References promoting fidelity        -      adult faith.

Cardinal Ratzinger's Homily in Mass Before Conclave

Excerpts taken from homily - view full article click below.
Homily delivered by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger during the Mass "for the election of the Roman Pontiff" in St. Peter's Basilica, before the conclave.
How many winds of doctrine we have known in these last decades, how many ideological currents, how many fashions of thought? The small boat of thought of many Christians has often remained agitated by the waves, tossed from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, etc.
"Adult" is not a faith that follows the waves in fashion and the latest novelty. Adult and mature is a faith profoundly rooted in friendship with Christ. This friendship opens us to all that is good an

                                                BE CO - WORKERS IN THE TRUTH 



                                                                                         BE CO - WORKERS WITH CHRIST
Fidelity to the teachings of the Church, whose author is Jesus Christ.

                                                         " PLACE NO ONE BEFORE CHRIST "


                                                                                                Pope Benedict XVI
                                                                   A Simple, Humble Worker in the Lord's Vineyard
As Servant of the servants of God, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope,
choosing the name Benedict. St. Benedict is one of the patron saints of Europe.
The final words in St. Benedict's rule: "Place no one before Christ." leads us to be focused in fidelity to the teachings of the Church, whose author was Jesus Christ."





Cardinal Schönborn on 2 Missionary Religions
Analyzes Relationship Between Islam and Christianity VIENNA, Austria, JUNE 20, 2006 ( The issue of mission is one of the key  questions for dialogue between religions, says Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna. He expresses this conviction in an article entitled "Ways of Mission" and published in Oasis, a multilingual review of the Oasis International Center of Studies and Research.

In his reflection, the archbishop of Vienna asks about the possibility of reconciling the missionary dynamic, which is essential to religions such as Christianity and Islam, with the principles that should animate interreligious dialogue, that is, tolerance of the other's conscience and respect for religious freedom.

"Dialogue is often seen as opposed to mission: either mission or dialogue," begins the cardinal. "However, both Christianity as well as Islam are clearly missionary religions. Their whole history demonstrates it, their present and, above all, the history of their origins.

Viewing Love via Benedict XVI - Click For Complete Article
Series of Reflections on "Deus Caritas Est"
ROME, JUNE 17, 2006 ( Excerpts- The many facets of Christian charity are being explored in a series of articles in the Vatican's semiofficial newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. The ongoing series consist in reflections on Benedict XVI's encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est."

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, opened the series May 10. "Truth draws people together because it frees them from individual opinions," he wrote. "Love draws men together because it makes them overcome individual egoisms." Christianity, in turn, announces that "Truth is Love," the cardinal added. This leads to the conclusion that Christianity is the religion of the community, and unity of humankind. This, Cardinal Martino contended, is a central message of the encyclical.

Mistake of relativism
Beneath these two mistaken concepts of love lies an even more insidious error: relativism. This attitude often hides under the guise of expressing respect for others, with terms such as "tolerance," "dialogue" and "freedom." Relativism, in fact, can undermine the very concept of truth. Instead of helping a proponent reach a coherent understanding of himself and the world, it leaves him in a continual state of doubt.

Pope Picks Theme for Day of Peace - 2006        "IN TRUTH -- PEACE"
"truth enlightens, it allows one to discern the path of genuine human relationships, to correct errors, to be reconciled with oneself and with others, and to be transparent in negotiations and faithful to one's word."...........

Benedict XVI's First Encyclical: Christianity Elevates Love


                                                                                                             "Deus Caritas Est" Published

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 25, 2006 (
Excerpts - Benedict XVI has published his first encyclical to show how Christianity does not repress love, but elevates it.
*   *   *
"The Christian's program -- the program of the Good Samaritan, the program of Jesus -- is 'a heart which sees.' This heart sees where love is needed and acts accordingly. Obviously when charitable activity is carried out by the Church as a communitarian initiative, the spontaneity of individuals must be combined with planning, foresight and cooperation with other similar institutions.

"Charity, furthermore, cannot be used as a means of engaging in what is nowadays considered proselytism. Love is free."

