Pope Benedict XVI: 65 Years as a Catholic Priest

Today is the 65th Anniversary to the Catholic Priesthood for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. After you read this very short blog post on him, offer up prayers for him – 1 Our Father, 3 Hail Mary’s, and 1 Glory Be. Pray for his health and pray for his prayers.

Pope Benedict XVI & Eucharist

For all my writings on Pope Benedict XVI, please click here.

Don’t forget to say those prayers!

Happy Birthday, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Happy Birthday to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI!  

Today, Papa Benedict is 89 years old.

Pope Benedict XVI's Weekly General Audience

To read my many blog posts about him or his theology, please click this link.

Like Pope St. John Paul II, I am a huge fan and theology nerd when it comes to Papa Benedict. I have around 21 of his books and papal documents. One of my favorites is Verbum Domini, his Apostolic Exhortation on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church. His Jesus of Nazareth series is pretty amazing as well as his book on the Early Church Fathers. If you have never read Ratzinger, what are you waiting for?

On this day of your birth, may Our Lord Jesus Christ through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and in union with the Holy Saints and Angels, pray for you and be with you. Amen.

Pope Emeritus Reads TomPerna.org

Wow – you wouldn’t believe what happened on this day! Of all days, this happens today.

While taking a late lunch break at the parish, I checked my gmail account and saw an email titled – “Greetings from Rome.” When I opened up the email, I realized that it was from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI!

In the email, he told me that he reads my blog posts quite often and finds them very interesting, theologically orthodox, and faithful to the Magisterium. He said that he began reading my blog about 6 months ago after seeing it on NewAdvent.org.

He stated that his favorite blog posts of mine are the posts on the Doctors of the Church, “Mondays with Mary”, and the ones I have done on his predecessor, Pope St. John Paul II. He also asked me when I was going to write my first book because he would be interested in editing it for me. How cool is that!

At the end of his email, he said, “if people are not following your blog, they are truly missing out on solid Catholic theology.” What a compliment!

I am so fired up writing this to you, I can hardly sit still.

This is categorized under “Catholic Humor.” Today is April 1st – April Fools. 🙂

Pope Emeritus B 16 with IPad

Blessed John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict, Saint Bruno, and the Carthusians

Although today is the twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, in the Roman Catholic Liturgical Calendar, it’s the memorial for Saint Bruno, founder of one of the strictest orders in the Catholic Church, the Carthusians. To learn more about Saint Bruno and the Carthusians, please read the links provided.

Carthusian spirituality consists of the aim, which is Contemplation. The other elements consist of Separation From The World, Prayer, Liberty, Obedience, and Faith. A Work of God is the Carthusian Vocation. Carthusians also enjoy the Silence and Solitude.

The last two Popes, Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, had an interest for Saint Bruno and the Carthusian Order. Below are short excerpts from a letter written by Blessed John Paul II on the 900th anniversary of Saint Bruno’s death and a homily given by Pope Benedict XVI from October 2011 to the Carthusians.  You will notice there is some continuity in their remarks.

Letter from Blessed John Paul II –

“Bruno, when able to forget his own plans to answer the call from the Pope, shows his strong sense of the Church. He is conscious that to follow the path of holiness is unthinkable outside of obedience to the Church: and shows us in that way that real following of Christ demands putting oneself into His hands. In abandonment of self he shows us the supreme love. And this attitude of his kept him in a permanent state of joy and praise. His brothers noticed that, “his face was always radiating joy, his words modest. To a father’s vigor he joined the sensitivity of a mother” (Introduction to Bruno’s obituary scroll). These exquisite remarks from the obituary scroll show the fruitfulness of a life given to contemplate the face of Christ as the source of all apostolic fecundity and brotherly love. Would that Saint Bruno’s sons and daughters, as did their father, may always keep on contemplating Christ, that they ” keep watch in this way for the return of their Master ever ready to open when He knocks ” (Letter to Ralph § 4); this will he a stimulant call for all Christians to stay vigilant in prayer in order to welcome their Lord!…”

“…How could one doubt for a second that such expression of pure love gives Carthusian life an extraordinary fecundity, as it were, for the missions? In the retreat of their monasteries, in the solitude of their cells, the Carthusians spin Holy Church’s wedding garment (“beautiful as a bride decked out for her bridegroom “, 1 Rev. 21,3); every day they offer the world to God and invite all mankind to the wedding of the Lamb. The celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is the source and the summit of life in the desert, modeling into the very being of Christ those who give themselves up to His love. Thus the presence and the activity of Christ in this world become visible, for the salvation of all men and the joy of the Church.”

