Saturday, December 20, 2014

Cardinal Ratzinger on the Christian Faith,204,203,200_.jpgThe Christian faith can never be separated from the soil of sacred events, from the choice made by God, who wanted to speak to us, to become man, to die and rise again, in a particular place and at a particular time. “Always” can only come from “once for all”. The Church does not pray in some kind of mythical omnitemporality. She cannot forsake her roots. She recognizes the true utterance of God precisely in the concreteness of its history, in time and place: to these God ties us, and by these we are all tied together. The diachronic aspect, praying with the Fathers and the apostles, is part of what we mean by rite, but it also includes a local aspect, extending from Jerusalem to Antioch, Rome, Alexandria, and Constantinople. Rites are not, therefore, just the products of inculturation, how­ever much they may have incorporated elements from different cultures. They are forms of the apostolic Tradition and of its unfolding in the great places of the Tradition

Cardinal Ratzinger, The Spirit of the Liturgy, (SF, CA, Ignatius, 2000), p. 164.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Archives of the Order (2) - Papal Bull of Pope Anastasius IV
Pope Anastasius IV (1153 - 1154)
Anastasius, Bishop, and servant of such as are servants of God, to his beloved son Raymond, Master of the Hospital in the city of Jerusalem, and to his brethren, both present and to come, professed forever in the religious life, health and the apostolic blessing. The religion of the Christian Faith piously believes and truly confesses that while Jesus Christ, Our Lord, was rich in all things, He became a poor man for our sake. Wherefore He promises those who would imitate Him rewards of timely consolation: "Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." Likewise the Father of orphans and Refuge of the poor exhorting us to be hospitable and generous says in the Gospel: "What you have done for one of my least brethren, you have done for Me." And to prove further the excellence of such goodness, He assures us that He will give a reward even for a cup of cold water. We, therefore, whose express duty it is to provide with paternal care for those near and far, embrace you in your devotion and bestow Our favors according as they are asked. And following the example of Our predecessors of happy memory, Innocent, Celestine, Lucius, Eugene, all Roman Pontiffs, We take under the protection of Saint Peter the Hospital and the home at the Holy City of Jerusalem, and We protect with the privilege of the Holy See all persons and property pertaining to it. 

We decree that whatever possessions or goods that have been acquired by the hospital to sustain the needs of pilgrims and the poor in the parishes of the Church at Jerusalem or of other churches, whether they have been acquired by purchase through the watchful care of those in charge, or bestowed by certain individuals, either through a future grant from kings or princes because of the largess of God, or acquired by some other just means; whatever has been lawfully granted to the parish priests by the venerable brethren of the See of Jerusalem, whether for themselves or for your successors, and to the brethren who care for the pilgrims, We command these (possessions) be preserved peacefully and in their entirety.

If any real estate is given to the same venerable House through someone's devotion, you may build houses there, and erect churches and make cemeteries according to the need of those who live there, as long as there do not exist neighboring abbeys that might be disturbed by this. Moreover, when lands which have been given to you are conferred with a legal title, you may have the faculty and the license to found oratories there and to make cemeteries in accordance with the needs of pilgrims and of those brethren only, who dine at your table. We decree, therefore, that the receptors of your brotherhoods (x) or collections without detriment to their masters shall stand under the protection of Saint Peter and of Us, and wherever they shall travel through the world, they shall have peace.

We decree likewise that whoever has been received in your brotherhood, if by chance the church to which he belongs has been prohibited from holding divine services, and he should happen to die, he shall not be denied a church burial, unless he has been excommunicated or under interdict by name.

Besides, if any of your brothers who have been sent by you to receive these same brotherhoods and collections shall arrive at any city, town, or village, if by chance that place is under interdict from divine services, out of reverence for Almighty God the church shall be opened once in the year at their joyful coming, and when the excommunicated have been turned out, divine services shall there be celebrated.

And since all of your goods are to be expended for the sustenance of the pilgrims and the poor, and they are not to be given to any other use, We decree that no cleric or layman may in any way presume to exact tithes from you for the gain you reap from your labors. We decree that no bishop will be permitted to pronounce a sentence of interdiction, suspension, or excommunication upon the churches under your care. Nevertheless, if a general interdict has been pronounced upon these places, divine services may be celebrated simply, as long as the excommunicated are turned out along with those under interdict by name, the doors are closed, and no bells are rung.

