Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Cardinal Kasper Sees Eucharist as Sacrament of Unity
VATICAN CITY, AUG. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The Eucharist, long regarded as a reason for the separation of Christians, is, in fact, a cause of unity, says Cardinal Walter Kasper.
The president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity made that point about the Blessed Sacrament in a recently published book.
The volume, "Sacrament of Unity: Eucharist and Church," published in German by Verlag Herder, and in French by Cerf, explains that "to understand the Eucharist as the sacrament of unity is not something accessory. The unity of the Church is the reason why the Eucharist exists."
"The fact that in the present situation it is not possible, in the name of truth, that all Christians should gather around the Lord's one table and participate in the one Supper of the Lord, is a profound wound inflicted on the body of Christ and, in the end, a scandal," the cardinal writes.
"The unity of the Church is a gift of the Holy Spirit," he states, clarifying that "ecumenical unity" will not give origin to "another Church, or a new Church; on the contrary, it will be placed in the line of Tradition."
Here's a question for the theologically-minded of you (I know there's some of you out there). Is the Eucharist a sign
or a cause
of unity? Yes, Tom, I can say 'both/and', but the truth is we rarely hear of the Eucharist as a 'cause' of unity. The CCC
only speaks of "a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity." Yet, as we all know, a sacrament is an efficacious sign, so it must be intended to bring about what it signifies. But can this sacrament bring about a unity which does not already pre-exist in some way? If so, why the ban on intercommunion? Or is some minimal degree of inchoate unity a pre-requisite, which unity would simply be fostered and deepened by the sacrament? Yet this would sharply distinguish Eucharist from baptism, in which (as in the case of infants) no such pre-requisite is required, as baptism brings one from death to life. Discuss amongst yourselves.
# posted by Jamie : 8:37 AM
Because you never know who's reading....
[Bishop Michael] Sheridan, by the way, is a hulking beast of a man, with shoulders as broad as a gorilla and a frat boy haircut, and a glance that lets you know he could kill you in less than three seconds.
And got this
in your comment box...
Jamie, It was great meeting you in the hotel lobby at WYD. I really must have intimidated you. Of course, I could kill you in three seconds -- but I never would. Is a frat boy haircut a good thing?
Bishop Michael Sheridan Homepage 08.29.05 - 2:53 pm
Would you be worried?
P.S. I got an email from one of his staff today, who just wanted to assure me that it was Bishop Sheridan who posted to my blog. He's proud of his bishop for being 'hip' enough to post in a combox.
If His Excellency is still reading, be assured that an episcopal frat boy haircut is a very good thing, and posting to my blog is about the hippest thing you can do.
# posted by Jamie : 8:06 AM
"Seek always his face" : Papal Angelus reflects on World Youth Day and Feast of St. Augustine
"Dear brothers and sisters!
That lived in Cologne last week was truly an extraordinary ecclesial experience to mark World Youth Day with the participation of a huge number of youth from all parts of the world accompanied by many bishops, priests, and men and women religious. It was a providential event of grace for the entire Church. Speaking to bishops of Germany shortly before my return to Italy, I said the youth have launched an appeal to their pastors, and in a way to all believers, a message which is at the same time an appeal: 'Help us to be disciples and witnesses of Christ. Like the Magi, we have come to worship him'. The youth left Cologne to return to their cities and nations animated by a great hope without however losing sight of the not inconsiderable difficulties, obstacles and problems which accompany a genuine search for Christ and faithful adherence to his Gospel in our times.
Not only youth, but communities and their pastors also, should take note of a fact which is fundamental for evangelization: where God does not take first place, where he is not recognized and worshipped as the Supreme Good, human dignity is undermined. This is why it is urgent to lead mankind today to 'discover' the true face of God revealed to us in Jesus Christ. In this way, even mankind of our time will be able, as the Magi did, to prostrate themselves before him and worship him. As I talked to German bishops, I recalled that adoration is not 'a luxury but a priority'. Searching for Christ must be the incessant craving of believers, of youth and adults, of the faithful and their pastors. This search should be encouraged, sustained and guided. Faith is not simply adherence to a set of dogmas complete in itself, which would suppress the thirst for God present in the human soul. On the contrary, it projects man on a journey in time towards a God who is always new in his infiniteness. So the Christian is at the same time one who seeks and one who finds. It is precisely this which makes the Church young, open to the future, rich in hope for all humanity.
St Augustine, whose memory we mark today, makes some stupendous reflections about the invitation in Psalm 104, 'Quaerite faciem eius semper - Seek always his face'. He notes that this invitation is valid not only for this life: it applies also to eternity. The discovery of the 'face of God' is never exhausted. The more we enter into the splendour of divine love, the more beautiful it is to proceed with the search, so that 'amore crescente inquisitio crescat inventi - in the measure in which love grows, the search for He who has been found grows'. (Enarr. in Ps. 104,3: CCL 40, 1537).
This is the experience to which we too aspire in the depth of our hearts. This is obtained for us by the intercession of the great Bishop of Hippo; it is obtained for us by the maternal help of Mary, Star of Evangelization, who we invoke now in the Angelus prayer."
# posted by Jamie : 3:24 PM
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Visitation Misinformation (and Clarification)
I arrived back from Germany to find the blog-boards buzzing with news - well, rumours - about the Apostolic Visitation of seminaries. Specifically, a number of blogs were circulating rumours that the Coordinator of the Visitations was one Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of the Lincoln Diocese. Somewhat shocked at the rumors, since they were so obviously untrue, I tracked them back to their source
. Apparently a seminarian or formator at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit leaked to a blogger that that seminary's Visitation was announced for mid-October, with Bishop Bruskewitz as Chair of the Visitation Team.
Regrettably though perhaps understandably, readers confused the office of 'Chair' of an individual Visitation Team with the 'Coordinator' of the entire Visitation process. For clarification: In any visitation, even for the purposes of academic accreditation, each institution is visited by a team, and every team has a chair, who assumes ultimate responsibility for that individual visit. With 229 seminaries (according to reports we've been getting), we can anticipate around 100 different visits (some joint programs will probably be combined), hence 100 different chairs. One Coordinator oversees the entire program.
Yet within hours the rumour that Bruskewitz was the overall Coordinator spread to blog after blog. The comments on the original blog teemed with enthusiasm, with many boldly announcing that this position was a stepping stone on Bruskewitz's way to a promotion to the Cardinal Archbishopric of Washington, DC, and a pitiable Lincoln resident begging the Holy See not to take him away. Then the hopes were dashed by CNS
, who picked up a news release announcing that Archbishop Edwin O'Brien
of the Military Archdiocese was appointed as Coordinator.
Not that the like-minded have anything to worry about. LifeSite news ran a story
the same day crowing over O'Brien's sky-high record on pro-life issues (his scathing rebuke
of dissenting politicians may have won them over). O'Brien served
as rector of St. Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie and the Pontifical North American College in Rome - two of only a handful of seminaries renowned for their orthodoxy during this period, and for steering clear of the excesses which swamped most American seminaries in the 80s. He also served as an auxiliary under Cardinal O'Connor of New York, a man not known for a reputation as a left-winger. (Not that O'Brien's record will satisfy all comers
, of course.)
The other reason the surprise was ill-founded is that O'Brien's role as Coordinator hit the press back in April in an AP story
("Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of the U.S. Military Archdiocese has been appointed to coordinate the review"). O'Brien himself did a full interview for Our Sunday Visitor
on the Visitations on July 3 (not on the web, which only tells you that bloggers do not read non-web-based media, and also have short memories).