“…So I invite the members of the Carthusian family to remain, by holiness and simplicity of life, like the city on the mountain or the lamp on the lamp stand (Cf. Matt. 5, 14-15). Rooted in the Word of God, quenching their thirst with the sacraments of Holy Church, upheld by the prayers of St Bruno and their brothers, let them remain for the entire Church and at the heart of the world ” a sort of place for hope and discovery of the Beatitudes, where Love leaning on prayer – source of communion – is called to become logic of life, and source of joy “! (Vita consecrata § 51) The cloistered life as an outward expression of the offering up of one’s whole life in union with Christ’s, shows the fleetingness of our existence and teaches us to count only on God. It increases the thirst for graces given in meditation of the Word of God. It also is ” the place for spiritual communion with God and our brothers and sisters, where the restricted character both of space and of contacts favors an interiorization of Gospel values ” (Ibid. § 59).”

Girolamo_Marchesi_-_Saint_Bruno_-_Walters_37423

Homily of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI –

“…Dear brothers you have found the hidden treasure, the pearl of great value (cf. Mt 13:44-46); you have responded radically to Jesus’ invitation: “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Mt 19:21). Every monastery — male or female — is an oasis in which the deep well, from which to draw “living water” to quench our deepest thirst, is constantly being dug with prayer and meditation. However, the charterhouse is a special oasis in which silence and solitude are preserved with special care, in accordance with the form of life founded by St Bruno and which has remained unchanged down the centuries. “I live in a rather faraway hermitage… with some religious brothers”, is the concise sentence that your Founder wrote (Letter to Rudolph “the Green”, n. 4)…”

“…The monk, in leaving all, “takes a risk,” as it were: he exposes himself to solitude and silence in order to live on nothing but the essential, and precisely in living the essential he also finds a deep communion with his brethren, with every human being…In the world’s eyes it sometimes seems impossible to spend one’s whole life in a monastery but in fact a whole life barely suffices to enter into this union with God, into this essential and profound Reality which is Jesus Christ.”

“I have come here for this reason…To tell you that the Church needs you and that you need the Church. Your place is not on the fringes: no vocation in the People of God is on the fringes…You too, who live in voluntary isolation, are in the heart of the Church and make the pure blood of contemplation and of the love of God course through your veins…”

Mercy, Compassion, Love, and the Poor: The Holy Father Speaks

One week ago today, the now famous interview with Pope Francis was released across the globe via the Jesuit Order. Here in the United States, we received the interview from the Jesuit publication, America – The National Catholic Review.  If you haven’t read the interview, I would encourage you to read it, but read the actual interview itself, not some hijacked cherry-picked version that the mainstream media produced to make Francis sound like something he is not.

Honestly, I enjoyed the interview. I know many of my Catholic friends had their own opinions on it, but today’s post is not a rehashing of what was said and not said by Francis in the interview, that’s been done enough.

If Pope Francis is not challenging you or you have not felt uncomfortable with some of his words, you obviously aren’t listening. He has challenged me in ways I never thought, and yes, it’s totally uncomfortable! He is awakening many Catholics who are settled in their “comfort zones.”

Being that I blog and read other bloggers as well, it’s funny to read what’s being said about the new Holy Father. Others have said, He is too “progressive”, but he is still “conservative.” He seems “orthodox” but it’s a disguise to be “liberal.” He is going to “destroy the Extraordinary Form of the Mass!” He is breaking from the “continuity” of his predecessors.

Blah, blah, blah! He is neither liberal or conservative, he is Catholic! Just like his predecessors before him, Francis is a Catholic Pope. He cannot, and should not, be pigeon-holed.

Personally, I have enjoyed many of his words on mercy, compassion, love, and the poor. Do you think he is much different than his predecessors? Let’s look at some of the words of the Holy Father –

1. “Mercy that is truly Christian is also, in a certain sense, the most perfect incarnation of “equality” between people, and therefore also the most perfect incarnation of justice as well, insofar as justice aims at the same result in its own sphere.”

