Monday, November 08, 2010

Lumen Caritatis: Part 1

4th November 2010 was the 400th anniversary of the Canonisation of Saint Charles Borromeo,(2 October 1538 – 3 November 1584), Cardinal Archbishop of Milan.

It was also the occasion for a Letter "Lumen Caritatis" from Pope Benedict XVI to the present Archbishop commemorating the great event.

Unfortunately the Vatican website has not got round to translating it into any other language than English yet

Englsih snippets are available from the Vatican Information Service

As a Bavarian, the Pope may have approached the task of writing the Letter to Cardinal Tettamanzi with more than a degree of trepidation. He must have been glad that it was off his desk and safely delivered to Milan and all without much fuss.

He must have had in mind the occasion of the last Papal Encyclical celebrating the Centenary of St Carlo Borromeo`s canonisation. It was issued in May 1910. It went down a storm. It made his Regensburg Speech look tame in comparison.

It was the Encyclical Editae Saepe (26th May 1910) issued by Saint Pope Pius X.

On the face of it it was to mark the 300th Anniversary of the Canonisation of the Saint. It was also meant to be a fierce attack on Modernism. It could also be interpreted as a scathing attack on the then Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, the now Blessed Andrea Carlo Ferrari (1850-1921) who was unfairly under suspicion of being too soft on "Modernism".

Another view of the 1910 Encyclical was it was an insulting attack on the German Reformation and the German Reformers. It was this view which led to major problems

In the Encyclical, Pius X honoured Borromeo as a model of a true reformer as distinct from "false reformers". False reformers such as Modernists and the German Reformationists were described as being in revolt against ecclesiastical authority and blind obedience to the Sovereign.

They were also described as "enemies of the Cross of Christ ... whose mind is looking for things temporal ... whose God is the stomach."

The quotation was from The Epistle to the Philippians and was standard fare of insult in the Reformation.

However it aroused deep anger and mass protest in Germany.

The Governments of Prussia, Bavaria and Saxony formally protested.

The German Roman Catholic episcopate were not pleased either as it hindered their attempts at interdenominational cooperation as well as causing major problems for the Catholic Centre Party.

As a result of such pressures, the Curia did not insist on official publication of the encyclical in Germany or that it was read from the pulpits in Germany. It backed down and retreated in the face of such diplomatic pressure.

The affair became known as that of the „Borromäus-Enzyklika“, Here are contemporary newspaper accounts of the reaction in Germany. The first, a popular cartoon by Albert Weisberger (1878 -1915) in the German Press. The second, how the matter was reported at the time by The New York Times.