Saturday, July 15, 2006

Valencia and Card. Trujillo

Read in a report in The Tablet (UK) by Robert Mickens:

It would be an understatement to say that Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo is no stranger to controversy. In fact, it would be highly unusual if the 70-year-old president of the Pontifical Council for the Family was not at the centre of any polemical onslaught from the Vatican when it involves sexual ethics or so-called "pro-life" issues. . . . But for the past 25 years Cardinal López Trujillo has been condemning artificial contraception, masturbation, pre-marital sex, abortion and euthanasia, although he is somewhat more compassionate towards the use of capital punishment.

Recently he again stirred the pot by saying that doctors, patients and politicians who are involved in embryonic stem cell research risked excommunication.

For my part, as an advocate for "pro-life" issues, I still find such statements as the last one quite inopportune. They do nothing to spur the debate forward, and the brandishing of excommunicatory weapons kind of lost its effectiveness with Pope Boniface VIII and/or Julius II, but then the issues were papal sovereignty and the Papal States (of unhappy memory).
At the same time, I wish that the American bishops would stop threatening refusal of communion to Catholic politicians whose voting is not in line with the Church's teaching. I guess that my attitude is that enforcing such a refusal would fall on parish pastors and other priests (How often do politicians get communion from their bishops?) rather than the bishops who would impose a refusal of communion.
Isn't excommunication what is meant by refusing to have communion with someone? How is it (excommunication) different from being refused communion? By its definition isn't that what excommunication means---no communion? Would the American bishops simply go ahead and excommunication Catholic pols. who don't vote the line? I seriously doubt it. Yet they seem to have come up with this idea of refusing communion in its place. If a person is not excommunicated formally (or because of some sin is unable to communicate) how are we, as pastors, to refuse them Holy Communion?
Even though I don't like the idea, I wish the bishops of the US would simply go on and put their money where their mouths are and excommunicate the Catholic politicians who vote against life. Then we could see where this takes us. It might be awful, but then again, if the bishops are unwilling to do it, let them please stop threatening refusal of communion.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

They don't plant taters; they don't plant cotton---but they sure can criticize them that do

Sisters of St. Joseph criticize Bush policies

-- At a national meeting in Milwaukee, leaders of the U.S. Federation of Sisters of St. Joseph sharply criticized policies of President George W. Bush "that continue the war in Iraq, that violate human rights along our borders, that intensify poverty, that pollute our earth and that deny our interdependence with all peoples." The women religious, meeting at Milwaukee's Midwest Airlines Center, issued a statement addressed to Bush July 11 when they learned that the president was to speak that afternoon across the street at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, at a fundraiser for Mark Green, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin who is running for governor of the state. Nearly 1,100 nuns and associates, representing 7,000 U.S. Sisters of St. Joseph and 2,500 associates, were at the Milwaukee meeting. More than 60 sisters from other parts of the world were also there. "Committed to relationships grounded in compassion and love, we call upon you and your administration to change your policies and practices," the nuns said.

This is all very well and good, and as citizens, the sisters have a right to comment on the job of the president or anyone else, and to criticize policies of any administration. This is especially true about the war on terror. Let us, however, remind ourselves that vowed religious don't pay income or property taxes. They only pay sales taxes. Yet it is often these same dedicated people who most want to see others pay more taxes. As a vowed religious myself, I think it's a little bit cynical to demand that others pay for the social strategies that you want, without paying some yourself. This would be different if those who were making the above and similar statements were truly poor. But evangelical poverty and true poverty are not identical. Those who practice evangelical poverty always have a roof over their heads, clothes to wear, and three squares a day so that they can practice Christian compassion and love. If the same wished to be truly poor, however, they would have to start paying taxes. If they paid taxes they would have a more authentic voice. I'm sure that they won't agree with me.

Who says I can't have fun and be the Pope, too?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

St. Henry, Emperor, and Empress Cunegunda, Benedictine Oblates

From The Ecole Glossary

Emperor Henry II

The last Saxon king of Germany, Emperor/St. Henry (c. 972-1024), who was educated by St. Wolfgang of Ratisbon, hoped to be a monk. Legend says that Henry swore obedience to the abbot of St.-Vanne in Verdun who then gave him the charge to rule the empire. Henry succeeded his cousin Otto III as king of Germany in 1002 and abandoned Otto's policies of world domination. Henry hoped instead to restore the kingdom of the Franks and, in so doing, to consolidate the German empire. Pope Benedict VIII crowned Henry Holy Roman Emperor in 1014. A friend of Odo of Cluny, Henry supported monastic reform and established the see of Bamberg, as well as restoring the bishopricks of Hildesheim, Magdeberg, and Meersburg. Henry's philosophy and policy of intimate cooperation between church and state have led some to consider him the epitome of the Christian ruler.

Karen Rae Keck

Copyright © 1997, Karen Rae Keck. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents,
including the header and this copyright remain intact.

St. Cunnegunda was the daughter of Sigfrid, Count of Luxemburg. Received a religious education, and took a private vow of virginity. Married Saint Henry, Duke of Bavaria, who agreed to honour her vow. On the death of Emperor Otho III, Henry was chosen King of the Romans, and Cunegundes was crowned queen at Paderborn in 1002. Holy Roman Empress in 1014, receiving the crown from Pope Benedict VIII.

At one point, gossips accused her of adultery, but she proved her innocence by asking for God's help, then walking over pieces of flaming irons without injury.

During his time as emperor, Henry gave away the bulk of his wealth in charity; when he died in 1024, Cunegundes was left relatively poor. On the 1025 anniversary of his death, which coincided with the dedication of a monastery she had built for Benedictine nuns at Kaffungen, Cunegundes took the veil, and entered that monastery, spending her remaining 15 years praying, reading and following the Rule of St. Benedict. We pray for all Benedictine Oblates today.