Moreover, so that nothing will be lacking to you for the fullness of salvation and the care of your souls, and that the sacraments of the church and divine services may be conveniently arranged for you and for Christ's poor, We decree that you may take to yourselves clerics and priests no matter whence their origin as long as you have proof of their integrity and their ordination, to the best of your knowledge through letters and consistent testimony of witnesses; and you may keep them with you either at your principal establishment or in those subject to you; provided that they are not under obligation to some locality or diocese, and that they are not considered harmful to the profession and the Order.

And if the bishops by chance are unwilling to yield these men to you, you nevertheless will have the right to take them in and retain them through the authority of the Holy Roman Church. These same clerics shall be subject to no person outside your chapter with the exception of the Roman Pontiff.

We in no way impart the power to you of taking free laymen into your community for service with the poor without objection from someone.

We refuse permission to return to the world to your brethren who once in, and having been received into your community, have made their profession and taken the religious habit. Nor would it be right for anyone of them after making his profession and assuming the cross of the Lord and taking the habit of your Order, to cast it off.

Nor should anyone move to another place, whether it be a major or a minor monastery, without consulting the brethren or the master of the place, and if the brethren should be unwilling, he should not move there even though a license has been obtained. And no license shall be given to any ecclesiastic or secular authority to take them in or keep them.

Consecrations of altars or basilicas, ordinations of clerics who have been promoted to Holy Orders, and other church sacraments are in the hands of the bishop of the diocese; if indeed he is a Catholic and has favor and communion with the Apostolic See, he shall freely and willingly give you these services with no irregularity towards you; otherwise you are permitted to approach a Catholic bishop of your choice who is indisputably supported by Our authority to grant the requests you make.

And at your death, since you are the provider and prefect of the place, no one will be put in charge through deception, craft, or violence, but only he whom the brethren elect according to the will of God.

Furthermore, the legacies or possessions here or beyond the sea, in Asia or Europe, which the hospital now rightly possesses or will be able to obtain through reasonable means, we confirm for you in behalf of your efforts in the hospital work, and through you for the said hospital. Let no one have the rashness to disturb the aforementioned hospital, or take away its possessions, or retain anything that has been stolen from it, to weaken it, or to harass it with any violence; but let everything be preserved whole and entire, which has been given for direction and sustenance and shall be provided for in the future for any purpose with due respect to the authority of the Apostolic See and the canonical justice of the bishop of the diocese.

And if in the future any ecclesiastic or secular person knowing this Our constitution attempts the rashness of going against it after the third warning unless he has made sufficient amends for the defection, he shall be relieved of the dignity of his power and office, and he shall learn that he is liable to divine justice for perpetrating the offense, and he shall be deprived of the most sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord and Our God and Redeemer Jesus Christ, and at the last judgment he shall be subject to the severest vengeance. But to all who preserve the rights of this place may the peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ come in so far as they here are receiving the fruit of their good actions, and when they meet the strict Judge may the reward of eternal peace be theirs. Amen, amen, amen.

Given at the Lateran through the hand of Roland, cardinal priest of the Holy Roman Church and chancellor, on the 21st day of October, in the third indiction, the year of the Incarnation of Our Lord 1154, during the second year of the pontificate of Pope Anastasius IV.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Archives of the Order (1) - Papal Bull of Pope Paschal II
Pope Paschal II (1099 - 1118)
 Piae Postulatio Voluntatis
Paschal, bishop, and servant of such as are the servants of God, to his venerable son Gerard, founder and Master of the Hospital at Jerusalem, and to his lawful successors for evermore. The requests of a devout desire ought to meet with a corresponding fulfillment. Inasmuch, as of thy affection thou hast requested, with regard to the Hospital which thou hast founded in the city of Jerusalem, in proximity to the Church of the blessed John the Baptist, that it should be supported by the authority of the apostolic see, and fostered by the patronage of the blessed apostle Peter: 
We, therefore, much pleased with the pious earnestness of thy hospitality, do receive the petition with our paternal favour, and do ordain and establish, by the authority of this our present decree, that that house of God, your Hospital, shall now be placed, and shall for ever remain, under the protection of the apostolic see, and under that of the blessed Peter. All things whatsoever, therefore, which by thy persevering care and solicitude have been collected for the benefit of the said Hospital, for the support and maintenance of pilgrims, or for relieving the necessities of the poor, whether in the churches of Jerusalem, or in those of parishes within the limits of other cities; and whatsoever things may have been offered already by the faithful, or for the future may through God's grace be so offered, or collected by other lawful means; and whatsoever things have been, or shall be granted to thee, or to thy successors, or to the brethren who are occupied in the care and support of pilgrims, by the venerable brethren the bishops of the diocese of Jerusalem; we hereby decree shall be retained by you in peace and undiminished.

