it in the 90s and the 80s and the 70s.

This got me thinking about what the Church has said about Catholic Liturgical Music during and since the 2nd Vatican Council. I remember reading a lot of quotes in a lot of places. Tonight I decided to begin compiling them. This is by no means an exhaustive collection of quotes. And, it is not too difficult to find quotes supporting other styles of music. But, at the very least I think this shows that the all too typical situation of a parish never using Gregorian Chant or Sacred Polyphony in the Mass is very much contrary to the wishes of the Fathers of the 2nd Vatican Council and our current Pope.

The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.

But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action

(Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium 116)

All other things being equal, Gregorian chant holds pride of place because it is proper to the Roman Liturgy. Other types of sacred music, in particular polyphony, are in no way excluded, provided that they correspond to the spirit of the liturgical action and that they foster the participation of all the faithful.

Since faithful from different countries come together ever more frequently, it is fitting that they know how to sing together at least some parts of the Ordinary of the Mass in Latin, especially the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, set to the simpler melodies.

(General Instruction of the Roman Missal 41)

On the one hand, there is pop music, which is certainly no longer supported by the people in the ancient sense (populus). It is aimed at the phenomenon of the masses, is industrially produced, and ultimately has to be described as a cult of the banal. “Rock”, on the other hand, is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe. The music of the Holy Spirit’s sober ine­briation seems to have little chance when self has become a prison, the mind is a shackle, and breaking out from both appears as a true promise of redemption that can be tasted at least for a few moments.

(Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 148 )

Similarly, the better-known prayers of the Church’s tradition should be recited in Latin and, if possible, selections of Gregorian chant should be sung. Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant.

(Pope Benedict XVI, Saramentum Caritatis 62)

“The Church recognizes Gregorian chant as being specially suited to the Roman Liturgy. Therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services.” Gregorian chant is uniquely the Church’s own music. Chant is a living connection with our forebears in the faith, the traditional music of the Roman rite, a sign of communion with the universal Church, a bond of unity across cultures, a means for diverse communities to participate together in song, and a summons to contemplative participation in the Liturgy.

(United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Sing to the Lord 72)

The Second Vatican Council directed that the faithful be able to sing parts of the Ordinary of the Mass together in Latin. In many worshiping communities in the United States, fulfilling this directive will mean introducing Latin chant to worshipers who perhaps have not sung it before. While prudence, pastoral sensitivity, and reasonable time for progress are encouraged to achieve this end, every effort in this regard is laudable and highly encouraged.

(United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Sing to the Lord 74)

Each worshiping community in the United States, including all age groups and all ethnic groups, should, at a minimum, learn Kyrie XVI, Sanctus XVIII, and Agnus Dei XVIII, all of which are typically included in congregational worship aids. More difficult chants, such as Gloria VIII and settings of the Credo and Pater Noster, might be learned after the easier chants have been mastered.

(United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Sing to the Lord 75)

Some articles on Liturgical Music:

“From “Tantum Ergo“to “They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love”

The Hidden Hand Behind Bad Catholic Music

The Sad State of Liturgical Music in the Catholic Church

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The Catholic Church And The Death Penalty

Posted by james0235 on January 11, 2008

It has become almost popular lately for some people, usually faithful Catholics, to declare that the Catholic Church is “against the death penalty”. These people treat the death penalty almost as if it were intrinsically evil. And this is just not the case.

It is perfectly acceptable for a Catholic to be a supporter of the death penalty just as it is perfectly acceptable for a Catholic to be against it. However, even if one is against the death penalty it is not permissible to say that the death penalty itself is evil. The way that it is applied by a given government or in a given case may be evil. But, the death penalty itself is not intrinsically evil.

“Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.”

(Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 2004 A.D., letter to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, #3 )

The Church has a long history of approving of the death penalty. Most people probably don’t realize that it was legal (but never invoked) in the Vatican City State until it was abolished in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. And, here are just a few quotes from Popes and Saints on the matter:

“The same divine law which forbids the killing of a human being allows certain exceptions, as when God authorizes killing by a general law or when He gives an explicit commission to an individual for a limited time. Since the agent of authority is but a sword in the hand, and is not responsible for the killing, it is in no way contrary to the commandment, Thou shalt not kill” to wage war at God’s bidding, or for the representatives of the State’s authority to put criminals to death, according to law or the rule of rational justice.”

(St. Augustine, City of God, Book 1, Chapter 21)

“The fate of the wicked being open to conversion so long as they live does not preclude their being open also to the just punishment of death. Indeed the danger threatening the community from their life is greater and more certain than the good expected by their conversion. Besides, in the hour of death, they have every facility for turning to God by repentance. And if they are so obstinate that even in the hour of death their heart will not go back upon its wickedness, a fairly probable reckoning may be made that they never would have returned to a better mind.”

(St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles , Book III, 147)

“They deserve not only to be severed from the Church by excommunication, but also severed from the world through death

(St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica , Pt. II-II, Q. 11, Art. 3).

“Concerning secular power we declare that without mortal sin it is possible to exercise a judgment of blood as long as one proceeds to bring punishment not in hatred but in judgment, not incautiously but advisedly”

(Pope Innocent III, 1210 A.D.)

“Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The just use of this power, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this Commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the Commandment is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence. Hence these words of David: In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land, that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.”

(Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part III , ordered by the Fathers of the Council of Trent under the authority of Pope Pius IV and published in 1566 by St Charles Boromeo under the authority of Pope St. Pius V)

“It is lawful to kill when fighting in a just war; when carrying out by order of the Supreme Authority a sentence of death in punishment of a crime; and, finally, in cases of necessary and lawful defense of one’s own life against an unjust aggressor.”

(Catechism of Pope St. Pius X , 1905 A.D.)

“When it is a question of the execution of a man condemned to death it is then reserved to the public power to deprive the condemned of the benefit of life, in expiation of his fault, when already, by his fault, he has dispossessed himself of the right to live.”

(Pope Pius XII, Papal Address to the First International Congress on the Histopathology of the Nervous System, #33 , Sept 14, 1952)

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