Mallon's Media Watch

Mallon's Media Watch

Friday, March 14, 2003

Happy Anniversary Inside the Vatican!

Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 15:41:22 -0600
Subject: [Newsflash] Inside the Vatican Special Appeal

Inside the Vatican News March 14 2003

Our 10th Anniversary

by Robert Moynihan

Inside the Vatican magazine will soon be celebratifg 10 years of its existence. We would like more people to know about us. Could you help?

We published the "Zero Issue" of "Inside the Vatican" in April, 1993 -- almost 10 years ago.

We will celebrate our 10th anniversary in May in Rome with a round-table discussion on some key issues facing the Church, especially in Europe.

And we will have a small "anniversary celebration" on May 13 in Rome (readers who happen to be in the city at that time are heartily invited to drop in to see us).

Since 1993, we have persevered through up and downs and occasional crises -- like any small publication -- and we are pleased to be still publishing after a decade.

If you have appreciated our work, and would like us to continue to publish, there is one thing above all others that you could do to help us: find us one new subscriber.

By finding just one person to become a new subscriber, you could help ensure that we will still be publishing a decade hence.

So we want to propose to you that you find one subscriber for us... perhaps yourself!

Sending out direct mail letters has become extremely costly and we have decided to make this appeal because we t`ink those people who already know about us are the ones who can help us the most.

Please help us in our work by finding one new susbcriber, or give a gift subscription (that would be a wonderful 10th anniversary present to us!).

The price of a one year subscription is now $24.95.

We are grateful for your continued support.

(For those of you who would like to know more about us, here is a link to an editorial describing our publication in a positive way:
We wish all of you a blessed Lenten season.

Hey! Get your Plenary Indulgence here! (Thanks, Mark Shea on HMS Blog)

Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus (En ego, o bone et dulcissime Iesu)

22. Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus (En ego, o bone et dulcissime Iesu)

Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus, while before your face I humbly kneel, and with burning soul pray and beseech you to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment, while I contemplate with great love and tender pity your five wounds, pondering over them within me, calling to mind the words which David, your prophet, said of you, my good Jesus: "They have pierced my hands and my feet; they have numbered all my bones" (Ps 21, 17-18).

A plenary indulgence is granted on each Friday of Lent and Passiontide to the faithful, who after Communion piously recite the above prayer before an image of Christ crucified;

on other days of the year the indulgence is partial.


Speaking of Emily Stimpson, I miss her old Blog, Fool's Folly. it was one of the most intelligent out there. Intrigued by what I read, (see post below) I looked up what they were talking about regarding Emily. What I found was a breath of fresh air in contrast to some long-winded male opining. I have to confess I am much more interested in the smile of a pretty girl getting flowers from a secret admirer than a bunch of guys having an arguement with Rod Dreher.

Emily's Favorite Gift

Sigh! I'll take credit Emily, I'm admirer but not a secret one (not anymore, anyway). I hope that guy with the tulip bulbs reads Emily's blog. If not, I will take credit!

Speak for yourself, Victor and Dave!

I have been a poor blogger lately while I've been unemployed and job hunting (prayers graciously accepted), but I've been browsing tonight and am amazed at even the blogs about other blogs! Like Martin Roth's Blogs4God.

But I also found this at Dave Alexander's "Man with the Black Hat." All I can say is "Hey! I care about Emily Stimpson's love life!" (I just wish I was part of it!) She's very smart, single and cute! (I'll have to start reading Greg Popcack's HMS Blog more closely...)

man with black hat

Blog Watch: Will the HMS Popcak spring a leak?

Victor Lams of et cetera comments on how HMS Blog now has a dozen contributors, and essentially suggests that the Skipper reduce the excess baggage in the cargo hold. Maybe that's the reason that site takes so damn long to load. After all, I'm sitting here with a Mac G4 running at a kick-ass 500 mHz, and I have to wait forever for some of Steubenville's Finest to dispense their wisdom -- on such things as Mark Shea's trip to the Dark Side, and Emily Stimpson's love life. Good thing it's worth the wait, huh, guys?


