Sunday, February 12, 2012

Silvia Stagg Vatican News

Retyped As A Public Service Announcement

Loving Farewell To Pope Benedict, Our Beloved Pontiff of The Catholic Church, the First Apostolic Church, Vatican-Rome, Italy. Faithfully  Pope Benedict Served Our Savior, Jesus Christ and God, His Father. Our Pontiff  Majestically Departs The Vatican The 28TH Day Of February In  The Year of Our Lord 2013. - Silvia Stagg

For Six Days, Pope Benedict XVI transfixed our nation, filling Catholics with a sense of pride in our past and hope in our future as he encouraged us, by word and example, to be witnesses to Christ as our Hope in our daily lives.

The Pope had two clear goals for his visit:

(1) To "Be a source of renewal and hope for the Church in the United States," and
(2) To "strengthen the resolve of Catholics to contribute ever more responsibility to the life of this nation."

Now, it is our responsibility as Catholics to put his words into action - to follow his path to a deeper and more committed life of faith.  Here are the six action steps drawn from his visit that will enable us to contribute to the renewal of our Church and our nation.

(1) Appreciate Our American Catholic Roots.; and
(2) Make Education a Priority.; and
(3) Live Our Faith Every Day.: and
(4) Defend The Weakest Among Us.; and
(5) Seek unity.; and
(6) Make Christ The Center Of Our Lives.; and

Vatican Internet Sites


File:Giovanni Paolo Panini - Interior of St. Peter's, Rome.jpg

Above: St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City - Rome, Italy

Below: Rio D'Genero - Brazil - Statue of Jesus

Below: Basilica Cistern, Istanbul - Turkey


NEW YORK STATE CATHOLIC CONFERENCE                         FEBRUARY 12-2012      


On January 20th, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services reaffirmed a rule that private health care plans must cover steralization, drugs that will cause abortion, and contraception. The rule is set to take effect August 1, 2012. Many non-profit religious employers are not exempt and will be given one year - until August 2012. Many non-profit religious employers are not exempt and will be given one year - until August 1, 2013 to comply.  Under the ruling, virtually all the Catholic Church's ministries are deemed not sufficiently Catholic to get an exemption, simply because (as Jesus did) our ministries serve people of all faiths.

To correct the threats to religious liberty and rights of conscience posed by this ruling, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act has been introduced in Congress (H.R. 1179, S. 1467). This measure will ensure that those who participate in the health care system "retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions."  It is more important than ever that Members of Congress be urged to co-sponsor this measure.

Please go to to send a pre-written, editable email to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and your Congressional Representative urging support for this bill. This attack on the First Amendment guarantee of religious liberty  must not stand. Please send your email today.

Or Send a Letter To:

Senator Charles Schumer                                  Or                          Senator Kristen Gillibrand
130 S. Elmwood Avenue #660                                                           Larkin at Exchange
Buffalo, New York 14202                                                                   726 Exchange Street Suite 511
                                                                                                         Buffalo, New York 14210

February 2012

Western New York Catholic

Pope warns of 'grave threat' to religious
freedom in U.S.