If you want the real
O'Brien's take on seminary formation, you have to go a few years back, though, to a June 2002 article he wrote (long before his appointment) for the OSV periodical The Priest
(also unavailable on-line, sorry folks), entitled "Reformation of Catholic Seminaries." Here we find a stinging rebuke of the seminary formation programs from the 1960s through the 1980s, maligned as seedbeds of dissent, intellectual apathy, and sexual misconduct of all kinds. As a result, many clergy trained in the pre-Marshall Visitation* period received a formation that can only be described as a "tragic failure," generating priests "whose affective immaturity proved pathological." O'Brien concludes:
"That some . . . in the priesthood, fell into the temptations we are reading of, while certainly inexcusable, scandalous and so very destructive to the lives of others, is understandable in light of the shallow spiritual and emotional soil into which their celibate commitment was sometimes planted. Undoubtedly many thereafter saw the tragic error of their ways, repented and reformed. While the Lord has surely forgiven them, they, the Church and many of their victims will not avoid paying a most costly price for a long time to come." (emphasis added)
Here you have it. The sexual abuse crisis as a symptom of a deeper problem: failed, abysmal, and destructive seminary formation programs which created failed priests who carried out abysmal and destructive ministries. The cure: a reform of seminaries which ensures (a) a seminary environment that nourishes moral integrity and chaste celibacy, (b) intellectual formation that is both faithful to Magisterium and rooted in the profound philosophical tradition of the Church. O'Brien recognized this over three years ago, and probably a decade or two before that. That the Holy See chose such a man to head the Visitations should neither surprise nor discourage us.
* On the Marshall Visitation in the 1980s a half-decent summary was written by one participant, Bishop Donald Wuerl, in the September 30, 2002 issue of America. The final and formal report from the Congregation for Catholic Education on that Visitation can be found in Origins documentary service, October 16, 1986 (vol. 16, no. 18).
# posted by Jamie : 8:29 AM
Cologne, Day 6
This is a bit scary, I've spent enough time on German computers that my fingers have started to instinctively go to the 'z' key when I want to type a 'y' (which is, as I said earlier, how German keyboards are set up).
Saturday was day six in Cologne, and the last full day before we depart on Sunday. After a full day on Friday, I slept in until nearly 9:00 on Saturday. We have nothing on the agenda today, so it's more for sightseeing, etc. I spent the late morning reading in a cafe by myself.
I met Fr. EJB and Msgr. Fay at noon, to grab sandwiches together outside the cathedral. Afterwards, Fr. EJB and I headed to the cathedral, which was now opened for tours of the south tower. For 5 Euro apiece we took the climb. Steps only, no elevator, and, although I don't know the height of the tower, it's got to be twice the height of the Washington Monument, if not more. The staircase is, of course, in the round and winding, and just wide enough for two fairly thin persons to squeeze by, one going up and the other down. Cramped and hot near the bottom, although as we go upwards windows start appearing, which cool things down. Midway up are the bells of the south tower, which are incredible, about twice the height of an average person. The central one, which I believe is St. Peter's (all the bells are named for saints, or virtues), is supposedly the largest bell in the world. It is really amazing that someone can fashion a bell that large, which still makes a perfect pitch. Further upwards was the view from the top of the tower, where all of Cologne was spread out around us. A stunning view of the Rhein. We ran into the American Catholic musician Vince Nims near the top; he looked a few steps short of a heart attack. I wasn't in the best shape myself.
Once we made it back down Fr. EJB tried to find out whether an English-speaking mass was being offered on Sunday. I should note that, at this point, all of the pilgrims are gone, and the cathedral and plaza are nearly empty. They've all gone to Marienfeld, which is right outside the city, for the papal vigil for the mass on Sunday. We had originally planned on going, but after facing the crowds already at the papal opening, and since we have already seen the Holy Father a heck of a lot closer than we would see him at Marienfeld, we abandoned ship, and decided to enjoy the empty city. Fr. EJB talked to one cathedral staff after another, finding none that spoke English. He finally found one, who spoke enough English to get the mistaken impression that Fr. EJB was a bishop, so he took him into the sanctuary and let him see the papal chair (where the Holy Father sits/sat during mass). I, of course, do not look like a bishop.
While I was waiting for him I sat and took in some of the stained glass windows. They're not at all like ours, which tend to focus on one, isolated scene from Scripture or devotion. These windows are epics. Around one central artistic motif, entire narratives are woven, in smaller sections of the window. In one relatively small window one can 'read' the entire life of a saint, from birth, education, vocation, miracles, and death. Figurines embodying the virtues are present, with angels and demons to bring in the supernatural dimension. A whole life's story in glass. Rather, the Bible in glass. It is phenomenal to realize that this is precisely how generations upon generations of Christians were catechized, by coming here from hundreds of miles away to meditate upon a window.
Fr. EJB got all lined up for tomorrow's 10:00am English-speaking mass, and then we headed back to San Andreas (he wanted to see St. Albert). The Dominicans are still there, but it still amazes me how they maintain the atmosphere of piety despite all the tourists. During mass and office they actually close the church entrance, so literally no tourists can enter until mass is over. I picked up a Dominican pamphlet describing the order, which, on a page which lists the 'saints' of the order, lists Aquinas, Albert, Catherine of Siena, Eckhart and Savonarola. Go figure that one out and get back to me.
We hiked from San Andreas down the road to the Cologne City Museum. On the way we notice that the proselytizers were now out in force. The plaza, now nearly empty of tourists, is now filled with propagandists. Fundamentalists, anti-globalization protestors, anti-war (in Iraq) peaceniks, Falun Gong agitators, and some weird guitar-strumming love cult calling itself the 'Community of the Twelve Tribes.' You can't walk through the plaza without coming out the other end with your hands filled with literature. Much of it blatantly anti-Catholic. I imagine they were there in previous days as well, but are easier to spot without the pilgrims here. Ah well.
We reached the museum, which offered an entire history of the city of Cologne, stretching back to its foundations by Agrippa as a Roman colony in the age of the Caesars, to the fall of the Third Reich, all in artifacts and paintings. It is awesome to have a city this old, in which the history of European civilization can be traced. What stands out most of all is the resilient Catholicism of the city of Cologne, which served as a bastion of traditional religion amidst the ebb and flow of political and religious changes. The University of Cologne, which once stood in the middle of the city, helped to solidify this conservatism, with the help of a few militaristic Archbishops, who tended to have not only religious but military-political governance of the city for most of its existence.
The cathedral, too, is a history textbook in itself. It took six hundred years to build. I cannot imagine beginning construction on a project which I knew my great-great-great-great grandchildren would never see finished. All without the help of modern technology. Apparently the original plans to the building were lost a few decades after the project started, so the rest had to be made up as it went along. When the plans were discovered again centuries later, the final product was found to be vastly different from its original concept.
The traditional piety of the people of Cologne also stands out. Around the thirteenth century a wealthy businessman was arrested and thrown in jail, and all the possessions he was carrying confiscated; these possessions were later found intact, allowing a reconstruction of what a man would have carried around in that day. Besides a belt and seal, there were about six delicate, tiny bags, which would have contained relics. Apparently the average citizen of Cologne carried several with him whenever he left the house. Some of the furniture, too, is as catechetical as the stained glass windows of the Cathedral. A bureau and oven on display both contain ornate paintings which narrate the life of Christ or some saint (usually Ursula, who was really big here), so even in your kitchen or living room catechesis would be ready at hand, not to mention a call to devotion and piety.