"A Christian knows when it is time to speak of God and when it is better to say nothing and to let love alone speak," notes the Pope, as a third and final point.

Benedict XVI concludes by giving examples of charity left by the saints.

Cardinal Ratzinger's Homily in Mass Before Conclave
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 19, 2005 ( Excerpts taken from homily - view full article click below. Homily delivered by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger during the Mass "for the election of the Roman Pontiff" in St. Peter's Basilica, before the conclave.
How many winds of doctrine we have known in these last decades, how many ideological currents, how many fashions of thought? The small boat of thought of many Christians has often remained agitated by the waves, tossed from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, etc.
"Adult" is not a faith that follows the waves in fashion and the latest novelty. Adult and mature is a faith profoundly rooted in friendship with Christ. This friendship opens us to all that is good and gives us the measure to discern between what is true and what is false, between deceit and truth.

 Where   can   Resources   be   founD THAT    are    in    fidelity    with    church   teachings.

the Word of God  - The Holy Bible
Romans Chapter 13: 1:4 - Obedience To Authorities - Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have bee

Focused in fidelity to the teachings of the Church  whose author was Jesus Christ

holy Scripture - Obedience To Authority -Romans 13: 1-4  Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for their is no authority except from God. Therefore whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgement upon themselves. for rulers are not the cause of fear to good conduct, but to evil. Do you wish to have no fear of authority?  Then do what is good and you will receive approval from it, for it is a servant of God for your good.

Apostolic Constitution -
Catechism of The Catholic Church
Catechism of the Catholic Church (Excerpts) John Paul, Bishop servant of the servant of God.
Guarding The Deposit of Faith Is The Mission Which The Lord Entrusted to His Church,
and which she fulfills in every age.  In1986 Pope John Paul entrusted a commission with the task of preparing the Catechism of the Catholic Church. He called a Bishops Synod to celebrate the graces and the spiritual fruits of Vatican II, to study its teachings in greater depth in order that all the Christian faithful might better adhere to it.

 " I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion". Page 5.This catechism is given to them ( Church's pastors and Christian faithful ) that it may be a sure and authentic reference text for teaching catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechism.

Lastly, it is offered to individual who asks us to give an account of the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15 ) and who wants to know what the catholic Church teaches. Page7. Pope John Paul concludes by beseeching the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of the Incarnate Word and Mother of the Church, to support with her powerful intercession the catechetical work of the entire church on every level...Oct11,1992 signed Joannes Paulus II.      C. C. C. 2497  (cf. Journalist) 

**NEW **
The  Office Of The Bishop's in Your Diocese - VERY IMPORTANT -  To obtain information and go through a Discerning process before joining  any organization or prayer group.  We may not be aware of the fact that the organization professes that it does not have to be submissive to the leader of the Church, the Bishop. In searching for authenticity of what the Church teaches and to stay in full communion with the Church, it is wise to be cautious when accessing secular information  (*including this website* when in doubt*check it out*)

Many resources are referred to as "catholic" whereas the use of the name 'catholic' may not ensure authentic Catholic information. As an example many LAY APOSTOLATE, NON PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS, websites, magazines and newspapers may include the word 'catholic' in the title which may lead to a misunderstanding of the Catholic faith, for all Christian brethren. Even though the word "catholic" may be being represented and presented, when inquiry is made at the diocesan level,  it is common to find there is not full communion with what the Church teaches, nor guidance being sought from the Diocesan Bishop as is proposed in The Code of The Canon Law.

                                                                     Media Representation - OR - MISREPRESENTATION

                                                               IS IT Catholic - Orthodox - or Thoughts and opinions?

                                                                         HOW  DO WE  - OR -  CHILDREN  AND  GRANDCHILDREN  LEARN  TRUE   GOSPEL  VALUES ?

Catholic media must always testify to the teachings of Jesus Christ, author of the Catholic (Universal) Church.  When Catholic media ensure spreading individual thoughts and opinions - it would be well to seek spiritual advice that coincides with the Gospel and the  Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Would we as a Catholic support a schismatic group if you were aware of that fact?
Did you know Fr. Gruner is a suspended Catholic priest? Fr. Gruner's magazine The Fatima Crusader is often found in Churches (without permission of the pastor) amid other authentic Catholic information.

