suddenly in the east, a great flash shone forth. And I saw the Word of God coming
on a cloud with the angelic choirs.
The Word had the same facial expression and the same open wounds which
the Word had while in the world.
The Word sat upon a seat of shining white flames which did not, however,
burn. Under the Word was that
great storm which was cleansing the world. The ones who had been signed in faith rushed to meet the
Word in the air, as it were, in the movement within the circle where I had
indeed previously seen that brilliance which indicated the mystery of the
celestial creator. . . .
"Thereupon, all the elements of the world shone with great serenity, as if a very dark skin had been removed from them. Fire no longer held heat, air no longer held density, water raging, and land frailty. The sun, moon, and stars -- just like embellished things -- shone with a reddish gleam full of brightness and beauty. They then became fixed and no longer went around in a circle, so that day and night were no longer distinguished.
"What goods and how great, belong to those who enjoy this good. --Joy is multiplied in the blessed from the blessedness and joy of others.
"WHO shall enjoy this good? And what shall belong to him, and what shall not belong to him? At any rate, whatever he shall wish shall be his, and whatever he shall not wish shall not be his. For, these goods of body and soul will be such as eye has not seen nor ear heard, neither has the heart of man conceived (Isaiah Ixiv. 4; I Corinthians ii. 9).
"Why, then, do you wander abroad, slight man, in your search for the goods of your soul and your body? Love the one good in which are all goods, and it suffices. Desire the simple good which is every good, and it is enough. For, what do you love, my flesh? What do you desire, my soul? There, there is whatever you love, whatever you desire.
"If beauty delights you, there shall the righteous shine forth as the sun (Matthew xiii. 43) If swiftness or endurance, or freedom of body, which naught can withstand, delight you, they shall be as angels of God, --because it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body (I Corinthians xv. 44) --in power certainly, though not in nature. If it is a long and sound life that pleases you, there a healthful eternity is, and an eternal health. For the righteous shall live for ever (Wisdom v. 15), and the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord (Psalms xxxvii. 39) If it is satisfaction of hunger, they shall be satisfied when the glory of the Lord has appeared (Psalms xvii. 15). If it is quenching of thirst, they shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of your house (Psalms xxxvi. 8). If it is melody, there the choirs of angels sing forever, before God. If it is any not impure, but pure, pleasure, you shall make them drink of the river of your pleasures, 0 God (Psalms xxxvi. 8).
"If it is wisdom that delights you, the very wisdom of God will reveal itself to them. If friendship, they shall love God more than themselves, and one another as themselves. And God shall love them more than they themselves; for they love him, and themselves, and one another, through him, and he, himself and them, through himself. If concord, they shall all have a single will."
- St. Anselm of Canterbury, Chapter XXV, Proslogium.
From St. Irenaeus of Lyon:
"But we do now receive a certain portion of His Spirit, tending towards perfection, and preparing us for incorruption, being little by little accustomed to receive and bear God; which also the apostle terms "an earnest," that is, a part of the honour which has been promised us by God, where he says in the Epistle to the Ephesians, 'In which ye also, having heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, believing in which we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance.' This earnest, therefore, thus dwelling in us, renders us spiritual even now, and the mortal is swallowed up by immortality. 'For ye,' he declares, 'are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.' This, however does not take place by a casting away of the flesh, but by the impartation of the Spirit. For those to whom he was writing were not without flesh, but they were those who had received the Spirit of God, 'by which we cry, Abba, Father.' If therefore, at the present time, having the earnest, we do cry, 'Abba, Father,' what shall it be when, on rising again, we behold Him face to face; when all the members shall burst out into a continuous hymn of triumph, glorifying Him who raised them from the dead, and gave the gift of eternal life? For if the earnest, gathering man into itself, does even now cause him to cry, 'Abba, Father,' what shall the complete grace of the Spirit effect, which shall be given to men by God? It will render us like unto Him, and accomplish the will of the Father; for it shall make man after the image and likeness of God."