One painting depics a street procession through Cologne after the city was bombed during one of the world wars (the second, I think). Nearly every building in the vicinity, including most churches, were bombed to the ground, but the Cathedral stood relatively undamaged (thanks to a rare display of restraint on the part of the allies). The Archbishop immediately called for all the relics from the rubble of the city's churches be gathered, and carried in procession, along with the tomb of the Magi, through the city to the Cathedral. This was how the city responded to tragedy: a rugged, communal sense of profound religious piety.
This is how most of the day played out. Sorry I have little to report as far as pilgrim activities, it's just that there are almost no pilgrims left in the city. I've been keeping up with the Holy Father's activities on the television back in the hotel. Unfortunately BBC (the only English channel we get here) has been doing the most wretched coverage I've ever seen. They brought one religious commentator in to explain the significance of the Holy Father's visit, and he spent five minutes discussing why the Catholic Church's position on gay sex was self-contradictory, since it blamed God for creating homosexuals. He was eventually, thankfully, cut off by the anchor, who asked him what that had to do with the papal visit. The good coverage is on the German stations, who are all giving the WYD nearly round-the-clock coverage. No blathering, either, almost all just straight-up live coverage of the Pope's activities. Unfortunately my German is terrible, but at least I can see what's going on.
Unfortunately or no, this will be my last blog report from Cologne. On Sunday we'll spend the morning making final arrangements, and will depart early afternoon, so I won't get to a computer. Thanks to everyone for reading, thanks especially to Amy Welborn for networking to so much positive blog coverage, and including my own humble attempts. God bless you all, and please keep the young pilgrims in prayer.
# posted by Jamie : 8:53 AM
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Cologne, Day 5
I got up early again, hoping to catch breakfast for my first time here, and got it. At 9:00 I met with Fr. EJB in the lobby. He was anxious to get the car, so we headed out immediately, caught a taxi, and found the car with no problems. We caught up on the way: he had found a spot up next to the river, and had seen the papal boat sail by. The crowds, apparently, were even worse than around the cathedral. Once we got the car moving we headed back to the hotel, then met with Msgr. Fay to walk across town to St. Pantaleon's church, where the papal meeting with seminarians was to occur in the late afternoon. Although the pope wasn't actually due until 5:00pm, we were required to arrive by 11am. So a one-hour meeting was an all-day affair.
We arrived at 10:30, and a long line had already formed, of seminarians and those who worked in priestly formation. I ran into Fr. Bashista, the vocation director of my diocese, in the line. Security was tight, even though we had already gone through several checks just to get our tickets. Metal detectors, and the like. After making it through, seminarians and formators were simply wandering around the huge church courtyard, with nothing to do but wait six hours. We found out a mass was beginning in the church itself in ten minutes, so Msgr. and Fr. EJB ran in. They stopped me at the gates, priests only, but Fr. EJB called out that I was his personal 'sacristan' and he never went anywhere without me. 'Sacristan?' Anyway, it got me in, and I followed them into the church and sacristy. Of course, that made me the only one in the building wearing a tie, which is exactly what I wanted to avoid, but I sat in the corner and prayed my office, which at least made me look a little more priestly.
Mass began shortly. The whole mass, for what reasons I don't know, was in Latin, except the readings, which were in French. The French connection was made clear after mass, when I was checking out the church and saw a big full-size photograph right on the edge of the sanctuary of a face which couldn't be anyone but St. John Vianney. A closer inspection revealed that the glass display case next to the photograph was nothing less than the heart of the Cure d'Ars. Awesome. The priests were kneeling in veneration, many kissing the edge of the case. I did the same. On my way out of the church I nearly ran into a swiftly-moving priest, who someone else informed me was currently the pastor of Ars. Cool.
After the mass we tried to get out the back of the church, but the police had closed the massive iron gate to keep the throngs of seminarians from pushing their way in. So we went out the side exit, through the sacristy, and found ourselves right behind the stage set up for the Pope. We were actually in the VIP section, and a few bishops and cardinals had already arrived. Msgr. Fay and Fr. EJB started schmoozing, hoping that they could inconspicuously blend in and stay in the section. I managed to stay for only about half an hour, until my tie gave me away. Despite protestations (Fr. EJB even got Cardinal McCarrick to insist that I was his personal attendant), I was roughly led away by the police. Fr. EJB, though we didn't meet again until late in the evening, was escorted out only a half hour later (Fay, with his full cassock, looked enough like a Cardinal that he stayed in.)
I made my way into the seminarian section, where I met a couple of friendly seminarians from Freiburg, and a pair of huge Polish seminarians from Krakow. I ended up near the front of the seminarian section, only a hundred feet or so from the papal stage. The crowd started getting worked up as the 5:00 arrival approached. Chants of 'Benedetto!' were interspersed with 'Giovanni Paulo', showing the wonderful continuity, as the 'JPII Generation' embraces their new Pontiff. The other chant, from the French, was 'Viva la Papa!', to which the crowd responded, 'Viva!!' A sort of introduction began, in which the seminarians were greeted by representatives, who announced that of the 5,000 attendees, 59 countries were represented. As they read off the names, pockets of the crowd erupted in cheers, and flags were waved aggressively.
After many hours of waiting, the Holy Father finally arrived. We saw his popemobile pull up on the huge screen above, and the seminarians went crazy, the chants starting up again full force. When he finally entered the courtyard, I climbed up over a security fence onto a wall of the church, to get a good view. Unfortunately it didn't help. Please note: our Pontiff is short. I could see every one of the Cardinals escorting him, but the Holy Father is so darned short that I couldn't see him at all until he made his way out of the other side of the crowd. The crowd continued to go wild, and wouldn't quiet down. He stood up and waved for a while, but calmly. The descriptions of him as a bit 'wooden' are not far from the truth. He lacks completely the theatrics of John Paul II, who would have been working the crowd with his actor's charisma. After giving about three waves, Benedict just walked to his chair and sat down. No remarks, nothing: he looked a bit nervous, like he didn't know what else to do.
The evening was actually a vesper's service, led by the Holy Father. Almost entirely in Latin. The psalms were interspersed with vocation testimonies from seminarians. After the reading, the Holy Father gave a few brief remarks, reading off a prepared speech, which he read in German, English and Italian. He speaks all fluently, though his English accept is awfully thick. At the end of the service, he waved again briefly, and then departed through the crowd. I was very close, could see him clearly, and got some great shots. We were a bit disappointed, though, that his performance was so scripted, every word and every motion. Seemed to lack any spontaneity at all. Through the vespers service he remained stoic, looking straight ahead, his mouth whispering the psalms. But the seminarians clearly love him, and the energy was high.
No sooner had I walked out of the courtyard of the church when the downpour began, and I was soaked to the skin in minutes. I ducked under a news van and waited it out. Once it died down a bit, I ran back to the hotel. We were hours late for the youth gathering that Fr. EJB and I were sponsoring, but we had had others take the reigns for us, so it was going well. We missed dinner, but managed to get some pizza out of the kitchen. The youth were doing stations of the cross, and once they finished and began dispersing, we invited the rest of the staff (the emcee, some musicians) downstairs for drinks. A few bishops had shown up for the event, so we naturally invited them down too. Skylstad, Boland (retired from Kansas City-St Joseph), O'Brien (Military) and Dolan (Milwaukee) joined us for a while. Schnurr and Kote saw us going for drinks and tagged along (they had, today, finally found their diocesan pilgrims, for which I congratulated them).
O'Brien was giddy: he had shown up ten minutes late for the bishops' boat yesterday (the bishops of each continent got their own boat, which sailed in front of the papal boat). The boat had departed, and the only boat left was the papal boat, which they promptly shoved him onto. Geez. Most here are very unimpressed with the organization of this WYD, as compared to previous ones. Despite the reputation of the Germans, everything seems quite disorganized and last-minute. The Germans seemed utterly unprepared for this many people. One of the musicians had been at a catechetical site earlier in the day with Cardinal Arinze. He said Arinze had the kids rolling on the floor the whole time, mostly because he would heartily laugh at his own jokes every other sentence. Wish I had seen him. Another musician had been with Cardinal Pell, who apparently gave an excellent presentation.
Afterwards I came up to use the computer, waited nearly an hour for it and then gave up (which is why you'll get two days worth today). God bless, and please keep the pilgrims in your prayers. Tomorrow is the big day: everyone heads into Cologne for the vigil at Marienfield, for the final mass on Sunday.
# posted by Jamie : 4:22 AM
Cologne, Day 4
We headed out at 8:30am again to hit a few more of the English-speaking catechetical sites. We ended up being able to catch only one, at an athletic field where Cardinal Mahoney was presenting. When we arrived some musicians were entertaining the rambunctious crowd. Everyone seems to really be playing off the multicultural aspect, trying to work different languages and cultures into the performances, which really gets the crowd excited. It's clearly one of the coolest aspects of being here, when an African drum troupe is set up next to a Scottish dance troupe. Thankfully, the element of devotion is up front and center: even if the song and dance riffs at the catechetical site are a bit cheesy, at least it's praise and worship, which the youth are really getting into.
We headed back to our hotel, where we were supposed to meet Joe Campo and his boys for lunch. Since the Pope is arriving this evening, the streets have started to close down and the public transportation is already full, so they asked us to drive out their way rather than face down the overcrowded tram system. We we drove back out there to Dusseldorf. Their film company, Grassroots, is working on a film project with us, and they had a television set up in the lobby so we could look over their work so far - fantastic stuff. This is the group that did God on the Streets of New York
in the Spring. Grassroots
is a ministry of the St. Joseph House
in New York, which is a house for troubled youth started by Benedict Groeschel (his first project, before he began the CFR's). Youth come there from prisons, halfway houses or juvenile detention centers, youth who have a desire to reform and live a better life. Once in the house, they live a semi-monastic lifestyle, devoted to prayer and ministry. Joe Campo, a layman, runs the house. From there, he discerns the gifts of each boy, and puts them to work in different ministries. One of these is grassroots, for those gifted with film and photography. Joe took six boys to Cologne with him, ranging in age from sixteen to twenty-seven. They're rough around the edges, still fresh from the streets, but with a beautiful desire to serve Christ which is authentic and refreshing. Joe is a father figure for them, probably the only one they've ever had.
We decided to grab lunch back in Cologne rather than risk staying in Dusseldorf too long. We crammed the eight of us into our minivan and drove back. It was too late. The streets had already gradually began to shut down for the Pope's arrival. Once we got into the city, I would be driving down one street, and then a police van would pull out and block the street, diverting us onto another one, etc. We kept getting boxed in and circled around, so I decided it was best to abandon the car and work our way in by foot. I pulled it over to the side of a street, we unpacked our stuff and the boys' film equipment and started hiking. Fr. EJB had to take off: he wanted to be present for the Pope's arrival. Joe and the boys wanted to hike around the city, do some interviews, etc., so I decided to stick with them.
One street over the crowds were gathered, and we found out the Pope was due to drive down this street any second. We camped out for a few minutes, then the motorcycles started coming, avec sirens blaring. The boys set up their cameras and squirmed through the crowds into position. Then more police cars, and then the limos. There were four or five limos in the papal motorcade, and it wasn't easy to tell which one was the Pope's (apparently it had papal flags flying from the hood). It didn't help that the other limos were packed full of bishops and cardinals in the papal entourage, who were looking out the windows and grinning, as the cars drove by at 50mph. In the end, none of us were really sure we saw the pope in person at all. But the crowd was excited. The new chant for this pope, as I'm sure everyone has already heard on television, is the Italian (?) ''BE-ne-DETT-o!'' I haven't even heard any attempts at alternative chants, so this one really seems to be catching on as the universal papal chant (much as ''Giovanni-Paulo!'' was for JPII. Same intonation too, which is probably why it works so well.
Once the motorcade passed and the crowds dispersed, we headed down to the cathedral. By this time it was around 1:30pm. The Pope was headed to a boat, where he was to sail downstream and arrive at the cathedral around 4:00pm. The cathedral was a mess - the crowds had descended from all over the three cities, and thousands upon thousands had thronged to the cramped cathedral plazas. Various exits and roads had been blocked off, and even the public transportation in the immediate area was closed, so getting around was impossible. We finally found a restaurant with a table, and I bought the boys some lunch. We had a great time over lunch - they all drank sodas and ate off one another's plates. We talked about the spiritual renewal of Europe over fried potatoes and sausage.
After a quick lunch Joe and the boys started strategizing for getting photo shots. We were next to the cathedral, only a few feet from the street the popemobile would be driving down, but the crowds were twenty or thirty thick, so any chance of seeing the Pope from ground level was impossible. Joe slipped the waiter a twenty and he brought us up to the third floor of the restaurant, where the window tables had a clear shot of the road. They set up, but once the owner came out and saw us camped out there, he flew into a fury and ordered us out in no uncertain terms. At least Joe got his twenty back.
The security was very tight, but they found it hard to plug all the holes in the centuries-old plaza, so holes occasionally opened up. When one guard was distracted, Joe and the boys made their move to slip behind him, up the steps onto the cathedral level. One, the oldest, made it past, the others were discovered and turned away. They were overjoyed that Cliff had made it past, with a camera no less, and prayed that he'd get a good shot. With nowhere else to go, the rest of us headed around the cathedral through the closed subway tunnels. As we were walking, they saw another hole open up in the security, and made their move. I pulled back, lacking the daring that press usually have in these situations.
So, on my lonesome now, with my car on the other side of the city and inaccessible, I wandered around for a bit, then, worn out by the screaming crowds, I meandered down to the Legionaires coffeehouse, where they had the papal arrival on wide screen through live video feed. I caught it there with a cappuccino.
I then decided to search out the tombs of St. Albert and Duns Scotus. Scotus, as I was told, was in a side street just off the cathedral plaza. I found the church without a problem, but had a very hard time finding the tomb. For some reason the church had turned into an all-out campaign for the canonization of some 'Konrad something or other', with lifesize posters, statues, displays and literature in every nook and corner. I didn't see a single Franciscan: perhaps it wasn't their church. (The Franciscans have camped out at a 'Cafe Cappucino' spot they've set up near the cathedral, cute and highly effective, but interesting that the others chose to use churches and liturgies as their venue.) In the back corner was what looked like a cement coffin. Over it, in old German cast in wrought iron, I could make out DUNS SCOTUS. The 'coffin' was raised off the ground on a stand, with a set of candles in front of it, and a couple of flowers. Another panel on the wall, also quite old, indicated that Scotus had been re-interred here in a joint ceremony between the bishop of Rome and an Eastern patriarch. Probably quite recent, though I didn't catch the name of the Pope. The 'coffin' had a couple of simple symbols on it (papal keys, etc.), but not knowing much about Scotus' life, I couldn't decipher them. I knelt and said a prayer for self, friends, family, and the handful of my blog readers (without whom I wouldn't have known Scotus was here).
After heading back to the hotel to grab some dinner, I ventured back into the crowds again. I was a little unclear about St. Albert's resting place. I saw a St. Martin's church on the map and took a gander. As it turns out it was a Benedictine church, but well worth the mistake. The Benedictines were there in force, the good ones, sisters and brothers in full habits. A vespers service had just let out, and the Benedictines had put on an impressive show. Very solemn and reverent. I took a look around the church: beautiful and ancient, but no relics.
Outside St. Martin's I headed west, to the other side of the Cathedral, to check out a few churches over there. On the way I saw two brothers robed in white eating dinner in a cafe. I accosted them. No English, but what I needed to know wasn't that hard to communicate.
Me: Order of St. Dominic?
Me: Heileger Albertus Magnus? Here? (with a gesture around the plaza)
Dominicans: Jah, Jah.
(they grabbed my map and pointed to the church); 'San Andreas'. I somehow managed to communicate that I had found Duns Scotus, but not St. Albert.
Dominicans (looking alarmed): Oh, no, no, no. Albertus Magnus. He ist much, much better.
So I took off for San Andreas, and found it without any problems. Shouldn't have been too hard. The Dominicans, also, were in full force there, having taken over a small plaza outside San Andreas, with tables and literature. Dominican sisters were handing out literature all over the plaza, and brothers and sisters were chatting up the pilgrims. Inside the church was worlds apart from any others I had visited. The Dominicans had slapped up posters on every available space, both around the entrance and over and beside every door, indicating 'SILENCIO' in every language on earth. They pulled no punches: this was no tourist spot, but a house of prayer. As a result, the church was dead silent, despite being full of worshippers and pilgrims. A perpetual adoration site was over in a side chapel, filled with pilgrims on their knees on the hard church floor. Just to the right of the adoration chapel, I found a display case with the vestments worn by St. Albert. Awesome.
I got a bit frustrated when I couldn't find Albert himself, so I accosted another Dominican by the entrance. 'Albertus Magnus?' He gestured silently to a small, low-cut door in the stone wall next to the high altar. It was a dark stairwell leading to a crypt below. All the way down: 'SILENCIO' signs everywhere. A full crypt at the bottom had some beautiful art pieces, in a space prepared for mass. In the back, a staircase leading to an even lower section of the crypt, where another stone 'coffin' stood, elevated above the ground and surrounded by candles. I knelt once again and said a prayer, for several intentions, especially for those who read my blog (don't worry, Polish Prince, you got a shout-out).
After visiting St. Albert, I had had enough for the day, so I hiked back to the hotel. I had hoped to get the car tonight, but it was late and the crowds hadn't even begun to disperse. If anything, they were getting rowdier. Many had turned into pubs as it got dark. The cathedral steps were something approaching a mosh pit. So I decided to fetch the car in the morning, if it was still there.
# posted by Jamie : 3:21 AM
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Cologne, Day 3
Got an early start today, up at 7am, to visit the various catechetical sites around the WYD area. There are many, many such sites around Cologne and Dusseldorf. About twenty are aimed at an English-speaking audience, about ten of those run by the American episcopal conference. The basic format of the catechetical sites is to have a program which runs from mid-morning until early afternoon, alternating between music, prayer, and speakers (generally catechetical in nature), with a whole lot of emceeing to keep the kids animated. Each site has a 'featured' catechist, usually a well-known bishop or Cardinal.
Wednesday we started off driving down to Dusseldorf, a nice thirty-minute drive north from Cologne, to visit St. Francis Xavier church, where Cardinal George of Chicago was catechist. We just missed his speech, but he was seated in the presider's chair during a break, with a long line of kids waiting to kneel, kiss his ring, and exchange a few words. Real pop star culture. Most of these kids are from third-world countries; I can't imagine they've heard of George, but the Cardinal's velvet must be the draw. Some American Catholic musicians were playing from the stage (sanctuary?).
In the foyer I happened across an old friend from a few years back, Fr. Mark Schwab, a Canadian priest from the Vancouver diocese who spent over a decade in youth ministry, and is now chancellor of that diocese. Great to see him, and exchange a few stories. The great part about English-speaking catechetical sites is that you often run into people you know, which wouldn't happen otherwise. While in Dusseldorf we made contact with another friend staying in a local hotel, Joseph Campo, who runs Youth 2000 and Grassroots Film project, closely associated with the CFR brothers in the Bronx. He and six of his boys are doing some filming on a joint project, and we arranged to spend most of the day together on Thursday.
From Dusseldorf we headed south of the city to a major sports arena ('Bayarena'), another English-speaking catechetical site. This arena hosts 17,000, and its featured speaker is Cardinal McCarrick today. Again, we missed the talk, but got to chat with a lot of the young people. The place is swarming with nuns in full habit, who are an incredible presence here in Cologne. Every group seems to have a few nuns with it, and they are working to staff a lot of the sites, often behind the scenes. None of them are promoting their own order, either, just helping and assisting. We met our friend Sr. Trinite at the arena, with her mother superior and a gaggle of her sisters. I still can't emphasize enough how joyful this crowd is, and how fired up. Someone had the idea to promote WYD whistles, and every group seems to have a few. Walking through the streets makes you have to hold your ears to block out the shrieking call and answer. We saw a few 'I Love My German Shepherd' T-shirts; no Ratzinger Fan Club's yet.
We heard some of the WYD staff discussing some of the events the day the pilgrims arrived. Apparently on Monday Planned Parenthood did an all-out promotion, and plastered all the subways and railways in Cologne with pro-condom posters. But from the hour the pilgrims started arriving, the posters started coming down. Most pilgrims ripped selectively, crossways and upwards, to tear out the shape of a cross across the posters. Others took the whole things down (apparently unaware or unfazed by the fact that this is a criminal offense here). By the end of the first day, nothing was left on the subways but ripped-out crosses and bare walls. That's the energy here. It's not that the kids are necessarily fiercely orthodox. It's just that this is their show, it's their time, it's their Church, and they don't want anyone raining on their parade, or cramming ideology down their throats.
We made it back to the hotel for dinner. Schnurr and Cody wandered by again, still without their flocks. At least they seem to be having a good time. Cardinal Mahoney dashed past our table in the middle of dinner, apparently late for something. (speaking of hulking beasts - Mahoney is fitted out like a praying mantis.) Sitting next to us was a young priest from Bavaria, a fellow diocesan of Joseph Ratzinger's, as it turns out. There are a lot of Bavarians here, although talking to this priest about the diocese was a bit gloomy. They have 500 priests in the diocese, which is a heck of a lot (but Chicago's not too far off), but, as he whispered under his breath, only forty seminarians. Yowya. The Legionaries, as I learned today, have 500 priests worldwide - 2,500 seminarians. I mean, apples and oranges, I know, but it really puts things in perspective.
Speaking of which, after lunch we hit the vocation.com coffeehouse again, which is still rocking out, wheeling out the confessions and masses. Father Bannon, who serves as general of the American Legionaries, is out working the crowds outside; apparently he knows several European languages. The coffee house is really the only place to go. As everyone hear is complaining, there is no real central location in this WYD. Every event and location is spread between three cities. In Toronto, on the contrary, everything was in one city, with one central 'celebration pavilion' which was the hub of every event. Here there is nothing like this. The Cathedral is the only thing close, but unlike Toronto, there's really nothing to do in or around the Cathedral. No events are planned there, just mobs of kids. So the coffeehouse is really turning into a big hub.
I split from Fr. EJB in the late afternoon and, on the advice of some of my readers, hunted around for the tombs of Bl. Duns Scotus and St. Albert the Great. The WYD program had advertised a celebration of Scotus at a church in SW Cologne earlier in the day, so I figured that must be the church he's buried in. (The celebration was put on by the Scottish bishops, who are apparently making a big deal of the fact that Duns is a Scot. Who knew?) I drove down there and found the church. Everyone there was in mass, so I looked around in the foyer and found no clues which would indicate that it was Scotus' tomb, or in fact nothing connecting it with the Franciscans at all. I dragged a volunteer out of mass: she was German but spoke decent English. She had no idea what I was talking about, and took me to the local WYD office, staffed by six teenage Norwegians who speak zippo English.
Volunteer: Vat iz it you vant?
Me: I'm looking for Duns Scotus.
Volunteer and Norwegians: Dunz Skotuz? Who ist he?
Me: Well, he's dead. I'm looking for his grave.
Volunteer and Norwegians: (look very confused) Ver is he from?
Me: Well, Scotland, actually. But he is buried here.
Volunteer: Ah, he came with de Skottish pilgrims. Did he leave zomething here?
Me: No, no. He's dead. He is a saint. Well, actually, a blessed.
Norwegians: Hieleger? Ah!
Much confusion followed. Apparently the Norwegians call him 'John Scotus', and not Duns, hence part of the confusion. They still seemed confused about why I was looking for his grave. They pulled up a computer and googled it, and found the name of the local church where he is.
Me: Okay, how about St. Albert the Great?
Volunteers and Norwegians: Albert who?
Me: He is a saint. Albert. Umm.....from Italy?
Me: Albertus Magnus?
Volunteers and Norwegians: ALBERTUS MAGNUS!! AH!!!
The universal language. I love it. They googled his church, too. Both are near the cathedral, so I'll hit them tomorrow. Makes me wonder who else is here. Someone should produce a 'POD Pligrims Guide' to various cities. It would have quite an audience. These tombs weren't on ANY of the tourist material (well, I suppose it's not that surprising, but not even on the WYD materials?).
I met with Fr. EJB again at another huge church near the Cathedral, which is being run by the Sisters of the Family of Mary (? best I made out in rough translation of their French), who have turned it into a perpetual adoration site. Youth 2000 is helping out as well, and there are constant confessions in the side chapels. Fr. EJB and I headed down and grabbed dinner. This late in the week my stomach needs a break from sausage and beer, so we opted for Asian instead. Drank way too much wine, blogged (this should explain the state of my blogging, done late at night when everyone in Cologne is drunk) and went to sleep.
# posted by Jamie : 1:01 PM
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Cologne, Day 2
I woke up on Tuesday morning late, pumped myself up with coffee, and headed down for another day. I found Archbishop Dolan (Milwaukee) in the lobby, newly-arrived and without a scrap of luggage (compliments of British Airways).
The first task of the day was to register for the Friday seminarian gathering with the Holy Father. The event itself was a surprise: the seminarist event itself was planned long in advance: no one knew the Holy Father himself was going to show until he announced his intention to do so a few weeks back. Immediately security was tightened. Myself, Fr. EJB and Msgr. Bill Fay (Archdiocese of Boston) headed down to St. Pantaleon's parish to register. We waited in line for several hours, chatting with seminarians from all over the world, religious and diocesan. The seminarians are pumped: the high profile given to their event by Pope Benedict was unexpected and appreciated, and energy is running high. Requirements were strict: passport, pre-registration ID, personal letter from bishop authorizing attendance for a seminarian. Fortunately, the volunteers could not read a word of English, or else they would have grasped that I carried a letter from Bishop John Nienstedt (New Ulm) explaining that I was not a seminarian and had no connection with seminarians whatsoever. Fortunately, as I said, they could not read English. I was registered and assigned a check-in for Friday, for a select group of 5,000 seminarists to see Pope Benedict on Fritag.
On the way back we met Bishops Schnurr (Duluth) and Cote (Norwich) wandering around, having been separated from their pilgrim groups, and trying desparately to find them. We jibed them about being shepherds without sheep.
Fr. EJB and I grabbed lunch with Bishop Skylstad (Spokane) and Msgr. Fay. Bishop Rosazza (Hartford) joined us later, as he wandered into the building. I was able to give Skylstad a few pointers about places to see when he goes to Jordan in a few months to visit the Patriarch there. I have to mention that, on the previous day, when attending mass at the crypt churhch of St. Mary Major, I received the chalice from Msgr. Fay. Now, upon reaching the chalice (which is unusual in itself in my diocese, where the chalice is not offered by local liturgical law) I noticed that it was filled to the brim, and being the last communicant, I decided to do the Eucharistic minister a favor by chugging a good bit of the Precious Blood, so he (he being Msgr. Fay) wouldn't have to chug it himself. Unfortunately, as could have been expected, I chugged and then choked, after a few gulps nearly spewing the Precious Blood all over the General Secretary of the USCCB. But I kept it back with much effort, although he no doubt noticed, making the lunch later a bit awkward.
After lunch we did some preliminary planning for our vocations program on Friday, with the youth of the military. All the steps should be in place. More on that later.
We then headed out to check out a gathering called 'vocation.com', named after the self-entitled vocations website. The site, as the gathering, is run (quietly) by the Legionaires of Christ. The Legionaires never cease to amaze me. They managed to secure a hotel about one block from the Cathedral, a prime spot for young people. They are running a 'coffeeshop' with live internet access and dirt-cheap food available for any pilgrims who stop by. An hourly mass and six confession stations (in about 20 languages) run twelve hours a day. Live bands and intermittent vocation speakers exchange places on the stage. Books and flyers from Legionaires and Regnum Christi criss-cross the room. The kids come in droves. Hundreds every hour flock in and out, peppering the confession booths, chattering up the priests (why is it that the Legionaire priests are the best-looking priests around?), and crowding in for masses. No site at WYD is as successful. They blatantly promote priestly vocations, parade their priests around, and push (literally) the kids into confession booths, and the kids respond en masse. No one else is pushing confessions. The Legionaires are there. I am incredibly grateful, because spiritual renewal is impossible without penance: I know that, and the Legionaires know that. Top-name bands take turns on the stage, Fr. EJB takes his turn giving a vocations talk (a bang-up job, too).
I caught a mass downstairs, with Fr. EJB presiding with two German priests assisting (one, I think, was a Legionaire). The mass was a combination of German and English, as was the crowd. The kids loved every minute, and flocked around Fr. EJB afterwards. He met two kids he had baptized back home in his home diocese. The kids love the priests, drink it up. There's a respect there. I prayed my office while the kids chatted up Fr. EJB, and I caught a confession with a Legionaire who barely spoke English (no worries, a fantastic confessor!). We left both utterly amazed by what the Legionaires had put together. No fuss. Just substance.
We visited the cathedral next. It is hard to compare with what we had seen in Vienna. Easily twice as big as St. Stephen's, towering over the landscape. The inside (and outside) is in even worse shape, rusted and discolored, blackened in most places. The structure had survived the WWII bombing, but not the passage of time. The structure is awe-inspiring from any angle, but it is in desparate need of work. The inside is great, because it is unchanged from the medieval era. Now as then, the cathedral is built to facilitate great numbers of pilgrims while simultaneously hosting an uninterrupted mass. Hundreds of pilgrims eased around the ambulatory side chapels without disrupting the mass. The prize: the remains of the three Magi, entombed in a tri-layer bright gold coffin on the high altar in the back of the church. I clutched the iron-wrought gate and whispered a prayer to the Magi, for myself, for the whole Church, and for union with the Church of the East (whence the Magi came).
