Wednesday, December 18, 2013

David Gibson of Religious News Service writes,

After last month’s annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, I wrote a story handicapping the four American churchman who enjoyed growing influence in the new(ish) pontificate of Pope Francis.

They were Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, who is one of the eight members of Francis “kitchen cabinet” of advisors on reforming the Roman Curia; Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, who was elected vice-president of the USCCB and is the likely incoming president in three years; Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, whose advice the Vatican has tapped and who was rumored for an important curial post; and Cardinal Raymond Burke, head the Vatican’s canonical court system and more importantly a member of the Congregation for Bishops. That latter role gave Burke a decisive voice in pushing through a number of key stateside appointments, sometimes against the wishes of U.S.-based bishops.

Burke was something of an outlier on that list — a very conservative holdover from the Benedict XVI era and a fan of the kind of high liturgical finery that Pope Francis does not take to, at all.

Today the calculus of the “Top Four” list changed, perhaps decisively, as Francis dropped Burke from the Congregation for Bishops and added Wuerl. The two cardinals are not known to be allies, to say the least. It’s even less likely now that they’ll be exchanging Christmas cards this year.

Wuerl will remain as Archbishop of Washington but the new appointment means he will make regular trips to the Vatican to vet candidates for bishop in the U.S. and around the world — perhaps the most important way that Francis can secure his legacy.

Those looking for more pastorally-inclined bishops will likely take heart in Wuerl’s advance and Burke’s retreat. But Francis also dropped from the Congregation two other cardinals, both Italians, considered allies of Benedict XVI — Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, 69, described by one Vatican-watcher as “one of the former pope’s most conservative appointments in the Roman Curia,” and Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, 70.

Just as important: also apparently no longer on the Congregation is former Philadelphia Cardinal Justin Rigali, a longtime Vatican insider and leader of the Old Guard who continued to exert influence in the appointment of bishops long after he left Philadelphia under something of a cloud because of the abuse scandals.

In addition to Wuerl, Francis added Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, Cardinal Francisco Robles Ortega of Guadalajara, Mexico, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, a Brazilian who already works in the Curia, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, the pope’s new Secretary of State, and Archbishops Beniamino Stella and Lorenzo Baldisseri. The latter is organizing next fall’s synod of bishops. All are seen as more in the mold of Pope Francis.

It remains to be seen how and whether this affects the type of episcopal appointments.

 - See more at: http://davidgibson.religionnews.com/2013/12/16/rome-american-rises-another-american-fades/#sthash.6EJO8cou.dpuf

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“It’s a sight and sound so commonplace, Advent almost wouldn’t seem the same without it.

UPDATE TO THIS STORY

“In so many of the stores we visit to do our Christmas shopping, we see the ever-present volunteers ringing bells soliciting donations for one of America’s best known charitable organizations: The Salvation Army.

“Many of us give what we can, moved by the spirit of the season to increase our charitable works.

“But there’s a catch. The Catholic Sistas blog reported last year that The Salvation Army’s position on abortion is not compatible with Catholic belief…

Read the whole article HERE.

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The Pope, Economics and His Recent Exhortation

by Steve Ray on December 18, 2013

My friend Fr. Chas Canoy, Chaplain of the Ann Arbor Michigan Legatus Chapter, recently wrote on the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation . . .

by Fr. Chas Canoy

CanoyAt a recent Legatus chapter event, we had some lively dinner conversation at our table concerning the pope’s view on economics. The question came up of some ways to respond to friends and family who may ask or have asked you about it, given all the commentary out there like Rush Limbaugh’s. If you too are wondering, please continue to read on.  If not, then I wish you and your family a blessed Advent and a beautiful Christmas season!

First of all, I would first encourage you to take some time over the holy days to read Evangelii Gaudium (EG).  Until you get that chance, I think it’s important to keep in mind what the Pope is NOT saying. He did not say, for example, that capitalism is in and of itself an unacceptable economic system. We also know, from past Church teaching such as John Paul’s Centesimus Annusthat this is far from the truth.

What Pope Francis is pointing out are the abuses that exist or to which free market economies can be inclined if the agents of capitalism neglect or have little or insufficient regard for the common good and the dignity of the human person, particularly the poor. It’s important to note that he has also spoken against Marxist thought and liberation theology. Given his South American background, he has observed corruption of both types firsthand.

Pope FrancisThis leads to three essential points that outlines the necessary context to understand better Pope Francis’ comments:

1.  Protecting the dignity of the human person and fostering the common good are two fundamental principles of any just society (see Gaudium et Spes).  Consequently, every sector of society, including economics, should have as its object and aim the flourishing of its people, with these two elements particularly in mind.

2.  Thus, the pope said, “Money must serve, not rule” (EG 58). In other words, just as the Sabbath is made for man and not man for the Sabbath, so the free market is for the benefit and flourishing of man, not man for the free market. The one who sees it as the latter may be culpable of what Pope Francis calls the “idolatry of money” (EG 55).

3.  The pope is not an economist. The Church is authoritative in faith and morals, not economics. Whatever the pope’s private views are on the economy, he recognizes that economics and all secular fields have their own proper autonomy. At the same time, economics is not amoral. There are ethical dimensions to economics and every sector of secular society, and in these dimensions the pope acts as pastor and guide.

As you may already be thinking, none of these are inimical to capitalism, properly understood. In fact, I would propose, as I’m sure many of you would, that capitalism, properly ordered to the good, is indeed the most conducive at achieving human flourishing and fostering the common good. While the free market has some natural or innate correctives within its system, the Pope however wants us to understand that it’s not impermeable to the exploitation of the powerful and that in fact no economic system is adequate to ensure sufficiently the protection of the dignity of every human person. Systems ultimately don’t do that; people do.

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