NEWS:  October 29, 2010

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Bird's Eye View of the News

Atila Sinke Guimarães

PRODUCTION GROWTH CONTINUES  - The P.S.F. - Pontifical Saint Factory - is more productive than ever. Some Protestants and Progressivists were afraid that Benedict XVI would slow down the pace of beatifications and canonizations adopted by John Paul II, which so adequately served their goal of mocking and degrading sainthood. Their fear was based on the serious concerns expressed by Ratzinger when he was a Cardinal about the vulgarization of those sacred titles. But that worry proved to be unfounded.

While the Polish Pope achieved high performance in the saint production line, declaring a total of 482 new Saints plus 1,342 new Blesseds during the 26 years of his pontificate, his German successor has continued along the same path. Setting aside any prior voiced concerns, he has already made 34 new canonizations and 788 new beatifications in only 5 years (The Tablet, October 16, 2010, p. 29).

Benedict XVI's Increase of Saints per Year is 6.8, while JPII's was much higher - 18.5. However, Benedict's Increase of Blesseds per Year of 157.6 reveals his papacy to be far more productive than that of his predecessor, whose figure was only 51.6.

If he maintains this speed, we see that, at the end of a 26-year pontificate, this Pontiff would have made 176 new Saints and 4,097 persons would be included in the category of Blessed, a figure that surpasses Wojtyla's record three times over ...

CLOSING USHAW SEMINARY  -  While the easy and artificial production of new "saints" sky-rockets, the harder work of attracting new vocations for the seminaries plunges to the deepest abyss. Three weeks after the commemorations of the papal visit in north England where many area priests clustered at Ushaw for a picture with Benedict, the administration of that major seminary made the decision to close it. Until now Ushaw has formed 40% of the English clergy, the remainder being educated by three other seminaries.

Englands Ushaw seminary closes

Soon after the papal visit, England's largest and oldest seminary prepares to close
How and when was Ushaw founded? Many Church properties were illicitly appropriated in France during the religious persecution established by the French Revolution against the Catholic Church in 1792. In response, the directors of Douai Seminary in northern France bought 200 acres of land at Ushaw to continue forming Catholic clergy. In 1808 the new English seminary - the first Catholic college in England since the Pseudo-Reform - opened its doors. This was 40 years before the official restoration of the Catholic Hierarchy in that country.

Since then, Ushaw has played an important role in the formation of the English clergy. In the late '50s, a little before the Council, Ushaw had 400 seminarians; today it has 26 (The Tablet, October 16, 2010, pp. 4-5). With the drop in vocations that followed in the wake of Vatican II, the first blow to the institution came in 1972 with the closure of its junior seminary.

Then, with the closure of Upholland Seminary in Lancashire in 1975, Ushaw became the last remaining major seminary for forming priests in northern England. Its situation, however, was far from brilliant. As the building emptied for lack of vocations, its directors looked for alternative sources of income to maintain the institution. Attempts made to transform parts of the site into a school, hotel and leisure complex came to nothing. A conference center was organized that generated some income, while an attempt to found a recuperation house faltered. As a result, the seminary had to sell its historic treasures. This solution, however, only postponed its death.

On October 8, 2010, a meeting of the trustees presided over by Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool was held. The Prelate heard that the situation was unsustainable, and the decision was made to close Ushaw. A 30-day statutory period was allowed to see if any solution might still be found to maintain that important institution (ibid.).

In fact there has been one response. A representative of the English Latin Mass Society has offered to raise money to keep the institution as a house of formation for those who want to celebrate exclusively the Tridentine Mass. In a letter to The Tablet, Latin Mass Society treasurer Paul Waddington affirms: "One potential use for Ushaw would be as a seminary for the traditional movement within the Church ... There is a need for a seminary in Europe where the education is in the English language. Once established with a suitable teaching staff, such a seminary could cater, not only for candidates from the British Islands, but also for candidates from other parts of the English-speaking-world."

Presently there are traditionalist seminaries in Germany, Italy and France forming 300 men, Mr. Waddington states, and he predicts that traditionalists from Eastern Europe would value the opportunity to be formed at an English-language seminary (ibid., p. 30).

Let's wait and see what will be the final decision of the Archbishop of Liverpool about Ushaw. Will he sell it to Latin Mass Society or would he rather close it or, still yet, sell it to some Muslim sect?

COSMIC DIMENSION  -  Fr. Raymond Pannikar was one who put into practice the theory of the anonymous Christian that is normally attributed to Fr. Karl Rahner. The latter certainly defended the notion that people who have never heard of the Catholic Creed or even rejected it might be Christians without knowing it, but others were also proposing and applying that theory at the same time as Rahner.

Panikkar pretended that no religion has the "monopoly" of Christ; rather, Christ exists wherever man tries to unite with divinity. "Christ is the universal symbol of divine-human unity," he said, "the human face of God." Another of his statements is also expressive: "To the third Christian millennium is reserved the task of overcoming a tribal Christology by a Christophany that allows Christians to see the work of Christ everywhere, without assuming that they have a better grasp or monopoly of that mystery" (National Catholic Reporter, October 1, 2010, p. 10).

Syncretist Fr. Raymond Pannikar

Panikkar: I am Christian, Buddhist & Hinduist
Panikkar is a celebrated scholar on inter-religious dialogue with Hinduism and Buddhism, and a collection of his works is planned to be printed in 30 volumes by Italian publishing house Jack Books. In 1961 he was already defending a thesis in Rome's Lateran University that summarized his thinking: The Unknown Christ of Hinduism.

Setting his theories into practice, he joined with three other religious - Jules Monchanin, Henri Le Saux and Bede Griffiths - to experience how Christ lives in Hinduism and Buddhism. Describing his life of mystical syncretism, this Spanish-Hindu priest affirmed: "I left Europe [for India] as a Christian, I discovered I was a Hindu and returned as a Buddhist without ever having ceased to be a Christian."

At age 71 Panikkar, still a "practicing" priest, married a woman in a civil law marriage. It is not clear what his religious superiors did or how this contradictory situation was resolved. Trying to explain this extravagant marriage, Prof. Michael von Brück of the University of Munich said: "He married because of his understanding of the cosmic dimension of the priesthood. He hoped his marriage would be a symbol of new possibilities for himself and others" (NCR, ibid).

Heretic, syncretist and scandalous, Raymond Panikkar delivered his soul to the Creator on August 26, 2010 at age 91. He probably joined Rahner, Teilhard de Chardin, von Balthasar and others who also pretended that after death man reintegrates in the Cosmos, which they identified with Christ, whose heart would be at the center of the earth.

According to the doctrine we learned in our primitive and "tribal" catechism, we call that place simply Hell.


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