Monday, March 30, 2009

Preparing for Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Israel and the Holy Land (Roundup I)

On March 26, 2009, the Vatican released the Pope's itinerary for his 12th international trip, which will take place May 8-15. As reported earlier, the visit will re-trace the steps of Pope John Paul II's historic visit, howbeit with an additional day allowing for more interreligious and ecumenical meetings.

Catholic Friends of Israel will be providing regular roundups of news, commentary and coverage of the papal visit. As expected, most of the stories over the past weeks have to do with the basic logistics of the trip.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Anticipating Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Israel and the Holy Land

Pope Benedict's visit to the Holy Land is scheduled for May 8-15, 2009. We'll be providing roundups of news, commentary and coverage of his visit, with increasing frequency as we draw nearer to the trip.
An unforeseen mishap for me was the fact that the Williamson case came on top of the remission of the excommunication. The discreet gesture of mercy towards four Bishops ordained validly but not legitimately suddenly appeared as something completely different: as the repudiation of reconciliation between Christians and Jews, and thus as the reversal of what the Council had laid down in this regard to guide the Church’s path. A gesture of reconciliation with an ecclesial group engaged in a process of separation thus turned into its very antithesis: an apparent step backwards with regard to all the steps of reconciliation between Christians and Jews taken since the Council – steps which my own work as a theologian had sought from the beginning to take part in and support. That this overlapping of two opposed processes took place and momentarily upset peace between Christians and Jews, as well as peace within the Church, is something which I can only deeply deplore. I have been told that consulting the information available on the internet would have made it possible to perceive the problem early on. I have learned the lesson that in the future in the Holy See we will have to pay greater attention to that source of news. I was saddened by the fact that even Catholics who, after all, might have had a better knowledge of the situation, thought they had to attack me with open hostility. Precisely for this reason I thank all the more our Jewish friends, who quickly helped to clear up the misunderstanding and to restore the atmosphere of friendship and trust which – as in the days of Pope John Paul II – has also existed throughout my pontificate and, thank God, continues to exist.
Excerpt from Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the remission of the excommunication of the four Bishops consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre (March 10, 2009).