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Look for Verbum at Your Local Conference

Verbum returns to the 6th annual Real Catholic Men conference June 15 at St. Pius X parish in Portland.  This year’s theme, “Behold My Beloved Son,” will be explored by Catholic Answers’ director of apologetics and evangelization, Tim Staples, and papal-medal-winning speaker Vernon Robertson.

Visit RealCatholicMen.com for more information.

Keep an eye out for Verbum at the next conference you attend, and be sure to stop by the booth: there will be special discounts on the latest edition of Verbum for new and existing users. If you (or a friend) have been considering purchasing or upgrading, conferences are a great opportunity!

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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter.

In celebration of this Easter season, we will be offering 15% off all Verbum packages with coupon code VerbumEaster2013.the-resurrection-of-christ
In addition, for the next seven weeks, we will be highlighting some amazing apologetics resources here on the blog, with special offers and discounts each week. This is an exciting season, and a great time to get Verbum.

We’ll also be running a series of free tutorials centered on apologetic resources as the Easter season unfolds. Make sure you check in weekly for free tips and tricks!

The Inward Man

I feel no heavier burthen than being so long a pilgrim from Thee in this world; in that glowing with love, I seek no consolation besides Thee. For I have learnt by most certain experience that my soul cannot be satisfied with the good things of this present life, nor attain to true bliss, until united to Thee she shall be received into a heavenly mansion. For although whilst in the body she may love exceedingly, and burn and contemplate; yet unsatisfied are her affections, till she has put off the flesh.
—Thomas à Kempis, The Soliloquy of the Soul ch. XX.ii

Right now: 35% off all Thomas à Kempis resources with the coupon code 2MM13.
christ-carrying-the-cross-1
In this final week of Lent, Kempis’ words cut straight to the heart of what this season is all about: a letting go of the things of this world, and a grasping of the person of Christ.

Thomas à Kempis is perhaps best known for his The Imitation of Christ, one of the most famous Christian devotional books of all time. His writings have reached out to millions of Christians throughout the world; The Imitation of Christ alone has been translated into more languages than any other book save for the Bible. It is a work centered on the importance of “contempt for the vanities of the world”—it calls those who read it to imitate Christ by submitting the will entirely to God’s.

There is a theme woven throughout all of Kempis’ works: the importance of living an “inward life.” For Kempis, a life of interiority is not a life of “me-focused” egoism; rather, it is the letting go of “external” things so that one is able make room in their hearts for the indwelling of Christ: “To walk with God interiorly, to be free from any external affection—this is the state of the inward man” (Imitation of Christ, ch. 6). In this way, Kempis preaches a message that is radically different from the modern notion of inwardness as a kind of “escapist” trait. Instead, the interior life is one focused on Jesus above all things. To be inward is take up our cross and deny the “desires of the flesh” that are against the Spirit (Gal. 5:17).

Right now we’re offering 35% off all Thomas à Kempis resources. It’s a fantastic opportunity to learn from, and reflect on, a collection of writings that have proven to be timeless Catholic devotional works.

Use the coupon code 2MM13 on any of the works listed below and receive 35% off until April 15:

The Imitation of Christ
The Soliloquy of the Soul
The Little Garden of Roses and Valley of Lilies
Sermons to the Novices Regular
A Meditation on the Incarnation of Christ, Sermons on the Life and Passion of Our Lord, and Of Hearing and Speaking Good Words
The Chronicle of the Canons Regular of Mount St. Agnes
The Founders of the New Devotion: Being the Lives of Gerard Groote, Florentius Radewin, and Their Followers
Prayers and Meditations on the Life of Christ

Spring is here!

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is head in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance.
Song of Solomon 2:11

Giotto_-_Legend_of_St_Francis_-_-15-_-_Sermon_to_the_BirdsFinally, it’s spring—a much-needed change for all of us here in rainy Bellingham, Washington. In spite of our wet weather, spring remains a season symbolic of great change: from darkness to light, from death to life. For us in the northern hemisphere, the natural transition from winter to spring is augmented by the liturgical transition from Lent into Easter.

