Benedict XVI’s presser on airplane to Portugal, clerical crisis and “third secret”

"We have to re-learn the essentials: conversion, prayer, penance, and the theological virtues."

Thus, Benedict XVI today on the way to Portugal.

My friend John L. Allen Jr., the fair-minded nearly ubiquitous, who is sadly still correspondent for for the ultra-liberal NRC, provided an English translation of the airplane presser with Benedict XVI on the way to Lisbon.

He spoke of the economic crisis, secularization, the clerical abuse crisis and the "third secret" of Fatima.

Here is an excerpt with my relevant emphases and comments.

Q: Now we look to Fatima, which will be the spiritual culmination of this trip. What meaning do the apparitions of Fatima have for us today? When you presented the Third Secret of Fatima in a press conference at the Vatican Press Office in June 2000, you were asked if the message of the secret could be extended beyond the assassination attempt against John Paul II to other sufferings of the popes. Could it also be extended to put the suffering of the church today in the context of that vision, including the sins of the sexual abuse of minors?

Benedict XVI: First of all, I want to express my joy to go to Fatima, to pray before the Madonna of Fatima, and to experience the presence of the faith there, where from the little ones a new force of the faith was born. It’s not limited to the little ones, but has a message for the whole world and all epochs of history, it illuminates this history. As I said in the presentation, there is a supernatural impulse which doesn’t come simply from someone’s imagination but from the supernatural reality of the Virgin Mary. [Which leads one to wonder why the whole business of the "secrets" was handled the way it was.] That impulse enters into a subject, and is expressed according to the possibilities of the subject, who is determined by his or her historic situation. The supernatural impulse is translated, so to speak, according to the subject’s possibilities for imagining it and expressing it. In this expression formed by the subject, there are always hidden possibilities to go beyond, to go deeper. Only with time can we see all the depth which was, so to speak, dressed in this vision, which was possible for the concrete person.

With regard to this great vision of the suffering of the popes, beyond [!] the circumstances of John Paul II, other realities are indicated which over time will develop and become clear. Thus it’s true that beyond the moment indicated in the vision, one speaks about and sees the necessity of suffering by the church. It’s focused on the person of the pope, but the pope stands for the church, and therefore sufferings of the church are announced. The church will always be suffering in various ways, up to the end of the world. The important point is that the message of Fatima in its substance is not addressed to particular situations, [Get that?] but a fundamental response: permanent conversion, penance, prayer, and the three cardinal virtues: faith, hope and charity. One sees there the true, fundamental response the church must give, which each of us individually must give, in this situation.

In terms of what we today can discover in this message, attacks against the pope or the church don’t come just from outside the church. The suffering of the church also comes from within the church, because sin exists in the church. This too has always been known, but today we see it in a really terrifying way. The greatest persecution of the church doesn’t come from enemies on the outside, but is born in sin within the church. The church thus has a deep need to re-learn penance, to accept purification, to learn on one hand forgiveness but also the necessity of justice. Forgiveness does not exclude justice. We have to re-learn the essentials: conversion, prayer, penance, and the theological virtues. That’s how we respond, and we can be realistic in expecting that evil will always launch attacks from within and from outside, but the forces of good are also always present, and finally the Lord is stronger than evil. The Madonna for us is the visible maternal guarantee that the will of God is always the last word in history.

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35 Responses to Benedict XVI’s presser on airplane to Portugal, clerical crisis and “third secret”

  1. Brian K says:

    “The important point is that the message of Fatima in its substance is not addressed to particular situations”

    It sounds like Pope Benedixt XVI might not be in complete agreement with the Vatican’s interpretation in the year 2000 with its release of the Third secret?

  2. robtbrown says:

    It sounds like Pope Benedixt XVI might not be in complete agreement with the Vatican’s interpretation in the year 2000 with its release of the Third secret?
    Comment by Brian K

    Didn’t he write the interpretation?