In a post called "Heaven", Abbot Joseph draws from a book he recently read by 19th century Fr. Charles Arminjon called The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life. From one of the snippets that Abbot Joseph selected from the book: "The contemplation of God will not mean immobility but, above all,
activity, an ever-ascending progression, where movement and repose will
be bound together in ineffable harmony."
It is a book, Abbot Joseph says, that St. Thérèse evidently read. Commenting, he writes, "I think it’s best to run the race with our eyes on the Lord and all that He has prepared for those who love Him."
The Vatican Press Office's Daily Bulletin today published a clarification of the celibacy requirements contained in the new Apostolic Constitution. Article VI on provisions for married priests and deacons, and potentially seminarians (on a case-by-case basis), is quoted in the article. Cardinal William Levada stated, "The delay is purely technical in the
sense of ensuring consistency in canonical language and references." He said the technical work needed to ready the work for publication should be completed by the end of the first week of November.
In today's General Audience, the Holy Father paused from his series examining the lives and works of great writers in Church history, and he looked specifically at the 12th century. He spoke about the "two realms in which [the century's] fervid theological activity
developed: the monasteries and the town schools, the scholae, some of
which very soon gave life to the universities, which constituted one of
the typical "inventions" of the Christian Middle Ages." From the monasteries came the importance of "spiritual reading" -- reading Scripture "in the spirit in which it was written and created." From the schools came the Scholastic method, which "gives confidence to human reason: grammar and philology are at the service of theological learning". He spoke about faith and reason together giving "confidence to human reason: grammar and philology are at the service of theological learning."
Here is the Holy Father's English-language summary of his presentation:
"In our catechesis on the Christian thinkers of the Middle Ages, we now
turn to the renewal of theology in the wake of the Gregorian Reform.
The twelfth century was a time of a spiritual, cultural and political
rebirth in the West. Theology, for its part, became more conscious of
its own nature and method, faced new problems and paved the way for the
great theological masterpieces of the thirteenth century, the age of
Saint Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure. Two basic "models" of theology
emerged, associated respectively with the monasteries and the schools
which were the forerunners of the medieval universities. Monastic
theology grew out of the prayerful contemplation of the Scriptures and
the texts of the Church Fathers, stressing their interior unity and
spiritual meaning, centred on the mystery of Christ. Scholastic
theology sought to clarify the understanding of the faith by study of
the sources and the use of logic, and led to the great works of
synthesis known as the Summae. Even today this confidence in the
harmony of faith and reason inspires us to account for the hope within
us (cf. 1 Peter 3:15) and to show that faith liberates reason, enabling
the human spirit to rise to the loving contemplation of that fullness
of truth which is God himself."
Asia News has published an English translation of the full text of the Message prepared by the Bishops during the Synod. The Message addresses the state of the Church in Africa today, and the involvement of the Church globally in welcoming Africans who have immigrated and in sending assistance and missionaries to Africa.
The Message also expresses a call to the international community, beyond the boundaries of the Church, to "treat Africa with respect and dignity" and to correct "unjust structures" in the world economic order.
Congratulating the few African countries that have "started on the route of genuine democracy" and are reaping the "dividends of doing things well", the Message also addresses those parts of Africa, such as Somalia, engulfed in conflict, and places where "greed for power and wealth at the expense of the people and nation". Concerning those conflicts, "poverty, misery and disease", human trafficking, "the atrocity of child soldiers and unspeakable violence against women", the Message calls on Africa to "rise up", and states that "it is time to change habits, for the sake of present and future generations".
Recalling that Pope Benedict XVI said, at the Synod's Inaugural Mass, that Africa is 'the 'spiritual lung' of the humanity of today, the Message states that "this is a precious resource,
more valuable than our minerals and oil". The Message warns of the risks of religious fanaticism, and applauds success in interfaith dialogue with Muslims and people of other faiths, encouraging mutuality of laws permitting conversions from Islam to Christianity where the laws permit conversion from Christianity to Islam. Entrusting the Message and its commitments to Mary, the Message offers these concluding thoughts:
"Dear brothers in the
episcopate, dear sons and daughters of the Church Family of God in
Africa, all you men and women of good will in Africa and beyond, we
share with you the strong conviction of this Synod: that Africa is not
helpless. Our destiny is still in our hands. All she is asking for is
the space to breathe and thrive. Africa is already moving; and the
Church is moving with her, offering her the light of the Gospel. The
waters may be turbulent. But with our gaze on Christ the Lord (cf. Mt 14:28 32), we shall make it safely to the port of reconciliation, justice and peace."
