Thursday, February 28, 2013

Papal Interregnum

The Ombrellino, the Papal Coat of Arms at Sede Vacante.

At 8PM in Rome -- 2PM Eastern Standard Time in the United States -- the Chair of St. Peter became vacant, sede vacante, and the period of interregnum commenced.  What does this mean and what happens next?

In the Apostolic Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis, of Pope John Paul II, the procedure and rules for the functioning of the Church without a Sovereign Pontiff is outlined.  In my post below, I have quotations from that Apostolic Constitution colored blue, while quotations from the Director of the Holy See Press Office will be green, for the sake of clarity. You can find the full text of Universi Dominici Gregis:

The first three paragraphs of that Apostolic Constitution outline the situation:
"1. During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the College of Cardinals has no power or jurisdiction in 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. I therefore declare null and void any act of power or jurisdiction pertaining to the Roman Pontiff during his lifetime or in the exercise of his office which the College of Cardinals might see fit to exercise, beyond the limits expressly permitted in this Constitution.

2. During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the government of the Church is entrusted to the College of Cardinals solely for the dispatch of ordinary business and of matters which cannot be postponed (cf. No. 6), and for the preparation of everything necessary for the election of the new Pope. This task must be carried out in the ways and within the limits set down by this Constitution: consequently, those matters are to be absolutely excluded which, whether by law or by practice, come under the power of the Roman Pontiff alone or concern the norms for the election of the new Pope laid down in the present Constitution.

3. I further establish that the College of Cardinals may make no dispositions whatsoever concerning the rights of the Apostolic See and of the Roman Church, much less allow any of these rights to lapse, either directly or indirectly, even though it be to resolve disputes or to prosecute actions perpetrated against these same rights after the death or valid resignation of the Pope.  All the Cardinals are obliged to defend these rights."

Here we see that the government of the Apostolic See and that of the Church devolves to the College of Cardinals, but not with the full authority of the Successor St. Peter.  The Cardinals are merely caretakers that are to "dispatch of ordinary business and of matters which cannot be postponed."  There cardinal duty is in the preparation for, and election of, a new Bishop of Rome.

The Press Office of the Vatican announced earlier this week: "Regarding the beginning of the Congregations of Cardinals, the dean of the College of Cardinals will send a letter to all the cardinals on 1 March, calling them to Rome."

The Dean, Angelo Cardinal Sodano, will summon the Cardinals, as he would in the case of the death of the Pope, in conformitity with the Apostolic Constitution:
"19. The Dean of the College of Cardinals, for his part, as soon as he has been informed of the Pope's death by the Cardinal Camerlengo or the Prefect of the Papal Household, shall inform all the Cardinals and convoke them for the Congregations of the College. He shall also communicate news of the Pope's death to the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See and to the Heads of the respective Nations."
The Cardinals, in their execution of their functions, are to meet in two manners of Congregations -- Particular and General.  Universi Dominici Gregis provides:
"7. While the See is vacant, 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. All the Cardinals who are not legitimately impeded must attend the General Congregations, once they have been informed of the vacancy of the Apostolic See. Cardinals who, by virtue of No. 33 of this Constitution, do not enjoy the right of electing the Pope are granted the faculty of not attending these General Congregations, should they prefer.
The Particular Congregation is made up of the Cardinal Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church and three Cardinals, one from each Order, chosen by lot from among the Cardinal electors already present in Rome. The office of these Cardinals, called Assistants, ceases at the conclusion of the third full day, and their place is taken by others, also chosen by lot and having the same term of office, also after the election has begun.

During the time of the election, more important matters are, if necessary, dealt with by the assembly of the Cardinal electors, while ordinary affairs continue to be dealt with by the Particular Congregation of Cardinals. In the General and Particular Congregations, during the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the Cardinals are to wear the usual black cassock with piping and the red sash, with skull-cap, pectoral cross and ring."

"9. At these Congregations the Dean of the College presides or, should he be absent or lawfully impeded, the Subdean. If one or both of these, in accordance with No. 33 of this Constitution [Limiting suffrage to Cardinals under 80], no longer enjoy the right of electing the Pope, the assembly of the Cardinal electors will be presided over by the senior Cardinal elector, according to the customary order of precedence."

So, the General Congregations, or a meetings of all of the Cardinals presided over by the Dean (in those meetings of only Cardinal-Electors, the Senior Cardinal-Elector presides -- since Angelo Cardinal Sodano is over 80, it would be Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, by my calculations) are charged with the most serious matters, while the Particular Congregation, under the direction of the Cardinal Camerlengo, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, will attend to the mundane details that might come up.

