Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
So you think you’d like to be pope?
You might be a lot less enthusiastic about the idea after perusing this synopsis, published today by Vatican News Service, of the activities undertaken by 82-year-old Pope Benedict XVI during the “slow” summer month of August:
ACTIVITIES OF POPE BENEDICT XVI IN AUGUST
VATICAN CITY, 1 SEP 2009 (VIS) - Following is a list of Pope Benedict’s activities during the month of August. It includes the Angelus, general and private audiences, other pontifical acts, letters, messages, telegrams and other news. The activities are presented in chronological order under their respective headings.
- 2: Speaking in Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father recalls how the Year for Priests is a precious opportunity to underline the importance of priests’ mission in the Church and in the world. He then assures Polish pilgrims of his union in prayer with participants in celebrations marking the anniversary of the insurrection of Warsaw. He highlights how the heroism of the insurgents and the strength of the nation gave rise to a free Poland and expresses the hope that such a sacrifice of life may bring fruits of peace and prosperity for the Polish nation.
- 9: Benedict XVI advises the faithful to meditate upon the figures of certain saints, whose feast days fall in this period: Clare of Assisi, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Maximilian Kolbe, Francis of Assisi, Pope Pontianus and Lawrence. From these holy men and women, says the Holy Father, and especially from the priests, one may learn the evangelical heroism that encourages us to give our lives for the salvation of souls. Love, the Pope concludes, overcomes death.
- 15: On the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin, the Holy Father recalls that the current Year for Priests is dedicated to St. John Mary Vianney. He mentions that saint’s particular devotion for the Mother of God, and entrusts all the priests of the world to the Blessed Virgin.
- 16: Speaking of the Incarnation, the Pope affirms that God asks us, as He did the Virgin Mary, to accept Him in various ways, placing our lives and our hearts at His disposal that He may dwell in the world. By this gesture, says Pope Benedict, we are transformed and, in some way, become assumed into the divinity of the One Who assumed our humanity.
- 23: Commenting on the words of St. Peter in today’s Gospel - “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life” - Benedict XVI explains that such a response remains valid in our own time when Jesus’ teachings seem, as they did then to the disciples, difficult to follow and put into practice. Following Jesus, says the Pope, fills our hearts with joy and gives full meaning to our lives, but it also involves difficulties and sacrifices because it often means swimming against the tide.
- 30: The Pope mentions the feast day of St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine, which falls on 27 August, and recalls how the history of Christianity is marked by countless examples of saintly fathers and mothers who have accompanied the lives of generous priests and pastors of the Church. He then goes on to mention the Day for the Defence of Creation which is celebrated in Italy on 1 September and calls on industrialised countries to co-operate responsibly in the future of the planet so that the poor do not end up paying the highest price for climate change.
WEDNESDAY GENERAL AUDIENCES
- 5: The Pope again praises St. John Mary Vianney, highlighting the prophetic energy that marked his human and priestly character. Benedict XVI also recalls the pastoral fruitfulness and creativity of the “Cure of Ars”, which focused on showing that the rationalism of his time (just as the relativism of our own) is unable to satisfy the authentic needs of human beings.
- 12: On the eve of the Solemnity of the Assumption, the Holy Father explains that Mary’s ‘yes’ was the door through which God was able to enter the world, and that the Incarnation (the Son becoming man) already contained the gift of self, the sacrifice on the Cross to become bread for the life of the world. Hence sacrifice, priesthood and Incarnation are united, and at the centre of this mystery is the Virgin Mary.
- 19: Benedict XVI focuses his catechesis on the figure of St. John Eudes, apostle of devotion to the Sacred Hearts, who lived in seventeenth-century France and dedicated himself to the formation of the diocesan clergy. The Pope expresses the view that the years spent in the seminary may be likened to the period in which Jesus, having called the Apostles and before sending them out to preach, asks them to remain with Him.
- 26: The Holy Father reminds his audience that the earth is a precious gift of the Creator which humans are called to administrate. On the basis of this truth the Church considers matters associated with the environment and its protection as being closely tied to the question of integral human development. Benedict XVI affirms that environmental protection, the safeguarding of resources and climate change require world leaders to act in respect of the law, and to show solidarity, especially with the poorest regions of the earth.
LETTERS, MESSAGES AND TELEGRAMS
- 1: Publication of a Letter, dated 24 June, in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as his special envoy to the ninth plenary assembly of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences. The event is due to be held in Manila, Philippines, from 11 to 16 August.
- 1: The Holy Father sends a telegram of condolence to Cardinal Gaudencio B. Rosales, archbishop of Manila, Philippines, for the death of Corazon Aquino, former president of that country.