Today, the Holy Father celebrated Mass to conclude the Synod meeting. Zenit has an English translation of the Pope's homily and his words at the midday Angelus. Benedetto XVI Forum has photos and also has an English translation of the Pope's homily. The Daily Bulletin has the original Italian texts of the Holy Father's homily and words at the Angelus. Referring to today's readings for Mass, he expressed a "message of hope for Africa": "that the Lord of history never tires of
renewing for mankind oppressed and overcome in every age and on every
land, since he revealed to Moses what he wished for the Israelites who
were slaves in Egypt." He called on the Church in Africa to arise:
"Take the road of a new evangelization
with the courage that comes from the Holy Spirit. This urgent
evangelizing action, which was spoken about very much these days, also
carries an urgent call to reconciliation, the indispensable condition
in order to establish relationships of justice among men in Africa, and
to construct an equitable and lasting peace respectful of every
individual and every people. A peace that requires and is open to the
contribution of all men of good will above and beyond their respective
religious, ethnic, linguistic, cultural and social affiliations."
At the Forward in Faith National Assembly held yesterday and today in the U.K., Bishop Andrew Burnham, the Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet (one of the Church of England's traditional Anglo-Catholic "Flying Bishops"), attributed Pope Benedict's new offer of a personal ordinariate for Anglicans becoming Catholics in part to the prayers of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, saying that it is her "shower of roses". Also crediting the prayers of Our Lady of Walsingham and soon-to-be-blessed John Henry Newman, he called it "the miracle that seems to be springing up in our midst":
Anglican Bishop Andrew Burnham (who, I suppose, is soon to become Catholic Father Burnham) is not alone in crediting St. Thérèse. Jack Smith at the Catholic Key Blog quotes from two other Anglican clergy who also credit St. Thérèse for this development, occurring so soon after her relics visited England (September 16 to October 16, 2009). Hat tip American Papist.
Also, Jeffrey Steenson, formerly an Episcopal Church bishop, and now a Catholic priest, wrote about the announcement on MercatorNet (hat tip Canterbury Tales). He said this about his hope for the Episcopalians he necessarily left behind when he became Catholic:
"One thing has
continued to trouble me in this journey, and that is the remembrance
of the people left behind. . . . who hunger and thirst for
something more, for whom the Catholic Church is a very intimidating
but compelling presence. They must overcome misunderstandings about
what the Catholic Church teaches, and fears about what it might mean
to live in the Catholic Church. Patient pastoral work can resolve
much of this, and I rejoice that the Holy Father has opened this door
In his English language summary, the Holy Father said:
"In our continuing catechesis on the theologians of the Middle Ages, we now
turn to one of the most outstanding, Saint Bernard of Clairvaux. Bernard
combined the austerity of the Cistercian monastic renewal with intense activity
in the service of the Church in his time. Because of his great learning and deep
spirituality he is venerated as a Doctor of the Church, and is often called
"the last of the Fathers". Together with his theological writings and
homilies, including the celebrated Sermons on the Song of Songs, Bernard
maintained a vast correspondence, developed warm friendships with his
contemporaries, defended sound doctrine, and combated heresy and outbreaks of
antisemitism. His spirituality was profoundly Christ-centred and contemplative,
and his celebration of the sweetness of Christ’s name won him the title of Doctor
mellifluus. Bernard is also known for his fervent devotion to our Lady and
his insight into her intimate sharing in the sacrifice of her Son. May Bernard’s
example of a faith nourished by prayer, study and contemplation, lead us closer
"to Jesus through Mary" and grant us that wisdom which finds joyful
fulfilment in the knowledge of the saints in heaven."
