SOURCE: NY Review of Books
Garry Wills: Popes Making Popes Saints
Garry Wills is Professor of History Emeritus at Northwestern. His study of Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1993. His latest book, Why Priests? A Failed Tradition, was published in February 2013.On September 3, 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified Pope Pius IX. (Beatification is the third and penultimate rung on the ladder to sainthood—it certifies that a genuine miracle was worked through a dead person’s intercession, establishes a liturgical feast day for that person, and authorizes church prayer to him or her.) Pius IX was a polarizing figure. He wrested from the Vatican Council a declaration of his own infallibility; he condemned such modern heresies as democratic government; he took a Jewish child, Edgardo Mortara, from his family—on the grounds that Edgardo’s Christian nurse had baptized him as an infant, making him belong to the church, not to his infidel parents.
John XXIII, John Paul II to be made saints
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis sped two of his predecessors toward sainthood on Friday: John Paul II, who guided the Roman Catholic Church during the end of the cold war, and John XXIII, who assembled the liberalizing Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.In approving the sainthood of John XXIII even without a second miracle attributable to the pontiff, Francis took the rare step of bypassing the Vatican bureaucracy. Francis also said a Vatican committee had accepted the validity of a second miracle attributed to the intercession of John Paul.The canonization cause for John Paul began almost immediately after his death in 2005. At his funeral, crowds in St. Peter’s Square began shouting “Santo subito,” or “Sainthood now,” for the beloved pontiff....
SOURCE: Discovery News
Medieval hermit pope not murdered, as believed
Celestine V, the hermit pope who set precedent for Benedict XVI, has been given a new face and fate by researchers who have examined his skeletal remains.The last pontiff not chosen by a conclave — and the first to declare that a pope could rightfully resign — Celestine V is regarded as one of the Catholic Church’s most enigmatic popes.His remains, kept in the Basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio in L’Aquila, Italy, did not show his real face, but a wax mask with the likeness of Cardinal Carlo Confalonieri, the Archbishop of L’Aquila from 1941 to 1950....
SOURCE: Huffington Post
Peter Eisner: Pope Pius XI's Last Crusade
Peter Eisner, a veteran foreign correspondent, has been an editor and reporter at the Washington Post, Newsday and the Associated Press.
Behind image of seamless transition, Vatican navigates uncharted waters
VATICAN CITY — Sharing lunch is rarely historic, except perhaps when the two people eating are a pope and his predecessor.On Saturday, the pope emeritus, Benedict XVI — who broke church tradition by resigning rather than dying in office — ate with Pope Francis at Castel Gandolfo, the hilltop villa where Benedict is living, while reporters waited outside for any scraps of news about how the meeting went.
Papa Francesco: A New Era?
by Steven M. Avella
Pope Francis in Brazil on March 20. Credit: Wiki Commons.With their unending infatuation with the exotica of ritual and royalty, all of the networks provided extensive coverage of the papal resignation and election.Expect the same when Queen Elizabeth II either dies or abdicates.The appearance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires on the loggia of St. Peter’s was greeted by a brief moment of surprise (conclave coverage suggested we would be seeing Pope Angelo Scola or Odilo Scherer -- the Italian Episcopal Conference even e-mailed an erroneous congratulations to Scola -- the papal version of “Dewey Defeats Truman.”) Then crowd went wild as the huge bell on St. Peter’s pealed out the glad tidings.