How can we know if it is authentic Catholic information?
  Viewers may access information listed below when discerning about choosing magazines or  web sites who profess to be in fidelity with the Magesterium.
  When in doubt about Catholic  information, it  may be wise to call  your pastor or your local Bishop to ensure fidelity to Catholic teachings.

  F-Y-I   -   For  - Your  - Information
Marian Movement of Priests - World Wide - Though Fr. Gobi is often pictured with Pope John Paul II the movement has not been officially approved by the Church. Recently it has been discovered that the M.M.P has been  association with the very controversial Divine Will Movement since1996 as their official web site portrays. After speaking with a Catholic theologian about  the circumstances, the situation was referred to as being imprudent, given the situation to date. The D.W.M movement that has been halted  from sponsoring conferences in the USA in 1998 by the Bishop of Italy, including up to and into the present time.           

Voice of The Faithful - Individual Chapters - Portion of Funds Allocated to Headquarters.
According to reviews: Voice of the Faithful claims to be "an organization composed of Catholics striving to be faithful to the teachings of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ." In reality, it is a group of dissenters parading under the false guise of being centrist, apolitical, and faithful to the Magisterium. VOTF appeals to the frustration, hurt and anger that Catholics may feel as a result of the sexual scandals in order to attract otherwise faithful Catholics to join them. VOTF conferences, attended by thousands, feature prominent speakers who are known to support homosexuality, abortion, contraception, female priests and other dissident principles.

The VOTF website deceives faithful Catholics into believing it is a legitimate Catholic organization with slogans such as "support those who have been abused" and "support priests of integrity". However, the group is tied to dissident, radical, anti-Vatican groups, such as Call to Action and We are Church, which strongly reject Catholic moral principles.
(more to come)
 Please notify us, as to any error                      Webmaster - RTM

Complete Websites Reviews are accessible at   
There are four categories used in the evaluation, one of which is fidelity to the Magesterium. Many sites that appear with 'catholic' information on them, or their attached links may be found to be posting information that is in dissent of Church teachings.

View complete article  ( Excerpts)

Is It Catholic - Or- ??
Site Review: Fr. Nickolas Gruner's -suspended Catholic priest    Fatima Network (Review)
Review expressed concern of promoted Links:  Caution -Danger  ( Fidelity) Gruner's Fatima website promotes links that reflect a continuing rejection of the liturgical reforms of the last three Popes as well as some of the work of the Second Vatican Council. Example(s) appears the web site is to undermine the authority of the Church. Many of the sections link non-Catholic or secular sites. This does not conform to their claim to be 100% Catholic. Gruner's site is Linked to Society of Saint Pius X  -  Danger - External links to sites that support the Feeneyite and/or the Lefebvrite position.   ( This is a schismatic group)  

All On Spirit - Daily- ??
Site Review: Spirit Daily   ( Fidelity)  CAUTION   Spirit Daily (Review)  Spirit Daily is a Catholic start page of news and links. Unfortunately, the site includes a wide range of sites including many secular and Protestant sources. Problematic Catholic links (Fidelity) Example(s)  Catholic Apologetics International  Catholic Online  Theology Library  Catholic Doors   Features well-known dissidents (Fidelity) 

Fr. Richard P. McBrien: dissenting theologian who calls into question the virginal conception of Jesus, the perpetual virginity of Mary, and claims Jesus did not establish the Catholic Church. He also supports Call to Action. More Information: Notre Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J. Radical feminist favouring women's ordination, author of She Who Is, a feminist interpretation of God that promotes pantheism; Fidelity: DANGER! American Catholic Online (Review) St. Anthony Messenger magazine has through the years consistently undermined the authentic teachings of the Church. This website is a continuation of that process. Articles undermining the Real Presence (Fidelity)  Example (s)   St Anthony's Messenger.                    ---------------------                   ****

