Monday, November 20, 2017

Origin of Roman Catholic Church - 64

Continued from previous post –

He became the first pope to visit all five continents. Paul VI systematically continued and completed the efforts of his predecessors, to turn the Euro-centric Church into a Church for the whole world, by integrating the bishops from all continents in its government and in the Synods which he convened. His August 6, 1967 Motu Proprio Pro Comperto Sane opened the Roman Curia to the bishops of the world. Until then, only Cardinals could be leading members of the Curia.
An inner joy seems to have been a characteristic of Paul VI. His confessor, the Jesuit Paolo Dezza arrived at the Vatican every Friday evening at seven p.m. to hear confession of Paul VI. The only words he ever spoke about his long service to Paul VI during his pontificate were, that this pope is a man of great joy. After the death of Pope Paul VI, Dezza was more outspoken, saying that
"if Paul VI was not a saint, when he was elected pope, he became one during his pontificate. I was able to witness not only with what energy and dedication he toiled for Christ and the Church but also and above all, how much he suffered (!) for Christ and the Church. I always admired not only his deep inner resignation but also his constant abandonment to divine providence".
It is this character trait, which led to the opening of the process of beatification and canonization ((Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church) the act of admitting a deceased person into the canon of saints) for Paul VI.
With the accession of Pope John Paul II after the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I (who only survived as pope for 33 days), the church had, for the first time since Pope Adrian VI in the 16th century, a non-Italian pope. John Paul II has been credited with helping to bring down communism in eastern Europe by sparking what amounted to a peaceful revolution in his Polish homeland. Lech Wałęsa, one of the several founders of the Solidarity worker movement that ultimately toppled communism, credited John Paul with giving Poles the courage to rise up. The last Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev acknowledged publicly the role of John Paul II in the fall of Communism. The pope himself stated after the fall of Communism that "the claim to build a world without God has been shown to be an illusion" (Prague, April 21, 1990).
But this world without God exists in Capitalism too. Therefore, as did his predecessors, so did John Paul repeatedly, the content of Christianity (righteousness), its religious and moral messages (various rituals and other methodologies), its defense of ordinary human person and warned against the dangers of capitalism. Finally he suggests that, "Unfortunately, not all that West proposes as a theoretical vision or as a concrete lifestyle reflects values of Gospel".
The long pontificate of John Paul is credited with re-creating a sense of stability and even identity to the Catholic Church after years of questioning and searching. His teaching was firm and unwavering on issues, which seemed to be in doubt under his predecessor including the ordination of women, liberation theology and priestly celibacy. He virtually stopped the liberal isolationistic policy of 'problem priests' policy', of Pope Paul VI, which inadvertently may have contributed to problems in the USA. His authoritative style was reminiscent of Pope Pius XII, whose teaching he repeated in his own words, such as the identity of the Catholic Church with the Body of Christ and his condemnations of capitalism "viruses": secularism, attitude of indifference to life, epicurean (enjoying life) consumerism, practical materialism, and also formal atheism (believing God, but not exactly Jesus). Pope feared that all these attitudes may challenge the position of Church within the Christian society, particularly educated ones from America.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Origin of Roman Catholic Church - 63

