Blogwatcher - Francis a practician of liberation theology?

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BY STEFAN GIGACZ

Brazilian liberation theologian Leonardo Boff concludes that Pope Benedict was the last pope of the "perfect society" church and predicts (hopes?) that Pope Francis will usher in a networked communities model of church (Translation by Google):

The first millennium of Christianity was marked by the paradigm of community. The churches had relative autonomy with their own rites: the Orthodox, the Coptic, the Ambrosian in Milan, the Mozarabic Spain and others. Worshiped their own martyrs and confessors and had their theologies as seen in flourishing Christianity in North Africa with Augustine, Cyprian and Tertullian lay theologian. They recognized each other and, although already in Rome to draft a more legal, dominated the presidency in charity.

The second millennium was characterized by the paradigm of the Church as a perfect society and hierarchy: an absolute monarchy centered on the figure of the Pope as supreme head (cephalisation), endowed with unlimited powers and ultimately infallible when declaring as such in matters of faith and morals...

This model of church, apparently, ended with the resignation of Benedict XVI, the Pope of the last monarchical model, a context tragic scandals that affected the core of the credibility of the Christian message.

Election of Pope Francisco, coming "end of the world" as he even if presented, the periphery of Christianity, the Great South, where 60% of Catholics, inaugurated the ecclesial paradigm of the Third Millennium: The Church as a vast network Christian communities rooted in different cultures, some more ancient than the West as the Chinese, Indian and Japanese and tribal cultures in Africa and Latin America Community. It also embodies the culture of modern technically advanced countries, with a faith lived well in small groups or communities.

Boff's position is perhaps not surprising as more evidence emerges that Pope Francis is faithful to the line adopted by Latin American bishops at their famous CELAM conference at Medellin, Colombia, which originally coined the term "new evangelisation" in 1968.

Cardijn.info cites a German report by Matthias Drobinski that "before he became Pope Francis, Cardinal Bergoglio followed the three-step 'See-Judge-Act' method of the Belgian worker priest Joseph Cardijn," which was followed at Medellin, after being adopted by the Vatican II drafters of Gaudium et Spes. According to Drobinski:

He thus followed one of the basic concepts of Latin American liberation theology, without the human, social and historical model of Marxism, as some liberation theologians did.

Illustrating the new pope's personal touch, Rocco Palmo tweets:

In first English blessing to emerge, Pope signs his name not as customary "Franciscus," but "Francis": bit.ly/16s6r18

— Rocco Palmo (@roccopalmo) April 1, 2013

 * * *

Easter Sunday fell on 31 March this year, which the United States marks each year as Cesar Chavez Day after the Latino founder of the United Farm Workers Union (UFW).

So Google celebrated Easter with a Google Doodle of Chavez, instead of, say, an Easter Bunny or Jesus rising from the dead, sending the blogosphere and twittersphere into (negative)  overdrive.

Twitchy.com commented: "Yep. While two billion Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday on this 31st day of March, Google is using its famous “Doodle” search logo art to mark the birth of left-wing labor leader Cesar Chavez. For real."   While Breitbard noted that "Chavez was trained by Saul Alinsky in the tactics of community organising". Actually, it turns out that Alinsky had many Catholic friends, including the philosopher Jacques Maritain.   It's probably true that Google was trying to be politically correct in not publishing a religious picture for Easter. Still, most of the critics seem more concerned with the fact that Chavez was a labour organiser - and few mention the fact that Chavez was a practising Catholic.   In fact, Chavez's record of fasting would put most of his accusers to shame.   "In 1968 Cesar went on a water only, 25 day fast. He repeated the fast in 1972 for 24 days, and again in 1988, this time for 36 days," the UFW notes.   In that sense at least Chavez's story is a genuine Lent-Easter story. First Things, which is not known for its radical positions, agrees:   Google’s odd choice should remind us that whatever one thinks of Chavez’s politics, they are impossible to understand apart from his belief in the resurrected Christ.    * * *

For those who ask what has Christianity ever done for the world, Fr Andrew Pinsent, a former particle physicist who worked at CERN before being called to the priesthood, and his colleague Fr Marcus Holden may have the answer in a Catholic Truth Society pamphlet titled Lumen.