Site Review  Voice of the Faithful   (Review)    Fidelity: "DANGER"
The VOTF website deceives faithful Catholics into believing it is a legitimate Catholic organization with slogans such as "support those who have been abused" and "support priests of integrity". However, the group is tied to dissident, radical, anti-Vatican groups, such as Call to Action and We are Church, which strongly reject Catholic moral principles.
Links to dissident organizations (Fidelity) Example(s)  Commonweal Magazine   American Catholic  National Catholic Reporter    U.S. Catholic magazine
                                                                                           (More to come below -  discerning information).
Site Review: Catherine of Siena Institute    Catherine of Siena Institute (Review)  Fidelity: CAUTION  An otherwise good site is marred only by the lack of due vigilance in filtering out the bad links. "Questionable Catholic links" Here is a representative sample: Pax Christi USA, American Catholic Online, AlaPadre, Catholic Online

                                                                                               HOW  WILL  CHILDREN  AND  GRANDCHILDREN  LEARN  TRUE   GOSPEL  VALUES ?
                                                                       JESUS TAUGHT HIS FOLLOWERS TO SPREAD THE "GOOD NEWS "
                                                           JESUS   DID   NOT   TEACH   TO  " PICK AND CHOOSE "
                                               For viewers discernment  listed below.  Webmaster RTM 
***Canon 209
Faithful are bound to preserve communion with the Church at all times.***

***Canon 305: 1
All associations of Christ’s faithful are subject to supervision of competent ecclesiastic authority. This authority is to ensure that integrity of faith and morals is maintained in them and that abuses in ecclesiastical discipline do not creep in.”

Information ? -Discernment ?-Newspapers - Magazines -Reading Material Independent - Catholic Title - Catholic Content - Or Catholic Diocesan

Catholic Island News   -  An Independent Newspaper  -  not association with the Diocese.
*Banned*  The Catholic Island News - West Coast's Independent Voice of Prophetic Catholicism has been banned in some parishes in the Victoria Diocese in the year 2004.

Catholic News Times -
An Independent Newspaper - not in association with the Diocese
*Banned*  The removal of the Catholic New Times from parishes in the Diocese of Pembrooke Ontario, by Bishop Richard Smith has been a welcoming and encouraging beginning in the process of having dissenting Catholic material removed from parishes. Having reading material in Churches, can be presumed by parishioners to have approval on a diocesan level. 

America  Magazine -
The magazine America formerly defended the church's doctrines and policies with unblushing tenacity, it came to prefer dissent. *Editor Replaced*    Fr.Thomas J. Reese, S.J. editor in chief of America 1998-2005 has been replaced as editor.
During Father Reese's tenure, it implicitly took issue with the church on matters such as same-sex marriage, fetal stem-cell research and a Vatican declaration five years ago underscoring the unique redemptive role of Christ and the Catholic Church. America didn't say flatly that the church was wrong about such things, but in one way or another suggested as much, giving space over to critical views.

The recent history of the Society of Jesus sheds light on these obligations. Formerly known as an elite band of ultra-orthodox defenders of the faith, the Jesuits in the past four decades have increasingly cast themselves as the church's loyal opposition. Some individual Jesuits have continued to play the defender role, but many have not.

Thus editing a religious magazine is, for a priest, analogous to preaching a homily. Catholics rightly expect to hear their church's teaching expounded from the pulpit, and they have the same right to find it upheld in the pages of a Catholic journal edited by clerics and published by a religious order.

But there was a problem with his editorship, and it points to a conflict over the obligations freely assumed by clerics in the Roman Catholic Church.

Later this month, Catholic journalists from around the country will gather in Orlando, Fla., for a convention of the Catholic Press Association. The Reese affair will no doubt be topic No. 1. It would be a good time to acknowledge — faithfully, loyally — the special role of journals under clerical and religious control.

Prairie Messenger -
An Independent Newspaper - not in association with the Diocese. Theologians Thoughts - And - Or - Opinions       Note*  Fr. Richard P. McBrien: identified in web review as - dissenting theologian - writes columns for the Prairie Messenger.  -  Assistant editor identifies the Prairie Messenger as a Catholic Journal of thoughts and opinions, not submissive to the local Bishop. 