Continued from previous post –

On December 7, 1965, a Joint Catholic-Orthodox Declaration of His Holiness Pope Paul VI and the Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I, lifted the mutual excommunication against Catholic and Orthodox which had been in force since the Great Schism of 1054. This was sign of spiritual maturity on the part of Churches since their history. Papal power began to come to age after several years of Roman Catholic Church life.
The bishops agreed that the pope exercises supreme authority over the church, but defined "collegiality", meaning that all bishops share in this authority. Local bishops have equal authority as successors of the Apostles and as members of a larger organization, the Church founded by Peter and entrusted to the subsequent apostles. The pope serves as a symbol of unity and has additional authority to ensure the continuation of that unity of all faithful however, they continue to have that superior position over all other Churches! Pope also wanted to be leader of that unity of churches. During the Second Vatican Council, Catholic bishops drew back a bit from statements, which might anger Christians of other faiths. Cardinal Augustin Bea, the President of the Christian Unity Secretariat had always the full support of Pope Paul VI in his attempts to ensure that the Council language is friendly and open, to the sensitivities of Protestant and Orthodox Churches, whom he had invited to all sessions at the request of Pope John XXIII. Bea also was strongly involved in the passage of 'Nostra aetate', which regulates relation of the Church with the Jewish faith and members of other religions. This adjustment had become essential as more and more intellectuals were interested in other philosophies such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Brahmanism. In many 1Universities, subject "Comparative religions" had become regular.
The establishment of national conferences of bishops tended to erode papal authority to some degree, and Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968), reaffirming the prohibition of artificial birth control, was met with both evasion and defiance in the USA and Western Europe but warmly welcomed in South America, Eastern and Southern Europe.
Pope Paul VI (1963–1978), however, continued the ecumenical efforts of Pope John XXIII in his contacts with Protestant and Orthodox churches. He also continued John XXIII's attempts to make discreet moves in the direction of pragmatic accommodation with the Communist regimes of Eastern Europe, a policy that were possible in the eras of Krushchev and Brezhnev. Paul VI also reorganized the curia and spoke strongly for peace and social justice.
Pope Paul VI faced criticism throughout his papacy from both traditionalists and liberals for steering a middle course during Vatican II and in the course of the implementation of its reforms thereafter. His passion for peace during the Vietnam War was not understood by all. The urgent task of overcoming World poverty and start real development resulted partly in benign neglect of papal teachings by the influential and the rich. On basic Church teachings, this pope was unwavering. On the tenth anniversary of Humanae Vitae, he strongly reconfirmed his teachings. In his style and methodology, he was a disciple of Pius XII, whom he deeply revered. He suffered under the attacks of his predecessor for his alleged silences, knowing from personal association with the late pope the real concerns and compassion of Pius XII. Pope Paul is not credited to have had the encyclopaedic culture of Pius XII, nor his phenomenal memory, his amazing gift for languages, his brilliant style in writing, nor did he have the Charisma and outpouring love, sense of humor and human warmth of John XXIII. He took on himself the unfinished reform work of these two popes, bringing them diligently with great humility and common sense and without much fanfare to conclusion. In doing so, Paul VI saw himself following in the footsteps of the Apostle Paul, torn to several directions as Saint Paul, who always said, I am attracted to two sides at once, because the Cross, always divides.

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Monday, October 30, 2017

Origin of Roman Catholic Church - 62

Continued from previous post –

Between 1933 to 1939, Pacelli issued 55 protests of violations of the Reichskonkordat. Most notably, early in 1937, Pacelli asked several German cardinals, including Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber to help him write a protest of Nazi violations of the Reichskonkordat; this was to become Pius XI's encyclical "Mit brennender Sorge". The encyclical, condemning the view that "exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State ... above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level", was written in German instead of Latin and read in German churches on Palm Sunday 1937.

World War II - 1939–1945

When Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, the Vatican declared neutrality to avoid being drawn into the conflict. That was also to avoid occupation of Vatican by the Italian military. In 1944, the German Army occupied Rome. Adolf Hitler proclaimed that he would respect Vatican neutrality. However, several incidents, such as giving aid to downed Allied pilots, nearly caused Nazi Germany to invade the Vatican. Rome was liberated by the Allies after several months of occupation.
The Church policies after World War II of Pope Pius XII focused on material aid to war-torn Europe with its 15 million displaced persons and refugees, an internal internationalization of the Roman Catholic Church, and the development of its worldwide diplomatic relations. His encyclical Evangelii praecones, increased the local decision-making of Catholic missions, many of which became independent dioceses. Pius XII demanded recognition of local cultures as equal to European culture. He internationalized the College of Cardinals by eliminating the Italian majority and appointed cardinals from Asia, South America and Australia. In Western Africa Southern Africa British Eastern Africa, Finland, Burma and French Africa Pope Pius established independent dioceses in 1955.
While after years of rebuilding, the Church thrived in the West and most of the developing world, it faced most serious persecutions in the East. Sixty million Catholics came under Soviet dominated regimes in 1945, with tens of thousands of priests and religious people killed, and millions deported into Soviet and Chinese Gulags. The communist regimes in Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and China practically eradicated the Roman Catholic Church in their countries.
The continuing strength of the forces within the church favoring theological innovation and energetic reform became unmistakably evident at the Second Vatican Council, convened by Pope John XXIII (1958–1963), and found expression especially in its decrees on ecumenism, religious liberty, the liturgy, and the nature of the church. The ambivalence of some of those decrees, however, and the disciplinary turmoil and doctrinal conflict following the ending of the council, brought about new challenges to papal authority.
On October 11, 1962, Pope John XXIII opened the Second Ecumenical (religional) Vatican Council. The 21st ecumenical council of the Catholic Church emphasized the universal call to holiness and brought many changes in practices, including an increased emphasis on ecumenism; fewer rules on penances, fasting and other devotional practices. Initiating a revision of the services, which were to be slightly simplified and made supposedly more accessible by allowing the use of native languages instead of Latin. Opposition to changes inspired by the Council gave rise to the movement of Traditionalist Catholics who disagree with changing the old forms of worship. These changes have made it possible for Catholic priesthood to practice Hindu practices such as Yoga in their spiritual life. Movement of Traditional Catholics fear that some superior practices if introduced as Catholic, then that may eventually nonplus original Catholic practices and Hinduism may even replace the whole of Catholicism!