Thursday, March 13, 2003

Below: Lots of Shameless Self Promotion

Why Humanae vitae wasn't received, By Msgr. Vincent Foy, Catholic Insight magazine, Toronto

All of Paul VI's prophecies have been fulfilled. The contraceptive mentality has led to spiritual, moral, psychological, sociological, political and even demographic evils. Many competent authors have detailed these effects; e.g., Janet E. Smith in her Introduction to Why Humanae vitae was Right (Ignatius Press, 1993). See also "The Scandal of the Century: Thirty Years of Prophecy Ignored" by John Mallon in Inside the Vatican, Aug./Sept., 1998).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

One more... (Forgive me...)

Women for Faith & Family, Spring99, MJ Anderson

According to Inside the Vatican correspondent, John Mallon, writing for the Daily Oklahoman, if the mandated programs for sex education, including contraception and abortion, are installed in schools and if "you decide, along with other distressed parents to take action starting with local authorities and end up speaking to your US representative", you will be advised that "nothing can be done about it despite your religious beliefs."


One of my Favorites!

Friday Fax, February 12, 1999 - C-Fam

Pro-life journalists from all over the world covered the conference this week. Most felt they were targeted for harassment by UN personnel. M.J. Anderson, contributing editor of Crisis, the influential American Catholic monthly, was followed around the conference by UN security guards. At one point she claims UN security listened in on her interview with the First Lady of El Salvador until the First Lady's own security guards chased the UN personnel away. John Mallon, contributing editor of Inside the Vatican Magazine, was also followed throughout the conference.

Another one (bear with me...)

OSV Periodicals

Another Keating acquaintance, John Mallon, former communications director for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and now contributing editor for Inside the Vatican, said he got to know the governor following the terrorist bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

The governor's ability to create unity during that crisis drew national praise and may have been part of the reason he was asked by Bishop Wilton D. Gregory of Belleville, Ill., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to tackle the crisis in the Church, according to Mallon.

"I was expecting somebody to the left of Alan Dershowitz to show up, but I was pleasantly surprised by Gov. Keating?s appointment," said Mallon, who speculated that the bishops recognize they have a sizable public-relations problem on their hands. A former FBI agent and federal prosecutor may lend a sense of tough-on-crime posturing.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sometimes, in my vanity, I do a Google search on my own name and find things I didn't know existed!

JS Online: Voices of the laity sway bishops to speak forcefully on abuse crisis

John Mallon, an editor for Inside the Vatican magazine in Rome, recently wrote:

"During the last 35 years, the American bishops have shown a pronounced reluctance to exercise their episcopal authority when circumstances obviously required it. The unspoken theme seems to be: When in doubt, do nothing, letting time or God take care of it."

Mallon, who would like to see a crackdown on dissidents, comes from a different part of the church spectrum than the more liberal Reese. But the overlapping of their views of the bishops parallels a trend in which the scandals have electrified mainstream Catholics and fueled the calls for change from the left and the right.


Aw Shucks...

U.S. Catholic Bishops - Pro-Life Activities

In all the discussions of research techniques, medical risks and benefits, potential cures, regulatory standards, and strategies, we risk losing sight of the core issue at stake in destructive embryo research. Few have articulated that issue as eloquently as John Mallon, contributing editor of Inside the Vatican magazine:

These embryonic human beings are alive, now, and involved in a terrible dilemma utterly beyond their control. They are human, innocent and helpless, and therefore deserving of love and the protection of the state. They are dependent on civilization but civilization is perhaps even more dependent on them, as we consider their fate. In considering their fate, we are determining our own.

Perhaps this is the real precipice on which we stand: the notion (again) that certain human beings can be considered so insignificant as to be unworthy of love and protection solely on the basis of their size and stage of development. ...

That we are even considering this question of human medical experimentation is already the result of the disastrous turn we took with Roe vs. Wade, the ruling that a developing (but fully human) child's life was less important than a woman's convenience or difficult circumstances, circumstances that could be vastly improved with simple love and acceptance, offered and received with a good outcome for all, including the child. ...

... The questions at stake ... strike at the very foundation of civilized society. The choice is between justice and truth, where love and civility are safe to flourish, or a descent into chaos, barbarism, anarchy, tyranny and death.

(Mallon, "Embryos are human," The Washington Times, Aug. 20, 2001, p.A15).
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

C-Fam Friday Fax:

Planned Parenthood: "Governments should not be allowed to decide for themselves regarding these controversial questions [of population control and abortion]."

The head of the International Planned Parenthood Federation recently told
a group of Nordic countries that they had to fight the United States and
the Catholic Church over population control and abortion.