St. Anthony's Messenger -
Articles undermining the Real Presence (Fidelity)  Example(s) Usually the website for the magazine St. Anthony's Messenger is not shown in that magazine, it came about by accident.    Site Review: DANGER  Shown Above

Catholic Insight-
An Independent Newspaper - not association with the DioceseEditor Fr. Alphonse de Valk has chosen not to be under the guidance of the Bishop in his diocese. He associates himself with Bishop Roman Danylak, who contradicts the former Cardinal Ratzinger in regard to the poem of  "The Man God"  along with other criticisms about God's representatives on earth. (The information can be accessed on Bishop Danylak's website) Catholic Insight-Jan 2005  Page3. The Truth Will Set You Free ( John 8: 23)   Page5. Taken form the words of the Editor: " Continue to pray that they may return to full obedience to the Majesterium".
Catholic Insight carries many negative articles from Life Site News - (not to be connected with Life News of the USA - which is a pro-life website)

LifeSiteNews - They are a secular news service, who say their mandate is to report news related to life, family, culture and related issues. Unfortunately reporting related issues seem to focus on attacking the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. - (Bishops)

Fátima Crusader -
Catholic Family News -
Fr. Gruner owns and publishes the Catholic Family News , which he acquired several years ago. Like the Remnant and several other small Catholic papers, Catholic Family News takes a critical view of the post-conciliar changes in the Church, especially in matters of the liturgy. cf.

Vatican Council II.         Effective Lay Witness Protocol: ---
Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, no.37. Vatican Council II.
By reason of knowledge, competence, or pre-eminence which they have, the laity are empowered - indeed sometimes obliged --- to manifest their opinion on those things which pertain to the good of the Church.  If the occasion should arise, this should be done through the institutions established by the Church for that  purpose, and always in with truth, courage and prudence, and with reverence and charity toward those who, by reason of their office represent the person of Christ.  

To assist the faithful when controversies arise, the Church has given certain procedures that should be used.
 These procedures respect the " institutions established by the Church," and are provided for in the Code of Canon Law.  There are three types of procedures that can be used: judicial, administrative, and pastoral.

In all circumstances, the Church favours pastoral means as a way of resolving disputes  (Canon Law: 1446, 1676, 1713-1716, 1733). Judicial and administrative recourse should only take place when pastoral means have been exhausted, or the nature of the matter requires immediate and formal action.

Benedict XVI Counting On Catholic Action
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 29, 2005 ( Benedict XVI assured Catholic Action of his support and encouragement...The papal message repeated Pope John Paul II's words addressed to this ecclesial organization: "The Church needs Catholic Action."

Benedict XVI's message said: "The Pope is aware of your fidelity and knows that he can count on your total dedication to God's Holy Church. At this time in history, we need in particular believers, men and women who through an enlightened and lived faith, give valid testimony of Christ, of his truth and of his love."
       N E W                            Catholic Media Can Help        
                                      Promote The Wisdom Of Church Teachings  

John Paul II made a strong appeal Dec. 3, 2004 to Catholic Newspapers. People need sources of information on the Catholic Church that are complete and authentic," he said. "Catholics must be constantly updated on the teaching of the Church and on the way it adapts in our life of today." ...

John Paul II on various occasions and again on Jan. 23, 2005, says modern technology can be used for good, for spreading the truth of our salvation in Jesus Christ, and for fostering harmony and reconciliation,"...

In reference to articles below a continuing appeal goes out for the media to give sources of trustworthy, complete and authentic information.

Reliable sources can be accessed to ensure Catholic information is complete and authentic as John Paul II requests. Bishop's of the Diocese are familiar with media and organizations who are submissive to the teachings of the Church and guided by Church authorities.

No initiative can lay claim to the title 'catholic' without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authorities, in accordance with Can.312.

Can.223-2. Ecclesiastical authority is entitled to regulate, in view of the common good, the exercise of rights which are proper to Christ's faithful.

Can 305: 1
All associations of Christ’s faithful are subject to supervision of competent ecclesiastic authority. This authority is to ensure that integrity of faith and morals is maintained in them and that abuses in ecclesiastical discipline do not creep in.”