I will add more this evening when a full translation is available.
The note allows for the creation of Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving "elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony". It mentions a forthcoming Apostolic Constitution which allows for married Anglican clergy who wish to become Catholic priests. Seminarians in the Ordinariate will study along with other Catholic seminarians, while the Ordinariate will be allowed to have its own house of formation to address the particular needs of the Anglican patrimony.
Zenit has posted the response by Abp. John Helpworth
of the Traditional Anglican Communion (the Anglo-Catholic body from outside of the Anglican Communion that requested such an accommodation several months ago). Forward in Faith (the Ango-Catholic organization within the Anglican Communion which has previously said that many of its members may become Catholic) has posted a reaction on its website:
It has been the frequently expressed hope and fervent desire of Anglican Catholics to be enabled by some means to enter into full communion with the See of Peter whilst retaining in its integrity every aspect of their Anglican inheritance which is not at variance with the teaching of the Catholic Church.
We rejoice that the Holy Father intends now to set up structures within the Church which respond to this heartfelt longing. Forward in Faith has always been committed to seeking unity in truth and so warmly welcomes these initiatives as a decisive moment in the history of the Catholic Movement in the Church of England. Ut unum sint!
+John Fulham Geoffrey Kirk
Ruth Gledhill's blog for the Times includes a copy of a response from Bishops Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton, also of Forward in Faith, which is not posted on the Forward in Faith website. In it, they speak about the discussions between Anglo-Catholic groups and the Vatican over the past few years. Acknowledging that some will remain Anglican, and some will choose an individual route, they also wrote that some Anglo-Catholics now "will begin to form a caravan, rather like the People of Israel crossing
the desert in search of the Promised Land."
Vatican Information Service also has a press release today concerning comments of Cardinal William Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at a press conference about the note. Here is the press release:
In a meeting with journalists held this morning in the Holy See Press Office Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, presented a note on a new measure concerning "Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church".
Commenting on the English-language note, which has been published by his dicastery, Cardinal Levada explained how, "with the preparation of an Apostolic Constitution, the Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion.
"In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution, pastoral oversight and guidance will be provided for groups of former Anglicans through a Personal Ordinariate, whose Ordinary will usually be appointed from among former Anglican clergy.
"The forthcoming Apostolic Constitution provides a reasonable and even necessary response to a worldwide phenomenon, by offering a single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Anglicans in its universal application. It provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy. Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Constitution therefore stipulates that the Ordinary can be either a priest or an unmarried bishop. The seminarians in the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the Ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony".
"The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The initiative has come from a number of different groups of Anglicans" who, said Cardinal Levada, "have declared that they share the common Catholic faith as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and accept the Petrine ministry as something Christ willed for the Church. For them, the time has come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion".
The cardinal further indicated that "it is the hope of the Holy Father Benedict XVI that the Anglican clergy and faithful who desire union with the Catholic Church will find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to them and consistent with the Catholic faith. Insofar as these traditions express in a distinctive way the faith that is held in common, they are a gift to be shared in the wider Church. The unity of the Church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows. Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: 'There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism'.
"Our communion", the cardinal added in conclusion, "is therefore strengthened by such legitimate diversity, and so we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith".
In a joint declaration on the same subject, Catholic Archbishop Vincent Gerard Nichols of Westminster and Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury affirm that the announcement of the Apostolic Constitution "brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution", which is a "consequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.
"The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing co-operation", the declaration adds. "The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together.
"With God's grace and prayer we are determined that our on-going mutual commitment and consultation on these and other matters should continue to be strengthened. Locally, in the spirit of IARCCUM, we look forward to building on the pattern of shared meetings between the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England's House of Bishops with a focus on our common mission".
I got a couple of e-mails from European pro-life groups with links to a photo album and YouTube videos on Saturday's massive pro-life march in Madrid. The photo album has 157 good photos on Picasaweb. Thanks to Catherine Vierling.
Here are the videos. Thanks to François Volff for the links: