Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Sandro Magister, Benedict XVI Has a Father, Romano Guardini

Benedict XVI Has a Father, Romano Guardini

He was the guide of the young Ratzinger, who has not ceased to draw inspiration from his thought. Forty years after the death of the great Italian-German intellectual, an analysis of his influence on the current pope

Featured Author -- Romano Guardini
CIN - Meditations Before Mass, Romano Guardini
St. Anselm of Canterbury and Romano Guardini
Romano Guardini on the Psychology of Christ
Spirit of the Liturgy - Romano Guardini

Zenit: Holy See on Responsibility to Protect

Holy See on Responsibility to Protect

"Invoked As a Pretext for the Arbitrary Use of Military Might"

NEW YORK, SEPT. 30, 2008 ( Here is the address Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, gave Monday at the general debate of the 63rd session of the General Assembly.

* * *

Mr President,

As you assume the presidency of this 63rd session of the General Assembly, my delegation wishes you all the best in your endeavors and looks forward to working with you in order to address the many challenges facing the global community.

This general debate is an occasion for those responsible for the national life of every country to come together to get the pulse of the world situation. By its nature and structure, the United Nations normally creates neither the events nor the trends, but rather, serves as a sounding board where events and trends are submitted for debate and a coherent, consensual and timely response. This year has been dominated by a number of challenges and crises: natural and man-made calamities, staggering economies, financial turmoil, rising food and fuel prices, the impact of climate change, local wars and tensions. We have been called to this Hall once again to identify the common causes and denominators underlying these diverse crises and to craft adequate long-term solutions.

One of the clear facts recognized by all is that every crisis presents a mixture of natural factors and elements of human responsibility. However, these are all too often compounded by tardy response, failures or reluctance of leaders to exercise their responsibility to protect their populations.

When speaking within these walls of the responsibility to protect, the common understanding of the term is found in the 2005 Outcome Document, which refers to the responsibility of the international community to intervene in situations where individual governments are not able or willing to assure the protection of their own citizens.

In the past, the language of "protection" was too often a pretext for expansion and aggression. In spite of the many advancements in international law, this same understanding and practice tragically continues today.

However, during the past year in this same Hall, there has been growing consensus and greater inclusion of this expression as a vital component of responsible leadership. The responsibility to protect has been invoked by some as an essential aspect of the exercise of sovereignty at the national and international levels, while others have re-launched the concept of the exercise of responsible sovereignty.

For his part, Pope Benedict XVI, in his address to the General Assembly of the United Nations last April, also recognized that from the very ancient philosophical discourses on governance to the more modern development of the nation-state, the responsibility to protect has served and must continue to serve as the principle shared by all nations to govern their populations and regulate relations between peoples. These statements highlight the historical and moral basis for States to govern. Likewise, they reassert that good governance should no longer be measured simply within the context of "state's rights" or "sovereignty" but rather, by its ability to care for those who entrust leaders with the grave moral responsibility to lead.

Despite the growing consensus behind the responsibility to protect as a means for greater cooperation, this principle is still being invoked as a pretext for the arbitrary use of military might. This distortion is a continuation of past failed methods and ideas. The use of violence to resolve disagreements is always a failure of vision and a failure of humanity. The responsibility to protect should not be viewed merely in terms of military intervention but primarily as the need for the international community to come together in the face of crises to find means for fair and open negotiations, support the moral force of law and search for the common good.

Failure to collectively come together to protect populations at risk and to prevent arbitrary military interventions would undermine the moral and practical authority of this Organization. The "we the peoples" who formed the United Nations conceived the responsibility to protect to serve as the core basis for the United Nations. The founding leaders believed that the responsibility to protect would consist not primarily in the use of force to restore peace and human rights, but above all, in States coming together to detect and denounce the early symptoms of every kind of crises and mobilize the attention of governments, civil society and public opinion to find the causes and offer solutions. The various agencies and bodies of the United Nations also reaffirm the importance of the responsibility to protect in their ability to work in close proximity and solidarity with affected populations and to put into place mechanisms of detection, implementation and monitoring.