SOURCE: Foreign Policy
Emily Schmall: How the Catholic Church Lost Argentina
Emily Schmall is a freelance journalist in Buenos Aires who covered the ascension of Pope Francis for the New York Times.BUENOS AIRES — Hundreds of spectators stood through the chilly night in the city's Plaza de Mayo, the iconic park in front of the Catholic cathedral and government palace, to watch a live Vatican transmission of the ascension of the Argentine pope, Francis. The mass finally began shortly after 5 a.m., to a roar of cheers and chanting in unison: ‘Argentina! Argentina!'People wrapped themselves in the yellow and white Vatican flags being hawked alongside Francis buttons, calendars, key chains and posters.While Francis circled St. Peter's Square in the white pope-mobile, two students of the Catholic University, Federico Chaves and Jonathan Tiberio, both 26, swapped anecdotes about the former Archbishop Jorge Bergoglio, an advisor at their campus, who set up a program at the university for students to teach English and computer classes as volunteers in some of the city's poorest slums."We're anticipating change at the Vatican because of what he did in Argentina. He worked with everyone, atheists, homosexuals....He's shown a commitment to bring the church closer to the people, to assimilate it into life," said Chaves, an economics student....
If Not for Muammar Gaddafi, This Guy Might Have Been Pope
by Martin Kramer
Cardinal Sergio Pignedoli in Italy.Cross-posted from Martin Kramer's blog Sandbox.
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK)
Priest 'not denounced' by pope
Francisco Jalics, a Hungarian native who now lives in a German monastery, said that he was following up on comments about the case last week because he had received a lot of questions and "some commentaries imply the opposite of what I meant."He did not elaborate.Fr Jalics and another priest, Orlando Yorio, were kidnapped in 1976.Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, has said he told the priests to give up their work in slums for their own safety, and they refused. Yorio, who is now dead, later accused Fr Bergoglio of effectively delivering them to the death squads by declining to publicly endorse their work....
SOURCE: Guardian (UK)
Is the retired pope still infallible?
The pope is infallible when, as head of the bishops of the church, he requires the faithful to believe a matter pertaining to faith or morals. This is the standard definition of infallibility. It goes no further. Should the pope stick his head out of doors and remark that it will be a nice day, he is just as liable to be snowed on as the next man.In practice, this means that the church debates a subject at great length and when the bishops and laity are in agreement, the pope makes an infallible pronouncement. The bishops' discussions before the announcement can take a long time; the doctrine of the immaculate conception was in debate for at least 1,300 years before being made official....
SOURCE: National Review
Conrad Black: Pope Francis, Say Yes to the Pill
Conrad Black is the author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom, Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, and the recently published A Matter of Principle. He can be reached at email@example.com.
SOURCE: LA Times
Why does the pope change his name?
What's in a pope's name?By choosing the name Francis, the Argentine Jesuit who will lead the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics has signaled a devotion to simple living and social justice, analysts say.No pope has ever chosen to be called Francis before, and it was not among the names favored by oddsmakers betting on which the new pontiff would choose. The name harks back to St. Francis of Assisi, who founded the Franciscan order.Picking a name is the first decision made by the new pontiff and a closely watched sign of how he will lead the church....
Tenemos un Papa!
by Anne M. Martínez
Pope Francis. Painting by Dan Lacey via Flickr.At 8:12 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran announced from the famed loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica “Habemus Papem,” “We have a pope.” Within minutes, as the world's 1.2 billion Catholics and curious onlookers worldwide processed the announcement that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires had been elected the 266th pope, Latin Americans and U.S. Latinos exclaimed “Tenemos un Papa,” “We have a pope!” Or, as the Huffington Post announced, “The Holy Sí! Argentine Pope.” What does it mean to have a Latin American pope?
The Catholic Church's Long Struggle over Accommodating to Authoritarian Regimes
by David Austin Walsh
Cesare Orsenigo, Pope Pius XII's nuncio to Nazi Germany, meets with Adolf Hitler and Joachim von Ribbentrop in early 1939. Photo Credit: German Federal Archives.The announcement last Wednesday that the College of Cardinals selected Jorge Mario Bergoglio, archbishop of Buenos Aires, as the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, made headlines around the world. Most focused on the “simplicity” and “modest touch” of the new pope, who will reign as Pope Francis.But allegations that the new pope cooperated with Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970s, during the so-called Dirty War in which nearly 30,000 Argentineans were tortured or killed by the government, have tarnished his transition.