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000626_message-fatima_en.html

  3. Central Valley says:

    The enemy within…the wolves

  4. Pope Benedict XVI wrote the theological reflection, contained in the 2000 document released.

    So many people are focused on a Pope who actually, physically gets killed that they miss two important things:

    1) Not all martyrdoms are red; some are white.

    2) The bullet which did not kill Pope John Paul II, could have killed him, if not for “the hand of Mary”.

    In other words, grace through prayer, penance and sacrifice has the capacity to change outcomes. The fact that Pope John Paul II survived something he probably should not have survived ought to give us incentive to spend more time on our knees and making more acts of reparation.

    You have, especially in the examples of Jacinta and Francesco, some of the most heroic virtues in terms of their willingness to give things up for the conversion of sinners.

    All this talk about the Third Secret only being partially revealed, consecration not being done just right, etc., is only distracting from the heart of the Fatima message.

    I hope to hear the Holy Father discuss more about these virtues and disciplines we should be embracing and cultivating in ourselves. In this way, we help the Church in ways that all the debates about cover-ups and the like can’t.

    Furthermore, I don’t know if people realize how they are causing others to turn away from Fatima because of all the bickering.

  5. KevinSymonds says:

    Disclaimer: I do not mean any ill-will in this post but I am very direct as I am respectful.

    The Holy Father is being quite consistent:

    “As I said in the presentation, there is a supernatural impulse which doesn’t come simply from someone’s imagination but from the supernatural reality of the Virgin Mary.”

    In his 2000 Presentation, Ratzinger said:

    “The concluding part of the “secret” uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith.”

    Many people misunderstood Ratzinger’s commentary and the context in which he wrote the above comment. I here nominate Fr. Paul Kramer as being one such person.

    The problem in Ratzinger’s commentary (and which trips Kramer up) is that Ratzinger is vague. He leaves it to theological context for the reader to understand what he is saying.

    Kramer says that Ratzinger is slighting Sr. Lucia or reducing her vision to images she saw in devotional books. Yet that is not what Ratzinger was saying. He was saying that when Our Lady gave the children this vision, she made it intelligible to them by showing them the facts in a way that they would be familiar with–hence the “devotional” remark.

    Kramer missed the point in his zeal for proclaiming a hidden text of the Third Secret.

    “The important point is that the message of Fatima in its substance is not addressed to particular situations, but a fundamental response: permanent conversion, penance, prayer, and the three cardinal virtues: faith, hope and charity. One sees there the true, fundamental response the church must give, which each of us individually must give, in this situation.”

    The hermeneutical key to the Pope’s remark is “…in its substance.” The rest of his remark hinges on that.

    Pope Benedict is trying to bring everyone back to the central element of the Fatima message–which was NOT a third or fourth secret. The point was penance and to call everyone back to a true supernatural existence.

    Do you pray the Rosary every day?

    Do you or have you done the Five First Saturdays?

    Remember, Our Lady gave TWO–not one–conditions for the conversion of Russia: the consecration AND the Five First Saturdays.

    If anyone has not and yet gripes about an alleged hidden text of the third secret, then he or she is not following the Fatima message and has mistaken the forest for the trees.

    All this talk of an alleged hidden text of the third secret is really detracting from the real point as given above.

    What good would it do to know that the hierarchy will (allegedly) apostasize?

    Will it help or confuse the faithful to know that Vatican II was (allegedly) imprudent in the eyes of heaven?

    If the above allegations really were true, then all the Popes from Paul VI onward were smart to hold that secret to themselves. The central function of the Papacy is to hold the unity of the Church and the Deposit of Faith together.

    To disclose it after John XXIII’s decision to hold the Council would be to pander dangerously close to subordinating the authority of the Church to private revelation which is contrary to the Deposit of Faith.

    The sort of knowledge alleged to be in this supposed “hidden text” would utterly rip the Church asunder. Imagine the disillusionment from Papal authority that would happen. I can not even begin to fathom it.

    The above being on the table of discussion, is there now any wonder why Ratzinger, as Cardinal, once remarked that to disclose the Third Secret may lead to judgments that are unfair?