These Congregations continue those matters that can't be delayed, and, most especially, prepare for the coming Conclave to elect the new Pontiff.  If the pope had died, they would oversee the funeral rites.

It is worth noting that with the vacancy of the Apostolic Throne, most Vatican officials lose their full authority, save the Camerlengo (Chamberlain) and Major Penitentiary, the Cardinal Vicar of Rome (who manages the day-to-day affairs of that Diocese), the Archpriest of the Vatican, and the Vicar General of Vatican City, as provided below:
"14. According to the provisions of Article 6 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus,13 at the death [or abdication, presumably] of the Pope all the heads of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia — the Cardinal Secretary of State and the Cardinal Prefects, the Archbishop Presidents, together with the members of those Dicasteries — cease to exercise their office. An exception is made for the Camerlengo of Holy Roman Church and the Major Penitentiary, who continue to exercise their ordinary functions, submitting to the College of Cardinals matters that would have had to be referred to the Supreme Pontiff.

Likewise, in conformity with the Apostolic Constitution Vicariae Potestatis (No. 2 § 1),14 the Cardinal Vicar General for the Diocese of Rome continues in office during the vacancy of the Apostolic See, as does the Cardinal Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica and Vicar General for Vatican City for his jurisdiction."

A few particulars of the operation of the Holy See during the interregnum follow:
"20. During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, the Substitute of the Secretariat of State, the Secretary for Relations with States and the Secretaries of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia remain in charge of their respective offices, and are responsible to the College of Cardinals.
21. In the same way, the office and attendant powers of Papal Representatives do not lapse.
22. The Almoner of His Holiness will also continue to carry out works of charity in accordance with the criteria employed during the Pope's lifetime. He will be dependent upon the College of Cardinals until the election of the new Pope.
23. During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, all the civil power of the Supreme Pontiff concerning the government of Vatican City State belongs to the College of Cardinals, which however will be unable to issue decrees except in cases of urgent necessity and solely for the time in which the Holy See is vacant. Such decrees will be valid for the future only if the new Pope confirms them."

What then of the former Holy Father, Benedict XVI?  What is the role of the Successor of St. Peter who has abdicated?  Actually, this is rather uncharted territory, and only in recent days have we received answers to some of the details of the post-pontifical status of Benedict.

The Holy See Press office has noted the following:
"Benedict XVI will be “Pontiff emeritus” or “Pope emeritus”, as Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office, reported in a press conference on th final days of the current pontificate. He will keep the name of “His Holiness, Benedict XVI” and will dress in a simple white cassock without the mozzetta (elbow-length cape)."

So, we are to have a "Pope Emeritus," who will not revert to his pre-Papal name of Joseph Ratzinger.  It seems then, too, he will not receive a titular see, as retired Ordinaries are not in need of such a titular See, and it seems likely that he will remain in this unique status, rather than being returned to the College of Cardinals.  He remains "His Holiness," not "His Eminence."  Of course, he is still a Bishop, but one who, having retired, has set aside his jurisdiction to rule -- thus, he is obviously no longer to speak Ex Cathedra, as he no longer sits in the Chair of Peter.

The Press Office announced earlier this week, that the schedule of the last day of the Pontificate of Benedict XVI would unfold thus:
"On the morning of 28 February, the last day of his pontificate, the Pope will meet with, again in the Clementine Hall, the cardinals what are present in Rome. At 4:55pm [10:55AM EST], in the San Damaso Courtyard of the Vatican Apostolic Palace and before a detachment of the Swiss Guards, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B., secretary of State of His Holiness, and and other members of that dicastery will bid him farewell. The Pope's helicopter will land at Castel Gandolfo at 5:15pm [11:15AM EST], where he will be received by Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, respectively president and secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State along with Bishop Marcello Semeraro of the Diocese of Albano [the Diocese within which sits the Castle], and civil authorities of the locality.

Benedict XVI will appear at the balcony of the Castel Gandolfo Apostolic Palace to greet those who have gathered in the square to wish him well. The Sede Vacante will begin at 8:00pm and the Swiss Guards assigned to him at Castel Gandolfo will take their leave, as their corps is dedicated to the safe-guarding of the Roman Pontiff. Instead, the Vatican Gendarmerie will take over the Pope emeritus' safety detail."
The Swiss Guard, charged with the protection of the Pope, will hand over that duty, as Benedict is no longer Pope!
As with the death of a Pontiff: "the “Fisherman's Ring”...will be destroyed along with the lead seal of the pontificate. This task falls to the cardinal camerlengo and his assistants."
The symbols of his particular authority and of his specific pontificate will be destoyed -- as is customary.
Finally, and notable for fashion: "Likewise, the Press Office director announced that the Pope will no longer wear the red papal shoes."