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Origin of Roman Catholic Church - 61

Continued from previous post –


The creation of Vatican City - 1929

The pontificate of Pope Pius XI was marked by great diplomatic activity and the issuance of many important papers, often in the form of encyclicals (a letter from the pope sent to all Roman Catholic bishops throughout the world). In diplomatic affairs, Pius was aided at first by Pietro Gasparri and after 1930 by Eugenio Pacelli (who succeeded him as Pope Pius XII). Cardinal Gasparri's masterpiece was the Lateran Treaty (1929), negotiated for the Vatican by Francesco Pacelli. Nevertheless, the Fascist government and the pope were in open disagreement over the restriction of youth activities. This culminated in a strong papal letter (Non abbiamo bisogno, 1931) in that letter to all Churches world over, he was arguing the impossibility of being at once a Fascist (a political theory advocating an authoritarian hierarchical government as opposed to democracy or liberalism) and a Catholic. Ironically, we see that, during the history of Papal authority that Pope's power was essentially a fascist rule. Pope's opposition to fascism was a part of its hypocrisy. Relations between Mussolini and the Holy See were cool ever after. May be, Church wanted to show democratic states that Church is on their side!
Negotiations for the settlement of the Roman Question began in 1926 between the government of Italy and the Holy See. In 1929 that culminated in the agreements of the three "Lateran Pacts", signed for King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini and for Pope Pius XI by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri, in the Lateran Palace (hence the name to that pact, by which they are known).
The Lateran Treaty 1929, included a political treaty, which created the state of the Vatican City and guaranteed full and independent sovereignty to the Holy See. The pope was pledged to perpetual neutrality in international relations and to abstention from mediation in a controversy unless specifically requested by all parties. The covenant established Catholicism (and not Christianity!) as the religion of Italy. And the financial agreement was accepted as settlement of all the claims of the Holy See against Italy arising from the loss of temporal power in 1870.
A national covenant with Germany was one of Pacelli's main objectives as secretary of state. As nuncio during the 1920s, he had made unsuccessful attempts to obtain German agreement for such a treaty. Between 1930 and 1933, he attempted to initiate negotiations with representatives of successive German governments. However, the opposition of Protestant and Socialist parties, the instability of national governments and the care of the individual states to guard their autonomy thwarted this aim. In particular, the questions of denominational schools and clergyman work in the armed forces prevented any agreement on the national level, despite talks in the winter of 1932.
Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor on 30 January 1933 and sought to gain international respectability and to remove internal opposition by representatives of the Church and the Catholic Center Party. He sent his vice chancellor Franz von Papen, a Catholic nobleman and former member of the Center Party, to Rome to offer negotiations about a Reichskonkordat. On behalf of Cardinal Pacelli, his long-time associate Prelate Ludwig Kaas, the out-going chairperson of the Centre Party, negotiated first drafts of the terms with Papen. The covenant (agreement) was finally signed, by Pacelli for the Vatican and von Papen for Germany, on 20 July and ratified on September 10, 1933.

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Monday, October 2, 2017

Origin of Roman Catholic Church - 60

Continued from previous post –
Interesting part in this message is that it does not refer to Jesus who they are supposed to represent! This shows how Roman Catholic Church has gone farther away from Jesus, as if Jesus is not concerned! Pope Leo XIII, considered a great diplomat, managed to improve relations with Russia, Prussia, German France, England and other countries. However, in light of a hostile anti-Catholic climate in Italy, he continued the policies of Pius IX towards Italy, without major modifications. He had to defend the freedom of the Church against Italian persecutions and attacks in the area of education, expropriation and violation of Catholic Churches, legal measures against the Church and brutal attacks, culminating in anticlerical groups attempting to throw the body of the deceased Pope Pius IX into the Tiber river on July 13, 1881. The pope even considered moving the papacy to Trieste or Salzburg, two cities under Austrian control, an idea which the Austrian monarch Franz Josef I gently rejected.
His encyclicals changed Church positions on relations with temporal authorities, and, in the 1891 encyclical Rerum novarum addressed for the first time social inequality and social justice issues with Papal authority. He was greatly influenced by Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler, a German bishop who openly propagated siding with the suffering working classes Since Leo XIII, Papal teachings expand on the right and obligation of workers and the limitations of private property: Pope Pius XI Quadragesimo anno, the Social teachings of Pope Pius XII on a huge range of social issues, John XXIII Mater et magistra in 1961, Pope Paul VI, the encyclical Populorum progressio on World development issues, and Pope John Paul II, Centesimus annus, commemorating the 100th anniversary of Rerum novarum of Pope Leo XIII.
The eclipse of papal temporal power during the 19th century was accompanied by a recovery of papal prestige. The monarchist reaction in the wake of the French Revolution and the later emergence of constitutional governments served alike, though in different ways, to sponsor that development. The reinstated monarchs of Catholic Europe saw in the papacy a conservative ally rather than a jurisdictional rival. Later, when the institution of constitutional governments broke the ties binding the clergy to the policies of royal regimes, Catholics were freed to respond to the renewed spiritual authority of the pope.
The popes of the 19th and 20th centuries exercised their spiritual authority with increasing vigor and in every aspect of religious life. By the crucial pontificate of Pope Pius IX (1846–1878), for example, papal control over worldwide Catholic missionary activity was firmly established for the first time in history.