     VATICAN CITY (CNA/EWTN News) - Pope Benedict XVI warned of a "grave threat" to religious liberty in the United States that requires American Catholics to respond with intelligence and courage.
     "It is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church's public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which find increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres," he said on Jan 19 in an address to a group of American bishops visting the Vatican.
      Pope Benedict said he was particularly concerned with "certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion."
      Pope Benedict's address was delivered to the bishops from the Mid-Atlantic states region, which includes the Archdiocese of Washington and Baltimore. They are in Rome this week on their regular and limina visit to discuss the healthy of the U.S. Church.
      Pope Benedict said that over the past few days many of the bishops have expressed concern over attempts in the U.S. to "deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices."
      Meanwhile, other bishopgs raised the "worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship" without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.
      The Obama Administration is imposing a contraception and steralization mandate that would require all insurance companies to provide those services free of charge. The regulation has a religious exemption clause, but it provides very few exceptions for Church organizations.
      Some statees are also pushing Catholic adoption agencies out of business or severely limiting their work because they refuse to compromise the Church's beliefs on same-sex marriage.
      Pope Benedict said these issues high-light the need for an "engage, articulate and well-formed Catholic Laity endowed with a strong critical sense a vis-a-vis the dominant culture."  The American laity must have the "courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church's participation in public debate," he said.
      The preparation of such "committed lay leaders," he told the bishops, should be the "primary taks of the Church in your country."
      He noted that his visit to the United States in 2008 afforded him an apportunity to reflect on America's historical experience of religious freedomm, "specifically the relationship between religion and culture."
      "At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not," he said, "is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing."
       In the United States this consensus is "enshrined in your nation's founding documents," which are grounded in a worldview shaped by faith and a commitment to ethical principals, he observed.
      Today, however, that consensus has been eroded, "in the face of powerful new cultural currents" which are "not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity."
      Despite such hostility, American Catholics are still called to proclaim "a Gospel which not only proposes unchanging moral truths, but proposes them precisely as the key to human happiness and social prospering," Pope Benedict stated.
      He responded to those who attempt to restrict Christians' voice in the public square or argue that their contribution should be ignored because of "majority rule."  This is a threat not just to Christianity but "to humanity itself and to the deepest truth about our being and ultimate vocation, our relationship to God."
      Pope Benedict said that the Catholic Church's tradition of respect for both faith and reason means that it can play a critical role in opposing current trends which are based on "extreme individualism" and promote "notion of freedom detached from moral truth."
      The pontiff also touched on what he called the "legitimate" idea of separation of Church and State. This does not mean, however, that the Church must be silent on certain issues or that the state can choose to ignore "the voices of committed believers in determining the values which will shape the future of the nation."
      Pope Benedict ssaid he appreciated the efforts of the U.S. bishops to maintain contacts with Catholics involved in political life and help them "understand their personal responsibility to offer public witness to their faith."
      This is especially true when it comes to key ethical issues of today, which he identified as "the respect for God's gift of life, the protection of human dignity and the promotion of authentic human rights."
      He concluded on an optimistic note by observing the rise of "a new generation of Catholic" in the United States whose "experience and convitions will have a decisive  role in renewing the Church's presence and witness in American society."  
      The hope promised by this younger generation should be reason enough "to renew our efforts to mobilize the intellectual and moral resources of the entire Catholic community in the service of the evangelization of American culture and the building of the civilization of love."

End of Article     


February 2012

Western New York Catholic

By Mark Ciemcioch
Staff Reporter

     In a move that angered religious leaders, the federal government's Health and Human Services Department, under the Obama administration, announced Jan. 20 that church-related institutions must provide free birth control coverage for women in their employee insurance plans by next year.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops called the rule "literally unconscionable."
     While physical churches and other places of worship are exempt from the new rule, religious-affiliated organizations like hospitals and universities fall under the new requirement.  Traditionally, religious employers like the Catholic Church do not offer that specific coverage in their plans as the concept of birth control goes against its doctrine.  Religious employers are required to comply with the ruling by Aug. 1, 2013.
     "I believe this proposal stikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services," said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the HHS department.  "The administration remains fully committed to its partnerships with faith-based organizations, which promote healthy communities and serve the common good."
     Reaction from Catholic organizations came swiftly. The USCCB vowed to fight the edict and said in a release, "(It's) unconscioniable to force citizens to buy contraceptives against their will."
     "Religious liberty is certainly front and center in conversations these days," said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the USCCB and archbishop of New York.  The archbishop was featured in a video on the USCCB homepage on Jan. 20. 
     "The administration offered a very narrow religious exemption to some employers such as churches, but the government will still require most Americas to pay for this coverage, even if it violates their consciousness.   That's foul ball, by any standard.  Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out in the marketplace  and buy a product that violates their consciousness.  This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion  ranks first in the bill of rights."
      The New York State Catholic Conference called the move "an appalling violation of religious liberty." Cardinal designate Dolan recommended Catholics contact their representatives to lobby on the Church's behalf.
      "How about letting our elected leaders know that we want religious liberty and rights of conscious restored and the administration's mandate rescinded," he said.  "We can't afford to strike out on this one."
      At press time, the local Catholic health network of hospitals and health care providers were working on an official response to the news.  The president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, Sister Carol Keehan, DC, announced her disappointment through a USCCB news release.
     "This was a missed opportunity to be clear on appropriate conscience protection," she said.