Moreover, as to the tithes of your revenues, which ye collect everywhere at your own charge, and by your own toil, we do hereby fix and decree, that they shall be retained by your own Hospital, all opposition on the part of the bishops and their clergy notwithstanding. We also decree as valid all donations, which have been made to your Hospital by pious princes, either of their tribute moneys or other imposts.

We ordain furthermore, that at thy death no man shall be appointed in thy place, as chief and master, by any underhand subtlety, or by violence; but him only who shall, by the inspiration of God, have been duly elected by the professed brethren of the Institution. Furthermore, all dignities or possessions which your Hospital at present holds, either on this side of the water, to wit in Asia, or in Europe, as also those which hereafter by God's bounty it may obtain; we confirm them to thee and to thy successors, who shall be devoting themselves with a pious zeal to the cares of hospitality, and through you to the said Hospital in perpetuity. We further decree that it shall be unlawful for any man whatsoever rashly to disturb your Hospital, or to carry off any of its property, or if carried off to retain possession of it, or to diminish ought from its revenues, or to harass it with audacious annoyances. But let all its property remain intact, for the sole use and enjoyment of those for whose maintenance and support it has been granted. As to the Hospital or Poor Houses in the Western provinces, at Burgum of St. Aegidius, Lisan Barum, Hispalum, Tarentum, and Messana, which are distinguished by the title of Hospitals of Jerusalem, we decree that they shall for ever remain, as they are this day, under the subjection and disposal of thyself and thy successors.

If, therefore, at a future time, any person, whether ecclesiastical or secular, knowing this paragraph of our constitution, shall attempt to oppose its provisions, and if, after having received a second or third warning, he shall not make a suitable satisfaction and restitution, let him be deprived of all his dignities and honours, and let him know that he stands exposed to the judgment of God, for the iniquity he has perpetrated; and let him be deprived of the Sacraments of the Body and Blood of Christ, and of the benefits of the redemption of Our Lord, and at the last judgment let him meet with the severest vengeance. But to all who deal justly and rightly with the same, on them be the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that not only here below they receive the rewards of a good action, but also before the Judge of all mankind, they may enjoy the blessing of peace eternal.

I PASCHAL, Bishop of the Catholic Church.
I RICHARD, Bishop of Alboe, have signed.
I CALIXTUS, Bishop of the Catholic Church.
I LANDULPHUS, Bishop of Beneventum, have read and signed.

Given at Beneventum, by the hand of John, Cardinal of the Roman Church, and Librarian, on the 15th day of the calends of March, in the 6th indiction of the incarnation of our Lord, in the year 1113, and in the 13th year of the Pontificate of our Lord Pope Paschal II.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Order of Saint John - useful documents

Starting from this month, this Blog will provide a number of documents from the Archives of the Order of Saint John, also known as the Knights of Malta.

Quotes from Cardinal Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI will continue to feature from time to time.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ratzinger on communion for remarried divorcees
Ratzinger as a priest
“With utmost prudence, I wish to attempt to formulate a proposal which I believe fits into the category of situations where making an exception is strictly necessary. In cases where both spouses see their first marriage as having been irretrievably destroyed a long time ago; and when a second marriage follows and proves to be a moral union and filled with the spirit of the faith, especially with regard to children’s education (where the destruction of this second marriage would lead to the destruction of a moral greatness and would cause moral harm), in this case, those who have contracted a second marriage of this kind should be allowed to approach the sacrament of communion, through extra-judicial means and with the parish priest and members of the community as witnesses.”


“It is important to stress that the annulment process is subject to the discretion of the individual. This factor, as well as the difference in possibilities open to individuals depending inevitably on their level of education but also on their financial situation, should steer us away from the idea that this route is an irrefutably just one.”


 “The marriage annulment process is necessarily limited to what can be demonstrated legally and yet this is precisely how certain decisive facts can be neglected. Most importantly, this means that formal criteria (such as defects of form or ecclesiastical form which is intentionally overlooked) are attributed disproportionate importance which leads to injustices.”


“When moral obligations toward children, the family and the wife result from a second marriage, and there no such obligations toward the first marriage; when for moral reason, renouncing the second marriage is unacceptable  and continence is not a realistic possibility (magnorum est, as Gregory II says), then it seems only fair that after a trial period, the person in question should be allowed to join the community of faithful who receive communion and it would be fully in line with Church tradition.”