    Thus we should and OUGHT to listen to Pope Benedict. If there is a hidden text, then he is aware of it. Let us follow his lead through his actions (“brick by brick”, anyone?) and not by what he chooses to disclose.

    -Kevin Symonds
    Summerville, SC

  6. I should have said, Pope Benedict wrote the theological commentary.

  7. Bornacatholic says:

    First of all, I want to express my joy to go to Fatima, to pray before the Madonna of Fatima, and to experience the presence of the faith there, where from the little ones a new force of the faith was born. It’s not limited to the little ones, but has a message for the whole world and all epochs of history, it illuminates this history. As I said in the presentation, there is a supernatural impulsewhich doesn’t come simply from someone’s imagination but from the supernatural reality of the Virgin Mary.

    With regard to this great vision of the suffering of the popes, beyond [!] the circumstances of John Paul II, other realities are indicated which over time will develop and become clear. Thus it’s true that beyond the moment indicated in the vision,

    I am sorry but what I take from this entire explanation is that the Holy Father avers that Fatima consisted of a “message” but, rapidly, that “message” becomes identified as an “impulse” (not the same thing as a “message”) and then that “impulse” is conflated with the general knowledge the Church will always suffer persecution.

    This has only made the Fatima Message and the requests by Mary even murkier.

  8. Brian K says:

    Yes, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the theological commentary. But I’ve read several times that the interpretation of the vision as applying to the assassination attempt on JPII was contrived and advanced unilaterally by the Secretary of State at the time, not Cardinal Ratzinger.

    In which case, the statement that “The important point is that the message of Fatima in its substance is not addressed to particular situations” could be interpreted as a repudiation of that interpretation.

  9. prsuth33 says:

    “With regard to this great vision of the suffering of the popes, beyond [!] the circumstances of John Paul II, other realities are indicated which over time will develop and become clear.”

    Doesn’t this contradict the 6/26/00 statement made by then Cardinal Ratzinger and the Secretary of State, Cardinal Sodano? The interpretation at the time was that the Third Secret pertained specifically to Venerable Pope John Paul II and the failed attempt to kill him May 13, 1981. If I am wrong, please let me know. I can see why the Fatimists doubt that the secret was released in its entirety.

  10. KevinSymonds says:

    Brian K, no it can not be interpreted that way. Please read my above post for the rebuttal of that argument.

    Furthermore, Ratzinger upheld that interpretation of the Pope being shot was John Paul II. It’s in the commentary and available on the Vatican’s web site.

    I hear a lot of people saying that the third secret was about a Pope being shot. I respectfully disagree.

    The third secret was about the trials of the Church resulting from the spreading errors of Russia. The Pope was a figurehead of that suffering, but not the secret itself.

    Bornacatholic,
    I think what Pope Benedict was trying to say was that the supernatural impulse that the three children received has led to a renewal of faith in our times. That impulse carried with it a message that we know as “the message of Fatima”–prayer, conversion, fasting, etc.

  11. I sense a bit of reading in-comprehension. A “supernatural impulse” in this case doesn’t mean “Lucia suddenly felt like saying something supernatural!”

    “Impulse” in this case is the older meaning of “an impelling force, an impetus”. It means that the supernatural is pressing down upon the world (ie, God sending Mary to have a little chat) and Making Things Happen.

    In German, “impuls” means impetus.

  12. Brian K, said: But I’ve read several times that the interpretation of the vision as applying to the assassination attempt on JPII was contrived and advanced unilaterally by the Secretary of State at the time, not Cardinal Ratzinger.

    Brian,

    Where you in the room to witness something being contrived?

    Any quest for truth in any matter cannot involve consequentialism. In other words, we cannot set aside the issues of rash judgment, and of potential calumny, in trying to flush out truth.

    I would ask the question, why do people feel they have a right to more than the Holy See offered in 2000? Will it make you pray more than you are, or do more penance than you already are? I say, why not go all out and maximize your prayer and penance and let go of what is not within your control. Focus on what is: Prayer, penance, conversion and perfecting virtue.