End of Article

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul - Turkey

Below: Rio D'Genero - Brazil - Statue of Jesus

The Library of Congress >  Blogs >  Law Library > Canonical Rules on the Resignation of a Pontiff, and the Election of a New Pontiff (part I of II)

Canonical Rules on the Resignation of a Pontiff, and the Election of a New Pontiff (part I of II)

The following is a guest post by Dante Figueroa, Senior Legal Information Analyst at the Law Library of Congress.  Dante has previously written blog posts on canon law and the papacy:  Canon Law Update; Citizenship in the Vatican City State; Medieval Canon Law; and The Papal Inquisition in Modena.

Roman Pontiffs from Saint Peter to Pius the Ninth
Roman Pontiffs from Saint Peter to Pius the Ninth

In a Concistoro ordinario pubblico (from the Latin consistorium, assembly, referring to the consultative council of a sovereign which in this case included the Cardinals of the Catholic Church) held on February 11, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation to the Petrine Ministry (Papal Office) effective as of February 28, 2013. Previously, only four Pontiffs in the history of the Catholic Church had resigned: Pope Benedict IX (resigned in 1045); Pope Gregory VI (resigned in 1046); Pope Celestine V (resigned in 1294); and Pope Benedict XII (resigned in 1415).

This is an excerpt from Pope Benedict’s speech as translated from the original Latin into English:

After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God … well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.

Since the last papal resignation was nearly 600 years ago, this month’s announcement took the world by surprise and resulted in many questions. I will address several of the most important juridical questions arising from Pope Benedict’s resignation, for which there are responses in current Canon law, as well as other questions for which there are no canonical rules or precedents.

To whom does the Pontiff present his resignation?

Simply stated, the Pontiff presents his resignation to no one. Canon 332 §2 of the Code of Canon Law provides that: “[i]f it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.”

Pope Gregory XII
Pope Gregory XII. Photo by Dante Figueroa.

The Papal resignation does not require acceptance by the Sacred Congregation of Cardinals (Cardinalium Collegium). Canonically, a resignation from ecclesiastical office is legally efficacious only when accepted by a hierarchical superior. As the Pontiff has no hierarchical superior within the Church, from the ecclesiological and juridical viewpoints, no acceptance of the Pontiff’s resignation is necessary for the resignation to take effect; hence the words used by Pope Benedict: “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God.” It is important to include this phrase in light of Canon 332, showing that no acceptance from the Cardinals is necessary. He did not tell the Cardinals: “I submit my resignation for your consideration or approval.” Hence the importance of including the words he actually uttered from a juridical viewpoint. In effect, this canonical formula entails the understanding that the Pontiff’s mission does not arise from his election by the cardinals, but from his acceptance of the mission that God has entrusted to him in a particularized manner. Consequently, the language of Canon 332 §2 is correctly interpreted and understood when it states that it is not necessary that the resignation be “accepted by anyone.”

What title will the outgoing Pontiff have?