Winter, for most of human history, has naturally reminded us of our depravity. We awake, often in the darkness, to find ourselves in an inhospitable climate. We are consigned to our homes for warmth. It is difficult or impossible to harvest most crops. Winter forces us to rely upon the provisions we have acquired in the warmer seasons as we look forward. Though many of these anxieties have been quelled by our modern systems of production, winter still reminds us today that nature is powerful and often unforgiving—the blizzards affecting much of the East Coast this year come to mind.

Like the cold, harsh winter, Lent allows us to better understand our utter dependence on God’s providence and grace. For 40 days, we are invited into constant prayer and fasting, reminding us of the ways in which our sin separates us from God. Lent is thus a season of hope as we attempt to pick up our crosses and look forward to the resurrection of our Lord. The weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

This spring, we are blessed to be able to celebrate at least three joyous occasions: First, we experience the transition from winter into spring’s beauty. Second, we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. And third, we welcome a new pope, Francis. There truly is much to celebrate in these next coming weeks.

I wanted to leave you with a quote from St. Paul of the Cross pertaining to the upcoming season. As you begin to (hopefully) spend more time outdoors, meditate on these words:

Give yourself the rest you need. When you are walking alone, listen to the sermon preached to you by the flowers, the trees, the shrubs, the sky and the whole world. Notice how they preach to you a sermon full of love, of praise to God, and how they invite you to glorify the sublimity of that sovereign Artist who has given them being.

Let us enter this spring with great joy, with hearts open to the love of God that surrounds us through his creation.

St. Joseph, Protector of the Church

Today’s guest post is by Brandon Rappuhn, a Logos marketing copywriter.

St. Joseph and the Christ child 1599What do we really know about St. Joseph?

According to tradition, St. Joseph, the foster father of our Lord Jesus Christ, was born and raised in Bethlehem. He learned the trade of carpentry from his father, just as he would pass that trade on to his foster son, Jesus. Joseph was an honorable and righteous man, who followed the law of Moses for the purpose of serving God and his fellow man (Matthew 1:19). This man of humble stature has had a deep and profound influence on the Catholic Church for the past 2,000 years.

Admittedly, much of what we know of Joseph is speculation, educated guesses, and hearsay. But none of our veneration is without merit. The plain and simple fact that God chose Joseph and Mary to raise, teach, and train the child Jesus attests far more to their character than even the Church assumes. The Church remembers that Joseph is a simple, humble man and that he protected Mary and Jesus when they were vulnerable (Matthew 2:14), but that probably wasn’t the only time Joseph kept Mary and Jesus from harm. He worked with his hands to provide a bed, food, and clothing for the young Jesus—the small, vulnerable child who was (and is) the God of the entire universe.

It is commonly held that Joseph gently passed away of natural causes before Jesus began his public ministry. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that St. Epiphanius says Joseph died at 90 years of age, and Venerable Bede attests he was buried in the Valley of Josaphat. In any case, Joseph’s mission on earth was completed as Jesus prepared to enter into public ministry, leaving Jesus and Mary to begin a radical movement and new covenant that would change the world.

St. Joseph in the world today

We venerate St. Joseph today as the patron of fathers, workers, and the celibate. Countless parishes, schools, hospitals, and US counties have been named after him. Pope Pius IX devoted himself to St. Joseph and, in 1847, established that his feast day should be honored by the entire Catholic Church. Later, in 1871, the same pope declared that the entire Church should be under his patronage, thus establishing him today as the Church’s protector. Just as God appointed him to protect Jesus and Mary, so does he continue to pray for the protection of the Church Jesus so loves.

When should I expect white smoke?

This is the question on every Catholic’s mind: when will I see white smoke? When will we have a new pope?