“Marriage is a sacramentum, it remains an irrevocable and fundamental expression of a commitment made. However, this does not mean that the Church cannot extend communion to those who recognise this doctrine and principle of life but find themselves in an emergency situation of an exceptional nature in which they are particularly in need of full communion with the Body of the Lord.”

Zur Frage nach der Unauflöslichkeit der Ehe. Bemerkungen zum dogmengeschichtlichen Befund und zu seiner gegenwärtigen Bedeutung; in: Ehe und Ehescheidung. Diskussion unter Christen, edited by F. Henrich and V. Eid, (Münchener Akademie-Schriften 59, Munich, 1972), pp. 35-56.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ratzinger on Fatima (1) 11 November 1984, Cardinal Ratzinger, gave an interview in Jesus magazine, a publication of the Pauline Sisters. The interview is entitled “Here is Why the Faith is in Crisis,” and was published with the Cardinal's explicit permission. In this interview Cardinal Ratzinger admits that a crisis of faith is affecting the Church around the world. In this context, he reveals that he has read the Third Secret and that the Secret refers to “dangers threatening the faith and the life of the Christian and therefore (the life) of the world.”

Ratzinger says in the same interview that the Secret also refers to “the importance of the Novissimi [the Last Times/the Last Things]” and that “If it is not published, at least for now, it is to avoid confusing religious prophecy with sensationalism ...” The Cardinal further reveals that “the things contained in this ‘Third Secret’ correspond to what has been announced in Scripture and has been said again and again in many other Marian apparitions, first of all that of Fatima ...”

Sources:  Frère Michel de la Sainte Trinité, The Whole Truth About Fatima - Volume III, pp. 822-823. See also Jesus magazine, November 11, 1984, p. 79. See also The Fatima Crusader, Issue 37, Summer 1991, p. 7.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cardinal Ratzinger on his conscience
According to an Austrian priest close to Ratzinger, two things weighed on Pope Benedict's conscience while he was a cardinal: 

  • One was his mishandling of the Message of Fatima, i.e. the Third Secret, on 26 June 2000. Ratzinger allegedly said "my hand was forced";
  • The other was his 1988 mishandling of Archbishop Lefebvre, prior to the latter's excommunication. Ratzinger is reported to have said that in the case of Lefebvre, "I failed".

Note: Bishop Williamson, formerly of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX), related this story.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Benedict XVI on the role of the Pope“Peter’s responsibility thus consists of guaranteeing the communion with Christ. Let us pray so that the primacy of Peter, entrusted to poor human beings, may always be exercised in this original sense desired by the Lord, so that it will be increasingly recognized in its true meaning by brothers who are still not in communion with us.”   

Benedict XVI, St. Peter’s Square, 7 June, 2006

Monday, September 22, 2014

Ratzinger on Michael Davies
Michael Davies, 2nd FIUV President
“I have been profoundly touched by the news of the death of Michael Davies. I had the good fortune to meet him several times and I found him as a man of deep faith and ready to embrace suffering. Ever since the Council he put all his energy into the service of the Faith and left us important publications especially about the Sacred Liturgy

Even though he suffered from the Church in many ways in his time, he always truly remained a man of the Church. He knew that the Lord founded His Church on the rock of St Peter and that the Faith can find its fullness and maturity only in union with the successor of St Peter. Therefore we can be confident that the Lord opened wide for him the gates of heaven. We commend his soul to the Lord’s mercy.”

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
9 November 2004

Friday, April 25, 2014

Cardinal Ratzinger on the Novus Ordo Missae
Ratzinger celebrating the Tridentine Mass in Wigratzbad, Germany in 1990.
The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation. In place of the liturgy, fruit of a continual development, they have placed a fabricated liturgy. They have deserted a vital process of growth and becoming in order to substitute a fabrication.They did not want to continue the development, the organic maturing of something living through the centuries, and they replaced it, in the manner of technical production, by a fabrication, a banal product of the moment.

(Revue Theologisches, Vol. 20, Feb. 1990, pp. 103-104)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Cardinal Ratzinger on Ecumenical Councils 

 “Not every valid council in the history of the Church has been a fruitful one; in the last analysis many of them have been just a waste of time,” ...

“The last word about the historical value of Vatican Council II has yet to be spoken.” 

Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology: Building Stones for a Fundamental Theology, (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1987), p. 378.