The Code of Canon Law does not contain a clear canon or rule on this matter. In this situation, it is necessary to make use of other canonical rules concerning the interpretation of lacunae (gaps in legislation) in the Code. Canons 17 establishes that “ecclesiastical laws must be understood in accord with the proper meaning of the words considered in their text and context. If the meaning remains doubtful and obscure, recourse must be made to parallel places, if there are such, to the purpose and circumstances of the law, and to the mind of the legislator.” Canon 331 states that the Supreme Pontiff is the Bishop of Rome. Based on these two canons, Monsignor Patrick Valdrini, professor of Canon Law (ordinario di Norme generali di Diritto canonico) and Vice-Chancellor (pro Rettore) of the Pontificia Universit√† Lateranense (Pontifical Lateran University) stated in a recent interview, that Pope Benedict will probably bear the title of “Vescovo emerito di Roma” (Emeritus Bishop of Rome). On the day of Pope Benedict’s resignation, Padre Federico Lombardi, Press Director for the Holy See, also confirmed the reasonableness of this hypothesis.

What role will former Pope Benedict have in the government of the Holy See?

Effective March 1, 2013, ­­ the current Pontiff will have no role whatsoever in the administration of the Holy See. He will no longer be a member of the College of Cardinals of Holy Roman Church (Canon 349), or not participate in any manner whatsoever in the preparation of the Conclave that will elect the next Pontiff. Pope Benedict has stated that he will retire to a life of prayer and seclusion.

Who administers the Holy See in the interregnum (between the Papal resignation and the assumption of the new Supreme Pontiff)?

At 20:01 hours of February 28, 2013, the Holy See becomes Sede Vacante (vacant), which happens when a Pope dies or resigns (Canon 332). Technically, the seat of Saint John Lateran, which is the cathedral church of the Bishop of Rome, becomes vacant. Canon 335 provides that “[w]hen the Roman See is vacant (Sede Vacante) or entirely impeded, nothing is to be altered in the governance of the universal Church; the special laws issued for these circumstances, however, are to be observed.”

When a Pontiff dies, or in this case with the resignation of Benedict XVI, all the heads of the Roman Curia also resign, with the following exceptions aimed at maintaining the regular operations of the Vatican: (a) the Cardinal Camerlengo, who administers the property and rights of the Holy See; (b) the Cardinal Major Penitentiary; (c) the Cardinal Vicar General for the Diocesis of Rome; (d) the Cardinal Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica; and (e) the Vicar General for Vatican City (Apostolic Constitution “Universi Dominici Gregis, on the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff,” issued by Pope John Paul II on February 22, 1996). 

What administrative acts may be carried out during the Sede Vacante, and who may order or supervise them?

During the Sede Vacante, the government of the Church and all the civil power of the Supreme Pontiff concerning the government of Vatican City State are entrusted to the College of Cardinals solely for the dispatch of ordinary business and of matters which cannot be postponed, and for the preparation of everything necessary for the election of the new Pontiff. The College of Cardinals may not administer matters which “pertain to the Supreme Pontiff during his lifetime or in the exercise of his office; such matters are to be reserved completely and exclusively to the future Pope” (Universi Dominici Gregis, Part I, Ch. I(1)). During the Sede Vacante the College of Cardinals may issue decrees only in cases of urgent necessity during the time the Holy See is vacant. Such decrees are valid for the future only if the new Pope confirms them.
Also, during the Sede Vacante, there are two kinds of Congregations of the Cardinals: General Congregations, which include the whole College and are held before the beginning of the election; and Particular Congregations. The Particular Congregations are made up of the Cardinal Camerlengo and three Cardinals chosen by lot from among the Cardinal electors already present inRome.  
Having covered issues related to the Pontiff’s resignation, in my next post I will turn my attention to the canonical rules governing the election of the future Pope.


Loving Farewell To Pope Benedict, Our Beloved Pontiff of The Catholic Church, the First Apostolic Church, Vatican-Rome, Italy. Faithfully  Pope Benedict Served Our Savior, Jesus Christ and God, His Father. Our Pontiff  Majestically Departs The Vatican The 28TH Day Of February In  The Year of Our Lord 2013. - Silvia Stagg


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