BY MICHAEL MULLINS
America’s James Martin SJ has a story that Cardinal Carlo Martini faked the extent of his illness at the 2005 conclave to ensure he was not elected.
It is from Martini’s American Jesuit superior at the Biblical Institute in Jerusalem, Thomas J. Fitzpatrick, who had commanded him to accept if he was nominated:
So I said to him: "I know that you do not have to use your cane, and I think that you appeared with it to demonstrate to people how sick you are. Am I correct?"
”Yes," he said.
After that in the house in Jerusalem I would point to the Cardinal's cane and say: "Here is the piece of wood that changed the direction of the Catholic Church."
The Tablet’s Robert Mickens explains why Martini came so close.
During his 22 years as head of Europe's largest diocese, Cardinal Martini emerged as perhaps the continent's most respected church leader. In Italy, he was arguably the man Catholics most looked to for spiritual guidance and wisdom, even in an era when the Herculean personality that was Pope John Paul II commanded so much of the world's attention
dotCommonweal quotes from Martini’s last interview, in various translations, given to Corriere della Sera on August 8 and published on Saturday:
[European and American] culture has aged, our churches are big and empty and the church bureaucracy rises up, our rituals and our cassocks are pompous. ... The Church has remained 200 years behind the times. Why has it not been shaken up? Are we scared? Fear instead of courage?
Sandro Magister has not yet written a column on Martini following his death. Instead he mentions the breaking news of the cardinal’s death and links to a 2008 blog Magister wrote: “Cardinal Martini's Jesus Would Never Have Written ‘Humanae Vitae’.”
Magister devotes another of his blogs last week to trivia reported in the Annual Report of the Holy See, which has just been released.
The gendarmeria levied 96 fines for violations of traffic regulations in Vatican City–State. After "thorough police activity," however, the phenomenon of pickpocketing is declared to have been "stamped out," after having been "widely diffused in the Vatican museums and especially in St Peter’s.
[Meanwhile] there seems to have been a happy conclusion to the invasion of porcupines that had infested the Catacomba dei Giordani in Rome from the park of Villa Ada above it. And that "the scourge of the red weevil" also hit one of the four imposing palm trees of the portico of the papal basilica of St Paul's Outside the Walls: but "with the assistance of a specialised company the battle is underway to save it from complete desiccation.”
In Sydney, Newtown parish priest Fr Peter Maher has a poem on his blog reflecting on homophobic attacks towards Newtown Catholic Church’s Friday evening mass attended by for lesbian and gay Catholics.
Religion for all its poetry and pity
Can sometimes be a place of judgment and complicity
In the cool dark place where real lives struggle ...
A whisper gently claiming safe space
It is not a federal case
But a celebration of what is God-given
Finding confidence - not hidden.
In the USA, National Catholic Register blogger Tim Drake writes on “Sliding Down the Same-Sex Slippery Slope” towards polygamy with gay marriage. This follows the embracing of “three parent families” with new legislation in California and Brazil.
The Register was itself the news this past week following its publication and later retraction of the “blame the victim” comment of legendary New York Franciscan counsellor Fr Benedict Groeschel. Groeschel, who has counselled many priests accused of sexual abuse, had asserted that many of them had been “seduced” by their young victims.
Bloggers are shocked but understanding. Catholic Lane says “his mission was to heal. At the very heart, that meant a high degree of connection, empathy and love.” Mark Shea writes on Groeschel as himself a victim, of the media:
I watch the feeding frenzy unfold and the members of the Church Christ established to mediate the mercy and forgiveness of God to the fallen indulge themselves in the Cult of St Piranha the Merciless.
In the Catholic Herald, Jill Duchess of Hamilton has a wide-ranging blog on the Australian Catholic Church, written for a British readership.
Along with diminishing churchgoers, the drop in the number of Australian-born priests continue ... But one positive trend is the vibrancy of Australia’s Catholic schools – mostly run by lay teachers. With 650,000 students and around 21 per cent of all secondary school enrolments, they rank second after government schools. As non-Catholic admissions are kept at around seven per cent, parish priests are sometimes asked by Catholic parents who never got around to having their babies baptised to perform late baptisms on children aged between four and 11. These christenings are, alas, for expediency, not for faith.
Finally, Gerard Henderson’s “anti-Catholic sectarian pick-of-the-week” is a cartoon published by the Sydney Sun-Herald to accompany Peter FitzSimons’ column accusing “Christians, Jews and Muslims who teach belief to their children of ‘condoning child abuse’”. Henderson publishes his correspondence with FitzSimons in which he accuses FitzSimons of perpetuating what Henderson regards as the myth of Cardinal Pell’s “covering up child abuse”.
Michael Mullins, founding editor of CathNews, compiles this 'Blog Watcher' column every week.
Disclaimer: CathBlog is an extension of CathNews story feedback. It is intended to promote discussion and debate among the subscribers to CathNews and the readers of the website. The opinions expressed in CathBlog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference or of Church Resources.