So begins the period of interregnum.

This site is a good resource for other details of this time in the Church:

There is much more to say of conclaves!

Live well!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Papal Documents of Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI (reigned, 19 April 2005- 28 February 2013)

On this last full day of the Pontificate of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI (reigned 2005-2013AD), it seems appropriate to call to mind some of the more notable or remarkable documents are remarks of his pontificate.  The following are a few of the many selections that could have been chosen -- of course, he has written volumes of excellent material, both prior to his election and since.

The Vatican website, of course, has a catalogue of his writings and speeches as pontiff:
as does, along with significant documents for certain Vatican Congregations during his pontificate:

Any pontificate will be rightly remembered for the Encyclical Letters promulgated.  Pope Benedict XVI promulgated three during his pontificate:
Deus Caritas Est -- On Christian Love, 2005

Spe Salvi -- On Christian Hope, 2007

Caritas in veritate -- On Human Development in Charity and Truth, 2009

Who could forget the momentous Apostolic Constitution that gave Anglo-Catholics a special place within the Church: Anglicanorum Coetibus, Providing Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans, 2009

In addition to these, a few Apostolic Letters stand out:

Certainly, first amongst these is the great Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum that has done so much to restore fitting and beautiful liturgy within the Latin Rites:
Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio" Summorum Pontificum -- On the Traditional Liturgy of the Latin Rite, 2007

Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio" Ecclesiae unitatem, On the Ecclesia Dei Commission, 2009

Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio" Omnium in Mentem, On a Revision of Canon Law, 2009

Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio" Porta Fidei -- On the Year of Faith, 2011

Apostolic Letter Naming St. John of Avila a Doctor of the Church, 2012

Apostolic Letter Naming St. Hildegarde of Bingen a Doctor of the Church, 2012

Apostolic Letter Latina Lingua -- Establishing the Pontifical Academy of Latin, 2012

Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio" On the Service of Charity, 2012

Most recently, and which I commented upon in my post yesterday:
Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio" Normas nonnullas, On Modifications Concerning a Papal Conclave, 2013

Of course, a couple speeches given on the occasion of foreign trips were memorable, including:
Regensburg Address On Faith, Reason, and the University, 12 September 2006

Address in Westminster Hall, England, 17 September 2010

Finally, in a short series of addresses given to Bishops from the United States on their Ad limina visits to Rome, Pope Benedict XVI gave some rather timely commentary on some of the pressing issues of our day.  Americans, take note!

Address on 26 November 2011, On Evangelization

Address on 19 January 2012, On Freedom

Address on 9 March 2012, On Marriage

Address on 5 May 2012, On Education

Live well!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Motu Proprio Normas nonnullas

A scene from the Papal Conclave of 2005, Anno Domini.

Yesterday, 25 February, it was made public that Pope Benedict XVI had signed previously, on 22 February 2013, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the Motu Proprio letter Normas nonnullas, "on some modifications of the norms concerning the election of the Roman Pontiff."

The full text of the Motu Proprio can be found here:

The Vatican Information Service blog has provided an English translation here:

 Of course, the binding Church law on the process of the Election of a new Sovereign Pontiff and Successor of St. Peter is contained in the Apostolic Constitution of Pope John Paul II, Universi Dominici Gregis, promulgated 22 February 1996, on that same Feast of the Chair of St. Peter.  That document can be found at this link in full text:

What, then, was altered by this new Motu Proprio, Normas nonnullas?  Pope Benedict XVI saw fit to alter certain paragraphs of Universi Dominici Gregis, and changed these particulars:

 In paragraph 37 Benedict XVI inserted a clause, which I highlight, as follows: "from the moment when the Apostolic See is lawfully vacant, the Cardinal electors who are present must wait fifteen full days for those who are absent before beginning the Conclave; however, the College of Cardinals is also granted the faculty to anticipated [sic] the beginning of the Conclave if all the Cardinal electors are present as well as the faculty to defer, for serious reasons, the beginning of the election for a few days more."  This will allow for a conclave to commence earlier than the previously required 15 days after a vacancy.  This is the change that made all of the headlines, and, frankly, this blogger anticipated.