Dear Colleague,

The head of the International Planned Parenthood Federation recently told a group of Nordic countries that they had to fight the United States and the Catholic Church over population control and abortion. He also said
that governments should not be allowed to decide for themselves regarding these controversial questions. He said population control, now widely discredited, should still be the order of the day.

Spread the word.

Yours sincerely,

Austin Ruse


March 14, 2003
Volume 6, Number 12

IPPF Head Urges Nordic Countries to Attack US and Catholic Church

Citing a grave "moment of peril" posed by the United States and the Catholic Church, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Director-General Steven Sinding told a recent meeting of northern European government leaders that they must redouble their efforts to promote population control, the provision of reproductive services to children, and the worldwide legalization of abortion.

Speaking at the Nordic Meeting on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Sinding claimed that "This is perhaps the most challenging time since the modern Œpopulation movement‚ began in the 1960s with respect to reproductive health and rights." Sinding blamed this situation on "The conservative backlashone cannot ignore the assault on the Cairo Programme of Action mounted by the United States of America and its allies in the Vatican and a small handful of other countries with fundamentalist governments. These people believe that the Cairo Programme of Action is a radical feminist agenda and that it represents an assault on traditional family values and sexual mores."

According to Sinding, a number of other factors have contributed to this situation. For instance, Sinding mentioned "The perception that the Œpopulation crisis‚ is over. The demographic fear that drove funding from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s is to all extents and purposes gone." Without this demographic fear, Sinding worries that talk about reproductive rights is not "compelling" enough. Sinding also claimed that HIV/AIDS was siphoning attention away from reproductive services, and that governments possess too much authority in establishing their own nations‚ health needs, stating that "When primary responsibility is given over to host governments to define health prioritiesservices at the centre of the SRHR [Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights] agenda often fall to so low a slot in the health agenda that they receive little or no funding at all."

Sinding urged Nordic government officials to respond with vigor to these challenges. He told his audience to "Engage the US and other criticshead on. It is essential to show the absurdity of their Œabstinence only‚ and anti-condom crusades. We must discredit their pseudo-science and unmask their ideological motives." However, it now appears open to debate what parties are truly motivated by ideology. According to the UN Population Division, massive efforts by IPPF and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) to promote condom use in Africa have failed, and according to a study published by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the only successful AIDS-prevention program in Africa is in Uganda, where abstinence and fidelity have been heavily promoted for over a decade.

Sinding also urged his audience to continue to push for population control, and to fight for reproductive services, especially for youth, even if it means going against the wishes of governments in the developing world, stating that "Africa simply cannot wait for good governance." And Sinding‚s "final priority" is the spread of abortion, "making abortion safe." According to Sinding, "There are still far too manyunwanted pregnancies."

Copyright © C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute). Permission
granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 427
New York, New York 10017
Phone: (212) 754-5948 Fax: (212) 754-9291
E-mail: Website:


On 'Human Shields'

What the "human shields" have demonstrated is not courage but an almost criminal naivite. Which may well be actual treason, by the Americans among them. They are giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and endangering the lives of American servicemen who, I have no doubt, would endanger their own lives to aviod harming them and other civilians. Thomas Aquinas makes a distinction that foolishness is not the virtue of courage.

The only intelligent thing they have done is hightail it out of there when they were shocked--shocked! that Saddam assigned them to shield military targets instead of civilians. It is no place for flower children to be sitting around playing bongos as they were filmed doing in Bahgdad. Even Saddam had enough sense to throw them out.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Excellent discussion on Just War theory:
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Mrs. Doyle eats meat: Globe Column by Eileen McNamara

Anne Barrett Doyle served fish to her family the night before last but she sat down to a dinner of beef stew herself.

Flouting Catholicism's prohibition on eating meat on Fridays during Lent is a small expression by a Reading mother of four of her profound disillusionment with the leadership of her church.

How can the rituals of this season of reflection and repentance seem anything but ironic to Catholics in light of the Boston Archdiocese's escalating legal war against victims of clergy sexual abuse?

Because, Ms McNamara, Lenten practices involve the soul and one's personal relationship with God, they are not intended to appease priests and bishops whom dissenters cast as "enforcers of rules."

This ingrained attitude that the Catholic Church is about "keeping rules" instead of the soul's love affair with God is rampant in the media's coverage of the Church. This kind of legalism is also rampant among dissenters, who are so hung up on rules. They are, as St. Paul said, "In bondage to the Law." They don't know that the law is love, which leads you to love the written law, which is in our hearts (See Psalm 119). This is orthdoxy.