Can. 209
Faithful are bound to preserve communion with the Church at all times.***

Note* To be in full communion with the Catholic Church we must give consent and adhere to all teachings of the Church, reaffirmed with Vatican II and confirmed by John Paul II. As Catholic's we believe in apostolic succession, which means Bishop's are God's representatives on earth. Christ's faithful are to be submissive in obedience to what the Bishops office demands of him as guardian of the faith entrusted to him. The principle is that we must obey lawful authority in all things but sin.
More Specific Reference Listed on Request     -     -     -     -    More to come
( Webmaster R .T. M )

What Catholic Media Should Be               
JAN. 23, 2004 Catholic media should be responsible for supporting the renewal of the Church. Some so-called Catholic media are really anti-Catholic. Others are bent on showing how you can disagree with the magisterium and still be Catholic -- that's such a waste of energy.

Catholic media can have a disproportionate impact on the culture, precisely because of the one they ultimately represent: Jesus Christ, "the powerful one." Truth and grace are more powerful than any sophisticated media manipulation.

Committment to Truth 
FEB. 25, 2005 (  However, "the media must also demonstrate its commitment to truth," given the profound influence it exercises, as for many people, "the search for truth is linked to what they see in the media," they said.............


Magazines and reading material are also often identified with the title "catholic". They may contain articles with good Catholic content, alongside articles that are in dissent of Church teachings. Reading material may often be left in Churches without the consent of pastors, thereby leading the faithful to believe it is authentic Catholic information. The words of Jesus Christ asks his followers to spread the good news of the Gospel, pastors of the Church as well as all the faithfulPrivate opinions may be of interest, and God has given us free will to make choices, however it is well to remember private opinions are not the teachings of the Church. Catholic media can be of great assistance in spreading the Good News.

How the Church Helped Build the West
Book Highlights Catholic Contribution

NEW YORK, JUNE 4, 2005 (
Excerpts. No institution has done more to shape the West than the Church. This is the thesis of a just-published book, "How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization" (Regnery Publishing), by Thomas E. Woods Jr.

The Catholic Church, Woods notes, has come in for a bad press in the past few years. And many people are only aware of the darker parts of Church history. This book sets out to change that, by succinctly dealing in a series of thematic chapters with a number of areas where the Church played a crucial role.

Western civilization, Woods is careful to add, does not derive exclusively from Catholicism. Nevertheless, it is easy to forget just how much the Church contributed in such areas as art, music, architecture, science and law.
A time of learning
Far from being a period of ignorance the Middle Ages saw the birth of the university system. The Church was at the center of this advance, which took off in the second half of the 12th century in centers established in Paris, Bologna, Oxford and Cambridge. The papacy, Woods explains, also played a central role in establishing and encouraging the universities. By the time of the Reformation, 81 universities had received a papal charter.

Modern science also owes a large debt to the Catholic Church. Most people remember the Church's conflict with Galileo, which was not nearly so negative as popular myths would have it, Woods argues. The Church was at the center of scientific advances, with many clergymen combining their divine vocation with an interest in science.
Charitable works
Catholic charity is another field examined by Woods. From the first centuries the Church sought to alleviate the suffering caused by famines and diseases. Inspired by the Gospel the faithful were encouraged to donate money to the Church to be used to help those in need.

In the early Church, hospices were organized to care for pilgrims, ransomed slaves and the poor. Other groups, such as widows and orphans, also benefited from institutions set up by the Church. The establishment of hospitals on a large scale also stems from initiatives organized by the Catholic Church from the fourth century onward. And, during the Middle Ages, monasteries became the providers of medical care in many areas.
Woods concludes by affirming "So ingrained are the concepts that Catholicism introduced into the world that very often even movements opposing it are nevertheless imbued with Christian ideals." The Catholic Church, he continues, "did not merely contribute to Western civilization -- the Church built that civilization." Contemporary civilization has cut itself off from this foundation more and more, Woods notes, in many cases with negative consequences

On the Obligations and Rights of Priests

Address by Father Michael Hull During Theologians Videoconference

NEW YORK, JUNE 2, 2005 (
Excerpts.  Here is the address delivered May 27 by Father Michael Hull of New York during the theologians videoconference on "Canon Law at the Service of Priests," organized by the Congregation for Clergy.