2. “Society can become more human only if we introduce into the many-sided setting of interpersonal and social relationships, not merely justice, but also that “merciful love” which constitutes the messianic message of the Gospel.”

3. “There is a need to intensify and broaden what is already being done in his area, with the goal of reaching as many of the poor as possible. Sacred Scripture reminds us that God hears the cry of the poor (cf. Ps 34:7) and the Church must heed the cry of those most in need. Hearing their voice, “she must live with the poor and share their distress. By her lifestyle, her priorities, her words and her actions, she must testify that she is in communion and solidarity with them.”

4. “…A woman represents a particular value by the fact that she is a human person, and, at the same time, this particular person, by the fact of her femininity. This concerns each and every woman, independently of the cultural context in which she lives, and independently of her spiritual, psychological and physical characteristics, as for example, age, education, health, work, and whether she is married or single.”

5. “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.”

6. “The poor are not to be considered a “burden”, but a resource, even from the purely economic point of view. It is nevertheless erroneous to hold that the market economy has an inbuilt need for a quota of poverty and underdevelopment in order to function at its best.”

7. “Mercy is the central nucleus of the Gospel message. In our time humanity needs a strong proclamation and witness of God’s mercy . . . Go forth and be witnesses of God’s mercy, a source of hope for every person and for the whole world.”

8. “The mission of the lay faithful is therefore to configure social life correctly, respecting its legitimate autonomy and cooperating with other citizens according to their respective competences and fulfilling their own responsibility.”

If you think Pope Francis is saying new things never said before by his predecessors, well then I suggest you read Blessed John Paul II and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI quite a bit more.

Do you know why?

The first four quotes above are from Pope St. John Paul II and second four quotes above are from Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Francis might be putting a new emphasis on being a Church of mercy, love, compassion, and the poor, but he is in complete “continuity” with the two Popes before him.

Updated – December 8, 2015.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI essentially said, “Are You Talking To Me?”

If you haven’t heard yet, it was reported yesterday that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wrote an 11-page letter in response to the Italian mathematician and atheist, Piergorgio Odifredd, who wrote a book refuting one of Benedict’s earlier texts, Introduction to Christianity. The letter has not been translated into English except for a few excerpts.

Are you talking to me - De NiroTo say it bluntly, Pope Benedict took him task, and like Robert De Niro in the film, Taxi Drive, said, “Are You Talking To Me?” Now he didn’t slip a gun under his cassock, but he brought the scholastic intellectual prowess we all know and love to the forefront of his response. Benedict did not mix words nor did he back down from the criticism this gentleman wrote about him. He knows how to dialogue, even with those who stand completely at odds with him.

The pope emeritus said, “Dear professor, my criticism of your book is in part harsh. Frankness, however, is part of dialogue: Only in this way can understanding grow. You were quite frank, and so you will accept that I should also be so.”

For more information on his response check out, the National Catholic Register, Jimmy Akin’s post at the National Catholic Register, and the article at Vatican Insider.

It’s my hope that you realize and many people don’t, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is one of the greatest theological minds the Catholic Church and world has seen in the last 500 years. Yes, you read that correctly…500 years! There have been some serious theological giants during this timeframe too.

Pope Benedict XVI's Weekly General Audience

The sad reality is that most people, even most Catholics, will never see this completely until he enters eternal glory. Let me tell you something – I have read quite a bit of his texts. Simply, they’re fantastic! The intellectual and scholastic brain that sits in his head covered with that angelic white hair is quite astonishing. It would take me five life times to know what he knows now, and even then, I would not have it all. Seeing his response yesterday got me fired up! Not only am I fired up to be Catholic, but also I am fired up to see that he wrote again.

If you have never read anything by the Pope Emeritus, I would encourage you to visit Ignatius Press to purchase one of his texts. Start off with something simple and work your up. I would suggest his books, The Apostles or The Church Fathers. They were written as Wednesday Audiences for the masses. I would also suggest reading some of my blog posts on him as well.

We are blessed at this time in the Church to have two Popes defending our faith against non-believers. What a time to be alive and a time to be Catholic! Keep Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis in your daily prayers. Pray that the Holy Spirit will give them strength, that the Blessed Mother will stand beside them, leading them closer to Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.