Vol. XIX, No. 6
News and Views
Pope Francis at Work on Two Documents | Marian Day at Vatican on Fatima Anniversary | Newly Baptized to be "Welcomed into the Church of God" | Jesuit Pope’s Mass with Jesuits | Sacred Music Old and New in St. Paul
Pope Francis is reportedly spending much of his August “vacation” writing two documents — an encyclical on poverty and the expected apostolic exhortation following the October 2012 Synod of Bishops on “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”
The encyclical, Beati pauperes (Blessed are the poor), is said to deal with the topic of poverty from an evangelical point of view. Pope Francis reportedly mentioned his intention to write this encyclical at a meeting with a group of Italian bishops last May.
The exhortation on evangelization will likely be published before the close of the Year of Faith, November 24. (After the Synod last year, Pope Benedict had said he intended to release the post-synodal exhortation in mid-2013.)
At a June 13 meeting with the Synod of Bishops council that is responsible for helping draft post-synodal apostolic exhortations and for planning synods, Pope Francis mentioned his plan for the exhortation. He said it would not be right that the Year of Faith should end in November without “a beautiful document to help us. So, I thought of this: Write an exhortation on evangelization in general and, within it, refer to the Synod. That way we could take everything from the Synod, but put it in a wider framework,” the pope said.
“I liked the idea, and I will follow that path,” he told the council. “I’ve written something, and in August — which will be quieter — I can move forward with it,” he said. “This is the reason I didn’t respond to the draft you sent me. I thank you for your work, but we’ll move ahead this way.”
“Blessed are you for believing” is the theme of a Marian Day that will take place October 12-13 at the Vatican. Pope Francis will participate in the event, which was organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization as part of the Year of Faith.
October 13 is the anniversary of the final apparition of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima in 1917, and the Marian Day will feature the original statue of Our Lady of Fatima, which will be brought to St. Peter’s Square for the veneration of the people. Many Marian organizations will be present for the celebration.
The schedule of events, as reported by Vatican Radio, begins on Saturday, October 12, with a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Peter, followed by confession and Eucharistic Adoration in churches near St. Peter’s Square. In the afternoon Pope Francis will welcome the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, and offer catechesis on Mary. In the evening, the statue of the Virgin will arrive at the Sanctuary of Divine Love, where a Rosary will be recited and transmitted by radio to all the Marian shrines in the world. The day’s events will conclude with a prayer vigil.
On Sunday, October 13, the Fatima statue will return to St. Peter’s Square, and a Rosary will be prayed at 10 a.m. The Marian Day events will conclude with Mass celebrated by Pope Francis.
The Rite of Baptism has been altered to change the words that welcome the newly baptized into the “Church of God,” rather than into the “Christian community,” as the current ritual says.
The small but significant change was accomplished by a January 28 order of Pope Benedict XVI to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW). The decree was issued on February 22 and signed by Cardinal Antonio Cañizares and Archbishop Arthur Roche, respectively Prefect and Secretary of the CDW. It became effective March 31, and was published in Notitiae (Jan.-Feb. 2013), the official journal of the CDW.
The new text affects the priest’s welcome just before signing the baptismal candidate with the cross. In the present (1969) edition of the Baptism ritual, the priest says: “The Christian community welcomes you with great joy. In its name I claim you for Christ our savior by the sign of His cross.” (See example: Baptism for Children §111, The Rites, Vol I.)
The new text, in Latin, reads: “Magno gaudio Ecclesia Dei te (vos) excipit.”
In English, the sentence will now read: “The Church of God welcomes you with great joy.”
According to a Catholic News Service report August 22, Monsignor Rick Hilgartner, executive director of the Secretariat of Divine Worship for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that the bishops will receive a preliminary draft translation of the Rite of Baptism next year, and that he expects that this change will be incorporated into the revised edition as it is approved and published.
Pope Francis celebrated Mass with his fellow members of the Society of Jesus on the feast of their founder, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, July 31. The Mass took place in the Church of the Gesù, the principal church of the Jesuits in Rome. In a letter to all the Society members, Superior General Father Adolfo Nicolás described the experience, and some “surprising moments” that “deeply touched our hearts.”
Father Nicolás commented on the simplicity of the experience, and on aspects of the Mass. Among the “surprising moments,” he wrote, was “the opportunity to experience how Francis celebrates Eucharist, without liturgical flourish. On the contrary, he has a heartfelt and meditative style, like one who is in contact with mystery, a style that we Jesuits are used to.”
“Perhaps the biggest surprise,” Father Nicolás said, “was the pope’s desire, personal and full of affection, to visit the tomb of Father Arrupe.”
Father Pedro Arrupe (1907-91) was Jesuit Superior General from 1965-83 and the first Basque to head the order since Saint Ignatius. He led the Society during a time of tension and unrest following the Second Vatican Council, and notably in Latin America, of the rise of “liberation theology.”
Father Arrupe was known for his commitment to social justice for the poor; and was thought by some to be unduly sympathetic to a Marxist-inspired revolutionary version of liberation theology — a term originated by the Peruvian Gustavo Gutiérrez, author of the 1971 book A Theology of Liberation. Another leading proponent of liberation theology, Jesuit theologian Jon Sobrino, was censured by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2007 for his works on liberation theology containing problematic statements about the divinity of Jesus.
“The Renewal of Sacred Music and the Liturgy in the Catholic Church: Movements Old and New” is the title of a conference October 13-15 in St. Paul, Min- nesota. The conference sessions will take place at the Church of Saint Agnes and at the Cathedral of Saint Paul.
The late Monsignor Richard Schuler, pastor of Saint Agnes from 1969-2001, was a founder of the Church Music Association of America (CMAA) in 1964, and the founding editor of CMAA’s journal, Sacred Music.
Conference speakers will focus on the history and development of Church music, the 20th-century liturgical reform, the current revival of Gregorian chant, and related topics. In addition to liturgies that will feature the Twin Cities Catholic Chorale, there will be recital sessions.