    Please allow me to quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church because it is applicable in these discussions:

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    2477 Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury.278 He becomes guilty:

    - of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;

    - of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;279

    - of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

    2478 To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way:

    Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.280

    2479 Detraction and calumny destroy the reputation and honor of one’s neighbor. Honor is the social witness given to human dignity, and everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect. Thus, detraction and calumny offend against the virtues of justice and charity.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    It’s one thing to raise questions. It’s another thing to presume (unless you were there to witness it), that second hand information is fact when this is not known, and then to attribute a moral fault to someone. I won’t allow myself to be led down that path. It’s far better to die havnig spent the time in prayer and reparation, than to have spent it concerning myself over things that are highly speculative.

    Fatima is about prayer, penance, conversion, and faith, hope, and charity. Some of the behaviors I have witnessed online with regards to this Third Secret business fly in the face of those virtues.

  13. Oh, and “impuls” in German does have some connection with impulsiveness, but it seems more closely connected to ideas like force and momentum. You are generally being pushed by outside forces, not inner ideas. Or so the dictionary gives me to believe. :)

    So it’s not just a message, something nice to know. It’s God pushing on everybody who hears it. And I have to admit, there is a distinct element of Mary being pushy, giving the world poke after poke, and continually issuing motherly commands to do God’s will, in Fatima.

  14. Re: trials of the Church

    Re: the Third Secret
    “We’re pretty sure the Pope part referred to my good buddy who was saved by Our Lady of Fatima” is not exactly a shocking interpretation. Crimony, people, do you expect somebody who practically saw the shooting happen to be all coldblooded? Did you want Ratzinger to say, “And of course the papal figure also refers to the trials of Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul I, and whatever poor suckers have to be pope down the years until the end of time”?

    In case it escaped people’s notice, the pope is always getting attacked in all ages. The Church is always being persecuted, in all ages. Pretty much everything about Fatima had universal application, duh, as do most real visions. “We’re pretty sure it means this” never means it doesn’t also refer to X, Y, and Z, and that shouldn’t be any surprise to anybody who knows anything about scriptural interpretation. Sheesh.

    Re: Diane’s comment

    I agree that the real message of Fatima is prayer, penance, conversion, and renewal of the Church, in individuals and globally. If we forget that, all the visions and prophecies in the world won’t save us. There’s more merit in one Hail Mary than in a ton of silly speculation.

  15. robtbrown says:

    Anyone who followed the link I provided would have seen:

    1. Cardinal Sodano provides an interpretation.

    2. Within the Ratzinger theological commentary is “an attempt” at interpreting the Third Secret.

  16. Bornacatholic says:

    I think what Pope Benedict was trying to say was that the supernatural impulse that the three children received has led to a renewal of faith in our times.

    I think that is a positive interpretive leap worthy of Bob Beamon.

  17. ppb says:

    “The important point is that the message of Fatima in its substance is not addressed to particular situations”

    I interpreted this as the Holy Father saying that the message of Our Lady of Fatima is not to be reduced to the prediction of some specific cataclysmic event, whether past (i.e. the attempt on Pope John Paul II’s life) OR future (i.e. some other great cataclysm that is allegedly being withheld from us).

  18. Brian K says:

    “With regard to this great vision of the suffering of the popes, beyond the circumstances of John Paul II, other realities are indicated which over time will develop and become clear…
    “The important point is that the message of Fatima in its substance is not addressed to particular situations”

    The interpretation of these statements, taken together, seems clear to me.

  19. jasoncpetty says:

    Mr. Symonds and Diane at Te Deum win on this one with their appeals to Fatima-inspired virtues, reasonableness, and charity. In the defense of the others, however, we men are so afraid and we want to know the future so, so badly.