The Vice Camerlengo (Chamberlain) is added as one to assist the Cardinal Camerlengo and Substitute of the Secretariat of State in paragraph 43 of Universi.  Further the Cleric Prelates of the Chamber are charged, specifically, with ensuring "that no one approaches the Cardinal electors while they are being transported from the Domus Sanctae Marthae to the Apostolic Vatican Palace."

Paragraph 46 was altered in that Benedict XVI allows now for eight Master of Ceremonies rather than two to assist the conclave from within.

Pope Benedict XVI now requires that the oath taken prior to entry into the Conclave be administered in the presence of "two numerary participant Apostolic Protonotaries" rather than two Masters of Ceremonies.

Further, in all of the sections dealing with the penalty incurred for breaking the secrecy of the conclave, Benedict XVI has restored the latae sententiae excommunication for such an offense, in place of the punishment-to-be-determined-by-the-next-pontiff penalty of John Paul II.

To paragraph 50 of Universi Dominici Gregis, Benedict adds to the list of Cardinal-Electors several particular notables in the procession to the Sistine Chapel: "The Vice Camerlengo, the General Auditor of the Apostolic Camera, and two members of each of the colleges of numerary participant Apostolic Protonotaries, Prelate Auditors of the Roman Rota, and Cleric Prelates of the Chamber will participate in the procession."

The change to paragraph 62 introduced by Pope Benedict is that it now reads "I therefore decree that, for the valid election of the Roman Pontiff, at least two thirds of the votes are required, calculated on the basis of the total number of electors present and voting" where prior it had read "...of electors present."  Thus, the two thirds is now assessed not from simply the number of Cardinal-Electors present, but of the Cardinal-Electors casting a ballot.

Pope Benedict XVI added to paragraph 64 those portions with my emphasis: "The voting process is carried out in three phases. The first phase, which can be called the pre-scrutiny, comprises: 1) the preparation and distribution of the ballot papers by the Masters of Ceremonies—called meanwhile into the Hall together with the Secretary of the College of Cardinals and with the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations—who give at least two or three to each Cardinal elector."

To paragraph 70, the words "at least" were added in the sentence: "The Scrutineers add up all the votes that each individual has received, and if no one has obtained at least two thirds of the votes on that ballot, the Pope has not been elected; if however it turns out that someone has obtained at least two thirds of the votes, the canonically valid election of the Roman Pontiff has taken place."

Paragraph 75 is generally reworked.  It now reads: "If the votes referred to in Nos. 72, 73, and 74 of the above-mentioned Constitution do not result in an election, a day will be dedicated to prayer, reflection, and discussion. In subsequent votes, in accordance with the procedure established in No. 74 of this same Constitution, only the two whose names have received the greatest number of votes in the immediately preceding ballot will have the passive electoral right. There can be no waiving of the requirement that a valid election takes place only by a qualified majority of at least two thirds of the votes of the cardinals who are present and voting. Moreover, in these ballots, the two persons who enjoy the passive electoral right lose their active electoral right."

This provides for the maintenance of the two thirds requirements throughout the conclave, but allows for a run-off between the top two candidates, who then lose their vote, if the conclave reaches this point.

Finally, regarding the actual election, he made those changes indicated by my emphasis:
87. "When the election has canonically taken place, the junior Cardinal Deacon summons into the Hall of election the Secretary of the College of Cardinals, the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, and two Masters of Ceremonies. The Cardinal Dean, or the Cardinal who is first in order and seniority, in the name of the whole College of electors, then asks the consent of the one elected in the following words: 'Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?' And, as soon as he has received the consent, he asks him: 'By what name do you wish to be called?' Then the Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, acting as notary and having as witnesses the two Masters of Ceremonies, draws up a document certifying acceptance by the new Pope and the name taken by him."  Here, essentially, Benedict envisions the Master of Ceremonies being there from the beginning of this process of the consent of the one elected, rather than being summoned "at that moment" to witness as had previously been described.

I will be revisiting the topic of conclaves and their history & procedure in the coming weeks!

Live well!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Taxonomy of Fish

File:Salvelinus fontinalis.jpg
The State Fish of Virginia, the Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

My post today is a brief presentation of the taxonomy of some of the significant fish found in the vicinity of the Mid-Atlantic of the eastern United States and in the adjoining waterways.

Amongst the vertebrates, fish are unique insofar as they compose three classes -- while birds, reptiles, and amphibians, are each a single class of the phylum.

Of course, any taxonomical list is subject to dispute, and fish are no exception.  Nevertheless, this seemed resonable to this blogger!

