Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Papal visit to Roman University cancelled

VATICAN CITY, 16 JAN 2008 (VIS) - The Pope will not make the visit he was scheduled to make tomorrow, 17 January, to Rome's "La Sapienza" University for the inauguration of the academic year, according to a communique released yesterday evening by the Holy See Press Office.
The communique reads: "In the wake of the widely-publicised events of the last few days relating to the Holy Father's visit to Rome's 'La Sapienza' University which, at the invitation of the rector, was to have taken place on Thursday, 17 January, it was considered opportune to postpone the event. The Holy Father will, nonetheless, send the text of the speech he had been due to pronounce".
The "events" to which the note refers include a petition to the rector signed by 67 professors asking for the invitation to Benedict XVI to be withdrawn, and protests by groups of students who yesterday occupied the rector's office to demand the right to demonstrate within the university campus on the day of the Pope's visit.
The signatories of the petition take exception to a talk given by the then Cardinal Ratzinger in 1990, and in particular to a phrase he used on that occasion to the effect that "in Galileo's time the Church remained much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself. The trial against Galileo was reasonable and just". The future Pope's remarks, a quote from a work by the philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend, were made in the context of a talk on the crisis of confidence in science, in which he used the example of changing attitudes towards the case of Galileo. OP/PAPAL VISIT/LA SAPIENZAVIS 080116 (290)
So much for freedom of speech and the honesty of the scientific method.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ordinary Time

The earliest day that Easter can be is 22 March---an event that happens only once every 200 years. This year Easter is 23 March, something that comes once a century. This fluxuation is brought about by the ancient problems of determining Easter anyway. It combines a lunar calendar such as the Jews used, and a solar calendar such as the Romans used. The purpose is to keep Easter a) on a Sunday, and b) in the spring. In the history of the Church there have been other attempts to fix the date of Easter. Some wanted it to coincide with Passover, but that meant that "The Lord's Day" would not always be Sunday. The Church found this unacceptable since it had already been celebrating Sunday as the Lord's Day from the time of the Apostles. To celebrate the annual observance of his resurrection on a day other than Sunday would make no sense.

Thus, we have at the Council of Nicea (325) the formulation of the calculating of the date of Easter: The First Sunday after the Full Moon, after the Vernal Equinox. This has kept Easter in the spring, and on a Sunday, and more or less around the time of the Jewish Passover.

Between Ash Wednesday and now we are in ordinary time. This is so-called because the Sundays are ordered from one to thirty-four. This cycle is disrupted by Lent and Easter, but takes up again after Pentecost. The Sundays between Epiphany and Lent were formerly called Sunday's after Epiphany. They were followed by the pre-Lenten cycle of Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima Sundays before Ash Wednesday. The reform of the liturgical calendar after Vatican II did away both with the Sundays after Epiphany and the pre-Lenten Sundays. This year we will have four Sundays of Ordinary Time before Lent.