  20. Bornacatholic says:

    It’s not limited to the little ones, but has a message for the whole world and all epochs of history, it illuminates this history. As I said in the presentation, there is a supernatural impulse which doesn’t come simply from someone’s imagination but from the supernatural reality of the Virgin Mary. That impulse enters into a subject, and is expressed according to the possibilities of the subject, who is determined by his or her historic situation. The supernatural impulse is translated, so to speak, according to the subject’s possibilities for imagining it and expressing it. In this expression formed by the subject, there are always hidden possibilities to go beyond, to go deeper.

    I’m sorry. I certainly do not wish to be seen as claiming that Our Holy Father is intentionally misleading us but what has just happened in that paragraph is that the message has been recast as an impulse that, because it is diffused through the souls of some little children in far-off Fatima a long time ago, is no longer a specific message from Mary but rather an “expression formed by the subject” – rural children who lived quite a while ago.

    Look, whether or not the young children back then could understand the meaning of the message is not the questions for me. The question for me is – what were the words of Mary that comprised the Third Secret?

    This whole “explanation” has raised, for me, more questions.

    Are we talking about the words of Mary or are we talking about expressions formed by the subjects?

  21. SkiingCatholic2010 says:

    “With regard to this great vision of the suffering of the popes, beyond the circumstances of John Paul II, other realities are indicated which over time will develop and become clear.”

    So its not just about JP2. There are circumstances which will develop and become clear… it’s not all clear yet. Then he goes on to talk about sins inside the Church….

    Hmmm.

  22. Amerikaner says:

    Like Mother Angelica, I too believe we didn’t necessarily get the whole message with the 2000 release. What has always bothered me about the interpretation of the secret is that the official position released never addressed the religious and laity that also are killed with the Pope. If the vision points to a spot in time, dealing with JPII’s assassination attempt, as the Vatican position says it does, no others were harmed or killed in that attempt. It is rather odd.

  23. Erik P says:

    I wonder if there are any male nuns in the church of England?

  24. Brian K says:

    Cardinal Sodano was the Vatican Secretary of State who crafted the interpretation of the Third Secret which was advanced by the Vatican in 2000.

    Do a news search on recent headlines regarding Cardinal Sodano.

    Moreover, Cardinal Schönborn hinted that Cardinal Sodano– who remains a highly influential figure in Rome, as the dean of the College of Cardinals– had a history of underestimating the abuse problem. The Austrian cardinal said that in 1995, the future Pope Benedict pushed for a probe into abuse allegations against Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër but that Cardinal Sodano resisted the probe. Cardinal Schönborn had earlier told The New York Times in April that Cardinal Ratzinger had called for an investigation of Cardinal Groër, who served as Archbishop of Vienna from 1986 to 1995, but that “the other side, the diplomatic side, had prevailed.” Cardinal Groër– Schönborn’s immediate predecessor in Vienna– eventually relinquished all his ecclesiastical titles in 1998, at the request of Pope John Paul II, as mounting evidence of his misconduct emerged.

    Then read Pope Benedict XVI’s references to Fatima and the abuse crisis.

    Then try to tell me it is Detraction and calumny to read into the words of Pope Benedict XVI. I would have to disagree vehemently. I think Pope Benedict XVI is speaking volumes, between the lines.

  25. Erik P says:

    whoops that was supposed to be published on the C of E article…

  26. Re: grace builds on nature

    St. John of the Cross talks a lot about how, when somebody has a vision, sometimes you’re talking about actually seeing something visual on earth, and sometimes you’re talking about God sending out some kind of signal or impulse, but that how it is perceived by the person having the vision depends on how it is received by the imagination/visualization parts of the brain and soul. (To put it in modern terms.)

    Someone who has more vocabulary may get a more intricate verbal message. Someone whose visual imagination is not strong might not get as much visual info as someone who is visual. (Though God can also make His messages understood supernaturally, or make sure that important words come to those who don’t understand them. St. Bernadette heard “I am the Immaculate Conception”, even though she had no clue what that meant.)