Kingdom Animalia


Subphylum Vertebrata


·         Class Agnatha [Jawless Fish: Hagfish & Lampreys]

File:White shark.jpg
Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)

·         Class Chondrichthyes [Cartilaginous Fish: Sharks & Rays]

o   Order Squaliformes

§  Family Rhincodontidae [Whale Sharks]

§  Family Lamnidae [Mackerel Sharks: Great White Shark, Mako Shark]

§  Family Carcharhinidae [Requiem Sharks: Bull Shark, Tiger Shark]

o   Order Rajiformes [Sawfish, Skates & Rays]

File:Lepomis macrochirus photo.jpg
Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)

·         Class Osteichthyes [Bony Fish]

o   Order Acipenseriformes [Sturgeon & Paddlefish]

o   Order Aguilliformes [Eels]

§  Family Anguillidae [Freshwater Eels]

·         American Eel (Anguilla rostrata)

§  Family Muraenidae [Moray Eels]

o   Order Clupeiformes [Anchovies, Shad & Herring]

o   Order Salmoniformes [Salmon, Smelts, Mudminnows, Pikes]

§  Family Salmonidae [Salmon, Trout & Whitefish]

·         Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

o   Order Cypriniformes

§  Family Characidae [Tetra, Piranha]

§  Family Cyprinidae [Carps & Minnows]

·         Goldfish (Carassius auratus)

·         Blacknose Dace (Rhinichthys atratulus)

§  Family Catostomidae [Suckers]

o   Order Siluriformes [Catfishes & Pirate Perches]

§  Family Ictaluridae [Bullhead Catfishes: Channel Catfish, Madtoms]

o   Order Gadiformes [Cod, Haddock, Hake, Pollock]

o   Order Atheriniformes [Halfbeak, Needlefish, Killifish, Livebearers]

§  Family Poeciliidae [Livebearers: Guppies, Swordtails, Mollys]

·         Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis)

o   Order Gasterosteiformes [Sticklebacks, Trumpetfish, Cornetfish, Sea Horses]

o   Order Perciformes [Basses, Groupers, Perches, Sunfish, Remora, Jacks, Dolphinfish, Snappers, Grunts, Drums, Cichlids, Wrasses, Barracudas, Mackerel, Tuna, Albacore, Swordfish, Marlin]

§  Family Percichthyidae [Temperate Basses]

·         Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis)

§  Family Centrarchidae [Sunfish]

·         Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)

·         Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides)

§  Family Percidae [Perches]

·         Tessellated Darter (Etheostoma olmstedi)

·         Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens)

·         Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum)

§  Family Cichlidae [Cichlids & Tilapia]

o   Order Pleuronectiformes [Flounders & Soles]

o    Order Tetraodontiformes [Filefish, Puffers, Ocean Sunfish]

If your interest takes you in the direction of fishkeeping, be sure to refer to this site:

Live well!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Virginians & Federal Offices pre 1865

Portrait of Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale.
Three such office-holders: L to R, Geo. Washington, Thos. Jefferson, and John Marshall

Here, for those curious, is a list of Virginians that have held significant federal office in the government of the United States, including those who have served as Speaker of the House of Representatives prior to 1865AD:

Federal Officials and Speakers of the House from the

Commonwealth of Virginia, 1789-1865

Presidents of the United States                                             
George Washington of Fairfax Co. (1789-1797)
Thomas Jefferson of Albemarle Co. (1801-1809)
James Madison of Orange Co. (1809-1817)
James Monroe of Albemarle Co. (1817-1825)
John Tyler of Charles City Co. (1841-1845)

Vice Presidents                                               [Presidential Administrations in Brackets]
Thomas Jefferson of Albemarle Co. (1797-1801) [John Adams]
John Tyler of Charles City Co. (1841) [William Henry Harrison]

Secretaries of State
Thomas Jefferson of Albemarle Co. (1790-1793) [George Washington]
Edmund Randolph of Henrico Co. (1794-1795) [George Washington]
John Marshall of Fauquier Co. (1800-1801) [John Adams]
James Madison of Orange Co. (1801-1809) [Thomas Jefferson]
James Monroe of Albemarle Co. (1811-1814) [James Madison]
Abel Upshur of Richmond City (1843-1844) [John Tyler]

Secretaries of War
James Monroe of Albemarle Co. (1814-1815) [James Madison]
James Barbour of Orange Co. (1825-1828) [John Quincy Adams]
John B. Floyd of Washington Co. (1857-1860) [James Buchanan]