* * *
Book II of the 1983 Code of Canon Law is entitled "The People of God." Within that book are included three titles: "The Obligations and Rights of Christ's Faithful" (cc. 208-223), "The Obligations and Rights of the Lay Members of Christ's Faithful" (cc. 224-231), and "Sacred Ministers or Clerics" (cc. 232-293).
Canon law is very much at the service of the priest in canons 273-289 insofar as it places great emphasis on the obligations of priests. Priests must revere and obey the pope, accept the offices given to them, cooperate with one another, support the laity, seek holiness, observe continence, and engage in lifelong study of sacred Tradition and holy Scripture.

They must avoid worldliness, undue absences from their posts, secular dress, civil office, and commercial trade. Additionally, they have the right to govern according to their respective offices, the right of association as is suitable for the clerical state, and the right to remuneration and vacation.

At first blush, the canons seem simple, but a closer reading reveals that the canons seek to set legislative parameters to help priests in exercising the triple "munera": to sanctify ("munus sanctificandi"), to teach ("munus docendi"), and to govern ("munus regendi") "in persona Christi capitis."

These canons are rooted in the Church's understanding of priesthood and ecclesiology, chiefly as described in the dogmatic constitution "Lumen Gentium" (No. 28) and the decrees "Christus Dominus" (No. 8) and "Optatam Totius" (No. 7).

Priests "are consecrated in order to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful as well as to celebrate divine worship as true priests of the New Testament" ("Lumen Gentium," No. 28). Their ordination and concomitant configuration to Christ bring extraordinary authority and therefore grave responsibility.

Throughout its history, the Church has been mindful to teach clearly and cogently the nature of the priesthood and the Church. For that reason, canonical legislation is enacted to serve priests in their living out of the divine law vis-à-vis their ordination.

In recent times, some confusion has arisen about the obligations and rights of clerics as distinct from those of the lay faithful. The Church has been vigilant to address this confusion with key documents such as the interdicasterial instruction "On Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-ordained Faithful in the Sacred Ministry of the Priest" (Aug. 15, 1997) and the Congregation for the Clergy's instruction "The Priest: Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community" (Aug. 4, 2002).
Holy Scripture teaches that "priests who rule well be esteemed and worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine" (1 Timothy 5:17).

So it is that priests need the constant support of the Church, particularly through her canonical legislation, to be guided along the paths of righteousness so that they might participate in the heavenly liturgy with Jesus Christ, the High Priest, in whose priesthood they share "according to the order of Melchizedek" (Psalm 110:4; cf. Genesis 14:18).




The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council refers particularly to this when it teaches: "The hierarchy entrusts the laity with certain charges more closely connected with the duties of pastors: in the teaching of Christian doctrine, for example, in certain liturgical actions in the care of souls".(11)

Since these tasks are most closely linked to the duties of pastors, (which office requires reception of the sacrament of Orders), it is necessary that all who are in any way involved in this collaboration, exercise particular care to safeguard the nature and mission of sacred ministry and the vocation and secular character of the lay faithful. It must be remembered that "collaboration with" does not, in fact, mean "substitution for".

Joseph Ratzinger's Primer on Ecclesiology (Part 1)
Interview With Ave Maria University's Father Matthew Lamb

NAPLES, Florida, JUNE 23, 2005 ( Excerpts -When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger released his book "Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today," he called it a primer of Catholic ecclesiology.

In it, the future Benedict XVI outlined the origin and essence of the Church, the role of the papacy and the primacy of Peter, and the Body of Christ's unity and "communio."

"Catholic" means living out of the "whole" of this divine presence. Such a sapiential approach shows how the New Covenant draws upon and fulfills the covenant with Israel. Israel was chosen and led out of Egypt in order to worship the true and only God and thus witness to all the nations.

In his preaching, teaching and actions, Jesus Christ fulfilled the messianic promises. At the last supper Our Lord initiated the New Covenant in his most sacred body and blood. Ratzinger wrote in "Called to Communion": "Jesus announces the collapse of the old ritual and … promises a new, higher worship whose center will be his own glorified body."