One does not fast so as not to "get in trouble" with clergy, but to open one's heart to God. There are no "Lent Police." This lack of understanding/conversion is the Church's biggest challenge today.

The article goes on:

It defies belief, but not possibility, that the Catholic church in Boston intends to suggest in court that this scandal is nothing but a figment of the victims' imagination. The idea makes Doyle's stomach turn. "It's ironic isn't it?" she says. "The church that taught us how precious every person is in God's eyes is making a mockery of that ethic in its treatment of these victims. I may have to double my meat intake during Lent."

Yes, the bishops continue to bungle things, but exactly who is being punished if Mrs. Doyal doubles her meat intake? The evil and stupidity done by clergy ought to make us cling more tightly to Jesus, who Himself was put to death by the high priests. Our identification with Jesus is what it's all about. Abuse by priests can bring us closer to Him who is the Healer. Our relationship to Christ and our eternal salvation is our responsibility, and we must not let anyone stand in the was of that including priests who have gone bad.

Kelly Clark, (The Pew Lady) knows Mrs. Doyle and asks for prayers for her.


Inside the Vatican News
March 11, 2003

A Final Prophecy?

Delia Gallagher

On March 6, the Vatican presented the text of the only poem Pope John Paul II has published during his pontificate. Strikingly, the text contains a long section on Iraq and on the next papal conclave.

VATICAN CITY, March 11, 2003 -- It has gone little noticed that the recently published poem of John Paul II, "Roman Triptych," contains three full pages on Iraq. Given the present world focus on Iraq and the potential for war in that ancient country, we found the Pope's poem exceptionally urgent, and decided to share immediately some of our reflections here.

"Roman Triptych: Meditations" by Pope John Paul II was presented on March 6 in Rome to the world's press by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's chief doctrinal officer. The choice of Ratzinger to present the text was already evidence of the seriousness with which it was being treated by the Holy See. This was not an indication that the text is on the authoritative level of an official papal encyclical or decree, but it was, it seems to us, an indication that it was considered of considerable ecclesial importance. The scene was dramatic: an Italian actor, in a darkened Vatican press room, read parts of the 13-page work to an audience of journalists and Curia cardinals. Ratzinger then commented on the poem.

Background to this Poem

The Pope wrote the 33-page poem in Polish at the end of his trip to his homeland last August. It was completed at Christmas, Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro-Valls said. (Those five months were the five months when the United States made it very clear, through troop and ship movements, that an attack on Iraq was imminent.) Navarro-Valls revealed that "during a brief stay of the pontiff in the Alps five years ago, a guest asked the Pope if he still wrote poetry. John Paul II replied that it was a closed experience of his life." But, the Pope's spokesman added: "That chapter that seemed closed has opened again today.""Roman Triptych: Meditations" has three parts. The first, "The Stream,"is a mystical contemplation of nature, highlighting its beauty and man's search for God.

The second, "On the Book of Genesis at the Threshold of the Sistine Chapel," is a reflection on man, the image of God, from Creation to the Last Judgment. (In this part, John Paul recalls the conclave of August 1978 in which Pope John Paul I was chosen, and the one in October, when he himself was elected, and here the Pope refers to his own death and the conclave which will follow to elect his successor.)

The third, "A Hill in the Land of Moriah,"evokes Ur of the Chaldeans, Abraham's homeland, and the conversation between the patriarch and his son Isaac, whom he was about to sacrifice on Mount Moriah as proof of his loyalty to God.

"Why does the Pope write poetry?"Navarro-Valls mused. "It is difficult to answer. Every poet would have difficulty to express why he writes. Perhaps in a more profound reading of these texts, it will be possible to find the answer."

We will here attempt this "more profound reading."

Focus: Abraham, Father of Three Faiths

In the section entitled "Ur in the land of the Chaldeans," the Pope devotes a significant portion of his poetic meditation to the ancient land of Iraq and its most famous forefather, Abraham.

It is a section rich in theological symbolism but we think it may also be read as a commentary on the current political situation in Iraq, and in Jerusalem as well.

We see it as a cry to mankind not to forget the importance of these ancient places, and perhaps also a cry to God not to forget man.

This section begins:


There was a time when people

would not stop wandering.