- 3: The Holy Father sends a telegram to Bishop Joseph Coutts of Faisalabad, Pakistan, for attacks in Gojra City which caused many victims in the local Christian community.
- 13: Publication of a Letter in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Christoph Schonborn O.P., archbishop of Vienna, Austria, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the millennium of the diocese of Pecs, Hungary, due to take place on 23 August.
- 23: Message of the Holy Father to Bishop Francesco Lambiasi of Rimini, Italy, for the thirtieth “Meeting for Friendship among Peoples” which is being held in that city from 23 to 29 August on the theme: “Knowledge is always an event”.
- 29: Publication of a Letter, dated 4 July, in which the Holy Father appoints Cardinal Joachim Meisner, archbishop of Cologne, Germany, as his special envoy to celebrations marking the twelfth centenary of the death of St. Ludger, first bishop of Munster and “Apostle of the Saxons and Frisians”, due to take place at Werden an der Ruhr, Germany, on 6 September.
- 1: Participants in the World Swimming Championships, currently being held in Rome, are received in audience by the Pope, who delivers a brief address.
- 2: Benedict XVI attends a concert of the “Bayerisches Kammerorchester Bad Bruckenau” which plays pieces by Bach, Britten and Mozart.
- 15: For the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin, the Pope celebrates Mass and pronounces a homily in the parish church of St. Thomas of Villanova in Castelgandolfo.
- 31: The Holy Father receives in separate audiences: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Bishop Vincenzo Paglia of Terni-Narni-Amelia, Italy, accompanied by Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Sant’Egidio Community, and Msgr. Livio Medina, president of the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family.
OTHER PONTIFICAL ACTS
- 1: Resignation of Bishop Cornelius Schilder M.H.M. from the pastoral care of the diocese of Ngong, Kenya, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. Appointment of Bishop Bernard-Emmanuel Kasanda Mulenga, auxiliary of Mbujimayi, Democratic Republic of Congo, as bishop of the same diocese. He succeeds Bishop Tharcisse Tsibangu Tsibishiku, whose resignation was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit.
- 4: Appointment of Fr. Rufin Anthony as coadjutor of Islamabad-Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Appointment of Fr. Hermann Geissler F.S.O. as bureau chief at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
- 5: Appointment of Fr. Gontram Decoste S.J. as bishop of Jeremie, Haiti. He succeeds Bishop Joseph Willy Romelus, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. Appointment of Bishop Simon Pierre Saint-Hillen C.S.C., auxiliary of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as bishop of Hinche, Haiti.
- 8: Appointment of Archbishop Orlando Antonini, apostolic nuncio to Paraguay, as apostolic nuncio to Serbia.
- 14: Resignation of Bishop Jan Baginski, auxiliary of Opole, Poland, upon having reached the age limit. Appointment of Msgr. Andrzej Czaja as bishop of Opole. He succeeds Bishop Alfons Nossol, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese was accepted by the Holy Father, upon having reached the age limit. Appointment of Fr. John Vadakel C.M.I. as bishop of Bijnor of the Syro-Malabars, India. He succeeds Bishop Gratian Mundadan C.M.I., whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- 17: Resignation of Archbishop John Choi Toung-soo from the pastoral care of the archdiocese of Daegu, Korea, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. Appointment of Fr. Giuseppe Filippi M.C.C.J. as bishop of Kotido, Uganda. Appointment of Msgr. Pietro Parolin, under secretary for Relations with States, as apostolic nuncio to Venezuela and his elevation to the dignity of archbishop. Appointment of Msgr. Ettore Balestrero as under secretary for Relations with States.
- 18: Appointment of Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, as the Holy Father’s special envoy to celebrations marking the twelfth centenary of the translation of the relics of St. Tryphon to Kotor in Montenegro. The event is due to take place on 17 October.
- 19: Resignation of Bishop Frederick Drandua from the pastoral care of the diocese of Arua, Uganda, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
- 20: Appointment of Bishop Andrea Bruno Mazzocato of Treviso, Italy, as archbishop of Udine, Italy. He succeeds Archbishop Pietro Brollo, whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same archdiocese the Holy Father accepted, upon having reached the age limit. Appointment of Archbishop Renzo Fratini, apostolic nuncio to Nigeria, as apostolic nuncio to Spain and the Principality of Andorra, and Holy See permanent observer to the World Tourism Organisation.
- 31: Resignation of Bishop Joseph Francis Martino from the pastoral care of the diocese of Scranton, U.S.A., in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law. Resignation of Bishop John Martin Dougherty from the office of auxiliary of the same diocese, upon having reached the age limit.