Of the events planned, the Pope’s visit to
By coming to
Some analysts predict this year’s visit will give him
an opportunity to provide a more authentic understanding of the Church’s
preferential option for the poor, just as his recent visit to
Another widely anticipated event is a motu proprio document through which the Pope would allow broader use of the Tridentine Mass.
Instead, the Holy Father may relax some restrictions requiring local bishops to give explicit permission for a priest to celebrate the Tridentine Mass.
“Circles who insist on celebrating the Tridentine Rite often say that it is the only valid rite and that the new rite [promulgated in 1969] is heretical, and that’s the problem,” said Abbot Notker Wolf, Abbot Primate of the Benedictine Order.
The publication of a post-synodal document on the Eucharist is also expected early this year.
Another possible document might address the hot-button question of condom use as a means of HIV/AIDS prevention. Speaking to the Register Dec. 20, Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, president of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Health Care, said a draft document on the matter, which was initially assembled by his council, is now being examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Cardinal Lozano could not say when a final document
was likely to be published. But
“Benedict XVI is very disturbed when he hears intellectually untenable positions,” said one official. “The teaching simply cannot change.”
In March, the Pope’s new book Jesus of Nazareth: From His Baptism to His Transfiguration will be published. According to papal spokesman Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the book, which the Holy Father began writing in 2003, is “not a long encyclical on Jesus, but a personal presentation of the figure of Jesus by the theologian Joseph Ratzinger.”
Meanwhile, other papal pilgrimages are planned. In
September, Benedict will travel to
The Pope has also been invited to
Closer to home in Italy, Benedict will travel to
Assisi June 17, and possibly to Ravenna this fall to open the joint
Catholic-Orthodox theological commission with the Ecumenical Patriarch of
Constantinople. Such a meeting, and a planned
“After years of signs of courtesy,” said Abbot Wolf, “it’s high time to get down to work.”