    So yes, Mary can be sitting there showing you something, and your brain might interpret it to look like the picture you’d seen once in a book, because that’s the best your brain could do with it. Heck, with the way the brain loves to pile on pattern recognition, I’m surprised anybody actually sees anything visual as itself, much less when God is trying to pour brainmelting concepts into the mind of some little kid.

    Reading St. John of the Cross is almost as good for neurolinguistics as reading St. Augustine. Very bracing, and much better writing than most modern papers manage.

  27. robtbrown says:

    Brian K,

    In the 2000 commentary Cardinal Ratzinger makes it clear that it is an attempt at interpreting the Third Secret. In other words, he does not say that it excludes other possible interpretations, e.g., the corruption in the Church.

    There is little doubt that JPII, shot on May 13th, thought that his life was spared by Our Lady of Fatima. That JPII was Polish, the persecution of Poland by Russia, and the mention of Russia in the Fatima messages certainly supports this. And there is also little doubt that his papacy was very much concerned with international politics. He was, as the Italians, say “un papa politico”.

    It would be wise, however, to heed the message: If not [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated.

    Note the word “errors”. Russia will not only cause problems by political and military means, but that the errors of Communism will be spread. Dirty Marxist pools muddying the wells of Catholic doctrine and Catholic life.

    Although JPII was much concerned with International politics, he was also well aware of the theological dangers of Marxism, which sought to eliminate supernatural elements of Revelation, reducing it to the social gospel. That is why early in his papacy there were moves (cf Puebla) to counter Liberation Theology.

  28. MarkJ says:

    “With regard to this great vision of the suffering of the popes, beyond [!] the circumstances of John Paul II, other realities are indicated which over time will develop and become clear.”

    I may be reading too much into what the Holy Father is saying, but this sentence seems to imply that the Holy Father knows more than he is saying and is advsing us to be patient and spiritually prepared for what is coming. It will be interesting to hear what he says while at Fatima.

  29. robtbrown says:

    Re: grace builds on nature

    That phrase refers to sanctifying grace (gratia gratum faciens). The Fatima apparitions and messages, however, are by definition charismatic graces (gratiae gratis datae).

    St. John of the Cross talks a lot about how, when somebody has a vision, sometimes you’re talking about actually seeing something visual on earth, and sometimes you’re talking about God sending out some kind of signal or impulse, but that how it is perceived by the person having the vision depends on how it is received by the imagination/visualization parts of the brain and soul. (To put it in modern terms.)
    Comment by Suburbanbanshee

    There are certainly various types of visions–sensible, imaginative, and intellectual. God Himself decides which is used–it is not a matter of the disposition of the visionary.

    Interpretation of these visions, however, is another matter. Sometimes the subject may be given the grace of interpretation. Other times not. For example, St Bernadette heard the Lady say in patois, “I am the Immaculate Conception”, but had not idea what it meant.

  30. prsuth33 says:

    Cardinal Sodano was the Vatican Secretary of State who crafted the interpretation of the Third Secret which was advanced by the Vatican in 2000.

    Do a news search on recent headlines regarding Cardinal Sodano.

    Moreover, Cardinal Schönborn hinted that Cardinal Sodano—who remains a highly influential figure in Rome, as the dean of the College of Cardinals—had a history of underestimating the abuse problem. The Austrian cardinal said that in 1995, the future Pope Benedict pushed for a probe into abuse allegations against Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër but that Cardinal Sodano resisted the probe. Cardinal Schönborn had earlier told The New York Times in April that Cardinal Ratzinger had called for an investigation of Cardinal Groër, who served as Archbishop of Vienna from 1986 to 1995, but that “the other side, the diplomatic side, had prevailed.” Cardinal Groër—Schönborn’s immediate predecessor in Vienna—eventually relinquished all his ecclesiastical titles in 1998, at the request of Pope John Paul II, as mounting evidence of his misconduct emerged.

    Then read Pope Benedict XVI’s references to Fatima and the abuse crisis.

