Robert P. Imbelli

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.

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Missing Sacramentality

Last Sunday, I was in New York to participate in the Mass celebrating the one hundreth anniversary of the founding of Regis High School. Since the Mass was celebrated at the church of Saint Ignatius Loyola, I decided to arrive early to see the Cubism exhibition at the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art. The show featured works by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Though fascinated by the artists' bravura technique, I left yearning for the sacramental presence I would experience at the Mass.

Humble and Prophetic Witness

At Mass this morning in Saint Peter's Square, closing the truly extraordinary Synod, Pope Francis beatified his predecessor, Paul VI. In his homily Francis said:

When we look to this great Pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thanks!  Thanks! Thank you, our dear and beloved Pope Paul VI!  Thank you for your humble and prophetic witness of love for Christ and his Church!

The Drama Continues

So Cardinal Tagle predicted and so it proves to be.

After the dramatic publication of the small group deliberations, the committee designated with incorporating these into a final document by tomorrow faces an herculean task. Will they be able to achieve it and will it receive the approbation of a majority of the Synod participants? Indeed, will it be able to be quickly read and digested?

But, as is well known, even if passed, the document only concludes another act of the drama which will continue to unfold over the next year (with God knows how many tweets yet to come!).

Unanswered Questions

This afternoon’s news conference at the Vatican heard two questions posed, but not answered.

The reporter from "Catholic News Service" made the observation that the Synod has generated a lot of controversy, both within and without its confines. He suggested that some saw in the "relatio" Church teaching being muted in favor of "a kinder, gentler approach;" and that traditional teaching, if not abrogated, was being put into the shadow. Was this concern at all reflected in the "small groups?"

No answer was forthcoming.

Mater et Magister (Update)

At this morning's session of the Synod the document summarizing the first week's deliberations was released.

It will be the basis of this week's discussion in the small language groups, and will be closely parsed by the media who at last have a text to devour.

The English translation is here, though it does not yet contain the division into section numbers which appears in the Italian.

Field Hospital Therapies

A year ago, on this feast of his namesake, Pope Francis made a memorable voyage to Assisi. Among his many addresses and homilies, here's an excerpt from one delivered in the Cathedral of San Rufino to clergy, religious, and members of the Diocesan Pastoral Council. As it happened, they were preparing for a diocesan Synod. The Pope said in part:

It Keeps Getting Worse (Update)

The latest twist in the White House break-in story:

The man who jumped the White House fence this month and sprinted through the front door made it much farther into the building than previously known, overpowering one Secret Service officer and running through much of the main floor, according to three people familiar with the incident.

An alarm box near the front entrance of the White House designed to alert guards to an intruder had been muted at what officers believed was a request of the usher’s office, said a Secret Service official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Of course, the Secret Service has no comment "due to an ongoing investigation of the incident." Do these investigations ever conclude?

In case you missed it, the Washington Post story also has a link to its previous story about the shots fired at the White House in 2011 which were only discovered some days later.

As a friend keeps muttering about the situation in Italy: "Incredibile!"


Giving credit where credit is due the Times picks up on the Post story:

Francis in Albania

Pope Francis spent eleven packed hours in Albania yesterday, speaking to government officials, religious leaders, and the Catholic faithful. Each of his prepared addresses is worth reading, but here is Osservatore Romano’s report on the most touching moment of the day:

John and James

Yesterday the Church's Liturgy remembered the Passion and Beheading of John the Baptist. While in past years I may have focused uniquely on the Baptist and his role in the drama of salvation, it was impossible to read the gospel without remembering James Foley, imprisoned and beheaded. James sent a last message to his family through a freed captive who had committed the words to memory. He said:

Boots on the Ground (Updating)

and they seem to be Russian.

The Washington Post quotes a Ukranian military official:

Russian forces in two armored columns captured a key southeastern coastal town near the Russian border Thursday after Ukrainian forces retreated in the face of superior firepower, a Ukrainian military spokesman said.