It is incumbent not only upon States, but also the United Nations, to ensure that the responsibility to protect serves as the underlying measure and motivation of all its work.
While many continue to question and debate the real causes and medium and long term consequences of the various financial, humanitarian and food crises around the world, the United Nations and its membership have the responsibility to provide direction, coherence, and resolution. At stake is not only the credibility of this Organization and global leaders but, more importantly, the ability of the human community to provide food and security and to protect basic human rights so that all peoples have the opportunity to live with freedom from fear and want and thus realize their inherent dignity.

The United Nations was not created to be a global government but is the product of the political will of individual member States. Thus, it is the child orphaned by HIV/AIDS, the boys and girls sold or forced into slavery, those who wake each morning not knowing if today they will be persecuted for their faith or the color of their skin, who continue to cry out for an institution and leaders who will back their words with actions, commitments and results. These voices, which are too often ignored, must finally be listened to, so that we can move beyond political, geographical and historical divisions and create an organization which reflects our best intentions rather than our various failings.

One area in which our best intentions require urgent action is climate change. My delegation commends Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his leadership in recognizing the urgency to tackle this issue and we commend States and civil society in making the necessary political and personal sacrifices to ensure a better future.

The challenge of climate change and the various solutions proposed and put into action, bring us to point out a preoccupation and inconsistency that exist today in the realm of international and national law, namely, that all that is technically possible must be legally licit.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

1978 Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith document on apparition discernment

source of the unoffical English translation--1978 Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith document on apparition discernment (in French) - the sections in italics are opening and closing remarks by Joachim Bouflet [not reproduced here]- these remarks and the text from the CDF are taken from his book, jointly authored with Philippe Boutry, Un signe dans le ciel, (Grasset, Paris, 1997), pp. 396-99.

Preliminary Note: Origin and character of these norms.

At the time of the Annual Plenary Congregation during November 1974, the Fathers of this Sacred Congregation studied the problems relating to apparitions and supposed revelations, and the consequences which often result from these, and they arrived at the following conclusions:

1. Today more than formerly, the news of these apparitions is spread more quickly among the faithful thanks to the means of information ("mass media"); in addition, the ease of travel supports more frequent pilgrimages. Also, the ecclesiastical authority was itself brought to reconsider this subject.

2. Similarly, because of current instruments of knowledge, the contributions of science, and the requirement of a rigorous criticism, it is more difficult, if not impossible, to arrive as speedily as previously at judgements which conclude, as formerly happened, investigations into this matter (“constate de supernaturalitate, non constat de supernaturalitate”); and because of that, it is more difficult for the Ordinary to authorize or prohibit public worship or any other form of devotion of the faithful.

For these reasons, so that the devotion stirred up among the faithful by facts of this kind can appear as a disposition in full communion with the Church, and bear fruit, and so that the Church itself is able to ultimately distinguish the true nature of the facts, the Fathers consider that it is necessary to promote the following practice in regard to this matter.

So that the ecclesiastical authority is able to acquire more certainty on such or such an apparition or revelation, it will proceed in the following way:

a) Initially, to judge the facts according to positive and negative criteria (cf. below, n.1).

b) Then, if this examination appears favorable, to allow certain public demonstrations of cult and devotion, while continuing to investigate the facts with extreme prudence (which is equivalent to the formula: “for the moment, nothing is opposed to it”).

c) Finally, after a certain time, and in the light of experience, (starting from a particular study of the spiritual fruits generated by the new devotion), to give a judgement on the authenticity of the supernatural character, if the case requires this.

I. Criteria of judgement, concerning the probability at least, of the character of the apparitions and supposed revelations.

A) Positive criteria:

a) Moral certainty, or at least great probability, as to the existence of the fact, [revelation] acquired at the end of a serious investigation.

b) Particular circumstances relating to the existence and the nature of the fact:

1. Personal qualities of the subject—in particular mental balance, honesty and rectitude of moral life, habitual sincerity and docility towards ecclesiastical authority, ability to return to the normal manner of a life of faith, etc.

2. With regard to the revelations, their conformity with theological doctrines and their spiritual veracity, their exemption from all error.

3. A healthy devotion and spiritual fruits which endure (in particular, the spirit of prayer, conversions, signs of charity, etc).