Attorneys General
Edmund Randolph of Henrico Co. (1790-1794) [George Washington]
Charles Lee of Alexandria, DC [VA] (1795-1801) [George Washington & John Adams]
William Wirt of Richmond City (1817-1829) [James Monroe & John Quincy Adams]
John Y. Mason of Southampton Co. (1845-1846) [James K. Polk]

Justices of the Supreme Court
John Blair of Williamsburg (1789-1796) [Appointed by George Washington]
John Marshall of Fauquier Co. (1801-1835) [Appointed by John Adams]
Bushrod Washington of Fairfax Co. (1798-1829) [Appointed by John Adams]
Philip Barbour of Orange Co. (1836-1841) [Appointed by Andrew Jackson]
Peter V. Daniel of Richmond City (1841-1860) [Appointed by Martin Van Buren]

Speakers of the House of Representatives (Dates are only for time as Speaker) [Party Affiliation]
Philip Barbour of Orange Co. (1821-1823) [Democratic-Republican]
Andrew Stevenson of Richmond City (1827-1834) [Democratic]
Robert Hunter of Essex Co. (1839-1841) [Whig]
John W. Jones of Petersburg City (1843-1845) [Democratic]

Source: The Hornbook of Virginia History              

Live well!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gregorian Ordinary, Mass XVII

Not Mass XVII.  Still, an attractive text.

The various Gregorian settings of the Mass Ordinary parts have, in recent years (since the 19th century), been compiled into particular numbered and named Masses.  Further, they are assigned particular occasions when they are most suitable.

For instance, Mass I, Lux et Origo, is for the Easter Season; Mass IV, Cunctipotens Genitor Deus, for Feasts of Apostles; Mass VIII, De Angelis, for Feasts (2nd class) generally; Mass IX, Cum Jubilo, for Feast of Our Lady; Mass XI, Orbis Factor, for Sundays per annum (After Epiphany or Pentecost -- Ordinary Time); and Mass XVII, Adventus et Quadragesimae, for Advent and Lent, as the name implies.  Mass XVIII has adaptations for both Masses of the Dead or weekday Masses during Advent or Lent.

As we have entered the first week of Lent, it seems an good time, then, to present the parts of Mass XVII, which are appropriate for the season.  This Mass, of course, lacks the Gloria that is missing from the Sunday Masses of Lent, or Advent for that matter, for which this setting is designated.

The Kyrie XVII, from the 14th century:

The Sanctus XVII, from the 11th century:

The Agnus Dei XVII, from the 13th century:

This blogger has the priviledge of singing this Mass on a regular occasion at the Holy Masses offered at his school.

Live well!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Of Papal Abdications

File:Benedykt XVI (2010-10-17) 4.jpg
Pope Benedict XVI.

This week, the Supreme Roman Pontiff, and Successor of St. Peter the Apostle, Pope Benedict XVI, announced that effective 20:00 on 28 February 2013, he would abdicate the See of Rome.

Here is a link to the full text of the resignation announcement:

Here is video of that same announcement at the consistory of Cardinals in the original Latin, and without commentary (you may need to listen to this with headphones or speakers):

This article, by Dr. William Fahey, President of Thomas More College of New Hampshire, puts the resignation in splendid perspective:

Here are some good comments by Francis Cardinal Arinze, Cardinal-Bishop of Velletri-Segni, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation of the Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, and Archbishop Emeritus of Onitsha, Nigeria:

Some historical background, then, on such a resignations, with the four popes that have done so in the last 1,000 years:
 Gregory XII (1406-1415)
The last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII in the midst of the Great Western Schism.  Some background: in Rome, Pope Gregory XI, who brought the papacy back to the Eternal City from Avignon, died in 1378.  The conclave that followed would be a controversial and sad one.  In the end, an Italian, Urban VI (1378-1389), was elected.  Problem: a mob encouraged them to get on with it.  The French cardinals, later to be alienated by Urban, then claimed coercion and invalidity of the election.  Their second election, in which they chose the Cardinal of Geneva, gave the world “Clement VII,” (1378-1394) to be anti-pope in Avignon.  In the end, for Urban: Empire, England, Papal States, Poland, Hungary, Portugal; for Clement: France, Spain, Naples, Scotland.    These two rival “popes” would each appoint cardinals, nominate bishops, and generally rule as true pope.  When they each die, their loyalists elect replacements to continue this Great Western Schism.  Time would pass until “Benedict XIII” (1394-1423), though he continued as the Avignon anti-pope, had lost the support of France in 1398.  Seventeen of his cardinals left him, leaving only five.  His support, then, focused on Spain.