Surrounded by herds they went where abundance called them,

where the earth, like a fertile mother,

could feed the flocks,

where people pitched their tents and began to dwell.

Why do we seek today this place

in the land of the Chaldeans,

from which Abram, son of Terach,

departed with other nomads like himself?

Perhaps he asked: why leave this place?

Why should I have to leave Ur of the Chaldeans?

Is this what he thought? Did he feel the sadness of the break?

Did he look back?

None of this we know. All we know is that he heard the Voice

Which told him: Go!

Abram decided to follow the Voice.

Ur was the capital of ancient Mesopotamia -- modern-day Iraq.

In Genesis 24:10, Mesopotamia is called the "land between two rivers," that is, between the Tigris and the Euphrates. Its shape was a triangle with the base on the border between Iraq and Turkey and with Baghdad at its apex.

Ur is located northwest of the Iraqi city of Basrah on the Arabian Gulf, and many of its ruins are still standing. It is known as Tall al Muqayyar in Iraq. Artefacts from excavations of the temple at Ur begun in 1919 are found in the British Museum, London and and the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania.

In the Bible, Ur is known as Ur of the Chaldeans after the people who settled in the area around 5,000 BC and were the forebears of the Sumerian and Semite civilizations. It was the land of Abraham, forefather of the Jewish, Islamic and Christian religions.

The Chaldean Church is a daughter of the Church of the East, formally established by St. Thaddeus (37-65 AD). Today, a part of this Church is united with Rome, known as Chaldean Catholics (one of whom is Tariq Aziz, Saddam Hussein's foreign minister).

The Chaldean Church in Iraq today numbers some 300,000. World-wide they come close to a million, with concentrated communities in San Francisco and Detroit, USA. Their language is still Aramaic, the language of Jesus, from which both the Hebrew and Arabic alphabets are derived.

The Pope has published volumes of poems throughout his life, but never has he commented on this ancient cradle of civilization so important for the three great monotheistic religions. That he does so at this time (the poem was written between August and December 2002) of great threat for this region seems only able to be interpreted as a cry against the destruction of such an important land. He writes:


Today then we go back to these places,

because God passed by here when he came to Abraham,

to Abraham who believed God came.


Beyond any political discussions, Iraq is important, the Pope reminds his audience, because God came here.

Then John Paul II goes further -- he connects the ancient land of Iraq to Jerusalem.

The Hill of Moriah is an expanse of land lying between Mt. Zion in the the West and the Mount of Olives in the East in modern-day Israel. It is the site of the "binding of Isaac," when Abraham prepared to sacrifice his only Son to Yahweh. The Pope reflects on this moment, when Isaac (father of both Esau and Jacob, ancestors of the Arab and Hebrew peoples) was about to be sacrificed, but was not:


He will stop your hand, when it is ready to strike that sacrificial blow...

He will not permit your hand to fall,

when in your heart it has already fallen.

Yes-your hand will stop in the air.

He Himself will stay it.

And from now on, the Hill of Moriah will wait --

For on this hill the mystery must be fulfilled.


Is it too much to suggest that this passage, in addition to a reflection on an ancient blow that did not fall, is a prayer -- a supplication that God will again stop the hand that is ready to strike?

The last two lines of this stanza suggest not only the waiting period from Abraham to Jesus, but a waiting that continues in our time for the mystery to be fulfilled.

In the above stanza and the one that follows, the Pope reminds his reader of the significance of "these places" namely, Ur (Iraq) and Jerusalem (Israel).

The places that today are so troubled by war -- where man can be seen at his worst and where the destruction of man threatens -- are the very places where God fulfills his promises.

Thus it seems at once a supplication to man not to forget God and to God not to forget man.


If today we go to these places

From which, long ago, Abraham set out,

where he heard the Voice, where the promise was fulfilled,

it is in order to stand at the threshold --

and reach the beginning of the Covenant.

For God revealed to Abraham

What is, for a father, the sacrifice of his own son -- death offered up.

O, Abraham -- God so loved the world

That he gave his only Son, that all who believe in Him should have eternal life.


How are we to interpret these words?

Today we go to "these places," says the Pope, "to stand at the threshold."

Threshold is a word John Paul II likes very much. His interview with Italian journalist Vittorio Messori in 1993 was called "Crossing the Threshold of Hope"; a title the Pope suggested.

The threshold is the place where man awaits his encounter with God.