I can’t tell you exactly—no one knows precisely when the ballots will be burned—but here are some good times to check the chimney:

 PST  MST  CST  EST  CET (Rome time)
 2:30 AM  3:30 AM  4:30 AM  5:30 AM  10:30 AM
 4:00 AM  5:00 AM  6:00 AM  7:00 AM  12:00 PM (noon)
 9:30 AM  10:30 AM  11:30 PM  12:30 PM  5:30 PM
 11:00 AM  12:00 PM  1:00 PM  2:00 PM  7:00 PM

 

Time in Rome


The cardinals will cast two votes in the morning—which they will burn at noon—and two in the evening—which they will burn at 7:00 PM (Rome time). This means we will see smoke at noon and 7:00 PM.
If the cardinals do not vote twice in the morning—if their first vote is conclusive—we will see white smoke around 10:30 AM. Similarly, for the evening ballots, we could see white smoke closer to 5:30 PM.

Again, these are only estimates—it never hurts to check more often.

Keep up with the action using the Conclave app.

The Conclave Convenes on March 12—Ten Things You Need to Know

Today’s guest post is by Aric Nesheim, marketing specialist in the Catholic division.

As the papal conclave fast approaches, many are wondering how it actually works. The conclave’s fascinating history shows how malleable the papal-election process can be. Today, the rules and regulations for the papal conclave have been changed and altered by various apostolic constitutions and motu proprios. Here are 10 need-to-know points concerning the upcoming conclave:

1) When the cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel, after the master of the Papel Liturgical Celebrations says “Extra omnes!” (outside, all of you!), no one is allowed to stay save the cardinals themselves. The word “conclave” is actually derived from the Latin cum (“with”) and clavis (“key”), indicating that the cardinals are locked in together until a new pope can be elected.

2) Of the 117 cardinals eligible to vote, Pope Benedict XVI named 67 and Pope John Paul II named 50.

3) Two cardinal electors are not attending: Julius Riyadi Cardinal Darmaatmadja, SJ, archbishop emeritus of Jakarta, Indonesia, and Keith Michael Patrick Cardinal O’Brien, archbishop emeritus of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh, Scotland. This means that of the 117 cardinals able to vote, only 115 will be participating in the conclave.

4) Of the living cardinals, only six were council fathers at the Second Vatican Council (Cardinals Angelini, Arinze, Canestri, Delly, Fernandes de Araújo, and Lourdusamy). However, all are over 80 and thus cannot participate in the conclave.

5) The apostolic constitution Universi Dominici Gregis (“The Lord’s Whole Flock”), issued by Pope John Paul II, stipulates that the conclave must begin 15 to 20 days after the vacancy. However, on February 25, Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Normas Nonnullas, which states that if the Cardinal Electors have all arrived, the conclave may begin early. As of today, the Vatican is still waiting for five cardinals to begin the conclave process.

6) In another motu proprio, Benedict XVI also changed the way that John Paul II had set up the election of the next pope. The voting process is simple: if the cardinals become deadlocked and cannot get a clear election with a 2/3 majority, they must take a day for prayer and dialogue and then vote for the top two cardinals of the last balloting (though these two may not vote—they have what’s called a vox passiva). Because the number of cardinals is odd, there needs to be a consensus of at least 77 before a pope can be elected.

7) When everyone is out except for the cardinals, the voting begins! The process is carried out in three phases: First, in what’s called the pre-scrutiny, the ballot papers will be distributed, and three groups of three cardinals will be selected to complete various tasks. The first group of cardinals will be selected to be “Scrutineers”—basically those who tally up the ballots. The second group, called “Infirmarii,” will be in charge of placing the ballots of any cardinals who are sick or weak (and thus cannot leave their room) into the voting urn. The third group will consist of “Revisers”—those who check the work of the Scrutineers.

8) Next, the scrutiny portion of the election will begin. Each cardinal will write down whom they wish to be the next pope and proceed to take their ballot to the altar where the three Scrutineers stand. Before a ballot can be cast, each cardinal must recite an oath in Latin that reads in English, “I call as my witness Christ the Lord who will be my judge, that my vote is given to the one who before God I think should be elected.”

9) Finally, after all the ballots have been opened up, the “post-scrutiny” portion of the conclave will begin. The Scrutineers add up the votes and the Revisers double-check them. If no clear election is made, the ballots must be burned and recast, followed by the signaling of dark smoke. If a new pope has been elected, white smoke will rise from the Sistine Chapel followed by the ringing of bells.