The cathedral is serving as a focus point for the pilgrims gathering. While the interior is half-empty, the outside is thronged with pilgrim crowds, each carrying its national flag and usually doing some sort of chant or song. Spontaneous expressions of enthusiasm come forward. One group somehow organized a 'live fooz-ball' tournament, which each participant standing in one place kicking stoically at a ball. Other groups gather spontaneously for dances, songs and chants. The universal call goes out, 'WHERE FROM'? The response: Paraguay, Bavaria, Chile, Argentina, etc. The questioner then goes on, in most cases, to shout the name at the top of his lungs: 'PARAGUAY!!! YEEEAAAAHHH!!!' 'BAVARIA!! ROCK ON!!!!' Germans dominate the crowds, but the Bavarians are in especially high spirits, given the origins of Pope Benedict - they even have their own checkered flag.
At the cathedral we ran into Fr. Francis Bonicci, a secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education. Humble and even unimpressive in person, he remains a wonderful servant of the church in the area of vocations. On our way back from the cathedral, we met Bishops Schnurr and Cote again, still hanging around in front of the cathedral trying to find their flocks. They kind of remind me of lost high school kids who have somehow managed to get hold of a stray hall pass.
Fr. EJB and I caught dinner at a local restaurant. I ordered what sounded like a nice dish of pork and beef. Warning (Achtung): When you order food in Germany, make sure you ask the waiter whether or not the meal is served in gelatin form. The Polish Prince and I have had an inside joke about 'meat jello' for years. Never did I dream that it would show up on my plate. I forgot that Germany borders Poland. I have never been so ashamed to send a dish back to the kitchen. Fortunately it came with a generous side dish of french fries. Mid meal Fr. EJB and I saw Archbishop Levada and his auxiliary, Bishop Wang, stumbling through the plaza, clearly lost and confused. We thought about assisting them, but the meat jello was too enthralling.
After dinner I headed back to the hotel for some reading (Joseph Pieper, jah) and a soft glass of wine. Fr. EJB headed back to vocation.com, where the action is. More tomorrow, when the action really heats up.
# posted by Jamie : 6:35 PM
Cologne, Day 1
We actually arrived in Cologne late Sunday night, picked up a car and went straight to the hotel. The place we're staying is right on the Rhine, although I can only see the Rhine from my room if I press my face way, way up against the glass of the window and look sideways. The weather has been surprisingly, and unseasonably, as I hear, cool and even chilly. But it is a nice surprise. Fr. EJB and I stopped by a pub on the corner. New discovery: German pubs (which as a rule, I learn, are breweries) only carry one kind of beer, i.e. their own. So there is no selection of beers. They ask, 'a beer'?, and you respond, 'a beer.' Other discovery: Germans drink beers by the fifth of a liter, which is about a half the size of a typical American pint glass.
Monday morning my body finally caught up with me, and I slept in until the maid woke me up at 10am. After a quick cup of coffee at the cafe, Fr. EJB and I headed off to the Cologne WYD center to register as pilgrims. Although it's still Monday and the opening mass isn't until Tuesday, the lines are already very long, and we spend most of the morning standing in line. In the cool weather, though, it is not hard to do, and the pilgrims are delightful. We were standing between a group of German locals, and a lone seminarian from rural Poland. No matter how far away the place, Fr. EJB is alway within two or three degrees of separation (he had a mutual friend with the Polish seminarist, stationed together briefly in Krakow).
All the pilgrims are decked out in national colors, many simply wearing flags draped over or around their shoulders. The Irish are especially loud, and when two Irish groups meet, hold your ears. The Americans, unsurprisingly, are the most subdued in this environment. You don't see a lot of American flags. While standing in line, a group will suddenly break out in a chant or cheer, usually religious, and other groups will pick it up, which gets the whole line involved, even crossing national boundaries. There's a real authentic sense of pride in being religious, which is uncommon for Germans, I think. Many youth are wearing 'Jesus is #1' or 'I love Pope Benedict' T-shirts, which is great.
I had made the mistake of signing myself up as 'group leader' rather than Fr. EJB, which means nothing in reality, but I'm going to get egged for it the entire time we're here - anticlericalism, etc.
Once we made it back to the hotel, a number of the US bishops (many of whom are staying at the same hotel) were headed out for a midday mass, including Skylstad (Spokane), Sheridan (Colorado Springs), and Zurek (San Antonio auxiliary). We hiked down to a small church called St. Mary Major, which had a shocking display of photographs from during the war, when it had been bombed literally to the ground. The church is run by a community of nuns, the New Community of Jerusalem, apparently with its base in Paris. A wonderful community, very young and dynamic. We celebrated mass down in the crypt church, which was barren, carved out of rock and devoid of any ornamentation. Monastic in style, with a rock altar standing in the middle. Bishop Skylstad presided. For those who know him, he is rather shy and retiring, but he is also very open and transparent in all the best ways. He did take me a little off guard during the great Amen, when he led his unsuspecting congregation (all three of us) in a rousing chorus of the African-american spiritual version ('Aaaaaaaymen! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaymen! . . .). I prayed my office as they were un-vesting, and found the crypt wonderful for meditation.
Sheridan, by the way, is a hulking beast of a man, with shoulders as broad as a gorilla and a frat boy haircut, and a glance that lets you know he could kill you in less than three seconds. But quite cordial. I suppose. We were escorted by an Irish-born priest, Fr. Tom Healey, who serves the English-speaking community here in Germany, although he knew an excessive amount of detailed information about my hometown in rural North Carolina, which he insisted was a center of liturgical reform by the Oratorian community. I insisted, in turn, that the foothills of North Carolina had not seen a good liturgy since the 1940s. We each left convinced that the other was crazy.
We grabbed dinner at a local joint Monday night with Bishop Zurek and an American reporter. The reporter ended up buying dinner for us, because he was convinced we could get him into a papal event later in the week (we couldn't, and we told him that, but he was convinced otherwise, so we declined to prevent him from paying).
The hotels in Europe have the odd habit of supplying one computer for a hotel of over a thousand rooms. The one computer, in a renovated supply closet, is the 'business center'. But, surprisingly, there's been little competition for it. Perhaps because of the price.
# posted by Jamie : 3:19 PM
Vienna in three hours
After three hours sleep Saturday night (body system is still very, very confused) Fr. EJB and I had as many hours to explore the city of Vienna before departing for Cologne.
Since the hotel was located in the first district, we took a hike around the ring, which took us through the district, straight up to the Cathedral of St. Stephen. The structure is enormous and awesome to behold. The spire itself (although currently under construction) towers over the city impressively. Sadly, as you can tell somewhat from the photo, the roof seems to have been redone, most likely in the 70s or therabouts. Rather than the decrepit but still authentic rusted copper that remains on some lower roof sections, the main roofing is now a garish collection of pastel tiles which completely clash from the rest of the cathedral.
The interior remains wonderfully authentic, untouched by modern renovations. Beautiful statuary, awe-inspiring paintings, etc. It puts anything American, including the national shrine in Washington, to shame. This is the real thing, no pale imitation. You could spend hours in every corner, real enough to imagine you are still in the twilight of the Medieval era.
We caught a mass at the cathedral, which was packed out with tourists. The liturgical confusion in the congregation, though predictable, was a sad reminder of the failed implementation of concilar reform. Throughout the Eucharistic prayer, every three seconds one group would stand, another would kneel, and another would sit, and three seconds later they would alternate. Some knelt for the preface, stood for the words of institution, and then sat for the memorial acclamation. No one really seemed to know what to do.
Again, I will have my own pictures of the interior in good time. As in the Medieval period, the cathedral still functions as the town center, and the area around it still has the public, near festive atmosphere it would have had five hundred years ago, with beggars, pantomimes, public demonstrations, pilgrims singing spontaneous hymns, speeches and vendors, etc.