There was an attempt to 1409 to resolve this situation, once and for all, and a council was convened in Pisa to resolve the schism.  The bishops assembled proclaimed Gregory XII (1406-1415) in Rome and “Benedict XIII” both deposed, and elected in their place, “Alexander V,” (1409-1410).  This was, of course, not a valid course of action, and introduced a third claimant and second anti-pope.  Most nations, however, rallied to support the counciliar anti-pope!  Gregory found his support in much of Italy and parts of Germany, while “Benedict” retained the allegiance of Spain and Scotland.  With the death of “Alexander” in 1410, the counciliarists elected in his place, Cardinal Cossa, now called “John XXIII” (1410-1415).

Sigismund (1410-1437), King of Hungary, and Margrave of Brandenburg, was himself elected King of Germany in 1410. He would prove a politician – shifting allegiance to the conciliarist anti-pope for political power.  Nevertheless, Sigismund was a driving force behind solving the schism problem.  He had thrown his support behind “John XXIII” to get elected, but he wanted to solve to crisis.  He organized another council – this would succeed – at the city of Constance in 1414.  It met just before Christmas, and all agreed to take part!  Both John “XXIII”(although he fled) and the true pope, Gregory XII, agreed to resign and step aside to elect a new, unanimous, pope – and approve the council.  This occurred in the summer of 1415.  "The Council of Constance finally put an end to the intolerable situation of the Church. At the fourteenth session (4 July, 1415) a Bull of Gregory XII was which appointed Prince Charles of Malatesta and Cardinal Dominici of Ragusa as his proxies at the council. The cardinal then read a mandatory of Gregory XII which convoked the council and authorized its succeeding acts. Hereupon Malatesta, acting in the name of Gregory XII, pronounced the resignation of the papacy by Gregory XII and handed a written copy of the resignation to the assembly. The cardinals accepted the resignation, retained all the cardinals that had been created by him, and appointed him Bishop of Porto and perpetual legate at Ancona."  At the same time, De Luna, "Benedict XIII" would not budge.  By December, however, Spain and her kingdoms dropped him, and backed the Council.  The way was paved.  In 1417, the Council of Constance finally proceeded to elect the new pope – needed approval of both colleges of Cardinal, as it was arranged!  That they did: Cardinal Odo of Colonna, was elected as Martin V (1417-1431) in November 1417!  The council ended in 1418, Martin V approved the acceptable parts, and the new pope recognized Sigismund as Holy Roman Emperor and King of Germany.

 St. Celestine V (1294)

The previous resignation case, and perhaps more similar to that of today than Gregory XII, was that of Pope St. Celestine V in 1294.
This is a more simple case: The death of Nicholas IV (1288-1292), a Franciscan and patron of the arts, led to a very long conclave (the earlier strict rules of conclave had been suspended, so the cardinals could come and go).  Nicholas IV having died in 1292, the conclave to elect his successor only included 12 cardinals, of which 8 were required for election.  The rival Orsini and Colonna families each controlled 3, France had 2, and there were 4 “independent” Italians, including Cardinal Gaetani, the future Boniface VIII.  The deadlocked cardinals finally selected short-reigned St. Celestine V, a hermit and certainly politically non-aligned, Peter of Moroni, in 1294.  Unfortunately, he would be under the domination of King Charles II (1285-1309) in Naples throughout his short pontificate and would be taken advantage of by unscrupulous types.
"The thought of abdication seems to have occurred simultaneously to the pope and to his discontented cardinals,... whom he rarely consulted. That the idea originated with Cardinal Gaetani the latter vigorously denied, and maintained that he originally opposed it. But the serious canonical doubt arose: Can a pope resign? As he has no superior on earth, who is authorized to accept his resignation? The solution of the question was reserved to the trained canonist, Cardinal Gaetani, who, basing his conclusion on common sense and the Church's right to self-preservation, decided affirmatively."

The man who convinced the otherworldly pontiff to resign, Boniface VIII (1294-1303), became pope, then, in 1294.  He is famous for being put in Hell by Dante (some think St. Celestine V, too, is there, as being the "one who made the great refusal."), his disputes with the kings of his day, and for his hard-hitting papal bull, Unam Sanctam of 1302:

Of course, today, the feast of St. Celestine V is on 19 May.

