Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Holy Week news, Episcopal Church in the Philippines in Synod, papal interview

Some Holy Week updates. First from the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in England. The first former Anglican congregations will be received into the Catholic Church beginning this week. Some pictures from the reception of the first congregation from London (South) are here. Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary received the congregation. While the reception is very low key media-wise, it is of major importance in the history of the Church.

Our brothers and sisters from the Episcopal Church in the Philippines will meet in Provincial Synod at historic St Mary the Virgin in Sagada from May 3-6. This link has articles on the accomplishments of the ECP since its last Synod as well as proposed amendments to the constitutions and canons of the church. Filipino Episcopalians ask the prayers of all, especially from our readers here, so that their synod will be successful.

As a Holy Week reading, we suggest "Benedict XVI, Light of the World: A Conversation with Peter Seewald" Ignatius Press, Distributed in the Philippines by National Bookstore at PhP 395.00. His Holiness celebrated his 84th birthday last April 16 and marks 6 years of his pontificate on April 19.

It is very rare for a Pope to give interviews with journalists, It is even rarer to read about his views on many issues in one tome. Pope John Paul II gave interviews and much of his were on theological, philosophical, ecumenical, political and social issues that came out in the best selling "Crossing the Threshold of Hope"(1994) But the interviewer did not ask the Pope questions of a personal nature. In "Light of the World" Mr Seewald asks a variety of questions on challenges facing the Church some of which are personal.

Benedict XVI surprises all by being very candid and true to form, razor sharp. Reading the book, one can imagine a conversation with a literate professor, which Benedict XVI really is.

Some excerpts:
On knowledge:
 B16: "Knowledge is power. That means if I know, then I can also control. Knowledge brought power, but in such a way that with our own we can also now destroy the world that we think we have figured out intellectually. ....an essential perspective is lacking, namely the aspect of the good. What is good?"

On the Anglican Ordinariates: 
B16:"The initiative did not come from us, but from Anglican bishops who entered into dialogue with the CDF.... But it is at any rate a sign, you might say, of the flexibility of the Catholic Church. We don't want to create new uniate churches, but we do want to offer ways for local church traditions that have evolved outside the Roman Church to be brought into communion with the Pope."

On personally meeting victims of priest sex abusers:
B16: "Actually I couldn't say anything special at all to them. I was able to tell them that it affects me very deeply. That I suffer with them. And that was not just an expression, but it really touches my heart. And I was able to tell them that the Church will do everything possible so that this does not happen again."

About using an exercise bike as prescribed by his doctor:
B16: No, I don't get to it at all... thank God!

The Pope gives his thoughts more on the engagement of Catholicism with Islam, the Orthodox, secularism, ecumenism, papal infallibility, clerical celibacy, a Third Vatican Council and the SSPX schism.

The interviews allow us to get a closer look at Benedict's papal program and the future direction of the Roman Church.

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