Should Fr Jacques Hamel be referred to as “Blessed” since the Pope referred to him as such? That’s the question asked by Fr John Zuhlsdorf at wdtprs.com/blog.
While Fr Z believes that the priest who was murdered for his Christian faith is most likely a martyr, he reminds readers that a formal procedure needs to be followed in the Church before someone can officially be called “Blessed”. He writes: “The Pope must exercise his office in a prudent, responsible way lest confusion be sown. If he is sloppy about law and doctrine, people can become confused.” He concluded: “Meanwhile, it really does seem that Fr Hamel is a martyr, doesn’t it? It wouldn’t surprise me at all were Francis to accelerate the process.”
When historian Tom Holland was growing up, the dinosaurs presented a problem for his Christian faith, as did the writers of the Enlightenment that he so admired. In his early career, Holland explained in the New Statesman, he delved into the world of classical antiquity but soon began to find the values of Leonidas and Caesar “alien and unsettling”.
“It was not just the extremes of callousness,” Holland writes, “that I came to find shocking, but the lack of a sense that the poor or the weak might have any intrinsic value.” He goes on to explain: “Familiarity with the biblical narrative of the Crucifixion has dulled our sense of just how completely novel a deity Christ was. In the ancient world, it was the role of gods who laid claim to ruling the universe to uphold its order by inflicting punishment – not to suffer it themselves.” He concludes: “In my morals and ethics, I have learned to accept that I am not Greek or Roman at all, but thoroughly and proudly Christian.”
Coffee for Christ
At christianitytoday.com Martyn Wendell Jones ponders the power of coffee to bind church-goers together. His Toronto pastor has told him: “Coffee is like a comfort blanket that young professionals carry around after the service, and it gives them courage to interact with one another.” Jones concludes: “hospitality is guided by the principle that we welcome the stranger as we would welcome Christ. For me, coffee is the way I would welcome Christ.”
Cosmo hails virginity
In a rare turn of events, the magazine Cosmopolitan has reported positively on consecrated virginity.
The article, about a woman happily married to God, concludes: “I have consciously and freely chosen to forgo marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of God, which is a sacrifice. I hope there can be a positive lesson learned from my experience. I hope others understand I am not a masochist. I am a woman in love.”
The best-selling English novelist Robert Harris has said the Labour Party should take inspiration from the Vatican in selecting a new leader.
In an interview with the Guardian, Harris, whose new novel Conclave describes the election of a pope, said: “I basically think, now, that MPs should elect the leader [of the Labour party] just as the cardinals elect the pope. I started to think it after Ed Miliband won. Everything that has gone wrong with British politics this year – and an awful lot has gone wrong – has been to do with getting away from parliamentary democracy.”
The novel is set over 72 hours inside the Vatican.
✣ A particle of a 19th-century Orthodox saint, St Seraphim, was expected to be taken into space today. The relic is being taken to the International Space Station in the space vessel Soyuz MS-02, which is manned by two Russians, Sergey Ryzhikov and Andrey Borisenko, and an American, Shane Kimbrough.
The flight is expected to last 155 days. On its return the relic particle will be taken to the Transfiguration cathedral in Zvezdny Gorodok near Moscow.
Crew member Ryzhikov also plans to take icons, the Gospels and stones from Mount Tabor with him.
✣The week in quotations
There are more people at Mass now Archbishop Lebrun on the impact of Fr Hamel’s murder on French Catholics Press conference
What he wants most is for us not to believe in his existence Fr Gabriele Amorth, who died this week, on Satan Speaking at a film festival in Umbria
[Good works] do not keep well in the fridge Pope Francis Morning Mass
We share a common agenda with the Holy See and the Catholic network Sally Axworthy, the new ambassador to the Holy See Speaking at the Vatican
✣Statistic of the week
24% The proportion of cardinal electors with a Twitter account Source: Xiskya.com