SOURCE: The Atlantic
David M. Perry: What the Name 'Francis' Means for the Modern Church
David M. Perry is an associate professor of history and director of the Catholic studies minor at Dominican University in Illinois. Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: Habemus Papam ... Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum. "I announce to you with great joy: We have a pope. ... Who has taken for himself the name Francis!"There are two immediate messages to take away from the election of Francis. First, this quick vote reflects a clear unity of purpose among the cardinals. Second, his selection of the name Francis speaks volumes about his potential approach to the coming papacy.
SOURCE: David Austin Walsh for HNN
Did Pope Francis collaborate with the Argentine junta?
David Austin Walsh is the editor of the History News Network.Pope Francis in Rome on March 13, 2013. Credit: Mazur/catholicnews.org.ukUPDATE: In an email to HNN, James P. Brennan, a professor of history at the University of California, Riverside who is currently working on on a research project about the "Dirty War," cautioned against rushing to judgments about the new pope's record with the military junta. "[Journalist Horacio Verbitsky] is the sole source of [the] accusation [about concealing prisoners from human rights officials], which has yet to be verified by other credible sources such as human rights organizations in Argentina."
SOURCE: The Atlantic
David M. Perry: How History Can Help Us Predict the Next Pope
David M. Perry is an Associate Professor of History and Director of the Catholic Studies Minor at Dominican University in Illinois.On Thursday, February 28, at 8:00 P.M. local time, Pope Benedict XVI resigned. For now, the seat of St. Peter is vacant. But soon, the Cardinals will enter the Sistine chapel and the master of the Papal Ceremonies will cry, "Extra Omnes!" -- everybody out, and seal the door...What changes will mark the Catholic church of tomorrow? Just as the past helps us understand Benedict's resignation, we can use our knowledge of history to shed some light on what the Cardinals might be doing behind those sealed doors.1) Voting is medieval.
SOURCE: Religion News Service
Why the new pope's name matters
Once the new pope is elected, he will have two big initial decisions to make: whether to accept the job, and what his new papal name will be.Gregory? Leo? Benedict? No one knows what the next pope will pick. But choosing a new moniker is a decision that’s tied up in history, tradition and more than a little symbolic value.In papal tradition, newly elected pontiffs choose a name to identify themselves during their reigns. The tradition has been around for centuries, even though no law or rule requires that a pope pick a new name.Chester Gillis, a professor of theology at Georgetown University, said that the pope’s choice of name offers an early indicator of what his papacy might be like....
Benedict’s Obedience to New Pope Part of Tradition
(VATICAN CITY) — He slipped it in at the end of his speech, and said it so quickly and softly it almost sounded like an afterthought.But in pledging his “unconditional reverence and obedience” to the next pope, Benedict XVI took a critical step toward ensuring that his decision to break with 600 years of tradition and retire as pope doesn’t create a schism within the church.It was also a very personal expression of one of the tenets of Christian tradition that dates back to Jesus’ crucifixion: obedience to a higher authority....
Thomas Albert Howard: The Agony of Papal Exits
Thomas Albert (Tal) Howard currently holds the Stephen Phillips Chair of History at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts.“How heavy the papal mantle weighs,” wrote Dante in his Divine Comedy. The shepherding of some 1 billion Catholics is no simple business, so one cannot begrudge the frail Pope Benedict for stepping down. Given the rarity of such an event, the recent media frenzy is understandable. Much commentary has and will focused on Benedict’s legacy and the next papal election. But given that traditionally only death separates a pope from office, the moment also calls for remembrance of those popes who finished their office under, well, grimmer circumstances.The Apostle Peter, according to Catholics, was the first pope. Tradition claims he was crucified upside down in Rome because he felt unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as Christ. Peter was the first of fourteen popes who are known or believed to have been martyred between the first and seventh centuries, the last being Martin I in 655. In light of the expansion of Christianity during this time, the church father Tertullian’s famous line that the “blood of martyrs is the seed of the church” is not beside the point.
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