10) Whereas the ballots have, in the last century, been placed into a chalice and pyx, this time around there are three “urns” in which they are placed. The first urn is for normal voting, the second will be used only if there are cardinals who cannot leave their rooms due to illness, and the third will be used to gather the ballots after the scrutiny—right before they are burned to produce either the white or the black smoke above the Sistine Chapel.

Ten Things You Might Not Know about the History of the Conclave

1)      For most of the papacy’s history, popes were elected by the clergy and people of Rome through some form of acclamation. Over time, the role of the laity and the non-cardinal clergy was gradually reduced, but the possibility of the cardinals electing a pontiff through acclamation  was not removed until 1996. To this day, the people’s acclamation of the new pope continues in some form when the new pope presents himself to the crowds in St. Peter’s Square.

2)      The cardinals did not become the principal electors of the pope until 1059, but even then the laity and clergy of Rome retained the right of confirmation.

3)      It was not until 1179, at the Third Lateran Council that a formal voting procedure for the cardinals was put in place, requiring a two-thirds majority.

4)      The first conclave happened in 1271. It was a spontaneous event that occurred against the will of the cardinals. The papacy had been vacant for nearly three years and the people of Viterbo, where the 12 cardinals were gathered, had had enough. They locked the cardinals in the church and forbid them access to the outside world. Finally, the townspeople started restricting the food that entered the church and even took the roof off to expose the cardinals to the elements. Finally, they elected Blessed Gregory X pope. At the Second Council of Lyon in 1274, Gregory promulgated a decree that mandated a conclave for papal elections, modeled directly on what the people of Viterbo had done—it included the provision that after three days the cardinals were to be given only bread and water.

5)      The cardinals can elect any baptized man pope. Pope Gregory X was not even a priest when he was elected in 1271. In a matter of days he was ordained through the minor orders and the priesthood, and was consecrated bishop. He was then made bishop of Rome and pope. Pope Urban VI (1378–1389) was the last pope who was not a cardinal before election. Nevertheless, John Paul II’s 1997 apostolic constitution on papal elections lays out the procedure to be followed if the cardinals elect someone outside the college as well as someone who is not yet a bishop.

6)      In the papal election of 1417, which definitively ended the Western Schism, the conclave included 30 non-cardinal delegates representing the “nations”: France, Germany, Italy, England, and Spain.

7)      There will be 115 cardinal electors in this conclave. Historically, this is a huge number. Indeed, in the conclave of 1261, there were only seven cardinals.

8)      The first conclave held in the Sistine Chapel was that of 1492. This was 16 years before Michelangelo began working on the chapel’s remarkable frescos. In 1492, it had bare walls and ceiling.

9)      Popes have not always changed their names when elected. John II in 533 seems to have been the first to do so, but for the first thousand years of the Church’s history, it was very rare. After 996, almost every pope chose to change his name to that of a previous pope, but not all. Marcellus II, who was elected in 1555, was the last pope who kept his baptismal name. While Pope John Paul I changed his name at his election in 1978, “John Paul” was the first new papal name in over one thousand years.

10)  The Roman emperor had a significant role in the election of popes for the majority of the papacy’s history. This role was normally limited to confirmation of the candidate. Until the eighth century, new popes sent to Constantinople for their election to be confirmed by the emperor of Byzantium. After Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne “Roman Emperor” in the year 800, the right of confirmation shifted to the Franks and what would become the Holy Roman Empire. The involvement of secular governments in papal elections went through many changes, culminating in the so-called “right of exclusion” through which the cardinal representatives of France, Austria, and Spain could “veto” a papal candidate. This was last exercised by Austria in 1903, and Pope Pius X definitively abolished this “right” in 1904, laying down excommunication for any cardinal who might try to evoke it in a conclave.

Verbum introduces Conclave—the free papal election app

Main Promo ImageThe conclave is coming. While the Catholic church awaits a new pope, how will you stay in the loop? Conclave for Android and iOS makes it easy to stay up-to-date and well-informed.