B) Negative criteria:

a) A glaring error as to the facts.

b) Doctrinal errors that one would attribute to God himself, or to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or the Holy Spirit in their manifestations (taking into account, however, the possibility that the subject may add something by their own activity—even if this is done unconsciously—of some purely human elements to an authentic supernatural revelation, these having nevertheless to remain free from any error in the natural order. Cf. St Ignatius, Spiritual Exercises, n. 336).

c) An obvious pursuit of monetary gain in relation with the fact.

d) Gravely immoral acts committed by the subject, or his associates, at the time of the facts, or on the occasion of these facts.

E) Psychic disorders or psychopathic tendencies concerning the subject, which would exert an unquestionable influence on the allegedly supernatural facts, or indeed psychosis, mass hysteria, or other factors of the same kind.

It is important to consider these criteria, whether they are positive or negative, as indicative standards and not as final arguments, and to study them in their plurality and in relation with the other criteria.

II. Intervention of the competent local Authority

1. As, at the time of a presumed supernatural fact, worship or an ordinary form of devotion is born in a quasi spontaneous way among the faithful, the competent ecclesiastical Authority has the serious obligation to inform itself without delay and to carry out a diligent investigation.

2. At the legitimate request of the faithful (when they are in communion with their pastors and are not driven by a sectarian spirit), the competent ecclesiastical Authority can intervene to authorize and promote various forms of worship and devotion if, assuming the criteria given above having been applied, nothing is opposed to it. But there must be vigilance nevertheless, to ensure that the faithful do not regard this way of acting as an approval by the Church of the supernatural character of the event in question (cf. above, Preliminary Note, c).

3. By virtue of his doctrinal and pastoral duty, the competent ecclesiastical Authority can intervene immediately of his own authority, and he must do so in serious circumstances, for example, when it is a question of correcting or of preventing abuses in the exercise of worship or devotion, to condemn erroneous doctrines, to avoid the dangers of a false mysticism etc.

4. In doubtful cases, which do not involve the welfare of the Church, the competent ecclesiastical Authority may refrain from any judgement and any direct action (more especially as it can happen that, at the end of a certain time, the supposedly supernatural event can lapse from memory); but he should not remain less vigilant about the event, in such a way as to be in a position to intervene with swiftness and prudence, if that is necessary.

III. Other Authorities entitled to intervene

1. The foremost authority to inquire and to intervene belongs to the local Ordinary.

2. But the regional or national episcopal Conference may intervene:

a) If the local Ordinary, after having fulfilled the obligations which fall to him, resorts to them for a study of the event in its entirety.

b) If the event assumes national or regional importance.

3. The Apostolic See can intervene, either at the request of Ordinary himself, or at the request of a qualified group of the faithful, or directly by virtue of the immediate right of universal jurisdiction of the Sovereign Pontiff (cf. above, IV).

IV. Intervention of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

1. a) The intervention of the Sacred Congregation can be agreed to be necessary either by the Ordinary, after he has fulfilled the obligations falling to him, or by a qualified group of the faithful. In this second case, vigilance is necessary so that the recourse to the Sacred Congregation is not motivated by suspect reasons (for example to force, in one way one or another, the Ordinary to modify his legitimate decisions, or to confirm the sectarian drift of a group, etc.)

b) It belongs to the Sacred Congregation to intervene of its own accord in serious cases, in particular when the event affects a broad portion of the Church; but the Ordinary will always be consulted, as well as the episcopal Conference, if the situation requires it.

2. It belongs to the Sacred Congregation to discern and approve the way of acting of the Ordinary, or, if it proves to be necessary, to carry out a new examination of the facts distinct from that which the Ordinary carried out; this new examination of the facts will be done either by the Sacred Congregation itself, or by a commission especially established for this purpose.

The present norms, defined in the plenary Congregation of this Sacred Congregation, were approved by the Sovereign Pontiff, Pope Paul VI, on February 24 1978.

At Rome, the Palace of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, February 27, 1978.

Francis, Cardinal Seper, Prefect, Fr. Jerome Hamer, O.P., Secretary.