It is beginning and end; the end of one life, the beginning of another with God.

From "these places" we meditate on this encounter with God, since it is from
"these places" that God encountered man, ultimately becoming man.

The Pope ends his Roman Tryptich with these words:


-- Stop here --

I carry your name in me,

this name is the sign of the Covenant

which the Primordial Word made with you

even before the world was created.

Remember this place when you go away from here,

this place will await its day.


The first line, "-- Stop here --" is startling, and enigmatic.

It can be read on many levels: perhaps the most obvious meaning is God speaking to Abraham ("Stop here -- to carry out the sacrifice... stop -- do not carry out the sacrifice...")

Yet perhaps it could be seen as addressed to the reader: "Stop here..." that is, "stop reading and for a moment pause and reflect..."

Could it not also be addressed to world leaders: "Stop here..." -- stop and
do not continue to advance upon these sacred lands?

Now, John Paul II ends his whole "Roman Triptych" with lines of homage to "this place."

It is the place from which, long ago, Abraham set out -- Ur (Iraq). He (or God?) speaks directly to the reader -- "Remember this place when you go away from here, this place will await its day."

Interestingly, the Pope does not choose to end his meditation -- which begins with a meditation on the Word, and continues a meditation on the vibrant images of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel -- with a meditation on Abraham or even on God, but with a meditation on "this place."

The emphasis which John Paul II puts on Ur (Iraq) and Jerusalem (Israel) seems unmistakeable.

At the presentation of the Pope's poem in Rome on March 6, Cardinal

Joseph Ratzinger and Prof. Giovanni Reale offered commentaries on the work. Both concentrated on the philosophical and theological aspects of the Pope's meditation, which are no doubt its primary reading.

Cardinal Ratzinger interpreted this third section of the Tryptich as a dialogue, "between Father and Son, between Abraham and Isaac... that represents at the same time the answer to our incompleted human dialogue."

Professor Giovanni Reale says that the third part is an example of the "visionary poet" that is Pope John Paul II. "The events of Abraham are presented as a symbol of that which will be the passion of Christ," he says.

Indeed, the Pope is a "visionary poet." And for this reason we think it legitimate to propose that his vision does not stop at the passion of Christ but continues, in this meditation, to look forward toward the future of humanity and to engage itself, on a practical as well as on a spiritual level, in "our incompleted human dialogue."

John Paul's Death and his Successor

Another mysterious aspect of this poem is that John Paul in one place seems to be giving specific instructions to the cardinals as to what they must keep in mind when voting in the next conclave.

In essence, he seems to be telling the cardinals now, while alive, that they must allow the Holy Spirit to guide them when it comes time for them to vote, and not a human or political calculation.

The Pope begins by painting a dramatic picture for us of the upcoming election.

The cardinals will gather in the Sistine Chapel before the great frescoes of Michelangelo which depict the beginning and end of the world, he writes.
"Michelangelo's vision must then speak to them,"the Pope writes. "They will find themselves between the beginning and the end, between the Day of Creation and the Day of Judgment. It is necessary that during the Conclave Michelangelo teach them."

Then he adds, with seeming urgency: "Do not forget: Omnia nuda et aperta sunt ante oculos Ejus ("All things are naked and open before His eyes")... He will teach you."

Ratzinger's Introduction

Here is an excerpt from Cardinal Ratzinger's March 6 presentation of the

"The contemplation of the Universal Judgement, in the epilogue of the second part of the Triptych, is perhaps that which most moves the reader. From the interior eyes of the Pope newly emerges the memory of the Conclave of August and October 1978.

"Since I, too, was present, I know very well how we were exposed to those images during the hours of great decision, how they questioned us; how they impressed upon our souls the greatness of our responsibility. The Pope speaks to the cardinals of the future Conclave after my death‚ and says that the vision of Michelangelo will speak to them. The word Con-clave‚ (with a key‚) brings to his mind the thought of keys, of the inheritance of the keys left to Peter.

"To put these keys in the right hands: this is the immense responsibility of those days. One remembers the words of Jesus, the warning he gave to the doctors of the law: (You have taken away the key of knowledge!‚ (Lk 11:52). To not take away the key, but to use it so that one can enter by the door: this is what Michelangelo exhorts.

"But let us return to the true center of the second part, the glance at the origins.‚ What does man see there?