Conclave keeps the information you need at your fingertips, and organizes it clearly and simply.

- Be among the first to see the white smoke rise—watch the live video feed from St. Peter’s Square.
- Learn about the cardinals in the conclave—115 electors, and 1 future pope.
- Read the official documents instating, defining, and amending the conclave’s process.
- Follow key Catholic sources and authorities like The National Catholic Register and Jimmy Akin.
- See what Twitter has to say about the conclave.

Conclave brings you the news you want when you want it.

Get Conclave now, then share it with your friends.

Pope Benedict XVI and the History of Papal Resignations—Part IV

 . . . continued from Part III

The Schism in the Church was first and foremost a schism in the College of Cardinals, a schism that lined up generally with the sides of the contemporary Hundred Years War between England and France. Once there were two lines of popes established, however, it became very difficult to conceive of a solution. One theory that was advanced was that a council—dominated of course by the cardinals—was in fact the highest authority in the Church. What this meant was that a council could depose both popes and elect a new one. In 1409, during a period of peace in the Hundred Years War, when the belligerent countries had less interest in “winning” the schism, cardinals from both popes defected and met in council in Pisa. They deposed the rival popes and elected a third. Of course, neither the Roman nor the Avignon pope recognized the depositions as valid, and so the Church was left with three popes. This situation was totally unacceptable and whatever support the rival popes could maintain began to erode in favor of the conciliar solution. Gregory XII, the legitimate pope of the Roman line, was not willing to allow the power of the papacy to be completely gutted by a council, and so he agreed that if a council deposed the two anti-popes, he would approve its acts and then resign himself, leaving the council to elect a new pope for the whole Church. This is exactly what happened at the Council of Constance in 1415. Gregory XII resigned and became the Dean of the newly re-united College of Cardinals. The council, however, did not proceed to the election of the next pope, Martin V, until 1417, after Gregory had died. So, the potentially problematic situation of having two popes alive at the same time was avoided.

With the election of Martin V, the papacy entered a new phase in its history. The strength of the Church as an institution had been severely weakened by the schism. Not only had the papacy’s prestige been hurt immensely, but over the course of the conflict, both papal lines had traded away a great deal of their governmental powers to the various princes of Europe. By the time the schism ended, the papacy had a fraction of the institutional power in the Church that it had in the mid-14th century. In fact, it is not too much of a conceptual stretch to start seeing Europe as a collection of national churches, led by their monarchs, yet united in doctrine. The constellation of circumstances that had led to the immense power of the cardinals and to the problems of papal vacancies and ultimately schism had largely faded away, and the papacy began facing a new problem, that of how to retain its independence from powerful monarchs who had near absolute control over the churches in their kingdoms. The solution was for the popes to construct their own church/kingdom in central Italy, which became the major project of the Renaissance papacy.

Conclusion

As we have seen, there have been three periods in which papal resignations have occurred. In each one the resignations were an aspect of the Church’s attempts at dealing with some crisis. In the ancient period, the problem was that of persecution; in the eleventh century it was the problem of corruption and irregular elections; in the High and Late Middle Ages the problem had to do with the power of the cardinals and the interference of increasingly powerful kingdoms in the election of popes, leading to long papal vacancies. In each case, though, the resignations themselves were largely incidental to the solution to the problem at hand. What Benedict XVI is doing is, therefore, novel. Because the Holy Father seems to be suggesting papal resignation itself as the solution to the problem of aged pontiffs in the fast-paced modern world. Benedict is suggesting that the Church requires a pontiff of a certain vigor and that when he is no longer capable of performing at this level, it is appropriate for him to step down. If this is the case and if papal resignations become a viable, even a normal, way for pontificates to come to an end, it will be a development in the papal office of the same magnitude as the eleventh-century constitution of the cardinals as papal electors or the thirteenth-century establishment of the Conclave. For this reason, it is a mistake to view the primary historical interest of Benedict’s resignation to be simply that papal resignations are rare and haven’t happened in a long time. Rather, we are potentially witnessing major development in the papal office. As with so many things in the Catholic Church, only time will tell.

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