Peter Smith reports:   Lumen “summarises the extraordinary fruitfulness of the faith, noting that our university system, art, music, legal tradition, charity and even much of our science arises from Catholic civilisation and Catholic minds”. To take only one legacy of Catholic culture, namely science, readers will be familiar with da Vinci, Copernicus, and Galileo (treated much more favourably than detractors – often Protestant historians – will admit), but what of Volta, inventor of the first long-distance electronic communication and thus presumably with a claim to be the real “father of the internet”, Gregor Mendel, Augustinian monk and founder of the study of genetics, or Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, a French Catholic, developed the first theory of evolution, including the “notion of transmutation of species and a genealogical tree”?

Pinsent and Holden describe as “perhaps most surprising” the claim of Catholic civilisation to have produced many of the first women scientists. Trotula of Salerno is the credited author of a book on diseases for women in the Eleventh Century, Dorotea Bucca taught at the University of Bologna for over forty years, and Maria Agnesi, who died in 1799, was appointed by Pope Benedict XIV to become the first woman to become a mathematics professor at any university.

* * *

Bishop David Walker of Broken Bay hopes to retire soon and here he shares his reflections on the retirements of Pope Benedict and himself.

* * *

Now we know why there are holes in the Shroud of Turin. Italian company Haltadefinizione has released an iPad app for viewing the Shroud, which it says it "shot" in 2008:

Haltadefinizione® was in charge of the shooting of the cloth of the Shroud between January 22nd and 23rd 2008.

On the occasion of the extraordinary opening of the preservation system ordered by Cardinal Poletto, the then Custodian of the Holy Shroud, in agreement with the Holy See, Haltadefinizione® was authorized to acquire high definition (HD) digital images of the Shroud. These HD images represent a milestone in the history of the Shroud. During the shooting of the Shroud, the entire surface of the cloth was captured for the first time using advanced HD photographic techniques. A process very similar, on a small scale, to that used for topography.

The image reached an unprecedented optical resolution not visible to the naked eye, allowing clearly to distinguish the individual elements that compose the cloth: elements of a diameter of a few hundredths of a millimeter.

The most critical aspect of the project was the shooting of the cloth. The photographic device was assembled in maximum-safety around the reliquary using a carriage with parallel rails. The lighting system was especially designed to filter any harmful radiation to the cloth, but most of all special attention was given to the calibration of the spectrum, which helped faithfully reproduce the actual color and fabric of the Shroud image.

Download the app here: The Shroud and Haltadefinizione: the shooting of 2008 (Haltadefizione)

* * *

Once again the abortion issue is causing controversy in the US after a Planned Parenthood representative appeared to condone infanticide.

"So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I'm almost in disbelief," Florida legislator Rep. Jim Boyd said. "If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?"

"We believe that any decision that's made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician," said Planned Parenthood lobbyist Snow.

* * *

While it's a bit late for this year, Camille Bautista asks whether Facebook is the new chocolate to be given up during Lent:

Hourly Facebook checks were standard for Lucy Church, and Lent became a time to make the change. Like many others, Church sacrificed Facebook-use for the religious season. Lent is often the golden opportunity for people to break free of vices like junk food or alcohol, but going on a digital cleanse for 40 days is becoming a popular sacrifice.

Facebook served as a welcome distraction for Church, a Ph.D. student at Florida State University. A practicing Anglican, she's observed Lent for the past three years to strengthen her relationship with God, she said. In the past she found it difficult to abstain from desserts and Netflix, but Church says this time around relinquishing social media use was a welcome challenge.

"It was something I was spending a lot of time on and I thought of it as a generally healthy behavior modification," Church told Mashable. "Lent is supposed to be a time when you draw closer to God and replace those activities with more reflection."

 * * * Finally, a correction by the New York Times tweeted by Grant Gallicho at Commonweal:

So this happened. @nytimes twitter.com/gallicho/statu…

— Grant Gallicho (@gallicho) April 1, 2013  


Michael MullinsStefan Gigacz is preparing a PhD. at MCD University of Divinity, Melbourne, on the role of Joseph Cardijn at Vatican II.

Disclaimer: CathBlog is an extension of CathNews story feedback. It is intended to promote discussion and debate among the subscribers to CathNews and the readers of the website. The opinions expressed in CathBlog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference or of Church Resources.

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