"In Michelangelo's work, the Creator appears in the form of a human being‚: the image and likeness of man to God is reversed in order to deduce the humanity of God, that which makes it possible to represent the Creator. Yet the gaze that Christ has opened to us goes beyond this and shows in a reverse way, starting from the Creator, from the origins, who man is in reality.

"The Creator -- the origin -- is not, as he could appear in Michelangelo's painting, simply, the Ancient Almighty One.‚ He is instead, "Communion of Persons"... the mutual self-giving.

"If in the beginning we saw God beginning with man, now we learn to see man, beginning with God; mutual self-giving ˜ to this man is destined; if he is able to find the way to achieve it, he mirrors the essence of God and thus reveals the link between the beginning and the end."

The Poem on the Coming Conclave

Here are selections from this part of the poem:




1. The First Beholder

"In him we live and move and have our being,"

says Paul at the Areopagus in Athens ˜

Who is He?...

He, who was creating, saw ˜ "saw that it was good,"

his seeing different from ours.

He -- the first Beholder --

saw, finding in everything some trace of his Being, his own fullness.

He saw: Omnia nuda et aperta sunt ante oculos Eius --

Naked, transparent,

true, good and beautiful --

I stand at the entrance to the Sistine --

Perhaps all this could be said more simply

in the language of the "Book of Genesis."

But the Book awaits the image. And rightly so. It was waiting

for its Michelangelo.


It is here, at the feet of this marvelous Sistine profusion of color

that the cardinals gather --

a community responsible for the legacy of the keys of the Kingdom.

They come right here.

And once more Michelangelo wraps them in his vision.

"In Him we live and move and have our being."


The Sistine painting will then speak with the Word of the Lord:

Tu est Petrus -- as Simon, the son of Jonah, heard.

"To you I will give the keys of the Kingdom."

Those to whom the care of the legacy of the keys has been entrusted

gather here, allowing themselves to be enfolded by the Sistine's colors,

by the vision left to us by Michelangelo --

so it was in August, and then in October,

of the memorable year of the two Conclaves,

and so it will be again, when the need arises after my death.

Michelangelo's vision must then speak to them.

"Conclave": a joint concern for the legacy of the keys of the Kingdom.

They will find themselves between the Beginning and the End,

between the Day of Creation and the Day of Judgment.

It is given to man once to die and after that the judgment!

A final transparency and light.

The clarity of the events --

the clarity of consciences --

It is necessary that during the Conclave, Michelangelo teach them --

Do not forget: Omnia nuda et aperta sunt ante oculos Eius.

You who are in all, show the way!

He will teach you...

Newsflash mailing list


"We Christians have weapons too"

When Saddam Hussein met with papal emissary Cardinal Roger Etchegaray in Baghdad a few weeks ago, the Iraqi dictator responded to questions about why he wasn't cooperating with United Nations weapons inspectors by drawing a long knife. Holding it for the cardinal to see, he ran his finger along the sharp edge of the blade--it was an obvious gesture at intimidation.

But Mr. Etchegaray wasn't stricken with fear. He simply reached into his pocket and drew out a rosary.

"We Christians have weapons too," the cardinal told the dictator.

Monday, March 10, 2003

OpinionJournal - Extra Responses

Feminists Hate Women
MaryLouise Pivec - Minneapolis

I enjoyed your article very much. It has always seemed to me that traditional "feminism" actually hates women. First they attacked our breasts, symbolically, with the burning of bras, then our uteruses, not so symbolically with legalized abortion. They hate anything that actually sets women apart from men, refusing to accept the glory that being a woman actually is. Their rhetoric, whether pro-abortion or antimotherhood, all sounds as though weakness and limits have determined all women's choices through the millennium, and not the idea that women become wives and mothers because that's what we want. I have never bought into any of their nonsense, as I am actually a liberated woman, who loves my femininity. The fact that "feminists" are more concerned with getting into Augusta National that getting into Iraq says it all.


OpinionJournal - Liberation's Limits
Feminists to Muslim women: Drop dead.
Saturday, March 8, 2003 12:01 a.m. EST

Feminists had an extraordinary opportunity after Sept. 11, when pictures of other-worldly creatures in blue burkhas shocked even beer-chugging Super Bowl fans into becoming women's rights advocates. But instead of seizing the moment to revive an anemic movement by raising their voices against genuine female oppression, they have given the ultimate illustration of their preference for partisan politics and smug resentments over principles.