Jesus announces the eternal Kingdom of God as "the present action of God" in his own divine person incarnate. As the Father sends Jesus Christ, so Jesus in turn sends his apostles and disciples.

The origin of the Church is Jesus Christ who sends the Church forth as the Father sent him. The Apostles and disciples, with their successors down the ages, form the Church as the "ecclesia," the gathering of the "people of God."

Drawing upon his own doctoral dissertation on the Church in the theology of St. Augustine, Ratzinger shows that the people of God are what St. Paul calls the "body of Christ." The essence of the Church is the people of God as the Body of Christ, head and members united by the Holy Spirit in visible communion with the successors of the Apostles, united with the Pope as successor to Peter.
Q: In "Called to Communion," what were his thoughts on the role of the Pope in the Church?

Father Lamb: "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church … I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven." In Matthew 16:17-19, these true words of the Lord Jesus transcend confessional polemics. From them Ratzinger brings out the role of the Pope.

Reflecting on the commission given to Peter he sees that he is commissioned to forgive sins. As he writes in "Called to Communion," it is a commission to dispense "the grace of forgiveness. It constitutes the Church. The Church is founded upon forgiveness.
Peter himself is the personal embodiment of this truth, for he is permitted to be the bearer of the keys after having stumbled, confessed and received the grace of pardon."

Joseph Ratzinger on the Call to Communion
(Part 2)
Interview With Ave Maria University's Father Matthew Lamb  NAPLES, Florida, JUNE 24, 2005 Excerpts ( Benedict XVI sees the teachings of the Second Vatican Council as a compass for Catholicism in the third millennium, says an American theologian.

Father Matthew Lamb, director of the graduate school of theology at Ave Maria University, shared with ZENIT highlights from the then Joseph Ratzinger's book "Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today" and his first statement as Pope.

Father Lamb: The Eucharist and the other sacraments are not something any human person by his own powers can do truthfully. The Word Incarnate in Christ Jesus is the only one who can truthfully speak "This is my body" or "Your sins are forgiven." Only because Jesus sent forth his apostles as he was sent by the Father do we have a Church with her sacraments.

The Church as Eucharistic can only be found in communion with the bishops as successors of the apostles. Gathered around the altar, the Church is Eucharist. It is always both local and universal, just as it unites the vertical and horizontal.

Cardinal Ratzinger has emphasized that the universality of the Church was present in Jesus Christ as the Word Incarnate. The Church is Eucharist -- each local community celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is taken up within the whole Christ embracing all of the faithful throughout all time. At Mass we invoke the heavenly hosts as well as Our Lady and all the saints, as well as praying for the dead.

No local community on its own can give itself a bishop, any more than it is simply a celebration of itself cut off from the whole Catholic Church. The consecration of bishops make evident how they are in communion with the successor of Peter and receive their mission from the Lord himself mediated down the ages in communion with the apostles themselves who were called by Jesus
Like the Holy Father, each bishop is entrusted with the mission of fostering the unity and the catholicity of the Church entrusted to his care. Without unity, as Ratzinger observes, there would be no true holiness, for this demands the gifted love that is the bond of unity.

The bishop must cultivate an ever-deepening union with Christ -- like the apostles he must be "Christ's contemporary" -- for otherwise he would only be an ecclesiastical functionary.
"Sacrament means: I give what I myself cannot give; I do something that is not my work; I am on a mission and have become a bearer of that which another has committed to my charge."

A Sampling From the Compendium
10 Catechetical Questions and Answers
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 28, 2005 ( Here is a translation of 10 questions and answers from the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, approved for publication today by Benedict XVI.
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3. How is it possible to know God only with the light of reason?
Starting from creation, that is, from the world and the human person, man, with reason alone, can know with certainty a God as origin and end of the universe and as the highest good, truth and infinite beauty.

533. What is man's greatest desire?
Man's greatest desire is to see God. This is the cry of his whole being: "I want to see God!" Man attains his authentic and full happiness in the vision and the blessedness of the One who created him out of love and attracts him to Himself by his infinite love.