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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Origin of Roman Catholic Church - 59

Continued from previous post –

So far, during this brief preview of Church activities we noticed how this institution is gradually shifting from their original stand of rigidness to suit demands of time. That means Church is now guided by laws of evolution same as Hinduism. Freethinking is gaining ground within Church activities. Many clergies openly admit of that. In this new situation what is happening within the Catholic Church we shall see in coming posts. This does not mean the old habits of rigidness are altogether gone. Those habits do pop up their heads and occasionally create dirty scenes within the activities of Roman Catholic Church.
Modern science is playing a big role in this process of converting Church from rigid fanatic force to a more reasonable force that accepts that most ideas of Church are wrong. Position of modern science is getting upper hand over traditional religious beliefs. Concept of God and gods are becoming more scientifically acceptable. On the other side, rigidness of modern scientific attitude of not accepting any idea that is based on spiritualism is slowly diminishing. Catholic Church never had any spiritual status in the past save some show of that attitude. We also notice that Yoga, having proved its usefulness in everyday life, gets more acceptances by new generation people. Under this observation, we shall see what the scene of modern Church of twentieth century is.
Roman Catholic Church in twentieth century -

Roman Question - 1870–1929

The provisional capital of Italy had been Florence since 1865. After defeating the papal forces in 1870, the Italian government moved to the banks of the Tiber a year later. Victor Emmanuel installed himself in the Quirinal Palace. Rome became once again, for the first time in thirteen centuries, the capital city of a united Italy. Rome was unusual among capital cities only in that it contained the power of the Pope and a small parcel of land (Vatican City) beyond national control. This anomaly was not formally resolved until the Lateran pacts of 1929.
The last eight years of his long pontificate (career as a Pope), – the longest in Church history – Pope Pius IX spent as prisoner of the Vatican. Catholics were forbidden to vote or being voted in national elections. However, they were permitted to participate in local elections, where they achieved successes. Pius himself was active, during those years, by creating new diocesan seats and appointing bishops to numerous dioceses, which had been unoccupied for years. Asked if he wanted his successor to follow his Italian policies, the old pontiff replied:
My successor may be inspired by my love to the Church and my wish to do the right thing. Everything changed around me. My system and my policies had their time; I am too old to change direction. This will be the task of my successor.
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Monday, September 11, 2017

Origin of Roman Catholic Church - 58

Continued from previous post –
Catholic Reformation continues -

Reformation and Counter-Reformation - 1517–1585

Baroque Papacy - 1585–1689

The pontificate of Pope Sixtus V (1585–1590) opened up the final stage of the Catholic Reformation, characteristic of the Baroque age of the early seventeenth century, shifting away from compelling to attracting. His reign focused on rebuilding Rome as a great European capital and Baroque (Elaborate and extensive ornamentation in decorative art and architecture that flourished in Europe in the 17th century) city, a visual symbol for the Catholic Church. While doing all this main purpose of the Church that is to promote spirituality was conveniently lost.
New ideologies such a socialism and communism emerged in this period and due to this development politics also changed. Politics of war was gradually replaced by politics of elections. Encouraged by all socially alert people all over the world; Pope of Roman Catholic Church had to accept that change and mould its political policies in that accordance. Governments were elected by voters and importance of military power was reduced in the period. Diplomacy was gradually replacing military might in Europe as well as the world. Papal authority has to be very careful in this mixed situation. This provides for more and special type of a challenge to Papal authority. In addition to that, other ideologies such as Hinduism and Yoga began to attract new generations when they found that these new concepts are making many issues in human life easy to face. Secretly though Pope has ordered his companions, too skillfully copy and reintroduce these, scientifically more correct approaches within Christian practices so that Church can benefit by them. Some orthodox groups oppose it but as the time demands, they will have to accept these Hindu practices to improve working of Church. The only care they have to take it to see that ordinary Christians do not get the smell of that. However, 'You Tube', and 'Face Book', on internet may not allow that to happen and eventually everybody shall realize that church is gradually shifting to Hinduism without openly admitting of that.
END of this series -

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