 Benedict IX (1032-1045)  & Gregory VI (1045-1046) 
The previous two pontiffs that resigned did so in rapid succession, and in unpleasant circumstances:
Benedict IX, 1045AD, and Gregory VI, 1046AD.
These resignations are in a situation of complexity, intrigue, nepotism, and a host of abuses.  Rome, and, at times, the papacy, from the late 800s through the mid 1000s, was dominated by a set of rival Italian families that, far too often, placed unworthy members of their own family on the Throne of St. Peter.  Marozia Theophylact, wife of both Duke Alberic I of Spoleto, then Duke Guy of Tuscany, went so far as to put her own son on the Papal throne: Pope John XI (931-935), who then gave her a dispensation to marry King Hugh of Arles.  Her death only passed the family habit to her son, Alberic II, who had his immoral son elevated to the papacy in 955, as Pope John XII (955-963).  Eventually, another member of the family, Benedict VIII (1012-1024) would redeem the family name a bit with hopes and plans of reforming the Church, but his death saw his brother, John XIX (1024-1032), a weak man who did little to stop abuses, take his place.  Reform would wait.

The death of John XIX in 1032 brought his young nephew, yet another Theophylact family member, to the chair of Peter as Benedict IX (1032-1045).  Sources differ in his age, certainly no older than in his twenties, but they all agree that he was immoral and a scandal to the church (though he never taught heresy or denied the Church's teaching on Faith or Morals).  "Taking advantage of the dissolute life he was leading, one of the factions in the city drove [Benedict IX] from it (1044) amid the greatest disorder, and elected an antipope (Sylvester III) in the person of John, Bishop of Sabina (1045 -Ann. Romani, init. Victor, Dialogi, III, init.). Benedict, however, succeeded in expelling Sylvester the same year; but, as some say, that he might marry, he resigned his office into the hands of the Archpriest John Gratian for a large sum. John was then elected pope and became Gregory VI (May, 1045)." http://www.newadventcathen/02429a.htm.

As for Gregory VI, who succeeded his godson, he began his pontificate well, but "when the bishops of the synod had convinced him that the act by which he had become supreme pontiff was in itself simoniacal, and had called upon him to resign, Gregory, seeing that little choice was left him, of his own accord laid down his office. A German, Suidger, Bishop of Bainberg (Clement II), was then elected to replace him. Accompanied by Hildebrand [Later, Pope St. Gregory VII], Gregory was taken by [Holy Roman Emperor] Henry [III] to Germany (May, 1047), where he soon died."

This Church at that point stood on the edge of great reform -- even as it was in the pits of one of its darkest eras.  Clement II (1046-1047) was consecrated on Christmas 1046 with St. Odilo of Cluny at this side.  He then proceeded to crown the King of Germany, Henry III (1039-1056), as Holy Roman Emperor.  Henry was then given the authority to choose the next pope himself by Pope Clement – without the customary election of the clergy of Rome!  This was a canonical procedure that would not last very long.  Clement seemed a reform-minded man, and even conferred with St. Peter Damian (+1072) – the great writer and preacher against the abuses of the day.  But, Clement died before he could do much – this in 1047.  Emperor Henry named another German (Bavarian) to the papacy: Damasus II (1047-1048).  At the same moment Benedict IX (anti-pope 1047) returned with bribes and local noble support to get the papacy back -- he was now an anti-pope!  Emperor Henry threatened Benedict's base of support, and the matter folded.  So did Damasus, as he died in a month after his consecration.

A council was convened in 1048 in Germany (Worms) by Henry III to discuss who should be the successor.  Two men were proposed, both holy bishops, but Bruno, from Alsace-Lorraine, was chosen.  He was horrified.  The honor and office was too much – he made a public confession – but they wanted him even more after he did.  He then accepted on the condition that the Romans choose him.  Henry agreed.  Bruno stayed for Christmas, then traveled to Rome.  He entered Rome as a barefooted pilgrim and went immediately to the tombs of St. Peter.  The clergy and people were impressed, and he was installed in February 1049 – taking the name Leo IX (1049-1054).  While the year of his death, 1054AD, is associated with schism, the pontificate of Pope St. Leo IX marked the start of the great Gregorian reforms so very much needed in the Church of that time.

[My historical sources for these summaries: Church History by Laux; The Glory of Christendom by Carroll; the Columbia Encyclopedia; and my links to the Old Catholic Encyclopedia which I quote directly]

As we head, then, toward interregnum at 20:00, Rome time, on 28 February 2013, here are a few website resource recommendations:

This site at EWTN has some good general resources about interregnum and the conclave that will follow:

The Catholic Hierarchy site is a treasure trove of information on the College of Cardinals who will be charged with choosing the next pontiff in conclave:

Finally, you might also note this excellent site on the College of Cardinals:

This blogger will, as the date of the conclave approaches, present some more information on papal elections.
Live well!