After the cathedral we walked two blocks down to investigate a church structure we had seen from the square. It was a round structure, old in architectural style but clearly built or renovated very recently. The Church of St. Peter.
This was the surprise, and the high point, of the whole trip to Vienna. If anyone goes to Vienna they must spend a few hours here. To walk inside is to feel as though you have walked through the gates of Paradise. It is the most ornate and incredible church interior I have ever seen. Beautiful paintings (including a stunning dome), gilded statues, stained glass, etc. Most impressive of all, it was all clearly brand new, shining and spotless, clean and fresh. Yet the style was reminiscent of the fifteenth century, Renaissance period. You could really believe you were living during that time, because nothing in the church had aged. In two side chapels were full skeletons of early Roman martyrs (Benedict and Donatus, not to be confused with the founder of the religious order or the heretic), on full display encased in glass underneath altars, still dressed in their decayed garments. Over the high altar (note: there was no other altar, which is the first thing that got me wondering) was a great painting of St. Peter healing the leper at the gates of the temple. The clash between this church, recently built and almost excessively ornate (think lots and lots and lots of money) and the cathedral (equally beautiful, but rusted, crumbling and desparately in need of repair - think no money) is the second thing that got me thinking. The discrepancy told me immediately that this church must not belong to the Archdiocese of Vienna. There is no way the Archdiocese would build or restore this church and leave the cathedral in shambles. 'Wealthy lay fraternity' was ringing in my head. The back of the church had no gift shop, but prayer cards to St. Jose Maria Escriva in eight languages. Viola. Think what you will, never before had I been in a church which made me think, if only for a second, that heaven could only be a downer after seeing this (just for a second, of course).
After lingering around St. Peter's for a while (I desparately wanted to stay for a mass, but there was no time), we trucked back to the hotel, and then off to the airport for Cologne. We arrived in Cologne late Sunday night, and I write from the Cologne hotel at the moment. I'll have much more to report about Cologne, 'Day 1' proper of World Youth Day. Probably later tonight.
Please, in the meantime, keep the young people here deeply in your prayers. It is a time of great opportunity for spiritual renewal, and conversion, for many. For many, it will be the greatest such opportunity; for others, it may be the only. Intercede for the salvation of many souls here.
# posted by Jamie : 11:21 AM
Saturday, August 13, 2005
Cologne or Bust...
With apologies for my blog absence for most of this past week, I have been working on my top secret project day and night; up until 3am two nights back.
I have mentioned in passing, I think, that I am attending World Youth Day in Cologne, through a fortunate series of coincidences, which happened to make it a more or less business related trip. Without going into details, I will be in Cologne for the entire week leading up to World Youth Day, with a travelling companion to whom I will refer as Fr. EJB. My top secret project made it entirely impossible not only to blog, but also to put any planning at all into this trip, with the result that I head into it entirely unprepared, in every way.
As it happens, I am currently blogging from a hotel in Vienna, en route to Cologne. Our flight to Cologne was delayed, so we were put up in the Vienna Imperial Hotel
in downtown. Not that I am complaining. I was told by the taxi driver that Hitler stayed here on a regular basis.
Did anyone know that European keyboards, or at least Austrian keyboards, are different than American ones? Most of the basic letters are where they should be, except that the Y and the Z are switched, and most of the ancillary keys are all mixed up (e.g., colon and semicolon, parentheses, even the shift key). Driving me battz. I mean batty.
So Fr. EJB and I leave for Cologne tomorrow afternoon, which gives us a few hours in the morning to explore the city. The prize will be Saint Stephen's Cathedral
, or 'Stephendom', which I hear is one of the most beautiful in Europe.
I'll be blogging daily from Cologne, if not twice daily; hopefully this can substitute for a journal of sorts. I have a camera, but unfortunately my capabilities for downloading images are at home, so the pics will have to wait until next week.
Bon voyage until tomorrow...
# posted by Jamie : 9:42 PM
Thursday, August 04, 2005
The Old Oligarch never ceases to amaze me
The new 'Matrix' vocation poster
from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis reminds him of a Matrix takeoff
he did two years ago, with Edmund Husserl as Morpheus and Catherine Pickstock as Trinity.
# posted by Jamie : 8:42 AM
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Yet another reason not to read Diogenes.
unravels how CWN's resident alarmist
has . . . well, let the reader decide: either carried out an unprecedented feat of sloppy journalism, or engaged in explicit and malevolent slander against the Cardinal Prefect-elect.
# posted by Jamie : 12:27 PM
Frescoes of the Life of St. Augustine
I recently discovered several frescoes of Benozzo Gozzoli (1420 - 1497), from the Apsidal Chapel of Sant' Agostino
, San Gimignano, Italy but also available on-line. These are, respectively: (1) St. Augustine reading the epistles of St. Paul, (2) St. Augustine teaching in Carthage, and (3) the funeral of St. Augustine. Lots more here
. Hat tip, Polish Prince.
# posted by Jamie : 11:54 AM
For some (I hear), the cure to all the Church's ills is the mass ordination of homosexuals.
, the cure to all the Church's ills (and probably the coming of the Parousia) is the mass purging from the priesthood of all men who experience same-sex attraction.
Let's not pretend the question of sexual 'orientation' is a neutral one, or that it is irrelevant to a man's suitability for priestly ministry. But, at the same time, let's not be sheer, blithering idiots about it either.
Idiocy, as always, breeds contempt:
[T]his has to be broader than homosexuality...every blotch of heterodoxy must be scrubbed clean. I also believe that it needs to start from the top down...a few, very public removals of dissenting bishops will see all the rats desert. Let the Inquisition begin!
Nuke em. Whatever it takes, however long it takes, the lavender boys will be rooted out,
How much longer do we have to "tolerate" their outright hostility and perversion in the name of Christian "charity?"
If only we could! I suspect that "decimate" is the precisely correct term, i.e. about every tenth priest would be defrocked for homosexuality.
Did Pope Benedict have this in mind when he called for a smaller but more loyal Church?
Yes, I'm certain this is exactly what the Holy Father had in mind. In fact, I'm surprised he hasn't yet checked into Diogenes' blog and echoed some of the above sentiments himself. Perhaps he's preoccupied.
Ever wonder why, when the Church speaks of the "respect, compassion, and sensitivity" due to those who experience the trial of same-sex attraction, those outside the Church have a little trouble taking this at face value?
Bring on the combox road rage.
# posted by Jamie : 10:22 AM
God on the Streets of New York
On November 24, 2004, Pope John Paul II blessed six monstrances, representing each of the six continents, which are being used to promote a worldwide Adoration for Vocations campaign during the Year of the Eucharist and sponsored by www.vocation.com and Adoration for Vocations, Serra International and the Holy See's Congregation for Catholic Education's Pontifical Office for Vocations.
One of the six monstrances blessed by Pope John Paul II was presented to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on January 2, 2005 on behalf of vocation.com and the Legion of Christ. The USCCB and the USA Council of Serra International are sending this monstrance throughout North America for dioceses to use in promoting Adoration for Vocations during this year of the Eucharist.
During the week of April 1-8, 2005, the monstrance traveled to the Archdiocese of New York, where a grand parish-to-parish Eucharistic procession was held through the streets and boroughs of New York City. The 33 hour breathtaking Eucharistic procession, led by many priests of the Archdiocese and a police escort, is captured on the video God in the Streets.
I was scheduled to visit New York for this procession, but had to cancel when the good wife went into pre-term labor with Ambrose. The video truly is breathtaking: Watch it here
# posted by Jamie : 9:10 AM