    Then try to tell me it is Detraction and calumny to read into the words of Pope Benedict XVI. I would have to disagree vehemently. I think Pope Benedict XVI is speaking volumes, between the lines.

    More on Cardinal Sodano:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaJE3_PYaCU

  31. greg the beachcomber says:

    Here’s the headline on the AP story:

    Pope: Church’s own sins to blame in sex scandal

    I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. The story is here:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100511/ap_on_re_eu/eu_portugal_pope

  32. Brian K says:

    The main stream media is taking note:

    Thus Benedict’s “enemies within” comment arrives with the SchÖnborn-Sodano face-off still very much buzzing through the halls of St. Peter’s, and it would seem to be a clear nod of approval for SchÖnborn. The internal stakes are high if Sodano and other powerful Rome players see the sequence of events over the past week as an orchestrated attempt to present the then Cardinal Ratzinger as the lone Cardinal trying to combat sex abuse within an otherwise corrupt and/or distracted Vatican hierarchy. Indeed, SchÖnborn had referred in the same supposedly off-the-record conversation (which neither he nor his office has contested) for the need to reform the Vatican bureaucracy, known as the Roman Curia. Despite hopes from reformers at the beginning of his papacy, Benedict has largely avoided the battles that would have been necessary to bring about a true overhaul of the curia. And whether the fallout from the sex-abuse crisis will lead to housecleaning or just more infighting is unclear.

    Still, even such palace intrigue is ultimately secondary in a crisis that will have lasting consequences no matter which Cardinal gains the upper hand or the Pope’s favor. Despite the apparent good intentions, something remains unclear, even from Benedict’s strong declaration Tuesday: What are the “sins,” and for whom the “penitence” and “justice”? For while the rape and molestation of children by a single priest is terrifying indeed, many Catholics now believe that the bishops and Cardinals who let it happen and covered it up and deny their own responsibility are the Church’s other enemy within.

    See http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20100511/wl_time/08599198867100

  33. robtbrown says:

    Brian K,

    I don’t think much of the article.

    1. Cardinal Sodano is retired. Although he is Dean of the College, he is not able to pull any strings and has no say in who is named to what position because his protege (Sandri) is no longer sostituto. Cardinal Re was an ally, and he is said to be retiring.

    2. Cardinal Schoenborn is anything but a fighter.

    3. A story much bigger than Sodano stonewalling the Groer investigation is that he was opposed to an investigation of Maciel. My understanding is that Card Ratzinger then conducted his own investigation.

    4. BXVI has gradually put his men in the most important places in the Curia, advised by Cardinal Ruini. Bertone became Sec of State, then Filoni the Sostituto (an immensely powerful position). Canizares took over at Sacraments.

  34. SEDEVACANTIST says:

    PRAY THAT BENEDICT XVI WILL REVEAL THE THIRD SECRET OF FATIMA TO THE WORLD WHEN HE IS AT FATIMA.
    HE CAN DO THAT EVEN IF HE IS AN ANTIPOPE.

  35. chantgirl says:

    I read the story of Fatima when I was about 12 and pardon the expression, but it scared the hell out of me. It seems to me that there must have been (past, present, or future) a very real threat looming for the Blessed Mother to have approached 3 children with such a serious message and such frightening images. I don’t pretend to know how to interpret the secret, and I’m aware that some events can be altered by human repentance, but I have a hard time believing that such a spectacular event would only refer to a general state of suffering for the church. Mary wasn’t speaking in generalities when she predicted WWII. She was predicting an actual event. Surely, prophesy can contain layers of meaning, but I have to think that it is useless if it doesn’t actually predict something. Fatima was also accompanied by arguably the most incredible modern-day miracle, which only increases the seriousness of the content of the messages and secrets to me. Whatever Mary was actually referring to, it had to be of the utmost importance to Heaven. I also have to ask, have we really embraced Mary’s call to penance and conversion since Fatima? I’m not sure that the Church has seen a period of time less marked by penance and conversion in her history. I think that’s why some people are waiting for “the other shoe to drop” when it pertains to the third secret.