CHURCH STUFF #1
ON THE ONE HAND, on December 11, 2008, at a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Pope Benedict XVI said that the dignity of human beings will only be guaranteed "when all the fundamental rights are recognized, defended and promoted." He added that these rights "are a universal given by the Creator in human consciousness."
In a similar way, on December 13, 2008, both the pope secretary of state, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, and the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Renato Cardinal Martino, praised the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Bertone said the document sought "to defend the person from the idolatry of the state, which totalitarianisms had in fact divinized." And Martino commented that the document was "able to offer a sure orientation to humanity's path after the drama of World War II" and that it "remains an indispensable point of reference to build a future of justice and peace for the whole of humanity."
ON THE OTHER, on december 13, 2008, the Apostolic Nuncio and permanent observer of the Vatican to the United Nations, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, opposed a proposed UN declaration condemning discrimination based on orientation because the Said declaration implies, Migliore said, "that all sexual orientations should be put at the same level in all situations and in regard to every human norm." He added: "There is no question that the Church is opposed to legislation that criminalizes homosexuality."
And on December 11, 2008, in Chile, the retired prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Woship, Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez, during a memorial Mass for Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, criticized Madonna (performing in Chile) for encouraging "an enthusiasm for lust, lustful thoughts" and "impure thoughts." Then Cardinal Medinal Estevez defended Pinochet against critics who have cited flagrant human-rights abuse during his reign. (From Catholic Culture / Catholic World News, 12/11/08, adapted by R.J.B.)
P.S. Pinochet died at age 94, 12/11/08. After a bloody military coup (9/11/73) that toppled the duly elected President Salvador Allende's government (Allende was assasinated in the coup), Pinochet led Chile for 17 years as president and, for another 8 years, he held his post as commander in chief of the army. During his rule more than 3,200 people were executed or disapeared, and scores of thousands more were detained and tortured or exiled. (From the NYT 12/11/08, adapted by R.J.B.)
CHURCH STUFF #2
ON THE ONE HAND, Père Congar was created cardinal (at age 93, seven months before his death) by John Paul II in October 1994, which made him "happy as a child," according to Fr. Pierre Marie Gy of Couvent Saint-Jacques in Paris, where Congar lived before entering Les Invalides. His cardinalate elevation pleased him so much that he sent his nephew, Dominique, in some Paris store, to buy him his cardinal red zucchetto and birreta. After so many years of being suspected of heresy (before Vatican II Council) by the Vatican Holy Office (formerly, the Office of the Inquisition), Père Congar has been vidicated by Pope John XXXIII who named him peritus (expert) at Vatican II and by Pope John Paul II who named him cardinal. I am sure that, especialy this latter vindication, supeceded any previous historical research he had pursued regarding the emergence of the cardinalate in the Roman Church and its negative repercussions. Yet....
ON THE OTHER, Yves Cardinal Congar had earlier written that after the Ninth Century, the concept of the bishops’ collegiality ceases to exist, especially with the institution of the college of cardinals (Thirteenth Century) who were looked upon as the twelve apostles around the person of the bishop of Rome, who was the vicar of Christ. At this point the relationship of the bishop with the local Church gives way to the relationship of the bishop to the bishop of Rome, the latter as governor of the universal Church. The Church becomes one people under the unique Head, the bishop of Rome. The order (diaconal, presbyteral and episcopal ordinations) in the Church becomes a personal power in relation to the Eucharist, instead of a degree of service in the Church, for the Church. (Ministères et communion ecclésiale [Cerf: Paris, 1971]).
(Plus ça change, plus ce n’est pas toujours la même chose.)
WORD STUFF #1
ON THE ONE HAND, to denigrate (in English) means to attack the character or reputation of someone, or to speak ill of, defame, disparage, belittle someone, etc.
ON THE OTHER, to denigrate comes from the Latin: denigrare; "to make very black"; "to blacken" (de+niger [Latin]); "to blacken" one’s reputation, etc., as though ‘to be black is bad'.
SED CONTRA, (as Thomas of Aquinas would say),The Song of Songs (1:3) says: Nigra sum, sed formosa (I am black [fem.], but I am beautiful.). Or as the exquisite French translation goes: Moi, noire et belle (I, black and beautiful [fem].)
PHILOSOPHY STUFF # 1
ON THE ONE HAND, many people know but one thing about the French philosopher and mathematician, Renatus Cartesius (René Descartes - 1596-1650): "Cogito ergo sum." (I think, therefore I am.)
ON THE OTHER, I have learned recently that the full quote is: "Dubito ergo cogito; Cogito ergo sum." (I doubt, therefore I think; I think, therefore I am.) Se non è vero, è bene trovato!